Police, community grow sweet staches for a good cause

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published March 25, 2015

 Royal Oak police officer Anthony Gagliardi sports some facial hair for Mustache March to support Camp Casey. The department partnered with the nonprofit organization to raise money for equine programs for children who have cancer.

Royal Oak police officer Anthony Gagliardi sports some facial hair for Mustache March to support Camp Casey. The department partnered with the nonprofit organization to raise money for equine programs for children who have cancer.

Photo provided by Judy Davids

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ROYAL OAK — Members of the Police Department have not entered a time warp, nor have they channeled their inner Magnum P.I.

Mustache March is wrapping up this week, and the mustaches — with accompanying mutton chops on some participants — are catching eyes for a good cause.

“We have had interesting feedback from the community,” said Detective Matthew Murray. “People are starting to notice.”

All money collected in the annual department fundraiser will benefit Camp Casey, a local nonprofit organization that provides free horseback-riding programs to children and their families who face pediatric cancer, sickle cell anemia and/or aplastic anemia.

“We always support a charity that focuses on children, so Camp Casey was a natural choice,” Murray said. Murray is the co-organizer of Mustache March with Sgt. Patrick Stanton and officer Andy Izydorek.

“We were really, really excited,” said Camp Casey Community Relations Director Jessica Leroux. “It is wonderful to work with the Royal Oak Police Department.”  

The premise is simple. Grow a mustache, donate to a great cause and share your pictures.

“We have some pretty cheesy mustaches going on here,” said Police Chief Corrigan O’Donohue, adding that they will be shaving come April.

O’Donohue said that as a part of the community, the department participates in a number of charitable endeavors throughout the year, including a golf outing benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland and Macomb Counties and the April 18 Guns & Hoses charity hockey game.

“One of the best aspects of choosing the local charity is the ability it gives us to bond with our community,” Murray said.  

The detective said the department’s goal is to raise enough donations by the end of the month to pay for one “horse call,” an event in which a Camp Casey counselor brings a horse to the home of a sick child.

Camp Casey pairs children with horses through different programs that include “Cowboy Campouts,” “Outlaw Outings” and “Horsey House Calls.”

Camp Casey Executive Director Molly Reeser said supporters outside the department are joining the fun by donating and posting photos of their mustaches on the camp’s Facebook page.

“We are proud that every dollar raised will reach a child with cancer this summer,” Reeser said.

Members of the Police Department, along with members of the community, are invited to post pictures of their mustaches — real or fake — and compete in the Best Sheriff Stash in Town contest. The shared photo with the most likes will win a gift card for a trim from the Douglas J. Aveda Institute in Royal Oak or a straight-razor shave at the Berkley Chop Shop.

“We’re really excited to tally up the totals at the end of the month,” Leroux said.

People should not be discouraged that it is too late to grow a Tom Selleck-worthy mustache. Everyone can stick on their favorite facial hair or just make a donation to the cause by visiting www.camp-casey.org through the end of the month.

Donation information is also available on Camp Casey’s Facebook page.

“If they like what we’re doing and if they like what Camp Casey is doing, then join in,” Murray said.

Murray said interested donors may also drop off checks at the Police Department, 221 E. Third St. All checks should be made out to Camp Casey.

“If you go on the website and see what Camp Casey is doing, I don’t know how you wouldn’t want to help,” Murray said. “Even a donation of $5 will help.”

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