Hand, a Corner graduate who now lives in Los Angeles, said he couldn’t think of a better thing to do while back in his hometown for a few days.
“This is special,” he said. “The smiling faces and the little bit of fun we were able to have made my day.”
Xandria Shanklin, a first-grade student at T.R. Simmons, was going through physical therapy at the facility during Hand’s visit. The two spent several minutes talking, laughing and playing. Christa Coleman, Shanklin’s mom, said she was excited to meet Hand as well.
“My son has been talking about this movie. He really wants to see it,” said Coleman as Hand autographed cards for Xandria and her brother.
Hand visited several patients, blowing bubbles with some and using crayons to draw with others.
“This was a blast,” he said.
Before his tour of the facility, which is a part of Children’s Hospital of Alabama, Hand made a special presentation to a local student. Alexis Gravelee, a senior at Corner High School, was named the first recepient of the Linc Hand Scholarship. The scholarship will be given annually to a Corner student pursuing a career in acting.
“This is such an honor,” Gravlee said. “Seeing Linc, and knowing he is from Corner, that shows us all that we can do it if we try.”
Hand said, “Dreams can come true if you find a way to do hard things.”
Mike Putman, producer and director of the Corner Theatre Academy, said Gravlee has a passion for the arts.
“It’s not just a high school gig for her,” he said. “She’ll be in it for the rest of her life. Her strong work ethic will take her far, and she plans on applying the scholarship funds to pay for a portion of her college tuition.”
Hand spent Thursday evening at a red carpet premiere of “42” at the Carmike Summit 16 Cinemas.
“The premiere was an exciting night,” Hand said. “I went to the Los Angeles premiere earlier this week, but this is special to me, because it is right here in my hometown.”
Mayor William Bell attended Thursday’s event, saying the filming of “42” in Birmingham was significant for the city.
“This is a great thing for our city. Rickwood Field, the Tutwiler Hotel and even the Birmingham Public Library can be seen in this film. What a positive for us,” Bell said.
“42” is now playing nationwide, including in Jasper at the Cobb Movies 4 Theatre. Showtimes for today are 1:05 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9:55 p.m.