Golf Tournament

IRIS Fire is pleased to announce the 2013 Serving Honor and Need Golf Tournament on May 20th at the USAFA Eisenhower Golf Course.

For more details and registrations, please click
Serving Honor and Need 2013

The Gary Sinise Foundation

 

The Gary Sinise Foundation was officially formed in 2010, and is dedicated to serving the Nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need.

 

Serving Honor and Need is the cornerstone of the foundation, which is built upon its founder’s life-long principals and long standing commitment to be a citizen of action and to help in any way that one can, the people who serve our country.

 

Gary Sinise’s passion in this area was born from his family’s deep roots in military service and from a desire to contribute following the attacks on September 11, 2001. His father served in the Navy in the early 1950’s, two uncles served in WWII (one in the Navy in the Pacific, another on a B17 as a navigator flying 30 missions over Europe). One of Gary’s brothers-in-law was an Army helicopter pilot in Vietnam; the other served two tours in Vietnam and was a West Point graduate who rose quickly in the ranks to Lt. Colonel before passing away from cancer at age 39. Additionally, Gary’s sister-in-law who retired as a Captain in the Army married a Vietnam veteran Army medic who served for twenty three years; their son, Gary’s nephew, has served in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne and was recently accepted into Special Forces Training. 

 

Gary’s work with veterans began in the early 1980’s while living in the city of Chicago. As Artistic Director of Steppenwolf Theatre, which he co-founded in the mid 1970’s, he began working on material for the theatre that had been written by a group of Vietnam veterans based on their experiences while serving there. During the rehearsals and production of the play he contacted local Vietnam veterans groups, took his cast to the local VA hospital to spend time with veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress, and began a series of free performances for veterans. While interacting with these local groups he became involved in an effort to build a Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Lansing, Illinois. The experiences of working with these groups, interacting with them during the run of the play, and having spent time discussing the war with his Vietnam veteran brothers-in-law, had a profound effect on him. Later, in 1994, he would play disabled veteran Lt. Dan Taylor in the feature film Forrest Gump and was introduced to the Disabled American Veterans organization, which he has supported ever since.

 

But the catalyst that really changed Gary’s life and threw him into a new level of service came on September 11th, 2001. Faced with a new reality about the world in which we now lived, soon after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Sinise immediately stepped in to help by volunteering his time with the USO. Determined he was not going to let our service personnel and their families experience the negative reception and lack of support received by veterans returning from Vietnam, Gary offered moral support, shook hands, signed autographs, took pictures, visited the wounded, and entertained the military in both the US and abroad. Little did he know that everything he’d witness over the next decade would become the heart and soul that is The Gary Sinise Foundation.

 

 

A little about Gary Sinise, the found of the Gary Sinise Foundation

 

Gary Sinise is an American actor, film director, and musician. Gary Sinise began acting at the age of 16, but it was his portrayal of Lt. Dan in the Oscar winning film, Forrest Gump, that brought him mainstream attention and earned him nominations for an Academy Award, Golden Globe, and the Screen Actors Guild Award. Gary received the Best Supporting Actor Award from the National Board of Review and the Commander’s Award from the Disabled American Veterans for the role as well. He then went on to take roles in such films like Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon, Snake Eyes, The Green Mile, and Truman, just to name a few. Gary Sinise has also directed such films as, Of Mice and Men and Miles From Home. Currently, he can be seen as Detective Mac Taylor on CSI:NY Friday nights on CBS.

 

“Lieutenant Dan”, the character Gary portrayed in the film, Forrest Gump, earned him not only an Oscar nomination, but an instantaneous, enduring connection with servicemen in all branches of the military community. His first overseas tour for the troops took place in June 2003 with his first trip to Iraq. At that time Gary would simply shake hands, take pictures, sign autographs and just show his support by visiting with as many troops as possible. Service members, who didn’t know him as Gary Sinise the actor, recognized him as “Lt. Dan” and deeply identified with his character. That year, Gary made six of these “hand shake tours” within a six month period. With a desire to do more to entertain the troops and families, Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band was formed following one of his many trips overseas.  He convinced the USO to allow him to take a group of musicians to the troops and they played on his next tour. The Lt. Dan Band made their first overseas USO appearance in early 2004 to Korea, Singapore, and Diego Garcia. Since then, they have completed over 40 USO tours and numerous charitable concerts, all courtesy of donations by various organization and individuals, or funded by Gary Sinise personally, and he now serves on the USO’s Entertainment Advisory Council.

 

 

Charities that The Gary Sinise Foundation supports

 

·         Air Compassion For Veterans

 

·         Center For American Values

 

 

·         Coalition To Salute America’s Heroes

 

·         American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial

·         Congressional Medal Of Honor Foundation

·         Disabled American Veterans

·         Building Homes For Heroes

 

·         Fisher House Foundation

·         Ft. Worth Air Power Foundation-Sky Ball

·         GI Film Festival

 

·         Hope For The Warriors

·         Independence Fund

·         Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund

 

·         Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund

·         Navy Seal Foundation

 

 

 

 

·         Operation Gratitude

 

 

·         Operation Homefront

·         Operation International Children

·         Operation Support Our Troops America

·         People To People International

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·         Ride 2 Recovery

·         Snowball Express, Inc.

·         Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation

·         TAPS-Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors

·         ThanksUSA

·         The FDNY Family Transport Foundation

 

·         United States Veterans Art Program

·         United Service Organization, Inc-USO

·         USO at LAX

·         USO Illinois