Doug Rasmussen raised more than $7,000 for charity by doing, well, almost absolutely nothing.
Usually clean shaven, Rasmussen stopped shaving and grew a Playoff beard to help support the Blues in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In doing so, he joined more than 550 other St. Louisans who participated on the Blues Beard-a-thon website, which allowed Blues players, employees and fans to create their own accounts and make a commitment to growing a Playoff beard. Once the account was created, they could ask their friends and family to make a pledge to their beard. Money raised was donated to the Joshua Chamberlain Society, which aids wounded soldiers or the families of fallen soldiers. If fans couldn’t grow a beard, they were able to create their own virtual beard online to raise money.
Rasmussen, it turns out, was the Blues’ top fundraiser.
“I thought it was brilliant marketing not only to have an excuse to grow a beard but also have the ability to do it for a great cause,” he said recently. “It was a great way to get excited for the Blues’ return to the Playoffs.
“I think the biggest motivation was the ability to do something charitable, to have fun and also actually grow the beard, too, for a good cause. It was a fun thing to be part of for sure.”
Rasmussen credits his son, Nolan, for turning him into a Blues fan. Nearly six years ago, he took Nolan to a team practice at the Ice Zone at St. Louis Mills, where the players took the time to meet them and sign autographs. “All the players were very friendly to him, talked to him, it was a great experience to see what a great group of young men (were on the) team,” he said. “That was a big moment for me, but his passion for them clearly converted me (into a fan).”
As an organization, the Blues managed to raise more than $42,000 for the Joshua Chamberlain Society, which is further proof that the Blues have some of the best and most passionate fans in hockey.
“People were just really responsive and I was totally overwhelmed with their generosity, response and the level in which some folks gave, too, was just incredible,” Rasmussen said. “It was just a great cause and one of the things that we always hear about or say is that St. Louis is a very generous and giving community. It shows you what a great community we’re in.”
The Blues Beard-a-thon site remains open for now, allowing fans to get any last-minute pledges in before the Stanley Cup Playoffs are completed in the next month or so.
For Rasmussen, though, his beard is gone until the next time the Blues reach the postseason.
“My wife was fine (with my beard) until the Blues lost,” he said. “I considered keeping it, but she ordered it to be shaved, as did my 4-year-old daughter. A happy wife is a happy life and the two most important women in my life wanted it off, so that’s all I needed to hear.
“(But) it was fun to grow the beard. It was such a great cause and a great way to raise money, so I absolutely would do it again. It’s a real enjoyable and rewarding experience.”