Celebrities Lend Their Voices to Elizabeth Dole Foundation Campaign to Support Our Nation’s Military and Veteran Caregivers
July 6, WASHINGTON: Actors Omar Epps and Shantel VanSanten, currently starring in Season 2 of the drama series ‘SHOOTER,’ returning July 18 at 10/9c on USA Network, are the latest celebrities to sign on as Ambassadors of Hidden Heroes. A multifaceted campaign to bring America’s military and veteran caregivers out of the shadows launched by The Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Hidden Heroes brings national awareness and support to the tremendous challenges and long-term needs faced by military caregivers. Epps and VanSanten join a growing number of entertainment industry leaders supporting the campaign, including Campaign Chair Tom Hanks and their SHOOTER costar Ryan Phillippe.
“We are so honored to welcome Omar and Shantel aboard as Hidden Heroes Ambassadors,” said Senator Dole. “As a nation, we owe our military and veteran caregivers more than just a debt of gratitude; we owe them our full support. Omar and Shantel’s advocacy will help us rally Americans around supporting this heroic population.”
Last month, Phillippe, alongside Senator Dole, put a national spotlight on military caregivers at a Senate hearing hosted by Senator Susan Collins and Senator Bob Casey. The hearing came at a crucial time for military caregivers—with active bipartisan legislation supporting military and veteran caregivers in motion, including the Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act. Epps and VanSanten will support the momentum coming out of Phillippe’s testimony through a number of local initiatives this summer.
As part of USA Network’s commitment to Hidden Heroes, military caregivers, service members, veterans and their families and friends will get an exclusive sneak peek of SHOOTER Season 2 (debuting July 18 at 10/9c on USA Network). Leading up to the premiere, USA Network and Hidden Heroes will host screening parties in five cities across the nation—using the events to kick-start conversations about ways communities can more effectively address the needs of military caregivers. Additionally, Hidden Heroes will premiere a new PSA featuring VanSanten and Epps.
“Growing up in a military family, I’ve always had a deep respect for our veterans and an understanding that they are our nation’s heroes,” said VanSanten. “Thanks to the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, and through my role as a military spouse on SHOOTER, I’ve learned about a different kind of hero – our military caregivers. Often these caregivers are beginning a lifelong journey in total isolation, without any support. I’m so honored to work with Hidden Heroes to bring these selfless men and women the support and recognition they deserve.”
“Portraying a veteran on SHOOTER opened my eyes to a world I didn’t know much about,” said Epps. “Entertainment often depicts the military community in war and battle, but seldom shows what happens when these soldiers return home. Even less is known about those who put their lives aside to care for wounded, ill or injured veterans. Military caregivers play an essential role in the recovery process of our veterans and in improving their quality of life. It’s a privilege to work alongside Senator Dole and my fellow cast mates to encourage Americans to take action.”
In addition to the support it receives from the entertainment community, Hidden Heroes galvanizes civic, faith and government leaders to take action in supporting local military caregivers. To date, over 100 cities have signed on as “Hidden Heroes Cities,” creating a network committed to identifying military caregivers in their communities and the local resources to support them. For the caregivers themselves, the campaign website: HiddenHeroes.org, provides a safe and secure online community for caregivers to meet and access carefully vetted resources.
About Elizabeth Dole Foundation:
The 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 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. Learn more about the Elizabeth Dole Foundation at www.elizabethdolefoundation.org
The Hidden Heroes Campaign, an initiative of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, brings vital attention to the untold stories of military caregivers and provides a safe, secure place where caregivers can meet and access carefully vetted resources at HiddenHeroes.org. Another aspect of the Campaign, Hidden Heroes Cities, is an effort to galvanize local leaders across America to identify military caregivers in their communities and the local resources to support them. To date, 100 cities from San Francisco to New York, from Chicago to new Orleans have signed on. Learn more about Hidden Heroes at www.hiddenheroes.org
Based on the best-selling novels by Stephen Hunter and the 2007 Paramount film starring Mark Wahlberg, SHOOTER follows the journey of Bob Lee Swagger (Ryan Phillippe), a highly-decorated veteran who must confront a nemesis from his past in order to return to a life of normalcy. A co-production with Paramount Television and Universal Cable Productions, SHOOTER comes from executive producers Mark Wahlberg (“Ballers,” “Boardwalk Empire”) of Closest to the Hole Productions; Stephen Levinson (“Ballers,” “Boardwalk Empire”) of Leverage Entertainment; Lorenzo di Bonaventura (“Transformers,” “The Real O’Neals”); and John Hlavin (“The Shield”). Phillippe is also a producer on the project.