What would you do?
By Staff Sgt. Natalie Stanley, 153rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 16, 2012
CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Would you shave your hair and paint your head like a Denver Broncos helmet for playoff tickets? What if you were a woman with thick hair half way down your back, would you still do it? What if it was for a good cause?
Technical Sgt. Joni Lacentra, 187th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, flight medical technician, recently shaved her head to donate to Locks of Love during a "what would you do for Denver Broncos tickets" contest. She was selected out of thousands who entered, using this opportunity to get her message out and, of course, win Broncos tickets.
For Lacentra, whose mother recently passed away from multiple myeloma cancer, donating her hair was a personal way to support those who have lost their hair during their battle with cancer.
"I wanted to get the word out about donating hair and this was a way to do it with a big audience," said Lacentra. "The requirements for Locks of Love's donations have changed, like how long your hair has to be, making giving more accessible."
When Lacentra went to her supervisors at the 187th AES about her plan to shave her hair, she found overwhelming support.
"Sergeant Lacentra approached me saying she was going to donate her hair to Locks of Love," said Master Sgt. Thor Rasmussen, 187th AES first sergeant, "and part of being a good wingman is supporting people's causes, so we wanted to support her 100 percent."
The unit demonstrated their support by raising funds for a wig Lacentra could wear during her military duty, which she in turn donated to Locks of Love. Also, the men of the unit came together during February's unit training assembly to show their support by shaving their heads.
"One of our fulltime troops thought it would be a good idea to show our support by the guys shaving their heads," said Rasmussen. "I thought it was a great idea and ran with it and we've had overwhelming support."
"I thought this was a worthy cause," said Master Sgt. Michael Hensala, aeromedical evacuation technician. "I felt that I should help honor and respect that by participating I don't have 10 inches of hair, but I can show my support for her by cutting what little I do have."
Even though Lacentra's donation started as a personal endeavor, it ended up bringing the 187th AES together in support of a good cause.
"I'm really proud of this unit," said Hensala, "we've had some struggles in the past and it's nice to see that we're able to come together and boost morale in interesting times like this."