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This year's Mr. May calls North Van home
At the firehall, everyone’s got a nickname. North Vancouver City Fire Department’s Duncan Maillie used to be known as “Sarge,” a moniker earned for his years of service with the Canadian Forces, including peace-keeping tours in Bosnia and Croatia.
Now he’s “Mr. May,” a new handle that comes courtesy of his inclusion in the 2013 Hall of Flame firefighter calendar.
Turn to the month of May, and there’s Maillie, shirt off, muscles flexed.
When the calendar came out last month, the Handsworth secondary grad was immediately the target of good-natured ribbing from his fellow firefighters, with his calendar picture quickly pinned to a cork board outside the crew’s barracks.
“[They] had lot of fun with it,” he says, grinning. “But it’s all in good fun.”
Truth is, all the firefighters know that it’s for a good cause. The annual calendar has raised hundreds of thousands for charity through the years and this year’s goal is to add another $100,000 through sales of the $15 calendars.
After being selected for the calendar, Maillie, 36, admits he was a little nervous when he arrived at a Vancouver fire station for the photo shoot, where he was met by a photographer, pair of assistants and members of the calendar committee.
“I don’t like having my picture taken at the best of times,” he says.
To prepare for the shoot, Maillie says he didn’t do any special fat-burning workouts other than easing off the pints.
And while Maillie’s not the only shirtless firefighter in the calendar, he’s probably the most heavily inked.
Both of his arms are decorated in tattoos — something he covered up when he had his job interview with the fire chief 12 years ago. He’s added lots of artwork since getting hired. One arm pays tribute to his career as a firefighter, the other to his career in the military (he still works part-time with the Canadian Army Reserves, serving once a month). On each forearm he’s got an ornate angel, one lifting a firefighter and the other lifting a soldier. There’s also an homage to his Scottish roots on the “warrior” arm, with a large Gaelic warrior and Celtic cross.
As he notes, being a firefighter calendar guy isn’t just about taking off your shirt and having your picture snapped.
All the firefighters who appear in the pages of the calendar must also commit to four to five events each month for the year. That includes everything from autographing events to visiting the burn ward and participating in a fashion show at the West Coast Women’s Show this Friday (Oct. 19) which is hosted by Ronnie Negus of the Real Housewives of Vancouver.
“It’s all volunteer time,” says Maillie, who’s happy to give up his time for a such a worthwhile cause.