While serving as a Marine in Afghanistan, Jonathon Blank paid a hefty price. He lost both of his legs in an explosion that also left injuries to his head and arms.
But someone had and has his back. And that person is actor Gary Sinise. Sinise is famously known for playing the character Lt. Dan in the movie “Forrest Gump.”
In the movie, Lt. Dan loses both of his legs during military action. Since then, Sinise has formed the Gary Sinise Foundation, which reaches out to help veterans affected by military engagements. And for Jonathon, the foundation and Sinise himself wanted to build him a custom-made home, one that he could easily maneuver through with his disability. Jonathon was overwhelmed by the gift from the foundation.
Says Jonathon: “It’s such an incredible gift. Even some of those tough guys, when they found out about this, they got pretty emotional about it.”
Jonathon joined the Marines in 2006 and lost his legs four years later. He continues to suffer from chronic pain. He also has migraine headaches and insomnia. Sinise and his foundation are responsible for building nearly 60 homes for wounded veterans since the foundation was formed. The homes built are energy efficient, with remote-controlled light fixtures and shades. They also have voice-activated technology throughout. And in Jonathon’s new home, there is a lift to get him from one floor to another. Jonathon’s girlfriend, Brittney, was thrilled about him getting the new home.
Says Brittney: “He’s dragging, hauling all his stuff up and down the stairs all the time. Nothing slows him down, but just to imagine cupboards that he can pull down and reach rather than having to jump up there — it’s going to be such a huge difference for him.”
Sinise has made sure that his role as Lt. Dan has made far more of an impact than just a character in a movie. That’s something not a lot of other actors can claim.