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Mike Pence lookalike Glen Pannell raises thousands for charity

Glen Pannell, 51, has something few others have -- he looks more than a little like Vice President-elect Mike Pence. On Dec.16, 2016, Pannell, 51, a native of Bethpage, used his resemblence for good, he says, by dressing up in a sexy outfit and passing a collection bucket in Times Square to raise money for Planned Parenthood and the Treavor Project, which works for suicide prevention among LGBT youth. He's raised about $2,500 so far, he says. (Credit: Craig Ruttle)

If you’d like to know what Vice President-elect Mike Pence looks like in short shorts, head to Times Square.

It’s not really Pence, of course — it’s Bethpage native Glen Pannell, who bears a striking resemblance to Pence.

Pannell, 51, has been dressing as the Indiana governor in short shorts and carrying a collection bucket to raise money for organizations like Planned Parenthood and the Trevor Project, which aims to prevent suicide among LGBT youth.

Pannell, who is gay, thought it would be a humorous stunt to help support causes the real Pence opposes, and he’s raised nearly $2,500 in doing so.

Pannell, who now lives in Manhattan, said it all started during the Republican National Convention when people started to remark on the resemblance.

“Suddenly a lot of people started telling me I looked like Pence,” Pannell, a graphic designer, said Wednesday. “I’ve had people say, ‘Oh you look like a famous person’ before. In this case, I had to agree with them.”

Pannell shares Pence’s white hair and strong jawline but not his political views, so Pannell came up with a spunkier costume when friends insisted he dress as Pence for Halloween.

“I pulled out some athletic shorts from high school and put the whole outfit on and when I looked in the mirror, I just started laughing,” Pannell said. “I said that’s it, that’s Mike Hot-Pence.”

Pannell picked up the costume again as a way to fight for causes he worried about after the Trump-Pence ticket won the election.

“I got the idea to go out and raise money for causes that Pence has been hostile to,” he said.

On Dec. 3, Pannell donned the costume and headed to Times Square. While he was there, street photographer Howard Shermantook his photo.

“He executed it beautifully and he’s blessed with features that strongly resembled the vice president-elect,” said Sherman, an arts administrator by profession. “I’m just a means of amplifying his cause.”

Sherman posted his photo of Pannell to his personal website and Facebook, where it started to go viral.

Pannell’s image has received attention from national media outlets, including Teen Vogue, The Washington Post, People Magazine and BuzzFeed. Sherman said he’s seen versions of the story translated into other languages at international publications.

“It’s very strange to see pictures of me everywhere, it’s like watching someone else’s life unfold,” Pannell said.

Pannell updates followers on donations through a Twitter account he created for Hot-Pence, @MikeHotPence. He said he sent $133.59 to the Natural Resources Defense Council on Dec. 4, and more than $850 to the Trevor Project in donations on Dec. 10 and Dec. 11.

Pannell also has page to raise money for those who can’t make it to Manhattan to see him in person. The online fundraiser has brought in more than $1,200.

A spokesman from The Trevor Project said the organization was "thrilled" to be a recipient of Pannell's fundraising.

"Creative fundraising, especially when used to call attention to very worthy causes, is something we greatly appreciate here at The Trevor Project," spokesman Steve Mendelsohn said in a statement.

So far, Pannell has gone out both weekends in December to raise money and he plans to continue whenever he can. He tries to pick a sunny spot to stay warm, and so far, he said nearly everyone has enjoyed his costume. He said he’s only had one negative interaction but it was short-lived.

“I have stronger legs than the haters,” Pannell said, laughing.

The high for Friday is expected in the 20s, but Pannell has no plans to give up his short shorts — he’ll be out there with his bucket.

“People definitely want to donate and they want to talk, talk about their own experience over the last few weeks,” he said.


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