CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Gary Sinise Foundation is presenting an all-veterans cast performing "Last Out: Elegy of a Green Beret" at Steppenwolf Theatre, written by and starring Lieutenant Colonel Scott Mann, who served combat mission in Afghanistan.
The story and experience are both unique.
"You're enlightened to the experience of what our men and women do in service," Sinise said. "This really speaks to something very profound and very special, and very important, and it's educational for people to see what our current day warriors are going through post-service."
Sinise's commitment to veterans was not inspired by playing Lieutenant Dan in "Forrest Gump"; the actor brought the Vietnam War drama "Tracers" to Steppenwolf in the 80s.
"It was a very moving and powerful experience for me, it really solidified what would become a full-time service mission to support the men and women who serve our country," he said. "And then 10 years later I played Lt. Dan and that got me even more involved with our veteran community."
The Gary Sinise Foundation sponsors the "Last Out" tour. The foundation provides support of every kind for veterans in need.
"They will recognize their own stories, it may stir up some emotions, certainly, but it may also open up some more doors to healing," Sinise said. "We have our teams there, to give them information about our outreach and accessibility to mental wellness programs."
Bringing this story to the theatre Sinise helped create is especially gratifying.
"In the beginning it was just kids wanting to do plays, we loved it, it grew and grew. There were many times along the way, Hosea, when we could have given up. Now we have that massive complex at North and Halsted, in the city of Chicago, multi-million dollar building. The tenacity and sheer, blind will that it takes to make something happen," he said.