For at least 12 years, Jeremiah Henseler avoided haircuts and reveled in sporting long, fine locks. He ignored taunts to "man-up and cut that hair," he said.
"I thought if I ever cut my hair; I'd do something different," said Henseler, 34, owner of Bey's Bar in Marshfield.
Jeremiah Henseler (before and after) with daughter Hope
On a recent Saturday night, Henseler's waist-length hair became history as he fulfilled a promise to family members, friends and bar patrons: If they supported his efforts and purchased $10,000 worth of raffle tickets, he would cut his hair, donate it to become wigs for children with cancer and donate the proceeds from the raffle to Marshfield Clinic's Pediatric Oncology department.
"We didn't quite make the $10,000, but it's close enough, so I'm doing it," Henseler said Saturday afternoon while sitting in the quiet of his bar with his daughter Hope, 6.
"It's because of Hope that I'm finally doing this," he said.
Hope had hair long enough to cut and donate to a program that creates wigs for children with cancer, when she was a five-year-old.
"She looked at me and said, 'Daddy, you should do this, too.' For years, I've thought that if I ever cut my hair, I'd donate it. Then Hope did it, and I decided it was time," said Henseler, adding that
selling raffle tickets was a great way to involve all of the people who had been encouraging him to cut his hair.
It was shoulder-to-shoulder that night as more than 100 people squeezed into the bar to watch Henseler have his hair cut.
But before the haircut, there was more fun for those who had purchased raffle tickets. The hair stylist, Melissa Buffington, had divided Henseler's two-foot long tresses into 12 sections. Henseler drew a raffle stub and the winner chose a lock of hair to cut.
When Amy Weber's name was called, she eagerly cut a lock and then planted a kiss on Henseler's cheek, which was followed by cheers and applause.
"He's a good friend. We've known each other for years. He's the kind of guy you can count on," Weber said.
From the sidelines, Henseler's grandmother, Sandy Griepentrog, watched the hair cutting and smiled.
"I'm so happy. He's finally getting his hair cut, and it's also doing something good for other people," Griepentrog said, adding that it didn't surprise her because "he's always doing things for other people."