"There are many challenges and obstacles I encounter, but I put my faith into action and seek to gain wisdom to solve problems and make a difference in my husband and our family’s lives." - Jeanette Ezell
Jeanette and Dwayne were high school sweethearts long before Dwayne joined the United States Air Force. They married in 1984. After Dwayne returned home from the Gulf War, he started to experience symptoms that led to a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS). Its onset was mild though the disease soon began to take a toll. When Dwayne was medically retired, Jeanette became his caregiver. This was the beginning of a long journey of physical, medical, and emotional situations. To provide the care he needed, it became necessary for Jeanette to resign from her employment to care for Dwayne. Jeanette balanced marriage, Dwayne’s care, three children, and Dwayne’s unemployability.
She now assists Dwayne with his daily living tasks and ensures that he continues to have a good quality of life. She helps him with all his exercises and therapies, manages his healthcare, and drives him to two or three appointments every day. Jeanette helps Dwayne stay active through participation in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games and visiting a center once a week where he can interact with other veterans.
Jeanette pursued a master's degree in human services counseling: family advocacy and public policy while caring for her husband. She sought to gain more insight and access to resources and assistance for veterans, caregivers, the disabled, and their families. As a Dole Caregiver Fellow, she is excited to be an advocate with solutions for the problems of caregivers and hopes to empower and strengthen the lives of our brave veterans and those who love and support them.
Jeanette and Dwayne credit veteran service organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project for helping them with their daily lives. Jeanette is a 2022 Elizabeth Dole Foundation Caregiver Fellow. Jeanette and Dwayne live in Ohio.