In 2016, Tom Hanks and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation launched the Hidden Heroes Campaign to support 5.5 million veteran caregivers – America’s hidden heroes. The goal is to educate, advocate, and create stronger support for military and veteran caregivers because there are so many in our society today and they need their own support and guidance. Below is some information on the great work this campaign has started over the last year.
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What is the Hidden Heroes Campaign?
Hidden Heroes is a campaign focused on supporting military and veteran caregivers. These caregivers often feel sad, frustrated, and overwhelmed because they have to care for a family member who served in our military and was injured and/or suffers from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or a traumatic brain injury (TBI), in addition to their own jobs and other family responsibilities. The Hidden Heroes campaign brings vital attention to the untold stories of military caregivers and seeks solutions for the tremendous challenges and long-term needs they face. The tagline on the website states, “Military caregivers don’t often ask for help, but they deserve our support.”
The goals of the Hidden Heroes campaign are to:
- Raise awareness of the issues military caregivers confront every day.
- Inspire individuals, businesses, communities, and civic, faith, and government leaders to take action in supporting military caregivers in their communities.
- Establish a national registry, encouraging military caregivers to register at HiddenHeroes.org to better connect them to helpful resources and support.
The campaign launched the following three national initiatives:
- Public service announcements featuring Tom Hanks that air nationwide and are featured on the campaign’s website.
- A new website as the premier online community for military caregivers. The website features a private community where military caregivers can share questions and advice, a directory for caregiver resources, and a national military caregiver registry to help connect caregivers with support.
- A competitive challenge encouraging communities across America to organize and provide local military caregivers with the resources they need. 105 cities have joined the campaign as Hidden Heroes Cities.
The Hidden Heroes campaign was created by former U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole. Elizabeth Dole cares for her husband, Senator Bob Dole (KS), who served in WWII at the age of 19. She was motivated to create the Elizabeth Dole Foundation when her husband was having surgery at Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, MD and she witnessed firsthand exactly what family caregivers of injured veterans experience every day. Senator Elizabeth Dole said, “It’s truly inspiring to see America come together around the loved ones of our wounded, ill, and injured warriors, in the ways they need and deserve.”
What is the Elizabeth Dole Foundation?
The E. Dole Foundation is focused on caring for military families. The foundation has a vision of “an America where military caregivers are empowered, appreciated, and recognized for their service to our nation.” The foundation supports military and veteran caregivers, as well as families by following these five core principles:
- Conduct evidence-based research on the needs of military and veteran caregivers
- Empower caregivers
- Drive innovation
- Promote collaboration
- Raise awareness
Sign up and be a part of the Hidden Heroes campaign today. Get involved and support the millions of military and veteran caregivers around the nation.