Lehigh County Joins a Growing Movement of Nearly 200 Communities Nationwide Committed to Empowering Military Caregivers in their Hometowns

Posted on 08/12/22

For Immediate Release: August 12, 2022

CONTACT: TJ Thiessen, (202) 374-8033, tthiessen@aarp.org

Lehigh County Joins a Growing Movement of Nearly 200 Communities Nationwide Committed to Empowering Military Caregivers in their Hometowns

Lehigh County, PA – AARP Pennsylvania joined Lehigh County officials and PA Dole Fellow Georgette Wenton as Lehigh County became a Hidden Heroes County, joining the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s network of nearly 200 communities nationwide committed to identifying military caregivers and increasing awareness and support.

The Hidden Heroes Cities and Counties Progam is part of The Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s Hidden Heroes Campaign.  The program was launched in 2016 by Senator Elizabeth Dole, Campaign Chair Tom Hanks, and nearly 200 military caregivers representing virtually every state in the union as a way to engage with leaders at the local level to raise awareness about the issues military caregivers face, bring critical resources to our nation’s “hidden heroes” caring for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans, and connect military caregivers to a community of their peers.

AARP has a long history of supporting those who have served in the United States armed forces and has partnered with the Dole Foundation for several years. This partnership has included creating the Respite Relief Program for Military and Veteran Caregivers nationwide in February 2021. This free program grants family caregivers access to no-cost, short-term assistance to help those caring for wounded, ill or injured veterans or service members at home.

“Whether a parent, spouse, sibling, or other loved one, a veteran’s caregiver needs to know they are supported as they help those who sacrificed the most for us,” said AARP PA State Director Bill Johnston-Walsh. “On behalf of our 1.8 million members, AARP Pennsylvania is proud that another Keystone State community is making that support more visible in Lehigh County.” 

Lehigh County Executive Philips Armstrong signed the Resolution Friday, making Lehigh County the 5th Hidden Heroes county in Pennsylvania, joining the counties of Allegheny, Berks, Monroe and Wyoming, along with the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh

“Lehigh County is pleased to have been recognized for our work to help veterans and members of our armed services,” said Armstrong. “These brave men and women fought for us, so in Lehigh County, we fight for them.”

As a 2021 Dole Caregiver Fellow, Georgette Wenton represents a select group of Dole Foundation in a formal capacity, including advocacy, sharing their stories, and connecting other caregivers with information and resources. In recognition of the Lehigh County designation as a Hidden Heroes County, Ms. Wenton commented, “Being a part of the Hidden Heroes Caregiver Community reinforces that I am not alone in this journey—in both the emotions I feel and the challenges of being a caregiver… Being my husband’s caregiver means I have the opportunity to make sure he feels loved and cared for on a daily basis.”


Individuals caring for someone who served, or those who wish to support the campaign can visit HiddenHeroes.org for more information.

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About Elizabeth Dole Foundation and Hidden Heroes

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 service members and 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. The Foundation’s Hidden Heroes campaign brings vital attention to the untold stories of military caregivers and provides a network for military caregivers to connect with their peers and access carefully vetted resources. Visit www.hiddenheroes.org for more information.

About AARP AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members - including 1.8 million in Pennsylvania - AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.orgwww.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP@AARPenEspanol @AARPadvocates and @AliadosAdelante on social media.

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