Nick Mentzer selected for Colorado Firefighters Calendar
When the Colorado Firefighters Calendar comes out next year the Granby Volunteer Fire Department will have one of their own featured for the month of June.
Nick Mentzer works out, though that is somewhat of an understatement.
The construction manager and volunteer firefighter pursues bodybuilding as a hobby with an intensity that boarders on obsession. Mentzer pours hours into the gym each week, straining, sweating and yelling. His dedication and hard work are not without rewards, though, as he was recently selected for the month of June for the 2016 Colorado Firefighters Calendar.
Originally from Fremont, Neb., Mentzer moved to Grand County about three years ago to enjoy the high country.
“I came to Colorado because I was drawn to the mountains,” he said. “Mountain climbing specifically.”
He earned a degree in construction management while also earning his EMT certification, with visions of being a firefighter. After moving to Grand County Mentzer began applying to Granby Fire and has been with the department for two years.
Mentzer earnestly spoke about his passion for firefighting.
“Firefighting makes you feel like you could actually make a difference, like you have a valued presence,” he said. “When you come on scene you can bring some sort of comfort to people that need a little something at that moment. You feel like you are a part of something bigger than just yourself.”
Mentzer also spoke of the intense bonds of friendship that develop among his fellow firefighters.
“The friendships you form can last a lifetime, and the bonds are some of the strongest you will ever make.”
It was one of the connections Mentzer made as a firefighter in Granby that led to his tremendous efforts in the gym.
“I really started lifting heavy when I met Steve Quesada and when I started working with Rob Munro at the Mountain Beast,” Mentzer said.
Quesada is also a firefighter and became somewhat of a motivational force for his friend and colleague Mentzer.
“Steve was absolutely instrumental as my workout partner,” he said. “Rob has taught me great technique, and Steve has been there to push me through the barriers.”
Mentzer explained his love of working out and bodybuilding as an outgrowth of the feeling of community created in the gym.
“It is almost like cheers here at the Mountain Beast, where everybody knows your name,” Mentzer said. “It makes you want to be a part of it. It makes you feel like you’re home.”
Mentzer has been weightlifting for quite some time now but it was not until earlier this year, around February, that he decided to begin training to audition for the Colorado Firefighters Calendar. He sent in a written application in April that included photos of him in his firefighting gear. From the large pool of written applicants Mentzer and 29 other hopefuls were invited to the grand audition event held at the EXDO Event Center in Denver in early May.
About a week after walking the runway during the audition Mentzer got the call that he was chosen for the calendar. The photo shoot for the Colorado Firefighters Calendar was held about a month later in June.
“Oddly enough I was training that night at the firehouse when I received the call. Granted, I had logged months of intense training, one nagging thought seemed to remain, ‘How did I pull that off.’” Mentzer said. “On the whole I seem to remember a brief moment of yelling, being swarmed with handshakes and even catching my fellow firefighters as they jumped on me in congratulations.”
The Colorado Firefighters Calendar is a volunteer fundraising program that promotes fire awareness and works to support the mental and physical well-being of child burn victims.
“When you find out their mission and are able to see the effects of the time the individuals put in, it makes me want to be a part of it for years to come,” Mentzer said.
According to Mentzer every dollar raised through the Colorado Firefighters Calendar goes to two different Colorado organizations, Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Burn Camp. Last year the Calendar was able to donate $50,000 to each organization.
“This past Sunday I went to the burn camp,” Mentzer said. “To see the kids out there having fun, to see the fruits of our labors from a whole year’s worth of work, it makes me proud to be a part of this organization.”
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Grand County has not seen any new deaths due to COVID-19 in the last week, and the reported number of deaths with COVID has gone down by one.