YIR: Blank, Marcus and ‘Lt. Dan’ to Aid Veterans
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YIR: Blank, Marcus and ‘Lt. Dan’ to Aid Veterans

February 2021: Co-founders of The Home Depot join with the actor’s foundation in donating $40 million to care for veterans and first responders.

Dave Schechter is a veteran journalist whose career includes writing and producing reports from Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Actor Gary Sinise poses with Bernie Marcus.
Actor Gary Sinise poses with Bernie Marcus.

A partnership announced in February 2021 teamed actor Gary Sinise with Home Depot founders Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank to care for veterans and first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and substance abuse.

Though not a veteran himself, Sinise — known for his portrayal of Lieutenant Dan in the film “Forrest Gump” — is revered in the military community for his work on behalf of veterans. Sinise credits his awareness of the psychic and physical trauma experienced in combat to his wife’s brother, a Vietnam veteran.

Billionaires Marcus and Blank each contributed $20 million from their personal foundations to support the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network, which will build on work done by the Marcus Institute for Brain Health and the Boulder Crest Foundation’s Warrior PATHH (Progressive and Alternative Training for Healing Heroes). The plan called for establishing 20 sites nationwide to serve veterans, first responders and their families. Avalon is the island where the legendary British King Arthur was taken to heal after his final battle.

Marcus said of Sinise, “He’s been a great and enthusiastic supporter of these people, who put their lives on the line, and he recognizes, along with us, that this invisible demon of post-traumatic stress and brain injury has one in three [veterans] suffering this malady, along with first responders. I can’t think of a better person to have out front.”


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