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    NMCSD Hosts Gary Sinise Foundation, Invincible Spirit Festival



    Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jacob L Greenberg 

    Naval Medical Center San Diego

    SAN DIEGO – Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) hosted Gary Sinise, actor, activist and honorary Navy chief petty officer, and Robert Irvine, celebrity chef, for the 21st annual Invincible Spirit Festival Feb. 15.
    This is the eighth time the Invincible Spirit Festival has come to NMCSD, and its mission is to celebrate the courage of wounded service members, their families and caregivers. The Invincible Spirit Festival is an initiative from the Gary Sinise Foundation, which creates and supports unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen and build communities.
    “This is the first Invincible Spirit Festival of the year for us,” said Sinise. “We do three to four [festivals] throughout the year at military medical centers. I visited my first military hospital in Germany right after the Iraq War started, and after I left, I realized the impact that could be made by showing service members love and gratitude.”
    Sinise said that both the Gary Sinise Foundation and the Robert Irvine Foundation have hosted hundreds of events in the United States and abroad to remind service members that they are appreciated and not forgotten.
    Sinise and Irvine began their visit to NMCSD by touring some of the hospital’s wards. They met with wounded Sailors, Marines and veterans to give them their personal thanks and show gratitude for their sacrifice for the country.
    “Millions have been positively-affected by the Gary Sinise Foundation,” said Irvine, who reached out to Sinise nine years ago to help in any way he could. “It’s an inspiration to watch [Sinise’s impact] on service members, and it’s wonderful to be able to channel some of my success into making others feel better. We truly believe in service above self.”
    After meeting with patients, Irvine helped NMCSD’s chief petty officers grill hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken to feed hundreds of festival attendees, service members and their caregivers. In addition to the cook-out, multiple local classic car clubs showed off their vehicles, Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band performed a concert and children in attendance had the opportunity to get their faces painted and play in inflatable, bounce houses.
    Irvine, a British Royal navy veteran, said that between the Gary Sinise Foundation and the Robert Irvine Foundation, they spend approximately 150 days on the road to reach out to service members, veterans, their families and first responders.
    “It is our responsibility to take care of our own,” said Irvine. “Almost everyone has, or has had, a family member who has served in the military, and I love to give back and help those who wear the cloth of this nation.”
    Sinise said that NMCSD is the first place that he and Irvine participated in an Invincible Spirit Festival together, back in 2012.
    “The Invincible Spirit Festival is a way to say thank you to the men and women who serve our nation,” said Elizabeth Fields, Gary Sinise Foundation’s chief operating officer. “I can’t do enough to serve our veterans and first responders.”
    Capt. Bradford Smith, NMCSD’s commanding officer, thanked the Gary Sinise Foundation for all they have done to make the Invincible Spirit Festival Possible.
    “We couldn’t have made this work without the help and vision of Gary Sinise and his foundation,” said Smith. “We’re here to honor those who have sacrificed for our nation, and honor those who take care of the service members who have borne the wounds of battle.”
    Sinise received the Patriot Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Feb. 5. According to the Gary Sinise Foundation, the award is for his decades-long service to the nation's
    service men and women, veterans, their families, and those in need. Sinise and his foundation have received more than 60 awards for their humanitarian work and service to military members and their families.
    NMCSD’s mission is to prepare service members to deploy in support of operational forces, deliver high quality healthcare services and shape the future of military medicine through education, training, and research. NMCSD employs more than 6,000 active duty military personnel, civilians, and contractors in Southern California to provide patients with world-class care anytime, anywhere.
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    Date Taken: 02.15.2020
    Date Posted: 02.15.2020 17:22
    Story ID: 363266
    Location: SAN DIEGO, CA, US 

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