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Role model

Published June 22. 2012 05:02PM

Despite the daily stream of negative news we see in the tabloids and on television entertainment shows concerning Hollywood celebrities, there are still some good ones left.

Count Gary Sinese as one of them.

We all know him for his character as Lt. Dan in "Forrest Gump" but Sinise has a much more rewarding role when it comes to real life service to our disabled veterans.

Since Sinese played the role of an amputee veteran in the movie, it's quite fitting to see him as the spokesperson for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. He has traveled the country to raise funds to build the memorial to honor America's three million living disabled military veterans, which broke ground in 2010.

Sinese has also done 40 worldwide tours and made over 150 appearances for the USO alone to help boost the morale of hundreds of thousands of troops and their families.

Earlier this week, it was announced that Sinise, who also runs a foundation that builds custom homes for wounded veterans, will be bringing his Lt. Dan Band to the State Theatre in Easton on August 17 to play a benefit concert for Adam Keys, the Northampton County corporal who was wounded in southern Afghanistan two years ago.

Keys lost both his legs and his left hand after a roadside bomb exploded, claiming the lives of four soldiers, including his best friend, Jesse Reed of Whitehall. Keys' wounds have required more than 120 surgeries.

In 2008, Gary Sinise received the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second highest civilian honor awarded to citizens for exemplary deeds performed in service of the nation. He is only the second actor, and one of only 110 people in history to have received the honor.

Thankfully, we have others in the sports/entertainment world who donate their time and personal resources to help our veterans. People like NASCAR drivers Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler and Major League Baseball Umpires Larry Barnett and Jerry Layne regularly go beyond the call of duty to serve our wounded veterans.

It's their kind of selfless service that makes us proud to be an American.

By Jim Zbick

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