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Agent issues challenge to grow hair for donation

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By Stephen Thomas

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - There’s method to the madness of Bullitt County’s self-proclaimed “hippie Ag agent.”

Darold Akridge, county extension agent for agriculture and natural resources, has been growing his hair long to benefit Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that uses donated hair to make wigs for children suffering from cancer.

Akridge first learned about Locks of Love through a 4-H youth participant who was growing hair for donation. He was challenged to make a similar donation.

“I’m stubborn enough to do it,” he said. “I researched the organization and I think it’s a very good and useful organization. It has pleasantly surprised me how many have donated.”

Akridge felt peer pressure could be as tough for a child to deal with as cancer, and young people dealing with the disease did not need other insecurities in their lives.

“If I could grow enough hair to help one of them then I’d be delighted,” he added.

Akridge made a challenge to co-workers at a recent staff meeting. He also issued a challenge in the county extension newsletter.

To beef up the number of donors, Akridge added further incentive from his own pockets: Anyone attempting to donate hair for Locks of Love can contact Akridge and register for a chance to win $100.

As a further incentive, Akridge was contacted by Oldham County ag agent Jerry Bennett. Akridge said Bennett could not grow his hair but would also offer a $100 prize to another participant.

“For me (the contest) is more giving back recognition to the donors,” said Akridge, “There’s already six signed up. Counting me, that’s seven kids that, during insecure times, will get one creature comfort back.”

The contest will remain open through December 2011. Akridge said anyone who donates from now until then can qualify for the contest.

For more information, or to officially enter, call Akridge, (502) 408-6417. He will return all messages.