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Police grow beards to raise funds for kids with cancer

MIDDLEBURY — Members of various Addison County law enforcement agencies are once again covering their faces to symbolically encourage citizens to open their wallets to a special camp serving young cancer patients.
It’s called the “Deer Camp Beards for Kids with Cancer,” an effort spearheaded by Middlebury Police Officer Darrin Hinterneder. As in prior years, participating officers are allowed to grow facial hair contrary to department grooming standards as long as they make a cash contribution of at least $30 to South Hero-based Camp-Ta-Kum-Ta. The camp provides respite, fun activities and support to children afflicted with cancer, and their families.
While officers don’t actively solicit contributions from folks they encounter while on duty, they offer the donation opportunity to those who inquire about their beards. The department has designed, and passes out, custom-made badges to those who contribute at least $30. There’s a donation box in the Middlebury Police Department lobby in which people can securely leave a donation. Both cash and checks will be accepted through Dec. 26; checks should be made out to “Camp-Ta-Kum-Ta.”
This is the third year the “Deer Camp Beards” fundraising program has been offered. It coincides with all three of Vermont’s deer hunting seasons — archery, rifle and muzzleloader. Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley has agreed to extend his participating officers’ shaving reprieve through Christmas Day.
Participating agencies have included the Addison County Sheriff’s Department and the Bristol Police Department. The Rutland County Sheriff’s Department has joined in this year, and other law enforcement agencies statewide are considering signing on to the program, according to Hinterneder.
Last year’s “Deer Camp Beards” effort yielded $2,002 for Camp Ta-Kum-Ta, according to Hinterneder.
“It is such a wonderful thing to see the community come together and show their support for such a great cause,” Hinterneder said through a recent email exchange.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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