Gary Sinise Celebrates 25 Years of Advocacy for Disabled Veterans

Grand Marshal Gary Sinise gives a thumbs up to the crowd at the 129th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker)
AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker

Actor Gary Sinise is celebrating what has been 25 years of advocacy for the non-profit organization Disabled American Veterans (DAV).

According to an online press release, Sinise first began working with DAV after he received an award from the organization for his role of Lieutenant Dan — a wheelchair bound veteran facing mental illness, alcoholism, and depression — in the classic film Forrest Gump.

“Your superb performance brought awareness of the lifelong sacrifice of disabled veterans back into public consciousness in a remarkably positive way,” The award plaque read.

The online announcement also listed some of Sinise’s many accomplishments, which include his “serving for nine years as the national spokesperson for the effort to build the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington, D.C. which was dedicated and opened to the public on October 5, 2014.” The memorial honors veterans of the armed forces of the United States who were permanently disabled during the course of their national service.​

A video released in the announcement shows Sinise’s committment to the DAV.

“Without Forrest Gump, I wouldn’t have been contacted by the DAV and been invited to their national convention,” Sinise said in the video.

“It was an honor to play Lt. Dan, I guess it was in some ways — you know when Lt. Dan talks about his destiny, I kinda feel like there was something at play there, that I would get to play that part,” the Apollo 13 star said of the role in a performance featured in the video.

For more than two decades, Sinise has honored the families of fallen war heroes and worked to recognize those who have fought in America’s armed forces.

Last year, Sinise gave free trips to Disney World to almost 1,700 Gold Star family members of fallen soldiers.

The Gary Sinise Foundation has also given back to many of those who have served the country. In 2018, a double-amputee veteran and his family received the keys to a specially-adapted smart home from Sinise’s foundation.

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