May 2010: Tour of Duty runner Leon Colbert, Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Tour of Duty runner Rob Frey and Tour of Duty team member Greg Weir in Brisbane.
May 2010: Tour of Duty runner Leon Colbert, Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Tour of Duty runner Rob Frey and Tour of Duty team member Greg Weir in Brisbane. Glenn Barnes, Courier Mail

Deputy PM ‘lovely'

MEETING the Deputy Prime Minister might be daunting for some people, but for Gympie firefighter Rob Frey, who risks his life to save others in the course of duty and is preparing to run a 7500km relay from Los Angeles to New York, it was easy.

Mr Frey said he was in Brisbane on Monday with fellow Queensland firefighter, Leon Colbert, doing promotional work for the Tour of Duty run across the United States and “had an opportunity to catch up with” Ms Gillard.

He said the Deputy Prime Minister was “lovely”, very polite and interested in what the firefighters had to say.

Ms Gillard congratulated the firies in advance for their effort over the 31-day run.

There are 12 weeks of training to go before Mr Frey will join 16 other firies from across the nation in the Tour of Duty, of which Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has offered his support, and former Prime Minister John Howard is patron.

Mr Frey said he and all the other Australian firefighters taking part were in full training mode at the moment and running at various times of the day to prepare.

“I'm very honoured to be doing it. It's a race to pay tribute to those who lost their lives on that terrible day nine years ago... I'm very proud,” he said.

“I'm training to make sure I do my part in the relay.”

The Tour of Duty is being held to commemorate 9/11. The Australian firies taking part are fundraising for The Alfred's Burns Unit in Victoria.

Firefighters will run a continuous relay starting in LA on August 12 and ending at the World Trade Centre on September 11.

Each day of the journey will be dedicated to the 411 first responders who lost their lives and the run will commemorate the 2973 victims of September 11, 2001.

The run reflects the values of humanity, mateship, camaraderie and self-sacri{filig}ce, and is a statement of hope.

Visit www.tourofduty.com.au for more information.

Gympie Times


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