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Actor Gary Sinise was at the White House last week to receive the Presidential Citizens Medal from George W. Bush.

The actor and musician was awarded the medal for his support of US troops and wounded veterans.

Sinise formed The Lt. Dan Band (named after the character he played in the 1994 movie Forrest Gump) with Kimo Williams, a Chicago-based composer, and plays 30-40 shows a year, mostly for the United Service Organization, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide US troops stationed around the world with morale, welfare, and recreation-based services. In 2004, he founded Operation Iraqi Children, a nonprofit group dedicated to helping the U.S. military distribute school supplies in the war-stricken country, with “Seabiscuit” author Laura Hillenbrand.

“Gary is a true friend of the American soldier,” said Michael Yon, a Special Forces vet and war journalist. “He does not hesitate to travel into war zones to express his admiration and personal support for those who defend us. He visits wounded soldiers, some of whom I personally know. All love him. Soldiers from privates to generals admire Gary for his dedication to a cause greater than any of us. Gary’s dedication went much further. He personally supported sending millions of dollars worth of school and clothing supplies to Iraqi children. I saw this effort with my own eyes. Gary Sinise is a Great American.”

“I have seen Iraqi kids climbing on our soldiers and hugging them and kissing them,” said Sinise. “I have seen their smiling faces and their attempts to say ‘I love you’ in broken English. The folks I saw had hope in their eyes and gratitude in their hearts for what was done for them.”

A one-hour special about The Lt. Dan Band’s work entertaining troops stationed overseas will be televised on Fox News on January 10. More information on the band and their charity appearances can be found at

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