By Dole Caregiver Fellow Emery Popoloski
September and the start of Fall is considered to be a season of change – kids are returning to school, lazy summer days are over, and cold weather is right around the corner. For military caregivers, however, the “season of change” started when our loved ones became ill or injured due to their military service. From then on, we were no longer just mothers, fathers, spouses, siblings or even children – our roles changed, our titles changed, and our lives were forever altered.
In 2013, I was encouraged to apply for a Fellowship with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. I didn’t know much about this fellowship, but what I did know was that I was a military caregiver for my husband, I was still adjusting to this new world. I wanted to become involved to ease my own personal burden, to help out my family, and to join a movement that was working to improve the lives of the 5.5 million military caregivers living in America. I was accepted into the Class of 2014 Dole Caregiver Fellows, and eventually joined the Foundation as a staff member.
To everyone who has had their own season of change, who has had to adjust to middle of the night medication reminders, learning how to change bandages on wounds, assist when a prosthetic leg malfunctions, or any of the other multitude of duties that military caregivers inherit, I invite you to join me and other caregivers at HiddenHeroes.org. Discover a vast, yet close knit community of others who are experiencing the struggles and rewards of military caregiving, look through our vetted list of resources to help you on your journey and connect with others who understand.
Even if you yourself are not a military caregiver, chances are you have known one! At HiddenHeroes.org you can learn how to help support our nation’s military caregivers, and in turn their veterans.