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News | Dec. 4, 2018

Subsistence supply chain employees grow beards to raise cancer awareness

By Alexandria Brimage-Gray Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support

As the leaves changed colors on nature’s trees, beards with shades of red, brown, white, gray, black and even a few multi-colored, appeared on the faces of nearly 20 men from the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Subsistence supply chain during “No Shave November.”

The voluntary national event held each November seeks to bring cancer awareness and encourage participants to donate the money typically used for shaving supplies to a local charity.

Rich Faso, deputy director, Subsistence supply chain said this was his first time participating and thought it would be a good team building exercise.

 “When I look in the mirror, I think of people with cancer,” Faso said. “The awareness that ‘No Shave November’ brings to cancer serves as a simple reminder of the struggles that people endure. Cancer is non-discriminatory and we all know someone who has been afflicted by cancer. This is for all the family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances who battle cancer or who have battled cancer.”

For John Sheehan, the Subsistence customer operations director and almost 20-year cancer survivor, this opportunity took on a personal meaning.

“Having both of my parents passed away from various forms of cancer and being diagnosed myself with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in December 1999, I have a soft-spot for supporting cancer-curing efforts,” Sheehan said.

This was Sheehan’s first time growing a beard in over 20 years and considers it a privilege and honor to grow a beard despite the work involved.

“In the past, since college, I had grown my beard seasonally,” Sheehan said. “My family is not too happy that my beard is so white but I plan to keep it for the winter and shave it off in the spring.

 “It is a lot more work than people realize, I would definitely rather shave and get it over with,” Sheehan continued.

Avid shaver, John King, the operational rations and equipment branch chief, described his first time participating in “No Shave November” as rather interesting.

“It has been great to just spend a month trying it out, seeing how it feels and just being able to see how gray it is compared to what I expected,” King said. “It is weird having that much facial hair, not to add, the couple of strange looks you get from people who have not seen you in a long time.”

Despite the participant’s unique experience growing their beards this past month, they all agreed that their participation in “No Shave November” was a great opportunity to bring awareness and show support to a worthy cause.