After a year off, the Kansas Firefighter Calendar will be available in version 2016, featuring some of the state’s most beautiful firefighters — inside and out. Calendar organizer Nancy Peters said this year’s calendar came together quickly, and she hopes to raise more funds than ever to go toward the calendar’s beneficiaries.
“We are hoping our city and our state will really embrace this,” Peters said. One of the largest recipients of calendar funds is Coats for Kids, an effort backed by firefighters providing warm winter coats to area children who cannot afford them. More than 500 coats are distributed annually at a private event as the weather begins to turn cold.
Some of the money raised also goes toward a fund to expand the Kansas Firefighters Museum, which is located in south Wichita and is the official state memorial for firefighters.
For the first time, 2016 calendar money will provide interested fire departments with body-cleansing towels for firefighters made by a company called Norazza. Often, firefighters go from call to call without having the opportunity to clean their skin of dangerous contaminants. The wipes would help to keep firefighters safe, Peters said.
Firefighters selected for the calendar must go through a grueling application process, culminating in the judging event that takes place in the spring. This year’s calendar judges included representatives from local media and Miss Kansas, Hannah Wagner.
The firefighters featured in the 2016 calendar include both men and women. This year for the first time, the calendar features three firefighters from the Kansas City, Kansas, Fire Department and one McConnell Air Force Base firefighter, Staff Sgt. Xavier Clark.
“We had amazing firefighters who came out and did creative things,” Peters said.
The selection event was held at the Scottish Rite Center and was catered by Carrabba’s Italian Grill.
The committee chooses firefighters who are dedicated to their jobs, give back to their communities and place an emphasis on health and fitness, Peters said.
“We want to try to send that message to inspire firefighters to get healthy,” she said. “We are hoping that by sharing our firefighters’ journeys, we will inspire other people.”
The calendar also might include some tributes to firefighters who died in the line of duty, including retired Wichita firefighter Mike Corn, who passed away just before the judging event May 1. Corn had been a big supporter of the calendar project.
The calendars will be available at local vendors in October and at kansasfirefightercalendar.com. The 2016 calendar is the group’s fifth calendar, and the 2014 calendar was ranked the No. 3 firefighter calendar in the country by firecritic.com. Peters said a lot of hard work has made the calendar project successful.
“We had a mission to serve, and we had no idea how far it would go,” Peters said. “I feel like we are still right in the middle of it.”
To purchase your 2016 firefighter calendar, visit kansasfirefightercalendar.com.