Popular actor Gary Sinise raised $1.3 million to help members of the military and first responders by selling his custom-made 1981 Jeep CJ7 twice.
Gary Sinise, famously known as Lieutenant Dan from Forrest Gump and ****is a gift to veterans, first responders, and military personnel everywhere.
From the time he played, Lt. Dan, a Vietnam vet who struggles in civilian life after losing his legs in combat, Sinise has felt a connection with US veterans, who related to the character.
“I realized early on that that character was kind of an ice breaker. There were lot of veterans that were not in very good shape, and yet I would walk in and their would light up and they’d want to talk about the movie.” Sinise told The Arizona Republic.
“Over the years, that character has been connected with our wounded and our service members.” Sinise further explained.
From starting the Gary Sinise Foundation that supports and honors those that serve and their families in various ways, to fronting the Lt. Dan Band that performs at USO shows and just taking care of others in general, Gary Sinise knows how to give back.
This inspired the actor to start the Lt. Dan Band, named after the character, who play USO shows on military bases.
It also encouraged him to create the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011 that supports and honors those that serve and their families in various ways.
“When our veterans came home from the Vietnam War, they were not treated well and had to disappear into the shadows. When we started deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan, I wanted to do my part to make sure the men and women doing their part were appreciated.” Sinise said.
In January, Sinise raised money for his organization in a different way. He placed a jeep up for auction at the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Sinise’s jeep was not any ordinary vehicle. It was a 1981 Jeep CJ7 custom-designed model, created in a collaboration with Richard Rawlings, of the Discovery Channel series Fast N’ Loud, and his Gasy Monkey Garage.
The jeep was decorated with a unique red, white and blue exterior design.
At the auction, the car was sold to its first buyer for $200,000. The buyer then sent it across the auction block selling it for a second time, bringing in an additional $100,000 from its next buyer
Then, Sunbelt Rentals agreed to match the donation with a million dollars for the cause.
In total, the Jeep raised $1.3 million for the Gary Sinise Foundation.
“My first car auction, it’s going to be hard to top that. There were a lot of veterans out there in the audience so I got to acknowledge them and say thank you.” An excited Sinise said