Gary Sinise has made a career centered around the motto of “we can never do enough” for military service members and their families. As a result, the “Forest Gump” star set up the Gary Sinise Foundation which works tirelessly to support those who serve the country overseas and helps those they leave behind. He has also contributed to countless efforts that support the troops both in the U.S. and abroad.
“The Forrest Gump star set up the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011, which raises more than $30 million annually for programs including building specially adapted homes for disabled and injured army veterans and trips for army families,” Daily Mail reports.
Sinise’s dedication and efforts were honored in a surprise video tribute that “completely shocked” him and had him in tears. The video features numerous clips of soldiers, veterans, and celebrities thanking Sinise for his lengthy dedication and support for the armed forces.
As Daily Mail reports, the video compilation was orchestrated by retired Four Star General Robin Rand, who serves as the CEO of the Gary Sinise Foundation.
Here’s more, from People:
The idea for the heartfelt surprise came from Four Star General (RET) Robin Rand, CEO of the Gary Sinise Foundation, to celebrate/give thanks for the actor’s four decade-long commitment to active duty service men and women, veterans, first responders, their families, caregivers, and those in need. Rand rallied everyone featured in the video to help surprise Sinise, and also use the opportunity to spread goodwill and inspire others to give back to their communities via a social media campaign, #GratefulLikeGary.
The full list of #GratefulForGary video participants includes: Four Star General (RET) Robin Rand (CEO of The Gary Sinise Foundation), General Colin Powell, Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, Ron Howard, Robin Roberts, Steve Buscemi, Jay Leno, Judd Apatow, Maria Shriver, Mayim Bialik, Rob Lowe, Tim Allen, Kristin Chenoweth, Joe Mantegna, Sela Ward, Aaron Eckhart Richard Rawlings, Patricia Heaton, Jeff Perry, Iliza Shlesinger, Kellie Pickler, Donal Logue, Medal of Honor Recipient Drew Dix, along with many of the people who’ve benefitted from Sinise’s work: service men and women, first responders, Gold Star families, Gary Sinise Foundation RISE Home Recipients, WWII vets/Gary Sinise Foundation Soaring Valor Participants.
“Completely shocked and speechless by this surprise video,” Sinise wrote on social media. “Incredibly touched and grateful by everyone’s support. I’m crying, so choked up, I thought I’d share.”
Jay Leno opens up the video thanking Sinise and is followed by multitudes of others who offer their own praise.
Hollywood director Ron Howard said in the video: “Your commitment, your dedication, you are awesome.”
“Thank you for all the things you have done for our men and women who have served our nation,” Gen. Powell said amid a multitude of other complimentary remarks. “Not only what you’ve done for them but for their children, what you’ve done for their families, what you’ve done to help them rebuild their lives.”
Here’s more, from People:
The video also includes kind words and gratitude from war veterans, first responders from all over the country and families of military veterans, including recipients of a brand new homes via the Foundation’s RISE program.
“As you can see we’re in front of this beautiful house right now,” said one veteran, who’s shown standing in front of said home. “We wouldn’t have had it were it not for your kindness, graciousness and your wonderful gift of giving.”
The video concludes with a clip of fellow “Forest Gump” actor Tom Hanks, who says: “Thanks, Lieutenant. Dan!”
“I’m in shock, who did that?” Sinise said after the tribute concludes, via Daily Mail.
Overcome with emotion, he adds: “That makes me feel really good, thank you. I didn’t see that coming, oh my god.”
Check out Sinise’s reaction:
— People (@people) February 13, 2019
And, here’s the actual video:
Here’s more on Sinise’s service, from Fox News:
Since the making of 1994’s “Forrest Gump,” Sinise has continued to dedicate his life to supporting the American troops.
Throughout the ‘90s, Sinise worked on behalf of the Disabled American Veterans organizations. He also embarked on several USO handshake tours in 2003 and then formed the Lt. Dan Band in early 2004.
Sinise and his group then began entertaining the troops serving at home and abroad. Lt. Dan Band now performs close to 30 shows a year at military bases, charities and fundraisers supporting wounded heroes.
In 2011, the star established the Gary Sinise Foundation. According to its website, its mission is “to serve and honor our nation’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need by creating and supporting unique programs that entertain, educate, inspire strengthen and build communities.”
Back in January, Sinise told Fox News America’s real-life heroes still recognize him as Taylor — and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I found out that when I started visiting our wounded in the hospitals and walking into those hospitals, they would look at me and they would recognize me as Lt. Dan,” he explained. “They wouldn’t know what my real name as, but they’d call me Lt. Dan.”
Sinise, 63, added the countless wounded veterans he’s encountered over the years found inspiration in Taylor.
“They [wanted] to talk about the story of Lt. Dan and how positive it was at the end for him,” said Sinise. “He’s recovered at the end. He’s standing up on new legs. He’s moving on with his life, and every one of our wounded soldiers, every one of our wounded service members, they want that story. They want to be able to move on and be OK. And that’s just what I’m trying to help them do.”
Here’s even more:
Sinise’s love for the American troops run in his veins — he has veterans in his family going back to World War I. His grandfather, who served during the Battle of the Argonne in France, transported the wounded from the battlefield. He later had three sons and two of them served in World War II. Sinise’s father served during the Korean War in the Navy. And Sinise’s wife of 38 years, Moira Harris, also has veterans in her family that she cherishes.
Sinise stressed that the many wounded veterans he’s encountered over the years have taught him crucial life lessons. And because of them, Sinise insisted he will never stop being there for them and doing whatever possible simply to say thank-you.
“I’ve seen them multiple times over a period of two, three years sometimes, in various stages of their recovery,” said Sinise. “I’ve seen their families standing by them, day in and day out, enduring these long rehabilitations, sometimes multiple surgeries. I’ve met guys that have had over 200 surgeries. I’ve been inspired by their resilience and never quit attitude, and that has been a big motivating factor me — to continue to go out there and support these families.”