Officers Take On No Shave November Challenge

Raising money for Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run

Stephen Hodges, code enforcement officer, third from left, presents the Dunn Police Department with a check donation for its No Shave November campaign. Standing with Hodges, from left, are Major Cary Jackson, Officer Trae Gonzales and Chief Clark White. Dunn Police Department / Facebook Photo

By Tyler Stocks
Dunn Daily Record

Things are expected to get hairy at the Dunn Police Department next month.

Much to his wife’s displeasure, Dunn Police Chief Clark White has agreed to grow a beard.

White will join his fellow officers as they participate in No Shave November starting Monday to raise money for the 2022 Special Olympics North Carolina’s Law Enforcement Torch Run campaign.

“It allows law enforcement to support, participate and interact in a positive way in events with these kids,” White said of the fundraising effort.

According to the Special Olympics North Carolina website, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics is the nonprofit organization’s largest annual public awareness and grassroots fundraising effort.

Known as Guardians of the Flame, police officers and Special Olympics athletes carry the Flame of Hope into the Opening Ceremony of local competitions, and into Special Olympics State, National, Regional and World Games, according to the website.

To participate, officers must donate $25, be clean shaven Nov. 1 and forgo beard maintenance until Nov. 30, said Maj. Cary Jackson.

Half of the department’s male officers committed to the fundraising effort in October and five had already made donations. Officers had until Friday to sign up.

White said the fundraising effort clearly demonstrates the success and needs that special needs kids have and allows the public to respond to the need.

“It is an event that allows some of the least recognized most positive people in the world to participate in events and engage in conversation with people who are in similar situations,” White said. 

Next year’s state games will be held at the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre and the torch will be carried to that location from downtown Raleigh, Jackson said.

For Jackson, raising money for Special Olympics is personal.

“It’s kind of special to me because I actually have a special needs child,” she added.

Jackson’s daughter, Ester, who is 21, has participated in Special Olympics as a swimmer since she was 13. 

In addition to Dunn’s police department, Jackson said some of her law enforcement buddies from other agencies in Knightdale and Fuquay-Varina are also participating in No Shave November fundraising efforts.

As of Wednesday, the Dunn Police Department raised over $9,000 and had a goal of $10,000, Jackson said. The department’s original fundraising goal for the year was $7,000.

“This event has been very inspiring for our officers,” Jackson said.

The No Shave November fundraiser may be needed now more than ever as police officers have a hard way to go.

“For our officers we deal with so much tragedy every day and so much negative things. This is a positive thing that they can be involved in,” Jackson said.

It also offers a chance for police to connect with the community they serve.

“I also know it’s good for our officers because they get out in the community, they interact with people and it’s a good PR thing for us,” Jackson said.

The Dunn Police Department is currently accepting donations through Dec. 31 and is selling T-shirts, hats and beanies for a $20 donation that goes to Special Olympics North Carolina. 

To donate, people can drop by the department, located at 401 E. Broad St., between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

For more information, call 910-892-2399 or visit the police department’s Facebook page.