Calendar featuring suburban 'dad bods' helps raise funds for veterans groups
Dads come in all shapes and sizes, so it's OK for "chunky males" to own it, says Marty Wosik of Algonquin, a former Marine featured in the "2020 Barbecue Boy Toys" calendar.
Twelve Chicago-area fathers, including eight suburban military veterans, are rocking their "dad bods" wearing only underwear in various boudoir poses while eating barbecue food in the calendar photos.
Huntley-based Veterans Barbecue Inc., the maker of Veterans Q Barbecue Sauces & Rubs, aims to sell 1,500 calendars by year end to raise funds for local veterans organizations.
Wosik, 39, who is 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 225 pounds, put on 20 pounds for the photo shoot. He said he could shed the weight later as he has done before.
"You can't do a dad bods calendar with a skinny guy in there. It doesn't fit the purpose," said Wosik, who also was featured in the 2019 Veterans Barbecue calendar with a similar theme.
For this year's calendar, Wosik posed on a picnic blanket wearing military shorts and boots with an American flag bandanna on his head and holding a piece of rib. In the 2020 calendar, he is sporting his Christmas elf shorts while holding a couple of bottles of barbecue sauce, which aptly landed him on the December page.
"After serving six years in the Marines, I don't think anything is embarrassing," Wosik said. "Everybody comes in different forms and shapes. Flaunt it around."
Veterans Barbecue, established in 2017, donates 100% of its profits from food sales to credible veteran organizations. The company raised more than $5,000 with its 2019 calendar featuring men posing in shorts or underwear outdoors for McHenry-based TLS (Transitional Living Services) Veterans and Florida-based Wounded Warriors in Action.
"We wanted to do something that was funny and be able to raise more money for the organizations that we were supporting," said owner Steve Lulofs, an Army Iraq War veteran who has a full-time job working as an immigration analyst for the U.S. Department of Labor. "This year, it's real boudoir poses and inside, on couches and bathtubs. It's actually crazy funny."
When Lulofs put out a general call for calendar models on a local veterans Facebook group, more than 20 men stepped up.
Bryan Gulley, 38, an Air Force veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars from Oswego, said he knew going in that the models would have to be shirtless -- only to later realize "it was a little bit more awkward" posing in underwear. But he supported the cause and overall message of "dad bods" being cool.
Gulley posed sitting sidesaddle with his legs draped over the arms of a chair while holding a plate of barbecue pork. "My photo is probably one of the less compromising ones," he laughed.
Gulley is 6 feet tall and weighs 188 pounds, down from the 220 pounds he weighed after leaving military service.
"I support body image positivity," he said. "It's a little tongue-in-cheek. I hope to see it normalized across not just guys ... men should also be supportive of women and mom bods."
Gulley said he is tempted to send out the calendar as a Christmas gift to everyone he knows.
"This makes the perfect gag gift and it's not too expensive, plus it goes toward a good cause," Lulofs said.
To purchase a calendar, visit VeteransQ.com.