CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. (WDVM)– You may only see individuals bleach blonde hair, but in reality, the change in hair color represents a $55,851.67 funding donation.
“Well, we told the kids well we’ll shave our heads and then we thought well we don’t have that much hair to begin with so that’s not much of an incentive,” said Major Phil Suydam. “So then we decided to bet the kids if they could reach $50,000, we would dye our hair blonde.”
The Junior ROTC Commanding Officers agreed to dye their hair if, and only if, the students were able to raise a record donation for their Shoe and Coat fund. Well, the student’s raised more than expected.
“When they said they were going to dye their hair, I think every single cadet in our corps just went all out,” said Commander Chief Master Sgt. Dylan Martinez. “It’s hilarious, you can almost taste success when you walk into a classroom.”
The Jefferson High School Junior ROTC Program said the blonde hair is a symbol of success.
“This is what it looks like when you lose a $50,000 bet,” said Major Suydam.
All jokes aside, officials say the clothes and money are desperately needed. The Rumsey Extension Club started the Jefferson County Shoe & Coat Fund in the 1980s and it’s still going today.
“We choose to do this because every child should be able to come to school warm, clean, clothed, and they should look their best to do their best and be their best,” said JCS Facilitator of Student Support Services Mary Ellenlloyd. “We have had students come to school with holes in their shoes and say they didn’t come to school the day before because it was wet and they didn’t want to walk.”
Money, shoes, coats and other necessities are delivered directly to roughly 200 families in need, and the students said even without the blonde hair goal, they look forward to helping each year.
“A lot of good causes, we’ve heard a lot of good stories about the lives that it’s changed and to know we’ve had such a big influence on that, really does make you feel good about yourself,” said Group Commander Abigail White.
Next year, students are hoping to raise $60,000.
Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Phil Suydam as ‘Sudam’ and incorrectly identified him as a Sergeant instead of Major.