Actor Gary Sinise received the “Service to Veterans” award at this year’s Fox Nation Patriot Awards show for helping countless veterans over decades, including through his nonprofit Gary Sinise Foundation.
“His dedication to supporting our heroes through thick and thin, all their challenges, is unrivaled,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham said during the show. “It’s inspiring.”
Sinise did not attend the ceremony, but said he was “honored” to receive the award in a pre-recorded acceptance speech.
He said “expressing my gratitude” to veterans by “providing entertainment, visiting the hospitals in warzones, building homes for our wounded, providing healing retreats for those struggling with mental health issues, simply letting them know they are appreciated has given great purpose to my life.”
Through the Gary Sinise Foundation, founded in 2011, the actor spearheads several programs aimed at assisting and supporting veterans. Among other things, the nonprofit builds specialized homes for severely wounded veterans and arranges Disney World trips for Gold Star families related to troops killed in the line of duty.
According to the foundation’s website, Sinise has made more than 1,200 appearances at events arranged in support of veterans since 1983.
One of the actor’s most famous roles was as disabled Vietnam War veteran Lt. Dan Taylor in the film “Forrest Gump.” With his cover band, the Lt. Dan Band, Sinise has played more than 544 veteran support concerts, according to his nonprofit.
In a video montage during the award show, Sinise said that character showed audiences a brighter side to the story of veterans that he aims to make reality.
“You always had this sense that the Vietnam veteran was just lost, but there was another story, and that story had not been told before until Lieutenant Dan,” Sinise said in a video montage at the award show. “It’s a happy ending for Lieutenant Dan … and that’s the happy ending that we want for all our wounded soldiers.”