MARIETTA - A date has been announced for the local concert to kick off fundraising to build a new home for wounded Army Pfc. Kyle Hockenberry, and a new running and walking event in Cincinnati will contribute to the effort.
Hockenberry, a 2010 Frontier High School graduate, lost both legs above the knee and his left arm above the elbow after being caught in the blast of an improvised explosive device while on foot patrol in Afghanistan in June 2011. The Gary Sinise Foundation and Tunnel to Towers are teaming up to build a "smart" house specially designed for Hockenberry through their Building for America's Bravest program.
Sinise, the star of "CSI.: New York," will bring his Lt. Dan Band - named for his iconic double-amputee character in the movie "Forrest Gump" - to Marietta on Aug. 16 for a concert to kick-start the fundraising effort.
A venue was not included on the website, and emails sent to the Gary Sinise Foundation had not been returned by Wednesday afternoon.
On Sept. 9, the inaugural Tunnel to Towers run in Cincinnati will be held, with a large part of the proceeds going to the effort to build Hockenberry's house.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation was started in honor of New York City firefighter Stephen Siller, who had just gotten off a 24-hour shift when he heard about the first plane striking the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. He went back to his firehouse and drove until he came to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, which had been closed. He ran through the tunnel, carrying 60 pounds of gear, and headed for the towers, where he was last seen alive.
The annual Tunnel to Towers Run is held in New York City each year to recreate Siller's run and honor all 343 firefighters who died that day.
Cincinnati resident Randy Payne, 52, got involved with the inaugural Tunnel to Towers Run, and he and his family have continued to volunteer with it since. This year, he's starting a satellite run in Cincinnati. A large portion of the proceeds from the Sept. 9 event will go to the effort to build Hockenberry's house.
Payne said it seemed like a good fit since Hockenberry is from Ohio.
"I think it makes perfect sense for us to get all of Ohio involved," he said.
A portion of the proceeds will also go to the Cincinnati Fire Museum and a Tri-State 9/11 Memorial.
Online registration will be available soon at tunneltotowers.org, Payne said.
There is also a Facebook page set up for the race at www.facebook.com/T2TCincinnati.
The 5K run/walk will be held on the grounds of Spring Grove Arboretum and Cemetery in Cincinnati.
"It's not about how fast we go that day," Payne said. "At the end of the day, it's how much money we can raise."