Firefighters and Oswego police compete in St. Baldrick’s fund-raiser

Hair off – Doug Kells, owner of Doug’s Barbershop in Oswego and a veteran St. Baldrick’s volunteer barber, tries to keep peace between Oswego County Undersheriff Gene Sullivan (left) and Oswego City Fire Chief Jeff McCrobie.

The sixth annual St. Baldrick’s Foundation fund-raiser will be held Thursday, March 22.

“The Oswego Firefighters Association has played a significant role in our efforts these last few years,” said Dan Witmer, local event organizer. “This year they are joined by the local law-enforcement community in a friendly competition between the groups which, so far, is proving to be very beneficial to our cause. Over 40 percent of what we have raised so far this year has come from the efforts of these two groups.”

In just over a decade, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation has grown to a point where it now provides more research dollars to childhood cancer than any other organization except the U.S. government.

Each year, firefighters around the world are one of the single largest groups to rally around this cause.

“Whether we are fighting a fire or educating the public on fire prevention, our primary focus is saving lives,” said Jeff McCrobie Oswego City fire chief. “Hopefully, our support for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation will help save a few more as well.”

The New York State Police, the Oswego County Sheriff’s Deputies and the Oswego City Police Department have all recognized the need to rally around the 160,000 children who are diagnosed with cancer each year. They have formed teams and the race is now on to see if the “cops” can outpace the firefighters in the 2012 Oswego-based event.

Oswego County Undersheriff Gene Sullivan volunteered this year to shave his head on behalf of the department.

“Anybody that knows me, knows that it’s all about the hair — except when it comes to kids with cancer,” he said. “After March 22, I’ll be bald by choice where many of them are not.” Acknowledging the spirit of the competition, Sullivan added, “Whether it’s the cops or the firemen who raise the most money, in the end the winners will be the kids.”

With just two weeks left in the campaign, more than 120 volunteer “shavees” have stepped forward to join the police officers and firefighters at the annual shave-a-thon.

Men and women from all walks of life: teachers, athletes, children, school administrators and more will converge on the SUNY Oswego Campus Center Food Court at 7 p.m. March 22 where licensed barbers and stylists have volunteered to shave their heads.

The event features silent and live auctions including items like autographed sports gear and equipment, merchandise from local retailers, gift certificates to some of the area’s restaurants and more.

This is the sixth year that the SUNY Oswego athletic department will sponsor the Oswego event. This year includes St. Baldrick’s teams represented by members of the lacrosse, tennis, soccer, hockey, and track and field teams at the university.

In addition to signing up to be a shavee, individuals and organizations can help in other ways.

Donations are being sought for raffle prizes, business sponsorships can help add to the head-shaving event itself, and anyone can support an individual or make a personal donation by check, phone, or online at

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