DALLAS — Growing a beard wasn’t a comfortable experience for Polk County Sheriff Mark Garton, but his effort -- and that of his staff -- went to a good cause.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office participated in No-Shave November, which raises money for cancer research, for the first time this year — and far exceeded its original goal of $2,000.

“I thought $2,000 would be tough, but apparently not,” Garton said last week after the conclusion of the fundraiser.

In a contest between the jail and patrol divisions, the office raised $3,685.

“Both sides were pretty evenly matched,” Garton said,

But in the end, the jail division won by $110, raising $1,825. Patrol raised $1,715. Garton said there was a donation not assigned to either team of $145 because the contribution was to reserve deputies who work in the jail and on patrol.

The money was donated to the Prevent Cancer Foundation and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

With both sides exceeding their original goals of $1,000, the deputies can keep their facial hair until the end of the year, Garton said.

“It’s a little different for us because we’ve never allowed facial hair, except for a mustache,” Garton said. “It’s good for morale and it’s good for cancer research awareness.”

Garton is not one who kept his beard, calling the experience of growing one “annoying.”

“Some people can grow a beard, and some people can try. They’ve had fun with it. I even had, I wouldn’t say a full-on beard, but definitely more than I’ve ever had before,” Garton said. “I just don’t know if I could keep a beard long term.”

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