In 2008, Gary Sinise received the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second highest civilian honor awarded to citizens for exemplary deeds performed in service of the nation. He is only the second actor, and one of only 110 people in history to have received the honor. Other awards include The Medal of Honor’s Bob Hope Excellence in Entertainment Award, The Spirit of the USO Award, The Ellis Island Medal of Honor, The Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award, and the Heart of a Patriot Award from USO of Illinois. In April 2011 he received the USC School of Social Work’s Crystal Heart, the school’s highest honor for his outstanding community service, and the university established the Gary Sinise Endowed Scholarship in the School of Social Work in his name to support further education in the area of military social work.
Sinise has done hundreds of personal appearances and concerts with the Lt. Dan Band worldwide, mostly for military related organizations. He has participated in over 40 tours and made over 150 appearances for the USO alone, and traveled to bases in Alaska and throughout the US, and overseas to locations such as Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Belgium, The UK, The Netherlands, Italy, UAE, Qatar, Korea, Singapore, Diego Garcia, Okinawa and Guantanamo Bay, raising the spirits and boosting morale of hundreds of thousands of troops and their families.
As a result of Sinise’s first two trips to Iraq, he started Operation International Children with Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand, which has worked with schools in the U.S., corporate sponsors and People to People International to supply the military with well over a quarter of a million school supply kits, along with more than half a million toys and thousands of blankets, backpacks, pairs of shoes, Arabic-language books, and sets of sports equipment to provide to children in conflict areas.
Sinise serves as the spokesperson for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, traveling the country to raise funds to build the memorial to honor America’s 3 million living disabled military veterans, which broke ground in 2010. He was involved in raising funds for The Pentagon Memorial (www.whs.mil/memorial) located just southwest of The Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, where one can find a permanent outdoor memorial to the 184 people killed in the building, and on American Airlines Flight 77. He also helped raise funds to build The Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance (www.brooklynwall.us) in KeySpan Park, to honor the first responders, those fire, police and emergency personnel from across the nation who raced to the sites after the terrorist attacks, risking their lives in service to others.
“The Foundation is a strong, dependable resource to spread the ‘give-back goodness’.” That’s what Gary Sinise wants his Foundation to do, “provide opportunities for people to give back.”
Currently, Sinise stars as Detective Mac Taylor and is also a producer of CBS’ highly successful “CSI: NY.”
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