Actor visits Parker on charity swing

Chris Michlewicz
Posted 5/30/12

One of the most recognizable actors in Hollywood recently visited Parker not for a film shoot, but to share a message with the hope of getting …

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Actor visits Parker on charity swing

Posted

One of the most recognizable actors in Hollywood recently visited Parker not for a film shoot, but to share a message with the hope of getting like-minded people to join his cause.

Gary Sinise, who made his name in acclaimed films such as “Forrest Gump” and “Of Mice and Men,” created a foundation last year to bring funding and awareness to issues facing military families.

“In the big picture, in the long run, we’re going to be facing a lot of problems from this 10 years of war in terms of our post-traumatic stress, in terms of jobs, in terms of wounded,” Sinise said. “We’ve got thousands of disabled vets that have problems coming up that we don’t even know about.”

The Gary Sinise Foundation is “dedicated to serving the nation by honoring our 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,” an announcement about the visit said.

Already, he has brought his work into the public forefront with in-depth stories by “60 Minutes” and traveled the world playing USO shows with his musical group The Lt. Dan Band, named for his beloved character in “Forrest Gump.”

The Lt. Dan Band, for which Sinise plays the bass, rocked more than 400 supporters May 20 at the Colorado Golf Club, an exclusive golf development southeast of South Parker Road and Stroh Road. The “CSI: New York” star also hosted a golf tournament the following day.

Walter James, a retired Army staff sergeant from Douglas County, said he is glad Sinise is using his influence as a celebrity to raise money for issues he believes are being neglected. James says too many members of the military are returning from overseas deployments with misdiagnosed mental illnesses and few job prospects.

“Anyone who is trying to help these guys out is OK with me,” James said.

Sinise says a grueling schedule that included traveling to several different charity events on weekends while still shooting his CBS hit show over the last 10 years took its toll.

“I came to the realization that ‘how am I going to keep this going? How am I going to ramp it up? I can’t keep traveling to do fundraisers for every other organization there is out there,’” he said. “I think it’s more effective if I create my own entity, raise money through that to help support the various programs that I’m involved with.”

The actor’s family has a strong military background; his wife has two brothers who served in Vietnam. Knowing the problems they are faced with, he decided to lay the groundwork for a “reputable resource for families” seeking assistance.

“They served their country, they sacrificed and they don’t know where else to turn,” he said.

The amount of money raised through the Colorado Golf Club events has not been announced.

For more information on the Gary Sinise Foundation, go to www.garysinisefoundation.org.

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