If ever a person was not just a celebrity but a star, it would be Gary Sinise. His on-screen performances are noteworthy, indeed, but it is what this star does with his free time that makes him shine so brightly.
The Gary Sinise Foundation functions with a mission to “…entertain, inspire, strengthen, and build communities.” Its focus falls on those who serve this country in uniform – that of the military, first responders, and other defenders. From performing for our troops at home and overseas, to providing emergency financial support, to raising awareness of the constant service and sacrifice of all who serve, Gary Sinise does more for our military than any other public persona.
The foundation’s website is rich with stories of those he has directly impacted. Here’s one more story that has not been publicly told:
It had been almost ten years since my husband, Lt. Louis Allen, was killed in Iraq. Three of our four young boys had grown into teenagers, with the fourth right behind. I had planned on having myself back together by then, but found myself far short of that goal. A cycle of personal and professional triumphs and tragedies left me beaten down and doubting I’d ever get it right. In the aftermath of a monumentally destructive relationship that emotionally and financially eviscerated me, I was finally clearheaded and focused. A new career and a new life awaited me even as I picked up the pieces from the past decade. We were hurting, but I knew we’d be okay. And yet, we weren’t.
It seemed my clarity and strength had arrived too late. My family was shattered- again. And finances were equally decimated – all of which I blamed myself for. I had misplaced trust and made us vulnerable to the attack that had done this, and now I was the one wondering how I would even pull Christmas off, let alone hold us together until my new job started.
Gary Sinise’s foundation stepped in, like others had before, and gave me that last boost to propel me through.
Through collaboration with TAPS, Gary Sinise’s foundation reaches out to families like mine. I was a military widow in crisis, and rather than judge me, they supported me. At a time when I felt like I had let so many people down- all the others who had helped me and stood by me, my children, myself, and my husband – Gary Sinise offered me not just a bridge to my new life, but renewed faith in myself and in our future.
I’ve met Gary before at special events. I have passed by him as he stood next to others, unassumedly waving flags in the crowd of well- wishers, and I have clapped along with the crowd as he and his band played for us – but I doubt he knows my name or how he helped me. I doubt he feels the need for accolades or even Hollywood stars, but I’m glad he got both.
Barb Allen Is A Gold Star Wife, Author & National Speaker. She's a professional veterans advocate who understands the personal and factual struggles of turning adversity into advantage. But this lesson did not come easily and this upper hand must be diligently maintained. Now, Barbara brings her life lessons to her audiences in keynote speeches and custom programs. She relates to her audiences’ lives and challenges, and teaches them how to become gladiators in their own life’s arena.