Wilbur named to the Wilmington College Dean’s List Opal Van Hoose Ruby Yazell Chris Volk North Adams High School holds annual Homecoming ceremonies Six workers injured in power plant explosion Commissioners hold proclamation ceremony for 4-H Week Senior Profile: Shyanne Tucker Coach Young Classic is Saturday at NAHS Helen Kerr Anna L DeMint The garden that got us through the winter months Virginia L Fricker JV Devils top Northwest 51-34 Senior Profile: Caitlin Young North Adams moves to 7-5 with 16-point Homecoming win over Northwest Held to a higher standard Claudia J Purtee Shaylee E Prewitt Questions still linger in Stuart explosion Richard Holsinger J Ruth Madden Frank E Swayne Robert Bechdolt Sara D Hatfield Barbara Goodwin Jeffrey Frederick Grace E Myers Johnny A Sullender Sr. Senator Joe Uecker sworn-in for second term Wenstrup sworn in for third term in House Ronald L Chochard Patrick P Clift Samuel W Freeland Senior Profile: Casey Mullenix Lady Dragons win ugly, taking Classic consolation game over Manchester, 48-45 Greyhounds roll by West Union to take Classic consolation game, 82-58 History made as Ward takes oath of office Peter A Bennington Tangela R King McDonald’s Classic crowns 2016 champions MVP Arey leads Peebles to McDonald’s Classic title, Indians outlast North Adams 82-76 in double overtime thriller Lady Devils get Classic three-peat, make it 10 of 11, 14 titles for Coach Davis Senior Profile: Raegan Dick Teaching students the power of giving Kids at Children’s Home gifted with shopping spree Marion Liming Dorothy Huff John R Murphy Michael L McAninch Rita Rogers Edward L Combs Ronald W Staggs Mary H Grooms Gladys Wilson Donald Barnhill Monda Van Vorren Deborah Spires Senior Profile: Andre Wolke Indians pull away in second half, get past Manchester 71-58 in Classic semis On home floor, Lady Indians move to Classic title game North Adams handles West Union, Devils move to Classic finals with 68-53 victory Lady Devils roll into Classic championship Beth E Rowley Leatrice Lewis Senior Profile: Justin Aldridge Mary Helterbridle Wanda Huffman PES Performing Arts entertains at Hometown Christmas Adams County Manor sends holiday wishes Peebles Lions Club hosts Christmas breakfast Elusive Elf on a Shelf makes a return visit to PES Santas in blue spread Christmas cheer in a very special way Senior Profile: Aubrey McFarland WUHS holds Hall of Fame induction ceremonies WUHS Academic Team has undefeated season Serving those who served their country From Pearl Harbor to ‘America’s Got Talent’, 93-year-old WWII vet is still going strong Yester Years brings a touch of old to the new Merry Christmas to you all North Adams Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners Peebles High School hosts Homecoming ceremonies Children in need receive gifts at PES Adams County Manor holds annual Door Decorating Contest WUHS celebrates with numerous Christmas activities Halftime lead quickly vanishes, Dragons fall to Northwest 73-62 in Saturday night non-conference match up Tammy S Scott Oscar Hilterbrandt Neil R Swayne Beulah M Daniels McDonald’s Classic begins Dec. 27 Letters to Santa Senior Profile: Tyler Swearingen Leadership Adams donates to local outreach programs North Adams student/athletes are part of Holiday Sharing Event Senior Profile: Kylie Lucas West Union Elementary holds Academic Fair on Dec. 2 WUES holds annual Spelling Bee NAHS Art students help out the Humane Society Peebles Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners

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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