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Ripon officers raise awareness, money for Hospice
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Three members of the Ripon law enforcement family are growing beards to raise money for Hospice of San Joaquin are, from left, Dan Brannon, Gordon West, and Lt. Steve Merchant. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

Officers and associated personnel with the Ripon Police Department have set aside their razors for the benefit of Hospice of San Joaquin – many growing facial hair for the first time.
Ripon Lt. Steve Merchant said most people can grow a beard whenever they want, but when you are in law enforcement you can’t.  “Everybody is in support of one goal in support of Hospice,” some 27 strong in Ripon.  “I’ve been in law enforcement for 28 years, and it has been that long since I have grown a beard,” he said.
Lt. Merchant further pointed out that Sgt. Ken Husman had been in the military before joining the Ripon force, noting that he couldn’t grow a beard there either – a first for him this week as well. 
The funds raised in the effort are going to be presented to Hospice during their annual Christmas tree Tree of Lights lighting ceremonies in Veterans Park at First and Locust streets on Monday, Nov. 28, at 6 p.m. 
The public is invited to make donations through the Hospice of San Joaquin at  or by calling (209) 957.3888. Ripon Police Department personnel are donating $40 apiece for Hospice in exchange for being able to grow beards.
 The Ripon Consolidated Fire Department was invited to join the officers but had to decline since they are not permitted facial hair that would restrict oxygen masks from air tight contacts with their faces in a fire emergency.  Chief Dennis Bitters said his department would review the effort and offer an alternative to the beards to help raise funds for Hospice.
Hospices services include comprehensive and compassionate medical care, counseling and support with state-of-the-art pain control and symptom management in terminal situations.

To contact Glenn Kahl, email