The 2018 Saskatchewan Firefighters Calendar is going to see some local talent, after Estevan Fire Rescue members Lieutenant Lincoln Empey and firefighter Justin Charron went to Casino Regina for selection night last week.
This is the first year the calendar has accepted volunteers, people paid on call, those in the military, and other types of firefighters, with the previous 14 years being restricted to Saskatchewan professionals only.
“It feels great; I’m glad I got selected and had the ability to take part in the selection night, it was a lot of fun,” said Empey.
In preparation for the selection night, which took place last Thursday, Empey and Charron were offered free services from a trainer with KY Fitness out of Saskatoon.
She put the pair on a four-month low carb, high protein diet for four months, with a tonne of cardio exercise as part of the workout routine, and Empey said he shed close to 30 pounds by the time of event.
He admitted he was a bit self-conscious before losing the weight, but after the success of the regime he was more confident going on stage.
He likened the selection event to a ladies night, where a crowd of women judges picked 12 finalists from a group of 16 by voting in person and online.
In the end he and Charron impressed the gathering of judges enough to be chosen to adorn the pages of the upcoming calendar.
“You went out on stage then you shook hands and gave hugs, that kind of thing,” said Empey.
“(Then) when we did get selected for the top 12, we went out in our turnout gear. They haven’t actually taken the photos for the calendar yet.”The photo sessions are anticipated in the next couple weeks.
Empey’s been a firefighter for 10 years now, signing up a decade ago when he was looking for a service club to join.
He said he saw an ad in the newspaper looking for volunteers, and because he considers himself an adrenaline junky, he thought it would be a good fit.
Charron, who’s been part of Estevan Fire Rescue for more than a year, also signed up in part for the adrenaline rush, and much like Empey, enjoys the community aspect as well.
When it came time to hit the stage and be judged – which contestants had to twice throughout the night, then one more time if they were selected like Charron and Empey were – he agreed it was a bit tense, but joked he was more steadfast than his pal.
“I wasn’t near as nervous as Lincoln was,” Charron said with a laugh.
“But Lincoln came a long way and he killed it out there; it was a little nerve racking, but after the first time you go out there on stage you clear the nerves, and it really helped knowing that everyone is there for the same reason, so you’re not the only one who’s nervous there.”
All proceeds from the Saskatchewan Firefighters Calendar, which should be available to purchase this fall for $19.99, are going to the Saskatchewan Children’s Hospital Foundation this time around.
Both Charron and Empey said it’s a great cause to support and hits close to home because Payton Sernick, daughter of Andrea Sernick who’s a fellow Rotary Club member with Charron, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and has since become an advocate for the importance of having a Children’s Hospital in Saskatchewan.
“It’s just kind of nice to be able to support a cause that someone in Estevan, is using and supporting as well,” Charron said.