Written by Christy Hinko Friday, 03 February 2012 00:00
Several times each month, Carol and Mark Klein, owners of Mismatch the Clown Entertainment in Levittown, host “give back” nights, called “Our Heroes Night Out” (OHNO) to the veterans who are in transition at the Salvation Army residence in Northport. They generate the support from entertainers and businesses across Long Island to provide a night of entertainment or a sampling of their service as a way to thank these veterans for their service to our country.
The story of how OHNO began was quite by accident. Three years ago, the Northport VA hired Carol through her Levittown business, Mismatch the Clown, to do balloons and magic for their annual winter festival. Carol said she taught the veterans how to make balloon animals and how to perform simple magic tricks, which she regularly performs for Scouts, libraries and schools across Long Island. The veterans enjoyed the performance and learning the techniques, wanting to learn more.Carol said the genuine excitement of veterans helped spark her need to continue finding ways to honor veterans and their dedication to serving our country.
Several months after the Kleins’ chance to entertain the veterans at Northport, Milleridge Inn Restaurant in Jericho partnered with the Kleins, donating the first formal OHNO outing for the veterans. Magician Philip Levy and Elite Transport also made contributions for the first event.
Since the entertainment program has been established, OHNO has been fortunate with contributions from dozens of local musicians, magicians, restaurants like: Little House of Yoga, Adventureland, Theater at Westbury, Alexis Seminario and friends, Bon Bon Chocolatier, Lois Martin Psychic, Dunkin Donuts of East Meadow, Johnny Rockets of Hicksville, Ultimate Class Limousine, and Levittown’s Center Lane Pizza, and dozens more. In December 2010 American Idol finalist, Kevin Covais, of Levittown, treated veterans to a special performance.
One of the most recent businesses to lend their services was Tracy Stopler, M.S.,R.D. Nutrition E.T.C., Inc., of Plainview. She is a registered dietician, and adjunct nutrition and performance professor at Adelphi University in Garden City.
Stopler gathered donated ingredients from Greenfield’s ShopRite of Plainview and taught the resident veterans how to make, fluffy chocolate chip cookies, from her personal baking collection of recipes. She demonstrated the techniques needed to achieve the fluffiness of the batter, similar to whipping a meringue. Her niece, Melanie, doubled as the sous chef, preparing the oven and the recipe ingredients.
OHNO continues to welcome new contributors, as well as returning entertainers and guests. Visit www.mismatchthe clown.com to view their photo gallery of past events. They welcome anyone with a talent to share or teach, or event suggestions for an event, and especially event sponsors. Call Carol or Mark Klein at (516) 579-6524 for more information.