Tampa's firefighters turn up heat in all-female calendars - WNCN: News, Weather

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Tampa's firefighters turn up heat in all-female calendars

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) - Some of Tampa's firefighters are shedding their gear and posing for an all-female firefighter calendar.

At the heart of it is a good cause.

"We want to show them that you can do anything and be anything you want to be," said Capt. Luanna Baughman, of Tampa Fire Rescue.

Baughman, who has been with Tampa Fire Rescue for 19 years, is now one of the leaders for America's Female Firefighters. It's an organization that puts together a calendar every year featuring female paid professional firefighters from around the country. The money helps burn centers and enhances scholarships for those students, as well as sending others to burn camps.

Baughman says, on average, the group has been able to donate $50,000 to $70,000 every year.

"We have people that come from Switzerland and Sweden that will order several hundred at a time," Baughman said. "We have followers on Facebook from all over the World and we ship them all over the World."

The organization has shipped the nationwide calendars across the country for 11 years now and Tampa firefighters have been well-represented.

"So far there's been seven women from Tampa," said Firefighter/Paramedic Sophia Cardenas, who will be in next year's calendar. "It feels good. It feels good to give back and these are people who really want it."

The women get to interact with the children they're helping.

"It's amazing how big of a difference it makes for them. It gives them confidence. They look forward to it every year," said Christina Swanson, who appeared in the 2011 calendar. "Being able to work that camp and see the benefit for these kids ... it's important and I see where the money goes and how much it helps."

Denise Youngblood, who appeared in October 2013, posed with her rescue dog Kasey.

"It was a lot harder than I thought. I respect the models for what they go through," she said. "I think they shot about 200 pictures and they finally found one that was good for the calendar I guess."

Youngblood believes the calendar does more than raise money for burn victims.

"It promotes that women can get a job in a male-dominated field too," she said. "You have a lot in common and it's almost like another family - a sisterhood that you share with each other."

Learn more about the group: <http://americasfemalefirefighters.com/>

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