February 29, 2016

Caregivers Join Foundation Team

Caregivers Join Foundation Team
Elizabeth Dole Foundation fellows

The Foundation is pleased to announce that 2014 Dole Caregiver Fellow Jennifer Mackinday and 2015 Dole Caregiver Fellow Ann Marie Pacciano will join the Foundation’s staff as moderators of the Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community (HHCC). The HHCC, a closed Facebook group managed by the Foundation, has grown to nearly 700 caregivers. Every day, caregivers interact in the group, sharing resources, celebrating successes, commiserating over difficulties and exchanging advice. The site provides caregivers a place to go at any hour of the day to learn, share and connect.

Jennifer has cared for her brother, Army Specialist James Smith, since he was wounded by an IED blast in Mosul, Iraq. James’ wounds include TBI, PTS, an elbow replacement, hearing loss, and migraines. These combined ailments can make providing care challenging, however, Jennifer has learned a lot through experience. From her start as a Fellow and now as a spokeswoman for Wounded Warrior Project and Coordinator of the HHCC, Jennifer has become a passionate advocate for those who dedicate their lives to caring for our wounded veterans and service members.

Ann Marie cares for her husband Gary who served in the Army National Guard and Reserves for over 35 years. He was called to active duty for four years shortly after September 11, 2001. Later, he was medically released from service due to physical and psychological injuries including leg, nerve, back, shoulder and spinal injuries. Caregiving became so time consuming for Ann Marie that she had to take early retirement from her much loved teaching career. She and Gary have been happily married for over 43 years and have two sons and four grandchildren. Ann Marie now brings her caregiving and teaching experience to the HHCC program, and hopes to pay it forward by serving her fellow caregivers online.

Welcome aboard, Jennifer and Ann Marie!