Sharon Koehler

Artistic Stone Design

The Gary Sinise Foundation (named after its founder, actor Gary Sinise) was created to help America’s wounded active duty or veteran military personnel and first responders. To do this they have created nine different programs: 

Invincible Spirit Festivals – This program brings day-long festivals to military hospitals around the country and provides a break from the demands of rehab. These festivals are meant to boost the morale of patients, their loved ones and their caregivers. 

Gary Sinise & the Lieutenant Dan Band – This group travels the globe bringing awareness to first responder and military causes and issues throughout the world.

R.I.S.E Program – This program builds smart homes or adapts existing homes for severely wounded veterans, and helps with mobility challenges. 

Relief and Resiliency Outreach This program provides support in times of urgent need for those veterans or active military personnel recovering from injury, loss or trauma.

First Responders Outreach Program – While similar in nature to the Relief and Resiliency Outreach program, it is designed to aid and support first responders, i.e.: EMT, police and firefighters.

The Arts & Entertainment Outreach Program – Veterans are provided with the opportunity to have dinner and a dress rehearsal performance night out free of charge at participating theaters.

Ambassador Council – The council sends “ambassadors” into communities to help them recognize and honor their local veterans and their sacrifices.

Soaring Valor – In partnership with the national WWII History Museum, WWII Veterans are provided the opportunity to tour the museum, and while they are there they can orally give their own firsthand account of their war experiences for future visitors to hear. If they are unable to make the trip, a historian may be sent to interview them.

Serving Heroes – This program helps provide our military personnel across the country with hearty meals.

It’s the R.I.S.E Program that is of interest to us all right now. I don’t know if you know this but the MIA+BSI announced in December of last year that it was teaming up with The Gary Sinise Foundation to provide assistance to the R.I.S.E program. The R.I.S.E. program (Restoring Independence and Supporting Empowerment) provides smart homes, home adaptations, specialty vehicles and mobility devices to America’s severely wounded veterans. 

Each home the foundation builds or adapts is custom designed to fit the needs of the wounded warrior and his or her family. Great care is taken by the program to design or adapt each home to help the recipient lead as normal a life as possible even with their injuries and disabilities.

This was not a “money only” contribution. MIA+BSI members will contribute their time and materials as well. MIA+BSI members will be providing 100 percent natural stone for 10-15 smart homes around the country this year. They will also contribute fabrication and installation. This is not just interior countertops. Stone work will also include interior facades and exterior cladding plus other natural stone projects as needed to assist the veteran and his family or caregivers.

If your company wants to help, all it takes is an email to . The email needs to contain your name, your company name, where you are located plus what type of stone work you do and what you are willing to contribute. It’s that simple.

Please send your thoughts on this article to Sharon Koehler at .