Many people know Gary Sinise from his role as Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump. He’s starred in a number of other well-known movies, too, like Apollo 12, Truman, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
He’s a remarkable actor, director, and musician and has earned a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy over the course of his career. He also has a coveted star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
When it comes to celebrities, it’s sometimes difficult to separate the actual person from a iconic role they’ve played, but Sinise is different. He uses his fame and wealth to help others — specifically, U.S. veterans.
In 2001, he founded the Gary Sinise Foundation, and has helped countless veterans since then. He helps them regain their footing after living through the traumatic experiences of war and time in the military.
The Gary Sinise Foundation has this to say on their website:
“After the tragic events of September 11, 2001, I began devoting much of my time supporting the men and women who were deployed in response to those attacks – the brave service members who, each day, protect and defend our great country. Having veterans in my own family, and having been involved with supporting our military veterans going back to the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, it was after that terrible day I decided to become much more active for our defenders however and wherever I could.”
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He’s lived up to that promise. He continues:
“A few years after 9/11, I visited local NY firehouses, befriended many firefighters, and have supported the FDNY through numerous efforts, including raising funds to build The Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance, in honor of all 416 first responders lost on that terrible morning. Through the Disabled American Veterans organization, I found it my mission to do all I could to support our wounded heroes and their families. And by getting involved with many other veterans Initiatives, I began to support the children of the fallen, Gold and Blue Star Families, and wherever I could serve and honor a need within the military, veteran, and first responder communities.”
“My personal mission is what led to the founding of the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011, and with the help of supporters like you, we will continue to expand this mission in support of our nation’s defenders, veterans, first responders, and their loved ones, while upholding the importance of keeping our country strong by taking care of those who serve. While our programs and projects have certainly made a difference in many lives, there’s much more work to be done. On behalf of all of us here at the Gary Sinise Foundation, thank you.”
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Our newest program, Snowball Express, serves the children of our fallen military heroes, surviving spouses, and Gold Star families. An important aspect of this program is its annual 4-day experience in December, where we bring families together from all around the nation. I am thrilled and honored to announce that this coming December we will be bringing the children of our fallen military heroes to the happiest place on Earth, Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida. Our Gold Star families will participate in fun activities and entertainment to keep spirits high and the Gary Sinise Foundation’s Snowball Express program will continue to provide emotional healing for these deserving children during the Holiday season. (Learn more, Link in Bio)
Sinise has also worked closely with an organization that offers support to the children of fallen soldiers, called the Snowball Express. The Snowball Express and American Airlines teamed up to send hundreds of children to Disneyland for a special experience. Since then, the Gary Sinise Foundation has assisted them in this endeavor, sending even more children to the most magical place on earth.
On December 8, 2018, over 1,000 kids and their respective parent or guardian were sent to Disney World.
In a tweet, he gave them a shout-out: “Have fun kids! We love you!”
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Over 1000 Gold Star Children travel with surviving parent or guardian, 1,722 in all, via @americanair to Disney World today as part of our @garysinisefoundation Snowball Express program. This charter left Los Angeles this morning and I got to take this photo with them before they left. I’ll join up in a few days. Have fun kids! We love you!
His foundation does so much for veterans. In 2017, for example, the foundation set up 11 wounded veterans in smart homes, which were homes made specifically to accommodate the special needs of wounded soldiers. In addition, three vehicles were donated as well as five mobility devices.
So far, the Gary Sinise Foundation has sent upwards of 40,500 meals to soldiers in the U.S., and has hosted 27 concerts for them to enjoy.
Sinise’s philanthropic work hasn’t gone unnoticed. But many people are wondering why more people aren’t talking about how much Sinise does for our vets. Patricia Heaton from Everybody Loves Raymond sent a tweet to TIME Magazine and The Academy, saying:
“Hey TIME Magazine, why isn’t Gary Sinise ever on the Person of the Year list? Hey, The Academy, why isn’t he ever picked for the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award? He raises $30 million a year to build homes for wounded vets along with his support to the Gold Star Family.”
Gold Star is an organization that was created by people who lost family members in Iraq, and the Gary Sinise Foundation works with them to help families after they’ve lost a family member.
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Take a look at this new video as I get a private tour of a brand new home built through GSF’s R.I.S.E. program. On behalf of everyone at the Gary Sinise Foundation, thank you U.S. Marine Cpl. Garret Jones for serving our country. It was an honor to visit you and your family. (Video Link in Bio)
Gary Sinise, thank you for all you’ve done for our vets!
This story originally appeared at Goodfullness.
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