Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dianne Garrett: Jay Leno Leaves Them Laughing

"Tonight Show" host Jay Leno with Dianne and Jack Garrett

"Tonight Show" host, Jay Leno, was watching "60 Minutes" last January when he saw a piece about the devastation DHL is causing in Wilmington, Ohio. He said that he knew right then that he had to do something to help. Shortly afterwards, his comedy stimulus shows were born. First in Detroit, and then the little bedroom community in southwest Ohio.

Last May DHL decided to close up shop in the air cargo business, which meant closing down all its locations, including the hub in Wilmington. They have since decided to continue with international shipping, but are moving it back to the Greater Cincinnati/Kentucky International Airport where they began. In their jet stream, they are leaving about 8,000 workers jobless. All will be done in Wilmington by late July.

I was lucky to be approved as a media person for his May 10 Mother's Day appearance. The Associated Press made all the decisions who would be authorized. We all had to send emails, and of course, mine was quite passionate since I'm originally from Wilmington, and still maintain close ties. I had also explained how I worked there almost 30 years ago when it was Airborne Express, and the sadness of my friends losing their jobs was ripping at my heart. I not only was approved, but my husband was also given the privilege of meeting Jay, and sitting in the VIP section with me. What a great Mother's Day treat this was, even though it was minus the kids. Hey, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!

Jay was so kind to everyone, and in true Leno fashion, he was hysterical. I have to say that I enjoyed the humorous stories he shared about his parents and growing up in Massachusetts, as well as their visits to Los Angeles the most. And for the record, he uses no Teleprompter.

He shared that when he saw local folks being interviewed on "60 Minutes" he could see that they were not crying and moaning about their situation. Rather, they were pulling for the entire community and relying on each other to get through it. He noted that in tough times like this, people learn to lean on one another and help each other. He said that he knows he cannot change the situation, but felt he could bring some comedy relief, and let the people of Wilmington know that they are not alone. He also said, "From what I can see, a lot of good people got screwed!" To that he received a standing ovation.

The "Tonight Show" bandleader, Kevin Eubanks and a scaled down band opened with some incredible compositions. The event was sponsored by Pepsi, who also provided snacks and drinks for each show. Roberts Centre provided the venue.


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Design is copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Bexley Public Radio Foundation. Text is copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Dianne Garrett. Photo is copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Dianne Garrett.

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