STUDIO CITY, Calif., Feb. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Actor/Humanitarian Gary Sinise and the Gary Sinise Foundation announced today their "Hollywood Salutes Heroes" multi-day celebration, an expression of thanks to those who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. The Foundation enlisted main sponsors USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore & American Airlines to coordinate participants and travel for over 100 wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans and their guests across the country to take part, and brought together supporting sponsors Disneyland Resorts, Paramount Pictures, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Sysco Foodservice, Greyhound and Pacific Coachways to present the first time event in Los Angeles on February 3 – 6. Highlights of the event will air on ABC's "Countdown To The Oscars" primetime television special airing Thursday, February 27, 8pm ET.
"These few days were all about giving these heroes an incredible experience they will never forget. If we can help lift their spirits after they've sacrificed so much, we owe them that," said Sinise.
Sinise traveled from Washington DC along with 50 wounded, ill and injured troops, veterans and their guests from Walter Reed Army Medical Center located on the campus of Naval Support Activity Bethesda and from Fort Belvoir Community Hospital to sunny Southern California where they met up with wounded from Naval Medical Center San Diego for a few fun-filled days. Hollywood rolled out the red carpet during the heroes' whirlwind trip, which included a full day at Disneyland Resort and accommodations at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa; a feast at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.; and culminated in a day-long Forrest Gump inspired celebration at Paramount Pictures Studios, which coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Academy Award®-winning film. On the Paramount lot, the heroes were surprised by Sinise and many fellow celebrity attendees including Ted Danson, Tim Allen, Greg Kinnear, Rob Lowe, Katharine McPhee, Dennis Haysbert, Joe Mantegna, Patricia Heaton, Tom Arnold, James Caan and Mykelti Williamson, plus more than 100 local veterans. They were treated to a private screening of Forrest Gump followed by a special concert performed by Gary Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band on Paramount's New York Street backlot.
ABOUT GARY SINISE & THE GARY SINISE FOUNDATION:
Actor/humanitarian Gary Sinise has been actively and tirelessly supporting the troops for over thirty years. Among his numerous film and television roles, it was his portrayal of Lt. Dan Taylor in the landmark film Forrest Gump which formed an enduring connection with servicemen and women throughout the military community. After several USO handshake tours in 2003, Sinise formed the "Lt. Dan Band" and began entertaining troops serving at home and abroad. Performing pop hits to classic rock staples, the 12 member cover band has played for over half-a-million troops and their families. His endless work on behalf of those who've served has earned him many distinguished awards including The Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment from the Medal of Honor Society, the Spirit of the USO Award, The Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and in 2008 he was given the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second-highest civilian honor awarded to citizens for exemplary deeds performed in service of the nation, only the third actor ever to receive this honor. He was recently presented with the Spirit of Hope Award by the Department of Defense and was named an honorary Chief Petty Officer by the Navy.
In 2011 he launched the Gary Sinise Foundation to honor its 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. These include its R.I.S.E. Outreach (Restoring Independence and Supporting Empowerment), whose flagship initiative is a custom Smart Home building project for severely wounded veterans. Each home is customized to ease their daily challenges and help restore independence with features like retractable cook tops, cabinets and shelving, elevators and more, all accessible via an iPad. Other programs include Relief & Resiliency Outreach, Invincible Spirit Festivals, Serving Heroes and Arts & Entertainment Outreach. Over the years, the Foundation has formed numerous corporate partnerships including American Airlines, Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Sysco Foodservice and most recently with GE on their Get Skills to Work program to help veterans translate military skills into advanced manufacturing jobs while empowering employers with tools to recruit, onboard and mentor veterans.
The Gary Sinise Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, please visit www.garysinisefoundation.org.
SOURCE Gary Sinise Foundation