Military caregiver creates community to care for veterans and each other

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WASILLA, Alaska (KTUU) Angelo Maddaloni was in the Marines for 20 years, and he was injured during his service.

“I was too close to a large explosion,” Maddaloni said. “Kind of had hearing loss, vision loss in my right eye, and a compression brain injury."

He still lives with those injuries today, but he's also got someone looking out for him.

“It's hard for him to go to bed at night because of the pain that he has,” said his wife, Alicia Maddaloni. “So in the morning, I have to make sure that he gets up."

She tries to make his life easier, and he's not the only one she's helping.

“I am the Alaska State Dolefellow for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation's Hidden Heroes," she said.

The Foundation provides resources for caregivers like Maddloni to help them help veterans

“One of the biggest things that caregivers forget to do is care for themselves,” she said. “For me it's just being able to do things where you can de-stress, and just kind of let yourself breathe, because if you're not breathing and taking care of yourself, you can't really take care of your veteran."

Through the foundation, she organizes events where they can share their experiences and support. She also helps caregivers get in touch with resources like counseling services to help them deal with the stress of caring for a veteran.

“There are so many other caregivers that do so much more than what I do,” she said. “And it's so important to me to make sure that those people, those caregivers, are really heard, and really taken care of."

Maddaloni was recently in Washington D.C. for the Foundation’s Week of Advocacy. While she was there, she met with staff from the officer of Sen. Dan Sullivan. She says she’s working with them to have several cities statewide recognized as Hidden Hero cities, which would include a commitment from city officials to provide support for caregivers.

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