Today we are excited to share a new story in our Beards Behind the Brand series!
Our goal with this series is to feature empowering stories from our community to encourage and inspire each other to be the best we can be.
This week we have the pleasure of introducing you to Paul Berens, recent recipient of the 2nd place trophy in the 6-12 inch groomed category at the 2022 National Beard Championships!
Paul was born, raised and currently resides with his family in south Denver, Colorado. Paul lived pretty much the normal Colorado suburban family life with two younger siblings and played ice hockey growing up.
I really had no interest in school, nor did I apply myself that hard. Until I was around 16 and I was introduced to firefighting at the local college career fair.
Paul has a history with fire, when he was 2 years old he had an accident at his grandmother’s house that left him with 2nd and 3rd degree burns all over his body.
This accident ended up putting me in the children’s burn unit for two weeks. While this sounds tragic (I am sure it was for my family) I literally have almost no memory of the incident other than the firefighters helping me out and caring for me during the incident.
Attending that career fair gave Paul a certainty that firefighting was what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. At 16, he started attending college for firefighting while still in high school. This path ultimately ended up with Paul achieving 3 fire science degrees and over 30 specialized firefighting certifications.
In 2004 at 18 years old I became a volunteer firefighter and shortly after got hired at my first paid gig in Summit County, Colorado. Over the next few years, I bounced around the front range of Colorado to different fire departments accepting advancements and promotions while experiencing some cool things like repelling off Red Rocks Amphitheater in the night.
Over the next 7 years Paul excelled and learned some valuable life lessons. One of those lessons will stick with him for the rest of his life...
I lost a dear friend that has shaped who I am today. His name was Craig Moilanen, he and I worked together in the fire service. As big strong firefighters we both had small fancy Yorkshire terriers haha . On October 8th, 2015 Craig passed away at the age of 36 from cancer.
Craig's death was considered a line of duty death in the fire service due to the harmful and ultimately fatal toxic chemicals that firefighters are exposed to every day across the country.
His death altered the course of my life. When I said goodbye to him I knew that I no longer wanted to continue my path in the fire service for my health and my family. I just didn’t know how I was going to leave behind everything that I knew and start over.
So in 2017 after 14 years of dedicated and devoted service and literally giving everything he had, Paul walked away.
Enter the freedom beard.
The fire service is paramilitary which meant I had to be clean shaven every day.
When I left, I looked at my wife Jacqueline and told her that I was sorry, but I am never shaving my face again. I was growing my beard before I left the fire department. I could not wait. It may sound stupid, but I was so focused on being me with a beard because it had been suppressed the past 14 years by having to shave.
At the time his wife Jacqueline was running a small wellness center in two locations in Colorado. They'd been married almost twelve years at that point and she was totally on-board with the no-shave life.
Fast forward a few years & Jacqueline and Paul now own and operate Colorado’s premiere health and wellness clinic, The Wellness Way-Centennial. The clinic identifies and solves health challenges that the medical system and functional medicine can’t.
Our revolutionary approach to health has changed and altered the course of thousands of patients lives. I also get to spend more time with my two sons, Odinn and Declann. They keep me pretty busy.
Throughout Paul's beard journey he had tried several different beard products but was never truly satisfied.
I found Live Bearded products because of my health focused lifestyle. I was immediately drawn to how they manufacture their products. I like to say they are made with no crap in them and the smell fantastic!
While the fire department still consumes a large part of Paul's story, he is making his beard a part of his new story.
Everywhere I go I have men who want to ask me all sorts of questions about my beard (& occasionally we get the ladies who are interested in the beard to because their man can’t grow one haha). My beard is a direct reflection of who I am. It defines me. I loudly promote Live Bearded products because they really are the best!!
Paul is also the Lieutenant of the Bearded Villains Pikes Peak Chapter Beard Club. The Bearded Villains “is an international brotherhood that strives To Unite Bearded Men of all cultures, races, creed and sexuality in a Brotherhood devoted to Loyalty, Honor and Respect toward all people, Dedicated to the betterment of mankind through fraternity Charity and Kindness “ started by Von Knox in 2014.
This year, I took my beard to the national beard championships to be judged. I am happy that I got to represent Live Bearded grooming products and the Bearded Villains on a National level. Although, I finished in 2nd place, it was a great experience to showcase my freedom beard, talk to several men about Live Bearded products and represent the Pike Peak Chapter of the Bearded Villains!!
At Live Bearded we believe Brotherhood goes beyond the beard. We believe it is our responsibility, as men, to do better every day, to learn from our mistakes, grow through our failures, and strive to be the best we can be.