Meet Dan Allen: 12 Inches of Hair…and a Heart of Gold

Post written by Julia Warmer, Digital Media Specialist at Stockman Bank of Montana

In the inner chamber of Stockman Bank, there’s a group of people whose main responsibility is to answer questions from employees who need technical help and direction related to both software programs and hardware issues.

The group, better known as The Help Desk, answers questions which range from the mundane, “How do I retrieve a deleted email?” to “Help!  My computer smells like it’s burning.”

The Help Desk crew can best be described as supportive, calm (usually much more than the callers), and they possess a magical way of sorting through the confusion of day-to-day technology questions and blunders.

One outstanding member of the Help Desk team is Dan Allen.  When I first met Dan, I would describe him as easy to find in a crowd.

Besides being a truly nice guy, Dan had an amazing head of hair….curly, long and thick.

Here is a back view of Dan.

back of dan

And a side view.

side view of dan

After spending some time with the Help Desk crew, I learned that Dan’s hair had a purpose.  Two years ago his sister-in-law, Emily, was diagnosed with breast cancer and learned she would need chemo, which often means losing all of your hair.

Breast cancer wasn’t unusual in the Allen family. Both Dan’s mother and grandmother went through breast cancer treatment as well. At the time, he wanted to support Emily any way he could and considered cutting off his hair in solidarity of the impending chemo treatments.

Together, the two of them decided to take Dan’s hair in a different direction.

Many organizations who receive hair to be made into wigs require hair to be ten inches long.  Dan set a goal that he wouldn’t cut his hair until it reached the magical length of twelve inches to take into account the curl. Best of all, his long curls would be donated to a deserving child.

Dan and his wonderful hairdresser, Nikki Harrison, who owns Imagine That in Miles City, researched and hunted for just the right organization. One thing he insisted on was that the recipient’s family not be charged for the wig.

They found Wigs for Kids, an organization in Ohio who relies on donors to support their mission: They provide Hair Replacement Systems and support for children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, Alopecia, Trichotillomania, burns and other medical issues at no cost to children or their families.

The requirements for donation are very well defined:
1.  Hair has to be 12”.
2.  Curly hair needs to be straightened to 12”.
3.  Hair must be clean and dry.
4.  Hair cannot be permed, color-treated, or highlighted.
5.  Hair must be tied into at least four sections (six are even better) around the head for a more generous donation. Hair that is pulled into one ponytail or braid results in a loss of up to four inches of hair.

Together, Dan and Nikki worked on a plan to cut his lovely hair and send it off to be made into a wig for a deserving child.

Dan front

Most people have four ponytails.  Dan had seven.

7 ponytails

And off they came…

off with the ponytails

Here’s the new Dan and his wonderful hair stylist, Nikki, ready to ship his donation to Wigs for Kids!

Help is at the core of this Help Desk hero. The next time you aren’t sure how all your files were deleted when hitting backspace, know that the person on the other end of the call has a big heart.

In fact, he or she may even have a great story to tell…and a heart of gold.

One thought on “Meet Dan Allen: 12 Inches of Hair…and a Heart of Gold

  1. Wanda Boggs

    Thank you so much Dan for being such a caring person!. A child will benefit greatly from your wonderful donation! I’ll think of this story each time I call help desk and you answer! Bless your heart!

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