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NMJC Employee Gives to Locks of Love

NMJC Employee Gives to Locks of Love photo 5/21/2008 2:47:00 p.m. - Hobbs, NM. Until recently, security guard Terry Fortner had sported a ponytail around New Mexico Junior College. Was it a fashion statement, a rebellious action, or perhaps a scissor shortage? No, Terry's ponytail was something much more important.

Approximately four years ago, Terry happened to see an episode of "Extreme Makeover" on television. The person receiving the makeover donated their hair to Locks of Love, a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to children suffering from long-term medical hair loss. On the TV show, a little girl suffering from cancer was the recipient of the donated hair. Terry decided, "If my supervisor will put up with it, then I'll grow my hair out for Locks of Love."

So began a four-year process. Part way in, a family friend's 13-year old son passed away from cancer. Terry was more determined than ever to give to Locks of Love, dedicating his donation to the memory of the 13-year old boy. He said, "That young man showed me what courage was."

Three years after Terry had begun, he had a ponytail that reached the Locks of Love requirement of 10 inches. He set up an appointment with NMJC Cosmetology Director Maria Vick to cut the hair and donate it. However, the day that he was to go in, Terry suffered a heart attack. Happily he recovered, returned to work, and a year later, set the appointment up again.

The NMJC's Cosmetology Department has been participating in the Locks of Love program since 1995. Vick approximates that over the years they have sent in 15 donations to the program. This is mostly by word-of-mouth, just as Terry found out about the department's involvement from Maria Vick.

When the day finally arrived, Terry said he was so excited he couldn't sleep the night before. After a quick shampoo, his long hair was once more tied in a ponytail, and then cut by a graduating Cosmetology student. Snip! and an impressive 17 inches of hair were ready to be sent to Locks of Love.

Terry was very proud to be able to make this donation for a worthy cause. So what are his plans for the future? Why, grow his hair out again, of course! Soon, he and his ponytail will be seen once more on campus.

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