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Jay Leno Surprises Wounded Warrior With A Dodge SRT Hellcat on TODAY Show

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Jay Leno surprises wounded warrior on TODAY Show with new 2015 Dodge SRT Hellcat

Jay Leno and Cpl. Ethan Laberge, Photo credit: TODAY

Over the summer, Jay Leno helped auction off a 1957 Buick Caballero wagon that raised an astonishing $580,000 for The George W. Bush Military Service Initiative, a charity for post-9/11 veterans. Now the comedian and car enthusiast is involved in another feel-good automotive story, which aired this morning on NBC’s TODAY Show.

Watch Jay Leno surprise a wounded warrior in the “Shine a Light” segment below, which also offers the rare opportunity to see Leno wearing a plaid shirt and slacks as opposed to his usual denim-on-denim outfit:

Jay Leno’s Soldier Surprise

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The soldier in that segment was Cpl. Ethan Laberge, who was seriously injured in Afghanistan by a suicide bombing that killed the two fellow U.S. soldiers he was on foot patrol with. In addition to a long list of broken bones and shrapnel wounds, Leberge also experienced a traumatic brain injury that has caused memory loss he’s still dealing with today.

Leno, who says he was inspired by TODAY weatherman and fellow USO entertainer Al Roker, picked Laberge at random from a lottery of other deserving wounded warriors. The former Tonight Show host then took the war hero for a spin in a new 2015 Dodge SRT Hellcat, before letting Leberge take a turn behind the wheel. After the test drive was over, Leberge thanked Leno for the ride and commented, “I wouldn’t mind having one of these.”

That’s when Leno handed him the keys, gave him a hug and said “America loves you,” leading to a nationwide watering of eyes.

If you found Laberge’s sacrifices as inspiring as we did, you can donate to the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides aid and assistance to Laberge’s fellow U.S. soldiers. You can also donate to Al Roker’s fundraiser here, which is benefiting the USO, the organization that connects celebrities like Roker and Leno with active servicemen and women.

  • Patrick GrieveEditor

    Patrick Grieve was born in Southwestern Ohio and has lived there all of his life, with the exception of a few years spent getting a Creative Writing degree in Southeastern Ohio. He loves to take road trips, sometimes to places as distant as Northeastern or even Northwestern Ohio. Patrick also enjoys old movies, shopping at thrift stores, going to ballgames, writing about those things, and watching Law & Order reruns. He just watches the original series, though, none of the spin-offs. And also only the ones they made before Jerry Orbach died. Season five was really the peak, in his opinion. See more articles by Patrick.