Pastor Joel Osteen and Senator Elizabeth Dole at the Hidden Heroes: Focus on Faith prayer breakfast reception on Capitol Hill on May 21.
Pastor Joel Osteen invited interfaith and Congressional leaders to join him in his support of military and veteran caregivers during the Elizabeth Dole Foundation 2015 Hidden Heroes: Focus on Faith breakfast reception, held on May 21 in the Kennedy Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building, in Washington, DC. The event included remarks from Members of Congress, including Senator Johnny Isakson and the co-chairs of the congressional caucus dedicated to military and veteran caregivers: Leader Nancy Pelosi; Senators John McCain and Jack Reed; and Congressman Jeff Miller.
“Beginning the day by coming together around a common cause with Congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle, and representatives from the full spectrum of faiths practiced by Americans, does wonders for the patriotic spirit and soul,” remarked Senator Dole as she opened the event.
Inspiring remarks from Pastor Joel Osteen emphasized the importance faith plays in the lives of caregivers, and how a strong foundation in faith can help heal and sustain these women and men through times of immense challenges, uncertainty, and doubt. Leaders representing a collection of faiths and beliefs also participated. Many of these leaders are active members of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation Interfaith Action and Ministry Impact Council, which is focused on providing spiritual support to the nation’s military and veteran caregivers. Pastor Osteen was also joined by more than 30 pastors from Joel Osteen Ministries’ Champions Network who travelled from across the nation to show commitment to those caring for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans.
“Caregivers need to know that God cares for them and their loved ones. They need to know they can turn to their church for strength and support. If we as church leaders can support the caregivers in our churches and our communities, it would go a long way to bring hope and healing to these hidden heroes,” said Pastor Joel Osteen.
Following remarks by Congressional and interfaith leaders, Dole Caregiver Fellow, Pastor Sonia Alvarado of San Antonio, shared the role faith has played in her and her husband’s care of their son, retired Army Sgt. Luis Alfredo Alvarado. Sgt. Alvarado suffered the loss of his legs, severe burns, and a debilitating traumatic brain injury following an IED blast in Afghanistan.
“Faith gives us the hope and strength to keep on going. Our loved ones need us to be strong and that can only happen if we have faith that God will see us through,” said Pastor Alvarado.
Senator Dole praised the congressional leaders in attendance for their support of military and veteran caregivers. Dole Caregiver Fellows – active caregivers representing all 50 states and territories who serve as advocates for the Foundation and their peers – met with nearly 200 Members of Congress this week. Last month, the Foundation assisted with Senator Patty Murray’s re-introduction of the Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act, with the bipartisan support of Senator Susan Collins and Congressman Jim Langevin.