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Family Matters Blog: Video Contest to Honor Wounded Troops’ Caregivers

By Elaine Sanchez
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2012 – Last year, I met an amazing woman who was caring for her triple-amputee son in San Antonio. Saralee Trimble had left a job, her husband and her home behind the moment she got word her son, Army Pfc. Kevin Trimble, had been injured in Afghanistan.

The 19-year-old was just four months into his deployment when a fellow soldier standing 3 feet away stepped on a homemade bomb. The soldier was killed and Trimble lost both of this legs above the knee and his left arm above the elbow.

Saralee became Kevin’s full-time caregiver, a role she’ll continue for years to come. But rather than a burden, this military mom considers her son’s care a privilege. “Caring for him … I couldn’t ask for anything more special,” she told me, tears welling up.

A nonprofit organization is hoping to acknowledge the tremendous sacrifices of caregivers like Saralee in the coming months.

The Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation is sponsoring a video contest to find a caregiver of a wounded service member or veteran to be honored as the “hero at home” at its 8th Annual Night of Heroes Gala on May 24. This year’s gala will honor family and friends caring for wounded military heroes while they’re recuperating at the hospital and after they’ve returned home.

“Too often we forget the courage and sacrifice of family members and friends who help our wounded service members and veterans,” said Kate Kohler, chief operating officer of the PenFed Foundation and a former Army captain. “We hope that by encouraging caregivers of our military to share their stories on YouTube, more Americans will recognize their contributions."

To enter, contestants must upload on YouTube a one- to two-minute video about a “hero at home” who went above and beyond to care for an injured service member or veteran, then complete the entry form with the video’s URL. Contestants also must “like” the PenFed Foundation’s official fan page.

Service members and veterans, their caregivers or a third party can submit a nomination. All submitted videos will be featured on the PenFed Foundation’s YouTube contest page.

Officials will accept entries through April 12, and will announce the five finalists April 16. They’ll then invite the public to help choose the winner on the PenFed Foundation’s YouTube finalists’ page through April 22, and announce the winner April 23.

“Our guests at the Night of Heroes Gala in the past have included wounded veterans and military from across the country, national leaders, and elected officials,” Kohler said. “But we feel that this year’s hero at home may end up being the most special of all.”

(For more military family-related posts, visit AFPS' Family Matters Blog.)


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