Gary Sinise Takes Wounded Veterans to Hollywood

By: Kimberly Ripley - March 1, 2014

Gary Sinise has never forgotten his role in the award winning film Forrest Gump as Lt. Dan. In fact, he said recently during an interview with ABC that he still embraces the role today.

“There’s something different about this part,” he said.” “I’ve walked into so many hospital rooms and they look at me and they think I know what they’re going through.”

He formed the Gary Sinise Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising money for veteran initiative. Even though he didn’t know firsthand how these veterans were suffering, he knew he had to do something to help them.

“I just couldn’t not do anything,” Sinise said. “I’ve seen a lot of need and I’ve become very committed to [being] somebody who can try to make a difference.”

“There’s a hopeful ending to the story of Lieutenant Dan and all our wounded veterans want that story, that they can be standing up again and moving on with life and doing alright,” he continued. “The whole purpose is to send them home smiling. They should know what I’m trying to do here.”

In February Gary Sinise took a group of 50 wounded veterans from Walter Reed Bethesda, Fort Belvoir in Virginia, and Naval Medical Center San Diego to where this all began for him as Lt. Dan–Hollywood. He flew the solders on a private charter plane provided by American Airlines. The group even received a police escort as they drove through Los Angeles.

The first stop for Sinise and the wounded veterans was Disneyland. Disney welcomed them with open arms, free admission and a guide who moved them all to the front of the amusement lines.

“After the injuries and all that, it feels like you can’t go out in the world anymore,” Staff Sgt. Michael Irish, one of the wounded veterans, said. “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.”

At Paramount Studios Gary Sinise arranged for a private showing of Forrest Gump, and Tom Hanks himself came to greet the group and mingle among them. Tom Arnold and Dan Danson showed up to visit with the troops, too.

Sinise has long set an example in Hollywood that’s hard to beat. He has given of himself for wounded soldiers through his organization and his band–the Lt. Dan Band. He likely spends more time these days giving back than he does acting. Sinise stars in CSI: New York. Kudos to him and the fine, selfless work he does for U.S. veterans.

Image via YouTube

About the Author

Kimberly RipleyKimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.

View all posts by Kimberly Ripley
  • Dee Del

    Thank you for your generosity!

  • American Warrior

    Lt. Dan or Gary, I’m humbly grateful for you taking opportunity to help the wounded warrior. What an honor to see a person as yourself, another Veteran who can make possible in aiding Veterans with humbling smiles. You have not forgotten where you come from. You are Sir, a classic human being. I know your not seeking recognition, fame or attempting to make it all about you. Still you, have gone way past and beyond the call of duty, honor and the courage to put together, events that brighten the hearts of Veterans. I too, am a Veteran and salute you, as a descent human being giving back, what you have been given. God Bless you Gary. I belong to a Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter in Northern California and just had to make this statement. Thank You……..