Veterans Day is just around the corner. As it comes upon us November 11th, we should be reminded of the sacrifices our brave soldiers have made for us and for our country. Although we should all show our appreciation year round, this is a day we should especially display our thankfulness and generosity to honor these heroes.
Jay Leno is one person who has set out to go above and beyond to show his gratitude and charitableness by surprising veterans wounded in service with a brand new car. Leno, who has long been a supporter of the American troops, dedicates a ton of his time to entertaining servicemen and women stationed overseas and he is actively involved in the Wounded Warrior Project. He is also probably the most famous car nut in the world, so naturally taking a soldier for a ride in a cool car while they share with him their inspiring story of recovery and rebirth is what he would do. It's a ride of a lifetime. And what they don't know until the end of the ride is — that the car is theirs!
In 2014, Leno took Cpl. Ethan Laberge for a ride in an awesome cherry red 2015 Dodge SRT Hell Cat with an astounding 700 horsepower. Laberge had been on foot patrol in Afghanistan when a suicide bomber drove up and detonated himself, seriously injuring Leberge and killing two fellow soldiers who had been standing with him. During their ride Leno asked him if he wanted to drive and was met with an emphatic “hell yeah!” He got in the driver’s seat and put the petal to the metal down the rural roads near his base in Fort Campbell, KY, even whizzing past a cop car. When their joyride was over, Leberge said, “That was awesome ... I wouldn't mind having one of these.” Leno responded, “It's yours” as he handed Leberge the keys and then gave him a big hug while telling him “America loves you, thank you buddy.”
This year, Leno met up with Stephanie Morris, a US Army specialist that had her left femur shattered and right foot fractured when two rocket-propelled grenades landed inside the perimeter of Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan where she was stationed. Leno took Morris out for a spin in the new 2017 Fiat 124 Abarth Spider, a stylish white two-seat droptop. They had a heart to heart while Leno cruised through Virginia on the banks on the Potomac River. Morris spoke about how she believed there wasn’t anything she couldn’t overcome after having to fight to keep her right leg by enduring three years of intensive physical therapy and dozens of failed surgeries before ultimately deciding to have it amputated. Morris took over the wheel and with Leno shouting “floor it, floor it!” zipped through the winding tree-lined streets. At the end of their road trip they went to the origin of the Purple Heart Trail at Mt. Vernon. It was a fitting place to end up since Morris was a recipient of the Purple Heart and the perfect place for Leno to finally reveal to her, “It’s your car. Thank you for your service.”
Jay Leno is an example of the appreciation and thankfulness we should all feel in our hearts for our wounded warriors and all those that have served our country. We may not all be able to show our gratitude the way Mr. Leno can by buying a new car, a quality used car, or a luxury pre-owned vehicle for an honored veteran but, we can all find a special way to show our thanks. One way to start is to make a donation to theWounded Warrior Project.
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