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San Diego Kicks Off Inaugural Summit to Support Military & Veteran Caregivers

San Diego Kicks Off Inaugural Summit to Support Military & Veteran Caregivers
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The City of San Diego and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation Lead National ‘Hidden Heroes City’ Campaign

San Diego – As Hidden Heroes leads a national campaign to honor and support those who care for service members and veterans, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer kicked off the inaugural “Hidden Heroes City” summit on March 2nd that helped caregivers explore methods to build hope and resiliency.

“San Diego is proud of our military heritage and we strongly support all of the service members who have kept our country safe. As the first ‘Hidden Heroes City,’ we look forward to leading a national effort that will support the caregivers who keep them safe once they return home,” Mayor Faulconer said.

Approximately 140 people attended the event, which was hosted by the Southern Caregiver Resource Center and a committee composed of nonprofits that support active duty and retired military personnel and their families, including the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. Educational sessions covered topics such as how caregivers can effectively advocate for their families, planning and decision-making when a partner has significant psychological or physiological challenges, and how to cope with grief and loss.

Last September, Mayor Faulconer joined former Sen. Elizabeth Dole in Washington D.C. to announce that San Diego was the first city to sign onto the “Hidden Heroes” initiative. The program, launched by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, aims to create a national coalition to highlight the enormous challenges and long-term needs that America’s caregivers – family and friends that support service members and veterans – face every day and inspire Americans to take action.

As a region that is home to more than 330,000 veterans and military personnel, San Diego was selected to be the first “Hidden Heroes City.” Its steering committee will develop the first blueprint for how cities and local governments can raise awareness and support the men and women who care for veterans and military personnel. The steering committee is composed of caregivers and local organizations that support active-duty and former service members.

The Hidden Heroes Cities network is composed of more than 80 cities nationwide that have committed to supporting military caregivers. Each city has signed on to create a steering committee of public and private organizations to both assess and address the specific unmet needs of its city’s military caregivers.

Check out San Diego’s CBS 8 station coverage of the event here.