Actor Gary Sinise is making the holidays season brighter for the families of fallen soldiers. Sinise, known for his role as Lt. Dan in “Forrest Gump”, recently took family members on a five-day trip to Disney World.
The trip was part of the Gary Sinise Foundation’s Snowball Express. The program started in 2006 when Sinise fulfilled a fallen soldier’s wish to take his kids to Disney World.
“The important ingredient is that these kids meet each other and they know they’re not alone,” he said. “They make friendships that last a lifetime.”
Families from 87 cities throughout the world came to the “most magical place on Earth” with a surviving parent or guardian. This year marks the 14th anniversary of the Snowball Express. Partnering with corporate sponsors such as American Airlines, the foundation sees this trip as an important part of the family’s healing process.
“I’ve gotten to know a lot of these families,” Sinise said. “I love them, and I want to just do something to help them through.”
Inspired by his role as a Vietnam veteran, the actor has dedicated much of his time and resources to caring for veterans and their families. He has partnered with the Disabled American Veterans organization, participated in USO tours and created the Lt. Dan Band, which travels around the world to entertain US troops.
Earlier this year the 64-year-old actor received an emotional video filled with celebrities and recipients from his foundation thanking him for all of his work to support soldiers and first responders.
“Thank you for all the things you have done for our men and women who have served our nation,” retired four-star Army Gen. Colin Powell said in the video. “Not only what you’ve done for them but for their children, what you’ve done for their families, what you’ve done to help them rebuild their lives.”
Other celebrities in the video included Tim Allen, Jay Leno and Patricia Heaton. Actor Tom Hanks closed out the video with an enthusiastic: “Thanks, Lt. Dan!”
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice