Canton, Ohio Firefighters Sign Calendars

Members of the Canton Fire Department felt like rock stars Saturday night as autograph seekers gathered around to get their signatures on the 2005 Firefighter Calendar.

Ric Leone chaired the event at the Arcadia Grill in downtown Canton, which was held to launch the calendar, a fund-raiser for the Fallen Firefighters Fund.

Leone said the group raises money by selling the firefighter calendar and T-shirts to help defray funeral and other expenses for the families of firefighters who pay the ultimate price.

Canton Mayor Janet Weir Creighton and her husband, Bill Turnbow, brought her 7-year-old grandson, Benjamin Kling, to select calendars and T-shirts. Benjamin chose a T-shirt with a snake, ``because I like snakes and my mom doesn't.''

Kelly David and Myrna Hammerly made sure their T-shirts were also autographed by the firefighters.

Linda Howiler said her husband wanted Susan Seiler's autograph because she was the only female firefighter in the calendar. Seiler, who also teaches the EMT program for Akron Public Schools, introduced one of her students, Jen Drain, who graduated from the program and now works with the Hudson Fire Department.

Kerry Ball and Tad Pawlak said being in the calendar was a lot of fun.

Rex Coomes provided music for the event, Jenene Hughes sold chances for a 50-50 raffle, and Denise Amigo offered chances for a sterling silver bracelet, a custom floral arrangement and an authentic firehouse dinner.

Maria Byington, owner of the Arcadia Grill, has added a wall of firefighter memorabilia to the sports decor of the restaurant, recently adding Joe Carafelli's charred helmet.

``It's a badge of honor when your equipment gets singed but you come out OK,'' said Leone.

The 2005 calendar is $15 and can be purchased on their Web site,