“If you think for a second that I am calling you “Sir,” you got another thing comin’,” grumbled commanding officer-cum-shrimp boat partner Lieutenant Dan Taylor.
You may well know him best as the crotchety lieutenant from 1994 movie blockbuster Forrest Gump, but big-hearted American actor Gary Sinise has been busy since then.
Gary fields myriad projects serving humanitarian causes. One such project is the delightfully named “Lt. Dan Band,” a covers band founded by Gary and friend Kimo Williams to perform at United Service Organization shows. The band entertains the troops and raises money for disabled veterans.
Hitting the news most recently, however, was Gary’s effort to raise a staggering $1.3 million dollars by auctioning off his vintage Jeep. And yes, true to charitable form, the money went straight to first responders and military veterans.
Gary donated a custom 1981 Jeep CJ7 to the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. That’s the same Barrett-Jackson auction that recently sold the new 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 for an outstanding $1.1 million. But Gary’s Jeep was no new model; it was a vintage labor of love, customized by Richard Rawlings’s Gas Monkey Garage in Dallas, Texas, and emblazoned with patriotic stars and stripes.
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This Jeep will go across the auction block today at Barrett-Jackson, 100% of the proceeds will go to the Gary Sinise Foundation!
— GarySiniseFoundation (@GarySiniseFound) January 18, 2019
Bidders did not disappoint. Whether their enthusiasm was for the stunning custom work or for the star status of the Jeep’s previous owner, the car sold easily at auction for an awesome $200,000. This sum was generously subsidized by Sunbelt Rentals, who fronted an additional $1 million to add to Gary’s final generous donation.
The winning bidder then sent the Jeep back into the arena for a second run, and the second sale raised another $100,000. As if a grand total of $1.3 million wasn’t enough, Gary added the offer of a private dinner and a chaperoned visit to the Gary Sinise Foundation in California to the winning bidder.
SOLD and SOLD AGAIN plus extra donations for a grand total of $1,310,000! With award-winning actor @GarySinise and @RRRawlings of @GasMonkeyGarage on bidders, a cool custom ’81 @Jeep CJ7 just went to its new home knowing it will be helping veterans through the @GarySiniseFound. pic.twitter.com/xI5lWilxXR
— Barrett-Jackson (@Barrett_Jackson) January 19, 2019
Gary was elated at the outcome of the auction: “[It’s] my first car auction,” he told the Arizona Republic, “it’s going to be hard to top that.”
With Gary’s reputation for sterling work in supporting veterans, it turned out that a lot of veterans were in the audience. Gary had the opportunity to meet and talk with them and offered his personal thanks. Gary visited wounded veterans in hospital during the filming of Forrest Gump, and the issue resonated so strongly with him that he set up the Gary Sinise Foundation shortly thereafter. The foundation supports veterans and active military families to this day.
Gary Sinise on stage as the Monkey Garage build 1981 Jeep CJ7 Custom sells twice for a total of $310,000 + a separate donation of $1,000,000 was added. All proceeds going to the Gary Sinise Veteran Foundation. pic.twitter.com/U73femMCWX
— eClassicAutos (@eclassicautos) January 19, 2019
Gary has spoken out about his desire to support veterans after witnessing how returning military servicemen were treated after the Vietnam War: “They were not treated well and had to disappear into the shadows,” he explains. “When we started deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan, I wanted to do my part to make sure the men and women doing their part were appreciated.”
Grateful American: A Journey from Self to ServiceFebruary 12, 2019Learn more here:http://gratefulamericanbook.com
The auction of the Jeep is just one more example of how this benevolent actor keeps giving back. His profound appreciation for the sacrifices made by U.S. service men and women knows no bounds. We salute you, Gary! Your dedication is inspiring.
Gary Sinise has written a book, “Grateful American,” chronicling his personal journey, to be released on Feb. 12, 2019.