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Actor Gary Sinise receives prestigious Patriot Award for his decadeslong service to veterans

'Freedom and security are precious gifts'

Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Actor Gary Sinise has been bestowed with the Patriot Award, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society's highest civilian honor, for his decadeslong service to U.S. veterans, first responders, and their families.

Sinise, who is known for his iconic role as Lieutenant Dan in "Forrest Gump," was presented with the award last week at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

Sinise has spent his entire life giving back to those who risk their lives protecting us. In 2011, the famed actor started the Gary Sinise Foundation, which aims to serve "veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need" through unique support programs "designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities."

The foundation generously serves in a variety of ways, including anything from serving meals and awarding grants to building smart homes for those injured in the line of duty and taking Gold Star families to Disney World.

"Freedom and security are precious gifts that we, as Americans, should never take for granted," Sinise says on his foundation's website. "We must do all we can to extend our hand in times of need to those who willingly sacrifice each day to provide that freedom and security. While we can never do enough to show gratitude to our nation's defenders, we can always do a little more."

Here's more about the Gary Sinise Foundation:

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