Why Gary Sinise Fights So Tirelessly for Veterans

Patriotic actor reveals motivation behind his incredible call to action — and his dedication to our heroes

by Zachary Leeman | Updated 07 Jul 2017 at 4:46 PM

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The specially adapted houses, part of the foundation’s R.I.S.E. Program (“restoring independence, supporting empowerment”), have become a large part of Sinise’s work and the foundation’s focus. The group’s website says 59 homes will be completed or be underway by the end of this year.

United States Army retired Staff Sergeant Christopher Walker will be enjoying one of those homes. Walker served as an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) team leader in both Afghanistan and Iraq. While serving his second tour of duty in Khost Province, Afghanistan, in 2012, Walker was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED) and lost both his arms and his left leg. His next two years were spent in rehab at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in the Washington, D.C., area.

The Gary Sinise Foundation will be holding a dedication of Walker’s new specially adapted home on Friday, July 7, in Alexandria, Virginia.

"Once I started my foundation in 2011, we created a program to help build these homes, and that's our R.I.S.E. program — restoring independence, supporting empowerment," said Sinise about his group's efforts to build homes that accommodate veterans' injuries.

"They've [the wounded vets] had a lot of their independence taken away because they can't do things for themselves, and when they're living in a house that isn't specifically designed to their needs, there are a lot of problems ... We put all kinds of stuff in these houses to allow them to take care of themselves, so that their caregiver, if it's their wife or their mom or their dad or whoever it is, can have a little more independence themselves."

Related: Five of Hollywood's Most Patriotic Celebrities

The world has watched as some people have used their fame and success to push divisiveness and self-indulgent political preaching. But Gary Sinise, unlike so many others, remains a shining example of how an artist can use success for the greater good — to bring people together and to fight for positive change.

Said Sinise, a native of Illinois, about his journey to help veterans, which he partly credits to his Catholic faith: "I'm glad I've had the great success in the movie business that I had because it's given me resources to do something positive that's all part of the service aspect of what our faith teaches us."

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