“Not just a pretty face,” Captain Laura Kupinski, President and co-founder of AFF proudly states. The calendar is a beautiful depiction of women across the United States dedicated to the fire service. They are women who exemplify good health, fitness and moral character; they are mothers, wives, athletes, champions, survivors themselves, and so much more.
For the ladies of AFF, it is not about being a “Calendar Girl,” but rather being able to “Give Back,” making a difference in the lives of burn survivor’s one calendar at a time. The ladies of AFF donate their time and energy in promoting the calendar at the various trade shows, along with in their respective home towns.
Beyond all the calendar signings and special events, many of the ladies of the AFF family give even further and volunteer their time serving as counselors to survivors at various burn camps through out the United States. The AFF counselors designed and set up a combat challenge course for the camper’s, a fun-filled day where campers get to learn and emulate the firefighters who “rescued” them. Camp Therapist at Brave Hearts’ out of Indiana, Lora Hayes had this to say. “The kids’ participation in this event is beyond words when it comes to their healing process. It is the greatest camper activity in 10 years.”
Though the ladies are told they are the heroes to the young girls attending camp, they will tell you something different.
“The kids are the true heroes, their spirit and smiles are just amazing,” firefighter Pam Lillard, Vice President and co-founder of AFF states. “It truly completes the circle, for so often in our careers we run into burning homes and make the save, but then the story ends as they are rushed away to the hospital. We never get to see the happy ending. Camp gives us that happy ending ten-fold, and reminds us all why we do our jobs.”
Their efforts truly have paid off, after the disbursements from the 2011 calendar are made later this year, they will have reached an amazing $300,000 in donations to various organizations through out the United States. Some of the organizations who benefit from AFF’s hard work are: The Firefighters Burn Children Fund (NC), Southeastern Firefighters’ Burn Foundation, Inc. (GA), MUSC Children’s Hospital Burned Children’s Fund & South Carolina Firefighters (SC), People’s Burn Foundation (IN), Children’s Burn Foundation of Florida, Inc., Children’s Burn Camp of North Florida, Inc, Wisconsin Alliance Fire Safety (WI), Tampa Firefighters Charity Fund (FL), Richland Cadets (Camp Hoosier, IN), IAFF Burn Foundation, Fire Engineering Courage and Valor Foundation, and Operation Mend.
In 2010, AFF also issued the first ever “America’s Female Firefighters College Scholarship for Burn Survivors.” Ashley Alvarado of Indiana was the proud recipient and she is on her way to becoming a nurse, completing her second year this spring.
We would be remiss if we didn’t thank from the bottom of our hearts all the fans and supporters, all of our sponsors and friends, for making the calendar and our organization a success year after year.