Program recognizes caregivers alongside military families

MIAMI (WSVN) - As the nation celebrated and honored military members on Veterans Day, some were giving thanks to some heroes out of uniform.

Welcome the Horan family. Defying the odds in 2007, Army Captain Patrick Horan survived a near fatal bullet in his brain.

“The way I got hurt, I wasn’t supposed to live,” said Horan.

He said he was able to survive mostly due to his wife, Patty. She dropped everything to embrace the role of a caregiver, which entailed tending to her injured husband after he was shot in Iraq.

Doctors removed not only 40 percent of his skull, but his left temporal lobe, as well.

The left temporal lobe is the language center of the brain, used for receiving, writing, reading and speaking. It took two years for Patrick to utter a single word.

“I had no medical background walking into this,” said Patty. “I just felt so uneducated. So, I didn’t know where to turn and I was having make these huge decisions on my husband’s behalf.”

She calls herself Patrick’s wife, yet many call her a hidden hero, which is North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole launched her Hidden Heroes campaign.

Hidden Heroes has raised awareness to 5.5 million caregivers that tend to military. The campaign has provided services that would total $15 billion annually if these caregivers were to receive a paycheck.


Most caregivers quit day jobs, ignore old friends and let go of hobbies, all without asking for help. “As a caregiver, there’s still a lot of pressure,” said Patty. “I feel like I’m carrying all the burdens of the world most days.”

Patty added, “Some days you think, ‘How can I do this another day?’ It feels overwhelming and very tiring at times. I think just having opportunities for respite and relaxation for caregivers is very important.”

Thanks to his wife and loving caregiver, Pat has a second chance at life. “My wife has done so much for the last nine years that it’s like, well, I wish I could just figure out what to go do, who can I find,” said Pat. “She needs to have a break.”

If you would like to learn more about Hidden Heroes, follow this link:

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