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The Oscar-nominated star Gary Sinise of Forrest Gump fame has long been known for giving back to veterans and their families.

He showed that once again over the weekend, when his Lt. Dan Band performed in Nashville, Tennessee at an event honoring 250 graduates from the Snowball Express program as part of the Gary Sinise Foundation, which helps the families of fallen military members and first responders.

Sinise Plays For Veterans And Military Families

“The music is really just part of the overall mission of supporting our veterans and military families and first responders,” Sinise, 67, told Fox News. “And so when I play, that’s what I play for.”

Sinise went on to talk about how eager the Snowball students, who range in age from 6 to 18, were to reconnect with each other after graduating from the course. This program is meant to serve as a space of healing for families that are still grieving the loss of their heroic loved one, while also giving them the chance to make new memories. 

The graduates and their families enjoyed a weekend full of fun-filled activities before the Lt. Dan Band closed things out on Sunday at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, which displayed 250 American flags to honor each of the fallen family members who sadly could not be there.

Related: Gary Sinise Honors Oldest WWII Veteran After He Dies At 112 – ‘An American Hero’

The Lt. Dan Band is named after Sinise’s iconic Forrest Gump character. Check out one of their past performances below.

Sinise Calls On Others To Help Veterans

Sinise created his eponymous foundation twelve years ago to help veterans, and he stressed that advocating for members of the military doesn’t take much, adding that it’s “just taking the time to pat somebody on the back and to reach out and touch them … to go where they were struggling and try to show support to them.”

“I always recommend, on the veteran front anyway, there are military families in every community, every neighborhood, every state in the country,” he said. “And if you just reach out and touch folks, you know, it doesn’t take a massive donation to an organization to make a difference in somebody’s life.”

“If they feel like you care enough to stop by or to reach out or to ask them how they’re doing and ask them what they need, and maybe try to provide some services and support to them,” Sinise continued. “That will make a huge difference.”

Sinise relocated his foundation’s headquarters from California to Tennessee earlier this year, and he said yesterday that he’s approximately 75% finished with the move.

“We had 19,500 square feet in California, and I have a large collection of artifacts and things that have been given to me over many years of doing this,” he explained. “There’s a nice collection of important memorabilia I have been given to me by the military. We have had to take care of all of that, and make sure we are moving it properly and securing it all.”

Related: Gary Sinise Honors Clint Eastwood For His Service During The Korean War

Sinise’s Future Goals

As for the future goals he has for his foundation, Sinise said they are “flexible and broad.”

“If you look at what we do as a foundation, we’re in a lot of different areas and doing a lot of different kinds of things. I did that because prior to starting the foundation, I was supporting many other nonprofits,” he said. “We’re doing all kinds of things. I just saw all of this as how I can help here, and this is how I can get out there. Some wounded service members need special homes. Let’s build them. Children of our fallen need support. Let’s do something.”

“I just started getting involved on multiple fronts,” Sinise concluded. “And that’s why our mission is very broad. So, I don’t suspect it’s going to be less broad as time goes on. You want to hope that the American people continue to see us as a reliable way to help the men and women who serve our country, and we keep their trust and we keep earning their support.”

It often seems that American military veterans do not get the respect that they deserve these days in the “woke” world of Hollywood. God bless Sinise for continuing to go above and beyond to help American veterans, active service members, and their families! 

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