Within the City of Charlestown, military and veteran caregivers are vital to our community. While some caregivers are known, some are not.
On Veteran’s Day 2021, the City of Charlestown will proclaim on Nov. 11 as a Hidden Heroes City in support of military and veteran caregivers. Most caregivers have challenging workdays as they carry out their civic and patriotic duty, without realizing they are, in fact, caregivers, and do not identify as such.
A ceremony and proclamation reading are scheduled to take place Thursday, Nov. 11 at noon at the City Square. Hidden Heroes within Charlestown are welcome to attend the ceremony.
“Charlestown takes great pride in our military families,” said Charlestown Mayor Treva Hodges. “This dedication is our way of letting the caregivers in our communities know that we appreciate the service they provide for our Veterans. Much of what they do goes unrecognized by people outside the family and we want them to know that while we honor our Veterans, we also honor the commitment caregivers make to ensuring their long-term security and wellbeing. The message is this – we see you, we support you.”
The Hidden Heroes Cities Program, part of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s Hidden Heroes Campaign, is a growing network of over 110 cities committed to better serving military and veteran caregivers through local services and support. Hidden Heroes raises awareness about the issues military caregivers face, and brings critical resources to those caring for wounded, ill, and injured service members, and veterans.
As an Elizabeth Dole Fellow alumnus, Glenda Leary has helped advocate for military and veteran caregivers locally, statewide, and in Washington DC since 2014. The Charlestown resident was involved with advocating for the Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act, which was ultimately passed in 2016.
“It’s such a difficult thing to move into a community that is far from a military installation,” said Leary. “To know that Charlestown sees me, and sees other military and veteran caregivers, make living in this community much more welcoming.”
The daily tasks of those military and veteran caregivers can include bathing, feeding, dressing, and caring for the grievous injuries of wounded warriors, administering medications, providing emotional support, caring for the family and the home, and working outside the home to earn essential income.
“I have dedicated my life to empowering our nation’s 5.5 million military caregivers because I’ve seen first-hand the tremendous impact they make in the lives of our veterans each and every day,” said former Senator Elizabeth Dole.
According to research, an alarming number of caregivers suffer from debilitating mental, physical, and emotional effect as result of their duties. The City of Charlestown, by becoming a Hidden Heroes City, recognizes the compassionate environment and opportunities the campaign provides those know and unidentified caregivers.
Military caregivers can register at HiddenHeroes.org to better understand their needs and connect with useful resources and support. In addition, visit caregiver.va.gov to see if you qualify for VA support.