Cass County Sheriff’s Office takes on No Shave November

CASSOPOLIS — Eleven months out of the year, Cass County Sheriff Richard Behnke’s face smooth, freshly shaven each morning. However, this month, as he walks around the station and responds to calls, the tell-tale traces of a beard can be seen peeking out from underneath his facemask.

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office is participating in No Shave November for the fourth year in a row. For the event, deputies, who typically are required to be clean-shaven, can grow out their facial hair or, for those who cannot or do not wish to grow out their hair, wear a pink badge or another gesture. Employees participate by donating $50, or $75 to extend their participation into December. All money raised from the event will go to support local nonprofit organizations.

“Some employees are doing a full beard, others are just donating, and some are wearing badges because they can’t grow a beard,” Behnke said with a laugh. “This is a way for us to give back and have a little fun while doing it.”

In the four years the Cass County Sheriff’s Office has taken part in No Shave November, employees have raised more than $5,000 for local charities, including Feed the Hungry of Cass County, Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services, and Cass County Cancer Service. This year, the department aims to raise between $2,000 and $2,500 to split between those three organizations.

“The charities are definitely in need,” Behnke said. “With COVID, lots of their fundraising opportunities were lost, and there is also a greater need.”

With 24 Sheriff’s Office employees participating, the department is already on the way to reaching its goal. To help meet the remaining need, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office is inviting the public to participate in the No Shave November fundraiser. Community members can donate to the cause or sponsor a deputy participating in the campaign.

To donate to the No Shave November fundraiser, community members can contact Behnke at (269) 445-1201 or sheriff@cassco.org. Checks made out to Cass County Sheriff Richard Behnke can be mailed to 321 M 62 N., Cassopolis MI 49031.

“The community has always had a great reaction, so we were thinking, ‘well, this year, let’s let the community participate,’” Behnke said. “We’ve had people wanting to donate in the past, so we thought this would be a good way to help out the charities we are sponsoring. These are good locally-based organizations that we are sponsoring. It’s a good way to help us and help them.”

Behnke said he is confident this year’s No Shave November will prove beneficial for Cass County Area charities with the community’s support. No matter how much money is raised, both Behnke and Undersheriff Clint Roach said they know the event will bring a smile to their employees’ faces — underneath their beards and mustaches, of course.

“It’s nice to be able to have a beard in a profession where you typically aren’t allowed to have one,” Roach said. “And it’s a really fun way to be able to donate to the charities we support.”

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