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Medals of Heart and Soul: Gary Sinese's Rally to Support Our Troops

Updated on February 19, 2012

Have you ever wondered what goes through the minds of our soldiers? What it must be like for them to be put into harm’s way and place their lives on the line for our freedoms and liberties? It comes with a heavy price..sometimes as far as costing their lives. Despite knowing these risks, they are willing to pay that price! They do it for the safety of their friends, family, and country…asking nothing in return.

On January 8, 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that actor Gary Sinese had intended to address the Temucula City Council in California on Tuesday of that week. He planned to propose holding a benefit concert to raise funds for a Marine who served in Afghanistan. In his plan, Sinese explained the funds from the charity concert would be used to build a home for the wounded veteran. It would be 3700 square feet and built as a “smart home”, which is designed to meet the needs of amputees.

Lance Cpl. Juan Dominguez, now 27, lost both his legs and one arm during a conflict in Sangin. According to the LA Times, Dominguez is also a father of a nine year old girl.

On January 10, KCAL 9 local news had reported that the council voted unanimously to approve the concert. The concert is now slated for March 1.

Gary Sinese will be performing with the Lt Dan Band, which he formed with electric guitarist Kimo Williams after playing a few jam sessions with him in the late ‘90’s. In 2003, the Lt Dan Band had traveled overseas playing shows for the USO. In 2010, Gary Sinese had formed the Gary Sinese Foundation, which has been dedicated to support active and military members by providing entertainment and building communities. He cited his deep family roots with the military along with the contributions made to the 9-11 victims by supporting groups as his motivation to form this organization.

More details about the Lt Dan Band can be found by clicking the link below, which features the trailer of their documentary:

Lt. Dan Band: For the Common Good

Back in 1994, one of my favorite movies, Forrest Gump, hit the theaters.

It gave so many examples of the ways of how we could offer a simple act of kindness to any and all people...and how much that kindness can mean to someone who's lost all hope.

Many of us remember Sinese as Lt. Dan, who developed a hatred of God after losing his legs in the Vietnam War. However, through all his troubles and drunken episodes, Forrest was always by his side…just as he was during the War.

Forrest not only saved Lt. Dan’s life during the conflict, but also saved his humanity. Forrest did not offer him salvation, nor money, nor empty promises…just a simple presence. It was something Lt. Dan had taken for granted…until in time he realized that Forrest had given him a reason to believe in faith, in love, and in himself once again.

The message of love and faith carried on with Gary Sinese over the years and in his actions has shown the world how we can do the same for the ones who fight for our lives.

It’s hard to imagine what it’s like to go overseas and put your own safety on the line for the benefits of others. I’ve never served in the military, but I’ve known a few people who have and I've heard them say that it is a tremendous reward to fight for their country and for the people they love.

However, it can also be a thankless job. The conditions for the soldiers are usually not pleasant. They carry a heavy load of equipment wherever they go. They have little time for sleep. They train their bodies to the point where they feel like they are about to break under the pressure. They deal with so much negative coverage and public protests for fulfilling what they consider their sacred duty to their country. Worst of all, they always wonder when that one fatal bullet will hit them or their friends in combat.

Even if they do survive, what kind of life will they have to look forward to when they return home? How many military service people will end up like Lance Cpl. Dominguez, who is now severely limited to how he can provide for his daughter? How many others will end up losing the experience and joy of walking on their own two feet again?

Why do they do it? Is it simply for our own protection? It’s a lot more than that. They fight for the freedoms of all people in every society in the world. They want everyone to enjoy the best things that life has to offer like warm clothing, good food, and meaningful friendships. They do it to serve as an example for all of us on how we should treat each other. They show us the value of offering help to those who desperately need it.

War does involve taking sides and we may be on one side or another or both. In fact, I’d venture to say that most, if not all people, don’t like war at all. So many lives are lost and so much brutality occurs on the field. We want to avoid it altogether, but for whatever reason war is inevitable in one circumstance or another. Even if you don’t agree with the cause, we should never turn our back on our fighting men and women. They would never turn their back on us.

