When Gene O’Connor was asked when was the last time he shaved his beard, he didn’t have to think twice to come up with an answer.
“Three years,” he said from behind what was amounting to a thick, yet newly formed red mustache that would’ve made any 1970s-era Major Leaguer envious. (See before photo below.)
Three years ago was the last time Amvets Post 111 in Patchogue hosted a head (and beard) shaving fundraiser through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation that raises money to fund children’s cancer research. That was the last time O’Connor was in the barber’s chair.
“A friend of his wife said if you shave that beard I’ll donate $100,” said Jim Morge, a past post commander whose son, John, also a past post commander, spearheaded Friday nights’ fundraiser in Patchogue.
This year’s O’Connor shaving raised nearly $300 for the foundation.
John Morge said that was the highest amount for any of the cut Friday, which came courtesy of Anna Cascio and Rosanna Milazzo of George’s Barber Shop.
In total, the Amvets Post raised roughly $2,500, with 20 vets from the Amvets Post and the VFW Post 2913 participating.
That surpassed the 1,800 that was raised during 2013’s event, which was inspired by a St. Baldrick’s Day fundraiser that Jim Morge and his three sons had attended at American Legion Post 1146 in Bohemia.
“One guy says $50 if you shave your head, and then the other says right back at you,” Jim Morge explained. “So that’s $100 right there.”
Some also chicken out, he said.