Elizabeth Dole Foundation
Hidden Heroes
Caregiver Journey Map Campaign for Inclusive Care

Ashley Welch-Hudson

At what moment did you realize you were a military caregiver?

I knew something was not right when Cliff started having trouble remembering things, had difficulty sleeping, and became extremely stressed and anxious before we went to concerts or events with large crowds. After several years, Cliff was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and I started to recognize my new role as a full-time caregiver.

What are you most excited to do as a Dole Caregiver Fellow?

It is important for me to use my voice to help provide information to communities all over Arkansas, to target leaders and state legislators to talk about how best to provide better access to caregiver and veteran services. I would like to advocate for increased funding and support for veterans and their families on Capitol Hill.

My Story

Ashley Hudson of Little Rock, Arkansas married George “Cliff” Hudson, a sergeant in the Marine Corps, two weeks after he returned home from a tour of duty in Iraq. Just one year after the couple was married, Ashley graduated from law school and started to notice some changes in Cliff’s behavior. She knew something was not right when Cliff started having trouble remembering things, had difficulty sleeping, and became extremely stressed and anxious before they went to concerts or events with large crowds. After several years, Cliff was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and Ashley started to recognize her new role as a full-time caregiver. In addition to the hidden combat injuries, Cliff also suffered from knee, back, and shoulder injuries that required repeated nerve block injections and surgeries.

While their journey has not been easy, Ashley and Cliff are a strong team, and are raising four incredible kids between the ages of three and ten. Ashley is currently employed as a litigator with a nationwide law firm, and often focuses on health care and military-related issues. Her biggest concerns are for wounded warriors and caregivers transitioning to civilian life in rural communities. As a Dole Caregiver Fellow, Ashley hopes to provide more access and information about resources to caregivers and veterans throughout the state of Arkansas. Additionally, she would like to use her legal background to work with state and local leaders to ensure the caregiving community knows how to get the help they need and to which they are entitled.