Firefighters pose for charity

Saanich firefighters calendar returns for 2012, albeit with no Oak Bay members

Rod Sidhu on the cover of the 2012 Saanich Firefighters Calendar. The calendar costs $20 and is available at all Thrifty Foods locations in Saanich.

Rod Sidhu on the cover of the 2012 Saanich Firefighters Calendar. The calendar costs $20 and is available at all Thrifty Foods locations in Saanich.

While the Old Spice guy, Isaiah Mustafa, is riding his horse, Rod Sidhu is on a boat and his abs give Mustafa a run for his money.

After a one-year hiatus, the Saanich firefighters calendar is back and Sidhu, wearing aviator sunglasses and clutching a lifesaver flotation device, graces the cover perched on the fire department’s Zodiac.

“It’s a good thing for charity,” Sidhu said of his reasoning behind being photographed for the calendar for a third time. With being on the cover, he added, “I get teased about it from the fellows a bit more than usual.”

Since 2008, Saanich firefighters have organized and produced the calendar, a fundraiser for the Saanich Firefighters Charitable Foundation. The photos have featured models exclusively from the Saanich department some years, and a combination of Saanich, Oak Bay, Victoria and Esquimalt firefighters in others.

No one stepped up to arrange the project last year, so Saanich firefighter Jared Barker took on the task for the 2012 edition.

It’s been a lot of work, said Barker, who is also in the calendar for a third time.

“One of our big things is we like to be able to look after Saanich residents,” he said. “If their house burns down and they have nowhere to sleep for a night, we want to make sure we have enough money in the charitable fund to help them out.”

The 2010 calendar brought in about $60,000 before expenses, which are minimal. All proceeds go to the firefighters foundation, which makes donations to community groups.

Each of this year’s 13 models‚ one for each month, plus Sidhu on the cover‚ helped determine the setting for their own photo.

“Some guys have a bit of writer’s block, but I think it’s our experience that when the guys have more of a say, they’re more invested in the project,” Barker said. “It’s a bit of a laugh, guys have fun with it, but it’s for charity and it’s one of our biggest projects. When the guys are invested it shows in how much money is raised.”

The 2012 Saanich Firefighters Calendar is $20 and available at any Thrifty Foods store in Saanich, plus Emerald Day Spa at 2807 Cedar Hill Rd.

ecardone@vicnews.com