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  •  Patrons 

  •  Rt. Hon. John Howard - Event Patron 

  • Few leaders can identify in their tenure an event of such magnitude that it truly changed the course of history, and even fewer can attest to being at that event.

    On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was preparing for a media conference in the offi ces of the Australian Embassy in Washington, when the terrible news of the first attack on the World Trade Center filtered through. Initially I thought it was a terrible accident, however events moved at pace and, with the attack on tower two and the subsequent explosion at the Pentagon, it became apparent that America was under attack, and by a quirk of fate the leader of one of the US's staunchest allies was in the midst of it.

    I was scheduled to speak at a joint sitting of the US Congress the next day, an opportunity that could not go ahead. I instead went to Congress to express Australia's support, and my entourage was the only party allowed into the chamber. The emotion of the moment and shared grief left an indelible mark upon my consciousness, for the September 11 attack was not just on America, but on all things that our great freedom-loving societies stand for, as subsequent attacks have shown.

    The US-Australian alliance has transcended the test of time. We stood side by side in all the major conflicts of the 20th century, endured depressions and the tribulation of worldwide natural disasters, and together we faced and defeated the scourges of totalitarian ideologies of the 20th century. I knew at that moment that together again we would have to face an even more invidious challenge, that of religious extremism in the 21st century.

    The Los Angeles to New York 2010 run is a practical reflection of the values and the aspirations that two great freedom-loving societies enjoy. The run rejects the notions of exclusion, of hatred and above all of extreme ideologies. The run rather embraces the enlightenment of life, its liberties and freedom's and it rejoices in the goodness that is the essence of the human race. But ultimately it honours the brave men and women of the emergency services who sacrificed their futures on that fateful day to ensure that others could live: the very embodiment of those values.

    I am honoured to be the Patron of this run and to support the endeavours and exertions of committed firefighters from Australia and the US who have undertaken it, to ensure that the sacrifice and suffering of that fateful day will not fade into the history books.

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  •  Jerry Lewis - US Patron 

  • Jerry Lewis has gracefully agreed to be the US Ambassador of The Tour Of Duty. Jerry, has had a long and successful career as a comedian, actor, film producer, writer, film director and singer. Jerry is also the US national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and was recently in Australia promoting his charity and spent time in Melbourne and Sydney with Vic  and NSW firefighters.

    Despite all this hectic activity, Jerry gives the appearance of being ageless. Six feet in height (184cm), around 170 lb. (77kg), hazel eyes and black hair. He has five sons: Gary, Ron, Scott, Chris and Anthony, seven grandchildren, and one great granddaughter, thanks to his granddaughter Sara Jane Spence.

    Jerry has a proud relationship with US firefighters. Jerry has been an active fund raiser for many charities and is thrilled to be associated with The Tour of Duty and the 'firefighter fellowship'. Jerry will be waiting in Las Vegas and we are looking forward to shaking his hand.

    1977 marked the year that the highest honor ever bestowed upon an entertainer, would recognize the tireless efforts Jerry Lewis has displayed since 1949, in his fight against Muscular Dystrophy. "Jerry Lewis is a man for all seasons, all people, all times. His name has, in the hearts of millions, become synonymous with peace, love and brotherhood." With those words, Congressman Les Aspin of Wisconsin concluded his nomination of Jerry Lewis for the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Jerry Lewis has a motto that reflects more than anything else his ongoing love affair with humanity: "I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again!"

  •  Annabelle Eve Priftis - Young Ambassador  


    My Role as the Tour Of Duty Ambassador:


    Hi, My name is Annabelle Priftis and I am a 16 years old student studying VCE in Melbourne. I’m a singer/songwriter and also an Ambassador for Variety the Children's Charity. I perform professionally at charity events to help raise awareness and much needed funds for these worthy causes.

    Tour of Duty- ‘Run across America’ is the culmination of a group of Australian fire-fighters showing strength and courage through adversity and bringing awareness to a variety of events that need to be remembered through education and acknowledgement.

    I am so incredibly privileged to be the young Ambassador for the Tour of Duty as I am inspired by the message of comradeship and caring for survivors and those lost in tragedy.

    Last year, Australia suffered its worst bushfire in history and nine years ago America suffered the worst terrorist attack in history at the World Trade Centre 9/11 tragedy. Our firefighters are heading over to the United States to share a common bond, show support and to continue the great friendship between our two great nations.

    How can I help?    I have contributed my time willingly for many years to help a variety of organizations and I am hoping that all the friends I've made along the way will stand behind this great event and give their support. I also want to represent youth and ask my peers to get behind us too, both here and in the United States.

    The benefits of this kind of event can be momentous such as when Nelson Mandela decided to use a soccer match to unite his nation. We want to show the world that Australian's are people with courage and have the ability to do anything. We want the American's to be a part of our great country and feel at home when they visit our shores. While we're in America, we'll be gathering various famous Australian's to stand together with us to commemorate the brave servicemen who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 and share with them our resilience to stand up after horrific events and share in the American, "We are one, and united we stand" attitude.

    Our Prime Minister Mr. Kevin Rudd has offered his support and so has our Patron, former Prime Minister Mr. John Howard, who was our Prime Minister back in September 11, 2001. I'd like to think that our government leaders in their various capacities would lend their support.
    I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of inspirational people along the way and also looking forward to spending time with American students and share stories.

    I'll be singing the Australian and American National Anthems to share our love of patriotism and our love of our countries. I have co-written a song with James Kempster titled ‘Heroes', which I am hoping will inspire others to get involved and support this magnificent cause. I wrote this song for the Tour of Duty hoping that it shines a light on the great work our emergency servicemen do every day. These guys who risk their lives for us are our nations heroes!



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