Australian firefighter Matt Ross spoke with Markos Papadatos about the 30th anniversary Australian Firefighters calendar, which helps many different charities.
“I feel very fortunate to be involved in the calendar, especially the 30th edition,” he said. “It is a highly competitive process to get into the calendar, with firefighters from all over Australia involved every year.”
Ross studied finance and commerce through school and university. He was headed for a life in high finance working for one of Australia’s biggest banks. After achieving his original goal of working in his chosen field he found that something was missing in his life. He wanted to seek a career in something more community-based. He threw in his high-paying job to embark on the challenge of becoming a firefighter.
“I’ve been a career firefighter for over seven years and joined the job after a career in banking and finance. I was seeking a more fulfilling and rewarding career path, that involved being able to help people on a daily basis,” Ross shared.
“Although the selection process for the fire service was long and extremely competitive, it was well worth the effort. In the fire service, I have found a more community-focused and fulfilling career. Due to the serious nature of firefighting, I found it necessary to increase my overall fitness level to keep up with the rigors of the job,” Ross acknowledged.
Regarding his daily motivations as a firefighter, Ross said, “Having been lucky enough to achieve my dream of being a career firefighter, I am self-motivated to be the best that I can be in this career as I know many people do not get to do what they love on a daily basis.”
This past October, 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.” “Whilst I couldn’t travel to the U.S. on the recent trip due to family commitments, it’s great to see some of our best firefighters represent the calendar on a global stage and build awareness of the great work that the calendar does back here in Australia,” Ross 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.”
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.
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.
“Animals are something I’ve always loved being around, the fact that the calendar benefits many animal-based charities, especially for native Australian wildlife is very special to me,” Ross said. “It has been a tough few years in Australia with drought, flood, and fires impacting every corner of the country, so the fact that proceeds from the calendar go towards supporting our iconic wildlife makes it all worthwhile.”
Ross opened up about some of his career-defining moments in his profession. “I’ve been very fortunate to work with some highly experienced and skilled mentors who have helped me develop into the firefighter I am today. There are many skills and attributes of a great firefighter that cannot be taught in a classroom, so I am very grateful for the time spent working with those who have been in the job far longer than me,” he said.
For young and aspiring firefighters, Ross said, “Anything is possible if you set your mind to it, and although the process of joining the job can be extremely difficult and highly competitive, putting in the time and work in researching the job and understanding the role of a firefighter in the community will help enormously.”
On his definition of success, Ross said, “Success, to me, means to achieve a goal that I set out with every intention of achieving it and not giving up along the way. It may be a short-term or long-term goal and may involve changing how I go about reaching it, but regardless trust the process and seek help from others whenever needed to ensure I have a successful outcome.”
“We are very grateful for the support worldwide of the calendar and the important work it does in benefiting many important charities here in Australia,” Ross concluded about the calendar.
To learn more about the Australian Firefighters Calendar, check out its official website, Facebook page, and follow it on Instagram.