Archive for Thursday, December 23, 1999

NEW BOB MEANS BIG BUCKS

December 23, 1999

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A Lawrence man finally gets a haircut -- at the bargain price of $8,000.

It took more than six months, but Steve Ozark finally got a hair cut -- and it only cost $8,000.

Ozark and Trinity Lutheran Church, 1245 N.H., raised more than $8,000 since May, when a Habitat for Humanity fund-raising campaign began. Ozark tried to kick-start donations early in the summer by offering to cut his waist-length hair as soon as $7,000 was donated.

On Wednesday, he finally got his trim.

He looked a little nervous sitting in the chair at Trinity Lutheran Church -- he's been growing his hair out for 11 years. His wife, Julia, brushed Ozark's locks one last time, his daughter Shauna, 10, dried a few tears from her eyes, while Ozark's son Sterling, 4, held on to his dad's knee.

"I'm going to have short hair like you," Ozark said, brushing Sterling's buzz cut. "Well, maybe not that short."

Ozark's hair was bundled in a braid at his neck; from there it fell another 22 inches to his waist. It was at the bundle that Hair Art stylist Jami Flynn started cutting. Once the braid was chopped off, Julia Ozark zipped it up in a plastic bag to send to Locks of Love, a volunteer organization that makes wigs for children with long-term medical hair loss.

Then Flynn really went to work, shaping the short hair into a style she and Julia had chosen earlier. In less than 20 minutes, the job was done and Ozark, who runs a music talent agency, had a new look.

"It's a pretty big change," Ozark said, feeling the back of his neck.

But he can always grow it back, he said. And the hair and the money both are going to good causes.

The $8,000 raised -- more than $1,000 of it in the last week -- is a good step toward the $20,000 the church plans to raise by 2001 for a Habitat for Humanity house in Lawrence. If the church can raise $20,000, the Aid Association of Lutherans will match it. That only leaves $10,000 for Habitat for Humanity to raise for a home.

"We need more people like Steve," said Linda Klinker, the Habitat for Humanity program director.

Ozark's approach, Klinker said, is "unique." That's not a bad attribute; fund-raising is the hardest part of building Habitat homes, she said.

For those that want to contribute to the campaign, area Great Clips are setting up collection boxes; patrons also can contact the church.

When all the hair settled, Ozark had a new, short 'do; the floor was covered with snips of brown hair, and several people had already told Ozark they hardly recognized him.

"I thought this would be the end of the hair jokes," he said. "I guess it's just a whole new chapter."

-- Felicia Haynes' phone message number is 832-7173. Her e-mail address is fhaynes@ljworld.com.

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