LOUISVILLE — Sometimes, it's worth it to bend the rules a little for a good cause.
That's what officers of the Jeffersonville and Clarksville Police Departments and Fraternal Order of Police Lodges 100 and 144 thought when they decided to participate in No Shave November.
Through the combined effort of these agencies, they were able to raise $6,000, which was presented to Kosair Children's Hospital through the Children's Hospital Foundation on Monday morning. Officers also visited the rooms of many of the children at Kosair, bringing toys, stuffed animals, games and gift cards.
Lynne Choate, public relations project manager at Kosair Children's Hospital, said they were incredibly grateful for the gift.
“The donation means that more children will receive items or care they need, or support that the family may need, to receive the exceptional care that they so desperately need to get better,” she said. “Groups like this make it possible for us to go the extra mile for our children and for our families."
Officers are normally required to be clean-shaven, but with the permission of the chiefs on each department, they were allowed to abstain from shaving throughout November. Each participating officer gave a a donation, which was matched by the FOP.
“We have a standard operating procedure with officers' appearance and having facial growth hair in uniform is not allowed,” said JPD Chief Kenny Kavanaugh. “However, I believe that this event and cause is worth us taking the rule and bending with the exception.”
He said being able to contribute to the children and their families is important to the officers.
“This is something that's very beneficial and just very special for us — just to be able to contribute and to do this, especially during the holiday season,” he said. “The children that we had contact with, I can tell you that they just really touch your heart. For us just to be able to spend a little bit of time and give them a gift and a token, this is very worthwhile and it's something really meaningful to you as a police officer.”
Kavanaugh estimated that 80 to 90 officers from both departments participated in the fundraiser.
“This is really police agencies coming together just showing how we can contribute to these children,” he said. “And just taking some time and let them know that they are special and they are important.”
Jason Jackson, JPD corporal and president of FOP Lodge 100, said last year some of the officers asked him about starting a No Shave November fundraiser in the area, and he brought it to Kavanaugh and asked if it was something they could do for the department. They then contacted CPD, and were very happy about the number of officers who supported the cause.
“We had a lot of officers donate and the FOP on both sides, Clarksville and Jeff,” he said.
Jackson said that meeting the families was such an important part of the experience for him, and one he'll never forget.
“We're just going in and speaking with the kids, trying to cheer them up, give them a little gift,” he said. “It's been awesome. They're so welcoming of us to be in there, which is great. The smiles on the kids' faces, you photograph that in your mind so you remember that feeling. It just makes you smile on the inside.”