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Gary Sinise and NMCSD Bring Military families Food, Fun and Entertainment

Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Sean Lenahan

Navy Reserve – Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

SAN DIEGO – The Gary Sinise Foundation “Invincible Spirit Festival” brought food, fun, and rock-n-roll to Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD), Feb. 10.

After the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Sinise began devoting much of his time supporting the men and women who were deploying in response to those attacks and eventually led to him to create the Gary Sinise Foundation. Having veterans in his own family and a more than 40 year personal history of supporting military veterans, Sinise regularly pours his heart and soul into bringing joy and giving back to those who have served.

“It’s really great that Gary (Sinise) could come out and support us,” said Boatswain Mate 2nd Class Zachary Miller, assigned to NMCSD Facilities Department. “It’s events like these that show the country and those outside of the military that giving back to those who serve is the right thing to do.”

Since 2012, Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band have come to NMCSD to bring joy and awareness to families and military members with his campaign. This year Robert Irvine’s Food company and over 300 military and civilian volunteers came together to cook and serve more than 2,500 hamburgers, 2,400 hotdogs, and 400 pounds of chicken to over 3,000 service members and their families at the festival.
“I think events like these speak for themselves,” said David Longstaff, CEO of Robert Irvine Foods and prior senior most food service advisor in the U.S. Army. “It’s about heroes, families, and selflessness. It’s about everything they both (Sinise & Irvine) do in between the shows. This commemorates the men and women who serve.”
While Longstaff’s focus is on creating food products that support Robert Irvine’s mission of empowering people to thrive each day through fitness and food, some of the volunteers at the event hope to serve the U.S. military in even more significant ways in the future.

“I aspire to be in the Marines and I believe everyone should help the men and women who serve,” said Military Explorer Petty Officer First Class Gavin McCune, 14. “I want to be here as a volunteer to grow as a person and to give back, and what better way to do that then at a concert event that is like a county fair!”

Other attractions at the event included arts and crafts for children, muscle cars on display from various auto associations of Southern California, a rock-climbing wall, and bounce houses.

For more news from Naval Medical Center San Diego, visit www.navy.mil/local/sd/.

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