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Tom Hanks joined Elizabeth Dole Foundation to honor Gary Sinise and Lee Greenwood in star-studded tribute to military caregivers hosted by TODAY co-anchor Savannah Guthrie

Tom Hanks joined Elizabeth Dole Foundation to honor Gary Sinise and Lee Greenwood in star-studded tribute to military caregivers hosted by TODAY co-anchor Savannah Guthrie

Virtual program featured celebrities Bryan Cranston, Tamron Hall, Gerald McRaney, Ben and Erin Napier, Jocko Sims, and Aisha Taylor, with performance from Multi-Platinum Trio Lady A

WASHINGTON, D.C (October 29, 2021)— Hidden Heroes Campaign Chairman Tom Hanks presented actor, humanitarian, and founder of the Gary Sinise Foundation, Gary Sinise with the Tom Hanks Caregiver Champion Award during the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s Fourth Annual Heroes and History Makers on October 28. TODAY co-anchor and Hidden Heroes Ambassador Savannah Guthrie emceed the program and celebrities Bryan Cranston, Tamron Hall, Ben and Erin Napier, Jocko Sims, and Aisha Taylor narrated personal stories of military caregivers from across the country. Lee Greenwood accepted the Foundation’s first Caregiver Ally Award, and Multi-Platinum Trio Lady A gave a special performance.

Links to the individual caregiver spotlights, as narrated by celebrities can be found here:

The full program can be found here.

Made possible with the support of USAA, the event is the largest dedicated to honoring America’s 5.5 million loved ones caring for wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans at home. Senator Elizabeth Dole opened the program by addressing the nationwide audience about how caregivers have always stepped up for their veterans. “Fortunately for our veterans and our nation, we live in a world blessed by caregivers—millions of them—who are willing to make a miraculous promise,” she said. “They see the veterans in their lives who are struggling, and they stand-up and say, ‘I promise to care for you.”

Sinise is the fourth recipient of the Caregiver Champion Award, following Hanks, former First Lady Michelle Obama, and music superstar Tim McGraw. In his tribute to Sinise, Hanks talked about how the military has played a significant role in Sinise’s life. “Actors who have portrayed members of the military often develop an emotional tie to those who serve, though I don’t think anyone has done more good with that inspiration than my friend Gary,” he said. “There really isn’t anything Gary isn’t willing to do, if it means making life a little easier or a little better for those who serve.”

Sinise accepted the night’s honor by highlighting the importance of caring for veterans and caregivers. “Very early in my Foundation’s work to support our wounded veterans, it became clear that we cannot help our injured service men and women if we do not also invest and support the hidden heroes standing by their side,” Sinise said. “Military caregivers are our veterans’ support system, their cheerleaders, their frontline medical professionals, and their pillars of emotional support.”

The following organizations joined USAA in generously supporting this event: The Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation, Cerner, Comcast NBCUniversal, Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, Prudential, TriWest, Wounded Warrior Project, AARP, American Airlines, Booz Allen Hamilton, Philips, Pritzker Military Museum & Library, Wells Fargo, Jacqueline Badger Mars, FedEx, Coca-Cola, FTC, Humana Military, Modern Technology Solutions, Inc., Accenture, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Bob and Candy Scherer, Disabled American Veterans, Home Instead Senior Care, Hamilton Place Strategies, KPMG, Magellan Federal, Microhealth, Mida Associates, National Government Services, OptumServe, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Ambassador Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, Clark Construction, Clarus Group, Cohen Veterans Network, Jim and Linda Beers, Program Management Solutions, Signature Performance, Phil and Peg Soucy, Thorn Partners, Kerry and Becky Tymchuk, Jenna and Lorah Dorn.

About Elizabeth Dole Foundation and Hidden Heroes

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation is the preeminent organization empowering, supporting, and honoring our nation’s 5.5 million military caregivers – the spouses, parents, family members, and friends who care for America’s wounded, ill or injured veterans at home. Founded by Senator Elizabeth Dole in 2012, the Foundation adopts a comprehensive approach in its support and advocacy, working with leaders in the public, private, nonprofit, and faith communities to recognize military caregivers’ service and promote their well-being. Learn more about the Elizabeth Dole Foundation at www.hiddenheroes.org.

About Gary Sinise

For 40 years, award-winning actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise has stood as an advocate on behalf of America’s defenders. He began in the early ’80s, supporting local Vietnam Veterans’ groups in the Chicago area, and continued into the ’90s, when his portrayal of “Lt. Dan” in Forrest Gump formed an enduring connection with service members throughout the military community. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Sinise’s dedication to our nation’s active-duty service members, Veterans, first responders, and their families who sacrifice alongside them, became a tireless crusade of support and gratitude for all those who protect our freedom and serve our country.

In recognition of his humanitarian work on behalf of our troops and veterans, Sinise has earned many distinguished awards including The Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment from the Medal of Honor Society, the Spirit of the USO Award, The Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Spirit of Hope Award by the Department of Defense, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Award from the National Defense Industrial Association and West Point’s Thayer Award. In 2008 he was given the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second-highest civilian honor awarded to citizens for exemplary deeds performed in service of the nation, only the third actor ever to receive this honor.

In 2011, to expand upon his individual efforts, he established the Gary Sinise Foundation with the mission to “always do a little more” for our those who serve. Its programs—designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities—serve America’s heroes and their loved ones 365 days a year. To learn more about all the programs offered by the Gary Sinise Foundation, visit www.garysinisefoundation.org/programs.