The striping pattern on the stock ZR1 hood imitates the "stinger" look of the '67 big-bloc
According to Lyons, the recognition these children receive often has a major impact on their lives. She speaks of the "amazing transformations" experienced by kids who were previously depressed due to their medical conditions. Many have even returned to help other hospitalized children.
Mark Breiner and Pat Meehan of UCI Dream Giveaways also talked with us about the Dream Giveaway and its impact on the charity's Hero program.
"It's just been an amazing program," said Breiner. "When we started funding Kids Wish Network's Hero program through the Corvette Dream Giveaway, there were just 30 hospitals around the country that participated. The Corvette Dream Giveaway was and is the only source of funding for this program, and there has been a long waiting list of hospitals."
The hospital total rose to 100 the second year and to 170 facilities in this, the third year of the program. Multiplying 170 times 12 months amounts to more than 2,000 kids recognized each year by individual hospitals. Breiner told us he's always thought the Corvette community was "very giving" and "a big reason for the success of [the] program."
Then there's the celebrity angle. When the child is selected each month, the hospital has a "pretty cool ceremony," according to Meehan. "Often times a celebrity will come. If it's in Houston, an astronaut might be there. Or it might be an entertainer like Brad Paisley.
"Over the years Brad has been an important supporter of the program," Meehan said. "He's helped Kids Wish Network to help children who wanted to meet him as their wish, and he provided a very nice testimonial in an introduction to a promotional video for Kids Wish Network several years ago. So we wanted to recognize that.
"He does things very quietly and privately. He doesn't look for notoriety or special recognition. We knew it would be a great way to salute and recognize Brad for his support and affinity for sick children. And it doesn't hurt that he loves Corvettes."
And of course, as a triple Grammy winner and three-time Country Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year, Paisley's name recognition didn't hurt the program, either.
But in the end, the program is less about horsepower and star power than it is about the power to support and uplift the children it serves. According to Breiner, "The program is a real spirit-builder for these children and something that has changed their lives and their families' lives."
Inside, AAT changed the color scheme to brilliant red, including the gauge cluster, sill p
Paisley's signature also appears on the floor mats (shown here), engine cover, and dash.
A true Corvette enthusiast, country star Paisley showed up for our photo shoot at the whee