As we make our way into November, don’t be surprised if your local first responders look like they haven’t shaved in weeks. For the privilege of growing out their facial hair, officers from the Chelsea Police Department are paying up and participating in the Home Base No Shave campaign in support of Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program.
Traditionally, police departments have a grooming policy where officers must remain clean-shaven. However, for the entire month of November, police officers have pledged $100 to forego the traditional grooming policy and grow beards, mustaches and goatees – all in support of Home Base and their mission to provide no-cost clinical care to Veterans and Military Families impacted by the invisible wounds — such as post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.
The movement is spearheaded by MBTA Transit Police and Boston Gang Unit Detective Kurt Power, a U.S. Army Veteran and Purple Heart recipient who sought care for his own invisible wounds at Home Base. “The only wish I have is that we give the gift of hope, hope to all the veterans that don’t believe reintegration is possible. Hope to the approximately 20 veterans a day that may give up tomorrow,” Power says. “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.”
This month, first responders at Chelsea Police Department will go beyond the badge to not only help raise money for a program that is changing the lives of Veterans and their Families, but to evoke conversation, raise awareness and break the stigma associated with getting care.
“I think the biggest part about this campaign is the demonstration of support by communities from across New England and the country,” said Home Base Executive Director Brigadier General (USA ret.) Jack Hammond. “It goes well beyond ‘thank you for your service’ – it’s something tangible people are doing to show them that they care. At Home Base, we offer some of the best care in the United States, so with all of these departments reaching out into these communities, they are bound to know someone who needs help and connect them to us. Every time they do that, they are saving a life.”
To date, the Home Base No Shave campaign, benefitting Home Base, has raised more than $500,000 and engaged more than 118 police departments across the country. Chelsea Police Department has a goal to make an impact and are asking community members, business owners and family members to join the cause and donate to their page.