Gary Sinise Named 2021 Great American Patriot Award Recipient
FORT WORTH, Texas – Gary Sinise, the Founder, President and Chairman of the Gary Sinise Foundation and Golden Globe-winning actor, is the recipient of the 2021 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Great American Patriot Award. Presented annually by Armed Forces Insurance at the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, the Great American Patriot Award honors a candidate in recognition of their exemplary service to the United States.
For nearly 40 years, Sinise has stood as an advocate on behalf of America’s service members. In 2011, he established the Gary Sinise Foundation with the mission to serve and honor America’s defenders, veterans, first responders, Gold Star families and those in need by creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities. Encouraging others to do the same has become his personal quest and what he hopes will endure as a legacy of service to others.
“Freedom and security are precious gifts that we, as Americans, should never take for granted. It has been my great honor to support our defenders and families who willingly sacrifice to provide that freedom and security. It has been my great pleasure to have performed with my band at the Armed Forces Bowl game and to be honored with this award by Armed Forces Insurance is truly humbling. I couldn’t be more grateful.” said Gary Sinise.
Following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Sinise’s dedication to the nation’s active duty defenders, veterans, first responders and their families became a tireless crusade of support, service and gratitude for all those who protect our freedom and serve our country.
In 2003, he formed the “Lt. Dan Band” and began entertaining troops serving at home and abroad. Over the years, the 13-piece cover band has performed hundreds of shows for charities and fundraisers supporting wounded heroes, Gold Star families, veterans and troops around the world.
In 2008, he was given the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second-highest civilian honor awarded to citizens for exemplary deeds performed in service of the nation, becoming only the third actor ever to receive this honor.
“What an honor it is for me professionally and personally to present the Great American Patriot Award to Gary Sinise on behalf of Armed Forces Insurance. In our lifetimes, we are truly blessed to meet people who time and time again give so much of themselves for the benefit of others. Gary Sinise is clearly one of those people. I can’t think of a more deserving person to be recognized as this year’s Great American Patriot!” said Lt Gen Sid Clarke, US Air Force, Retired, Chairman, Armed Forces Insurance.
In recognition of his humanitarian work, Sinise has earned many distinguished honors including two awards from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society – the Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment, and their highest honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Patriot Award.
Other awards include the Spirit of the USO Award, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Spirit of Hope Award by the Department of Defense, the Sylvanus Thayer Award from the West Point Association of Graduates and the George Catlett Marshall Medal from the Association of the United States Army (AUSA).
He was also named an honorary Chief Petty Officer by the United States Navy, an Honorary Marine by the United States Marine Corps, and an Honorary Battalion Chief of the Fire Department of New York.
Sinise serves on the President’s Advisory Group for the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, the Community Council for Hope for the Warriors and as an honorary board member of Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). He has served as the national spokesperson for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial and raised funds for the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial in Washington, D.C. and the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance in NYC.
Sinise’s stage, film and television career has spanned more than four decades. In 1994, he received nominations for Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Academy Awards, and earned the Best Supporting Actor Award from the National Board of Review and the Commander's Award from the Disabled American Veterans for his performance as Lt. Dan Taylor in Forrest Gump.
Other film credits include Apollo 13, Ransom, Snake Eyes, Impostor, The Green Mile, Mission to Mars and The Human Stain. Sinise also has had lead television roles on CSI: NY and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. He has won a Primetime Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Tony Award and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His first book, Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service became a New York Times best seller.
Candidates for the Great American Patriot Award must be of high moral fiber and good character, having spent their lives and/or careers serving the common good of the United States. They should have gone beyond the call of duty to serve and protect this country, with proven dedication and loyalty in upholding the Constitution and the laws of the nation. Finally, the award winner should have worked tirelessly to make the U.S. a better and safer place for all its citizens.
Sinise joins a prestigious group of previous Great American Patriot Award recipients that includes General Mark Welsh, Admiral William McRaven, General Peter Pace, Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, Medal of Honor Recipients Salvatore Giunta & David Bellavia, General Norton A. Schwartz, Congresswoman Kay Granger, Team Rubicon, General Charles Q. Brown Jr., among others.
The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, played in honor of the Armed Forces of the United States, is the only collegiate football bowl game that has hosted all three U.S. Military Academy football teams – Air Force (2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2015), Army (2010, 2017, 2018) and Navy (2013, 2016). The bowl has featured the “armed forces” theme since 2006. Patriotic overtones recognizing all five branches of the service are prevalent throughout the game.
The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl is one of 17 bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events. For additional information about the bowl, please visit ArmedForcesBowl.com and follow on Facebook and Twitter.
Armed Forces Insurance
Armed Forces Insurance was founded in 1887 by military leaders with a single mission: to protect the property of those who protect our nation. The company provides premium quality, competitively priced property and casualty insurance to military professionals throughout the United States and overseas. Armed Forces Insurance understands that its members have unique circumstances and insurance needs, enabling the company to offer a level of personalized service that's unequalled in the industry. For more information, visit the website at www.afi.org or call 1-800-495-8234, and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Gary Sinise
For 40 years, award-winning actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise has stood as an advocate on behalf of America's defenders. He began in the early '80s, supporting local Vietnam Veterans' groups in the Chicago area, and continued into the '90s, when his portrayal of "Lt. Dan" in Forrest Gump formed an enduring connection with service members throughout the military community. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Sinise's dedication to our nation's active-duty service members, Veterans, first responders and their families who sacrifice alongside them, became a tireless crusade of support and gratitude for all those who protect our freedom and serve our country.
In recognition of his humanitarian work on behalf of our troops and veterans, Sinise has earned many distinguished awards including The Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment from the Medal of Honor Society, the Spirit of the USO Award, The Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Spirit of Hope Award by the Department of Defense, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Award from the National Defense Industrial Association and West Point’s Thayer Award. In 2008 he was given the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second-highest civilian honor awarded to citizens for exemplary deeds performed in service of the nation, only the third actor ever to receive this honor.
In 2011, to expand upon his individual efforts, he established the Gary Sinise Foundation with the mission to "always do a little more" for our those who serve. Its programs—designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities—serve America's heroes and their loved ones 365 days a year. To learn more about all the programs offered by the Gary Sinise Foundation, visit www.garysinisefoundation.org/programs.
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a portfolio of 35 collegiate sporting events nationwide. The roster includes five early-season college football games, 17 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events, a college softball event and a college award show, which accounts for approximately 400 hours of live programming, reaches nearly 64 million viewers and attracts over 800,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in more than 10 markets across the country, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.