With an unofficial motto of "we put the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional," the SD Gunner Fund’s "Dudeoir" Calendar fills the bill.
"Dudeoir" refers to dudes’ take on women’s boudoir-style photography. The more silly-than-sexy pictures have average Joe with beards and beer bellies in a pinup-girl poses. It can be a mental image you can’t unsee.
The fund, a nonprofit based in Richmond Hill, helps provide service dogs for disabled veterans and children. Funds raised from the calendar sales will go toward its mission: "No disability shall go unseen. No veteran shall be alone. 22 veterans a day is inexcusable."
The calendars also feature pit bulls available for adoption from Operation Pitbull: Finding Forever Homes in Jesup. Tammie and Michael Kolb rescue pit bulls from area shelters to keep them from being euthanized.
Sunday’s photoshoot in Hinesville brought volunteers together to do things they had never done before; some stripped to their skivvies and donned wreaths on their heads, others directed and photographed half-naked men in provocative poses. While awkward, participants said they have fun.
It wasn’t all a game. Michael Kolb took a serious note with his photo shoot. June is designated for PTSD awareness and Mr. June surrounded himself props like pills, booze, bullets and a gun. Kolb said he wanted to bring attention to 22, which is number of veteran suicides every day in America.
Kolb served 23 years in the military and said he lost his brother to PTSD-related suicide.
"My brother committed suicide," Kolb said. "So it’s a very near and dear issue to me and my family, how it affected my family. I’ve always been monkey see, monkey do with my brother, but that’s one thing I will not follow him on."
He encouraged everyone to pay attention to others because it’s sometimes hard to tell when someone may be contemplating taking their own life.
"I just feel that if you show some kindness to even a stranger it could make all the difference in the world," he said.
Scotty Allen was first to sign up for the calendar. "I thought, ‘why not, it’s a lot of fun and it’s for a good cause,’" Allen said. "Hey, you can get half naked out there in the middle of a field ... Is that great or what?"
He also convinced a friend, Gregory Tappenden.
"It’s for a good thing," Tappenden said. "I like service dogs and I rescued a pit…" he explained. "I heard they needed fat, tattooed, bearded veterans and I said, ‘hey, I’m all those things! I fit all that criteria!’"
That enthusiasm was evident throughout the shoot. From togas to tutus, the models left much too little to the imagination with their choices of wardrobe and props.
The photographers were also volunteers. Stephen McCloskey, a disabled Army veteran, said he was introduced to photography as therapy for PTSD.
He also said he has a connection to the causes. He will receive a service dog through SDGF, and he got to meet his future partner, Blue, at the photoshoot. Blue is being donated by OPFFH and will be trained through SDGF.
Karolyn O’Cull is a natural light photographer who lives on Stewart with her active duty husband. Her studio, Ordinarily Perfect, focuses on children and families. She said she was out of her comfort zone shooting men in their boxers, but that she enjoyed the experience.
SDGF founder Britnee Kinard said. "…our main focus was to take veterans and pit bulls, who are often misunderstood, and show everyone that they’re not dysfunctional."
She said recruiting volunteers was easy.
"When I told the guys what we were doing, they didn’t hesitate or bat an eye," she said. "The majority of them said, ‘whatever it takes to help them... I’m in!’ That is what I loved most about this shoot," she said.
Even more than the humor, she said.
"We have laughed more today than I can remember doing in a very long time," Kinard said.
The calendars should be ready by Christmas and the New Year. SDGF will take orders on its Facebook page.