Today I was reminded of how amazing the community of Watsonville is. Over the years, I've had the opportunity to be involved in several community minded organizations and have served on many boards, most recently including the Watsonville Police Assistance Fund board (WPAF). WPAF has given me the chance to work closely with our police officers and I've gotten an inside look into the lives and stories of the men and women of law enforcement. I've gained the highest level of respect for these officers serving their community. During a particularly tumultuous time in American history where officers are challenged daily and often met by public criticism, I felt it would be a good time to share something positive.
If you are local to Watsonville you may have noticed that quite a few officers around town have been growing beards. What you may not know is that they're doing so in support of Children's Cancer Awareness. The local organization Jacob's Heart has teamed up with the department for the 3rd year and it is proving to be a success yet again. In total, there are nearly 30 officers participating in the joint effort fundraiser. This idea came about years back when former Chief of Police Manny Solano was serving on the board for Jacob's Heart. Manny wanted to figure out of way to support to the charity closest to his heart. Working with Lori Butterworth, the founder and Executive Director of Jacob's Heart, they formulated an idea where the officers could get involved and give back to their community. At the time, the police department had a clean shaven policy and all officers abided by those rules. Manny put a temporary wave on the facial hair policy allowing officers to grow beards for 3 months. He figured it would be a great way for officers to show their support by grabbing the public's interest in the cause, too. Each officer participating also donated $100+ as a jumpstart to the fundraising efforts. The Jacob's Heart Foundation is 100% funded by donations and needs the support of the whole community. To join the officers in their contributions, I've provided a link where you can get involved and donate: https://www.classy.org/campaign/watsonville-beard-brigade/c135986
I will be photographing the officers over the next few days and weeks. Enjoy!
To learn more about Jacob's Heart, visit their site: http://www.jacobsheart.org/