'Roadie for a Day': Rock and roll band Kiss honors Colorado reservist

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Alan Abernethy
  • Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command Public Affairs

Wanna rock and roll all night? With a little help from the band Kiss, a Citizen Airman from Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, did just that Friday.

Master Sgt. Christa Leary, 310th Mission Support Group career advisor, worked as a “roadie for a day” and enjoyed a Kiss concert in Cheyenne, Wyoming, after volunteering for the event through Hiring Our Heroes, an organization dedicated to helping veterans and their families find employment in the civilian sector.

Leary, whose favorite Kiss song is “I was Made for Lovin’ You,” said she is a big fan of the group because she grew up listening to them, and they are big supporters of the military.

Military members or veterans have been selected for similar opportunities in every city of the band’s current “Freedom to Rock” tour, said Dean Snowden, a KISS Ambassador who has worked for the band for more than 18 years.

Snowden said the Hiring Our Heroes roadie volunteer program is beneficial because both the tour setup team and the military members learn more about each other.

“We get to find out more about the military – all the volunteers have different stories to tell and different backgrounds,” Snowden said. “They get to see a rock n’ roll show from the ground up and interact with the band. It’s great for everybody.”

Leary described Snowden as “King of the Roadies” and explained that the crew and band were very courteous throughout the event.

“During the setup, everything was hectic and crazy, but everyone still took the time to be polite and extremely friendly,” she said. “The band even hung out and took selfies with me before the show!”

In between selfies, Leary said she coined band member Gene Simmons with a Rocky Mountain Top Three coin, explaining she serves the 310th Space Wing as the leadership group’s president.

“Seeing the concert and working backstage with the crew was an amazing, once-in-a lifetime experience,” Leary said.

In addition to assisting the roadie crew with setup and teardown, Leary said she also joined the band members on stage to accept their donation of $150,000 to Hiring Our Heroes. Paul Stanley, Kiss singer and guitarist, got the crowd excited as he expressed his appreciation for the military during this patriotic portion of the show.

“Paul hyped up the crowd so much, by the time I went on stage they were chanting, ‘USA! USA,’” she said. “He called me out by name as he presented the check, and Gene (Simmons) gave me a fist bump as I was leaving the stage. The crowd was really loud.

Shortly after Leary left the stage, the band launched into a rousing rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and closed the show with one of its biggest hits, “Rock and Roll All Nite,” she said.