Lt. Roger Stewart with the Oak Bay Fire Department stands in front of his 'month' of the 2014 Greater Victoria Fire Fighters Calendar. The calendar is part of a regionwide effort to raise funds for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Victoria General Hospital.

Lt. Roger Stewart with the Oak Bay Fire Department stands in front of his 'month' of the 2014 Greater Victoria Fire Fighters Calendar. The calendar is part of a regionwide effort to raise funds for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Victoria General Hospital.

Professional firefighters sizzle in calendar

Oak Bay firefighter Mr. October in annual fundraising initiative

Firefighters around the district are igniting as much as they’re putting out this week, as the 2014 Greater Victoria firefighters calendar hits the streets.

The calendar, a joint fundraising initiative from the four Greater Victoria professional fire departments – Oak Bay, Esquimalt, Victoria and Saanich – is an effort to raise money for southern Island pediatric units through Victoria Hospitals Foundation.

While the 12-month show of fiery men will set donors back $20, proceeds go towards the group’s $250,000 pledge to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Victoria General Hospital.

“What drew me into saying yes for being part of the calendar is just my commitment to raising this money,” said Lt. Roger Stewart with the Oak Bay Fire Department. “My own daughter spent time in the NICU when she was born … she is 12 now and it’s an important effort to me.”

Stewart, who is featured in October 2014, was one of four firefighters from Oak Bay and one of 24 from around Greater Victoria who volunteered for the project. And while the 2014 and future 2015 calendars still show off shirtless muscles, sculpted with some classic black-and-white photography, the poses are much “softer,” Stewart said, than the traditional fare.

“In years past, there was this real push to have these manly images with tough faces and action shots. Now, we have more of the firefighters just posing and hanging out, with more smiles and a gentle approach as opposed to a performance.”

The calendars started circulating in recent weeks and Stewart said it’s been very humbling to have members of the community recognize him.

“I’m not really a shy person, but this really requires you to put yourself out there,” he said. “It’s easier to do when you focus on the fact that it’s for a good cause.”

The 2014 calendar will be available in various locations throughout town, including the Oak Bay fire hall, Thrifty Foods and London Drugs stores and online. To learn more, visit oak bayfirefighters.com.

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