Man Gives Up His 40-Year Beard To Raise Money For Charity And A Friend

Jan 29, 2016 By Michael W. Pirrone

His Santa-like beard isn’t the only Christmas-y thing about the man everyone calls “Boonie.” There’s also his incredibly giving nature and well, his profession. Ralph “Boonie” Lethbridge is something of a local celebrity in his native Clarenville. He’s the go-to guy in pretty much the whole area when it comes to natural Christmas trees. He’s been cutting and selling trees each Christmas for nearly 40 years. He’s had his beard even longer. While he intends to keep chopping down 200 Christmas trees a year until he turns at least 90 (he’s currently 71), Boonie did the unthinkable recently and shaved his well-known facial hair. The whitish neck decoration was part Santa Claus, part lumberjack, and all Boonie.

When asked what he thinks of his clean-shaven appearance, Boonie replied, “Oh I got an awful fright me son, I looked about 100 years old I think, holy dying jumpings … I like me beard, my son, I like me beard. I mean it looks a lot different, but I don't care now sure. That's not the goal. Another couple of years I tell you, if I'm alive, I'll do it again, no trouble.” Yes, he really talks just like that.

So if he prefers the beard (and so, apparently, does his wife), then why did he shave it off? For the best reason of all. To help others. His popularity coupled with this bold act helped to earn $51,000 for the ALS Society of Newfoundland and Labrador. His goal was to help his friends raise $5,000, so he was quite shocked, to say the least. As for his beard? Well, he’s going to start working on it fairly soon. As he told the CBC, "that's the only thing I got for good looks; my beard, my teeth and my two blue eyes."

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