competing in the Lake to Lagoon, nearing the finishing line on Burns Way in Wagga Wagga. CREDIT: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/Bidgee
If you are wondering what Australian Prime Minister Tony Abott was doing over the weekend as Australia fights back the worst wildfires, you would be surprised that the head of the country was busy doing his work in the battlefield.
Earlier this week, Abott fought wildfires in New South Wales (NSW) region as a fire brigade volunteer. For almost 14 long-hours the prime minister was fighting NSW wildfires at bay.
He joined Davidon RFS brigade in an ongoing combat in Bilpin, near the Blue Mountains region. He worked from 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20 and ended his shift at 8 a.m. the next morning.
There were only some pictures posted on his Twitter about this event as he planned to work anonymously. No news from his office was heard, except images that surfaced on the social networking site.
One of the volunteers who has served in NSW Rural Fire Service Tova Gallagher reported that it was hard to believe when she saw Abott dressed in the NSWRFS uniform. She said she could not recognize that it was him at first.
"I said 'that guy could be Tony Abbott's brother. Oh wait, hang on. It's him," Tova Gallagher said.
But this is not something new to Abott. The prime minister has been serving as a fire brigade volunteer since 2001. He is a trained specialist in breathing apparatus operator, tanker driver and chainsaw operator.
Prior to his election as an Australian prime minister, he was a cyclist, surf lifesaver, runner and firefighting volunteer. He promised he would continue serving the community even after assuming the office.
The captain of the NSW Rural Fire Service brigade reported that the minister served his fireman duty like any other.
"It is the whole thing the brigade and the service is built on. It doesn't matter what you do outside, whether you are a plumber, a student, unemployed or, in this case, the Prime Minister. The rule that we have at our station is once you pull that uniform on, everyone is in the same boat," Trent Dowling, captain NSW Rural Fire Service brigade, said.
Anyone who bags him for pulling in the uniform and thinks it is a picture opportunity, "I would suggest he should do the course and join the brigade and come and see what we do," Dowling noted.
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