May 26, 2015

Alys Stephens Center donors invite 60 veterans for Jay Leno show

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jay leno2At least 60 veterans and their guests will be treated to a live performance by comedian Jay Leno at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center.

Alys Stephens Center donors Jim Stroud of Warren Averett, LLC, and Mac Fairley have made it possible by reserving a block of tickets for the veterans, who are all from the Birmingham VA Medical Center. Leno is the star of the 2015 Viva Health Starlight Gala, the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Alys Stephens Center. The performance is set for 8 p.m. Sunday, June 7.

The veterans are from various eras of conflict, including WWII, Vietnam, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan, and 20 are blind rehabilitation patients, says Jeffrey Hester, spokesman and chief of public and community affairs for the VA. The gift of an evening out is special, he says.

“We often have people who think of veterans and donate things; blankets, gifts, we have those periodically,” Hester said. “It’s not a common occurrence to have someone donate tickets. It gives the veterans an opportunity to get out when they would not have had that opportunity.”

Birmingham is a patriotic community, and this should be a neat night out for the veterans, Hester says.

“It is an honor for UAB’s Alys Stephens Center to provide these tickets with the help of our generous and civic-minded donors,” said UAB Senior Vice President Shirley Salloway Kahn. “It is but a small token of appreciation for all that these military veterans have sacrificed for our country. We are glad to support them, as well as the Birmingham VA Medical Center. I am delighted that Jay Leno and the 2015 Viva Health Starlight Gala will provide an evening of laughter and joy for these women and men.”

Anyone who wishes to give to veterans at the VA Medical Center may call the hospital’s Voluntary Service at 205-933-4396 for referral to the proper channels for donations.

Anyone who wishes to give to veterans at the VA Medical Center may call the hospital’s Voluntary Service at 205-933-4396 for referral to the proper channels for donations.

The Viva Health Starlight Gala benefits the programs and education initiatives of UAB’s Alys Stephens Center. These education and outreach programs have served more than 17,000 individuals in the Greater Birmingham area. Leno is set to perform an evening of comedy. Tickets are $125 and include a cocktail reception, as well as an opening performance from Street Corner Symphony. Call 205-975-2787 or visit www.AlysStephens.org for tickets or for more information.

Leno is widely characterized as “the hardest-working man in show business.” The former late-night television host is an admired stand-up comedian, best-selling children’s book author, much-in-demand corporate speaker, lovable TV and movie voice-over artist, pioneering car builder and mechanic, and philanthropist. His everyman style and personality have helped him earn millions of fans worldwide.

According to his bio, in addition to the United States, he has entertained in various countries, including Bosnia, where he performed for military troops associated with the war in Afghanistan, and Aviano, Italy, where he performed for troops associated with the peacekeeping efforts in Bosnia. He remains passionate about performing in front of live audiences, including the military, and appears regularly in Las Vegas, on U.S. college campuses and in other venues.