Close shave for North Saanich worker

Viking Air employee Steven Thomas shaves off his beard for a cause.

It took Steven Thomas nine months to grow his impressive facial hair — and only moments to shave it off. Below

As part of a new safety procedure at Viking Air, all of the production employees have to be fit with respirators, —which means they now have to come to work clean shaven, a concept that has been hard to swallow for many.

Employee Steven Thomas decided, however, to put a positive spin on the matter.

“It was pretty negative. Everybody was pretty upset about it, so instead of keeping a negative spin on it, I changed it to a positive spin through raising money for a charity (Making Faces),” he said just before his big shave.

Making Faces is a non-profit organization that helps children with facial deformities.

“It helps them interact in social environments through improv and other activities that helps bring them out of their shell,” said Thomas.

Thomas raised $1,315 and Viking Air decided to donate $1,000 to the cause, making the total approximately $2,000 with more to come.

“He was such a leader and an example for all of our staff that had to go through this and — talk about making lemonade — here he was as this example to everyone,” said Director of People and Wellness at Viking Air Robin Ambrose.

Ambrose said safety is their number one priority at Viking Air and the respirators policy was put in place to protect workers from breathing in any particles created during the aircraft manufacturing process at Viking.

For those interested in donating to Making Faces, they can do so online at makingfaces.ca.