AYER -- This November, don't be surprised if your local police officers look like they haven't shaved in weeks. For the privilege of sporting facial hair, officers from the Ayer Police Department are participating in No-Shave November in support of Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital program.
Traditionally, police department grooming policies require officers to remain clean-shaven.
However, for the month of November, officers from across the region will be permitted to grow beards and goatees when they donate or fundraise $100 for Home Base and support its mission to help veterans and military families heal from invisible wounds of war -- such as post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury -- regardless of their financial means or discharge status.
The No-Shave November movement is spearheaded by MBTA Transit officer, Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient Kurt Power who sought care at Home Base.
"The only wish I have is that we give the gift of hope to all the veterans who don't believe reintegration is possible. Hope to the approximately 20 veterans a day that may give up tomorrow," said Power. "If I can convince just one person who needs help to listen to me and put their trust in the treatment at Home Base, this will all be worth it."
Power and his fellow first responders at the Ayer Police Department will go beyond the badge to not only help raise money for Home Base, a program that is widely recognized for changing the lives of veterans and their families, but to spark conversation, raise awareness and break the stigma associated with mental health care.
"I am proud of our officers for supporting this incredible cause," said Ayer Police Chief William Murray. "Home Base provides essential services to veterans and we are honored to continue to help fulfill its mission."
To date, the first responder No-Shave November campaign has raised over $200,000 for Home Base.
The Ayer Police Department is asking community members, business owners, family and friends to join the cause and donate.
To support the Ayer Police Department's fundraising efforts, visit because.massgeneral.org/AyerPD.
For information about Home Base and No-Shave November, visit homebase.org/no-shave-november/.