"There's a role I can play to help"

Being stuck in traffic between his charity work and his day job might be a metaphor for life for Gary Sinise. The actor plays Detective Mac Taylor on “CSI: NY,” and is just as well-known in military circles for another character with the same last name, Lt. Dan Taylor of “Forest Gump” fame.

After an event in Temecula, Calif., where his Gary Sinise Foundation helped provide a house for a wounded Marine, the actor was on his way to the Los Angeles studio where he is shooting season nine of  “CSI: NY.”

Always on our minds

Foreign policy and military concerns are back in the news following tragic events in the Middle East last week. In the military community, those subjects are never far from our thoughts, even when they are not in the headlines. Some other military spouse writers and I have been corresponding on this subject, and they generously agreed to share their comments in Spouse Calls:

 I've not given the lack of military/war/warrior mentions much thought, and that kind of troubled me until I realized it was because I do give these things a lot of thought. I've kept in touch with a handful of the wounded I've visited at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center; I read the Stars and Stripes daily; I frequently check in with several PTSD forums. Although deployments aren't a direct part of my life anymore, they still are for a lot of my friends. The military is always on my mind in some way, and maybe that’s what … the current candidates are counting on. We think about it so they don’t have to.

Getting it right

Words are a writer’s tools, and it’s important to me to use the appropriate ones. Names are among the most important of all words, so it’s especially crucial to get those right. I don’t always, as a soldier stationed in Kuwait recently pointed out.

She wrote a gracious letter to Stars and Stripes to point out a glaring error in Spouse Calls. The letter was forwarded to me, and the soldier allowed me to print excerpts of our correspondence:
As a deployed soldier I rely on Stars and Stripes to keep me in the loop with the outside world, just as many other soldiers do. My daily routine consists of stuffing crappy eggs and muddy coffee down my throat as fast as possible and grabbing today’s edition of Stars and Stripes as I rush out the chow hall door to work in the morning. …

A novel experience

For best-selling author Lee Woodruff, the hard part of writing another book is finding the time. We talked about her latest, a novel, by phone while she was on the road home from a family trip. Early the next day, she was on “CBS This Morning” with a feature report about a retreat center for women veterans.

Besides being a writer and CBS contributor, Lee is the mother of four and co-founder with her husband of the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which raises funds to assist wounded military members and their families. Lee also travels and speaks around the country on behalf of veteran and caregiver issues.