Gary Sinise Foundation Honors American Airlines Employee Toni Russell With Inaugural Above & Beyond Award

Russell was honored this past week during the multi-day event in Dallas, Texas, which raised money for local wounded Marine GySgt Travis Green

Apr 25, 2014, 13:55 ET from Gary Sinise Foundation

WOODLAND HILLS, April 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Gary Sinise and his Gary Sinise Foundation ( brought their INSPIRATION to ACTION event to Dallas, Texas last week to raise the funds needed to build a Smart Home for wounded US Marine GySgt Travis Green and promote awareness for all who serve and sacrifice. As part of the multi-day event, which included a special screening of Forrest Gump with Sinise at LOOK Cinemas, the Foundation honored American Airlines employee Toni Russell with its inaugural Above & Beyond Award for her outstanding efforts on behalf of our nation's defenders.

Sinise presented Russell with the honor during the Foundation's INSPIRATION to ACTION dinner, where guests included Congressman Pete Sessions, Brigadier General Clay Hutmacher and retired LT General Rick Lynch. Scott Murray, host of Conversations with Scott Murray on KTXD in Dallas, served as the dinner's emcee, which featured a special performance by America's Tenor, Steve Amerson.

"The Above & Beyond Award was created to acknowledge men and women who know the importance of taking care of those who serve our country," said Sinise. "Our longstanding partnership with American Airlines has contributed greatly to our Foundation's success and dedicated employee Toni Russell is an exemplary and shining example of what it means to go 'above & beyond' the job description."

The INSPIRATION to ACTION dinner is hosted to raise funds for the Gary Sinise Foundation's R.I.S.E. program. R.I.S.E. is Restoring Independence & Supporting Empowerment for wounded heroes and their families overcoming the challenges they face from injuries sustained in service of our nation. Under R.I.S.E., the Gary Sinise Foundation is building custom Smart Homes for our nation's most severely wounded heroes. Both through our own efforts and through our Building for America's Bravest partner program with Tunnel to Towers Foundation, we're constructing these one-of-a-kind homes all across the country, each for a wounded hero, their caregivers and family.


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. His endless work on behalf of those who've served has earned him many distinguished awards 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.

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. program (Restoring Independence and Supporting Empowerment), Relief & Resiliency Outreach, Invincible Spirit Festivals, Serving Heroes and Arts & Entertainment Outreach.

The Gary Sinise Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization.  For more information, please visit

SOURCE Gary Sinise Foundation