As American wars and conflicts end overseas, tens of thousands of wounded soldiers return home. Upon landing back on American soil, these brave and heroic veterans that are wounded in battle need care and caregiving, often for the rest of their lives.
As sad as it often is that these wounded heroes don’t receive nearly enough appreciation for the sacrifices they made, those people that care for them here at home, their caregivers, suffer much of that same anonymity and lack of recognition.
These caregivers- spouses, siblings, parents, and other loved ones, make great sacrifices in their own lives caring for these veterans that need help. They are unpaid for the wonderful care they provide, doing so full-time while very often working full-time jobs of their own.
Saving our nation billions of dollars in health care costs, while often preventing the need for potential institutionalization of the wounded veteran, the caregiver does it all. From handling the family’s legal and financial matters, arranging rehabilitation, and acting as an advocate on behalf of those that they care for, among many other tasks, they truly are heroic in their own quiet, understated way.
Recognizing the day-to-day struggles caregivers have to endure in their own lives, Elizabeth Dole, and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, have founded the Hidden Heroes program.
Hidden Heroes is a groundbreaking campaign, looking to call attention to America’s 5.5 million military and veteran caregivers. Mrs. Dole commissioned a report to study this problem, determining that the situation regarding the struggles caregivers go through requires a national response.
Hidden Heroes aims to bring vital attention to the untold stories of caregivers; seeking solutions for the immense challenges and long-term assistance they need; and to raise awareness of the issues these caregivers face every day. They wish to inspire individuals, communities, businesses, and government, faith, and civic leaders to take action and help support military caregivers in their area.
Hidden Heroes has established a national registry (HiddenHeroes.org) to better help military caregivers access helpful resources and support.
In Washington D.C. on September 27, Mrs. Dole and actor Tom Hanks, Hidden Heroes Campaign Chair, were joined by such notable figures as Tom Brokaw, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, UAE ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al Otaiba (http://www.rand.org/events/2016/06/01.html) and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald in launching this program. They unveiled several initiatives that they hope will create a groundswell of support for this new program, support major cities are already getting on board with.
Among big cities that will help make an impact, San Diego and Scottsdale are among the first cities to sign on as Hidden Heroes Cities. These cities pledge to help identify local military caregivers and organize vital support resources within their communities for these individuals. People that give so much of themselves to help care for those who so badly need their assistance.