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‘Forrest Gump’ actor kicks off fundraising campaign for local hero

GUTHRIE, Okla. – An actor who is best known for his portrayal of Lt. Dan in “Forrest Gump” traveled to the Sooner State Wednesday to kick off a fundraising campaign for a local hero.

Gary Sinise made a stop in Guthrie on Wednesday to raise money for a “smart home” for a local hero who was severely wounded in Afghanistan.

It’s a special time for Army SSgt. Rusty Dunagan.

Dunagan is a triple amputee, having been wounded while serving our country in Afghanistan back in 2010.

With four kids and one on the way, living space and accessibility is what he wants for his family.

Dunagan said, “We’re looking for a place to call home.”

With the help of the Gary Sinise Foundation, Wounded Warriors Family Support and Sport Clips Haircuts, a new “smart home” for the Dunagan family is becoming a reality.

Sinise said, “Help him be more independent in his home, make his life more manageable by putting special technology in the homes.”

The technology includes accessible hallways, lowered counter-tops and cabinets that are all in reaching distance for Dunagan.

It’s a move that helps to make day-to-day functions easier, ones that his wife Angie said he struggles with every day.

Angie said, “He’ll be able to have the room to wheel around, take a shower in peace and live normal, the way we do on a daily basis.”

Even with the coalition backing this smart home, there’s still a need for community help, such as local builders, contractors and supplies.

A helping hand that Gary Sinise said adds to recognizing America’s bravest heroes.

He said, “Rusty has served his country. He’s given a lot for his country and we want to give something back to him.”

Dunagan said, “Definitely grateful, it’s a long time coming and a lot of obstacles we’ve had to get here.”

For the past few months, the Wounded Warriors Family Support’s “High Five Tour” has traveled across the country raising money for Dunagan’s smart home.

For more information on this tour, or to help, visit the tour’s website or the Gary Sinise Foundation.