John P Sininger Jo Ann Hayslip Harvey U Schrock Eunice G. Burgess Senior Profile: Kaulen St Michael Cox Racing returns to Brushcreek on April 2 Southern Hills Athletic Conference holds Winter Sports Awards ceremony Adams County provides multiple walking venues Adams County parks are tobacco-free Rhoads Memorial 5K Run/Walk is April 9 Peebles Elem. Staff of the Month Floyd E Maddy Raymond A Holt Derrick Poe Spencer E McFarland Mintie F Rogers Roberta Eylar Big Time Wrestling coming to NAHS Carl Tomlin CTC students help with storm clean-up Opening the door for high-tech jobs Jack R Slyger Thomas Stratton Jr Eastern Lady Warriors headed to Final Four Senior Profile: Logan Rogers Southern Hills Athletic Conference names 2016-17 All-Conference Basketball Teams Winchester PD continues assault on drugs Alonso joins Defender staff Sheriff to set up outpost in Manchester Johnson named OEDA Membership Chairperson Sherman E Young Ruth Jackman ‘Kitten Season’ comes to Ohio Manchester Council votes to disband PD Olde Wayside Inn under new management Two overdose on heroin Senior Profile: Ethan Parrett Adams/Brown Youth League holds postseason tourney Three nights of pain Furious rally falls short, Lady Devils again eliminated in Div. III district finals, 45-42 Oscar Moore Barbara J Finnegan Ohio Senate and House honor Miss Ohio USA Michael Eldridge Frances Towner Thelma R Williamson BREAKING NEWS: Manchester council votes to eliminate police department Before all dogs go to heaven Adaptive Bikes delivered in Adams County Adams County Junior Fair Market Hog Identification plans announced for 2017 Local couple takes ownership of two local businesses Jo Hanson to retire after nearly 50 years in banking Sierra Club, hero or villain? Greyhounds, Devils are runners-up in SHAC Tournaments Harold L Purdin Senior Profile: Jacob Wickerham 98-year old author publishes first book Early March storm packs destructive punch Jeeps rally in second half to end the Peebles season How about some post season awards? Thanks for all the great sports coverage PHS Principal hopes to expand students’ world view When spring becomes a promise Greg Lorenz Clay shoots the lights out, shoots down Greyhounds’ season Senior Profile: Savannah McFarland Devils put up a good fight, but fall to Portsmouth in sectional final, 50-43 Second half comeback sends Lady Devils to district finals for third straight year Butts honored by Southeast District Athletic Board North Adams Elementary holds Random Acts of Kindness Week Chester W Eyre BREAKING NEWS: March makes its entrance with force WUES kicks off Right to Read Week with guest readers WUHS students see Aronoff show on the life of Edgar Allan Poe Local high school seniors winners of Wendy’s Heisman Awards The emotions of a senior year Market Hog Clinic scheduled for March 4 Venture Hawks fall to Scioto County Senior Profile : Colton Thornburg Lady Dragons’ season ends with sectional loss to Lynchburg Devils advance in tourney with convincing win over West Union, will face Portsmouth for sectional title Wenstrup selected as Vice Chairman of House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee Adams County 4-H Shooting Sports to hold fund raiser Linda M Howland Nellie B Hayslip Russell E Bailey Gladys M Perdue Commissioners meet in Columbus with DP&L CEO Tom Raga Missing the Dirtrollers The farms that aren’t forgotten Flora Hilderbran Commissioners to meet with DP&L officials New state graduation requirements called a ‘train wreck’ Catching up with Keller Senior Profile: Justin Knechtly Piketon size is too much for Lady Indians, Peebles falls in sectional finals Greyhounds grab Senior Night win Indians finish regular season riding six-game winning streak Harper, Hupp, Defense lead Lady Devils to fourth consecutive sectional championship West Union Elementary recognizes Students of the Month for January

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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