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

Wanda Ickes

Serving my wounded warrior is one way that I can give back to all veterans.

What does being a military caregiver mean to you?

Being a military caregiver is part of my commitment to my husband, Sam. I am honored to take care of him. He was awarded with three Purple Hearts and has earned my respect. Being a military caregiver also keeps me connected to the military community.

How do you find strength in the difficulty of your day-to-day?

I have learned to take things minute-by-minute. I’ve developed my own armor. Because of his injuries, Sam will often resort to name-calling, but I’ve learned to brush it off and simply move on. I’d rather he do that to me than to someone who won’t understand or forgive him.

How has being a military caregiver changed you?

I am more aware of my own strengths and talents. I am currently a full-time college student majoring in Communications. I will be a victims’ advocate. Being a caregiver showed me all that I am capable of and I am committed to helping those who cannot help themselves.

My Story

Wanda's husband, Sam, suffers from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He also had to undergo facial reconstruction. They struggled a lot to find resources, as her husband was primarily reservist.

Wanda's goal as a Fellow is to link caregivers with aid providers, particularly those who can provide appropriate medical care.