It’s normal to get inspired by a character or two we see in the movies, but an actor to get inspired by a character he played, so much so that it shapes much of the work he does, is especially heartwarming. Gary Sinise play Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump, a veteran who loses both his legs in Vietnam, since then he’s appeared in many roles, including nine seasons on “CSI: New York” as Detective Mac Taylor but he says it was Lt. Dan’s character that shaped his mission with regards to U.S military service men and women. He recently formed a foundation called the Gary Sinise Foundation with the sole purpose to raise money for veteran initiatives.
As an extension of this mission Sinise took 50 servicemen and women from Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, Fort Belvoir in Virginia, and Naval Medical Center in San Diego, to Disneyland on a three day all expenses paid trip. The trip included a special screening of Forest Gump during which Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis met with the veterans, as well as a visit to Paramount Studios, a meal at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. in Anaheim. “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 servicemen on the trip, said in an interview. “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.”
One of Gary Sinise Foundation’s projects is building smart homes for wounded veterans. Furthermore, Sinise and his band often tour to different places to entertain US soldiers and raise funds for the foundation. “I just couldn’t not do anything,” Sinise told “Good Morning America.” “I’ve seen a lot of need and I’ve become very committed to [being] somebody who can try to make a difference.”