Actor Gary Sinise Announces Plans for a Concert with His Lt. Dan Band
On Saturday, April 28 at Washington Avenue Armory at 7 p.m.
Money Raised Will Help Build a “Smart Home” for Tech Sgt. Joe Wilkinson USAF (Ret)
Lauded by the NYS Assembly for His “Valiant Military Service”
And for Bravely Battling Extensive Medical Challenges
Tickets to the Concert Go On Sale Monday, March 12
ALBANY, NY. (March 12, 2012) – Actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise is going to make sure Tech Sgt. Joe Wilkinson’s (USAF Ret.) dream of a home situated in a wooded area, complete with trickling stream, comes true. The house will be located in Nassau, N.Y.
Sinise announced today that the Gary Sinise Foundation and The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation (named after the NY firefighter who perished on 9/11), are partnering as part of their Building For America’s Bravest Program to build a “smart home” for Wilkinson.
Wilkinson has extensive neurological damage following his service in Iraq. Doctors have told him he is suffering from a chronic, multi-symptom illness. The belief is he might have come into contact with toxic chemicals sometime during his tour of duty.
Despite several grueling surgeries, he has lost most of the feeling in his legs—most likely the result of degenerative nerve damage in his back. Wilkinson is unable to walk and is wheelchair-bound.
During the press conference, a resolution by the NY State Assembly was read, applauding the 33-year-old husband and father for his “valiant military service,” and for having “manned the front gates and conducted mobile patrols around the perimeters of five different overseas installations, in support of both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.” The resolution went on to describe Wilkinson’s life since returning home as one where he has “bravely entered into a more personal battle facing an undiagnosed medical condition.”
Said Wilkinson about his new home,” When we first saw the property where our house is going to be built, it was so beautiful my wife, my kids and I were all excited. The kids kept saying, ‘Can we get this? Can we get this?’ We can’t wait to move into our new home, and can’t thank everyone enough.”
Said Sinise, “I am thrilled that the Gary Sinise Foundation partnership with Tunnel to Towers Foundation has committed, through our Building For Americas Bravest program, to raise the necessary funds and community awareness to build Tech Sgt. Joe Wilkinson a specially designed smart home to help him and his family. Joe served his country honorably and has sacrificed much in that service. Taking care of our veterans if they are injured or disabled is critically important. I hope that the community in Albany will join us in this effort and will come honor Joe at our concert on April 28th.”
The fundraising centerpiece to build Wilkinson a “smart home” will be a concert performed by Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band at the Washington Avenue Armory, on Saturday, April 28 at 7 p.m. Tickets to the concert range in price from $30-$50 and will go on sale immediately. To purchase tickets, call the Washington Avenue Armory at EXACT WORDING TO COME. To make donations to Building For America’s Bravest Program, you can go to http://www.garysinisefoundation.org/help_us/donate or https://tunneltotowersfoundation.org/donate_now.aspx .
Sinise, nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Lt. Dan—the character who lost both legs in battle in “Forrest Gump”—and the star of CBS’ popular “CSI: New York”—is also an accomplished musician. He formed the Lt. Dan Band in 2004 primarily for USO Tours, but now performs 30 to 40 fundraising concerts a year to entertain troops and families, to raise funds for charitable efforts to help wounded warriors and families of the fallen, and to support charities devoted to the same.
Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band will appear free-of-charge, with all proceeds going toward funding the specially-equipped house for Wilkinson, that will allow him to live independently with his wife Lucretia and their children, Austin, 13, Kennedi, 10, and Mia, 2.
Purchase of the site for Wilkinson’s house in Nassau, NY, has been completed and the building of the home will begin this year. Its acquisition was made possible by the partnership between the Gary Sinise Foundation and The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
Since 2011, the two foundations have joined forces to build smart homes for three quadruple amputees. In 2012 they are partnering on nine additional homes for very-severely wounded warriors from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. They completed one home for Spc. Brendan Marrocco, on June 11, 2011 in Staten Island, NY; broke ground October 26, 2011 at the Lake of the Ozarks, MO for Cpl. Todd Nicely‘s smart home; broke ground on Feb. 14 in Temecula, CA for Cpl. Juan Dominguez‘s home; and this year, in addition to a home in Ararat, VA for JB Kerns, will begin raising funds for homes in Brooklyn, NY, Albany, NY, Columbia, MO, Atlanta, GA, Marietta, OH, and Whitehall, PA.
About the Gary Sinise Foundation
The Gary Sinise Foundation is dedicated to serving the Nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need by creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen and build communities. For more information, go to www.GarySiniseFoundation.org.
About The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, named after fallen NY firefighter Stephen Siller, is best known for its annual Tunnel to Towers Run which follows Siller’s heroic run from a blocked-off Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the World Trade Center in a desperate bid to save lives. The Run, held the last Sunday of each September, attracts 30,000 participants from around the world. Beginning in 2011, cities all across America—including some of the largest—held their versions of the Tunnel to Towers Run and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Foundation’s “Building for America’s Bravest” program. For more information, go to www.TunneltoTowers.org.