By ALISSA SCOTT
Next week, Amsterdam Police Officer Angelita Kercado Clymer will not only be cutting her shoulder-length hair, she will be shaving her head bald.
"I'm excited," she said. "I'm really looking forward to it. I'm not nervous at all."
Kercado Clymer is one of more than 40 locals who will be participating the area's third annual St. Baldrick's Day event at the Irish American Club March 23.
St. Baldrick's Day is a nationwide event that is more than 10 years old. People gather and shave their heads to raise money for childhood cancer, and to support children who have lost their hair because of cancer treatment.
"I think the big money comes when you get someone like Angie," Amsterdam firefighter Jeffery Urbanczyk said. "For a guy to shave his head, their hair is usually not long, and, like me, I do it every two days anyway."
Urbanczyk and Kercado Clymer said they're proud to be a part of the event and raise as much money as they can.
"To give back, it's great," Urbanczyk said. "And for a cause like this, if you're going to donate, this is what you wanna donate to. Just seeing a sick kid is enough."
When Kercado Clymer heard about the event, she convinced the rest of her squad to join in.
"It was all or nothing," APD Sgt. Carl Rust said. "She laid the hammer down and talked them all into doing it. So now their whole squad will be shaving their heads."
The event first cropped up locally when the Kowalczyk family hosted a day in honor of their son Kevin two years ago.
The Amsterdam Fire Department stepped up to continue the event this year.
"I don't know if it was going to be done if we didn't get up and do it," Urbanczyk said. "Actually, it's gotten to the point where it's a little more than I anticipated. The community support has been great. We just want to help the kids and help their families."
Although APD and AFD have teams entered, there are various other organizations and individuals who have registered, including the Greater Amsterdam School District, GAVAC and the LLV Office Concept.
Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort will host the event, and has also pledged to shave his head as part of the AFD team.
If people don't want to shave their head, they can still participate in the event by purchasing raffle tickets or stopping by the bake sale.
There are prizes ranging from Yankees tickets, to Old Timers Day tickets, and gift baskets and gift cards from local businesses.
So far, they've already raised a couple thousand dollars, but Urbanczyk said he hopes to collect between $15,000 and $20,000. Two years ago, the Kowalczyks raised $20,000.
People can also donate money via the St. Baldrick's website which is linked to on the event's Facebook page at Facebook.com/Amsterbald.
The event begins at 1 p.m. March 23 at the Irish club, 10 Yeoman St.
For more information, contact Urbanczyk at 209-2353.