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City police, firefighters posing for fund-raising calendar

By Staff | May 2, 2011

Cape Coral police and firefighters have joined forces to share the spotlight and help raise funds for a good cause with their 2012 calendar.
The 12-month spread will feature six officers and six firefighters, according to motorcycle Officer Ray Schilke, who organized the fund-raiser. This is the first time police and fire have shared a calendar as each has created their own in years past as a fund-raiser.
The calendars will be available in the fall for $10 each. The proceeds will benefit the United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades. Schilke said everyone is hurting in the current economy, and the calendar enables the two groups to help give back.
“We wanted to do something to raise money for our own community,” he said.
Julie Barkley, campaign manager for the local United Way, explained that all the money stays in the community to help support the local human service network. United Way supports more than 160 programs within 72 partner agencies, such as the Alvin A. Dubin Alzheimer’s Resource Center and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“We’re obviously thrilled,” she said. “This is the biggest thing that the city of Cape Coral has done as far as an event.”
According to Barkley, there is an employee campaign in place that allows city workers to dedicate a portion of their pay to the United Way. But given the down economy, employee donations have been down, so the calendar proceeds will help to supplement that shortfall.
“It definitely helps, especially right now,” she said. “This will just kind of go into that big pot of money and distributed.”
The calendar shoots kicked off Monday at the Tarpon Point Marina. Firefighters Eric Wichmann and Michael Lawton were on hand to watch the magic and prepare for their shoots later in the week. Both will be posing for their first calendar.
“I got really excited,” Lawton said about when he was asked to pose.
Wichmann was flattered.
“It’s a great thing,” he said of the fund-raiser.
Lawton agreed.
“I think this is a pretty big deal,” he said. “It makes it that much more rewarding.”
Both men had to change their eating habits and workout routines to tone up for the part. More protein, only good carbohydrates and no alcohol was mixed with a more intense workout – more sets, more repetitions and “a lot more cardio.”
“In the beginning it wasn’t bad,” Wichmann said, adding that that limited diet has started to get a little boring.
For Lawton, the change in lifestyle habits has turned him onto a new interest: body building. According to Lawton, a new category has been created that would apply to him and he plans to complete in a coming show at a Cape school.
Cherilyn Nocera of Nocera Photographic volunteered her time for the calendar.
“To give back,” she said of why she is providing her service free of charge. “These guys work so hard for the community.”
For more information, visit: menofcapecoralpublicsafety on Facebook.
For more information about the United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades, call 433-2000 or visit: www.unitedwaylee.org.