For many years, actor Gary Sinise has dedicated a lot of his time to support the men and women who protect our country.
He admitted during an appearance on the short-lived talk show Pickler & Ben that he began working in support of Vietnam veterans back in the 80s in Chicago.
In 2004, he formed the Lt. Dan Band, a nod to his Forrest Gump character Lieutenant Dan Taylor, where he and his bandmates travel around the world at USO shows to entertain troops and raise money for disabled veterans.
In his Pickler & Ben interview, he also said that his role as Lt. Dan began his relationship with the Disabled American Veterans Organization.
He said, “They asked me to come to their National Convention about four weeks after the movie opened to present me with an award for playing what they considered a catastrophically injured veteran in a positive way.”
Because of his continued work supporting the military, Sinise has been awarded with the highest of accolades including being made an honorary US Navy Chief Petty Officer, being named an honorary Marine, the Outstanding Civilian Service award from the Department of Army Civilian Awards, and more.
In 2008, he was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President George W. Bush. The Presidential Citizens Medal is the second-highest civilian award in the United States, with the Medal of Freedom being the highest.
In 2011, he started the Gary Sinise Foundation, which supports active-duty service members and veterans, first responders, their families, and caregivers among others in need. In September 2019, Sinise received a video from celebrities, heroes from the military, first responders, Medal of Honor recipients, Gold Star families and the USO, expressing their gratitude to Sinise for all he does. His biggest reaction was when his Forrest Gump co-star Tom Hanks turned around a exclaimed, “Thanks Lieutenant Dan!”
Less than a year after that video went viral, Sinise is being honored in another huge way. He was just given the Patriot Award, which is the highest civilian honor given out by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
Congrats to Gary Sinise on the well-deserved honor!