The Gary Sinise Foundation is celebrating its ten year anniversary, marking a time filled with helping first responders, military service members, and their families.
The group’s website noted its achievements over the last decade, writing, “We have been fortunate enough to grow the Gary Sinise Foundation into one of the country’s top-rated military, veteran, and first responder support organizations.”
Over the years, the foundation has launched events, trips, and even created a center to facilitate conversations. The group has helped military service members, veterans, and their families feel supported and encouraged as they carry out their missions. “The support of our mission and efforts to serve our nation’s heroes and their loved ones has made it possible for us to continue to positively impact the lives of so many,” the site added.
In 2011, award-winning actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise announced the start of the Gary Sinise Foundation. “Gary’s lifelong work supporting our nation’s heroes began in the early ‘80s with his creation of the Steppenwolf Theatre, where he supported Vietnam veterans in Chicago and continued in the ‘90s when his portrayal of Lt. Dan formed an enduring connection with service members across the country,” the foundation stated. “Gary’s dedication to our nation’s active-duty service members, veterans, first responders, and their families inspired him to launch the Gary Sinise Foundation,” it added.
Over the past several years, Gary and the foundation held several events honoring military service members. Gary notably did so in Hollywood and the entertainment world, an environment where traditional American values and military service are not always applauded. In 2014, Gary and the foundation “rolled out the red carpet for wounded, ill, and injured service members, veterans, and their guests from across the country for ‘Hollywood Salutes Heroes’ — a multiday celebration and expression of thanks to those who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.” Among other activities, guests were surprised by Gary, other celebrities, and over 100 local veterans on the Paramount lot.
The Gary Sinise Foundation also “put together a multi-day ‘Hollywood Adventure’ from October 12-14, 2016, to pay tribute to surviving spouses of fallen service members.” For the three-day trip, 23 spouses from all over the nation came to Los Angeles for the event. “For the Gold Star spouses who attend ‘Hollywood Adventure’ each year, sharing their experiences and reminding one another they are not alone, helps them find joy in the present once again,” the foundation noted.
In 2017, the foundation opened its Education and Outreach Center, a place that “brings civilians and defenders together for constructive dialogues and inspiring events.” The center has speaker series, summits, and workshop events that leave “visitors with a new respect for our defenders, raise awareness about the heroes living among them, and focus on educating communities about the importance of service over self.”
The year of 2020 saw changes for the foundation as it responded to the coronavirus pandemic. The foundation started its “Emergency COVID-19 Combat Service campaign in April 2020,” delivering over 60,000 meals to 313 locations in the United States and other countries. The foundation also helped first responder groups who needed personal protective equipment and financially aided “service members, veterans, first responders, healthcare professionals, and their families.” In all, the foundation’s campaign gave “over $485,000 in grants to 64 first responder departments nationwide and more than $500,000 in financial aid distributed to those in need.” The group also started its first Gary Sinise Foundation chapter in Central Florida last year in order to help people on a regional level.
As The Daily Wire reported in February, the foundation began a whole new initiative with The Home Depot co-founders Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank. The new initiative will offer care to veterans and first responders who suffer “from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and substance abuse.”
“As reported by The Atlanta Jewish Times, both of Sinise’s new partners are donating $20 million from their personal foundations in order to provide support to the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network. The program will add onto the work that has been completed by the Marcus Institute for Brain Health and the Boulder Crest Foundation’s Warrior PATHH (Progressive and Alternative Training for Healing Heroes) program,” The Daily Wire reported.
In a video announcing the network earlier this year, Sinise discussed the “epidemic of invisible wounds” that veterans and first responders experience. He added that these “invisible wounds” have “visible manifestations like depression, anxiety, and substance abuse which affect not only the veterans and first responders themselves, but their families, as well…these invisible wounds too often can lead to suicide.”
In keeping with his foundation’s mission, Sinise has said, “While we can never do enough to show gratitude to our nation’s defenders, we can always do a little more.”
Donate to the foundation’s 10th anniversary campaign here.
Watch the 10-year anniversary video below: