Former President and Co-Founder
Warriors and Caregivers United
Joey Hotovy was an Army wife and mother when her life would suddenly change forever. Her husband at the time, and father to her three children, Sgt. Charles Caswell, was severely wounded in Iraq in June 2005 from a multiple IED blast, the impact on her was profound as well. When he returned home on his 30th birthday, he looked healed on the outside but, internally, he battled constant back pain, major depression, and PTSD – a battlefield where Joey joined Charlie, facing multiple medical appointments, all-night care, and countless errands.
That devoted journey as a caregiver of a wounded service member was a lonely, high-stress, career-straining one, and Joey gathered lessons learned along the way. She knows the drill of caring for a combat wounded veteran. “I lost sleep, I lost friends, I was tired, exhausted and finding myself getting angry,” she recalls, “angry that his issues and symptoms seemed to be working their way in to my everyday life as well.” Through it all, she stayed inspired by her husband, saying, “He gave so much for this amazing and beautiful country we live in and asked for nothing in return.”
In 2015 Joey and Charlie co-founded with other veterans and caregivers a new Michigan nonprofit corporation, Warriors and Caregivers United. That has grown into a million-dollar nationwide charity. As its first President she mentored other caregivers, and her goal was to ensure that no one—vets or caregivers—had to go through what they did to get the support they deserve. The support they provide ranges from assistance with childcare, meals, household chores, and a sympathetic ear. But it also includes a more widespread acknowledgment of PTSD as an injury, the strains it puts on families, and the fact that wounded veterans and their caregivers can be found in every community.
“Behind every wounded vet is a family member or spouse who is the invisible person most of the time keeping that veteran alive,” says Joey. “Offer your friendship, support and love to them. And educate yourself on PTSD and the invisible wounds of war.”
Joey’s efforts were further acknowledged when she was named a 2015 Fellow with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, a 2017 Points of Light Daily Life Award winner by President George H.W. Bush’s Points of Light Foundation, and a 2018 “HER2" Military Women of Excellence Award by the WINC For All Women Veterans organization out of Muskegon Michigan.
The Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s Fellowship is a national program comprised of military and veteran caregivers who have stepped forward to serve as advocates and spokespeople for the 5.5 million parents, spouses, children, and other loved ones caring for our nation’s wounded, ill and injured warriors. The Elizabeth Dole Fellows provided insight and advice about the serious challenges encountered by military caregivers during face-to-face meetings with the White House, Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 100 Members of Congress, and dozens of leaders in the public, private, nonprofit, labor, and faith communities. The Fellows provide millions of caregivers a voice.
The Points of Light Foundation’s mission is to inspire, equip and mobilize individuals and organizations to take action that changes the world. Their Points of Light Daily Life Award is for individuals who make a difference in their community on a daily basis. WINC for All Women Veterans was Founded in 2014, to help bring awareness to the issues facing women veterans nationwide while providing a space where they can live, laugh, and readjust to life after service, while also identifying their tribe of women vets who have their “six”. The “HER2” awards are to recognize exemplary performance by women who have or are currently serving in the military or are serving the military/veteran population and have been identified by their peers as having consistently excelled in their leadership positions and demonstrated integrity and a strong commitment to embody the HER2 standards.
Although Joey and Charlie divorced in 2021, Joey continues to maintain and foster the relationships she established during her veteran and caregiver advocacy, both at the Warriors and Caregivers United non-profit and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.