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May 17, 2013 9:07 PM by Jennifer Horbelt

Gary Sinise Foundation event to benefit local vets and first responders

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO- A big name is putting big efforts into making sure our local veterans and first responders get the support they deserve.

A golf tournament on Monday in Colorado Springs benefits the Gary Sinise Foundation, which supports veterans and first responders. Gary Sinise is no stranger to our region. He's performed multiple times with the Lt. Dan Band on Fort Carson, visited Pueblo in 2011 to honor firefighters involved in 9/11, and in January of 2012 his foundation donated $15,000 to the Pikes Peak Firefighters Association Fire Rehab Unit.

"You wanna' be the good guy," Jesse Murphree said. "You wanna' be that person that is helping save people."

It's that dream, in part, that led Murphree to join the military. His deployment to Afghanistan, though, came at a heavy price.

"It felt like I had a truck on top of my legs. It felt like my, I mean, my arm was snapped, it was open," Murphree explained.

Murphree's group was attacked. He was thrown hundreds of feet, severely injured.

"You feel your body shutting down, and you got a lot of emotions that come through your mind. Whether it's your family back home, or your friends.," Murphree said of the experience.

A short time later, Murphree was found by his fellow soldiers.

"Probably the most relieved, happy person," Murphree said. "And not 'cuz I thought I was gonna' live, but for the fact that I wasn't gonna' die alone."

Murphree didn't die, but he did lose his legs.

It's stories like his that drove Gary Sinise to create the Gary Sinise Foundation.

"After Sept. 11th, I knew there was a role for me to play in supporting the men and women who were deploying to Afghanistan and Iraq," Sinise told News 5's Jennifer Horbelt during a phone interview. "The men and women who were serving over there needed to know that people back home were supporting them."

Sinise is no stranger to our area, or to Murphree. The two met at one of his concerts on Fort Carson.

"Even pulling me up on stage, just making it a good time, making it for a day that was actually worth to fly home," Murphree said.

"Seeing that some of what I've been able to do out there is actually making a difference, that you just feel like, well, gotta' keep going," Sinise said of why he continues to work closely with veterans and first responders.

Murphree says support like that saves lives, including his.

"They can change somebody's life," Murphree said. "From you know, being at the very bottom, to not wanting to be here anymore, to turning them into one of the happiest people and feeling like they have a purpose again."

The 2nd Annual Serving Honor and Need Colorado Golf Tournament takes place on Monday, May 20th, at the Eisenhower Golf Club at the Air Force Academy. Doots open at 11:00 am, with tee time at 1:00 pm. All proceeds benefit the Gary Sinise Foundation. If you'd like to take part register, click here to register.

(PHOTOS USED IN STORY COURTESY OF: Teresa Lee Photography, Gary Sinise Foundation)

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