WILMINGTON — What started as a fun conversation among co-workers quickly became a cause for good.
At the General Denver on Sunday, employee Alex Rhinehart got his beard shaved after raising more than their $5,000 goal for the Clinton County Youth Council. Surrounded by friends and family, Rhinehart’s bushy beard was trimmed off by Dylan Collins of The Oak Barbershop.
“This whole thing started with a random bar conversation. We asked how much would it take to shave his beard,” said Rhinehart’s co-worker Morgan Combs. “We just started throwing numbers out and we landed at $5,000. Two months later we hit our goal because this town is amazing.”
“She had never seen me without a beard,” said Rhinehart, who hadn’t been clean-shaven in eight years. “I said you can’t pay me to shave my beard. Then she asked what if it was for charity, and I said OK.”
The two didn’t do much with the idea for a few months until one night Combs texted Rhinehart, asking, “Are we doing this?” Rhinehart decided to go ahead with it and picked the CCYC as his charity since both he and his wife Tara had been longtime supporters of CCYC.
The CCYC, located at 302 W. Sugartree St., is a non-profit, free after-school program for students in grade 6-12 and they work with a lot of at-risk youths. During the academic year, they’re open from Monday to Friday after school until 7 p.m.
After talking with CCYC Executive Director Eric Guindon and setting up the Go Fund Me page, Rhinehart didn’t think the money would come in as fast as it did. Within four weeks, they raised $5,420.
“I have been floored by this response. This has been awesome,” said Rhinehart, thanking those who donated and giving praise to Combs for setting things up.
“I’m going to look in the mirror and I’m not going to know who I am,” he said jokingly.
But he was not the only one who lost facial hair that night. An additional challenge was put out — since the original goal was met so fast, that if they got up to $6,000, Guindon would shave off his beard.
In the end, $6,142.53 was raised.
Guindon was overwhelmed by just how many people donated to the fundraiser. According to him, more than 44 individuals donated, some of whom he didn’t know.
“He looks so eerily like his high school senior photos (minus the now-gray hair) that it’s unnerving!” said Guindon’s wife, Kelsey Swindler, who added the last time Eric was clean-shaven was in 2011.
Although Combs is originally from Tipp City, she felt that she found her home. She had studied at Wilmington College and had been working at the General Denver for about two years; she said witnessing the community come together to raise the funds solidified this feeling.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574