First lady announces support for military caregivers
April 11th, 2014
07:51 PM ET
9 years ago

First lady announces support for military caregivers

(CNN) - First Lady Michelle Obama hosted caregivers of veterans and active duty service members in the East Room of the White House on Friday to recognize the efforts of wounded military caregivers and to bring together support for her continuing initiative, known as "Joining Forces."

Friday's event marked the 3rd anniversary of the "Joining Forces" initiative, a cause the first lady and Dr. Jill Biden have championed since President Barack Obama's first term.

She was joined on stage by Jill Biden, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, former U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, as well as nine caregivers of wounded veterans.

The event highlighted the collaboration of corporations, unions, churches and the department of defense to find ways to provide the caregivers with the support groups, information and peer-to-peer mentorship.

The first lady referred to a recent Rand Study commissioned by Dole that found many caregivers of wounded military do not have much of a support network for themselves and that most caregivers deal with physical, logistical and emotional responsibilities all on their own.

The study found that most caregivers miss work as many as 3 to 4 days a month if they have or can keep a job, are at a higher risk to suffer from depression and report more strains in their work and home relationships than non caregivers.

"The burden that these women and men bear for our country is real. And they shouldn't have to shoulder all of that alone" Mrs. Obama said.

"I'm thrilled that we have such a broad coalition of leaders here today, because we're here to show these hidden heroes we have got their backs"

The first lady used the event to announce several new commitments to help caregivers.

One in particular, the Department of Defense will be providing support to all military caregivers through peer-to-peer forums at every military installation around the world that serves wounded warriors and their caregivers. They would receive the support through online tools so that caregivers who are not able to attend an in person forum can connect to their peers as well.

The Department of Defense commitment to provide this service worldwide stemmed from an initial meeting that the first lady attended at the Intrepid Center at Fort Belvoir where four women caregivers were assembled by doctors in a group for the first time.

The meeting was so powerful that, according to the first lady, "they forgot that I was even in the room" once they started interacting and solving one another's problems.

"Immediately we could see how powerful it was for these women to be talking to their peers. They were immediately problem solving, they were connecting to each other emotionally," she said.

"This is a really big deal, and it's really just the tip of the iceberg" she added.

"We've got Republicans and Democrats, we've got leaders from business and labor and we're all coming together to show our military families how much we appreciate them."

Filed under: Michelle Obama • Veterans
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    God Bless Mrs. Obama!

    April 11, 2014 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  2. just saying

    she does realize these are the very same people whose benefits and pay her husband proposes cutting, right?

    April 12, 2014 09:03 am at 9:03 am |

    To bad the GOP is STILL trying to CUT our veterans Benifits. WHY DOES ANYBODY STILL vote for these incompetent GOP LOSERS. OVER PAID I MIGHT ADD and off for ANOTHER VACATION from their other vacation. These GOP WORTHLESS clowns have to GO in November along with the HOT DOG JOCKEY LYIN RYAN!!!!!!!

    April 12, 2014 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  4. smith 1

    wonderful first lady. Good to see people working together for a change. Mrs. Dole and Mrs. Carter and the first lady .Now if we could get congress to do the same.

    April 12, 2014 11:07 am at 11:07 am |