CARLYLE - Carlyle & RM 63 Fire and Rescue Deputy Fire Chief Travis Van Meer recently garnered enough support to appear in the 2024 Saskatchewan Fire Fighters Calendar.
Sixteen firefighters from across the province entered the contest with the 12 winners being announced at a gala event held at Casino Regina on April 22.
This was the 20th anniversary of the calendar and Van Meer had never entered the competition before.
He and his partner Kim Penney have two children, daughter Ember and son Logan, who has been having serious medical issues. The family has been referred to the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon for treatment.
As the entire proceeds from the online voting for your favourite firefighter were being donated to the hospital, Van Meer decided to enter. He registered in January and decided to improve his physique with the help of an online physical trainer, Brody Gilbertson of Saskatoon.
The training was free for anyone who entered. Van Meer had to adhere to an extremely strict diet and had to weigh every gram of food, be it fats, protein or carbs, every day for every meal.
Van Meer lost 20 pounds in 13 weeks and really feels good about himself. Admittedly introverted, Van Meer has come out of his shell and he and his family are more than happy with the subtle changes to his mood and self-esteem.
He provided a couple of quotations that have helped him along the way: “If you don’t want different results, don’t keep doing the same thing” and “If you feel scared to jump, that’s when you jump.”
Tammy Davies is an administration assistant of Kingston Midstream and both a friend and colleague of Van Meer’s.
“Over a year ago, Travis walked into my office and told me he was thinking about applying to compete in this competition. It was out of his comfort zone, but you could tell it was something that sparked a fire with the whole what if.
“That night he texted to say he had sent his application. And here we are a year or so later and he got his place on that calendar. Travis was committed to the whole process – the eating, the exercising and conquering the mental aspect of training like this. We are all proud of him and his healthier lifestyle is also impacting others around him.
“It was fun to watch his transformation and it will be interesting to see what he sets as his next goal.“
“I really don’t know what to say about Trav and the calendar,” said Rob Klassen, another deputy fire chief. “Travis made a personal choice to try and get in it for his own reasons. He wanted to better himself both mentally and physically and that was his way of pushing himself to those goals.
“Obviously, we are proud of his accomplishments and for being selected to be in it and for him to be supporting such a great cause.”
“Words can’t describe how proud I am of Travis, he wanted a challenge and go out of his comfort zone, mission accomplished,” said Penney. “He also wanted to give back to Jim Pattison’s Children’s Hospital in a big way. We were both struggling mentally and physically exhausted with our sick son with no answers. In and out of ERs and specialists for most of his life.
“Just after Christmas, Logan was infected with respiratory syncytial virus, which turned into pneumonia and his oxygen levels were plummeting. A terrifying ambulance ride from Arcola to Regina escalated the pressure that Logan’s specialists had for an urgent referral to JPCH.
“We went to see the pediatric ears nose and throat (ENT) specialist at the end of January in Saskatoon and finally had a plan to do an emergent scope to investigate his chronically swollen tonsils, harsh cough and breathing problems.
“We finally got the call to have his exploratory scope and possible surgery for early May. It’s heart wrenching to have a sick child and we’re hoping to get the answers we need with the help of JPCH.
“It is surreal to see our friends, family and community support Travis and JPCH through this fundraiser. My heart wanted to explode I was so happy, seeing Travis rock the stage, out of his element and showing off his hard work and dedication.”
“Thank-you to all my friends, family and co-workers who voted and helped me achieve my goal of appearing on the 2024 calendar,” said Van Meer. “However, Logan’s health is our family’s number one priority and Kim and I are extremely confident that our son’s medical issues can be resolved. We sincerely thank the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon.”