“This is something that is very near and dear to me,” said County Board Member Natalie Coleman (Plainfield). “My father was a veteran and I’m also a veteran.”
Freeman’s Aunt, Brigadier General Wilma L. Vaught, helped to found the Military Women’s Memorial in Washington, D.C. for American women veterans. She said that the county has an opportunity to provide resources and support for a group of people that sometimes fall through the cracks.
“Brave women and men like my Aunt Wilma, risk their lives every day in defense of our nation. Upon their return home, some need assistance from caregivers,” said Freeman. “To honor her legacy and the service of others like her, I wanted to do something here at home in Will County. As a Hidden Heroes Community, Will County will be able to provide additional resources and a support network for these Hidden Heroes. I am proud to have played a role in this step toward honoring our nation’s service members.”
Hidden Heroes is a program of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, which is dedicated to strengthening and empowering the nation’s military and veteran caregivers. Caregivers are encouraged to register with Hidden Heroes at www.HiddenHeroes.org so that community leaders can better understand their unique needs and help connect them to helpful resources and support.
“Many of our veterans are young – 20, 30, 40 years old – their lives may have been dramatically changed by an injury and they need a lot of care,” said Coleman. “We don’t always consider the individuals that provide the care for a disabled veteran. It’s often a spouse or parent or child and they also need support. This doesn’t cost the county anything and it has the potential to do a lot of good.”