It’s always an honor to know that people appreciate your work and are absolutely grateful for all that you’ve done. Gary Sinise choked up in emotion as he watched the star-studded tribute thanking him for his tireless efforts in helping veterans, first responders, service men and women, and those in need.
The surprise video was shared online on Feb. 12, the same day his memoir, “Grateful American – A Journey From Self to Service,” was released.
The video, contrived by Robin Rand, CEO of the Gary Sinise Foundation, shows numerous Hollywood celebrities, including Tom Hanks, Kristin Chenoweth, Ron Howard, Joe Mantegna, Rob Lowe, Robert De Niro, Maria Shriver, Kellie Pickler, Tim Allen, Gayle King, Mayim Bialik, and Jay Leno, expressing their gratitude to Gary for his amazing humanitarian work to support those who have sacrificed to protect America.
Gary has been tirelessly working to help our active-duty service men and women, veterans, first responders, their families, caregivers, and those in need.
“Freedom and security are precious gifts that we, as Americans, should never take for granted,” said Gary. “While we can never do enough to show our gratitude to our nation’s defenders, we can always do a little more.”
Even after all that he had accomplished in his acting career, Gary felt the need to further his service. Thus, after the tragic 9/11 events, he found his new calling. Gary started holding a series of Lt. Dan Band benefit concerts around the globe to raise funds for veterans and eventually established the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011.
His foundation raises US$30 million yearly; 90 percent of the funds go to projects such as building smart homes for disabled veterans and sending families of military heroes to Disney World, as per PEOPLE.
In the all-star Thank You video, Apollo 13 director Ron Howard says, “Your commitment, your dedication, you are awesome.”
“It’s really heartwarming and so incredibly meaningful… all of the amazing things that you do,” enthuses Big Bang Theory actress Mayim Bialik.
— Gary Sinise (@GarySinise) February 12, 2019
Robert De Niro expresses: “The work that your Foundation has done especially the Snowball Express will remain a meaningful part of these young people’s lives forever.”
“You’re greatly appreciated coast to coast in the U.S. And base to base across the globe,” country singer Kellie Pickler says.
The video ends with Gary’s co-actor in Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks, saying with a smile: “Thanks, Lieutenant. Dan!”
War veterans, first responders, and Gold Star families also joined in to show appreciation to Gary.
“As you can see we’re in front of this beautiful house right now,” said one veteran, a recipient of a new home through Gary Sinise Foundation’s RISE program. “We wouldn’t have had it were it not for your kindness, graciousness and your wonderful gift of giving.”
So, what was Gary’s response to this touching tribute?
Priceless… PEOPLE magazine was there to capture Gary’s reaction as he watched the video on Feb. 12.
This is too sweet! ❤️ See Gary Sinise's emotional reaction after watching the #GratefulLikeGary video: http://peoplem.ag/jVkuzGf
Gepostet von People am Dienstag, 12. Februar 2019
It turned out the video came in as a complete surprise to Gary. Clearly touched, he got emotional and all choked up as he watched friends, colleagues, veterans, first responders, and Gold Star families express their sincere gratitude to him one by one for his selfless service.
Gary chuckled as he heard his co-star, Tom Hanks, say: “Thanks, Lieutenant. Dan!”
“That makes me feel really good,” Gary told PEOPLE after watching the video.
Having an amazing time on our 14th Gary Sinise Foundation #SoaringValor trip with WWII veterans and students from Grapevine Faith Christian High School.
In a tweet, Gary wrote: “Completely shocked and speechless by this surprise video. Incredibly touched and grateful by everyone’s support. I’m crying, so choked up, I thought I’d share.”
Gary, you have impacted the lives of many with your incredible dedication. From one grateful American to another, thank you for everything you have done for our heroes. You truly deserve the heartfelt recognition.