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Jacksonville Joins Nationwide Hidden Heroes Cities Initiative to Empower Military Caregivers

City pledges commitment to growing movement providing support and solutions for military caregivers in their hometowns

Jacksonville, September 22, 2017  Jacksonville, with the third largest military presence in the country, today pledges its support to the community’s military and veteran caregivers – the spouses, parents, family members, and friends caring for our nation’s wounded warriors - by becoming a Hidden Heroes City. The Hidden Heroes Cities Program, part of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s Hidden Heroes Campaign, is a growing network of over 100 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. By becoming a Hidden Heroes City, Jacksonville commits to helping identify local military caregivers and connecting them to a community of their peers – all while deepening community resources to offer vital support.

“We have a responsibility to our military families – the men and women who do not wear the uniform, but care for those who served selflessly for us.  I am committed to ensuring they have the support they need to manage the responsibility of their loved ones’ care,” said Congressman John Rutherford (R-FL). “Caregivers need to know their community is here for them, which will give our caregivers strength and support to bring healing to our heroes. I am proud of Jacksonville for making this pledge, and I thank Senator Dole for leading this important effort and for her longtime commitment to America’s military families.”

“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 Senator Elizabeth Dole. “Similarly, Congressman Rutherford is dedicated to passing legislation in Congress to provide better support for our nation’s military families here in Jacksonville and across the United States. Together, we are working towards an America where military caregivers are empowered, appreciated, and recognized for their service to the nation. That begins by encouraging our caregivers to raise their hands and become a part of our Hidden Heroes community, and it’s why our partnership with Jacksonville is so important.”

Ken Johnson presented Jacksonville’s Hidden Heroes City declaration on behalf of the City of Jacksonville’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs during Caring for the Military/Veteran Caregiver: A Family Caregiving Conference presented by the Community Hospice and Palliative Care (CHPC).

“Community Hospice & Palliative Care and our sponsors are grateful to be hosting this 8th annual conference focused on veterans and their caregivers. Our organization has been providing hospice care to patients and their families for forty years. With over 150,000 veterans in our North Florida service area, which includes Jacksonville and our surrounding counties, we know that veterans and their caregivers have unique needs,” said Susan Ponder-Stansel, President and CEO of CHPC. “We committed to providing specialized care and support to veterans and have programs to help both them and their caregivers as they face advanced illness. CHPC is proud that Jacksonville is being recognized as a leader for its commitment to hidden heroes- the families of our veterans.”

Jennifer Mackinday, a local military caregiver and Foundation staff member who moderates the Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community (HHCC), received Jacksonville’s Hidden Heroes proclamation on behalf of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.



About Elizabeth Dole Foundation

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation is the preeminent organization empowering, supporting, and honoring our nation’s 5.5 million military caregivers – the spouses, parents, family members, and friends who care for America’s wounded, ill or injured veterans at home. Founded by Senator Elizabeth Dole in 2012, the Foundation adopts a comprehensive approach in its support and advocacy, working with leaders in the public, private, nonprofit, and faith communities to recognize military caregivers’ service and promote their well-being. Learn more about the Elizabeth Dole Foundation at

The Hidden Heroes Campaign, an initiative of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, brings vital attention to the untold stories of military caregivers and provides a safe, secure place where caregivers can meet and access carefully vetted resources at Another aspect of the Campaign, Hidden Heroes Cities, is an effort to galvanize local leaders across America to identify military caregivers in their communities and the local resources to support them. To date, more than 100 cities from San Antonio to New York, from Washington, DC to San Diego have signed on. Learn more about Hidden Heroes at