‘Lt. Dan’ actor Gary Sinise awarded for military philanthropy

SAN DIEGO -- Gary Sinise, an actor and philanthropist best known as "Lt. Dan" from the film "Forrest Gump" and for his charitable work with the armed forces, received an award from the United Services Organization downtown Saturday.

USO San Diego hosted the 78th Annual Stars and Stripes Gala: Stand Up for Liberty event at the San Diego Marriott Marquis and Marina. Sinise was selected for the organization's Patriot Award.

"I'm happy to support them. They do a lot for our service members, here and overseas," Sinise told FOX 5.

He spends most of his time as a humanitarian for the Gary Sinise Foundation and its multiple programs, which all aim to help troops and veterans.

One program provides specially adapted smart homes to some of the most severely wounded warriors and their families. Another program brings WWII veterans and select students to the National WWII Museum in New Orleans for a celebration of community, unity and history.

For more than a decade, his band, Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band, has also toured the globe in support of US troops.

Sinise began touring with the USO in 2003. "I remember going out on those first USO tours and people would just scream 'Lt. Dan' at me all the time," Sinise told FOX 5. "They didn't know what my name was."

The San Diego USO provides support services to more than 250,000 military members and their families every year.

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