Elizabeth Dole Foundation
Hidden Heroes
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Patti Katter

I am a wife first. I love my husband and providing him with care is how I show it.

What was your first major challenge as a caregiver?

Explaining the injury to my kids was a big challenge. Ken’s injuries affected us all. The doctor’s appointment schedule made attending school during regular hours challenging, so I homeschooled my kids for four years.

Where have you been able to turn for assistance as a caregiver?

Surprisingly one of the most helpful items has been my iPhone. It is super useful for scheduling appointments, and it is good for communication too, in that I don’t have to bug Ken as much about his appointments. Sometimes it is easiest for us just to text. It can also be relieving simply to post silly things on Snapchat.

What advice do you have for other caregivers?

Relax. Breathe. It is going to be okay. It is so easy to imagine the “perfect picture” of your life and when things don’t look perfect, it is easy to think that everything is bad. But, things aren’t bad, they are just different.

My Story

Patti's husband, Ken, originally served in the Marine Corps. After he re-enlisted with the Army, he deployed to Iraq in 2006, where he sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 2007. He is the recipient of a Purple Heart.

As a Dole Caregiver Fellow, Patti is committed to helping veterans transition from military to civilian life.