After four and a half years of growing, Daniel "Dan" Aubert of Pittsfield decided to part with his hair and donate it to Locks of Love. The popular nonprofit organization provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged youths under the age 21 who are suffering from long-term medical hair loss. While countless people choose to donate to the cause each year, local hairdresser Debbie Sawyer said the man's hair donation is particularly unique.
Back in November, the 62-year-old Aubert came under the care of Springside Rehabilitation and Skilled Care Center on Lebanon Avenue in Pittsfield, which provides short-term rehabilitation and traditional long-term care to people who need it. Despite some physical limitations, he still wanted to do something to help the community.
He went online to do some research and said that's when he came across the Locks of Love website.
"With my arthritis and stuff I couldn't braid my hair myself anymore," he told County Fare. "Then I realized I could cut it off and donate it for a good cause."
So he sat in Sawyer's stylist chair on Jan. 19 and instructed her to clip the whole braid, just over 17 inches.
"It just goes to show you're never too old to donate your hair," said Sawyer, who has been cutting hair for the residents at the Springside Center for nearly five years. She said it's rare for an older adult to make a hair donation, especially a man.
"He's such a sweet guy," Sawyer said of Aubert. "He was just so excited about being able to do something for the kids."
Aubert also praised Sawyer and the Springside Center for their support."It was great. I felt like a celebrity," he said, noting he doesn't mind the change in hairstyle. "Plus, they need the hair for the kids."
A helping hand
Pittsfield native Kayla Jansen recently joined a group of fellow Anna Maria College students in volunteering with Habitat for Humanity to build homes for those in need in Pensacola, Fla., from Jan. 10 through 16.
Jansen is a 2012 graduate of St. Joseph Central High School and has played for the college's women's lacrosse team, in addition to doing other volunteer work at the school.
"Many students come to Anna Maria College with a drive to serve others, and offering an Alternative Winter Break is one of the many ways in which we help service-oriented young people further develop this passion," said Anna Maria College President Mary Lou Retelle in a statement about the campus ministry program. The college is located in Paxton, Mass.
Joined by two college staff members, the student volunteers stayed at a local church in Pensacola while immersing themselves in a Habitat for Humanity home-building project. They joined a large, group dinner and other community events hosted and attended by those who live in the area where the students were building future homes.
Dining for veterans
Veterans of Foreign Wars Lt. John N. Truden Post 448 in Pittsfield is partnering from 5 to 10 p.m. today with the Ninety Nine Restaurant on Merrill Road in Pittsfield to raise funds for the VFW.
Participants can obtain a coupon to donate 15 percent of their dining bill to Post 448. In addition, a table will be set up in the entrance lobby, attended by local veterans, and will offer 50/50 raffle tickets. Color prints of the Civil War Monument donated previously to the VFW by local artist Robert Burnick will also be available for only $10 each.
To obtain a coupon, contact Commander Arnold Perras at 413-443-0309, pick one up after 3 p.m. at the American Legion located at 41 Wendell Ave. or between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at 481 Dalton Ave.