AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A firefighters calendar has emerged from the ashes of an embezzlement scandal a year after it was learned the calendar’s founder was stealing money intended for young burn victims.
Money from the sales of the calendars were intended to go to assist the burn unit at The Children’s Hospital and its Children’s Camp. But the founder, Kirsten Hamling, took a great deal of the money for her personal use. She faces up to two years in jail when she’s sentenced later in December.
Now there’s a new calendar and the money going where it was intended.
“We’ve endured a lot and we’ve carried though one year now, we have a lot of history, and financial history,” said Perry Palmer, Colorado Firefighter Calendar President.
The problems began when it was discovered Hamling was taking money from calendar sales for personal use on such things as school tuition, a fitness club, a Disneyland trip, car repairs, Nordstrom’s and more.
“We all kind of thought, ‘What are we going to do? And then we put our heads together and decided that we need to pull forward and keep striving for the kids,” Aurora firefighter Jim Smith said.
Palmer and others created a new organization, a new name, but the same cause. Now they were turning over checks totaling $25,000 to The Children’s Hospital Burn Center and its camp program.
“I think they’ve resurrected the program. It’s awesome,” Dr. Steve Moulton at Children’s Hospital said.
Hamling pleaded guilty to felony theft for stealing nearly $250,000. She’s been ordered to pay back what she stole.
“I do believe that the restitution plan should be paid for 100 percent of the $250,000,” Palmer said.
Now there are assurances the money is going to help children who have suffered.