56 U.S. VETERANS MAGAZINE SUMMER 2020 WWW.USVETERANSMAGAZINE.COM
he Gary Sinise Foundation was established under the philanthropic direction of actor Gary Sinise, who has been an advocate of our nations defenders for nearly forty years. The mission of the foundation is to serve our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need. One of the Gary Sinise Foundation's flagship programs is R.I.S.E. (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment), which builds specially adapted smart homes for our most severely wounded heroes. U.S. Army Chief Warrant icer 5Gary Linfoot and his wife, Mari, became the recipient of one of these new smart homes at a dedication ceremony last May. Linfoot, a Los Angeles native, initially enlisted in the Army Reserve after graduating high school in the hopes of becoming a helicopter pilot. After attending Flight School and graduating a Warrant icer in 1990, Linfoot joined the Armys elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) (SOAR(A)) in 1997. On May 31, 2008, while conducting operations in Iraq, Linfoot's helicopter suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure. The helicopter crash-landed, injuring Linfoot severely. Medics evacuated him to Germany for a spine stabilization surgery, and treatment took him from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to the Tampa VA Hospital, and finally the Shepherd Center in GA. His broken back paralyzed Linfoot from the waist down. Gary and his wife, Mari, have raised three children over their twenty-six-year marriage. As with every other challenge they have confronted, they fight to overcome Gary's disability together and have had remarkable success. Wearing an exoskeleton suit, Gary walked his oldest daughter, Allyssa, down the aisle on her wedding day in 2016, and he currently works as a helicopter simulator instructor pilot with the 160th SOAR(A) at Fort Campbell, KY. Gary Sinise sent the following message to Linfoot that was delivered at the ceremony: You are an inspiration my friend. What an incredible journey you have had. Seeing the video of you walking your daughter down the aisle in the amazing exoskeleton brought tears to my eyes. I am thrilled that you are finally here today, about to begin this brand-new chapter in your life. I will look forward to a time in the future when I can come visit, take a tour of your new home, and personally thank you, Mari and your three children, Allyssa, Kylie and Hayden, once again for all you have sacrificed on behalf of this nation. On behalf of everyone at the Gary Sinise Foundation, welcome home Linfoot family. Enjoy this wonderful day. May God bless you always, and may
Wounded Army Chief Gifted Smart Home Through the Gary Sinise Foundation
THE GARY SINISE FOUNDATION
God Bless the United States of America you have so faithfully served. Army Strong! Your Grateful American pal, Gary Sinise. R.I.S.E. constructs one-of- a-kind houses all across the country, specifically designed to meet the needs of a wounded hero, their caregivers and families, and provide a place to truly call home. These 100 percent mortgage-free homes ease the daily challenges faced by these heroes and their families who sacrifice alongside them. To learn more about the R.I.SE. program and the Gary Sinise Foundation please visit: https://www. garysinisefoundation.org/rise/
U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Gary Linfoot (Ret.) and his wife, Mari, see their specially adapted smart home for the first time through the R.I.S.E. program, May 2019.
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