Actor Gary Sinise, 53, was one of 23 citizens awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal in a ceremony at the White House yesterday. The Presidential Citizens Medal is the second highest honor that can be given to a citizen in the US, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom the highest. Sinise, best known for his roles in 1994′s Forrest Gump and on CBS series CSI: NY was honored for his humanitarian work and support of the US military after the September 11 attacks.
In his speech to the press following the medal ceremony, Sinise was humble, saying he “heard that call” from President Bush to volunteer after September 11 and that he “tried to do whatever I could for the troops” along with sending school supplies to children in Iraq. “It was just something that I heard that he said and I’m deeply touched to receive this medal from him today.”
Sinise co-founded a non profit organization in 2004 with author Laura Hillenbrand called Operation Iraqi Children. They started out sending school supplies to children in Iraq through US troops and have branched out to help children in Afghanistan and in the US affected by Hurricane Katrina. You can learn how to send a donation or start a school supply drive in your community by visiting the Operation Iraqi Children website.
Sinise has been married to actress Moira Harris for 27 years. They have three children, daughter Sophia Ana, 20, son McCanna Anthony, 18, and daughter Ella Jane, 16.
Congratulations to Sinise for being honored and for reaching out and helping children and troops in a time of need.