Outstanding Community Care Givers Recognized

Five community based caregivers near Fairfax County, VA were recognized at the 2nd annual Kudos for Caregivers Awards on Monday, September 26th. Life Circle Alliances hosted the event in the District of Columbia to honor women and organizations that have shown incredible compassion and dedication to the care of others. The Honorable Gerald E. Connolly included a statement to the U.S. House of Representatives recognizing the recipients of the awards.

KUDOS Awards Breakfast

KUDOS Awards Breakfast on September 26, 2011. Left to right: Christine Hyland, LifeCircle Alliances Executive Director, Betty Boerger of KUDOS Awardee Belvoir Woods Healthcare Family Council at The Fairfax, Eileen O’Neil Fuller, keynote speaker Jane Gross, author of "A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents and Ourselves", and Anita Dominguez. (Photo by David Casterline).

Inas Eldarwish and her husband Ayman have cared for their two disabled sons for a number of years, until their eldest son, Ahmed tragically died. Through their shared grief, the couple continues to selflessly dedicate their lives to their remaining son, Hazem.

Linda Walthall and her wonderful family have provided exceptional care to Linda’s elderly mother for the last 7 years, who requires 24 hour supervision. Linda and her family are exceptionally devoted caregivers, demonstrating their love for their mother.

The Belvoir Woods Healthcare Center Family Council at The Fairfax (BWHCC) is a group of volunteer family caregivers of current or former residents of the Healthcare Center. The group organizes guest speaker programs and make quality of life resources available. For many in the facility, they bring therapy dogs, personal mobilization equipment and help the residents maintain contact with family and friends.

Deborah Dodge has been a single mother to her severely ill son for the last 12 years. Deborah has given 24/7 care to her adult son, despite working 7 days a week, with no end in sight. Deborahs stamina and unending love for her son is inspiring and heartwarming.

Colonel Christine Ingle (Retired) served as a volunteer mentor and caregiver to Wounded Warriors at Fort Belvoir. Christine worked closely with the Warrior Transition Unit, a common transition point for many wounded or disabled veterans. During her service, Christine started a program for the warriors who are interested in pursuing careers in healthcare, allowing these brave men and women to continue serving others after their military service has ended.

These individuals serve their families and their communities selflessly and often without recognition or praise. LifeCircle Alliances has highlighted some of the outstanding caregivers in the Fairfax County area, but all over the country, in countless homes and hospitals, many more are serving every day.

Joining Forces appreciates the hard work and enthusiasm recognized by the LifeCircle Alliances team. It is important to highlight these heartwarming stories of everyday heroism. If you or someone you know deserves recognition for outstanding service to military families, we invite you to enter the Joining Forces Community Challenge to share your story. Prize winners will be recognized at an event in Washington, D.C. in early 2012 and profiled and celebrated on the Champions of Change website. Find out more at JoiningForces.challenge.gov.

Brad Cooper is Executive Director of Joining Forces in the Office of the First Lady.

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