MANCHESTER, Mo. – Many people remember Gary Sinise as Lieutenant Dan from the classic film, Forrest Gump. But to a Manchester Police Department sergeant, the Hollywood actor and his foundation are a blessing. 

“Shocking. Blown away.”

That was the reaction of 40-year-old Sgt. Meredith Absolon. She remembers a recent phone call from Jim Shubert, a board member of The Gary Sinise Foundation. 

Shubert, who lives in the St. Louis area and owns a business in Manchester, had learned through social media of Absolon’s recent diagnosis of Stage 3 breast cancer. 

He contacted Absolon immediately.

“[He] reached out to Gary Sinise himself. And said, ‘We need to support her,’” Absolon said, relating the conversation. 

Gary Sinise agreed. The Foundation has made a tremendous difference in the lives of severely wounded veterans and first responders across the United States. 

In the St. Louis area alone, The Gary Sinise Foundation has built adaptive homes for Ballwin Officer Mike Flamion, Arnold Officer Ryan O’Connor, and Hazelwood Officer Craig Tudor. 

Absolon is experiencing the pain of hair loss, weight loss, sickness, and fatigue from the cancer treatment. but she wasn’t sure if she was deserving of the assistance.  

“I know other people who need it more. For him to reach out to me, and to offer this assistance, it was greatly appreciated,” she said. 

Absolon is the mother of two small children, ages seven and five. 

She has been with the Manchester Police Department for 15 years, playing a key role in community outreach and public affairs. 

The diagnosis left her scared and unsure about what her future would hold. 

“It took me a long time to comprehend it. I didn’t know how I’d work, and provide for my kids,” she said. 

Manchester Police Chief Scott Will said the support from both the foundation and the local community has been overwhelming. 

A GoFundMe was established by The City of Manchester to support Sgt. Absolon. The Manchester Police Department shared the link on Facebook, generating a flood of supportive comments from across the St. Louis area. 

Fundraisers, T-shirts, and other shows of support have been created to benefit Sgt. Absolon.  

The news of the Gary Sinise Foundation, Chief Will said, is tremendous. 

“They’ve always been big into helping veterans and understandably so. They do fantastic things,” he said. “They described it to me as a donut. They recognize that there’s a hole in the donut that’s missing a piece. With police officers in situations such as Meredith, they wanted to be there to help out.”

“In a situation like this, we support the community, and the community does an incredible job of supporting this woman. It really tugs at your heart strings when you think about the things that they’re doing.”

Sgt. Absolon’s message to the Gary Sinise Foundation and the community?

“Thank you, so much. It’s overwhelming.”

The Gary Sinise Foundation will make a formal announcement about its support for Sgt. Absolon next week.