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Waikoloa Woman Selected as Dole Caregiver Advocate

February 16, 2017, 11:27 AM HST (Updated February 16, 2017, 5:11 AM) · 3 Comments
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2017 Dole Caregiver Fellow Jessica Root with her fiance, Erich. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Dole Foundation.

Waikoloa resident Jessica Root is among 31 military and veteran caregivers selected nationwide to be Dole Caregiver Fellows in 2017, representing the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. The foundation seeks to support and advocate for people providing care to an estimated 5.5 million wounded, ill and injured U.S. military veterans.

Root will represent the State of Hawaiʻi during 2017 – 2019 for the Dole Foundation. As a Fellow, she will be sharing her own story with other caregivers to raise awareness around the challenges they face. She will also advocate for military and veteran caregivers through the Hidden Heroes initiative, an online destination providing caregivers with vetted resources, support and community.

Root is a veteran and military caregiver herself, though she did not know it until someone pointed it out. She has been caring for her fiancé for over seven years, a post 9/11 veteran who suffers severe Post-Traumatic Stress. Jessica is also a veteran, and works as a receptionist for a local medical clinic.

“I believe that it takes a village… And I am so excited to work with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation as a Fellow to learn as much as I can about resources and services available for caregivers and their veterans within my community,” Root said. “I hope to share these resources and knowledge to empower them to advocate for themselves and their communities as well. By all of us working together and sharing knowledge, we can bring awareness to the needs of our caregivers and their veterans directly.”

Military service photos of Root and her fiance. Images courtesy of Elizabeth Dole Foundation.

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The Dole Caregivers Fellows Program was created by Sen. Elizabeth Dole in an effort to directly engage military and veteran caregivers nationwide, offering them support and resources.

“We are excited to have Jessica as part of the 2017 class of Dole Caregiver Fellows. Each Fellow is an essential part of the Foundation’s work,” said Sen. Elizabeth Dole. “They are ambassadors, advocates, advisors, and spokespersons not only for the Foundation but for military and veteran caregivers across the nation. In addition to providing vital help to those who serve our country, the Fellows support the work of the Foundation and our partners by lending their firsthand knowledge, skills, expertise, and personal experiences to our shared mission.”

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