(WECT) - Cooler weather is just around the corner, but the Australian firefighters are heating things up! For the first time, the world-famous calendar features firefighters from around the globe.
“With the explosion of worldwide interest in the calendar, it only made sense for us to invite the hottest firefighters from around the globe here to the beautiful Gold Coast to be a part of the world’s very first ‘International Firefighters Calendar," Australian Firefighters Director David Rogers said.
Also this year, the calendars are like a choose your own adventure. While the classic calendar is still available, other options include wildlife animals, cats, horses, farm animals, and adorable puppies, of course.
The calendar, established in 1993, has a rich past of supporting some of Australia’s biggest Children’s Hospital organisations. This year we decided to support local, smaller charities with more of a focus on native Australian, rescue, and therapy animals.
“We felt that it was important to help some of the smaller charities that the public never hears about,” Rogers said. “These grass roots organizations work tirelessly in their local community making a huge difference to people’s lives.”
Some of the smaller community-based charities include Healing Hooves, which was setup to help children suffering with Autism and Asperger’s in addition to returned veterans suffering from PTSD and older people with Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, who has been caring for injured native Australian animals for over 70 years, will also receive funds. This year the hospital will treat over 11,000 injured animals. Donated funds from the calendar will go to purchase new equipment and fund research into diseases affecting the koala population.
Additionally, the Australian Firefighters calendar will donate money to BackTrack, an organization that uses a back-to-basics formula of respect and responsibility to help youth get their lives back on track.
Among others, another of those smaller charities supported this year is Down Syndrome South Australia. The facility’s goal is to teach people with learning disabilities the skills required to lead an independent life. They also provide meaningful paid work at the facility to further increase work skills.
“This donation will keep this vital disability service running, we really appreciate their support, they’re a fantastic group of guys," said Down Syndrome SA CEO Nicholas Mihalaras.
Now in its 27th year, the Australian Firefighters Calendar has raised over $3 million for various charities. Rogers credits social media for bringing worldwide awareness to the project.
“It just gets bigger and bigger every year,” Rogers said. “It’s really amazing.”
Over the past couple of years, the firefighters have made television appearances across the world, including on NBC’s Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda.
Rogers said the calendar is sent across the world but is most popular in the United States and Germany.