Skip main navigation

Military Health System

Clear Your Browser Cache

This website has recently undergone changes. Users finding unexpected concerns may care to clear their browser's cache to ensure a seamless experience.

Giving Back Helps Veteran Caregiver Connect with Military Caregivers

Image of DHupko Image_725. Veteran caregiver, Diane Hupko (right) honorably supports the U.S. Army veteran she cares for and regularly gives of her time to volunteer and support other military caregivers and families in the Fort Drum, New York area.

Military caregivers play a huge part in the recovery process of our nation's wounded, ill, and injured service members. Ensuring caregivers are supported in their efforts is vital to the success of the process.

Veteran caregiver Diane Hupko regularly volunteers to support other military caregivers and families in the Fort Drum, New York area through the Department of Defense (DOD) Military Caregiver Support program.

Hupko has been a caregiver to an Army veteran since March 2020. 'Her veteran' has been experiencing significant physical and behavioral health concerns since 2016. These health concerns have led to challenges for him, including his inability to re-enter the workforce and periods of isolation from friends and family, as well as almost complete withdrawal from the community. "I can honestly say that the emotional and financial impacts I have sustained have been life altering," Hupko said.

"However, I have also had the honor of being by [my veteran's] side as he dug deep and came to the profound realization that he deserves a better life. We have been able to engage supports, and, with help, he has begun to play an active role in his own recovery," explained Hupko.

It's this on-going experience as a caregiver that drives Hupko's passion to help and support other military caregivers by volunteering with DOD's Military Caregiver Support program. This program provides resources and information exclusively for military caregivers who assist wounded, ill and injured service members with activities of daily living.

Since 2013, DOD's support for military caregivers has positively impacted thousands of lives by addressing key issues that affect caregivers in the short and long term. These issues often include finances, education, employment, transportation, maintaining a strong family, keeping mentally and physically healthy, navigating through legal issues, and housing.

Access to PEER Support Coordinators (PSCs) is one of the key resources the program provides. Deployed to 10 geographical regions, PSCs provide regionalized support to military caregivers and caregiver stakeholders. PSCs assist in convening Military Caregiver PEER Forums, conduct outreach activities, identify and report on gaps in support, aid in finding and providing information on military caregiver support services, and act as the military caregivers' point of contact for their region.

Tonia Russell serves as the regional PSC for the Fort Drum, New York area. In this role, she often coordinates military caregiver involvement with community outreach events.

Hupko genuinely enjoys volunteering for these outreach activities with Russell and other military caregivers. She has participated in outreach events, such as one working with military expectant parents and another that provided school supplies to community children.

"I had the pleasure of interacting with many caregivers and was amazed to see many veterans working to make a difference. As we all work together to prepare for the events, the interaction and support with other people in my situation has made such a huge difference," she shared. "I have had the opportunity to talk about my journey and hear the testimony of others. There is something so profound about realizing that you do not struggle alone."

"There is also something powerful about feeling like your journey can serve as a beacon of hope to others who may not feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel," Hupko said. "There is just something powerful about the sense of community, the sharing of resources and ideas, and knowing that people care."

Hupko plans to continue giving back and engaging with other caregivers by joining Russell in an upcoming holiday meal distribution event.

"I am so grateful for the work of the Military Caregiver Support program and the passion of their staff," Hupko said. "I know that things will never be as they once were, but in some ways, perhaps they are better. People coming together to support one another is a powerful gift and this program allows that engagement."

"My message to anyone in this situation is that there is hope and it can be found by reaching out and getting involved in this program. The journey is not always easy, but there are so many reasons to take that step. Every hero deserves a better life and a sense of knowing that their service had meaning," she concluded.

More information on the Military Caregiver Support program is available here.

You also may be interested in...

Report
May 8, 2015

Mustard Disaster at Bari

.PDF | 107.26 KB

Bari lies along the Adriatic Sea at the top of the heel of the boot of Italy (See Figure 1). During World War II, the port of Bari was under the jurisdiction of the British and was the main supply base for General Montgomery’s Eighth Army as well as the headquarters for the American Fifteenth Air Force which was activated in November 1943.

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 11 - November 2015

.PDF | 1.37 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Rates of acute respiratory illnesses of infectious and allergic etiologies after permanent changes of duty assignments, active component, U.S. Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, January 2005–September 2015; ...

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 10 - October 2015

.PDF | 1.01 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Chikungunya infection in DoD healthcare beneficiaries following the 2013 introduction of the virus into the Western Hemisphere, 1 January 2014 to 28 February 2015; Update: Cold weather injuries, active and ...

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 12 - December 2015

.PDF | 862.38 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Follow-up analysis of the incidence of acute respiratory infections among enlisted service members during their first year of military service before and after the 2011 resumption of adenovirus vaccination of ...

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 9 - September 2015

.PDF | 2.17 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Assessment of ICD-9-based case definitions for influenza-like illness surveillance; Incidence of syphilis, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 1 January 2010 through 31 August 2015; Brief report: Rate of ...

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 1 - January 2015

.PDF | 985.25 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: malaria, U.S. Armed Forces, 2014; Influenza A(H3N2) outbreak at Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, 2014; Incidence of Salmonella infections among service members of the active and reserve components ...

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 5 - May 2015

.PDF | 481.95 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Incidence of joint replacement among active component service members, U.S. Armed Forces, 2004-2014; Case series: Chikungunya and dengue at a forward operating location; Tdap vaccination coverage during ...

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 6 - June 2015

.PDF | 739.84 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: Accidental drownings, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2005-2014; Risk of mental health disorders following an initial diagnosis of postpartum depression, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998 ...

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 8 - August 2015

.PDF | 542.02 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: Routine screening for antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus, civilian applicants for U.S. military service and U.S. Armed Forces, active and reserve components, January 2010-June 2015; Durations of ...

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 2 - February 2015

.PDF | 2.04 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Whither the "signature wounds of the war" after the war: estimates of incidence rates and proportions of TBI and PTSD diagnoses attributable to background risk, enhanced ascertainment, and active war zone ...

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 7 - July 2015

.PDF | 1.21 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Epidemiology, microbiology, and antibiotic susceptibility patterns of skin and soft tissue infections, Joint Base San Antonio - Lackland, Texas, 2012-2014; Post-deployment screening and referral for risky ...

Report
Jan 1, 2015

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 3 - March 2015

.PDF | 2.12 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Characterizing the relationship between tick bites and Lyme disease in active component U.S. Armed Forces in the eastern United States; Incidence and prevalence of diagnoses of eye disorders of refraction and ...

Skip subpage navigation
Refine your search
Last Updated: July 11, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery