Bradley Filgate, Mick Prideaux, Liz Allitt, Brett Uphill and Zane Neal feature in Fernie Fire Rescue’s charity calendar. Photo courtesy of Decoro Portraits

Fernie firefighters exposed

Charity calendar raises funds for Fernie Women’s Resource Centre

Fernie firefighters are turning up the heat this Christmas, releasing a steamy calendar featuring shirtless crew members for charity.

The fire department teamed up with local photography company Decoro Portraits to produce the calendar, which raises funds for the Fernie Women’s Resource Centre (FWRC).

“It started as a joke that we should do a calendar but a calendar women would actually want to see, like us doing vacuuming, doing the dishes or looking after our kids,” said career firefighter Cory Robinson, who shares the month of July with Scott Robinson (no relation).

His colleague Mike Bragg decided to take the joke one step further and soon Decoro’s Kevan and Leah Wilkie were onboard, agreeing to shoot the calendar free of charge.

Robinson said the shirtless shoot happened organically after one firefighter stripped off and the others followed suit.

In total, two career firefighter and 12 paid on-call auxiliary firefighters feature in the calendar, which is being sold for $25 with all proceeds going to the FWRC.

“The message behind the calendar is along the lines of Decoro’s theme of being body positive and being happy with where you are in your body, and showing it,” said Robinson.

“Everyone was just super into it, it was really funny.”

Leah and Kevan specialize in boudoir portraits, working predominantly with women. Leah said she assumed men would be more confident in their bodies, but she was wrong.

“We found everybody has their little insecurities… the guys deal with it differently,” she said.

“That step of courage and just really accepting yourself and doing something like that, I think it’s empowering.”

Leah said they wanted to keep the calendar tasteful and not overtly sexual, with “nice light, some muscles and a few axes”.

The response to the calendar has been positive, according to Leah and Robinson, with about 60 sold so far. They were planning to promote it at events over the weekend.

All funds raised will go to the FWRC’s emergency support program, which provides a small amount of funding to women in crisis to ensure their basic needs are met.

“The Women’s Centre was approached by the fire department,” said FWRC Executive Director Lauren Fox.

“We thought it was a wonderful opportunity to raise money for our emergency support program and also to spread the word about the program.”

The program is unique to the Elk Valley and relies entirely on donations.

Pick up a copy of the calendar at the Fernie Fire Hall or place an order online via Facebook.com/decoroportraits (taxes apply).

UPDATE: Fernie Fire Rescue has since sold out of calendars. It will soon announce the total funds raised for FWRC.

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Decoro Portraits co-owner Leah Wilkie shows off the charity calendar with son Marcus, firefighter Cory Robinson and Assistant Chief Brendan Morgan. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

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