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Tom Hanks Joined Elizabeth Dole Foundation to Recognize Savannah Guthrie, Chris Young performance capped night honoring military caregivers

Tom Hanks Joined Elizabeth Dole Foundation to Recognize Savannah Guthrie, Chris Young performance capped night honoring military caregivers
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TODAY co-anchor received Tom Hanks Caregiver Champion Award; Foundation celebrated decade of supporting America’s Hidden Heroes at the 5th annual Heroes & History Makers presented by USAA

Tom Hanks; Savannah Guthrie; Senator Elizabeth Dole; Steve Schwab, CEO of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation; and Jocko Sims join on stage at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s Heroes & History Makers on October 19, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Photo: Katie Dance)

WASHINGTON, DC (October 21, 2022)— Tom Hanks presented TODAY co-anchor and Hidden Heroes Ambassador Savannah Guthrie with the Tom Hanks Caregiver Champion Award at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s Heroes & History Makers celebration on October 19 at The Anthem in Washington, DC. Actor and Hidden Heroes Ambassador Jocko Sims also joined the program and multiplatinum, global entertainer Chris Young was the musical headliner. The special evening paid tribute to the 5.5 million hidden heroes caring for wounded, ill, and injured service members at home and celebrated the Foundation’s first 10 years supporting military and veteran caregivers.

Hanks included entertaining interludes while serving as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies and, on a serious note, he led a special moment paying tribute to the late Senator Bob Dole.

“Tonight, we are celebrating America’s military caregivers—our nation’s hidden heroes,” said Hanks, who serves as Chair of the Hidden Heroes Campaign. “And we are celebrating the millions of caregiver kids out there, our Hidden Helpers, because just like their moms and dads, they are heroes, too.”

Guthrie has served as an active advocate for military caregivers since first contributing her time to the Foundation in 2018. Ever since, she has used her tremendous platform to introduce military caregivers to the nation. In 2019, Guthrie and TODAY dedicated an entire morning broadcast to military caregivers, live from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. When COVID-19 began spreading across the country in 2020, Guthrie used her voice to let struggling caregivers know about the resources available to them. When the Foundation expanded its mission to include military caregiver kids, she spent the day with two caregiver kids and brought their stories of service and struggle into millions of homes across the nation.

Accepting the award, Guthrie said, “Every person here tonight, every caregiver and veteran at home, you are showing the world what love looks like, what love acts like, what love gives and what love sacrifices.”

During her speech, Senator Dole made a powerful call for rediscovering our national unity around military caregivers. In another moment, the audience was brought to its feet by an emotional speech from 18-year-old Kris Rotenberry, who shared his experience as the son of a military caregiver and wounded Marine.

Following Kris’s personal message to the audience along with stories of two other caregivers spotlighted by Jocko Sims, the Foundation launched the National Cabinet, a new giving program that will offer supporters exclusive informative event opportunities with newsmakers and leaders throughout the year. Amna Nawaz and Paul Werdel, and Anna Palmer and Patrick Mellody, passionate supporters of the Foundation’s mission, will serve as Co-Chairs of the new Cabinet.

Additionally, during her remarks, Diana Davis Spencer Foundation President Abby Spencer Moffat noted their Foundation was inspired by the love caregivers have for their country and families before announcing a contribution of $5 million—the largest gift ever made to the Foundation. The Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation also continued their support by contributing an additional $1 million towards the Foundation’s Hope Fund for Critical Financial Assistance.

The evening concluded with Chris Young bringing down the house as the evening’s musical headliner, performing for caregivers and guests. The 82nd Airborne Division All-American Chorus also performed earlier in the evening, inspiring people with their musical talent paired with patriotic flair.

More photos can be found here (Photo credit: Lisa Nipp and Katie Dance).

Heroes & History Makers was made possible by presenting sponsor USAA and support from:

AARP, Accenture, Amazon Web Services, Ambassador Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, American Airlines, Amna Nawaz & Paul Werdel, Andrea Mitchell, Anna Palmer & Patrick Mellody, BDO, Bipartisan Policy Center, Blue Water Thinking, Bob & Candy Scherer, Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation, Boeing, Booz Allen Hamilton, Boston Consulting Group, Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, C. Boyden Gray, Clarus Group, CGI Federal, The Coca-Cola Company, Comcast NBCUniversal, CVS Pharmacy, Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, Diane Braunstein, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), DoorDash, Dr. Jo Sornborger, FedEx, Fox, Helena Berger, Hilton, Home Instead, Humana Military, Huron, The Independence Fund, Jenna & Lorah Dorn, Jim & Linda Beers, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Judy Woodruff & Al Hunt, Lockheed Martin, Magellan Federal, Major Garrett, McKinsey & Company, MicroHealth, Mida Associates, LLC., National Government Services, NBCUniversal, Nemours Children’s Health, Northport Affiliates, LLC., Oracle Cerner, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Phil & Peg Soucy, Philips, Pritzker Military Foundation on behalf of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, Prudential, Rex Wackerle, Ronald Marks III, Student Veterans of America, Toivia, Tom & Linda Daschle, Tony Coelho, TriWest, Wells Fargo, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).