Did Reaction to Sexy Calendar Photo Lead to Firefighter's Suicide?
He thought he was doing a good deed. Hunky Philadelphia firefighter Jack Slivinsky was all smiles when he took off his shirt and posed for a calendar to benefit charity.
His six-pack abs and sculpted arms landed him a coveted spot as Mr. June in a calendar that featured firefighters from all over the country. But his fun-filled shoot would lead to tragedy.
When the Philadelphia Fire Commissioner found out about the calendar, his family says Jack was removed from his job. He was later returned to active duty, but in a lesser position. He killed himself just two months later.
Jack's heartbroken mom, Gerry, is still trying to make sense of what happened to her hero son.
"He never thought for a second that by taking his shirt off, this would happen," said Gerry.
He had followed in his dad's footsteps, first serving in the Marines, then taking over his dad's spot on Philadelphia's elite firefighting team, which rescues other trapped firefighters.
Jack said on a video tape, "I really like being a firefighter because it's rewarding to help someone who's really in need. "
During an interview promoting the calendar, Jack said he got that body out of a sense of duty. He lived by a strict code of honor.
"If someone needs me, I don't want to be the guy who couldn't pull them out because I wasn't strong enough," said Jack.
Jack thought it would be fun to pose in The Nation's Bravest calendar and his union approved. He asked that his part of the proceeds go to benefit the Widows of Fallen Firefighters.
"Instead of saying, 'Good for you. You look good and you're supporting the Widows of Philadelphia,' the Commissioner said, 'We do not sell sex,' " said Gerry. "He was devastated. He was humiliated. Because the Commissioner charged him with conduct unbecoming a firefighter. Here you are your whole life doing service for people, rescuing people, helping the widows, and then your commissioner, who's your leader, says to you, 'Oh no, you're getting charged.' "
Jack fought the suspension, but his mom says the pressure became too much.
"These guys are tough. These guys are strong. They rescue people. Had I known that he was in any type of distress, I would have been right there," said Gerry.
Then one night, Jack shot himself. He was just 32.
Gerry said, "We knew he was having a rough night. We were worried about him. He wasn't himself. My husband went to check on him. He found him. It's the absolute worst thing that can happen to a parent."
The calendar just went on sale. It was dedicated to his memory. His proud parents walked the red carpet and posed with the other hunky firefighters to honor his memory. They both have a few words they'd like to tell Jack, if he could hear them now.
Jack's dad said, "I'd say, 'I wish you were still here. I miss you.' "
"He doesn't want to see me right now up in heaven. But when I get up there, I'm going to tap him on the head and be like, 'What's wrong with you?' And then I'm going to love him, just like I do now," said Gerry.