Senate hearing hosted by Senators Susan Collins and Bob Casey puts national focus on military caregivers
June 14, 2017, WASHINGTON: Advocates from Congress and the entertainment industry, alongside nonprofit community leaders and military caregivers from across the country, convened on Capitol Hill to testify on behalf of our nation’s military and veteran caregivers. Hosted by the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, “Military Caregivers: Families Serving for the Long Run,” was a special hearing highlighting critical legislation, the Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act.
“It was an honor to stand with Ryan Phillippe, Senators Collins and Casey, the RAND Corporation, and military caregivers themselves, to advocate on behalf of our nation’s 5.5 million military and veteran caregivers,” said Senator Elizabeth Dole, Founder, Elizabeth Dole Foundation and its Hidden Heroes Initiative. “As a country, we must come together to support our military caregivers in their life-long journey of care. Today’s hearing shined a much-needed light on this heroic population—driving us closer to ensuring our hidden heroes receive the same support and love they give so selflessly every day.”
Senator Dole established the Elizabeth Dole Foundation to empower military caregivers – the spouses, mothers, fathers, siblings, and other loved ones caring for wounded, ill, and injured servicemembers and veterans at home – and to recognize their service to our nation. Last September, as part of its efforts, the Foundation launched Hidden Heroes, a multifaceted campaign to expose the tremendous challenges and long-term needs faced by military caregivers and inspire fellow Americans to seek solutions. Chaired by Tom Hanks, a number of high-profile individuals, including Ryan Phillippe, have joined the campaign as Hidden Heroes Ambassadors to bring our country’s hidden heroes out of the shadows.
“Thanks to the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, and through my role as a Hidden Heroes ambassador, I’ve learned about a different kind of hero – our military caregivers,” said Phillippe, star of the USA Network drama, SHOOTER. “Military caregivers play an essential role in the recovery process of our veterans, and in improving their quality of life. As a country, we owe our military and veteran caregivers more than just a debt of gratitude, we owe them our full support. It was a privilege to testify alongside Senator Dole and military caregivers, to urge Congress to take action.”
This discussion comes at a crucial time for military caregivers—with active bipartisan legislation in support of military and veteran caregivers currently on the table, including the Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act.
“America’s military caregivers enable veterans living with visible and invisible injuries to recover and remain involved with their communities,” said Senator Collins, Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee. “I appreciated hearing from Senator Elizabeth Dole, an extraordinary advocate for our military caregivers, as well as Hidden Heroes ambassador Ryan Phillippe and other experts and veteran caregivers at our hearing today. Their testimony enhanced Congress’ understanding of the difficulties faced by military caregivers and their needs going forward. In order to better serve our nation’s caregivers, I introduced the RAISE Family Caregivers Act and cosponsored the Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act, and I look forward to seeing these bills signed into law. We must never forget our military caregivers, who are true heroes.”
“Our service members and veterans put their lives on the line to ensure that America remains the home of the free for all of us,” said Senator Casey, Ranking Member of the Senate Aging Committee. “We rely on their commitment, and when they are wounded, they need ours. That is why I am proud to cosponsor the bipartisan Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act to help the military caregivers who work tirelessly to support our wounded service members and veterans from all eras. We need to do everything we can to recognize and support the dedication and service of these hidden heroes.”
Additionally, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation commissioned the RAND Corporation to develop a blueprint to forecast the most important areas where additional research is required to effectively support military caregivers’ long term needs. With results released earlier today, RAND shared key findings during the hearing to help inform public, private, nonprofit, and faith communities on the most urgent areas where additional research and funding are needed to best support military caregivers long term.
“Now our awareness leads to action,” said Senator Dole. “Our goal moving forward is an America where military caregivers are empowered, appreciated and recognized for their service, an America where military caregivers are woven into the very fabric of the nation’s appreciation of our military. And we need the support of each and every American.”
Supporters are encouraged to sign on at www.HiddenHeroes.org to learn about tangible ways they can get involved, reach out to their local representatives, and voice their support for military caregivers and the active legislation at hand.
Kristen Barnfield for Elizabeth Dole Foundation, [email protected] and C: 312.203.0828
Elsa Remak for Elizabeth Dole Foundation, [email protected] and C: 425.503.3791
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