The Elizabeth Dole Foundation announced its new class of military and veteran caregivers selected for the 2015 Elizabeth Dole Foundation Fellows program. The Foundation’s Fellowship is a national program comprised of military and veteran caregivers who have stepped forward to serve as advocates and spokespeople for the 5.5 million parents, spouses, children and other loved ones caring for our nation’s wounded, ill and injured warriors. A list of the fellows and the states they represent is below.
In 2014, the Elizabeth Dole Fellows provided insight and advice about the serious challenges encountered by military caregivers during face to face meetings with the White House, Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 100 Members of Congress, and dozens of leaders in the public, private, nonprofit, labor and faith communities. This year’s Fellows will provide millions of caregivers a voice as the Elizabeth Dole Foundation continues working with its National Coalition of leaders, organizations and agencies leading up to this spring’s Hidden Heroes Coalition Summit 2015: Progress and Promise.
“Our Fellows are the heart and soul of our Foundation’s work,” said Senator Elizabeth Dole. “The wisdom of their personal experience is invaluable, and it helps guide the focus of our National Coalition. I am personally grateful that these hidden heroes would add to the selfless service they already provide as caregivers by volunteering to represent the millions of their peers in need of better support from our nation.”
Together with the caregivers selected to participate last year, the 2015 Elizabeth Dole Fellows represent nearly every state and territory. They face many of the challenges identified in the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s 2014 RAND study of military caregivers, such as difficulty navigating complex benefits systems, lacking adequate caregiver training, and suffering moderate to severe emotional distress, financial strain and familial turmoil. The veterans who the Fellows care for have sustained visible and invisible wounds, both in service following the attacks of September 11, 2001 and in prior conflicts. The Fellows also represent the diverse relationships today’s military caregivers have with their care recipients, including spouses caring for spouses, parents caring for children, sisters caring for brothers, and friends caring for friends.
“While our Fellows’ personal caregiving stories reflect those of the millions of military caregivers across the nation, these individuals also stand out for their ability to find solutions to problems, mentor their peers and summon the courage to publicly share the hard times they have endured,” said Senator Elizabeth Dole. “Each of them has an outlook that inspires me, and I’m looking forward to accomplishing wonderful successes with them in the year ahead.”
Last year, Senator Elizabeth Dole announced the launch of a National Coalition for military caregivers at a White House event hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden. Some of the first members of the Coalition have already established caregiver support programs. The Foundation also celebrated the establishment of a Caregiver Caucus in Congress, led by leading veterans’ advocates in both the House and the Senate. The Hidden Heroes Coalition Summit to be held later this spring will provide a progress report of all the new and expanded services developed for caregivers in the last year and where work still needs to be accomplished.
See their full bios here.
|2015 Fellows||City, State|
|Kathleen Causey||Birmingham. Ala|
|Maria Davis||North Pole, Alaska|
|Faun and Danny O’Neel||Folsom, Calif.|
|Nikki Stephens||Murrieta, Calif.|
|Elizabeth Huddleston||Colorado Springs, Colo.|
|Megan Swanson||Quaker Hill, Conn.|
|Nodira Murodkhujaeva Hughes||Washington, D.C.|
|Patti Katter||Lakewood Ranch, Fla.|
|Precious Goodson||Jacksonville, Fla.|
|Brian Vines||Kissimmee, Fla.|
|Emily E. Emmons||Hilo, Hawaii|
|Sami Anderson||Champaign, Ill.|
|Christie Girard||Carencro, La.|
|Rebecca Porges||Olney, Md.|
|Elizabeth Rotenberry||Baltimore, Md.|
|Joey Caswell||Rockford, Mich.|
|Melody Slusher||Cuba, Mo.|
|Heidi Woodring||Las Vegas, Nev.|
|Jennifer McNail||Littleton, N.H.|
|Ann Marie Pacciano||Edison, N.J.|
|Valence Scott||Rockville Centre, N.Y.|
|Edna Dumas||Humacao, Puerto Rico|
|Tobian Kills In Water||Rapid City, S.D.|
|Sonia L. and Julio Alvarado||San Antonio, Texas|
|Rosalinda and Alain Babin||Round Rock, Texas|
|Roxana Delgado||El Paso, Texas|
|Amber Edelman||Corinne, Utah|
|Tammie K. Gillums||Gainesville, Va.|
|Liz Hunt||Dupont, Wash.|
|Dr. Kristi Williams Dumas||Beaver, W. Va.|
|Carrie Fisher||Roberts, Wis.|
|Jordyn Hatfield||Jackson, Wyo.|