Entertainment / Home & Family

Why Gary Sinise Fights So Tirelessly for Veterans

Gary Sinise veteransOn the Friday after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, actor Gary Sinise felt a calling. Packed into a Los Angeles church with others looking for a sense of balance amid the chaos and loss on what then-President George W. Bush called a National Day of Prayer, Sinise was moved to action by words from the priest.

“Our priest was moving in his homily that day, talking about service and how service above self was very healing and that we all needed to try to do something to help our country heal … I heard that very specifically that Friday after September 11. That, I think, galvanized something in me and I just felt called by God to do something to help heal the men and women who were deploying in response to that event,” Sinise recalled in a recent interview with Raymond Arroyo, host and managing editor of EWTN’s “The World Over.”

The actor best known for his roles in “Forrest Gump” and “CSI: NY” had already been involved in helping Vietnam veterans. He had learned through family members who had served during the conflict about the toll that came in returning home to a divided nation, one that had an aggressive and at times hostile attitude toward veterans. Sinise did not want to see history repeated.

“Once we started deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan and we started losing people, [and] they started getting hurt, I thought, ‘That’s where I can place my energy. That’s where I can serve.’ I’d been involved with Vietnam veterans. I don’t want our active-duty folks deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan and to come home to a nation that treated them the way our Vietnam veterans were treated,” the 62-year-old actor said.

It all led, in 2011, to the creation of the Gary Sinise Foundation, one of the most respected veteran charities around. Through the foundation, Sinise and others do everything from entertaining the troops (with the actor’s Lt. Dan Band, named after his iconic character from “Gump”), to building advanced homes for wounded veterans.

The specially adapted houses, part of the foundation’s R.I.S.E. Program (“restoring independence, supporting empowerment”), have become a large part of Sinise’s work and the foundation’s focus. The group’s website says 59 homes will be completed and/or be underway by the end of this year.

United States Army Staff Sergeant Christopher Walker (Ret.) will be enjoying one of those homes. Walker served as an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) team leader in both Afghanistan and Iraq. While serving his second tour of duty in Khost Province, Afghanistan, in 2012, Walker was struck by an IED (improvised explosive device) and lost both his arms and his left leg. His next two years were spent in rehab at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in the Washington, D.C., area.

The Gary Sinise Foundation will be holding a dedication of Walker’s new specially adapted home on Friday, July 7, in Alexandria, Virginia.

“Once I started my foundation in 2011, we created a program to help build these homes and that’s our R.I.S.E. program — restoring independence, supporting empowerment,” said Sinise about his group’s efforts to build homes that accommodate veterans’ injuries.

“They’ve [the wounded vets] had a lot of their independence taken away because they can’t do things for themselves, and when they’re living in a house that isn’t specifically designed to their needs, there are a lot of problems … We put all kinds of stuff in these houses to allow them to take care of themselves, so that their caregiver, if it’s their wife or their mom or their dad or whoever it is, can have a little more independence themselves.”

The world has watched as some people have used their fame and success to push divisiveness and self-indulgent political preaching. But Gary Sinise, unlike so many others, remains a shining example of how an artist can use success for the greater good — to bring people together and to fight for positive change.

Said Sinise, a native of Illinois, about his journey to help veterans, which he partly credits to his Catholic faith: “I’m glad I’ve had the great success in the movie business that I had because it’s given me resources to do something positive that’s all part of the service aspect of what our faith teaches us.”

From - PopZette - by Zachary Leeman

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ScarletDove
3 years ago

I have great admiration for Gary Sinese for not only his talent but how he has used his acting to create the Lt. Dan Band to benefit veterans. I have seen him interviewed many times, the more I hear him speak the more respect and love I have for this fine man. Now he has created a foundation that is going further to benefit our wounded warriors. This man is using not only his heart and compassion for our wonderful veterans, he is showing the good that can come from someone in the position to have a platform from which… Read more »

Anne Olson
3 years ago

Love this man! His heart on his sleeve is no act. Wish we had more with that kind of resources and publicity that would do good and prevent hate and harm.

