Gary Sinise to receive honorary AARP Purpose Prize Award


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Gary Sinise will receive an honorary AARP Award for his work through his foundation that supports military members and first responders.

The organization announced Tuesday that Sinise will receive the honorary AARP Purpose Prize awards during a ceremony on Oct. 25. The Emmy and Tony award winner will be recognized for his work through his Gary Sinise Foundation.

Sinise’s foundation — which launched in 2011 — honors military members, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need. Some of his charitable efforts include building adapted homes for severely wounded veterans and first responders, uplifting military members and families through entertainment, mental wellness programs and financial support in crucial moments.

Sinise co-starred in “Apollo 13” and “Forrest Gump,” playing a seriously wounded Vietnam War veteran, and led the cast of “NCIS: NY” for nine season.

Five individuals will be awarded the AARP Purpose Prize, which honors people ages 50 and older who are making a difference through their “knowledge and life experience.” Each of their organizations will receive $50,000.

The recipients include:

    1. Ken Falke of Bluemont, Virginia, whose Boulder Crest Foundation focuses on the mental health and well-being of combat veterans and first responders.

    2. Peter Jensen of Little Rock, Arkansas, whose The REACH Institute works to ensure vulnerable children have access to best practices in mental health care services.

    3. Janice Malone of Mobile, Alabama, whose Vivian’s Door helps Black businesses grow, scale, and reinvest in their communities.

    4. Don Schoendorfer of Irvine, California, whose Free Wheelchair Mission has shipped nearly 1.4 million wheelchairs to people in 94 countries who would not otherwise be able to afford one.

    5. Laura Stachel of Berkeley, California, whose We Care Solar promotes safe motherhood and reduces maternal mortality in frontline medical facilities.

AARP said 10 named Purpose Prize fellows will also be honored. Each of them will receive a $10,000 award to further the mission of their organization.

AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins said the recipients are “shining examples of a simple, yet profound truth.”

“When we find our sense of purpose — that certain something that gives us a reason to get up and get going every day — we not only give meaning to our own lives; we make the world a better place for everyone,” Jenkins said.

AARP also announced the return of its Inspire Award for a third year. The general public can vote for the AARP Purpose Prize winner they want to win the award, which grants the recipient an additional $10,000 for their organization.

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