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Ben Church opens up about the 30th anniversary Australian Firefighters Calendar

Australian firefighter Ben Church chatted about being a part of the 30th anniversary Australian Firefighters Calendar, which helps a lot of different charities.

Australian firefighter Ben Church
Australian firefighter Ben Church. Photo Courtesy of the Australian Firefighters Calendar
Australian firefighter Ben Church. Photo Courtesy of the Australian Firefighters Calendar

Australian firefighter Ben Church chatted about being a part of the 30th anniversary Australian Firefighters Calendar, which helps a lot of different charities.

Since its launch three decades ago, the Australian Firefighters Calendar has donated millions of dollars to Australian charities and has become the world’s most popular calendar.

“I feel absolutely honored to represent firefighting with one of our proudest traditions. 30 years is a massive milestone, I’m 33 years of age, so I’ve grown up knowing the Australian Firefighters Calendar. I think most households have had at least one up in the kitchen at one time or another,” Church said.

Proceeds from calendar sales over the last three decades have supported medical research into sourcing better methods to treat severe burns in children.

The calendar also has a proud history of supporting animal refugees and Australian Wildlife in the past and that will continue into the future.

Church remarked, “From humble beginnings, the Australian Firefighters Calendar purely donated money to children burn units at Hospitals, as we see the importance of these services through the work we do.”

“I’m so glad that due to the success of the calendar we have been able to expand our donations to many different causes. Every Summer, we experience and particularly in 2019, the world saw the devastation that Bushfires can cause to Native Wildlife which is why we donate to the Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital, Wildcare Inc, Fauna Rescue of SA, and Native Animal Rescue,” Church elaborated.

“I think when people actually see the devastating impact of these disasters it empowers them to do more for the greater good,” he added.

Australia fights bushfires in west, floods in east
After weeks of high temperatures, fires flanked the western tourist hotspot of Margaret River – Copyright WESTERN AUSTRALIA DEPARTMENT OF FIRE AND EMERGENCY SERVICES/AFP Sean BLOCKSIDGE

Church opened up about his own firefighting experience. “I’ve been a firefighter for just over five years now. Wow, that’s flown by fast. I love the camaraderie and the team environment that Firefighting requires. We understand that it’s more than a job, it’s a career and a family,” he said.

“I’ve worked a few jobs where it’s not the done thing to socialize with your workmates but that’s not the Fire Brigade, I train at the local gym with my crew, we go for beers together and even help each other with odd jobs around our own houses,” Church added.

Daily motivations

On his daily motivations, Church said, “Helping others.” “We go to people in need, whether they are involved in a serious car crash or their house is on fire, we respond and we are there to help. There is something truly special about helping others. It’s rewarding on its own and it gives you a sense of purpose,” he explained.

“I mean you see it now on social media with people getting massive followings by helping the homeless or giving back to their community in their own way. I get to experience that feeling every day when I go to work and the community is so thankful for our service which makes it even more motivating for us to keep doing our job better,” he said.

The digital age

Church opened up about being a firefighter in the digital age. “Technology is such an important tool for firefighters. Can you imagine that not too long ago we used a map book? Some of your readers probably don’t know what that is,” he said with a laugh.

“We actually still train in using it as a fail safe,” Church said. “Thankfully there are systems we can use to make our response times quicker. As for social media, I think it’s a fantastic tool and unfortunately underutilized in firefighting.”

“People can show different methods of firefighting and educate the community but due to trolls, they are often dismissed. I would like to see more “Fireman influencers… hmm maybe I might try this out,” he said with a laugh.

‘The Kelly Clarkson Show’

To help celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the Australian Firefighters Calendar, several calendar firefighters were invited to Los Angeles to appear on “The Kelly Clarkson Show” in October. “Well, ‘The Kelly Clarkson Show’ was my first ever time on TV. I had a great time,” he exclaimed.

“Kelly was so nice she kept asking us about Australia and where in Australia we were from. She even told us a story about how bad the flies were at one of the places she visited in Australia,” he said with a sweet laugh.

“I also did a speed dating segment on Access Hollywood with Kit Hoover. That was pretty awesome as I’ve never done that before. I’m still single though so I might need to do another show. The American public has been so amazing, I honestly can’t wait to come back,” he said.

The firefighters also appeared in a series of segments on NBC’s popular “Access Hollywood,” CBS’s “Entertainment Tonight” and FOX’s “Good Morning LA.” “We met some really nice people while visiting the United States. We had a great time there,” he said.

To repay the support that their American fans have shown, the Australian Firefighters Calendar will continue to support U.S. charities for the second year in a row.

Rescue Rebuild, a shelter renovation program of Greater Good Charities, recruits’ volunteers from across the U.S. to renovate animal shelters, domestic violence shelters, veterans housing and homeless shelters. The Rescue Rebuild team has completed 175 renovations that have helped more than 3,200 people and more than 720,000 pets. “These are amazing charities to be a part of,” he acknowledged.

Donations from this year’s calendar help to support the Council of Australian Volunteer Fire Associations (CAVFA). The funds will be used to supply the much-needed equipment for our army of volunteer firefighters.

The Australian Firefighters calendar continues its support of the Kids With Cancer Foundation. Since 1998, the work this foundation does in supporting Australian families and hospitals around the country is nothing less than extraordinary.

The calendar will also benefit the following nonprofit organizations: Australian Seabird Rescue, Fauna Rescue of SA, Healing Hooves, Native Animal Rescue, Wildcare Inc., Safe Haven Animal Rescue, Best Friends Felines, and All Breed Canine Rescue Inc.

Career-defining moments

On his career-defining moments, Church said, “Well after five years I have seen a lot. Nevertheless, I still learn every day on the job. I think when times are tough, whether you have had to pull someone out of a burning building, rescue a casualty from a car accident or spend 20 hours at a bushfire protecting people’s homes.”

“You think back and realize that with the right team I can do these things. I have to say it’s not a job for everyone. It takes a long time to be a good firefighter and that comes with experience. Having done those things mentioned above, I found out that I am in the right place, and I am a fireman through and through,” he said.

Advice for hopefuls

For young and aspiring firefighters, Church said, “It’s not all photoshoots and calendars. It’s tough physical work and requires intellect. Make sure you visit your local fire station and talk to the crews. Ask them about the job and what the recruitment requirements are. Then take a moment and ask yourself: why do you want to be a firefighter?'”

Success

Regarding his definition of the word success, Church said, “So success to me is a feeling from a result. To me to be successful in something you need to do some form of work and put in the most amount of effort possible and then a little extra. If you win something because you were the only competitor it doesn’t feel like success. You must have to earn it. No rain, No flowers.”

“The Australian Firefighters Calendar is a fun product,” he said. “It’s there to be enjoyed and lighten up your year. I hope it can be a reminder throughout someone’s year that they have contributed to great causes and gives them a smile.”

To learn more about the Australian Firefighters Calendar, check out its official websiteFacebook page, and follow it on Instagram.

For more information on Australian firefighter Ben Church, follow him on Instagram.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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