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By MICHAEL WALSH, Special to the Courant
The Hartford Courant
3:09 PM EST, January 16, 2013
Patrick Carroll, a custodian at Buckley Elementary School, has always been known for his long "rock 'n' roll" hair style.
But he's shaved his locks for a good cause.
Carroll, who has worked at the school for 12 years, decided to offer his hair as a bounty to Buckley students and educators to encourage donations of crayons, coloring books and other items. The project was the Christmas wish of his sister, Eileen Carroll, a second-grade teacher at St. Bridget's in Manchester, and was a reaction to the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
"I always asked for a new box of crayons for Christmas," Eileen Carroll said. "This year I wanted 600."
Turning to her brother for help, the two orchestrated a donation campaign mostly by word of mouth and social media. Patrick Carroll's relationship with students at Buckley encouraged him to visit Newtown and start collecting the donated art supplies.
"I'm a very sentimental person, even though I'm like a rock 'n' roll dude," said Carroll, who visited friends in Newtown the Monday after the shooting. "I have a huge relationship with the kids [at Buckley]. It definitely did hit home."
Because the Newtown community has been inundated by donations from all over the world, the crayons, coloring books, stuffed animals and other items collected by Patrick Carroll will be sent to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford for ill children, and to the Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford.
Patrick Carroll, 48, said that the donations came quickly often from local businesses and organizations. He estimated that more than 1,000 items have already been received.
"I think it didn't matter what the collection was for. I think people were getting crayons just to see me shave my head," he said with a laugh. "They're still coming in, and I've already shaved my head."
Carroll didn't want to make a big event out of cutting his hair. He went to a barbershop and returned to work on a Monday to show off his new style.
"If you knew Patrick… you knew his hair," Eileen Carroll said. "It was his trademark. As much as things have changed, Patrick has always had his hair."
Patrick Carroll said he's not yet sure if he's going to grow his long blonde hair back.
"I don't know, I reshaved it already," Carroll said. "There's more people that need to see it."
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