Potter County deputies get hairy for a good cause, raise $2,300 for 24 Hours in the Canyon

Ryan Parnell, program director for 24 Hours in the Canyon, receives a check from Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas on Thursday in downtown Amarillo. (Provided photo)

Employees at the Potter County Sheriff’s Office took part in Movember — an annual event where men grow mustaches in November to call attention to men’s health issues — raising funds for two charities while letting it all grow out.

 

“It was kind of spur-of-the-moment,” Sheriff Brian Thomas said of their inaugural fundraising effort. “We were asked (if officers) could participate in the no-shave November, and I said we’ll try that out but we’re going let you pay money to do it.”

Participants paid $50 for the privilege of being as hirsute as their faces could get during the month and the money was divided between the Potter County Sheriff’s and Fire Department Benefit Board — an employee-run board for emergency assistance — and 24 Hours in the Canyon, which is focused on helping those battling cancer and those in remission address their unique needs.

“What I liked about them, besides being local, not only do they help adults, they help kids,” Thomas said about 24 Hours in the Canyon. “We’ve had several in our office that have fought the battle … and this is kind of a tribute to those people that have fought the battle within our own organization, too.”

Thomas presented a check for $2,300 to Ryan Parnell, 24 Hours in the Canyon program director, Thursday afternoon at the charity organization’s downtown office.

While Thomas didn’t know the exact number from his office who participated, he did say they had a great turnout.

“It was so cool to see everybody throw $50 on the table to do this at Christmastime, and we all know that’s a tight time of the year,” he said. “It was a great morale booster for us at the office.”

Parnell added: “It really is an exciting time with the sheriff engaging his employees to be a part of this program and raising money. We’re able to take this money and put it to use and affect lives here locally. That’s the bottom line.”

Parnell said the center helps about 400 patients monthly when factoring in all of its programming for adults and children.

“Some people don’t realize how much cancer we have in our communities, and it’s a lot,” he said. “By being able to provide all of this to them at no charge, that’s a big bonus.”

He said 100 percent of contributions the organization receives goes into its program.

“It doesn’t matter where you’re treated,” he said. “You can be treated in town or out of town, if you live here, that’s what’s important to us.”

The organization provides free services to residents in all of the counties in the Texas Panhandle.

Its largest fundraising event draws participants from across the country. Held annually in June, Parnell said they are already approaching 200 registered participants in the cycling race that the UltraMarathon Cycling Association just named as the North American National Championships.

“To be recognized as a national champion event where we will award national champions at the end of our event means a lot,” Parnell said. “It means we’ve really made it and, ultimately, it will translate into more dollars that we can put into the program and help folks. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.”

Parnell said his organization usually has upward of 700 participants in the race, which this year will be June 2-3. For more information or to donate, go to 24hoursinthecanyon.org.

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