After playing the iconic role of Lt. Dan Taylor in the classic film “Forrest Gump,” actor Gary Sinise has made it his personal mission to help wounded U.S. military veterans and their families.
In his latest effort, Sinise and his foundation decided to treat 50 wounded servicemen and women on a three day, all-expenses paid trip to Hollywood earlier this month. Their first stop was a free trip to Disney Land. The heroes were given a guide who helped them skip the long lines.
Staff Sgt. Michael Irish told ABC News that sometimes severely wounded veterans feel like they can’t even “go out in the world anymore.” That is why, he explained, the work Sinise and his foundation are doing is so important.
“[With] Gary and his organization helping us… to have fun and be yourself, that's very important to all of us,” he added.
More from the report:
For others, the trip was especially meaningful. Jody Nelson, a U.S. Marine back from deployment to Afghanistan, has stage-four cancer of the lung, liver and brain. On the trip with him was his wife Trinity, herself a wounded Marine, and their 2-year-old son Caleb. Walking through Disneyland, Nelson wondered if this trip would be his last family vacation.
"They provided an experience that's just unbelievable," Nelson said. "Doctors told me I might live this many years or that many years, but I'm just going to fight it every day and every day that I'm able to spend time with my son is a miracle."
For Sinise, who recently spoke with TheBlaze about his efforts, helping the nation’s disabled veterans is more than a calling.
"I just couldn't not do anything," he said. "I've seen a lot of need and I've become very committed to [being] somebody who can try to make a difference."
News of the trip was reported earlier this month, but ABC aired never-before-seen highlights of the event on Thursday. See what happened next in ABC’s video report here:
Get more information on the Gary Sinise Foundation here.