Sooke News Mirror
Ben Temple from the Sooke Firefighters is enthused about the 2015 calendars being sold by the Fraternidad de Bomberos group to raise money for their next trip to Boquete, Panama. The 13-month calendar is entirely designed and developed by the group and photographed by the Sooke Photography Club. Every page features staged and action shots of Sooke Firefighters and equipment in action.
The group began in 2013 when six Sooke firefighters travelled to Boquete. The village is focused on coffee plantations and eco-tourism opportunities, and struggles with the constant threat of wildfires encroaching on the local land and town itself. Bringing their knowledge and instruction savvy, the Sooke contingent trained 40 firefighters in Panama in the use of equipment which they had, but were lacking knowledge and experience on how to use it. A ‘Jaws-of-Life’ for instance was available for use but had never been tested.
The Sooke firefighters paid out of pocket, or fund-raised for the trip in 2013 and hope to return in 2015 with further assistance from the Sooke community. The calendars are close to a $1,500 investment and it is hoped that all calendars will sell, bringing the group a $3,500 profit for the venture.
In Boquete, the group broke the ice quickly with their Panama counterparts.
“Firefighters are firefighters, wherever you go. It was far easier than imagined. We shared war stories and toured the region. The Rotary Club is heavily involved in Boquete. The town embraced us fully” Temple recounted.
The firefighters want to represent the Sooke community in a positive light. They are not big on handouts, but they are happy to provide value through the calendar, carwashings and other events.
“I want to stress how supportive local businesses have been. Stick in the Mud, RBC, Western Foods… it’s a great community to be a part of. It is hoped that this could could have legs beyond the the Panama project,” Temple said.
The calendars are available at The Stick, Western Foods, Fire Hall #1, or can be delivered if you order online through Facebook or Twitter.
Ben added “if you buy five or more calendars the firefighters will personally drop off the calendars by firetruck to your home .“