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

Marjorie Pennington

Never feel ashamed to ask for help. Always keep in mind there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Your voice matters.

What does being a military caregiver mean to you?

Being a caregiver to my husband means the world to me. He fought for our freedom and I will always fight for him. I can’t imagine not being his caregiver.

Can you describe a milestone or a moment that made you feel empowered or inspired as a caregiver?

The days my husband takes on new challenges and allows me to assist him. The day he walked out on stage and shared his story for the first time empowered me to continue to encourage him. Seeing the positive effect that support has on my husband helps us both move forward.

How have you changed since becoming a military caregiver? What sacrifices have you had to make?

My life has changed in many ways; it’s clearly been a transformational process. I have had to overcome many obstacles, however, I have had many blessings come along too. I have sacrificed some of my dreams, such as becoming a mother — due in part to my husband’s injuries. That, I feel, has been the biggest sacrifice. But today, I’m content and just happy to have my husband alive.

My Story

On April 29, 2006, Marjorie received a call that any Army wife would dread. Her husband Matthew, who was deployed to Iraq for convoy security support, had been injured by a roadside bomb in an ambush. He had lost his left leg in the blast and nearly lost his right, as well. He also sustained a brain injury and later developed post traumatic syndrome. She will never forget this day and how they advised her Matthew may not survive the flight home. Marjorie knew that her life had changed forever, and assisting Matthew with his many challenges would become her new normal. Matthew has cognitive issues along with many issues related to his amputation and limb salvage. They are now 10 years into their journey, but still encounter challenges that she helps Matthew overcome.

In her role as a Dole Caregiver Fellow, Marjorie hopes to shed more light on the struggles of suicide within the caregiver community, as well as the effects it has on the family as a whole. She wants to ask those who employ caregivers and veterans with disabilities to be flexible and offer assistance to veterans who struggle with issues in the workplace. She would also like to continue in securing funding, awareness, and services needed for those who require infertility treatments in order to start their family. Her primary goal is to help veterans and caregivers receive the support necessary to achieve their goals.