SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (Aug. 14, 2019) -- The Desmond T. Doss Health Clinic hosted 'The Caregiver Journey' a Health & Wellness Forum at Schofield Barracks on Aug. 14, 2019.
The forum was designed to provide access to a panel of experts from across Oahu in addition to an open venue for caregivers to share their experiences of caring for wounded veterans and exceptional family members.
Panel experts included Veterans Affairs Pacific Islands Healthcare, Military OneSource, Warrior Transition Unit, Army Wellness Center, FOCUS Hawaii, Ready and Resilient Performance Center and many more.
"We are trying to advocate and educate as much as we can", said, Ililani Foree, caregiver and Elizabeth Dole Foundation fellow.
"Our mission is to strengthen and empower military caregivers and their families by raising public awareness, driving research, campaigning for policy and leading the way for collaboration to make a significant impact on military caregivers' lives" , added Foree.
The 2019 forum was sponsored by the Association for the United States Army- Hawaii Chapter and like previous years served as a great source of information leading up to the Na Koa Wounded Warrior Regatta which supports both wounded warriors and their families.
Lt. Col Matt Geiman, deputy commander for health readiness, Desmond Doss Health Clinic, led the planning efforts for the clinic and shared his own caregiver journey with those in attendance.
"The caregiver journey is a special story. A story of sacrifice, commitment, patience, and love," said Geiman.
"What I will tell the group is that the love and support my family received from family, friends, co-workers, doctors, and nurses during those many challenging years with more ups and downs than I can remember were invaluable to my parents as caregivers and us as a family", added Geiman.
The commander of the Desmond Doss Health Clinic, Col. Dave Zimmerman, highlighted the impact on caregivers since 9/11, and why it was important we gather all of the resources together to support our military caregivers.
"The caregiver journey can be demanding, each day requiring an increasing amount of physical and emotional strength. Caregiver's voices are all different but they share a similar story of struggle and resilience", said Zimmerman.
"I believe that the topics covered today will explore the caregiver journey in detail and identify resources available through both government and non-government agencies for our leaders and caregivers." The caregiver journey that our panel of experts will discuss today is vital to the care of our military families and the resilience of our caregivers", added Zimmerman.
The final event of the day, a question and answer panel, provided an opportunity for attendees to speak directly with dozens of experts. Questions from attendees highlighted several areas where multiple agencies on Oahu could assist active duty servicemembers, veterans and their caregivers.
For more information about the Elizabeth Dole Foundation you may visit www. Elizabethdolefoundation.org and the Wounded Warrior Project at www.woundedwarriorproject.org.