Isle campaign raises $10,500, cost Scudiero hair

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 23, 2008

NATCHEZ — A grimace and a grin stood side by side as Eric Jordan clicked on the clippers and leaned in toward his boss Tony Scudiero’s head.

Scudiero, the Isle of Capri general manager, explained that it was all part of a fundraiser that culminated Friday morning.

The Isle casino in Iowa was impacted by recent flooding and many team members, or employees, were affected by it.

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“A lot of team members have lost either their homes or lost something because of the flood,” Scudiero said.

In times of such hardship, the corporate offices of the Isle have a Sunshine Fund to which each location can donate money.

Similarly, when Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, funds were sent to the Isle’s Biloxi location.

Scudiero was determined to have his location give a sizeable amount and they raised $10,500.

But he wanted to give his employees an incentive to really dig deep.

“I told them if they raised $5,000 by a certain time, I’d shave my head,” he said.

It turned out the trick up his sleeve was much more effective than he imagined.

“It definitely took off, and I’m losing my hair because of it,” Scudiero said.

He decided that the biggest donor would have the pleasure of doing the job and that’s where slot tech manager Jordan came into the picture.

He donated $200 to the pot and as Scudiero literally walked down the casino boat’s plank to the chair that awaited him, Jordan waved his clippers in the air and gave a loud chuckle.

“There’s going to be hair flying everywhere,” he said.

Jordan admitted that he was somewhere between excited and nervous to shave his boss’ head.

His true emotion and incentive to donate such a large amount was generosity, he said.

“In all honesty, it’s just a good cause,” Jordan said.

He said he saw video that showed the true impact of the flood and that’s when it really hit home.

Moments before Scudiero’s hair fell in clumps around him, he said he was nervous about losing his hair and that his wife, Sandy, had gotten choked up the night before.

“I’m one to follow through,” he said resolutely.

He said most of all, he and his employees were proud of the job they did and the money they could donate.

“When you lose everything, just the simplest donation of any form can make a difference,” Scudiero said.

He said the casino wants to be able to give back in every way they can.

“I don’t think people realize what we do and how much we give,” Scudiero said. “We’re a casino, that’s our business, but we’re also here to be good corporate citizens.”

Scudiero, flanked by employees, donned a bib and ran his fingers through his hair once more, bemoaning over his 47 years worth of hair that would all soon be gone.

“Look at it this way, at least the gray’s coming out too,” Jordan said jokingly.

Halfway through, Scudiero decided to go all the way, and ordered Jordan to take the guard off the clippers.

As the tufts rained down, employees laughed, gasped and winced.

When every last strand was razed, Sandy Scudiero held a mirror up to her husband, who gave a loud outburst that was responded to with a round of applause.