They do what they do because they have a love for humanity and for the belief that all humanity has a right and a chance to live a good life. They deal with so many hardships to make this goal a reality.

I feel like that we need to consider doing the same for these incredible men and women. Not everyone can be trained to handle the tasks and trials like that of our service fighters, but there’s still much we can do to show our support for them. There are numerous organizations like that of Sinese who provide financial support for militaries and their families, especially when personnel are called upon to serve their duty. We can even use programs like Support Our Troops, which provides listings of items that troop members ask for during their service such as sunscreen for the ones serving in Afghanistan. This program also enables people to send the service members special thank you cards and well wishes cards. A few kind words from us can mean the world to them.

When Gary Sinese was given a video interview by KCAL9 news about this project, he remarked:

“We can’t build homes for each and every one of them right now, but we can chip away at it.”

When you find some way to show even one solider how proud you are of them, you giving them the greatest gift that any solider could ask: You are giving them a reason to smile again.


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    • gmaoli profile image

      Gianandrea Maoli 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Thank you for saying so. Vets do often get the short end of the stick, so I'm glad there are people like Sinese who are giving them a real chance for a real life. I know off the top of my head that Support Our Troops has programs for community people to get involved in to provide an outlet for anyone who wants to help towards military members and their families. You may also want to try Google searching for such organizations as well. Overall, I'd like to think there are resources out there for people to get involved in and help the military in times of need...I just hope this article is one step towards that goal of getting more people involved to help.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 6 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      I admire Sinese for taking positive action to help disabled vets and you for writing a hub about it. I think too often our government misuses troops in dubious wars, and all citizens share that responsibility. Whether our armed forces are used wisely or unwisely, the deal needs to be that vets get what's coming to them in benefits and that the disabled vets are helped as needed as our neighbors to not only get by but to have a life. I wonder if there is an organization that ordinary people can plug into to volunteer locally to help with respite care or whatever is needed.

    • gmaoli profile image

      Gianandrea Maoli 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Thank you, Beata. It is indeed important that we never forgot what these brave soldiers have for us. If we do, then we are essentially telling them that they have fought for nothing and we know better than that.

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 6 years ago from Western Australia

      It is important to honour those, who are often forgotten once they are not useful to is important to write hubs just like yours, thank you for sharing and congratullation for a well deserved award:)

    • gmaoli profile image

      Gianandrea Maoli 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Thank you TIMETRAVELER2. I was up against some tough competitors including yourself. Glad you enjoyed this!

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 6 years ago from USA

      You beat me out for this week's hub nuggets award, but you deserve it. Great hub and congrats!

    • gmaoli profile image

      Gianandrea Maoli 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Thanks Laura!

    • lauramcarter profile image

      lauramcarter 6 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

      Great article Gian!

    • gmaoli profile image

      Gianandrea Maoli 6 years ago from South Carolina

      I'm glad you like the title. I was hoping it would capture the true spirit and essence of my message. And thanks for the congratulations. I wasn't expecting to get nominated for something this great, so it's a really an incredible surprise!

    • gmaoli profile image

      Gianandrea Maoli 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Thanks for the vote up! I'm always willing to show my appreciate for the soldiers who are willing to put themselves in the front lines for our safety and freedom's sake. We owe a lot to them, and I'm really glad to hear your friend is there to help those who have been hurt while they fight for us. Many thanks for your words!

    • gmaoli profile image

      Gianandrea Maoli 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Thanks for helping the spread the message in my article! I'm glad to see you following me. I'll be sure to check out some of your stuff too.

    • gmaoli profile image

      Gianandrea Maoli 6 years ago from South Carolina

      poetvix, I've heard about them having trouble finding work too and it's a shame that happens. When you're put in the line of fire and fighting to stay alive, you shouldn't have to come home STILL having to fight to stay alive with no means of putting food on your table while dealing with unfounded criticisms from the press. They need all the help they can get and they deserve a better welcome from us than that! Thanks for your thoughts!

