“Boy, that’s smooth. Now, I look like a real Viking,” said David Leding as he slowly rubbed his head with both hands.
The Minnesota Vikings football fan and manager of the Flakeboard plant in Albany was admiring his newly bald dome. Leding had pledged that if all of the plant’s 104 employees contributed to the United Way, he would shave his head.
His staff came through in spades, exceeding a goal of $10,000 by $3,000 and the corporation added another $5,000 for good measure. Flakeboard, 2550 Old Salem Road N.E., makes composite wood panels.
Monday afternoon, Leding wore a purple Vikings football cap to a management meeting at the Phoenix Inn Suites, where Vanessa Gammon of Supercuts wielded the ceremonial clippers.
“This is a 5/0,” Gammon said, as she prepared her electric clippers. “That means we’re taking it down to the skin.”
United Way manager Greg Roe was given the honor of making the first cut — a reverse mohawk, making a big swath down the middle of Leding’s head.
“Comb it over to the side,” the crowd roared with laughter.
“It’s pretty thin up here,” Roe joked. “I hope you don’t hold this against me, boss. Don’t move, I don’t want to cut you.”
Leding said he was proud of his staff and their commitment to others.
“In these tough times, we especially wanted to help others in our community and United Way is a great place to do that,” Leding said.
Company campaign director Carl Ohlhausen said Flakeboard purchased a big screen television as an incentive and it was won in a drawing by Jack Bilyeu.
“I can’t wait until next year,” Ohlhausen said of the event.
United Way campaign director Valerie Fulleton called this year’s campaign “inspiring.”
“Inspiring because the need in our community is growing and our donors are stepping up to the challenge,” Fulleton said. “United Way has had a couple major challenges this year such as the loss of International Paper, Roth’s in Lebanon, Monaco Coach and layoffs at several of our major companies. Each of those challenges was met with donors who were eager to help out their fellow co-workers, friends and family.”
The campaign is at 68 percent of its $1 million goal. Several local companies have met or exceeded their goal, including Wah Chang, which raised $131,000. That was matched with another $35,000 from the company for a total of $166,000, Fulleton said.
“United Way still has a long way to go, but we are optimistic we can get there,” Fulleton said.