Yuri Vanetik Gary Sinise Foundation

Many people know Gary Sinise as an award winning actor. But the casual fan may not be aware of his political activism, his philanthropic endeavors, and The Gary Sinise Foundation.

The Gary Sinise Foundation is devoted to supporting the men and women who protect and defend the United States. In Gary Sinise’s own words from the letter on the foundation’s website (www.garysinisefoundation.org), he “formed the Gary Sinise Foundation to help build additional resources for these efforts and to help highlight the activities of those who continue to do all they can to keep military families strong.” Within the foundation there are several commendable programs, some of which I have outlined below.

RISE – This acronym stands for Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment, and that is exactly what this program does. Specifically, RISE helps to provide custom Smart Homes, adapted vehicles, home modifications, and wheelchairs to veterans who have been severely wounded in service. Having to rely on others for even the most simple daily tasks is a reality that most Americans do not have to face. RISE helps some of the bravest and strongest individuals in our country regain their independence and self-reliance.

Relief and Resiliency Outreach – Operating based on the unfortunate reality that life can change in an instant for our nation’s defenders and their families, this program was created to help provide the support that those recovering from trauma or injury need. It was also established to form a community of people who can connect with each other while enduring similar struggles.

Invincible Spirit Festival – The Invincible Spirit Festival is a day long festival that takes place at one of our nation’s military hospitals, and celebrates everyone involved in rehabilitating wounded service members – caregivers, families, and, of course, the heroes themselves. Far from your average fair, these festivals include a concert by Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band, and a cookout prepared by a celebrity chef. Though for most families the festival comes amidst a long, often arduous recovery process, it is a day to be enjoyed by all, and offers a reminder of the light at the end of the tunnel.