GCI Group lends a hand to bike tour by NY firefighters

NEW YORK: When the New York Fire Department needed a PR firm to help it promote its cross-country bicycle tour to benefit the widows and children of firefighters who died in the line of duty, many agencies quoted figures ranging from $50,000 to $100,000.

NEW YORK: When the New York Fire Department needed a PR firm to help it promote its cross-country bicycle tour to benefit the widows and children of firefighters who died in the line of duty, many agencies quoted figures ranging from $50,000 to $100,000.

But when it spoke to Ray Kerins, EVP and managing director of media relations for GCI Group, he named a more attractive figure: zero.

"We hit the jackpot," said Joshua Gallo, a firefighter on the tour, speaking from atop his bike in the Grand Canyon. Gallo explained that Kerins arranged for a 12-person team from GCI to handle the FDNY's media training and press releases, and to help with a website, www.fdnycrosscountry.org.

GCI has been working on the project for a year. The 35-man, 42-day, 3,336-mile tour began September 14 in Los Angeles and is expected to end October 25 in New York, with a ride over the George Washington Bridge and down to Ground Zero.

The tour has already generated extensive television, radio, and newspaper coverage in Los Angeles. "The media, frankly - and rightly so - is eating it up," Kerins said.

No monetary projections were offered.

"If we raised a dollar, it's a success," Gallo said.

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