Actor Gary Sinise ("Forrest Gump", "Apollo 13", "CSI: NY"), and his band, the Lt. Dan Band, will travel to Afghanistan to perform for U.S. troops at three military bases during Thanksgiving week.
FORT WORTH, Texas, Nov. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Actor Gary Sinise ("Forrest Gump", "Apollo 13", "CSI: NY"), and his band, the Lt. Dan Band, will travel to Afghanistan to perform for U.S. troops at three military bases during Thanksgiving week. Entertainers joining Sinise on the USO tour include model/TV host Leeann Tweeden, actress Kristy Swanson, comedian Kevin Farley, and actor Mykelti Williamson, all of whom will also entertain U.S. troops.
Although Sinise has made several handshake tours to both Iraq and Afghanistan, this trip will mark the first time he and his band perform for the troops. With support from the USO, Sinise and the entertainers will perform at three major bases, making a special trip to visit wounded warriors in Germany at the USO Warrior Center at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC). LRMC is the largest American hospital outside of the United States and is the evacuation and treatment center for all injured U.S. service members serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. While visiting the troops at LRMC, Sinise and the entertainers will distribute thousands of items, including sports attire from the Dallas Cowboys.
In addition to entertaining, Sinise, American Airlines, DHL Express, and Operation International Children (OIC) are helping to deliver humanitarian aid to Afghanistan for local children. Founded by Sinise and author Laura Hillenbrand ("Seabiscuit: An American Legend"), OIC, formerly Operation Iraqi Children, was started in 2004 to support U.S. soldiers' efforts to assist Iraqi children, many of whom attend severely neglected schools. For this mission, OIC is supplying more than 7,660 school supply kits and Crocs™ shoes for the Afghan children.
"As we continue our extensive efforts in Iraq, we are now sending school supplies and other necessities to troops in Afghanistan and other nations for distribution to needy children," said Kelly Meyer, Operation International Children Project Director. "Great companies like American Airlines enable us to further broaden our mission to bring aid to children around the world."
Sinise, American Airlines and OIC have worked together in the past to deliver humanitarian aid. In April 2009, volunteers from American Airlines and OIC transported more than 20 tons of basic school supplies, new Crocs™ shoes, and other items to children in Iraq. This trip marked the largest one-time shipment of supplies in Operation International Children's history, with 10,000 school kits delivered. American Airlines was the first U.S. passenger airline to transport humanitarian cargo for distribution in Iraq.
"We admire the work that Gary Sinise and his organization have done to help the children in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Tom Del Valle, American's Senior Vice President - Domestic Airport Services, who will be traveling to Afghanistan with Sinise. "It is an honor to participate in this mission and spend time with our troops during the holiday season."
In July, American employees raised money through the "Kick-Start a Dream" program to purchase more than 1,100 soccer balls. With assistance from DHL Express, the balls were shipped to U.S. Marines in Afghanistan who delivered them to local children, aiding the troops' mission to further their goodwill in the country.
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About Operation International Children
Operation International Children (OIC) is a grassroots program founded in early 2004 by actor Gary Sinise and author Laura Hillenbrand. Sinise and Hillenbrand created OIC to give concerned Americans a way to reach out to war-stricken Iraqi children and support American troops in their efforts to assist them. The program is administered by People to People International (PTPI) and has distributed more than 250,000 School Supply Kits since its inception. PTPI, with World Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri USA, was established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on September 11, 1956 to enhance international understanding and friendship through educational, cultural and humanitarian activities involving the exchange of ideas and experiences directly among peoples of different countries and diverse cultures. Today, as a NGO with a U.S., not-for-profit, [501 (c)(3)] tax rating, PTPI has a presence in 135 countries with more than 80,000 families and individuals actively participating in People to People International programs. Please visit www.ptpi.org for more information.
About DHL Express
DHL Express is the international shipping and logistics expert. Its U. S. A. operations focus exclusively on import and export services to and from the U.S. market to more than 220 countries and territories worldwide through its unparalleled global network, catering to companies that operate globally and require fast, reliable international shipping services. With more than 40 years of international shipping experience and 46 state-of-the-art hubs around the world from Shanghai to Cincinnati, approximately 95% of U.S. inbound shipments are cleared on the day of arrival, where regulations permit.
About the USO
The USO (United Service Organizations) lifts the spirits of America's armed forces and their families. We provide a touch of home to troops wherever they serve through centers at airports and military bases around the world, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and services tailored to meet the needs of troops and their families. The USO is not a government agency and relies on the generosity of the American people. The USO is also supported by Worldwide Strategic Partners AT&T Inc., BAE Systems, The Boeing Company, Clear Channel Communications, The Coca-Cola Company, Gallery Furniture, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, S & K Sales Co. and TriWest Healthcare Alliance. Other corporate donors, including the United Way and Combined Federal Campaign (CFC-11381), have joined millions of individual donors to support the USO. For more information, please visit www.uso.org.
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SOURCE: American Airlines