January 9, 2017 by Enid Buchanan
Supporting Those Who Care for Our Heroes
In a time of medical advancements, particularly on the battlefield, people living longer, and persistent, complex military conflicts around the world, a silent tribe of Americans is bearing the fallout. They are hidden heroes caring for those who have been the guardians of our nation and our freedom but are returning home with serious injuries.
More than 5.5 million people have been turned into the caretakers of our military and veterans who suffer physical, mental and emotional wounds. These military caregivers are spouses, parents and friends. Most are young women with small children.
In an effort to raise awareness of and increase resources for these hidden heroes, a new effort is underway, led by Sen. Elizabeth Dole and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. The Hidden Heroes Campaign officially launched in late September to acknowledge the importance and complexities of being a military caregiver; to connect caregivers and create a network of support and information sharing; and to inform and engage communities, companies and individuals to join in the effort to support military caregivers.
The campaign’s website, HiddenHeroes.org, officially launched and which will provide a directory of resources, a national caregiver registry and a private community enabling the sharing of questions and advice among military caregivers.
The Hidden Heroes Campaign has already gained support from critical allies. Oscar winning actor Tom Hanks is chairing the campaign and is the face and voice of public service announcements.
Other early and prominent campaign supporters include newscaster Tom Brokaw, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al Otaiba (rand.org) and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald.
Key support also announced at the launch includes $1 million from Colonel Jennifer Pritzker, Army National Guard (Retired), and founder of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, who will serve as campaign Vice Chairman; $1 million from the United Arab Emirates; and campaign sponsorship from USAA including providing financial education and advice for caretakers.
Comcast NBC Universal was named the official media partner and will leverage all of its communication channels. NBC Universal’s high profile newscasters—Matt Lauer and Tom Brokaw are personally supporting the campaign as Hidden Heroes Ambassadors.
The campaign has also led to the creation of Hidden Heroes Cities that commit to getting organized and helping caregivers access resources in their communities. San Diego was identified as the first Hidden Heroes City among an additional 50+ cities that have joined the campaign.