Getting buzzed for the kids

| 21 Jun 2012 | 09:10

WEST MILFORD — The weekend of June 9 and 10 was an incredible weekend for giving here in West Milford. On Saturday was the Relay for Life of the Highlands, a fund raiser for cancer research. Sunday brought a hair-raising, or rather hair losing event to town: the St. Baldrick’s Foundation-WMPD/WMFD Conquer Cancer event at the Macopin firehouse. The fund raiser benefits children’s cancer research, the largest movement of its kind.

The idea is simple; solicit donations by promising to have your hair buzzed off at the event. While getting a cool summer hair cut, it’s still a commitment to walking around bald for a while, not the best look on everyone. But bald is beautiful when you’re doing it for the kids.

Under the direction of co-chairs, Rob Kulawiak, representing the town’s police department, and Dave Lemay, the fire department’s rep, the event was a rousing success. As of last week, they had surpassed their goal of $25,000 in donations and there’s more to be counted.

“It was a huge success,” Kulawiak said.

They had 104 “shavees,” up significantly from last year. There were a lot of last minute walk-ins toting envelopes with donations. Some people were just driving by and made a last minute decision to help out.

The event is fun. There’s music, food and good-natured teasing. The six stations set up for the volunteer stylists were kept busy. There was entertainment for the kids and a lot of fuzzy pates walking around, some still rubbing their heads, maybe looking for a mirror. Maybe not. There were volunteers from out of town and in town. The Passaic County Emerald Society joined in with the Highlander pipe band. It was a co-joining of charitable hearts.

One very special guest arrived with his thick head of white hair, albeit sprayed pink for the occasion. It was the Exalted Ruler of the West Milford Elks, Jim Lupo. It’s said that Lupo has an unnaturally strong attachment to his wavy mane but he was ready to give it up for the cause.

When word got around that Lupo was going under the buzzer, the members of the Elks Lodge pledged to match his donations. Then entered Jimmy Paul of The Huntsman restaurant who got on the bandwagon. The end result was a check presented that day in the amount of $5,300. It’s amazing what one hair cut can do.

Glancing at the stylist’s chair, you could not help but notice a senior citizen sitting herself down. It was Florence Klein, a beautiful 98-year-old lady. She got a trim instead of a buzz cut but she was there for a very special reason: her great-grandson, Nicholas Kahn, was recently diagnosed with cancer and the love of a grandma knows no boundaries.

It was quite a weekend in West Milford. The hearts and minds of the people were in the right place. You can’t do any better than that.