“Growing a beard is fun,” said Justin Dodson of the Dothan Police Department.
His sentiment is shared by many fellow officers this November.
“There’s guys like me that have been here for years and we’ve never seen someone with a beard,” said Dodson. “We enjoy that. We say, ‘it looks pretty good’ or ‘that looks terrible, you don’t need to grow a beard.'”
But their satisfaction does not come from judging who can grow the manliest goatee, but is the reason behind the beards, raising money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in Birmingham.
“If we can do something as small as asking folks for a little bit of money, $5, $10, $100, and send it up there, it makes a huge difference in these kids’ lives,” said Dodson.
Alicia Hayes agreed, but said this impact is felt all throughout the family.
Her son, Cody Hayes, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and their family spent eight months at CMNH in Birmingham.
“I can’t say enough of what they’ve done and continue to do,” said Alicia. “They still send me things and are supportive to my family, the doctor will call and check on us. It’s definitely a forever family.”
Cody passed away in June 2014, but Alicia said his time there was an experience she will never forget.
“The hospital lets a kid be a kid, ” said Hayes. “It’s nothing to see them running in the halls or playing basketball, and they were constantly giving Cody gifts.”
Then, went all out for the patients with “Santa’s Workshop.”
“If you’re there during a certain time during Christmas, you get to go downstairs and pick like four or five gifts,” said Hayes. “It makes a kid feel like they’re loved, and they’re not abandoned, and maybe still feel a little piece of home while they’re in the hospital.”
DPD’s donation is earmarked for “Santa’s Workshop”, to make sure they all have a wonderful Christmas.
“At that time, buying Christmas presents should be the last thing on the parents’ mind,” said Capt. Bubba Ott.