At the United States Capitol, Elizabeth Dole launches Hidden Heroes, joined by Campaign Chair Tom Hanks and Ambassador Tom Brokaw, along with dignitaries including U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald, National Coalition Partners and more than 50 military caregivers. Hidden Heroes is a multifaceted campaign to expose the tremendous challenges and long-term needs our nation’s military caregivers face every day and to inspire Americans to take action.
"When my husband Bob Dole was admitted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for an extended period of time, my eyes were opened to the tremendous challenges facing the loved ones caring for our wounded veterans," says Elizabeth Dole, who launched the Elizabeth Dole Foundation to address our nation’s military caregiving crisis. "All the science and experience points to an undeniable societal crisis that deserves a national response."
Family members or friends step into the role of the military caregiver for the first time with little or no training, managing and balancing multiple injuries and illnesses over a lifetime of care, often in isolation and without a support system. Hidden Heroes is dedicated to bringing public attention to this crisis and motivating civic engagement to better connect military caregivers to resources and support.
"Military caregivers don’t often ask for help, but they deserve our support," says Tom Hanks, Oscar-winning actor and Hidden Heroes Chair. "Senator Elizabeth Dole can be pretty persuasive, so that’s why I’ve raised my hand and have committed to Hidden Heroes. Together, we all can bring military caregivers out of the shadows to honor their service and strengthen their support systems."
Today’s launch event showcases key campaign elements, including:
A national public service announcement featuring Tom Hanks, with military caregiver Jessica Allen, husband Army Staff Sergeant Chaz Allen and their two daughters, Ryann and Deryn. Broadcast spots (60:, 30:, 20: and 10: seconds) will be distributed to television stations across the country. A print version will appear in national magazines starting in October. To view the PSA go to: www.HiddenHeroes.org.
HiddenHeroes.org – a premier online destination for military caregivers. Included in this first-of-its-kind website are more than 50 military caregiver testimonials that share helpful information about their own journey; a vetted directory of valuable resources; access to a military caregiver private online community; and a call-to-action for communities and individuals to get involved.
Hidden Heroes Cities – More than 50 cities nationwide have committed to becoming military caregiver-friendly cities. Each city has signed on to create a steering committee of public and private organizations to both assess and address the specific unmet needs of its city’s military caregivers.
Comcast NBCUniversal is committed to company-wide support of our nation’s military community and is one of the first corporations to support the Hidden Heroes campaign. Tom Hanks appeared on NBC News’ TODAY this morning to kick off the campaign, and in the coming months, NBC News and local stations will join the effort by reporting on the challenges military caregivers face and the innovative programs making a difference. Comcast Cable will also air the PSA across the country to Xfinity TV customers.
Additionally, Comcast NBCUniversal, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Easterseals and Operation Homefront are partnering to equip numerous military caregivers’ homes with accessible technology and the Xfinity suite of services, including Home Security and Automation, Internet, TV, and Voice, to help make the lives of these "Hidden Heroes" easier.
"Comcast NBCUniversal is not just military-friendly, we’re military-ready. That means that we think about the unique challenges faced by our military families and caregivers, as well as our employees and customers who are veterans or currently serving National Guard and Reserve members," said Brigadier General (Retired) Carol Eggert, Vice President, Military and Veteran Affairs, Comcast NBCUniversal. "The selfless sacrifices that our nation’s military caregivers make are often overlooked, and we are proud to partner with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Easterseals and Operation Homefront to bring attention and support to these deserving individuals."