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Emmy award-winning actor Gary Sinise, star of the hit CBS television program CSI: NY, is bringing his musical talents to the Coachella Valley for a night of classic-to-contemporary rock and roll honoring those who serve and protect. Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band will perform on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 8 pm at the McCallum Theatre, in a performance benefitting the College of the Desert Veterans Affairs Program and the City of Palm Desert Public Safety Academy at College of the Desert.

College of the Desert is a substantial economic engine for the Coachella Valley, adding more than $282 million annually to the local economy. Education and skills learned at COD translate directly to higher earnings for students and increased output for local businesses. Support for COD leads to enhanced programs and services, insures access to state of the art technology and equipment, and keeps the Valley workforce pipeline filled with well prepared, highly trained workers needed to thrive in our economy.

“We are elated to have someone of Gary’s caliber performing in support of our programs,” says Jim Hummer, Executive Director of College of the Desert Foundation. “Our Veterans Affairs Program and the City of Palm Desert Public Safety Academy at College of the Desert are two very important components of what we offer at College of the Desert. Not only are we aiding our veterans in their transition to civilian life, but also we’re providing critical training for our Valley’s first responders, the men and women who serve our desert community. We expect so much of them, which is why continued support of these programs is so vital.”

Ticket prices for Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band are $50, $65, $85, and $150 (includes VIP seating), and sponsorship opportunities are also available. To purchase tickets, call 760-340-2787 or visit www.mccallumtheatre.com.

An accomplished musician, Sinise formed the band in 1997 with Kimo Williams and in 2003 it soon turned into a lifelong commitment to the USO and military causes. Lieutenant Dan is the character portrayed by Gary in the 1994 film Forrest Gump. As he began visiting troops around the world, people would recognize him as “Lt. Dan” and the military identified strongly with the character. To date, the Lt. Dan Band averages 30 to 40 shows per year, with the majority of the shows performed for USO charities or benefits.

Each academic year, more than 400 veterans are assisted by COD’s Veterans Affairs Office. The program is designed to assist veterans’ transition to civilian life, act as a liaison with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to expedite paperwork, resolve problems and process pay, and act as a coordinating agent to other COD support services. The Veterans Affairs Office provides one on one academic advising and counseling, processes the certification of educational benefits, and provides veterans with opportunities to learn new skills and adapt to civilian life.

The City of Palm Desert Public Safety Academy at College of the Desert has been a leader in providing public safety training, and offering degrees and certificates in public safety disciplines. The Academy trains the Coachella Valley’s Police officers, Firefighters, Emergency Medical Technicians, Security Guards, and Paramedics. Each year the program is consistently enrolled to capacity, with approximately 800 students taking courses in all of the disciplines. Significant numbers of graduates are presently employed with local courts, corrections, law enforcement, security, fire, and medical organizations.

The mission of College of the Desert Foundation is to enhance the quality of higher education in the Coachella Valley, and encourage public and private support for College of the Desert. Endowment funds raised by the Foundation will provide educational income to support scholarships, textbooks, classroom technology upgrades, faculty positions, equipment, and other programs. COD Foundation has raised more than $35 million dollars to support student services, and manages endowments and other assets of more than $20 million dollars.

For more information about COD’s Desert Veterans Affairs Program and the City of Palm Desert Public Safety Academy at College of the Desert, or to inquire about other ways to help College of the Desert Foundation, call (760) 773-2561 or go to www.codfoundation.org.