In 1994, actor Gary Sinise captivated the hearts of many for his portrayal of Lieutenant Dan Taylor in the Oscar-winning film Forrest Gump. For his role as a veteran who lost both of his legs during the Vietnam War, he clinched an Oscar nomination, an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.
As fate would have it, after Forrest Gump, he has been tirelessly devoting his time, energy, and money to help veterans like Lt. Dan, as well as active-duty service men and women, first responders, their families, caregivers, and those in need.
At the start, Gary committed to his new calling, holding a series of Lt. Dan Band benefit concerts around the globe to raise funds for veterans. Then, in 2011, he went on to establish the Gary Sinise Foundation with the mission to “serve our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need,” as stated on its website.
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The Apollo 13 and Forrest Gump actor revealed he decided to dedicate himself to support those who have sacrificed to protect America following the tragic events of 9/11.
“After the tragic events of September 11, 2001, I began devoting much of my time supporting the men and women who were deploying in response to those attacks – the brave service members who, each day, protect and defend our great country,” Gary wrote in a statement published on the Gary Sinise Foundation website.
“Having veterans in my own family, and having been involved with supporting our military veterans going back to the, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, 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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“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,” he continued.
“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.”
On Sept. 11, our Ride to The Flags fund raising effort took in enough money to enable the Gary Sinise Charitable…
Gary Sinise Foundation, which raises around $30 million yearly, funded projects such as building 100 percent mortgage-free specially adapted smart homes, mobility devices, and adapted vehicles for disabled veterans; sending families of fallen military heroes to Disney World; serving hundreds of thousands of meals to deployed troops; and hosting events at military hospitals.
To date, Gary Sinise foundation has awarded emergency relief grants to 233 police officers, firefighters, and EMTs and donated 445 essential pieces of equipment “to ensure these heroes perform to the best of their abilities.” Also, 1,135 first responder training grants funded by the foundation have been given out.
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In the beginning of 2019, Gary grabbed the headlines by auctioning off his vintage 1981 Jeep CJ7 to raise $1.3 million to help first responders and military veterans.
“Freedom and security are precious gifts that we, as Americans, should never take for granted,” said Gary. “While we can never do enough to show our gratitude to our nation’s defenders, we can always do a little more.”
Gary, you have impacted the lives of many with your incredible humanitarian work. With a heart of gratitude, we salute you! You truly deserve the recognition for your tireless dedication to support our heroes.
Together, we're working to improve the lives of the men and women who protect and defend our country and communities….
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