One can’t think about Christmas, without thinking of gifts and giving. Our troops and those who serve actually represent the Christmas spirit every day.
Heroes come in all packages, from all backgrounds and from many different careers. Many folks, especially those of us here, tend to consider our Military, Veterans, first responders, LEOs as heroes, even if they don’t see themselves as a hero.
For this RED Friday post, I want to revisit someone who is not in the Military, yet is a hero to many who have been or still are in Service to our nation. Most of you know one of my heroes was a feisty “big mouth” who was a hero to her boys- Martha Ray is someone I’ve written about before, and out of so many who supported our troops overseas back in her day, she was a rare breed. She didn’t just go to put on shows for the troops, although through organizations such as the USO, that is such an important and uplifting service to those who serve so far away. But she gave of herself in ways that most entertainers never could or would. She went to the guys out in the jungles, the toughest places to be with the toughest warriors. She helped in medic tents, helped surgeons, nurses and kept the guys in stitches, not just the kind that keep their wounds closed. She offered her service and her heart in ways that make me jealous, but most in ways that I wish I could. She was a hero to them, but more. She was one of them. In fact, she is buried with them as well at Ft. Bragg, and to this day there are flowers, coins and shot glasses placed there at her grave in honor of her. She was outstanding and unique.
There is another, a hero for our time, who has dedicated not just his big name talent, but his love, heart and spirit to helping, supporting and caring for our Troops, Veterans and first responders, and their families. I know we’ve featured him here before too, but I would like to shine a little more of him today.
Gary Sinise is another unique person who has done incredible things in support of our troops and Veterans, that many of us could never do.
Although he’s been an active supporter of Veterens since the 80s, most of them were from Vietnam, he credits his work in the movie Forrest Gump with giving him more insight to Disabled Veterans and work with the DAV which has evolved into his own organization- the Gary Sinise Foundation.
Through contributions such as the Foundation’s Legacy Society’s Portraits in giving which promotes stories on why the Legacy society members give so much to help honor our Nation’s Veterans, the Foundation is able to actively help many Veterans and returning troops through programs such as r.i.s.e which builds specially adapted smart homes to disabled Vets, and Relief and Resiliancy program which features the Snowball Express which serves the families of the Fallen, or Gary and the Lt. Dan Band which plays Benefit concerts and shows at Bases around the world and here in the US, dedicated to those who Serve and giving them and their families a great night of music.
There are so many ways which the Foundation impacts the lives of the Troops, Vets, First Responders and their families that it would take all day to describe everything he’s done. But one of the great things is how the foundation also promotes community awareness and education. This video is of the Soaring Valor program which brings members of our Greatest Generation and school kids together for a remarkable and memorable trip to The National WWII Museum in New Orleans… This is a couple of years old, but worth a watch. But have some paper towels or kleenex ready!
As I said, I could go on and on about all the ways which Gary Sinise has helped and impacted thousands of people over the years through his heart felt support and love for our Troops and Veterans. I posted this here before, but it’s also well worth watching again.
Thank you Gary!
Heroes have one thing in common other than selfless giving and sacrifice, and that’s a heart to support and serve others. I’ll always be grateful and full of love for those who served and still serve our nation, but the more I see the ways in which many organizations and foundations serve those who Serve, I am grateful to them too.
God bless our Troops, and Veterans, their families and those who help and support them.
God bless them and watch over them every day, but please Lord especially this Christmas.
Have a blessed and safe RED Friday all.