Exclusive: Erin and Ben Napier Honor Two Special Veteran Caregivers in Emotional Tribute
Erin and Ben Napier have teamed up with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation to honor America's 5.5 million "Hidden Heroes," the selfless individuals who voluntarily care for a wounded or ill veteran at home.
The Home Town hosts are participating in the foundation's fourth-annual Heroes and History Makers event, co-hosted by Tom Hanks and Today co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, which streams online tomorrow.
The Napiers and other celebrities are taking part in the star-studded event by telling the powerful stories of people who have devoted themselves to a veteran's care.
"Every parent knows being a mom or dad is a life-time job," Erin begins. "From the moment your child is born, you promise to always be there for them.
"But sometimes life takes a turn and it's the child promising to be there for their parent," Ben adds. "For many wounded veterans that role reversal comes much earlier than expected."
Gionson has been caring for his father Anthony, a Vietnam vet who suffers from anxiety, PTSD, and other chronic conditions, since he was 19 years old.
Taylor was in her 20s pursing an advanced degree when her father Benjamin, a Marine Corps veteran, suffered a stroke that left him in a near-vegetative state.
"While Ilihia and Angelena watched their friends find their ways in life without any cares of their own, every decision these young caregivers made came with the same question: 'How do I manage this with dad? How do I ensure he's still OK?'"
Despite it all, both have managed to succeed both personally and professionally—a true testament to their strength of character.
"lihia and Angelena, you promised to care for your fathers," Erin and Ben conclude. "Always and forever, we promise to care for you."
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Elizabeth Dole Foundation's Heroes and History Makers streams October 28 from 8p.m. to 9p.m. EST. Register to watch here.
Tune in to watch Gary Sinise receive the 2021 Tom Hanks Caregiver Champion Award in recognition of his outstanding support of military caregivers through the Gary Sinise Foundation. The show will also feature a performance by Lady A.
Have tissues handy for this one, y'all!