Aside from being on TV forever, the most notable thing about Jay Leno is his obsession with cars. And as I learned today he’s also a hell of a good guy.
But first, let’s meet pl. Ethan Laberge., who was on foot patrol in Afghanistan when a suicide bomber attacked him and the two soldiers he was was with. Laberge sustained nearly fatal injuries, while his two brothers-in-arms gravely succumbed to their injuries.
“I had shrapnel that went through my … foot into my left knee and I had a hole in the back of my left leg,” Leberge said. “I had a superficial wound above my right knee and I also had shrapnel that went into my arm, broke off the end of my radius, broke up a couple of bones in my wrist and essentially shattered my thumb.”
In addition to those injuries, Leberge also suffered a traumatic brain injury that has been causing memory problems.
“If you called Cpl. Leberge a hero, he’d laugh,” Sgt Clinton Lien said. “He’d never consider himself a hero but he is to guys like us.”
Enter Jay Leno, a man I’ve only ever had strong opinions of based on the hand he dealt Conan O’Brien in regards to The Tonight Show. Well, as you may or may not know Jay Leno is a HUGE car collector.
It’s who he is, the car collecting racing aficionado. But in addition to that he’s a man who gives back when he sees that he can make a difference, and for the reasons below I just became a pretty big Jay Leno fan.
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“We took all these wounded warriors and did sort of a lottery and reached in and picked a soldier at random (to) do something for him and hopefully it expresses what we want to do for all the soldiers,” Leno said.
Leno, 64, said that when he meets many soldiers, most are barely out of their teens and he finds they’re often worlds apart. But Leno said he and Leberge were quickly able to find common ground in their love of cars, and Leno had just the thing for Leberge: a ride in a 2015 Dodge SRT Hellcat.
When Leno asked Leberge if he wanted to take it for a spin and was met with a resounding “hell yeah!”
“It’s too cool!” Leberge said, opening it up on the country roads near his base in Fort Campbell, Ky.
The two took a break from their joyride to grab lunch at Knockum Hill Bar B Que, where Leno got to sit down and hear Leberge’s story.
“Where I’m sitting now, I don’t know exactly how well I’ll recover,” Leberge said.
In case you haven’t choked on all the onions being chopped throughout this post AND want to read on, you can check out the full (extremely heart-warming) story HERE on TODAY.
And for now I take back any shitty thing I might have ever said about Jay Leno, because this was a stand-up move that really affected someone who could use the boost in morale. Truly a great end to the story.