South Florida Firefighters Calendar is a family affair

 

A firefighting family steams up the 2015 calendar.

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By Amy Reyes | areyes@miamiherald.com

Flipping through the pages of the 2015 South Florida Firefighters Calendar, one photo stands out among the barrage of bulging biceps and rock hard pecs: A shirtless set of twins and a salt-and-pepper hunk flanking a striking female model clad in firemen’s bunker pants and a sports bra, Jessica Alba abs exposed.

No, it's not a photobomb, and the young lady is actually not a model. That's Jasmine (28), a firefighter with the Hialeah Fire Department, joined by her brothers Christian (Miami Beach Fire Rescue) and Ivan Jr. and their father Ivan Sr. (both City of Miami Fire Rescue).

Since the South Florida Firefighters Calendar started its promotional push to get the 2015 calendars moving, confusion about Jasmine’s presence is common at the events, usually packed with women looking to ogle a hero or two. "When the ladies come to get their calendars signed, they would be wondering what I was doing there. They don't get that we're a family until we are all introduced. They just think it’s three hot dudes and one lady ruining the photo! But when it's explained they are always like "You go girl!""

Firefighting goes back three generations in this family: The children’s grandfather was Douglas Jewett, a veteran of the Dade County Fire Rescue and an influential consultant throughout Latin America and the Caribbean on modern urban search and rescue techniques. He tipped his son-in-law about hiring at the City of Miami fire department in 1989 and Ivan Sr., a former Marine, signed up.

His choice made him the favorite at career days, showing up to his three children’s school in a fire truck and full fireman regalia. Even though his sons went on to get college degrees, they decided to follow their father’s footsteps, a move that Ivan Sr. says is telling of the younger generation’s commitment to the job. “A lot of the young guys have college degrees and have an opportunity to go off and do things where they can go own a big house, but credit should be given to these guys for choosing a career that economically undershoots their value but multiplies their value to society.”

Jasmine was hired by the Hialeah Fire Department at age 19 and says she had to earn the respect of her co-workers through hard work and commitment. “Maybe the most difficult thing about being a woman in the fire department is that there’s a lot of testosterone in the station. In the beginning, it was more challenging, but every individual needs to prove themself. As a woman you come in and you gotta hold your own. You gotta kick butt and show them you are here for a reason. “

South Florida Calendar founder Lt. Luis Espinosa convinced Christian to round up his reluctant family for the calendar. The photo shoot took place at the Hialeah Firestation No. 7 training tower after the family all spent three months with a strict diet and exercise regimen. But Ivan Sr. assures that they all took their fitness seriously before the shoot: “This is a job where you stay in shape or suffer the consequences.” 

Though the eye candy is the calendar’s obvious draw, the funds raised go to benefit local charities, raising $240,000 over the past two decades for organizations like Here’s Help, A Safe Haven for Newborns and Friends Forever Humane Society.

“That’s the only reason we do it,” says Ivan Sr. “We are old school firefighters, just do your job and don’t wait for credit. We’ve gotten to talk to the folks who benefit from the calendar and it’s awesome to be involved in something like this.”

The firefighter calendar models continue their campaign to channel the sexy to raise money for charities, with upcoming events at Blue Martini Kendall Wednesday night (Aug. 13) and another in Coral Gables at Pincho Factory on Aug. 28. Maybe a fan or two will see Jasmine and decide they want to be a firefighter and not just ogle one.

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