‘I had no gumption except to get high’ Long-lost siblings meet for the first time after nearly six decades apart Freedom Festival to honor the American Flag ‘Music and Memory’ at Adams County Manor renews lives lost to dementia Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy takes gold at 2017 Ohio Police and Fire Games Toole awarded Winchester Alumni Scholarship Lady Devils host Summer Varsity Shootout In 14U, Peebles finishes regular season with blowout win Der professionelle Basketball-Traum Local pair attend Wabash College Wrestling Camp Shootouts in the summer time Eight dollars and three keys When life gets messy Hot summer days were no sweat Janice McGlothin Jeannine O Evans Gerald Grooms Marvin Setty Richard G Waldron Grand Marshals selected for West Union Fourth of July Parade Adams County, Maysville Vet team up to save injured dog Michael S Knauff Victor P Price Success builds from the bottom up Finalists named for 2017 Fair Queen Contest William Glenn DeWine, Reader Call For Tips in Rhoden Murder Investigation MHS principal to take superintendent post Peebles Skate Park now a reality 2017-18 Fur and Feather Ambassadors named Caley Grooms is Cattlemen’s Beef Ambassador Dr. Mueller leaving Health Department’s free clinic Hourglass Quilt Barn returning to Adams County Lung, Thornburg are First Team All-District selections North Adams hosts annual Boys Basketball Camps Walk-off winner Wanda Hill George D Johnson Life can be a juggling act My favorite thing to do on the farm Wolves in Adams County! Ronald L Wedmore Three lessons from Dad Donald D Morgan Wenstrup uninjured in Virginia shooting Portman staff to hold grant funding workshop Raymond E Applegate Keeping the Peebles tradition alive Back on the hardwood, local hoops squads compete in Monday Night League Seven county athletes recognized as All-SHAC Baseball honorees Stepping to the podium Lady Hounds host Youth Volleyball Camp Senior Profile: Bryan Young Junior Deputy Boot Camps kick off in Manchester Hayes pleads “not guilty” to 109 counts Six-year-old girl finds long-lost class ring Jefferson Alumni awards annual scholarships Paul Tate Jr Marcus I Cox Jewell Gill James M Hill Jr Jeffrey S Jones Samuel A Disher Jack Sterling BREAKING NEWS: Parents face charges after son overdoses on opiate License Hikes and Tall Turkey Tales Danger under every rock Reigning Miss Ohio USA will judge 2017 Adams County Fair Queen Pageant Gordley’s hoops career will continue at Mount St. Joseph Russell C Newman Kenneth C Thurman George Uebel Summer Reading Program underway Honor Flight carries local veteran to DC When rescuers become victims Passing the torch, West Union hosts week-long basketball camp for future Dragons SENIOR PROFILE: Sara Knechtly Terry L Powell Willie Shreffler James C Fitzpatrick Senior Profile: Austin Parks Six countians named to All-SHAC Softball squad Lady Indians get summer camp season underway Memorial Day services pay tribute to local veterans WUHS Steel Band will perform at Bogart’s SSCC announces Honors Lists for spring semester Peebles Elementary releases Honor Roll for final nine weeks West Union Elementary announces Honor Roll for fourth nine weeks Back to State! Mom calls daughter “living proof” seat belts save lives Rent-2-Own donation means new soccer scoreboard at WUHS NAHS student selected for Engineering Summer Camp Southern Hills Athletic Conferences honors Spring Sports athletes Senior Profile: Kailyn Boyd Madison Welch receives Riffle Scholarship Junior Achievement Volunteers visit county’s seventh graders Marcella J Abbott James Ratliff Gladys Davitz Harry G Shupert

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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