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Ricky Smith talks about the 30th anniversary Australian Firefighters Calendar

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

Australian firefighter Ricky Smith
Australian firefighter Ricky Smith. Photo Courtesy of the Australian Firefighters Calendar
Australian firefighter Ricky Smith. Photo Courtesy of the Australian Firefighters Calendar

Australian firefighter Ricky Smith 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. “It is really exciting, this is the 30th anniversary, so I am very excited to be a part of that,” he 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. “The calendar has been around for a while, which is pretty good,” he said. “It has a loyal following and that has been really cool.”

A hero of a different kind, Ricky Smith served his community as a Surf Lifesaver for 23 years before joining the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES). Australia is known around the world for its beautiful beaches and for keeping beachgoers safe are equally famous Australian Surf Lifesavers. He noted that he works as a firefighter in Brisbane, Australia.

Joining his first surf club as an eight-year-old, Ricky finished his surf lifesaving career as a professional surf lifesaver, rescuing swimmers from Australia’s unpredictable and sometimes treacherous oceans every summer. “I have always been around the beach,” he admitted. “I used to do a lot of swimming back in the day.”

“The most rewarding part of being a surf lifesaver was rescuing people from a potentially life-threatening event and that’s why I wanted to continue serving the community by joining the fire service,” Smith said.

“For the past six years I have been able to continue helping people when they are at their most vulnerable,” 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

On his daily motivations, Smith said, “Just being able to help people and being a part of the firefighting community. That is a really good feeling. Seeing people leave with a smile on their faces or thanking you is just a wonderful feeling. I love helping people.”

Regarding his future plans, he shared, “To keep firefighting and continuing learning. There is always something new to learn, and I want to keep being a part of this community and see where it takes me.”

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. “Appearing on ‘The Kelly Clarkson Show’ was really good. It was something different for us. It was cool to meet Kelly herself and it was an awesome experience,” he said.

The firefighters also appeared in a series of segments on NBC’s popular “Access Hollywood” and 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. “This year, a lot of the focus is on American charities, which is really cool,” he said.

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.

On his career-defining moments, he said, “Sometimes, seeing people at their worst, and motivates you to do a good job to be better now that you are there to help them and change them in some aspects. Those moments definitely define you. I don’t take things for granted.”

Regarding the title of the current chapter of his life, Smith said, “Watch this space… Coming soon.”

If he were to have any superpower, it would be “to fly.”

For young and aspiring firefighters, Smith said, “Keep learning, take in as much as you can. Put your hand up for everything, stay fit, stay active, and learn from the others that have done it before you. Keep watching, every day is a school day, and try to be as best as you can in your craft.”

When asked what track and field event he would do, he revealed, “I would do the 100 meter sprint.” In swimming, he listed “freestyle” as his personal favorite stroke.

On his definition of the word success, he said, “just being happy.” “If you are happy, then you are successful,” he said.

Rapid Fire Questions

Smith also took some time to answer some “Rapid Fire” questions.

Waffles or pancakes? Pancakes
Flying or driving? Flying
City living or country living? Country living
Summer or winter? Summer
Library or museum? Museum
Bath or shower? Shower
Pepsi or Coke? Coke
Texting or calling? Calling
Half-full or half-empty? Half-full
Curly fries or normal fries? Curly fries
Skydiving or scuba diving? Scuba diving
Indoor pool or outdoor pool? Outdoor pool
Tea or coffee? Coffee
Rain or snow? Snow
Singing or dancing? Dancing
Burgers or tacos? Tacos
Long course or short course pool? Long course
Money or fame? Money

To learn more about the Australian Firefighters Calendar, check out its official website, Facebook page, and follow it 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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