10/22/09 — Goldsboro firefighters posing for Habitat for Humanity

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Goldsboro firefighters posing for Habitat for Humanity

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on October 22, 2009 1:46 PM


From right, Thomas Matthews, Michael Perkins, Matthew Pendergraph, Josh Inlow, Brandon Holland, Damon Coley and Laurie Stensland line up to have their picture made by Wendy Dale for the Habitat For Humanity Calendar Wednesday morning.

Melanie Easto isn't afraid to admit that some women's taste for a man in uniform played a role in selecting the subject of her calendar -- Goldsboro's firefighters.

Mrs. Easto, an assistant manager of the Habitat for Humanity ReStore shops, which help fund houses for needy clients, enlisted the help of a local photographer.

On Wednesday morning, Mrs. Easto and her photographer, Wendy Dale, who took on the work for free, were at the city Fire Department snapping shots.

Some were of firefighters lined up on the truck, others were cameos of firefighters putting on their gear. At least one was a goofy shot of a firefighter wearing a Santa Claus-type hat.

"Doesn't he just have the most serious look on his face," joked Mrs. Dale about the Santa Claus picture, in which a mustachioed firefighter looked none too happy to be donning the Christmas cap.

But the playfulness of the pictures is all part of the fun, and the proceeds will all go toward Habitat for Humanity, Mrs. Easto said.

"We tried to cover as many firefighters as we could who were on-shift or off shift," Mrs. Easto said. "It's going to be a full 20-page calendar, all the five stations around Goldsboro."

Some local businesses have already tentatively agreed to buy the calendar in bulk, and will commit once they see the proofs, Mrs. Easto said.

"They're just doing it to help Habitat," she said, of the non-profit, Christian-affiliated housing ministry.

Chief Gary Whaley said Mrs. Easto's request appealed to him because he wants the fire department to be as visible as possible in the community.

"I've been very interested in trying to let the citizens of Goldsboro know what their fire department is doing," Whaley said. "We've got a lot of things going on besides answering fire calls."

This is the first time, Whaley believes, that the fire department has teamed up with a non-profit organization for a cause like this one, he said.

"It seemed to be a perfect situation, for us to give a little bit back to the community, and let them see what we do day-to-day. We feel like that's very important," the fire chief said.

Mrs. Dale, the photographer, said she got into photography at first by taking pictures of her own children, then branching out into professional work.

The calendar will be formatted as a tribute to remembering 911, she said.

"It's been fun, just to kind of see everybody come together," Mrs. Dale said. "It's been interesting to see just how much work is put into being a firefighter. I don't think a lot of people understand that."