Gary Sinise, the actor famous for portraying Lieutenant Dan in the movie “Forrest Gump,” is celebrating 25 years advocating for the non-profit organization Disabled American Veterans (DAV) this week.
Sinise began advocating on behalf of veterans after receiving an award from DAV commending him for his performance as Lieutenant Dan, a wheelchair bound veteran who struggles with alcoholism and mental illness after coming home from Vietnam, according to a press release by the Gary Sinise Foundation.
“Your superb performance brought awareness of the lifelong sacrifice of disabled veterans back into public consciousness in a remarkable positive way,” read the award.
The press release also notes that since receiving the award, Sinise has supported the DAV in a variety of capacities, including as the spokesperson when the organization was advocating to construct the Americans Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in the nation’s capital. “The memorial honors veterans of the armed forces of the United States who were permanently disabled during the course of their national service,” the release continues.
Dennis Joyner, a former national commander for DAV, speaks highly of Sinise, saying, “I don’t know of any other actor or actress that played a role and then adopted it as part of their personal life,” says Joyner in a video released by the Gary Sinise Foundation. “Twenty-five years later, and he’s still at it.”
In 2003, as part of his calling to help veterans, Sinise started a rock cover band called the “Lt. Dan Band.” Through performances on military bases around the globe, Sinise hopes to let veterans and active-duty military members know that “there are people out there who are aware of, and who understand the importance of keeping our military families strong in difficult times,” according to an open-letter on the band’s website.
At a performance featured in a Gary Sinise Foundation promotion video, Sinise says, “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.”
Serving veterans at more than 100 offices across the country, DAV has helped over 11 million veterans with filing claims benefits, according to DAV’s 2017 annual report. More recently, DAV has started sending mobile service offices (MSO) to help veterans who are attending college understand how to file benefits claims, and has hosted virtual career fairs to help veterans pursue new careers.
Author: Eric Quintanar
Source: Daily Wire: Actor Gary Sinise Celebrates 25 Years Of Veterans Advocacy