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Island firefighters prepared to set 2012 ablaze with calendar

By Staff | Jul 29, 2011

Sanibel Fire Rescue District Training Officer Tim Barrett appeared in the SFRD's 2010 calendar as Mr. December 2009.

The Sanibel Fire Rescue District will be heating up 2012 with a second edition of its calendar. Packed with 13 months of the island’s bravest, bare-chested firefighters, it is sure to be a hot item.

“We have a physical job,” said firefighter/EMT John DeMaria, the brainchild behind the calendar and Mr. October 2010. “It’s about staying fit, staying healthy.”

The 13 firemen who will “moonlight” as models have already starting dieting and hitting the weight room. For the 2010 calendar, the guys lost a combined 273 pounds in six months with the top individual weight loss of 44 pounds, achieved by Capt. Tom Tracy. Using each other for motivation, the group made a commitment to get into shape.

“It helped us see the results of our hard work,” noted Training Officer Tim Barrett, who appeared as Mr. December 2009. “Firefighters have higher rates of heart disease five years after retiring. We want to be around for our grandkids and this is a great way to do it.”

But the calendar is about more than physical fitness and showing off those biceps, 100 percent of the profits go to charity. The first calendar raised more than $8,000, which was divided between Sanibel’s Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife and the local March of Dimes.

Firefighter/EMT John DeMaria, the brainchild behind the SFRD Calendar, appeared as Mr. October 2010. Proceeds from the 2012 calendar will benefit Caleb's Crusade, a Fort Myers-based charity, and F.I.S.H. of Sanibel. The calendar is set to bebut in October during Baileyfest.

SFRD is in the business of helping others and they choose to keep it close to home with profits from the calendars going to one island and one local charity. Caleb’s Crusade, a Fort Myers-based charity with a mission to provide funds for childhood cancer research, has been chosen as the local charity. The 501c3 non-profit organization was created after the parents of a four-year-old little boy, whose name was Caleb, lost his life to a rare form of leukemia.

Friends In Service Here or F.I.S.H. has been selected as the island charity. As a non-profit organization staffed by volunteers, it assists Sanibel and Captiva islanders and visitors with a wide range of services. F.I.S.H relies on community support to fund all its programs and accepts unopened, non-expired food items, which are delivered directly to those in need.

“We do (the calendars) mostly for charity,” noted DeMaria. “But it’s a lot of fun, especially with the charities.”

The 2012 Sanibel Fire Rescue Calendar will debut in October during Baileyfest, where you can get your copy signed by the “models.” In addition, the calendar pictures, taken by Louis Alfonso DeMario’s father-in-law will highlight more of the island.

“We want to make it more interesting,” said Barrett. “There will be some with the lighthouse, water and pier.”

The photo shoots are schedule for Aug. 6-7 and will feature some of the new firefighters.