Local Leaders, including Rep. Joe Kennedy III and Mayor Walsh, Discuss Solutions and Support for Boston’s Hidden Heroes
Boston — May 1, 2018 — Senator Elizabeth Dole and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Philips, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), are joining forces with Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and others to recognize the community’s military and veteran caregivers and celebrate Boston’s commitment to caregivers as a Hidden Heroes City. Local and national leaders including Francisco Ureña, Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs for Massachusetts; Giselle Sterling, Commissioner of the City of Boston’s Office of Veterans Services; Meg Kabat, National Director of the VA Caregiver Support Program; Vincent Ng, Director of VA Boston Healthcare System and others, will also be joining the conversation to advance strategies and solutions for more effective support.
“From the U.S. Army’s formative roots at Cambridge during the American Revolution, to Boston Harbor being the home port for the U.S. Navy’s ‘Old Ironsides,’ Boston’s strong support for the military community is deeply rooted in its history,” said Senator Elizabeth Dole, Founder of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. “The city has maintained its status as a national leader in providing service members, veterans, and their families the support they need and deserve. Over the past year, Boston has taken its support of military and veteran caregivers to a new level through its role as one of the Foundation’s 113 Hidden Heroes Cities. Today, we are proud to honor Boston’s hidden heroes and hope this event will inspire cities across the country to do the same.”
There are 5.5 million military caregivers — spouses, loved ones, family members, and friends of wounded, ill, or injured veterans and service members — providing $14 billion in uncompensated, voluntary care across America. These hidden heroes often face great physical, emotional, and financial strain themselves, and many feel isolated and alone in their caregiving role.
“Military caregivers give everything they have to care for Boston’s wounded warriors, sacrificing their own personal well-being,” said Congressman Joe Kennedy III. “We want them to know that they are not alone — resources and support are available to help them in their vital role caring for our service members and veterans, through programs offered by the City of Boston, the Greater Boston Veterans Collaborative (GBVC), and Hidden Heroes.”
“I am inspired by the selfless military and veteran caregivers serving Boston’s wounded warriors,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “As a Hidden Heroes City, we are grateful to be working hand-in-hand with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and each and every organization involved in the Greater Boston Veterans Collaborative to support those who have given so much for their country. Together, we will work to ensure our hidden heroes have everything they need.”
Through evidence-based interventions like the VA Caregiver Support Program and community partnerships fostered by VA Boston Healthcare System, the VA is focused on creating long-term programs of support for both Veterans and their caregivers.
“As a veteran myself, and now a caregiver to my son Eric, I appreciate the support provided by these types of programs – the sense of community and security, it helps,” said Mike Kelly, a participant on the Caregiver Panel for the Boston Celebration. “Programs like clinics hosted by the VA Boston Healthcare System make our roles as caregivers that much easier. It is comforting to know that our son is getting the care he needs, and we have a support system that understands what we are going through.”
The celebration takes place at 2 p.m., May 1, at the VA Boston Healthcare System West Roxbury Campus and is possible thanks to the generosity of Philips, which recently announced Cambridge as the site of as its new North American headquarters. “As a physician who has cared for veterans, and as an executive with oversight of Philips technology in VA hospitals and homes around the country, I have become familiar with the unique challenges of both clinicians and caregivers,” said Roy Smythe, MD, Philips Chief Medical Officer, Strategy & Partnerships. “Philips is extremely proud to support efforts to help veteran caregivers here in Boston and nationwide.” Philips is a leader in health technologies, helping to deliver better care, and creating telehealth and product solutions with health systems to improve the patient and provider experience.