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Cause Celeb: Gary Sinise

Actor, director and producer Gary Sinise  discusses his involvement with the nonprofit organization My Good Deed in a Q&A interview  in "Cause Celeb," a monthly feature  of "Give and Take,"'s ongoing special coverage of philanthropy.
Gary Sinise, a longtime supporter of My Good Deed, plays with the Lt. Dan Band  at the Bob Hope Classic Golf Tournament to benefit the USO in Los Angeles on Sept. 11, 2006. 
Gary Sinise, a longtime supporter of My Good Deed, plays with the Lt. Dan Band  at the Bob Hope Classic Golf Tournament to benefit the USO in Los Angeles on Sept. 11, 2006. 

Q: How long have you been involved with the charity “My Good Deed”?

A: On and off for a couple of years.

Q: Can you describe in your own words what the charity does?

A: One element of it is to promote a national day of service on September 11th — to turn that into a national day of service and volunteerism where people would go out in their communities in whatever capacity they feel capable of and pitch in and help somebody in need in any way you can. The idea of turning that tragic day into a positive day where the country comes together, people come together to help each other in this spirit that we remember so clearly from that tragic time ... I think is a very, very worthy idea and I’m proud to be able to support it.

Q: And why this cause over others?

A: Well, it’s not over others. I have other humanitarian and charity organizations that I'm involved in but I guess I responded very specifically to this one because I feel that what happened on September 11th really did affect me and change me and change the way I think about things. It profoundly altered our lives and specifically I feel like it did something to me in such a way that I wanted to give back.

Q: What specifically do you do for the charity?

A: As a celebrity I help to try to promote it. That's a way that I can give back; I’m not involved on a day-to-day basis with all the things that they’re trying to do. They are trying to get Congress to sort of legitimize that day as a national day of service so they're spending a lot of time organizing efforts to make people aware of it, and as a celebrity that's one way that I can contribute. I've done interviews like this one to make people aware of it. A lot of people are not aware of the Web site, Each year for the past two or three years I've done public-service announcements and whatever I can to help get the word out and to help grow the idea.

Q: What's the most impressive thing that this charity has accomplished so far?

A: I’m not qualified to talk about that because I haven’t been involved specifically with the day-to-day growth of the organization ... but it has it has grown quite a bit. A lot more people participated in that national day of service this past September 11th than did the year before. I spent that day participating in a charity golf tournament for the USO and raising money for the local USO here in Los Angeles. That was a way that I could volunteer my time to help an organization that's trying to help other people, and that's one example of things you can do. You can volunteer in any way. The spirit of it is just doing a good deed for somebody else on a day that … in American history and world history has a lot of significance as being a very, very tragic time. I like the idea of honoring the spirit of those who lost their lives that day by helping somebody in need.

Q: Is there a particularly moving experience that you've had while using that day as a day of service?

A: One September 11th I did visit Walter Reed Hospital, (the) Army medical hospital in Washington, D.C., and spent time with our wounded service members there. That was a moving and in some ways inspirational day because of the courage of these service members who volunteer and go out there. They serve our country and they don’t have to do it, and then they go off and get hurt. You see them there in their therapy and they’re working toward make making a recovery and it makes you think a lot about your own life and what you have and how not to take it for granted.

Q: In your own words for people who are going to be reading this interview, why should people support this cause?

A: I personally think that this particular date of September 11th is a date that none of us should ever forget because it really was a world-changing event in so many ways. So many people — innocent people — lost their lives that I would hate to see the day become just another day where we go shopping and forget about the significance of what happened. I don’t think we can ever take that day for granted again. If in some ways we can honor those who lost their lives and honor the families of those who lost their lives by doing something for somebody else ... I think that in a way we can heal the wounds of that day.

For more information on My Good Deed, visit