Steve
3 years ago

Mr Sinise is the part of the cure for the men and women that make the ultimate sacrifice . Unlike some who profit off of others pain and suffering my family turned off the boob tube displaying the misery . The hate when they came home protecting everyone’s freedoms was disgraceful . The master has a plan god bless Gary and America .

Murray G Swindler COL USA Ret
3 years ago

My admiration for Mr Sinise is unending. He has used his movie character as a vehicle to do SO MUCH for our active duty military,our wounded military,AND our veterans. His STEADFAST and ALL ENCOMPASSING efforts on behalf of our Soldiers,Sailors,Marines, Airmen,and veterans is remarkable, and deeply appreciated by this 30+ year retired soldier

ONTIME
3 years ago

This is a American citizen, this is what America is capable of all day, all the time….You cannot say enough about selfless return of the things for which you are grateful…..Gary is what makes you proud to be an American……GB

Roser Marianne
3 years ago

Why? He is an exceptionally good man. We need more like him and God bless him!❤️

Marilyn
3 years ago

God bless you Gary Sinese.

Chuck Steen
3 years ago

How thankful we can be as an entire nation for people like Gary Sinise the others like him are willing to put their own reputations “on the line” to help those who give so much for all of us. As a Vietnam era vet who remembers the warning when we left to return to not show our association to the U.S. military when we returned to the US it’s so encouraging to see this great and successful effort to pay back a little to those who are giving so much. As I looked at the beautiful of this sweet family… Read more »

James
3 years ago

Where can we donate to his foundation?

MamaBess
3 years ago

Such a gracious man! love all his work with the veterans.

Jerry York
3 years ago

God Bless Gary Sinise. Thank you for what you do.

Road warrior
3 years ago

Lieutenant Dan is such an inspiration to us and shows what a little ingenuity and time and effort can accomplish for our heroes

James H. Rust
3 years ago

Great article. I remember Viet Nam and it was bad news for the country. I thought CBS news sold us out with a tale of gore every night at 7 p.m.

Mike G
3 years ago

While I am a Vietnam Veteran and Disabled, I’m not a Disabled Veteran. But This man means so much to all Veterans. He has given so much to help veterans especially the disabled, those who lost Arms, Legs and those who have been traumatized by war. ( Every Veteran has been touched in some way by what they experienced in war) war has in someway changed every Veteran. And Gary Sinise has come forward to use his celebrity status to be a Major Source of Support for Us God Bless Him, and everyone who has supported our Veterans.

Judyu
3 years ago

I so agree about how Gary Sinise should be a role model to the famous to do something selfless and constructive that benefits others in positive ways. God bless him and may God bless America with more people like him.
I also agree with a previous comment about the quality and content of this article. Too bad the mainstream media doesn’t feature stories like this one on a regular basis.

Gloria P. Sterling
3 years ago

I really like Gary Sinese. I don’t remember him from “Forrest Gump”, though. He acted in “Apollo 13” as the one who solved the problem for getting that crew home. Also, very good in the series “CSI NY”. He is now in another in which his faith comes through very well. Cannot find it too often on TV, but what I’ve seen I liked, especially at the end when his family is gathered around the dinner table and they are not ashamed to name the Name of Jesus Christ. It’s a series in which they go to other countries to… Read more »

Maria
3 years ago

What Gary Sinise does for our veterans is just so outstanding and so awesome that I was actually moved to tears watching the short video. If only more Americans would follow in his footsteps instead of creating chaos out in the streets and being so disrespectful, what a wonderful country and brotherhood we would have! The veterans current and past, gave their all when America called them to serve their country and defend our freedom, some even laying down down their lives so that others can live freely and the least we can do is repay them with our support… Read more »

Toni Olney-Dee
3 years ago

This gentleman has shown us a much better way. Thank you Gary Sinise!

V High
3 years ago

good news, good organization to support

Cynthia
3 years ago

Will there be homes built in Orlando Fl area

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