by Christy Parrott
Granby Fire Assistant Chief Schelly Olson recently won a coveted spot in the 2019 Colorado Firefighter Calendar (CFC). Olson has been dedicating her time and efforts to helping Grand County residents since 2008, when she began her career as a volunteer firefighter for Grand Lake Fire. Afterward, Olson worked as an EMT and critical care technician, and she has been with Grand Fire Protection District No. 1 since 2011, currently serving as the Assistant Chief of Administration, Community Risk Reduction, Wildfire Mitigation and is also a Public Information Officer.
In her office at the fire station, Olson displays the 2015 and 2016 Colorado Firefighter calendars, which feature two firefighters from Grand County. Those calendars, “Inspired me to get in good shape and help raise money the burn center and the kids,” Olson explains.
The Colorado Firefighter Calendar, a Denver-based non-profit organization, produces Colorado’s official firefighter calendar, with all net proceeds benefitting the Children’s Hospital Burn Center and Burn Camp programs. Firefighters from around the state try out for a shot at the coveted calendar, as well as volunteer to raise funds, attend events and educate children on fire prevention.
In order to prepare for tryouts, Olson hired personal trainer Kendra Barten, who works out of Mountain Life Fitness in Granby. Barten says, “When Schelly came to me with the goal of wanting to compete for the firefighting calendar, she was so excited and motivated that I knew she could do it, and I thought she would be the perfect candidate. Through discipline outside the gym with her nutrition and consistent dedication to her program in the gym, I’m proud to say that she has reached her goal.” Olson spent nine months preparing for her calendar tryout and insists, “You definitely have to watch what you eat and you can’t drink.”
Having won a spot in the calendar, Olson will participate in a photo shoot in June with a release party scheduled for August 17th, which is when she will find out what “month” she is. “I got the call from one of the CFC board members congratulating me on being selected, who said, ‘You’re going to be very busy for the next 15 months!’,” Olson says.
Olson will attend public signing events to help raise money for the burn center, including a field trip to the Children’s Hospital, so the calendar winners can see what the organization has done for the burn center. The organization not only raises money for the burn center but also reconnects burn survivors with their rescuers. Currently, Olson is trying to connect with a 13-year-old girl who was badly burned in a bonfire incident in Granby last year. “I would like to let her know that we (Granby Fire) are all here for her, and she has our support for a full recovery.”
Olson’s determination to succeed in helping others shows in how she spends her work hours and free time. Kudos to the Colorado Firefighter Calendar organization for selecting an already proven winner. In the last five years, the organization has raised over a half million dollars. “The best way to support the charity,” Olson says, “Is to buy a calendar from me!” For information on the calendar release, go to www.cofirefightercalendar.org, and if you want to train like a Schelly Olson, contact Kendra Barten at firstname.lastname@example.org.