In addition to being Veterans Month and Military Family Month, November is also Family Caregivers Month! Being a caregiver can be extremely difficult and trying. Many caregivers spend so much time taking care of their family that they forget to care for themselves.
Our military caregivers are no different. They care for our military heroes while also caring for their growing families. This is why our Women of Valor Team was created. While the focus is often on the veteran member, the Women of Valor Team focuses solely on the female caregiver to ensure they are pampered, loved, and given the necessary supportive materials to help them along this journey.
Our team angels focus on providing each caregiver with self-care items and educational support. Cards, letters of encouragement, and care packages are provided throughout the year with an emphasis on major holidays. Care packages focus on items to help them de-stress and pamper themselves.
What do you do as an angel on the Women of Valor Team?
Team Angels on Women Of Valor (WOV) provide direct support and encouragement to caregivers of wounded, ill, or injured service members. The WOV minimum requirement consists of sending a minimum of 2 cards a month and care packages on all major holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. In addition, many angels may communicate more frequently via email, phone, text, Facebook, etc. at the comfort level of the caregiver.
How long have you been with Soldiers’ Angels?
I have been serving as a Veteran Intern for a little over 3 months now, beginning on 1 Aug 2017.
Why do you love being on this team?
Amongst all the programs offered through Soldiers’ Angels, this one is my favorite. I get a chance to provide love, support, and encouragement to the caregivers, who are often overlooked, but play a significant and invaluable role in the everyday life of their wounded, ill, or injured veteran. When my dad was really sick, my mom was his caregiver until he passed away. In addition to all she was dealing with emotionally, she was always taking care of her 3 adult children and families who came in from out of town. Looking back, I distinctly remember thinking, “Who’s taking care of her?” In a small way, I get a chance to give back.
What are some things people don’t realize about caregivers?
WOV Caregivers are truly the unsung heroes for their families every day. Depending on the severity of their wounded, ill, or injured service member, many caregivers might be unable to work outside the home. They maintain a balance of attending to their veteran’s physical, mental, and emotional needs, ensure they take all required medications, take them to all their VA appointments, amongst a myriad of other daily tasks of running a household. Most of the caregivers in our WOV program have children to care for as well, so adding to this list are taking children to school, meals, cleaning, after school activities, etc. The caregivers are an incredible group of women who unselfishly put the needs of her veteran and family first.
What are some of the most popular items sent?
The goal of our WOV program is to solely take care of the caregiver who often neglects her own needs/wants for the sake of her family. Many of our TAs send self-care items, such as lotions, bubble bath, etc., in addition to ecards, anything Bath & Body Works, and Target Beauty boxes. Many of our TAs send our caregivers a questionnaire to get to know them better, which include their likes/dislikes, etc. and send items based on the caregivers’ wishes.
What is one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had at SA?
I was on my first week of this new job, and was honored to attend an incredible independent film premier at the San Antonio Film Festival titled “Weight of Honor.” This film was depicted from the perspective of a military caregiver, the unsung heroes who selflessly and tirelessly serve their wounded veterans. This film was created to raise awareness of the sacrifices of Caregivers whose dedication often goes unrecognized. After the film, we had a Q & A session, featuring several of the caregivers speaking honestly and transparently about their personal struggles and trials. I was so humbled by the incredible experience.