Hiring Heroes: KISS, Def Leppard Promote Hiring Veterans on Summer Tour

Video by Joseph Andrew Lee

MANASSAS, Va.–KISS and Def Leppard are committed to the cause of hiring our troops.

To demonstrate their commitment, the bands hired a pair of combat veterans from the recent wars to be roadies on their summer tour, and even pledged to donate a dollar from each ticket sold to military nonprofits like the USO.

Kayla Kelly, 25, is a retired Marine field radio operator from Lake Grove, New York. She is in charge of setting up the VIP section for KISS’ acoustic shows. She grew up listening to KISS with her dad, a firefighter who was injured during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

“This opportunity has really helped me break out of my shell and open up more,” she said. “It’s been an awesome experience.”

Bill Jones, of Clarksville, Tennessee, deployed twice during his 12 years in the Army. In 2003, he was part of an infantry unit that was sent to Kuwait for the initial push into Iraq. His second tour was to Afghanistan in 2010 as a helicopter pilot.

“[In combat] I was terrified but I tried not to show it,” said Jones, a father of six. “I never thought in a million years I’d get the chance to do something like this. It has been the opportunity of a lifetime.”