MODEL FIREFIGHTERS: WHAT YOU DON’T ALREADY KNOW ABOUT THE CALENDAR
TheBPlot was the first to bring you the scoop on the making of the Asbury Park Firefighter Calendar and the only outlet to take you behind the scenes of the photo shoot (click here). Today, The Coaster and TheBPlot are the only media with the full-story.
The first Asbury Park Firefighter calendar will be unveiled next Saturday (Nov. 28) at the Third Avenue Pavilion, revealing an another wonderful side of some of the city’s biggest heroes.
I had the honor of bearing witness to the photo shoot, spending time with our beyond-amazing firefighters and I could not wait to tell you about it – here and in The Coaster – before any other publications.
“We have joked about doing a calendar for years at the firehouse,” said Chief Kevin Keddy, leader of the busiest fire department, per capita, in New Jersey. “I thought it was a great idea when ArtsCAP approached me after the Fall golf outing.”
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The 2010 calendar, proceeds benefitting the Fire Department Building Fund and ArtsCAP, was photographed over two days in late October with fourteen ladder men (one for each month and the front and back covers).
As award-winning photographer Alan Barnett’s camera began to click, the new models quickly became competitive; attempting to ensure their photo was the best by grabbing cool props including gear, saws, hoses and even the Jaws of Life.
“Their enthusiasm was contagious,” said Alan. “When Jason Fazio appeared for his shoot, he had already applied mineral oil to his arms and he good-naturedly tried to outdo his friend Gavino by choosing a larger axe as a prop. When I asked if he would scale a ladder to the second story of the firehouse, he was up there before I could focus my camera.”
Wives, fiancé and even one mother-in-law stopped by to check out the making of the calendar, encouraging the guys further and energizing the interviews I conducted to develop a backgrounder to accompany calendar photo.
“These guys are beautiful inside and out and we hope everyone sees that more now,” commented Michele Conklin, Firefighter Conklin’s wife, via TheBPlot.com.
Purchase the calendar for $15 and learn who considers himself shy and is looking for an extraverted lady, who wanted to “chase fires, not money,” who has “too many tattoos to mention” and who enjoys classic Russian literature.
One hysterical firefighter asked me to describe his “marital status as complicated” however I thought he might not find it as funny in 2010, so I left that comment out.
Every one of the firefighters I had the pleasure of meeting during the 16 hour shoot – many more than the 14 who are part of the calendar – was a kind, selfless, dedicated and fearless gentleman. All honest-to-goodness life-saving heroes in the flesh.
Buy one of them lunch or a cup of coffee the next time you see him.
“Bringing together two very important institutions was great,” said Dennis Carroll, president, ArtsCAP. “I was most delighted with the hospitality – we all felt like were members of the department when we left.”
The fourteen firefighters (twelve months plus one cover guy and one back-cover guy) – their names revealed here for the first time – who generously participated in the making of the calendar and deserve our thanks: Marcus Blackmon, Patrick Castellano, Carney Conklin, Rick Dawson, Rich Dreyer, Jason Fazio, Jon Hart, Courtland Heyniger, Mike Mautner, Gavino Siciliano, Ronald Slinger, Andre Spann, Jamar Stephens and Christian Stevens.
Aaaaaand on top of everything, I had once-in-a-lifetime Asbury Park moment; I slid down the gorgeous, original, brass, 30 foot long, finial topped fire pole…twice!
So which of the equally fab firefighters will be the 2010 cover guy? Which month will your favorite firefighter represent? All will be revealed on Nov. 28th. Launch party is 7 pm to 10 pm at the Third Avenue Pavilion. TheBPlot reader’s invitation, click here.
The calendar will be available through ArtsCAP.org and local businesses, including: Bodega, Heaven, Mike’s Beach House and Shelter Home. Supplies are limited.
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