On June 23-24, the American Bar Association (ABA) teamed with Army OneSource and Bob Woodruff Foundation to host the National Summit to Create a Military and Veterans Legal Network. The goal of the event was to create a blueprint for connecting the nation’s legal service providers into a single system for the military community, including caregivers. The Foundation recruited ABA as one of our earliest partners, helping us address one of the first caregiver needs identified by Senator Dole. Ken Goldsmith, the ABA’s Legislative counsel and Director of State Legislation, now co-chairs our Financial and Legal Impact Council, which is looking to further our nation’s support of caregivers’ legal challenges.
Senator Dole addressed the conference, describing the totality of legal battles faced by caregivers and the value a legal network could provide to hidden heroes. The Senator challenged attendees to consider how overwhelming it must be to be thrust into the role of a caregiver, suddenly making stressful legal decisions, often regarding matters of life and death. She also asked the audience to imagine the anxiety and frustration caregivers must feel as they struggle to provide round-the-clock care, while fighting for benefits and cutting through red tape.
A team of Dole Caregiver Fellows flew into Washington, DC from across the nation to participate in the conference. These Fellows helped advise the development of the legal network and provided first-person accounts of the variety of complex legal situations caregivers are forced to overcome.