Gary Sinise Foundation announced today that USAF General Robin Rand (RET) has been named as the organization’s Chief Executive Officer.
Established in 2011 by actor/humanitarian Gary Sinise, the Foundation is devoted to serving our nations defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need by creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities.
Sinise has been leading the Foundation since its inception, growing it exponentially and consistently exceeding its annual goals. As the Foundation’s Chairman, Sinise enlisted General Rand given his deep understanding of the needs of the military and veterans community and his passionate desire to give back, which Sinise felt was crucial to elevate the Foundation further in its mission. Rand, a four-star General, retired from the United States Air Force this past September, will report directly to Sinise and the Board of Directors.
Executive Director Judith Otter, who has been instrumental in forming and growing the Foundation since 2011, will remain in a leadership position, stepping into the role of Chief Operating Officer.
“I am thrilled to welcome my good friend General Robin Rand to our foundation,” said Sinise. “With Judith Otter as our great Executive Director, a wonderfully supportive board of directors, and our hardworking team, the Gary Sinise Foundation has grown quickly these past seven and a half years, expanding our programs, staff, and outreach. Robin is a tremendous leader and, after 40 years of service to our country, we are honored by his passionate commitment to continue to serve by bringing his leadership skills to support the next stages of our growth, and helping us to carry on the Gary Sinise Foundation’s mission to honor the needs of our defenders and their families well into the future.”
Rand will oversee the day-to-day operations with Otter as he supports the growth of the Foundation, bringing an intimate understanding of both the military and veteran community, and Gary Sinise’s long history of serving this community.
“It has been my honor and privilege to work alongside Gary since 2009 to help him achieve his mission to build the Gary Sinise Foundation into a resource for our nation’s defenders and their families,” said Otter. “I’m now honored to work alongside two great Americans, Gary Sinise and General Robin Rand, to ensure that in the years ahead we continue to build the foundation into a long-term sustainable veteran service organization, available to support even more of our nation’s heroes.”
Sinise has spent the last four decades supporting those who serve and sacrifice for our country – a commitment he’s carried with him throughout his career since his early days as an actor in Chicago. Following the events on September 11, 2001, he created the Lt Dan Band, named after his iconic character in Forrest Gump, to tour military bases, performing concerts and lifting spirits. It was during his first USO band tour in 2004 to Kunsan Air Force Base in South Korea that he met Rand who was a Colonel at the time. Their friendship grew over the years, and whenever Rand was assigned to a new base, he made sure to ask Sinise and his band to perform for the troops stationed there. Over the years, Rand continued to rise through the ranks moving from a one star General to four, a distinction held by less than a few dozen in the armed forces at any given time. He was deployed for a year to Iraq where he flew over 100 combat missions in the F-16, and throughout Sinise and Rand’s friendship continued. With General Rand’s recent retirement, he wanted to continue helping the men and women who serve our country. Joining the Gary Sinise Foundation will allow him to do that in a multitude of ways.
“It is a distinct honor, and with a tremendous sense of humility, that I join the Gary Sinise Foundation team,” said Rand. “My wife, Kim, and I look forward serving in this new capacity and I am deeply committed to doing all I can to help carry out the Foundation mission of honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need.”
In addition to Rand, the Foundation has also named Linda Bammann and John Heubusch as its newest members of the Board of Directors. Bammann is currently on the Board of Directors for JPMorgan Chase and is the Chair of the Directors Risk Policy Committee; Heubusch is currently the Executive Director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. Both have been long time supporters of the Foundation’s mission.