Story by Lori Newman on 04/11/2018By Lori Newman
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas Actor, director and musician Gary Sinise, along with celebrity chef Robert Irvine brought the Invincible Spirit Festival back to Brooke Army Medical Center for the sixth time entertaining a record crowd April 5.
The Invincible Spirit Festival was created to celebrate to courage of wounded service members, their families and caregivers. The festival brings a fair-like atmosphere to military medical hospitals to provide a respite from the rigors of medical treatment, and offer a reminder of hope and positivity during recovery.
This year, thousands of BAMC patients, family members and staff enjoyed food, family-friendly activities and music by Stolen Silver and Sinise and the LT Dan Band.
"You and your fellow service members deserve all of our support," Sinise said. "We can't say it enough. We can't acknowledge what you do for us enough."
Sinise said he has Vietnam veterans in his family and remembers how they were treated after they returned home and how people turned their backs on them.
"Thankfully I think we learned some lessons and we are more focused today on making sure that you know that we care," he said.
Prior to the event, Irvine visited the teaching kitchen at the new Vogel Resiliency Center on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston to provide a cooking demonstration for service members and their families. Irvine demonstrated how to prepare healthy food options such as homemade granola and a frittata, and answered cooking questions from the audience and through a live feed on the BAMC Facebook site.
Sinise and Irvine also visited one-on-one with several wounded service members and inpatients before taking the stage at the festival.
"It can be easy to wonder if the American people recognize what you are doing for our country," Sinise told the warriors. "But we do."
Not everyone is cut out to be in the military, he said. "You folks have stepped up and you should be proud of yourselves for what you do."
Newlyweds Steven and Miriam Cromwell were excited for the opportunity to meet Sinise and Irvine.
"I saw Chef Irvine downstairs, and I asked him to come up to the 7th floor to meet my wife," Cromwell said. "I was surprised when they actually walked in."
As Sinise and Irvine walked the halls of the hospital several service members and staff stopped to shake their hands, and thank them for their continued support of the military and BAMC.
"God bless you for serving," Sinise said. "We don't take your service for granted."