Gary Sinise: 5 Ways We Can All Help Veterans

Photo from Gary Sinise’s Instagram

Gary Sinise: 5 Ways We Can All Help Veterans

By Movieguide® Contributor

In a personal essay shared by Guideposts, actor Gary Sinise discussed his dedication to supporting the men and women of the military, and how anyone can lend a helping hand. 

Sinise made his first USO trip to Afghanistan in 2003, and has continually worked to provide services for those in the armed forces, from visiting hospitals to starting the Gary Sinise Foundation. 

“The government can’t do everything,” Sinise wrote. “I believe we private citizens must step in to take care of our troops, as we all benefit from their service. It’s a very small percentage of our population who defend us all. It’s imperative that we care for them before, during and after the battle. ‘We want to be with you,’ I tell them, ‘When you’re getting ready to go, when you’re there and when you return.’”

In his essay, Sinise outlines the five ways we can all help the brave men and women in the military, whether they’ve returned home, or are still serving. 

“Listen to their stories,” Sinise advised. “All soldiers have a story. So do their families. Those stories need to be told. Listen to them, learn from them. Visit a VA or military hospital. Talk to your family members who served. Become a pen pal to a soldier overseas. Simply showing you care can mean a lot.”

The second way to help?

“Look to their needs,” said Sinise.

He wrote about a wounded veteran named Travis who needed a special house to accommodate his injuries. Sinise’s foundation helped build that house, complete with an elevator and accessible bathrooms. 

“You could say we did a service for Travis and his family—he’s devoted to his wife and daughter—but I see it the other way around,” Sinise shared. “Knowing Travis and guys like him puts any complaints I might have in perspective, for they have done a greater service than I could ever do. Watching so many of them face their challenges and move ahead in life has motivated me to continue to serve them with everything I have in me.”

Another way to help is by spreading the word. Sinise talked about how a lot of what he does for the troops is simply raising awareness, like the concerts he plays with his Lt. Dan Band. 

“Do you know anyone whose relatives have been deployed?” he asked. “Those families are constantly facing fear, the worry that they’re going to get the call they dread. No one like that should feel alone. And they won’t if you reach out to them. You can run errands for them, babysit their kids or just listen. We are each individually a resource for fighting men and women, veterans and military families.”

One of the most obvious ways to lend a hand? By serving. 

“You don’t need to be a Florence Nightingale or a Mother Teresa to serve others. Just be yourself. You have your own gifts,” Sinise wrote. “The people who need help aren’t so far away. Look for a nearby VA, a VFW or American Legion post, your church, the Chamber of Commerce in your community. They will help you find veterans or military families in your area. There are more than 40,000 military-oriented charities in this country, many providing outstanding services. They all need volunteers. Your support, however it manifests itself, will mean a lot to the military community.”

The last – and most important – thing Sinise recommends doing is to pray.

The Gary Sinise Foundation does their best to help every veteran or military member who reaches out to them, but they can’t assist everyone. 

“Pray for all those who serve and their families,” Sinise wrote. “Pray that God watches out for them as they go into harm’s way. And remember, while we can all be fearful and unsure at times, serving others in a cause greater than ourselves gives us a strength and a confidence more powerful than any fears we may face.” 

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