Hair-lowering Experience Pinehurst Chief Lured Into A Clip Job
By Tom Embrey
When Earl Phipps gets a haircut, he's normally frugal. "On the high end, I'll pay $15," the Pinehurst police chief said with a smile. "But normally I'm looking to be in the $10 to $12 range."
But when the cost of a haircut is footed by others, and the money goes to a good cause, Phipps says the more expensive the better.
Phipps auctioned his hair to raise money for Special Olympics recently, allowing the community and his officers to take turns shaving his head after raising $8,222.83.
"It absolutely was the most rewarding haircut I've ever gotten," Phipps said.
The haircut was the finale to the "Bald is Beautiful" motorcycle ride through Pinehurst for Special Olympics.
"We keep looking for new ways to get people involved, get our officers out and interacting with the residents, and do something good for the community," Phipps said.
Arthur Clark donated $3,000 to the cause right off the bat, Phipps said, and Wayne Peterson chipped in $2,000. Clark was unable to attend the event, so Peterson was the first to take the clippers and pass them through Phipps' hair.
"Everyone needs a second career," Peterson joked about his handiwork. "This is the first time I have done anything like this."
Earlier this year, Peterson told Phipps he was going to be the one to cut his hair after he got wind of the idea. He then relented later, saying he wanted to give others a shot to cut some too.
"I decided I would just cut the first strip," he said.
Phipps said he was just thinking about one thing as Peterson and others stepped up to their turns.
"I was just praying for everybody to have a steady hand," he said. "And everyone did."
And just in case they didn't, Justin Oliver, of the Village Barber Shop, batted cleanup.
"I am really thankful for him because he was the one who smoothed things out," Phipps said.
Phipps thanked Clark Chevrolet, The Tater Barn, Pinehurst Pizza and the barbershop for sponsoring the haircut fundraiser, which also featured live music from the band Eastwood Hawks.
"It was pretty exciting watching officers and community members jump in for Special Olympics," Phipps said.
The event is one of several the Pinehurst police have participated in with an ultimate goal of raising $20,000 for Special Olympics.
Previously, the Pinehurst police have had a Cops on Top fundraiser at Chick-fil-A along with the Southern Pines police. They have also held Tip a Cop events at Chick-fil-A, Dugan's Pub and Maxie's Grill and Tap Room in Pinehurst, and Texas Roadhouse in Aberdeen.
All of the events are part of the Torch Run for Special Olympics. The Torch Run consists of a variety of events by law enforcement agencies to generate dollars for charity.
"We are always encouraging to think outside the box," said Jamie Vaughn vice president for the Law Enforcement Torch Run. "And obviously Chief Phipps has done that."
The hair-cutting event gets the Pinehurst department another step closer to its Torch Run fundraising goal.
"The most this department has ever raised is about $14,500," Phipps said. "Right now our total is right over $18,000, and we have two more events to go."
The remaining fundraisers are a golf tournament and a fashion show.
The first Community Cup golf tournament will be a Ryder Cup-style format. Members of the community will play with members of the Blue team (police and law enforcement) or the Red team (fire and rescue). The tournament will be held Sept. 10 at Pinehurst No. 8. Entry fee is $150 per person, and space is still available.
For more information, contact the Police Department at (910) 295-3141.
The fashion show will be held at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 15 at The Pine Crest Inn. It will feature a women's contemporary clothing and accessorry line from the Village Fox.
Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. For tickets, call the Police Department at (910) 295-3141 or the Village Fox at (910) 255-8369.
Phipps didn't rule out another haircut next year, and also said he is already looking for new fun and exciting ways to raise money for Special Olympics, and that means talking to people in the community, which is never difficult for the outgoing chief with the newly shaved head.
"I am stopping traffic with this hair - or lack thereof," Phipps said with a laugh. "It is definitely a conversation starter."
Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 693-2484 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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