Forrest Gump's impact on disabled veterans

Post date: Aug 26, 2011 8:29:23 PM

"CSI" actor tells what impact his "Forrest Gump" character has on real-life disabled veterans

St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - Actor Gary Sinise is very public about his support for disabled service members.

"I have Viet Nam veterans in my family on my wife's side," said Sinise, in town Monday for a rally for quadriplegic Todd Nicely. "On my side, WWII vets. My Dad was in the Navy, and so I have great respect for those who serve our country. After 'Forest Gump' I got involved with the Disabled American Veterans because I played a disabled vet."

Currently, Sinise stars in "CSI: New York," but the character Sinise played in the movie "Forrest Gump" was Lt. Dan, who becomes disabled in the movie.

"I mean, I'm playing a character," said Sinise. "They took my legs off with a computer, or I sat on them and tried to make them disappear and everything. So when I go to the hospital, and meet seriously injured service members who are living this, they somehow think I know what they're going through. I don't, really. I acted it. But I have a profound respect for those who have to continue on in life with these severe disabilities."

On Monday, Sinise announced that his group The Lt. Dan Band will perform at a May 27, Memorial Day Weekend fundraiser at the St. Charles Family Arena. The aim of the concert is to raise money for a specially-equipped home for wounded U.S. Marine Todd Nicely, 26, of Arnold. Nicely lost his arms and legs a year ago when he was wounded in Afghanistan.

Sinise says the estimated cost of the home is between $500,000 and $600,000.