Elizabeth Dole has received the 2014 Ethel Percy Andrus Award, AARP’s highest honor, for her support of military family caregivers. The leader of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and former U.S. senator, Cabinet member and president of the American Red Cross accepted the award at a dinner March 11 in Washington.
Dole’s foundation aims to strengthen services for those caregivers — the nation’s “ hidden heroes,” she calls them — through innovation, evidence-based research and partnerships across all sectors.
In presenting the biennial award, AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins called Dole “a fearless advocate for the more than 1 million family members who provide care, often day and night, for sons and daughters, husbands and wives who were injured during combat. Often they are the only available, knowledgeable or trusted person to provide such care.”
In her remarks, Dole said she became aware of the challenges of caregivers five years ago when her husband, former Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole, was in a military hospital for an extended period. "Becoming a caregiver is complicated, consuming, emotionally and physically debilitating with no advance warning, no preparation and often nowhere to turn for help," she said. "Uncertain about their future and often alone, they soldier on with incredible strength and resilience."
The Andrus Award, named after AARP’s founder, recognizes those who embody the organization’s goal of bringing a lifetime of experience and leadership to serve all generations. Past recipients of the award include poet Maya Angelou, basketball coach Pat Summitt, geneticist Francis Collins, TV journalist Tom Brokaw and former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.
Photos: David Evans (top); Courtesy of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation
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