‘Just a Trim’: Farmville exceeds fundraising goal, helps employee

Published 12:19 am Saturday, May 25, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The applause started long before the hair cutting began. Back in April, Farmville Police Chief Andy Ellington had challenged town employees and the community to lend a hand. Helene Blanton has been a longtime member of the department, working with the Town of Farmville for more than 30 years. Recently diagnosed with stage four brain cancer, she went through surgery last month and her work family wanted to make sure Helene had enough to cover those medical bills. 

They went about raising money with a promise. That is, Ellington promised to shave his head at the town employee picnic on May 23 if the community raised $5,000. That challenge was raised by Ellington’s boss. Farmville Town Manager Dr. Scott Davis said if the community raised $10,000, he would join in and get his head shaved too. Well, town employees and residents of Farmville did contribute. And they weren’t alone. People from outside of town, from Cumberland, from Charlotte and Lunenburg counties also gave donations. 

“Thank you to the community that has come to answer the call and help me with my challenge,” Ellington said at the employee picnic. “I wanted to do something to try to help her. Everybody came together during this time. I’m just so humbled by what we’ve done to help her.” 

Email newsletter signup

It was the final number that caught him a bit by surprise. The $5,000 mark was met and passed weeks ago. As the May 23 deadline came closer, the $10,000 goal was also met and passed. By the time the picnic rolled around, a total of $15,358 had been raised. And that’s the amount Ellington gave Blanton. 

Amazed at Farmville support

And then the clippers came out. Ellington and Davis had enlisted the help of Summer Overton from Farmville Barber Salon to cut their hair. And cut she did, to the soundtrack of cheering town employees and council members who came to watch. 

Davis was up first, thanking everyone who donated money. 

“All of you are important to what we’ve been able to do here today,” he told the crowd, before getting trimmed. 

Then, once Davis had his time in the chair, it was Chief Ellington’s turn. With every drop of hair that was trimmed off, the crowd cheered, snapping pictures as the Chief at one point was sporting a bit of a mohawk cut. He had prepared for it too, announcing back in early April that there would be no more haircuts until the picnic, to give the barber something to cut. 

Blanton has been with the Farmville Emergency Communications Center for more than 16 years now. And before that, she worked as an officer in the police department. While other people might measure their time with Farmville in years, she can do it by decades. And while town employees wanted to give to help someone they’ve known in some cases for years, Ellington said he was also just amazed by how many gave to help someone who’s a complete stranger. 

“It started out challenging the town employees to raise money to help her,” Ellington said. “Then we challenged the community. And everybody did their part.”