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Barbers raise funds with push-ups; Shop makes playgrounds a pressing issue.

Byline: Jay Gearan

GARDNER - You get more than just a good haircut at City Barber Shop in Gardner these days. You get a front row seat to an impressive display of physical fitness.

After your fallen locks have been swept away, it's time for push-ups on the same floor space. Lots of pushups.

Since July, barbers Steve Landry, Scott Cordeiro, Ron Savoy and Tina Gemborys have done more than 30,000 push-ups in a fundraiser for playground renovations in Gardner.

Instead of a cappella harmony from this barbershop quartet, it's "one, two, three," up and down counting, in sync with deep breaths during the most demanding of basic calisthenics exercises.

"We call it `Push-Ups For Parks,'" said Mr. Landry. "Our goal is to raise at least $2,000 for the city's playgrounds."

City Barber Shop customers, after their haircuts, get an opportunity to challenge one or more of the barbers by donating a minimum of a dollar up to any amount. The donation allows each customer to pick a tab from a potful sitting on a nearby table. Each tab has a barber's initial and the number of push-ups.

"Then we have to drop down and complete whatever number of push-ups are printed on the tab," said Mr. Landry.

They're push-up purists, too. No modified push-ups are allowed. With each dip to the floor, the barbers keep their backs flat, legs straight, hands positioned wide.

Mr. Landry got the fundraising idea while watching a television news segment last summer about a Marine in Florida, Enrique Trevino.

"He (Trevino) had vowed to complete a million push-ups in one year and was attempting to get sponsors for this feat to raise money for the Wounded Warriors Fund," Mr. Landry explained.

"I started to think how awesome it would be if we as a barber shop team could complete all these push-ups. When Scott, Ron and Tina arrived at work, we all discussed it, shared the idea with customers, and everyone agreed to give it a ride." Mr. Landry said. "After thinking more clearly, and calculating the numbers, I thought we could do a lot of push-ups, but we had to set our goal less than a million."

So, 100,000 became the magic number from the start date. "We hope to reach that goal by July 13, 2013," Mr. Landry said. "That would make it a full year."

The group is well on its way, with more than $500 raised for the playground renovation fund.

Hourly during the business days, the barbers post their totals on a wall calendar in the shop, and the donated money amount is charted on a classic red-, white- and blue-striped barber pole.

"We chose to do this as a great way to give back to the community," said Mr. Cordeiro, the owner of City Barber Shop. "And I definitely believe that I'm in better shape since we started."

Added Mr. Savoy, who also regularly works out in a fitness gym, "The push-up is probably the best exercise you can do to work the muscles of the whole body."

Said Ms. Gemborys, "At first it was very tiring. This is a physically demanding job as it is, being on your feet for a long time. But we're all really into the push-ups routine now."

"Our goal is reachable," Mr. Landry said. "We figured on 30 team push-ups every hour that we're open. And it's been fun. We're all getting in better physical shape, plus we're promoting fitness in the shop and in the community with more than just words, with our actions. And that extends to where the money is going - to the playgrounds and outdoor activities.

"What's really been neat is that sometimes the customers join in and do the push-ups with us. That adds to the enthusiasm and fun of what we're doing."

ART: PHOTOS

CUTLINE: (1) From left, City Barber Shop barbers Steve Landry, Tina Gemborys, Scott Cordeiro and Ron Savoy are doing push-ups to raise money for playground renovations in Gardner. (2) Steve Landry gives a haircut to a customer.

PHOTOG: T&G Staff Photos/RICK CINCLAIR
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Oct 29, 2012
Words:684
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