The Ford man with a big heart for helping kids
HE'S been out of the car dealership game for 14 years but Greg Klease's passion for Fords and raising money for children with special needs hasn't waned.
Mr Klease will leave his Tannum Sands home next month with little fanfare as he aims to arrive at Mission Beach in time for the 2019 ARB Variety 4WD Adventure, running from June 18 to July 2.
The former Reef City Ford owner has been involved with Variety for 30 years and is showing no signs of slowing down his mission to make a difference.
"Since I retired in 2005 I've really enjoyed stepping up and raising money for children with special needs," Mr Klease said.
"That's dating back to Emerald in the early '80s when we had the Ford dealership out there and helping out with leukemia."
Having raised $15,000 for Variety in 2017, Mr Klease wanted to better that figure this year and did so by miles.
"This year through the generous support of small and medium businesses in the Gladstone community, plus the support of Mayor Matt Burnett and local member Glenn Butcher as of (yesterday) I'm sitting at slightly over $32,000," he said.
"Earlier this year I thought I'd like to get to $20,000, then I thought $25,000 and then $30,000 - $32,000 is beyond my wildest dreams.
"As of (yesterday) 4WD Car 27 is the highest fundraiser to date prior to starting at Mission Beach on June 18."
Mr Klease will be involved in the biggest vehicle procession the event has seen with 70 vehicles and 10 support vehicles making the 15-day trek from Mission Beach to Darwin via Arnhem Land.
Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher, who donated $1500 to the cause, said Mr Klease was a true community champion.
"It's amazing to hear the work and money he has put into this community to support young children," Mr Butcher said.
"When he was asking for donations for his trip I had no hesitation to come forward and donate some money for his cause.
"He's a great guy who would do anything for anyone and I'm happy to support him."
Kelvin Dennis from Dennis Contracting Services has known Mr Klease since he was a teenager in Biloela and was more than happy to support the Variety cause to the tune of $2000.
"Greg spoke to us about having an opportunity to give and we love to able to give back to the community who has looked after us so well," Mr Dennis said.
"It's a great idea to help kids in need and we're happy to help out - (Greg) is a great advocate for it and he's the driving force behind it."