Peebles Elementary hosts PBIS showcase NAES student starting Christmas Card project Try and tell them that nobody cares Senior Profile: Ethan Thompson 15-point lead vanishes, Hounds fall in season opener Deer Gun Season results down all across Ohio Hometown Christmas in Peebles rings in the holiday season Manchester Elementary receives 2016 Momentum Award Drug bust in West Union Stephen C Foster Donna Rivers WUES students perform as part of Honor Choir Ohio Brush Creek Canoe/Kayak access completed Hall of Fame Christmas in Portsmouth Thyme to trim the Christmas Tree Junior High Lady Hounds get season-opening sweep Lady Devils roll past Paint Valley in season opener Senior Profile: Jessica Johnson Michael E Roberts Sr Evelyn L Jones Thomas M Calvert Ryan, Sowards lead Lady Indians to easy win in season opener, 57-36 over Felicity Senior Profile: Wes Hayslip Justice off to hot start at VSU County boys’ squads on display in annual SHAC Preview Night ‘Operation Christmas Child’ collects 1,707 shoe boxes for needy children Two animal cruelty cases investigated in Adams County DP&L considers closing power-generating plants in county Holiday spirit makes an early appearance in Adams County Chester A Mann Jeffrey A Daley Sr Michael G Tincher DAR sponsors Good Citizen Award Ohio’s young hunters harvest nearly 6,000 deer during Youth Gun Season Senior Profile: Kayle Thomas Helen N Hiestand Rev Walter R Egnor Sr Betty Beam Jamie L Corrill Jeffrey L Heppard Edsel L Massey Jr It is time to stop and take time to give thanks on a special day Another year to be very thankful for Senior Profile: Savannah McCoy McCoy signs to continue golf career at SSU North Adams hosts SHAC Girls Preview DAR commemorates 50th anniversary of Vietnam War Historical Society honors veterans Star Wars routine leads Fancy Free Cloggers to ‘America’s Got Talent’ A Day at the Opera Eagle Creek draws community to Thanksgiving celebration Ward ekes out victory over Worley in county commissioner race Mary A Garman Ronald L Palmer Joseph S McClanahan II Emma O Hayslip Devils slip by Georgetown in Foundation Game Hupp, Hunter, Wolke named OSSCA Second Team All-State Senior Profile: Kain Turner Lady Devils romp in Foundation Game Oh, those aromas coming from Mom’s kitchen What Became My Biggest Project Deer gun season set to begin ‘Trees to Textbooks’ shares revenues with local schools and communities BREAKING NEWS Winchester’s Baxter wins Miss Ohio USA 2017 pageant Genny Elkins Pauline S Stevenson Donald E Lewis Sr Charlotte R Seaman Ruth Prater Bennie Skaggs Gertrude Swayne West Union High School hosts impressive Veterans Day ceremonies Peebles Elementary hosts ceremony to honor local veterans Duke Energy exits Killen and Stuart Plants GE Aviation hosts annual Veterans Day celebration Senior Profile: Logan Gordley Jeffrey A Brown Sr Peebles Library welcomes local author and survivor on Nov. 19 Homer C Eldridge Robert W Schomberg One Commissioner race too close to call in unofficial count Voters approve majority of county levies on Tuesday’s election ballot NAES Sixth Graders practice the democratic process Honoring one who gave the ‘last full measure of devotion’ Overcoming adversity, veteran of Iraq War opens local business Senior Profile: Ben Figgins Senior Profile: Macy Mullenix SHAC Basketball Previews are set for Nov. 18 and 25 Trio of local golfers finish careers with trip to the highest level of high school competition Peebles sophomore Jenny Seas finishes sixth in OHSAA state cross-country meet Upset win sends Trump to the White House ACRMC awarded plaque for 50 years of service Peebles Elementary releases Honor Roll for First Nine Week Grading Period BREAKING ELECTION NEWS! Senior Profile: Jordyn Kell Orlie H Kirker Military homecoming at NAES
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Big beards, bigger hearts

They like big beards, but they like big hearts more.

The Southern Ohio Beard Society is a group of five Adams County natives whose founder says they would like to model themselves after Hillsboro residents Justin and Andi Reno, whose Anna’s Army has raised more than $220,000 to fight cystic fibrosis in honor of their late daughter, Anna.

“My goal is to sort of have what Justin Reno has with Anna’s Army,” Josh Tolle, the founder of the Southern Ohio Beard Society (SOBC) explained. “People ask us how big our beards are and things like that, but we’re not as concerned about that as we are with just having big hearts. We just want to be a shining light in the community like that.”

“Our common interest, other than growing beards, is that we all have the mindset of wanting to change Southern Ohio. We want to be an outreach for the less fortunate, drug addicted, children, veterans and overall just another helping hand in the impoverished communities that we live in.”

Formed around Halloween, the SOBC’s first big project was collecting Christmas toys for children. Tolle said they started with the idea of trying to help a handful of kids. They put application forms in post offices and on Facebook yard sale pages telling people to let the group know if they knew someone that needed a Christmas present. They collected toys and sold shirts and hoodies to supplement their donations, reviewed the applications that came in for help, and when they were done decided they could help 42 children, including some from Highland County, have a Christmas they otherwise would probably not have. Now they have enough supplies to help six more children.

Tolle said the society started out as more of a joke than anything.

“I have some friends with beards and we said let’s make something out of it. Then it got pretty serious,” said Tolle, who said he has an associate of arts degree as a social worker, but makes his living building semis. “There’s a lot of suffering people out there and I want to do what I can to get my hands dirty and make a difference with the other liked-minded guys involved in this.”

Tolle said the SOBC’s work will not be limited to Adams County. He said it also welcomes new members, as long as they’re willing to undergo a background check.

“We don’t want what we stand for to be associated with any negativity,” he said of the reason for a background check.

If someone needs a sidewalk, maybe a handrail, or something else they can’t create for themselves; or maybe they need food or clothes, that’s the kind of thing the SOBC wants to hear about. He said the group recently helped a lady who had a new job and was going to be able to buy Christmas gifts for her kids, but she didn’t have gas money to get back and forth to the new job until that first paycheck came in. So they got her a gas card.

This summer they would like to do something for veterans, breast cancer and people with autism.

“That’s the kind of stuff we want to do to help out the Southern Ohio community as a whole, not just Adams County, so we can reach as far as we can. We’d like to be as big as possible,” Tolle said.

The SOBC meets every Monday evening. Anyone interested in helping or becoming part of the group can visit its Facebook page at Southern Ohio Beard Society.

“This is our way of showing people there’s still at least five guys in Southern Ohio that still care about people,” Tolle said. “Obviously, there’s a lot more than just us, but we want to be those guys that do things people don’t expect them to do.”

Southern Ohio Beard Society members Josh Tolle, right, and Brandon Stevenson are pictured with some of the Christmas gifts their group collected for area children.
http://www.peoplesdefender.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_Beard-Society-Christmas-pic.jpgSouthern Ohio Beard Society members Josh Tolle, right, and Brandon Stevenson are pictured with some of the Christmas gifts their group collected for area children.
Group wants to prove that people still care

By Jeff Gilliland

jgilliland@civitasmedia.com

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.

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