The Veterans United Home Loans announced this initiative to thank veterans for their services through its Make It Mean More Campaign.
Gary Sinise, who is popular for his role as Lieutenant Dan Taylor in Forrest Gump, happens to be one of the few whose outstanding acts of philanthropy have touched people across the globe. The Golden Globe award winner, who is committed to supporting the veteran and military community, recently participated in the Veterans United Home Loans campaign to celebrate those who have selflessly served the country by paying off their mortgages. Earlier this month, the Veterans United Home Loans announced this initiative to thank veterans for their services through its Make It Mean More Campaign.
Taking to Twitter, the home loan company announced that they would be paying $25 for every tweet that reads: Thank you for your service. The amount collected from this was then used to pay off the mortgages of numerous former service members. Apparently, there were 90,943 tweets which ended up raising $2,273,575 in paid-off mortgages. In an effort to make this more memorable, the company invited a few veteran advocates to join them in delivering the surprise via Zoom calls. In addition to Sinise, actor and longtime host of the Washington Memorial Day concert Joe Mantegna, army veteran J.R. Martinez, Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Petry and chef Robert Irvine also joined in.
Thank you to Veterans United home loans for their concrete actions to improve the lives of veterans by paying off their mortgages. If you tweet your thanks to our service members they will add $25 to the pool for this. #MakeItMeanMore— Aaron Sapp ︽✵︽ 🌹 (@lantern314) November 11, 2020
The 66-year-old actor was given the opportunity to surprise a Navy veteran and single father-of-four from Albany, New York. "I get to be the messenger to tell you that you're gonna get your entire mortgage and your loan paid off by Veterans United," Sinise told Bill Day in the emotional video. "You're not gonna have to worry about any of that." Day, who was visibly shocked to hear the news said, "What? Me!?" No, I don't deserve that!" He then went on to explain why this generous gift would help lift a huge weight off his shoulder. "My son is... severely autistic and we're having so many issues that this is gonna just help," expressed Day wiping his tears. "It's gonna help a lot."
Vice president of military relations and business development at Veterans United Home Loans, Pam Swan, explained, "The #MakeItMeanMore campaign is an amazing example of how we, at Veterans United and the American people, can be part of something so much more." Swan, who has been a military spouse for 33 years continued, "We all encounter service members and veterans throughout the year and want to thank them for their service, but often refrain from saying anything at all as we think, 'What does that really mean?' or 'I wish I could do more.'"
Best of 2020!!! When we bought our home last year, we chose @veteransunited and they were there with us every step of the way! If you are a Veteran and are going to purchase a house- contact Veterans United! You will be glad you did! https://t.co/b5fTJHDGqt— ❤️Wendy Ryan (@wendyryan117) November 11, 2020
"Well, imagine if the fear or uncertainty were wiped away by backing those words with real meaning... You can now do so much more with those simple words this Veterans Day. We hope this campaign will not only bring awareness to veterans but remind us as Americans that we have a debt to pay to those who have and continue to sacrifice for this nation," she added, according to PEOPLE. Choosing Sinise to be one of the news bearers was no doubt an apt choice, as the man has helped change the lives of countless veterans through his nonprofit The Gary Sinise Foundation.
This Veterans Day, we wanted to do more than just say thank you. We wanted to #MakeItMeanMore. So with the help of thousands of your tweets, we paid off 11 deserving Veterans’ homes. We hope this action says what words never could. See how it all happened: https://t.co/0p5L8zG9Ww pic.twitter.com/DGBbUyIWNr— Veterans United (@veteransunited) November 13, 2020
Earlier this year, we reported that Sinise donated 20,000 meals to Veteran Affairs' Hospital members in light of the ongoing pandemic. In May, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that the Gary Sinise Foundation has pledged to donate up to 20,000 meals to VA health care and frontline workers. "Donations like this mean a lot to our VA staff as they are on the front lines of caring for our nation’s veterans every day," VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a press release. "We are very appreciative of this donation during the COVID-19 pandemic." Through this effort, the foundation also resolved to rebuild the local economy.
"The donated meals will come from restaurants near these facilities, stimulating local economies and helping communities," Chief Operating Officer of the Gary Sinise Foundation Elizabeth Fields said. "Up to 250 meals will be donated to each facility depending on size and need." The foundation has reportedly been working tirelessly since April 1, as "the Emergency COVID-19 Combat Service has been helping to meet the urgent needs of Veterans, first responders, military, health care workers and all of those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic through serving meals, providing personal protective equipment and donating decontamination equipment across the country."