HATTIESBURG, Miss. - This is a press release from City Hall.
Hattiesburg was recognized today as Tom Hanks and Tom Brokaw joined Senator Elizabeth Dole in Washington, DC to launch Hidden Heroes, a groundbreaking campaign created by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation to call vital attention to America’s 5.5 million military and veteran caregivers. As campaign chair, Hanks presided over the launch that included a series of major announcements and commitments that will bring critical resources to those caring for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans.
Hattiesburg joined the campaign as one of the first cities to sign on as a Hidden Heroes City, one of the campaign's key national initiatives designed to develop military caregiver resources at a local level. Each Hidden Heroes City pledges to help identify local military caregivers and organize community resources to offer them vital support. Individuals caring for someone who served, or those who wish to support the campaign can visit HiddenHeroes.org for more information.
"If we want to be a nation that truly cares for those who have borne the battle, we must also be a nation that cares for our caregivers," said Hanks as he called on public leaders, corporations, nonprofits and individual Americans to each do their part.
The launch event unveiled additional key national initiatives of the Hidden Heroes campaign, including:
HiddenHeroes.org, a new website launched as the premier online community for military caregivers. The website features a private community where military caregivers can share questions and advice, a directory for caregiver resources, and a national military caregiver registry to help connect caregivers with support. The website also features a call to action page for every American who wishes to be part of the campaign.
Addressing what she hopes to accomplish through the campaign, Senator Dole said, "The Elizabeth Dole Foundation envisions an America where military caregivers are empowered, appreciated and recognized for their service to the nation. Together, we are working towards a future where supporting military caregivers is no longer a cause, but it is part of the culture of our nation." The Senator went on to announce additional national initiatives already underway as part of the campaign and introduce the leaders of the first organizations to make commitments:
Colonel Jennifer Pritzker, Army National Guard (Retired), and Founder and Chair of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, contributed $1 million in support of the campaign. Colonel Pritzker will also serve as the campaign's Vice Chair.
The emcee of the event, Richard Lui, MSNBC anchor, announced that Tom Brokaw, NBC News Special Correspondent, would also join the campaign as a Hidden Heroes Ambassador. Brokaw, one of the most respected names in news, spoke about America's legacy of coming together to support its military and veteran communities. His remarks reflected Senator Dole's original call for a national response to the caregiver crisis following the release of a 2014 RAND caregiver study commissioned by her Foundation.
Two of the Foundation's earliest supporters, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald, spoke to the need of a national campaign for military caregivers. The U.S. Congress and Department of Veterans Affairs have both taken steps to ease the challenges of those caring for service members and veterans. Yet, they echoed Senator Dole's call for every American to recognize and support these hidden heroes.
In addition to the commitments announced by campaign leaders, the launch event recognized the Starr Foundation for its enduring commitment to the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and The Independence Fund for its contributions to Hidden Heroes. Additional support was provided by Hilton Hotels, American Airlines, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Booz Allen Hamilton and Hope for the Warriors.
About The Elizabeth Dole Foundation
The mission of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation is to strengthen and empower American military caregivers and their families by raising public awareness, driving research, championing policy, and leading collaborations that make a significant impact on their lives. Learn more about the Hidden Heroes campaign at www.HiddenHeroes.org.
Hidden Heroes Cities
San Diego, California
Rapid City, South Dakota
Aberdeen, South Dakota
Sumter, South Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Charles Town, West Virginia
Bismarck, North Dakota
Garden City, Kansas
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Watertown, New York
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Salisbury, North Carolina
Mountain Home, Idaho
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Elmira, New York
Raleigh, North Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
Little Rock, Arkansas
Los Angeles, California
Fayetteville, North Carolina
New York, New York
New Orleans, Louisiana
Albany, New York
San Francisco, California