Caregivers of wounded warriors must be warriors too, says army wife and author Jacqueline Goodrich.
Eleven days after the birth of her second child in 2011, Jacqueline woke up to a phone call with life-changing news: Her husband, Michael, had been severely injured in an enemy attack in Afghanistan.
Through the years of Michael’s recovery and extensive treatment for his injuries, Jacqueline became her husband’s caregiver and strongest ally, ensuring he received the medical care and services he required.
“She has been my advocate,” says Michael. “She has changed military medical policy and brought attention to many things that are still lacking … My wife is someone who will not relent until she has affected that change.”
Jacqueline’s advocacy extends to her children as well. The Goodrich children, Lucy and Tag, have grown up around hospitals and wounded service members. The family lived for almost a year in a Fisher House while Michael was receiving care.
Jacqueline shared her children’s struggles and triumphs in a story titled “Strength of a Little Warrior” in Stories Around the Table: Laughter, Wisdom, and Strength in Military Life.
Knowing the challenges her children faced, Jacqueline created the General’s Kids, a nonprofit organization to offer financial assistance for wounded warrior families and provide care packages for children living in military hospitals while a parent recovers from service-connected injury or illness.
Jacqueline says organizations like the Fisher House Foundation, Operation Ward 57, and the Yellow Ribbon Fund supported her family at critical times. The Goodrich family was also provided a new home through Operation Finally Home, which builds houses for wounded veterans.
Caregivers are constantly fighting for those they love, says Jacqueline, and she is willing to be a fighter, an advocate for her family.
Jacqueline was chosen by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation to be a Dole Caregiver Fellow, to advise the foundation, its coalition partners, and government leaders on important issues for military caregivers. Telling her story, as an author and as an advocate, is an important part of what she does.
“Always be willing to share your story,” says Jacqueline. “Even if it’s painful, you could be the reason why some other service members get the help they need.”