Actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise – a longtime supporter of U.S. military service members and their families – visited San Diego Saturday for an annual festival where he jammed with his musical group, the Lt. Dan Band.
It was all part of the 6th Annual Invincible Spirit Festival hosted by Sinise’s organization, the Gary Sinise Foundation, meant to show appreciation for U.S. military veterans and their families, and the sacrifices they’ve made. The festival is one of the many causes organized by the Gary Sinise Foundation in its ongoing mission to support veterans and wounded warriors.
The event was held at Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD). According to the Gary Sinise Foundation, the concert was a way of saying “thank you” to the staff at NMCSD who cares for veterans daily.
The name of Sinise’s band was inspired by the actor’s iconic role as wounded U.S. military veteran Lt. Dan in the film, “Forrest Gump.” Before the Lt. Dan Band hit the stage, opening act Stolen Silver performed. The festival also included family-friendly activities, prize giveaways and food.
"I love being able to come here to Naval Medical Center and visit with everyone and meet the patients, meet the staff members, meet the families that are going through rehabilitation here," Sinise told NBC 7.
Sinise said he had been frequently visiting facilities like the NVMSD and, one day, an idea came to him to host this annual festival.
"I just said, ‘Why don’t we bring a stage in here and kind of do a day of appreciation for everybody?’" he recalled.
According to organizers, the Invincible Spirit Festival was attended by more than 3,000 wounded warriors, NMCSD caregivers and military families.
This included NMCSD chiropractor Kim Khauv, who works with many wounded service members. He said events like these mean a lot to him and make him remember that his work matters.
“We see a lot of active duty service members with a lot of muscle skeletal conditions,” Khauv told NBC 7. “It’s close to the No. 1 cause of coming in to come see us, so we get them ready to be fit and to pass their fitness test and to be deployable, and that’s the most important thing. And, hopefully get them healthy and be able to perform their duties.