Military caregivers from across the nation selected to represent their communities and advocate on behalf of 5.5 million Americans caring for wounded, ill, or injured veterans
Washington, D.C. (May 12, 2022) – The Elizabeth Dole Foundation announced the 2022 class of Dole Caregiver Fellows. Eleven military and veteran caregivers will join the 254 past and present Dole Caregiver Fellows who represent all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia to bring attention to the tremendous challenges facing America’s 5.5 million hidden heroes – the spouses, parents, family members, and other loved ones who provide more than $14 billion in voluntary care for wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans every year.
Dole Caregiver Fellows are leaders, community organizers, and advocates for military caregivers in their states and nationwide. They are trained by the Foundation and empowered to share their stories directly with national leaders in the White House, Congress, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and other government agencies, as well as decision makers in the business, entertainment, faith, and nonprofit communities. The Fellows guide the Foundation, its coalition partners, and government and community leaders on the most pressing issues concerning military caregivers and influence positive change on behalf of these hidden heroes.
“Our Fellows are the heart of our work and with this year’s class, in the Foundation’s tenth year, we are adding to the diversity of voices representing America’s hidden heroes,” said Steve Schwab, CEO of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. “Through their advocacy and community organizing, these Fellows will call attention to the most urgent, emerging issues facing caregivers, as well as decades-old problems that demand our nation’s action.”
Senator Elizabeth Dole created the Dole Caregiver Fellows program in 2012 to directly engage military and veteran caregivers in the Foundation’s mission. The 2022 class represents 11 states and includes a wife who started her caregiving journey in the active duty healthcare system; a mother caring for her son after an off-duty accident left him paralyzed; and a spouse whose partner was injured during his military service and is now caring for him during his gender transition process.
The 2022 Dole Caregiver Fellows include:
- Kirsten Laha-Walsh – Coaling, Alabama
- Julie Guleff – Port Orange, Florida
- Daphne Grady – Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- Wendy Gavell – Keedysville, Maryland
- Elisa Glass – Slate Hill, New York
- Jeanette Ezell – Dayton, Ohio
- James Clark – Edmond, Oklahoma
- Natalie Cobb – Columbia, South Carolina
- Megan Powell – Goodlettsville, Tennessee
- Nelida Lozoya-Lewis – El Paso, Texas
- Leann Ledford – Spokane, Washington
If you are interested in conducting an interview with a 2022 Dole Caregiver Fellow, or with a spokesperson from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, please contact Austin Courtney at [email protected].
About the Elizabeth Dole Foundation & Hidden Heroes
Elizabeth Dole Foundation is the preeminent organization empowering, supporting, and honoring our nation’s 5.5 million military caregivers – the spouses, parents, family members, and friends — who care for America’s wounded, ill, or injured service members and veterans at home. Founded by Senator Elizabeth Dole in 2012, the Foundation adopts a comprehensive approach in its support and advocacy, working with leaders in the public, private, nonprofit, and faith communities to recognize military caregivers’ service and promote their well-being. The Foundation’s Hidden Heroes Campaign brings vital attention to the untold stories of military caregivers and provides a network for military caregivers to connect with their peers and access carefully vetted resources. Visit hiddenheroes.org for more information.