Military spouses and caregivers are the backbones of our nation’s heroes. As the wife of a U.S. Army veteran, Houston resident Elizabeth Wilkins has experienced firsthand the strength and resiliency it takes to fill this critical role. To honor Elizabeth for her dedication to our military community, Hope For The Warriors was proud to present her with a Vigiano Family Hope and Courage Award. 

Named in honor of John (veteran and FDNY) and Jan Vigiano, who lost both of their sons in New York City on 9/11, the award recognizes service members and military family members who have demonstrated both hope and courage in the face of extraordinary circumstances. Elizabeth was one of three individuals presented with this award on August 28 at the 2022 Hope For The Warriors Summer Soirée, hosted by River Landing in Wallace, NC, and presented by Siemens Government Technologies

When her husband sustained injuries during his time in service and was medically retired from the Army, Elizabeth turned to HOPE in search of support on the new journey she faced. After hearing her story, learning about her drive for success, and truly seeing the difference she wanted to make, HOPE was proud to award her a Military Spouse and Caregiver Scholarship. Since 2006, this program has helped over 192 recipients pursue their dreams, including helping Elizabeth achieve her goal of becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist. In her clinical practice at the Tarnow Center for Self-Management, Elizabeth currently works with children, adolescents, and adults; and specializes in treating trauma, anxiety, and relational difficulties. 

“I am grateful to receive the Vigiano Family Hope and Courage Award and feel humbled that Hope for the Warriors considered me as a candidate,” said Elizabeth. “HOPE helped me to feel seen and supported as a scholarship recipient almost 10 years ago when my husband’s unseen, untreated war wounds made every day a challenge. I am honored and moved by their decision to see me once again as they continue in their mission to support the veterans and their families.”

Understanding the unique challenges that service members face both during and after service, Elizabeth dedicates time to continuing to help the military community. Not only is she there for veterans and their families through her clinical practice, but she also works with the Lone Survivor Foundation, the Lone Star Veterans Association, and has been a member of the HOPE scholarship committee since 2015.

“Elizabeth was left in a spot many military caregivers have been in – having an injured spouse and wanting to refocus her career to accommodate her family’s new reality,” said Robin Kelleher, Hope For The Warriors co-founder and CEO. “She came to Hope For The Warriors as a scholarship recipient, and today, she’s paying it forward by serving on our scholarship committee, making dreams come true for other military spouses and caregivers, and we’re honored to have her support.”

The annual HOPE Summer Soirée unites HOPE staff, supporters, and many of our nation’s heroes as they unite to make a lasting impact on the lives of the military community. We were honored to recognize Elizabeth at this event and share her story, as individuals like her help us fulfill our mission and continue to meet the changing needs of service members and their families.