Benefit concert at JSU supports wounded veteran - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Benefit concert at JSU supports wounded veteran

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A wounded military veteran from Jacksonville has a new life to look forward to thanks to the community and some supportive foundations. Sunday night, The Gary Sinise Foundation along with community partners held a benefit concert to help Sergeant Ben Tomlinson build a smart house.

Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to give Sgt. Benjamin Tomlinson back his independence. He became paralyzed after getting shot during a mission in Afghanistan two years ago.

Tomlinson says, "I can never stop working to improve myself because I'd be giving up on all these people that have shown support."

There was a standing ovation for this military veteran. His life is about to change.

Frank Siller with the Tunnel for Towers Foundation says, "He can hit an I-pad and a cup can come down."

Tomlinson is getting a smart house..  in his hometown of Jacksonville. Siller says,  "These guys are the most independent, people in the world prior to their injuries, so it gives them back a little independence and a lot of dignity.".

"We want people to be aware we got this great American hero that's given a lot for his country." Actor Gary Sinise has been helping veterans for years following his Forest Gump role.  "I bring my band in and raise money and awareness for a paralyzed wounded warriors."

The Lt. Dan Band performed at JSU.. helping groups like the Tunnel to Towers Foundation make life easier for veterans.

The community is also supporting Tomlinson who was shot in the neck. The bullet traveled through his body, paralyzing him. His recovery has been long.. but Tomlinson is humbled by all the support. "I don't think of myself as a hero for getting shot. My hero's are the guys who got up there and pulled me down while bullets were flying over head."

Sinise says "I'm just trying  to do what I can, get out there. If Lt. Dan can help me do it, then I am all for it."

An anonymous donor has committed to matching ticket sales made prior to the concert.  Construction is expected to begin on Tomlinson's house within the next two months. The Tunnel to Towers Foundation wants to build 50 homes for veterans by the 15th anniversary of  9/11.

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