If there is one civilian face that is instantly tied to the U.S. military, it would be actor Gary Sinise. It’s over 20 years since he appeared as the bitter Lt. Dan in the blockbuster film, “Forrest Gump,” with Oscar winner, Tom Hanks.
Sinise considers the role to be his favorite and has carried those memories into his passion today – a mission to help disabled veterans and their families. He formed the Gary Sinise Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising money for veteran initiatives.
He appeared Wednesday on “Good Morning America” to promote his organization.
In February, Sinise took 50 servicemen and women from Walter Reed Bethesda, Fort Belvoir in Virginia, and Naval Medical Center San Diego for a three day, all-expenses paid trip to Hollywood.
The soldiers flew on a private charter plane provided by American Airlines. They were then escorted by Los Angeles police officers through Los Angeles.
They visited Disneyland complete with a guide who helped them cut long lines.
Staff Sgt. Michael Irish summed up the experience. "After the injuries and all that, it feels like you can't go out in the world anymore. All you want to do is be in a dark room and just sleep it off, and now with Gary and his organization helping us, to have fun and be yourself, that's very important to all of us."
U.S. Marine Jody Nelson, back from deployment in Afghanistan, now has stage-four cancer of the lung, liver and brain. Accompanied by his wife Trinity, herself a wounded Marine, and their 2-year-old son Caleb, he said, "They (Disneyland) provided an experience that's just unbelievable. Doctors told me I might live this many years or that many years, but I'm just going to fight it every day and every day that I'm able to spend time with my son is a miracle."
God bless Gary Sinise and all the other Americans who support these brave men and women of the armed forces.
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