At first glance, the Kansas Firefighter Calendar simply is a photographic collection of hot bodies representing the state’s hottest profession.
What people may not realize is the calendar raises money for a cool cause.
For the second year, Nancy Peters has coordinated the effort to showcase the state’s most attractive and most generous firefighters to raise money to provide new or slightly used coats to children who cannot afford them. The first year’s calendar sold about 2,000 copies and raised enough money for the non-profit Coats for Kids to provide more than 600 coats to those in need.
Peters hopes to exceed both of those numbers with the 2012 calendar. The group that makes the calendar also hopes to put some of the calendar’s proceeds toward the expansion of the museum to display hundreds of Kansas firefighter memorabilia.
How Peters linked the ideas of a firefighter calendar, coats and museum funds was a bit serendipitous. Having served in the firefighter reserves herself 19 years ago, and she was involved in several fundraisers involving firefighters before she began the calendar effort. When a student from Independent High School collected 700 winter items for her senior project five years ago, Coats for Kids was born.
When she helped with the coat distribution the first year, Peters realized many Kansans needed winter coats but did not qualify for government assistance. “We don’t look at income,” Peters said. “We look at need.”
Another thing the calendar selection committee does differently is the firefighters on display are not chosen solely based on attractiveness. “What we do differently than any other calendar is digging deep into what kind of people (the models) are,” Peters said.
Those firefighters selected for the calendar then make appearances to help raise money and awareness for Coats for Kids and the museum. “It’s truly a project from the heart,” Peters said.