As part of this comprehensive national response, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s Hidden Heroes Campaign has taken its mission to communities across the nation through the Hidden Heroes Cities Program. The program launched this summer when the Foundation worked with the U.S. Conference of Mayors to issue a resolution calling on all cities in America to identify and support military and veteran caregivers in their communities.
San Diego was the first city to sign on, passing a resolution and forming a steering committee comprised of organizational leaders and city representatives to help facilitate change and expand resources for military caregivers in the region. The Hidden Heroes Cities Program is now spreading across the nation, as cities large and small are taking on the charge, becoming Hidden Heroes Cities. Plans for military caregiver summits are now in the works. And mayors and other city leaders frequently comment that they are joining this campaign because “it is the right thing to do.”
As the campaign has developed, cities pledging their support have been hard at work determining the most effective ways to support caregivers in their communities. Some cities have followed San Diego’s lead, forming steering committees to affect change at the local level, while others are partnering with their county or a neighboring city to create region-wide initiatives. Lansing, Michigan will incorporate caregivers into their Veteran’s Day celebration and honor Dole Caregiving Fellows at the event. Houston, Texas, similarly, plans to host a caregiving event to connect organizations and military caregivers to one another.
In addition to identifying resources and finding ways to create those that are most needed, a goal of the Hidden Heroes Cities Program is to identify military caregivers across the nation. Here, on HiddenHeroes.org, military caregivers can register to become part of a strong nationwide community of military caregivers.
The quick response from cities signing on to join the Hidden Heroes Cities Program has been inspiring. It is the Foundation’s hope that in the weeks and months ahead, every city in our nation will become a Hidden Heroes City, helping identify military caregivers all across the country, and ensuring they are connected with the resources they so desperately need.