'Forrest Gump' Star Gary Sinise Donates Millions Every Year To Rebuild Lives Of Veterans, But No One's Noticed

'Forrest Gump' Star Gary Sinise Donates Millions Every Year To Rebuild Lives Of Veterans, But No One's Noticed

Actor Gary Sinise is helping veterans and their families across the United States through his active humanitarian efforts.

Actor, director, and musician Gary Sinise rose to fame after starring in the hit film Forrest Gump as Lieutenant Dan Taylor. He then went on to act in numerous other hits, such as Truman, Apollo 13, and, most recently, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. His performances have led to him winning an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award. He has also been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. While many of us may recognize him from his unforgettable roles on the big screen or as Detective Mac Taylor from the CBS series CSI: NY, there may be one thing you are not aware of: his outstanding acts of philanthropy to help US veterans rebuild their lives after their traumatic experiences at war. In 2001, the actor established the Gary Sinise Foundation and has helped thousands of veterans since.

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So touched and honored to be asked to serve as Grand Marshal for the 2018 Rose Parade with a theme of Making A Difference. 🇺🇸 #RoseParade

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On his foundation's official website, Sinise shares, "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."

And that is exactly what he did. 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."

"Over the years, I have met many dedicated people who are also actively working to do the same, and I have tried to do what I can to support their efforts as well as spearhead many projects on my own in support of those who are currently serving, have served, our first responders, and the families who serve alongside them. I’ve traveled to visit our troops  around the world, and have also performed with my band (Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band) in Kuwait, Afghanistan, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Japan, Okinawa, Korea, Singapore, Diego Garcia, Guantanamo Bay, Alaska and throughout the US in an effort to help boost the morale of our troops and military families. Through my travels, I've seen firsthand our service member’s extraordinary dedication," he adds.

Sinise concludes, "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."

His latest act of humanitarianism was his foundation's collaboration with Snowball Express, an organization started in 2006 by a group of people that wanted to focus on healing and helping the children of our nation's fallen heroes. The founders teamed up with American Airlines to send several hundred kids to Disneyland that year. Since then, Snowball Express has partnered with the Gary Sinise Foundation to reach out to more children than ever before. On December 8 this year, he flew over 1,000 children and their surviving parents to Disney World and joined them a few days later. In a tweet, he said, "Have fun kids! We love you!"

As per reports from his organization, in 2017, he helped 11 wounded heroes move into their new specially adapted smart homes, modified three homes to accommodate the needs of a wounded hero, donated three adapted vehicles to help defenders become more self-sufficient, and provided five mobility devices - everything from wheelchairs to hand cycles - to restore independence to our soldiers. In addition to all this, the Gary Sinise Foundation served over 40,500 meals to defenders across the nation and held 27 concerts for America's heroes and their loved ones.

His outreach has expanded so far and wide that it prompted Everybody Loves Raymond star Patricia Heaton to tweet out to TIME Magazine and even The Academy. Heaton posted, "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." The Gold Star Family organization was founded in January 2005 by individuals who lost family members in the Iraq War and are thus entitled to display a Gold Star. Currently, the Gary Sinise Foundation works with Gold Star in order to help families heal after losing a family member.

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