Sinise talks connection, service at GAC

Connection is a huge part of the strategy of credit unions. For Gary Sinise, renowned actor and dedicated philanthropist, connection is a similarly important part of making a difference.

“In the beginning, it was just raising my hand where I could,” says Sinise, when asked about how important connection is to the work he does today. As the founder of the Gary Sinise Foundation, Sinise’s journey from self to service began after the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. He wanted to help, however possible.

“I could help by supporting our defenders to help our nation, by supporting those who defend all of us,” he said.

For Sinise, his passion for helping servicemembers and their families began in the 80s, when he began to support Vietnam veterans. Then came a big break that tied together this goal of supporting the servicemember community and his lifelong passion as a thespian: the role of Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump. “I really wanted that role, because of the connection.”

“The story of Lieutenant Dan is the kind of story we want for all veterans. We want them to come home and be all right,” added Sinise. After that role, he felt “teed up” for greater action to support veterans.

“You see a lot of despairing portrayal of Vietnam veterans. The difference at the end of Forrest Gump: Lieutenant Dan is successful.”

The work Sinise has done for veterans and their families throughout his career speaks for itself. Still, he is often quoted as saying: “You can never do enough, we can always do a little bit more.”

“From the very beginning, I saw what the simple act of showing up could do for somebody,” he said. “Every day is Memorial Day as far as I am concerned. We should always remember the fallen and the families of the fallen.”

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