Actor Gary Sinise Announces Fundraiser To Help Build
Home For Young Martinsville-Area Soldier Who Is Triple-Amputee
Forrest Gump, CSI NY Star Will Perform Benefit Concert Goody’s 500 Weekend
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (February 9, 2012) – Award-winning actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise is going to make sure Cpl. J.B. Kerns‘ dream of a log cabin on the Ararat River becomes a reality. 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 Kerns that will allow him to live independently.
Kerns lost both legs and his right arm last April as a result of a blast from an improvised explosive device (IED) while on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. The heroic Marine, who‘s had to undergo dozens of surgeries, is from Ararat—a small, rural town in Patrick County, about 30 miles from Martinsville Speedway.
The fundraising centerpiece for the project will be a concert performed by Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band at Martinsville High School on Saturday, March 31, at 7 p.m, and 100% of the ticket sales will go toward funding the specially-equipped smart home for Kerns. The next day, at the running of the Goody‘s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway, Sinise and Kerns will play a special role in the Speedway‘s pre-race program.
General admission to the Martinsville concert will be $25. There will also be a limited number of VIP passes available, which include a ticket to the Goody‘s Fast Relief 500 and a Sunday morning meet-and-greet with Sinise at Martinsville Speedway.
Tickets will be sold by the Piedmont Arts Association in Martinsville and will go on sale Friday, Feb. 1.. They may be purchased online at www.piedmontarts.org or by calling (276) 632-3221. To make donations to Building For America‘s Bravest Program, you can go to http://www.garysinisefoundation.org/help_us/donate orhttps://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, and now performs 30 to 40 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.
Said Kerns, “I am overwhelmed at the support my community has given me. I have loved auto racing and NASCAR my whole life, and the fact that Martinsville Speedway, a star like Gary Sinise, and a foundation named after a 9/11 hero fireman, have come together so that I can have a home that is going to give me a good life, is awesome.”
“It is my honor to partner with the Tunnel to Towers Foundation to raise the necessary funds to support the building of a home for JB Kerns”, said Sinise. “JB has given so much in service to his country, and it is a privilege to do what I can to give something back to him. I hope that the entire community will join me and my band to help show our support and our gratitude to a great American hero, JB Kerns, the night of March 31. As our 30th president Calvin Coolidge said, ‘The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.‘ Let’s come together to honor this brave American, and show him that we will not forget what he has sacrificed in defense of our freedom.”
Purchase of the site for Kerns‘ house—land overlooking the Ararat River—is being finalized. Its acquisition is 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; will break ground on Feb. 14 in Temecula, CA for Cpl. Juan Dominguez‘s home; broke ground October 26, 2011 at the Lake of the Ozarks, MO for Cpl. Todd Nicely‘s smart 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.
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 towww.GarySiniseFoundation.org.
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.
Mike Smith (Martinsville Speedway) (276) 956-7232
Staci Wolfe (Gary Sinise Foundation)
Catherine Christman (Tunnel to Towers Foundation)