Happy Birthday, Gary Sinise

Filed under:Cool,Priorities — posted by Anwyn on March 17, 2007 @ 1:30 pm

He’s doing good for the Iraqi people and our troops: co-founder of Operation Iraqi Children, which sends school supplies to Iraqi children, many of whom were kept under wretched school conditions during the reign of Saddam Hussein:

Corralled in sweltering one-room buildings without air conditioning, fans, windows, solid floors, or even toilets, Iraqi students lack even the rudimentary supplies that American children take for granted. Libraries and books are almost nonexistent. Without these basic tools of education, Iraqi children face an uphill struggle to learn.

OiC takes donations as well as guiding groups who want to put together school-supplies kits that are stored at OiC’s warehouse in Kansas City and then shipped to Iraq. But the kicker is Sinise’s desire for the program to help our troops as well, many of whom had already taken it upon themselves to try to get supplies and better conditions for the kids:

Working in small groups on their days off, soldiers gather supplies sent by family members, friends, and various groups and take them to villages, sometimes coming under fire as they work to reconstruct the schools and deliver learning tools to Iraqi kids. Their efforts have met with immense gratitude from local Iraqis and their children, who now have access to the basic tools of education for the first time in their lives. “I have seen Iraqi kids climbing on our soldiers and hugging them and kissing them,” remembers Sinise, who accompanied Army soldiers to a dilapidated school they were rebuilding. “I have seen their smiling faces and their attempts to say ‘I love you’ in broken English. The folks I saw had hope in their eyes and gratitude in their hearts for what was done for them.”

“Every time a box of school supplies is delivered by our troops it will be another small victory for them in helping win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis,” says Sinise. “It is a beautiful way to begin a relationship with the future leaders of Iraq.”

It seems last night was my night to catch “five minutes” of this or that on TV. I saw the end of Entertainment Tonight, in which one of the hosts caught up with Sinise to wish him happy birthday (St. Paddy’s Day boy) and present him with a $1000 gift card from ET and Capital One to be used for OiC. In his thanks, Sinise made sure to mention that “our troops get to give these out” and that it’s thus good for everybody.

Many people use that much-maligned phrase “support the troops.” Sinise is putting it into action by enabling them in turn to support the Iraqi people. Happy birthday, man.

zero comments so far »

Have something to say on the subject?

Copy link for RSS feed for comments on this post or for TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace