Whether it’s Fu Manchu, pencil, walrus, handlebar or a serious Pancho Villa, the facial hair staple that is the mighty moustache dates all the way back to 300 B.C. But in modern times, the mo isn’t just for growing; it can also be an expertly wielded tool for charity. And last year, the Calgary, AB Local 255 Mo Bro Team did a lot of that, winning the Great Canadian Fire Challenge by contributing over $30,000 to the nearly half a million total raised by the GCFC. So we asked firefighter, mo grower and legendary team captain Todd Kusler (a.k.a. Magnum P.I.) for a little advice.
I don’t know if there are any products out there that help you grow a really good mustache, but mine comes in really dirty and greasy and people say it’s quite fitting for me.
Tell us how you got involved with Movember.
This’ll be my fifth year. I just thought that it was a really neat cause that fits in well with the fire department, because a lot of the guys have moustaches, and it’s a predominantly male profession. You start looking at prostate and testicular cancer, and most guys, we don’t always go to the doctor and we probably should. So Movember is a great thing.
How do you live your life differently during those other 11 months of the year?
Not a lot [differently] really, just trying to be a good person and a good family man and a good father, and part of that is staying healthy so I can be there for my kids.
What’s one of the most relaxed days you’ve ever had as a firefighter?
I had a very nice day just two days ago with the Junior Fire Chief. The Calgary Fire Department selects a child to be Junior Fire Chief for the day and we got to be a part of that this year. We went to her school and presented her with the award, and then she got to ride in the fire truck with us. She came back to the fire station and had lunch with us, and it was a really good experience.
What’s one of the most intense days?
There’ve been some pretty intense ones for sure. Any time we go on a call that comes in as a building fire or a house fire, and there’s people inside, that really gets you motivated and your adrenaline surges. When you hear that over the radio, you gotta do your best when you get there.
Most people can picture cops and firefighters with moustaches. Does your job make it easier to grow a mo?
For sure. A lot of the senior members in our department have moustaches. A lot of the young guys, though, seem to think it’s a turn-off, or at least think it is for women. So not too many of the new generation have moustaches, but we’re certain to get a pretty good group of guys growing them every Movember. It’s fun that way.
Do you have any advice for dudes with office jobs or young guys who are self-conscious about sprouting facial hair?
I think they should embrace it; it’s a sign of being a man. And when people ask you why you’re growing a moustache, you can just tell them “I’m raising awareness for men’s health.”
The Local 255 team with celebrity co-captain Brett Wilson. (If you don’t know who he is, you’re obviously not… Canadian.)
Your Movember team raised over thirty grand last year. How’d you do it?
A lot of support from our guys, our families, our friends. The fire department has a strong membership, and when you ask someone to help you out they always seem to be more than willing. I would like to give thanks to Matt Osborne [on the right in the above pic], Doug Chern and Local 255 for all their support with last year’s successful campaign.
Do you have any advice for Movember captains who want to rival your team’s total?
Oh, for sure. I started this Movember thing small and it just grew from there. This’ll be my fifth campaign. For the first three years my team was between ten and thirteen guys, and I was just trying to encourage people to step up and get involved. People saw me doing this every year and they asked about it, and last year we had a hundred and ten guys join the team. My goal is to get two hundred of our members to join the team and raise fifty thousand dollars. I’ve encouraged everyone who participated last year to do it again and bring one more person with them. And hopefully we can double our money.
What does it take to be a Movember Captain?
I’m not sure. It’s just something that I wanted to put my name behind, and people decided to stand behind me and step up and volunteer their time and their money.
If your Movember moustache had a spirit animal, what would it be? A majestic lion? A soaring eagle?
I’m more of a sloth.
Is growing a proper mo an art? Or is it science?
Whoa, good question. You can certainly get artistic with your mustache. As far as science, I don’t know if there are any products out there that help you grow a really good mustache, but mine comes in really dirty and greasy and people say it’s quite fitting for me.
Any final words of advice or inspiration for all the mo bros and sistahs out there?
Grow a mo, be proud and donate.