Rep. Duckworth gets her chance to say ‘thank you’ to actor Gary Sinise

ADVERTISEMENT
Duckworth was first female double amputee from the Iraq war. She went on to become an assistant Secretary at the Department of Veterans Affairs. She was elected to Congress in 2012.

"I was unconscious for 11 days," Duckworth said of her injuries. "When I woke up one of the first things people said to me was 'Gary Sinise has already called to ask about you and see how you are doing.' "

Both Sinise and Duckworth were at the Easter Seals Advocacy Awards on Tuesday night and finally got to talk.

They never got a chance to connect after Duckworth was injured.

"He was doing USO tours. In fact, I was back home and he was in Iraq," Duckworth explained, noting that since then "we did events together but we've never formally met."


But the actor remembered her.

"I didn't think he would remember me but he totally remembered. I was blown away," she said.

"I absolutely remember when she got hurt," said Sinise, who rose to fame for his role of Lt. Dan in the film "Forrest Gump." "I wish I could have gotten to the hospital."

Duckworth said she thanked the actor, who is known for his work with veterans, for checking up on her and told him what a difference it made to her unit.

"I was telling him that for my guys in my unit, it meant a lot for them. They weren't sure I wasn't going to make," she said. "There was a sense of relief in the unit. It was Lt. Dan is checking in on her, she'll be fine."

"Even something as small as him calling the hospital and checking in to see how I was doing made a big difference to the guys who had to fight the war in Iraq."

She added: "You don't even know how this little gesture makes such a big difference."

Sinise, whose Gary Sinise Foundation helps veterans and their families, was being honored by the Easters Seals for his humanitarian work.

"He has done so much for all the troops," Duckworth said. "It's like he's one of us."