Who doesn’t love or adore celebrities who use their wealth and fame to help others? Especially those in need? From building foundations to hosting charitable events, all their kindness, selfless deeds deserve recognition.
One of those people who’ve dedicated most of their lives to helping others is Gary Sinise.
The actor has long stood up for the rights of war veterans, together with their families, and even created a non-profit organization that serves the needs of defenders, veterans, first responders, as well as their families and communities.
Who’s this Gary Sinise?
The Illinois-born Sinise is an actor, director, musician, and philanthropist, who has starred in several different blockbuster movies.
You may know him as Lieutenant Dan Taylor from Forest Gump, or recognize his stone-cold stare from movies like The Green Mile and Apollo 13.
In his latest film, I Still Believe, which hits theaters comes March 13th, Gary Sinise plays Tom Camp, father of beloved Christian artist, Jeremy Camp.
Sinise has gone on to dedicate a large proportion of his life to honor and help U.S. military veterans.
While playing as Lieutenant Dan in Forest Gump, he was severely injured and tragically lost both his legs.
The character subsequently slips into a deep depression and eventually winds up living rough on the streets after returning to the U.S.
And his portrayal of the troubled Lieutenant in the film formed an enduring connection with servicemen and women throughout the military community.
This inspired Sinise to dedicate his life to helping those who’ve endured the bitter side of the war.
In 2011, he founded the Gary Sinise Foundation, which aims to honor and serve US military veterans and their families.
According to the foundation’s website, they do this “by creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities.”
One of those programs is called Snowball Express.
The initiative was adopted by the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2017, and it honors fallen soldiers by offering community-driven events for their families throughout the year.
Every December, the foundation hosts a five-day retreat for children of the fallen and their surviving parent or guardian.
And last December, for the second year in a row, the foundation brought kids to the happiest place on earth: Walt Disney World!
In partnership with American Airlines, the Gary Sinise Foundation flew over 1,000 Gold Star Children and their surviving parent or guardian (1,750 people total from 87 cities across the nation) to Orlando for one week of stress-free, guilt-free, and financially free treat.
“The most important thing about [Snowball Express] is that these children don’t feel alone. There’s a lot of healing and a lot of bonding and a lot of friendship that goes on that helps them through the rest of the year.”
Since 2018, over 5,250 children of fallen military heroes & their surviving parent or guardian have joined Snowball Express for community events.
The website explains:
“No matter where these families are in the grieving process, we hope to inspire them to believe anything is possible.”
“By providing guilt-free fun and beneficial resources in a stress-free environment, we’re creating a community to learn, grow, and make lasting memories with new friends.”