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Actor Gary Sinise hosts concert for families of 250 fallen military members

Posted at 10:10 PM, Jul 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-25 06:54:15-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Most of us know actor Gary Sinise from his iconic role in the movie Forrest Gump. But, he is also passionate about helping veterans and those who serve our nation.

He headlined a concert in Nashville Sunday for 250 families of fallen servicemembers.

I've been playing for these kids since 2007 and I've been playing every year since," Sinise said.

He first performed for kids of fallen service members more than a decade ago and one concert is all it took to keep the music going.

"I play for free and it's just because I want to be part of the mission and to use the music to lift people up," he said.

After the tragic events of 9/11, Sinise became involved with helping service members who serve our country.

In 2011 he started the Gary Sinise Foundation an organization that helps military and first responders in multiple ways. Sunday's Snowball Express event was focused on high school graduates of fallen military members.

"When they can see that they're not alone and they can see that so many people love them and care about them because we've got so many volunteers and people that care about the program and care about these kids that come together year after year. I mean they go back and they're lifted up," he said.

One of those kids is Dylan Simon.

"This organization does such a good job of making you feel that absence but also trying to bring it together, really trying to love us," Simon said.

He and his mother have attended events since they began in honor of his father Chad who died serving in Iraq.

Years after his death he honors his father's service and now helps other families grieving a similar pain.

Honoring fallen heroes is the exact reason Sinise said he'll keep performing for as long as he can.

"We want them to know that will not forget what they went through and we're here for them always," Sinise said.