    • gmaoli profile image

      Gianandrea Maoli 6 years ago from South Carolina

      EyesStraightAhead, thanks for your vote and your words! I also want to thank your family for the work they have done to protect our rights and our country. My thoughts and prayers also go out to your friend. I appreciate you stopping by to show your support and please let your friend know we are all behind him!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I love your title medals of heart and soul that speaks of care and love...this is very encouraging to those who serve the country...

      Congratulations on your nomination on the Hubnuggets! See how Hubpages honors and encourages new hubbers... read and vote... :)

    • ElizaDoole profile image

      Lisa McKnight 6 years ago from London

      Thanks for writing this hub. A friend of mine works with the wounded soldiers who come back from Afghanistan and this topic is close to my heart. It is good to know others appreciate the sacrifice of our soldiers, and their good intentions and hearts which they put on the line for everyone who believes in freedom and society. Voted up.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 6 years ago

      Beautiful! I found you through Writers Reunited and will follow you from now on! Voting for your hub, as it is more than worthy! Great job! tweeting2

    • poetvix profile image

      poetvix 6 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

      It's so heart warming to see someone speak out for those who sacrifice in silence and are too often forgotten. I read recently that returning soldiers are facing huge problems finding employment on top of the other problems they have to deal with. Thank you for calling attention to a debt we all owe. It's so ironic that in our culture celebrities get our attention daily while those that risk their very lives for us seldom make headlines unless it's in a negative way.

    • EyesStraightAhead profile image

      Shell Vera 6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Absolutely wonderful! Thank you for writing this. Several members of my family were in the military and several close friends still are. One of my closest friends who is like a brother to me is currently active duty as a Ranger and serves our country overseas in nine month rotations. This hub was a great way to show your support for the troops and members who serve our countries, whether here on our soil or elsewhere. Thank you for all the great hubs you write and congratulations on your nomination!

    • gmaoli profile image

      Gianandrea Maoli 6 years ago from South Carolina

      RedElf, you and your family have our thanks for all that you done for this country. Thank you for stopping by!

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 6 years ago from Canada

      My family has a long tradition of serving in the armed forces, and my son was raised to be proud of his grandfather's and great-grandfather's contribution. We are proud of our men and women in uniform, and grateful for their service.

    • gmaoli profile image

      Gianandrea Maoli 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Thank you for the kind comment, Kathleen!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      It's encouraging to read a hub like this and know communities all over America are saying Thank You for the sacrifices that have been made for us in the last 10 years. Thanks for writing this hub and for all the efforts to help those who have served.

    • gmaoli profile image

      Gianandrea Maoli 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Thank you RT. The army has dealt with enough blows as it is. I thought it was high time they got some real credit for a change.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      So glad to see this post considering the media focus on a few who dishonored their uniforms. Thank you for honoring the many honorable service men and women.

    • gmaoli profile image

      Gianandrea Maoli 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Hi clindblom,

      I'm really glad you liked it! You made my day with that one. I can't imagine what it's like for you guys to put up with what you do and I really admire you all for what you do. If my outward support and praise will keep up your spirits, then you'll be hearing it from me day in and day out and hopefully I can encourage plenty of other people do the same. With all the negatives you guys have to handle, I know it might be hard to imagine that there is support out there for what you do, but believe me that there is and we are behind you. Thank you for what you do for our country! We are incredibly proud of you all!

    • cmlindblom profile image

      Chris 6 years ago from middletown, ct

      Nice hub man! Thanks for caring enough to spend time and hub about it. It seems as in todays day in age it is only cool to support the troops when people are looking or judging you but as soon as noones around it gets turned off like a closet light. If you talk to any of the guys I'm with or any of my family when I'm not in uniform you would never know I was in the military. Not because I act like a fool or dress crazy but I keep a low profile for the simple fact that I know what I do for my self, my buddies and country. It is people like you though that actually make me want to put on a uniform and do my job. These days if you put on a uniform and walk through towns it is almost a gaurenteed fight. Well, I'm just rambling now considering the time and I have to wake up in a few hours. All in all, thanks man I like you hub.


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