Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu is known for his long locks of hair flowing from under his helmet, but the former NFL defensive player of the year is getting a haircut Nov. 11 in support of the country's military veterans.
In what's being called the VFW Mane Event, Polamalu will cut his hair to draw attention to the veterans and is asking for others to get haircuts and make donations in honor of the event, according to the Mane Event website
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"I understand the issues that veterans, and their families, face while serving our country and I am honored to join the Veterans of Foreign Wars Mane Event, encouraging the nation to unite for veterans for a second year," Polamalu said in a statement released by the VFW on Thursday
. "By getting my hair cut on Veterans Day, I am showing my commitment to the men and women who served our country ... the real heroes."
John Hamilton, adjutant general for the VFW, told Stars and Stripes that the Mane Event is "a nationwide movement
to raise awareness of the issues our veterans face" as well as being a fundraiser help veterans.
Hamilton said that while part of the event is purely public awareness with the involvement of a popular player like Polamalu, it is always a way people can have a little fun showing solidarity with military veterans.
"In the end, it’s just about another way to support the veterans," Hamilton told Stars and Stripes. "And, with Troy involved, we’re expecting to get some good media exposure."
A video on the "Mane Event" website, which features Polamalu, addressed some of the issues the VFW is concerned about, such as the long wait for claims to be processed by the Veterans Administration, how 1.5 million veterans are at-risk for homelessness, and the suicide rate among vets.
Polamalu, who played his college football at Southern California, keeps his hair long in tribute to his Samoan heritage. He told The Los Angeles Times the VFW event will be his first haircut in 10 years.
If Polamalu's barber gets an itchy trigger finger November, he or she will have to keep in mind that the Steeler is part of an advertising campaign with Head & Shoulders shampoo and his locks are insured for $1 million.
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