It appears to me that politics has its place — that’s singular.
Yet we find it, seemingly, in all places.
It’s everywhere in entertainment.
But actor Gary Sinise has used his celebrity to make a difference, without politics ever coming into play.
Personally, I’d love to see more of the same.
When it comes to helping veterans, Gary’s a veteran.
In August of 2019, I wrote of his 25-year partnership with the Disabled American Veterans advocacy group.
From my article:
[S]ince receiving the initial recognition from DAV on August 21st, 1994, his involvement with the organization has included nine years as national spokesperson for the building of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in D.C., which had its dedication and grand opening in 2014.
At that ceremony, Gary quoted Abraham Lincoln:
“Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure.”
See the moving video:
About six months prior, soldiers, vets, first responders, and Hollywood paid an emotional tribute:
People captured Gary’s response:
— People (@people) February 13, 2019
And now, another milestone’s upon us.
The Gary Sinise Foundation celebrates ten years of service to America’s servicepeople and vets.
On its website, the foundation recalls moments in time.
A selected few:
“[R]ooted in [Gary’s] mission of service and a steadfast desire to raise spirits and improve the wellbeing of our nation’s heroes and their families,” the foundation was launched.
The first Invincible Spirit Festival, which champions “the courage displayed by our wounded heroes, and their families and caregivers,” was held.
“[M]ore than 102,400 recovering service members, veterans, their families, and medical staff have attended Invincible Spirit Festivals at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Fort Belvoir in the D.C. area.”
Gary and the Gary Sinise Foundation hosted Hollywood Salutes Heroes, a “multiday celebration and expression of thanks to those who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. The trip included a full day at Disneyland®, a feast at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., and a celebration at Paramount Pictures Studios. On the Paramount lot, the heroes were surprised by Gary, many fellow celebrities, and more than 100 local veterans. They were treated to a private screening of Forrest Gump followed by a special concert performed by Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band.”
The first Soaring Valor trip to The National WWII Museum was taken.
“An honor flight of WWII veterans departed Los Angeles and arrived in New Orleans to a hero’s welcome, kicking off three red carpet days of entertainment, celebratory meals, and community building with their fellow heroes. The trip honored the heroism, sacrifices, and contributions made by the men and women of America’s Greatest Generation. … In 2017, we began expanding Soaring Valor trips to include high school students so that they could experience the museum side-by-side with WWII veterans.”
[T]he Gary Sinise Foundation held its first year-end “Snowball Express event at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando. [F]amilies of our fallen military heroes were transported to the Happiest Place on Earth™ for a four-day therapeutic retreat. Throughout the event, families had access to complementary resources such as counseling services, educational scholarship application support, medical and government benefits education, financial counseling and assistance, mentoring, and a variety of activities and entertainment, including a concert by Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band.”
“On December 12, 2019, the Gary Sinise Foundation dedicated its 60th mortgage-free specially adapted smart home to retired U.S. Army Sergeant Stefan LeRoy and his family. Stefan lost both legs during a combat operation in Afghanistan in 2012 when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated underneath him as he was carrying a wounded soldier to an awaiting helicopter. After moving into their new home, Stefan said, ‘I can get everywhere, there’s not a place in the house that is not accessible to me,’ reaffirming his newfound mobility and independence.”
“In response to the emerging public health crises, the Gary Sinise Foundation launched the Emergency COVID-19 Combat Service campaign in April… Over the course of the campaign, more than 60,000 meals were delivered to 313 locations in the U.S. and abroad.”
The Foundation “surpassed 10,000 pieces of donated equipment to first responders.”
“What began in 2007 with the donation of the original ‘Lt. Dan Van,’ used to provide no-cost transportation to 9/11 first responders battling illnesses, evolved into the creation of our First Responders Outreach program. Since then, we have provided more than 300 grants to low, underfunded, and volunteer departments, and in January 2021, we surpassed 10,000 pieces of donated essential equipment to first responders across the country.”
Enjoy the new video honoring a decade of service:
Fame is a powerful thing. One man’s moment of recognition can lead to utter downfall or create a spark that lights up endless lives.
Gary Sinise looks to be lighting the world.
Here’s to hoping he can continue, and that others might follow his lead.
Thank you to Gary and all who work with him in embracing those who have risked their lives for our liberty.
We owe them a great debt, and too few recognize that anymore.
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