The year is almost over, but if you need a new calendar, local firefighters have you covered, even if they aren’t.
The 2017 Greater Victoria Fire Fighters Calendar hits South Island stores this Saturday and features a handful of Saanich Fire Department members, including Dan McLaughlin and Phil Reaume. While they’d never posed for the calendar before, they each said they were drawn to volunteer because of its charitable aspect, among other reasons.
“When I was telling my friends and family that I wanted to be a firefighter, they were always like, ‘Oh, are you going to be in the calendar?’” recalled Reaume with a laugh. “I wanted to get involved for the charitable side, but to also fulfill that joking question that’s been following me since I became a firefighter. When I said I would do it, I would do it.”
“I’m the opposite, I said I would never do it,” said McLaughlin with a laugh. “But I realized the amount that it does give back to the community.
“I also needed to get back in shape, so it was a good motivator. I knew that all my friends and family would get a good laugh out of it, so I volunteered.”
Money raised from the calendar goes to the Saanich Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation, which made a 10-year pledge in 2011 to donate $250,000 to the Victoria Hospitals Foundation. The charitable foundation is already halfway to their goal, with the calendar being a big contributor to their donations.
To date, the foundation’s donations have funded equipment such as vital sign monitors, ventilators and an infant resuscitation unit, as well as renovations that created a family room in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and an isolation room for patients in pediatric oncology.
“My first kid was six weeks early and he spent a week in the NICU,” said McLaughlin. “It’s nice to give something back.”
“We sell 2,000 to 2,500 calendars at $20 a pop,” said Reaume, noting that anything beyond the foundation’s yearly goal of $25,000 is distributed to other local charities.
Both Reaume and McLaughlin said preparing for their photoshoots required dietary discipline and a lot of working out, but their fellow firefighters helped them along the way.
“I was surprised at the amount of support I got from the other firefighters with working out,” said McLaughlin. “I got a lot advice on what to do day of, what to eat, what to drink. What muscles to work out and what was going to look better in the photo.”
“Thinking about your pose was a big thing that was pushed to us,” said Reaume. “There’s only so much you can do, but you still want to think of something new or something different.”
And at the end of it all, what did their families think?
“They teased me pretty good, but my mom bought five copies,” said McLaughlin with a laugh. “My wife was disappointed that I was on the cover – she wanted me to have a month so she could hang it up in her cubicle at work and it would be that month all year.
“My mom wanted a bunch to sell at her jazzercise club, and we’re selling a bunch at our gym, so to have that community support behind you is really nice,” said Reaume.
The calendars will go on sale this Saturday at local Thrifty Foods, London Drugs, Country Grocer, Red Barn Market and Pharmasave locations for $20 each.