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Michigan joins Tom Hanks-backed ‘hidden heroes’ group supporting military, veteran caregivers

Tom Hanks at the "Sully" red carpet premiere in Japan. (Dick Thomas Johnson/Wikimedia Commons)
March 01, 2020

The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency this week signed on as a “Hidden Heroes” state with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, pledging to identify and support military caregivers.

Hidden Heroes, founded by former U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole, R-North Carolina, highlights issues faced by caregivers for military members and veterans. The group aims to connect caregivers with resources and inspire communities to take action supporting them.

The group’s Campaign Chair is actor Tom Hanks.

“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,” Hanks said in a press release announcing Michigan joining the effort.

There are now 150 municipalities and three states committed to the campaign.

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“Many military and veteran caregivers are so busy helping others, they don’t often ask for help for themselves. Today, we pledge our support to these dedicated caregivers,” said Zaneta Adams, Director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, there were 589,326 veterans living in Michigan as of 2017. Of those, 53% are over the age of 65. Nationally, there are 19.9 million veterans.

Dole said in a statement she’s seen firsthand how hard caregivers work and the impact they have.

“But their needs are overwhelming, and as a country, we must come together to find helpful ways to support them in their life-long journey of care. That begins by encouraging our caregivers to raise their hands, become a part of our Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community – it’s why our partnership with Michigan is so important,” Dole said.

The state urged people who are caregivers for veterans to visit the Hidden Heroes website for resources.

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