Gary Sinise seams like a really nice guy. Recently, he surprised these 1,000 children of fallen U.S. solders with a trip of a lifetime.
If you’ve ever flipped channels at your hotel room or stepped inside the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., you probably remembered the 1994 movie, Forrest Gump.
And if so, you definitely recalled the star of the film, Gary Sinise. The actor played the Lt. Dan who was a disabled war veteran.
After the movie became a hit, Sinise decided to dedicate himself into helping people with similar situation to his character in the film, together with their families.
And every year, he takes those who’ve experienced the worst part of military family life to an amazing trip.
Sinise Established the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011
According to his website, Sinise was inspired to embark on this mission after participating in a fundraiser for a U.S. Army Specialist, Brendan Marrocco.
Marrocco became a quadruple amputee after a bomb blast in Iraq.
Part of his mission involves providing wounded veterans with smart homes and other mobility tech.
The Foundation Also Offers A Program Called the Snowball Express
This program hosts community-driven events for Gold Star families every year. However, these efforts mostly ramp up during holidays.
So, in 2018, the foundation hosted something great for the families.
Last December, 1,750 People Flew Alongside Sinise to Disney World
The group consisted of over 1,000 kids who had lost a parent in the military and a surviving family member who lived with each of the kids.
And Sinise Arranged for 15 Planes to Bring them to Orlando, Where They Were to Spend A Five-Day Vacation
Sinise told CBS Los Angeles:
“Each one of these children who are going on these airplanes have lost a parent in military services – either combat related or illness or unfortunately suicide sometimes.”
“We wanna take care of these kids and make sure they know we don’t forget.”
When All Gold Star Family Members Arrived at the Event, They Were Given “We Remember” Pins to Wear
Members were then invited to a ceremony ,to honor some of the solders who’ve been lost in the military.
600 of These Solders Were Named and Honored
600 American flags were lined up in the park to symbolize the reason these visitors were brought together.
One Facebook user, Jen Tringale, uploaded a video on social media capturing the scene, NEWSner reported.
Tringale added to her post:
“Most every person standing around, myself included was bawling at the sight of these kids and spouses who have paid so great a price for our country. To see all of this at Christmas time was so humbling.”
The last year’s Snowball Express Program Was a Success
One of the attendances, Jade Penix, who lost her husband in 2016, appreciated how the experience introduced her to people who have gone through what her family has.
“It’s just important because of all of the bonding that we get to do. [Her son Desmond] gets to find friends who are just like him, and I get to find ones that have lost just like me.”
“It’s easier when you find people who’ve gone through the same thing.”
“So, it’s an amazing experience. All of the different tributes they have, and all of the different balloon releases where I get to write a message to my husband — it’s amazing.”