Break the Rules This Holiday Season
By Matt Snively, HCLA Class of 2006
Senior Vice President of Elements Wealth Management
Part-Time Deputy with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department
Movember means mustache season, which is something special to those of us on the staff of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department.
Ironically, it’s a time when we are allowed to break one of our own rules: no full facial hair. Thanks to my colleague Sargent Brian N. Niec, he started this special tradition several years ago. For a donation of $50, you are allowed to bypass the policy during the month of November and grow a beard to your heart’s content – as long as it looks professional.
That time is upon us, and many of us on the force are taking advantage of this “limited time offer” all in the spirit of doing some collective good for our community.
We’re helping one of our own families in need by sending them on vacation to enjoy some family time away together. We’re also working with a local pastor to support a family of six that’s struggling with both physical and mental health issues. The fundraiser will cover all their gifts, and even their tree.
As the founder and heart behind this cause, Sargent Niec makes it a lot of fun with prizes and a contest at the end with multiple categories. I mean, who doesn’t want to win The Redford Award for the most “natural, flowing and amazing” mustache, goatee, or beard? (I know I want my fair shot at it!)
This holiday season I want to challenge and remind everyone to push the boundaries and the rules and the norms to do something different and impactful. It’s way too easy for us as the gainfully employed residents and leaders of Hamilton County to sit back warm and comfortable in our homes while we exchange material things we likely don’t need. Instead, consider starting a new tradition this season to bond with your families through a charitable experience, from volunteering to adopting a family in need to donating a generous portion of your gift fund to a cause your family chooses and cares about together. As one concrete example, bake a bunch of your favorite cookies and give them all away as random acts of kindness. Hint, hint: Your first responders love cookies!
Then, be sure to talk about what you’re doing – with your friends and coworkers, neighbors, extended family members, and social media networks. That’s how you spread the good word and work of your new holiday family tradition, and get others thinking about it.
Genuine leaders are not only self-aware, but acutely aware of others and their needs. Let’s each do our part to make the season brighter for the corners of our county where they need some extra light and love. And if you see a scruffy Sheriff this month, tell him or her thanks for doing right by doing good.