Arnold Veteran to Benefit from Hollywood Actor’s Performance on Friday

By Tim Rowden | Arnold Patch | Arnold.Patch.com | May 26, 2011

 

Actor, musician and Illinois native Gary Sinise will perform a benefit concert for wounded Marine Corporal Todd Nicely, of Arnold, at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the St. Charles Family Arena.

 

Nicely, 26, is one of only three surviving quadruple amputees from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nicely lost his arms and legs on March 26, 2010 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan.

The concert will feature Sinise’s Lt. Dan Band, and represents a collaboration between Sinise and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation in New York, which has committed to building a new “smart home” for Nicely specially equipped to meet his needs.

Sinise and Nicely photo Arnold Patch
Arnold resident and Marine Corporal Todd Nicely, right, and Hollywood Actor Gary Sinese attend a ceremony in St. Louis late last month. Credit courtesy of Chris Kuban

 

Event spokesman Chris Kuban said corporate sponsors have helped underwrite the St. Louis concert to guarantee that the event’s proceeds will go directly toward building a house for Nicely at Lake of the Ozarks, midway between his parents home in Arnold and his in-laws’ home near Kansas City, MO.

 

Sinise, who portrayed a double amputee in the 1994 film Forrest Gump, performs an average of 35 USO concerts around the world each year.

 

Sponsors include Midas, Anheuser-Busch, Express Scripts, the Semper Fi Fund, Hope for the Warriors, AT&T, the Joshua Chamberlain Society, Iron Barley and UPS. Midas will donate a ticket to a veteran for every ticket purchased.

 

Dave Glover, of the popular Dave Glover Show on 97.1 FM, is hosting a private a $500-a-plate private dinner with the Nicelys and Sinise to raise additional funds for the house. For details and reservations call 314-584-1600.

 

Nicely, who is recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, has set a goal of running in this year’s Tunnel to Towers run in New York in September.

 

“It’s amazing to see what he’s been able to accomplish in just a year in rehab,” Kuban said. “I’m thankful for what I have, and in spending a day with him I’m even more thankful in seeing what he’s been able to accomplish. He’s a hope and an inspiration and just an incredible guy.”

 

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation was founded in New York after 9/11 in memory of Stephen Siller, a firefighter who died in the Twin Towers. The foundation’s initial mission was to support New York’s firefighters and their families but has since grown to include the nation’s military and their families.

 

On September 11, 2001, after just having finished an overnight shift at the firehouse, Siller was on his way home when he heard on his scanner news of the World Trade Center disaster, Kuban said. Stephen immediately turned his car around and drove to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. With traffic at a standstill, Stephen got out of his car, strapped on his 60 pounds of gear and ran 3 miles to find his company inside the Twin Towers.

 

“Since 2002, we’ve retraced Stephen’s steps through a ‘Tunnel to Towers Run,”said Siller’s brother and foundation chairman Frank Siller. “Our goal as a foundation is to be there for the brave men and women who have carried the flag and have fought for us over the past 10 years. That is why we have expanded our foundation to assist the three surviving quad amputees from Iraq and Afghanistan that have truly paid the ultimate price.”

 

Ticket prices for the concert range from $25 to $150 for VIP seats that include a backstage VIP meet and greet with Sinise. Tickets are available through Metrotix at 314-534-1111. Donations can also be made online at www.tunneltotowers.org.

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