An 11-year-old girl and member of the Bossier Sheriff Young Marines had 15 inches of her hair cut Sunday which will be donated to Locks of Love, an organization which provides hairpieces to children suffering hair loss.
YM/LCpl Rachel Elmore turned 11 years old years Saturday, and while most kids are expecting gifts for their birthday, she decided to share a gift with others.
"When I was in third grade, I learned about St. Jude and saw the kids without hair and how it affected them. I also heard about Locks of Love which gives kids hair that people have donated. Since I had a lot of hair, I decided to cut mine," said Elmore, the oldest of three children. "I know how good it makes me feel to have hair, and I wanted other kids to have that feeling, too."
"As a Christian, we are to give to others, just like Jesus Christ said 'Feed the poor' and 'Help the unfortunate'," said Elmore. "I thought about how I could help others, and donating my hair for other kids was a way I could make a difference."
Elmore is no stranger to giving of herself to the benefit of others. In Kindergarten, she was the top money collector at her school for Jump Rope for Heart to help fight heart disease. While in third grade, she sold $800 worth of cookie dough to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Center Hospital.
During training with the Young Marines, Elmore put her long hair in a bun to be in regulation with the military-type program's dress code. After two years of growing her long golden hair down to her waistline, she decided to cut the 15 inches from her locks the weekend of her birthday. It was actually the second time Elmore has donated her hair to Locks of Love; the first time was back in 2010.
Jessica Schildroth from True Colors Salon in Shreveport cut Elmore's hair in front of more than 60 Young Marines of Class 24 at the Young Marines training headquarters Sunday afternoon.
Elmore is an honor graduate of Bossier Sheriff Young Marines Class 21 which graduated in May 2011. She currently serves as a junior instructor and has already been promoted in rank twice while in the program.
"Elmore is an extraordinary Young Marine and amazing young lady," said Lt. Norman Craig, commanding officer, Bossier Sheriff Young Marines. "She exhibits leadership capabilities beyond her years and is one of our best junior instructors. Some of the attributes we teach our Young Marines are honor, courage, commitment, self-discipline, integrity, and teamwork," said Craig, a Marine Corps veteran.
"In the Marine Corps, one of our key principles is that we help and protect those who can't help and protect themselves. Elmore has learned at such a young age to do for others by giving her hair to help disadvantaged children, and that epitomizes exactly what the Marine Corps stands for."
Elmore's parents are equally proud of their daughter's selflessness.
"The combination of being a Young Marine, learning about St. Jude and Locks of Love, and her Christian faith led Rachel to give of herself and help others," said mother Kim Elmore. "I hope her actions can encourage others to give of themselves, maybe by helping the elderly or someone who can't do for themselves."