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Alexandria among first to pledge support for military caregivers as Hidden Heroes City

Actor Tom Hanks, accompanied by former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, jokingly gives two thumbs up. (Photo courtesy of www.military.com.)
Actor Tom Hanks, accompanied by former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, jokingly gives two thumbs up. (Photo courtesy of www.military.com.)

Alexandria was recognized September 29 as Tom Hanks and Tom Brokaw joined Senator Elizabeth Dole in Washington, DC to launch Hidden Heroes, a groundbreaking campaign created by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation to call vital attention to America’s 5.5 million military and veteran caregivers. As campaign chair, Hanks presided over the launch that included a series of major announcements and commitments that will bring critical resources to those caring for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans.

Alexandria joined the campaign as one of the first cities to sign on as a Hidden Heroes City, one of the campaign’s key national initiatives designed to develop military caregiver resources at a local level. Each Hidden Heroes City pledges to help identify local military caregivers and organize community resources to offer them vital support. Individuals caring for someone who served, or those who wish to support the campaign can visit www.HiddenHeroes.org for more information.

“If we want to be a nation that truly cares for those who have borne the battle, we must also be a nation that cares for our caregivers,” said Hanks as he called on public leaders, corporations, nonprofits and individual Americans to each do their part.

The launch event unveiled additional key national initiatives of the Hidden Heroes campaign, including:

  • Video public service announcements featuring Hanks that begin airing nationwide today and on the campaign’s website HiddenHeroes.org. A print public service announcement has already begun running in October editions of national magazines.
  • HiddenHeroes.org, a new website launched as the premier online community for military caregivers. The website features a private community where military caregivers can share questions and advice, a directory for caregiver resources, and a national military caregiver registry to help connect caregivers with support. The website also features a call to action page for every American who wishes to be part of the campaign.

hidden-heroes2Addressing what she hopes to accomplish through the campaign, Senator Dole said, “The Elizabeth Dole Foundation envisions an America where military caregivers are empowered, appreciated and recognized for their service to the nation. Together, we are working towards a future where supporting military caregivers is no longer a cause, but it is part of the culture of our nation.” The Senator went on to announce additional national initiatives already underway as part of the campaign and introduce the leaders of the first organizations to make commitments:

  • Colonel Jennifer Pritzker, Army National Guard (Retired), and Founder and Chair of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, contributed $1 million in support of the campaign. Colonel Pritzker will also serve as the campaign’s Vice Chair.
  • The United Arab Emirates, represented by His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador of the UAE to the USA, contributed $1 million to the campaign.
  • USAA, represented by Harriet Dominique, Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Community Affairs, stepped forward as both a campaign sponsor and the first corporation in America to dedicate a pillar of its corporate responsibility program to military and veteran caregivers.
  • The City of San Diego, represented by Mayor Kevin Faulconer, committed to become the first of 54 cities in America to join the campaign as a Hidden Heroes City. 
  • Comcast NBCUniversal, represented by Brigadier General Carol Eggert, Army (Retired), Vice President of Military and Veteran Affairs, will serve as the official media partner of Hidden Heroes, helping reach caregivers and supportive Americans across all its communications channels. In a special video message, NBC News’ TODAY anchor Matt Lauer spoke to the commitment of NBC News to follow the campaign’s progress and pledged his personal support as a Hidden Heroes Ambassador.

The emcee of the event, Richard Lui, MSNBC anchor, announced that Tom Brokaw, NBC News Special Correspondent, would also join the campaign as a Hidden Heroes Ambassador. Brokaw, one of the most respected names in news, spoke about America’s legacy of coming together to support its military and veteran communities. His remarks reflected Senator Dole’s original call for a national response to the caregiver crisis following the release of a 2014 RAND caregiver study commissioned by her Foundation.

Two of the Foundation’s earliest supporters, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald, spoke to the need of a national campaign for military caregivers. The U.S. Congress and Department of Veterans Affairs have both taken steps to ease the challenges of those caring for service members and veterans. Yet, they echoed Senator Dole’s call for every American to recognize and support these hidden heroes.

In addition to the commitments announced by campaign leaders, the launch event recognized the Starr Foundation for its enduring commitment to the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and The Independence Fund for its contributions to Hidden Heroes. Additional support was provided by Hilton Hotels, American Airlines, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Booz Allen Hamilton and Hope for the Warriors.

About The Elizabeth Dole Foundation

The mission of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation is to strengthen and empower American military caregivers and their families by raising public awareness, driving research, championing policy, and leading collaborations that make a significant impact on their lives. Learn more about the Hidden Heroes campaign at www.HiddenHeroes.org. 

hidden-heroes3Hidden Heroes Cities 

  1. San Diego, California
  2. Alexandria, Virginia
  3. Rapid City, South Dakota
  4. Birmingham, Alabama
  5. Missoula, Montana
  6. Tacoma, Washington
  7. Manhattan, Kansas
  8. Aberdeen, South Dakota
  9. Houston, Texas
  10. Sumter, South Carolina
  11. Charlotte, North Carolina
  12. Scottsdale, Arizona
  13. Oakland, California
  14. Clarksville, Tennessee
  15. Monterey, California
  16. Chicago, Illinois
  17. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  18. Charles Town, West Virginia
  19. Bismarck, North Dakota
  20. Greenville, Mississippi
  21. Garden City, Kansas
  22. Virginia Beach, Virginia
  23. Springfield, Massachusetts
  24. Watertown, New York
  25. Reno, Nevada
  26. Albuquerque, New Mexico
  27. Salisbury, North Carolina
  28. Hattiesburg, Mississippi
  29. Aurora, Illinois
  30. Lansing, Michigan
  31. Arlington, Texas
  32. Mountain Home, Idaho
  33. Waco, Texas
  34. Augusta, Georgia
  35. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  36. Roanoke, Virginia
  37. Chattanooga, Tennessee
  38. Elmira, New York
  39. Alpena, Michigan
  40. Raleigh, North Carolina
  41. Nashville, Tennessee
  42. Columbia, South Carolina
  43. Austin, Texas
  44. Quincy, Illinois
  45. Madison, Wisconsin
  46. Little Rock, Arkansas
  47. Los Angeles, California
  48. Fayetteville, North Carolina
  49. Washington, D.C.
  50. New York, New York
  51. New Orleans, Louisiana
  52. Albany, New York
  53. San Francisco, California
  54. Yuma, Arizona


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