Firefighter: Chris Johnston, Photos by: Don Birmingham
The third annual Kansas Firefighters Calendar not only showcases some of the state’s finest firefighters, but it promotes two important causes: keeping Kansas kids warm this winter and physical fitness.
Proceeds from the 2013 calendar, available soon for $15 and featuring 14 firefighters from across the state, will again help purchase new coats for children in need. In 2012, Coats for Kids provided more than 600 coats to families who were struggling to afford the warmth they needed.
The calendar committee, headed by Nancy Peters, selects its featured firefighters at a fun event every summer. The selection is based on appearance and, more importantly, service to the firefighter’s community.
Three of the firefighters in the 2013 calendar lost significant amounts of weight previous to the selection process, demonstrating a commitment to physical fitness, Peters said.
“This calendar will be something to promote or encourage physical fitness,” Peters said. “It should help motivate some people to really get fit.”
Firefighter: Bree Pashman
Fitness is important, she said, because Kansas is the 13th fattest state in the nation, according to a study by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The study said 29.6 percent of Kansans were obese in 2011, which is a .6 percent increase from 2010.
The three 2013 calendar firefighters who lost weight before being selected for the calendar are: Clayton Burkhart, who lost 100 lbs. over three years; Shane McCoy of El Dorado, who lost 50 lbs; and Mike Burke of Halstead, who lost 60 lbs.
Burke, whom Peters describes as “a great guy with a big heart,” went on a diet and exercise plan with his wife, Paula, and went from 262 lbs. to 202 lbs. Burke had considered trying out for the firefighter calendar before losing the weight, but the weight loss ultimately helped motivate him to try out. Losing the weight has helped Burke in his job.
“My flexibility and range of motion improved,” he said. “At the same time, my cardio, too, was better because I was working out all the time and gaining endurance.”
Burke was especially interested in being a part of the calendar experience because he wanted to help the children who will benefit from the donation of coats.
“What it’s all about for me is the kids,” he said. “The biggest thing I love about being a firefighter is walking down the street in my uniform or driving the big, red fire truck and saying hi to the kids.”
How You can Help
1. Purchase a calendar at The Kansas Firefighters Museum or online at kansasfirefightercalendar.com
2. Become a sponsor by making a donation to the calendar
3. Donate new coats to Coats for Kids