Award-winning actor Gary Sinise might be most famous for playing the fictional “Lieutenant Dan” in the classic film “Forrest Gump,” but in real life Sinise is dedicated to helping U.S. military members returning home, particularly putting their skills to good use.
“Military skills retooled and retrained into the civilian sector can be very, very beneficial to any company,” Sinise told Yahoo Finance in a recent interview. “And we’re trying to provide services at the Gary Sinise Foundation, or at least point people in the right direction.”
Yahoo Finance reported, “President Joe Biden recently met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah in Washington on Friday, June 25, where he called on Afghans to decide the future of their country amid Taliban advances as the last American troops withdraw following a decades-long war.”
Sinise addressed the struggle of veterans returning to civilian life.
“[Transitioning out of the military] is always a difficult challenge, especially if you’ve been in the military for a long period of time,” Sinise said.
“So these are people from all over the country, various small towns, large cities across the nation,” the actor continued. “And they may be seeking employment. They may have mental wellness issues that they have to face, that they have to deal with.”
The Gary Sinise Foundation has worked with Bob Evans for a number of years to help veterans reintegrate back into non-military life.
His foundation provides mental health services including helping veterans’ with post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, and substance abuse.
Sinise said, “We’re teaming up with some very good businesses and corporate leaders to try and do more for the men and women who serve our country.”
How did Sinise’s life journey guide him into helping veterans? The actor said it started way before he portrayed Vietnam veteran “Lieutenant Dan.”
“Veterans in my own family—that’s where it starts,” Sinise said. “I got involved with supporting Vietnam veterans back in the ’80s, prior to playing a Vietnam veteran in ‘Forrest Gump’ when I got involved with supporting our wounded.”
“And then September 11 came along,” Sinise admitted, as a factor in his work with veterans.
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