Bob Freitag has been called a lot of names since his days as a student at Moraine Valley, but he’s honored to be called each and every one of them.

There’s Lawyer Bob, Judge Bob, Major Bob, Fireman Bob, Race Car Bob, and Farmer Bob. These are more than just career titles; they’re terms of endearment for a man who has a passion for each of the roles he has taken on in life.

Although his current main job is that of associate circuit court judge in a five-county area in central Illinois, Bob concurrently serves as an officer in the Army Reserves, a volunteer firefighter/EMT in his hometown, and co-owner of a midget race car team, all while maintaining a seven-acre horse, goat and cattle farm at his place of residence.

Upon completion of his associate’s degree at Moraine Valley in 1981, Bob went on to Illinois State University where he earned a degree in political science. “I am convinced Moraine Valley provided a solid base for my later successes at ISU,” he said. “The classes were all taught by competent faculty, and I believe they equaled, if not exceeded, the quality of teaching and learning I would have had at a four-year institution, mostly because of the small class size and resultant direct contact with the instructors.” Bob completed his education with a law degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

His early career days include years as a public defender and assistant state’s attorney before being appointed to the bench, where since 1000 he has overseen cases involving divorces, civil matters, narcotics, gangs, violent crimes, and sexual abuse against children. “This has been very difficult, very draining; but it has been very rewarding,” Bob said.

Another rewarding move has been Bob’s work for the Army Reserves. “My father served in the Army. When he was sick, I made a promise to him that I would join. He died while I was in law school and because I was busy with my family and job, it took me 12 years to fulfill that promise, but I did.”

Bob was called to active duty in 2004 and stationed for a year in Wisconsin when he got the call to Iraq to oversee one of the units he trained. “I left for Iraq on the 4th of July-very fitting to leave on Independence Day,” he said. His yearlong tour of duty as a major in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps included overseeing the treatment of detainees, including Saddam Hussein, at Abu Ghraib, Baghdad’s correctional facility. “That was the longest year of my life, but I am very proud that I served,” he said. Although Bob was not assigned to combat, he was the target of frequent attacks. “I traveled a lot by ground and anytime you travel by ground there’s combat. At Abu Ghraib we were shelled once or twice a week. With the help of his family back home, Bob spearheaded a project to collect items like clothing, school supplies and toys for the children who came to visit detainees at the facility. “These children lived in absolutely awful conditions,” he said.

Also following in his father’s footsteps (his dad was a firefighter in Worth), Bob serves as a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician in Carlock, a small community in central Illinois where he lives with his wife and two children. His co-ownership of a midget race car team called Car 54 brings him and his family to the raceway on Saturday nights. “This has been especially fun because it’s something my son and I have been doing together since he was young.”

All of his careers have been rewarding-both professionally and personally, and he is especially honored to serve time on the bench. “I love my job,” he said. “Being a judge is the best job a lawyer could have.”