Back in April, we told you about how KISS and Def Leppard planned to offer some veterans the summer job of a lifetime: Working as roadies for the bands’ summer tour. Now meet the winners of the contest, who will play instrumental roles behind the scenes.
Kayla Kelly was a radio operator in the Marines serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now she’s joined the KISS army as their VIP coordinator, which means that she assists with autograph requests and more. Kelly knew she wanted to join the Marines when she was in seventh grade and her father, a New York City firefighter, was injured during the September 11 attacks. After her service, she struggled to find employment. “It was difficult just getting up and going to find a job let alone the job field not being big enough for everybody,” Kelly told Vanessa Herrera and R. Stickney of NBC San Diego.
Bill Jones will be assisting the Def Leppard stage manager. He’s a former Army helicopter pilot and has suffered from PTSD since his service in Iraq and Afghanistan. He told Angel Canales of ABC News, “The crew works together like a well-oiled machine, and my old unit worked was like a well-oiled machine. There are a lot of similarities in relying on one other to get their job done and being able to rely on that camaraderie. It’s a brotherhood in the military and it’s a brotherhood here.”
Rick Allen, the drummer of Def Leppard, has a personal reason for supporting this cause — he suffered PTSD after losing an arm in a car accident. He told ABC, “I think what we’re doing is setting an example. Just because you’ve been in a situation like Bill’s been in, or anybody that’s been to war, there should be no stigma attached to PTSD.”
This is the second summer the members of KISS have hired a veteran to work on their tour. Frontman Paul Stanley said, “It’s an honor to have anyone who served work with us. I feel like I’m in the presence of a hero. These are the people who make it possible for me to do what I do. They are owed not only a hero’s welcome, but they are owed whatever they need to work their way back into society.”
Sounds like a great reason to rock out this summer.