June 22, 2005
Twelve top businessmen are posing in the buff — albeit using a few well-placed props — to raise money for United Way of Hood River. The “calendar boys,” a lineup of government and business leaders, plan to promote the project by riding on a float in the Fourth of July Parade. They will be dressed — in banners denoting their respective calendar months and in boxer shorts and Ugly Local t-shirts (see "Term began as insult, became badge of honor".)
“It was awesome. I think every one of us got into the project because it is such a great way to help United Way,” said Gordon (Mr. September) Sato, who serves on the United Way board of directors.
He helped spearhead the creation of the calendar once he learned that sales of a similar edition in Junction City had netted $250,000 in one year. The Men of Long Tom Grange calendar was brought to his attention by Leslie Cogswell, also a United Way board member, after she learned about its fundraising success. When notable Hood River photographer Susan Crowley and graphic artist Micki Chapman volunteered to lend their talents to the concept, Sato believed the design would be classic. So he broached the subject with other board members and Barbara Briggs, executive director of the Hood River chapter, and got enthusiastic approval.
“Every penny from the sale of the calendars goes to United Way because all of the other costs are paid for by advertisers,” Briggs said.
Once they had been given the go-ahead, Sato and Cogswell began recruiting men who were either native to the Hood River Valley, or had lived here for more than 20 years. Attorney Jerry Jaques said he was “amazed that someone wanted to publish a picture of a red headed bald guy” and was reluctant to sign on at first. However, with the help of some Full Sail Ale and reassurance that the money was going to a good cause, he got into the spirit of the moment. Jaques then pulled out his law tomes, fedora and overcoat to help Crowley arrange a “legal brief” setting.
County Commission President Rodger Schock also wasn’t originally impressed with the idea but then he decided “why not” if others were stepping forward. So, he took up his welding torch and let Crowley set up a red, white and blue scenario with sparks flying that, surprisingly, didn’t burn any of his exposed skin.