July 22, 2008

Sanders Shaves Beard for Home Hospice

By Andy Hogue, Gainesville Daily Register, Texas

Jul. 22--A team of machinists shaved some time off of a local charity's fund raising campaign.

Mike Sanders, a CNC (computer numerical control) machine operator at Plano Machine & Instrument, Inc., located off Interstate Highway 35 in Gainesville, offered to shave his trademark, chest-length beard if his co-workers raised $1,000 for Home Hospice.

The beard is gone, and was wacked off at a July 12 employee party near Valley View.

Now clean-shaven, he's offering another deal: If his co-workers can raise an additional $1,000, he will cut his long hair.

At the time of writing, the machine shop has raised a total of $1,285.

Sanders, who has lived in the Gainesville area since 1989, said he had the beard for six years, and before that time had one for 18 years.

"So in that time you learn to keep it out of the machinery," said Sanders, with a laugh.

He said walking into work after having the long beard for so long caused some shock among his co-workers.

"They were kind of amazed when I walked in that next day -- there's a few of them who have never seen me without one," he added.

The beard grew long mostly due to Sanders' aversion to shaving.

"Shaving's kind of a pain," he said, adding that he can't seem to find his good razor right now.

Sanders said his late wife, Peggy Sanders, was a hospice client before she died of cancer in 2001. She was his motivation for raising the funds.

"I miss her," Sanders said. "... She didn't want to be in a hospital all that time, so she went to Home Hospice."

But it was a few young women at the employee party which had the idea, when they offered to braid Sanders' hair.

"I told them, 'yeah go for it,'" he said, when they proposed a contest to raise money for Hospice.

Dianne Prescher, office manager for Plano Machine, said raising the money did not take more than 10 minutes, to her surprise.

She said Sanders was the life of the party the evening of his beard trimming.

Ervin Bean, manager of the machining company (which started in Plano in 1968 and later moved to Gainesville), said he's hoping to get Sanders to clean his other trademark -- a straw cowboy hat.

Sanders could not recall how long he has owned the dingy hat.

Hat or no hat, Sanders said Home Hospice was worth losing his hair over. The workers at Hospice, he said, were professional and attentive during a difficult time for the couple.

"Hell, it's just hair," he said. "It will grow back."

Though it's an employee fund raiser, Sanders said he welcomes donations from the community. So to see Sanders' hair go, call Plano Machine at 665-2814.

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Reporter Andy Hogue may be contacted at [email protected]


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