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Published:May 10th, 2009 15:32 EST
Jay Leno

Late-Night Host Reaches Out To Unemployed Main Street America

By Christopher HIllenbrand

Jay Leno, host of "The Tonight Show", plans to reach out to unemployed workers in Wilmington, Ohio, through his inimitable brand of topical humor to provide even a temporary escape to their current financial problems.

DHL Express

Leno has scheduled two free shows at the Roberts Centre in the city on Sunday, in the hopes of attracting some of the 12,000 residents of Wilmington that have been encumbered by the nearly 17-month long recession. The small city, about 15 miles southwest of Dayton, had been a subject of many news reports detailing how the recession has impacted smaller communities in middle America and the industries that propelled them. Wilmington among other small towns across what is commonly referred to as "Main Street America" were a much-debated topic on the campaign trail last year`s presidential election.

Roughly 8,000 employees worked at the Wilmington Air Park, the nation`s largest privately-owned airport, when shipping giant DHL Express decided to trim operations down there. Not only did the company`s downsizing strip close to 4,500 jobs from the local economy but a key customer from the Wilmington-based ABX Air Inc., which is now approaching complete collapse.

DHL is preparing to abandon all operations at the airport by this summer, which will cost about half of the 3,500 remaining employees at the hub their jobs, according to Wilmington`s Mayor David Raizk.