Minority Press

(PA) Sen. Casey: Military Caregivers Need our Support

Actor Ryan Phillippe, Pennsylvania Veteran and Caregiver Testify Before Casey’s Senate Aging Committee

Casey co-sponsors Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act

Washington, D.C.—Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, held a hearing on the needs of military caregivers—the hidden heroes who step up to care for our military members and veterans wounded in service. Actor Ryan Phillippe and former Senator Elizabeth Dole joined veterans and their caregivers, including Sergeant Sam Ickes and his caregiver spouse Wanda Ickes, of Alum Bank, Pa., in testifying at the hearing.

“Our service members and veterans put their lives on the line to ensure that America remains the home of the free for all of us,” Sen. Casey said. “We rely on their commitment, and when they are wounded, they need ours. That is why I am proud to cosponsor the bipartisan Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act to help the military caregivers who work tirelessly to support our wounded service members and veterans from all eras. We need to do everything we can to recognize and support the dedication and service of these hidden heroes.”

The Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act would expand access to family caregiver supports from the Department of Veterans Affairs. There are more than 5.5 million military caregivers in the United States who selflessly care for a loved one. Caregivers do this vital work because they are committed to their love ones, but the stress of caregiving can force caregivers to miss work, strain families, and threaten the health and wellbeing of the caregiver. Legislation is needed to expand caregiver supports to ensure that all caregivers gain access to the services they need.

“Military caregivers play an essential role in the recovery process of our veterans, and in improving their quality of life,” said actor Ryan Phillippe. “As a country, we owe our military and veteran caregivers more than just a debt of gratitude, we owe them our full support.”

During the hearing, Sargent Sam Ickes and Wanda Ickes, of Alum Bank, Pa., testified before the Committee about their service and caregiving experiences. Sargent Ickes received three Purple Hearts for his distinguished service. He sustained a number of injuries while deployed, including multiple traumatic brain injuries. Ms. Ickes serves as his caregiver and as an advocate for her fellow caregivers needs. Her testimony highlighted the need for action to expand caregiver services.