SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Special recognition was given Thursday for those who provide care for service members and veterans.
The inaugural Hidden Heroes City Summit is part of a national campaign dedicated to honoring those caregivers.
"It's not an easy thing, but it's one that you do out of love," said Gina Harrow.
Like many of our military and veteran caregivers, Gina Harrow didn't pursue the role she now has, it's something she transitioned into after her husband -
Captain Ben Harrow - was injured by an IED while serving in Afghanistan back in 2012.
"You just want your spouse - in my case - to find that new normal and find that new balance and happiness that they had beforehand," said Gina Harrow.
Gina was one of dozens of caregivers who attended the Inaugural Hidden Heroes Summit Thursday at Balboa Park.
She was also an honoree - recognized for her work with the Yellow Ribbon Fund - an organization providing help to wounded and sick service families as well as their relatives and caregivers.
"I think a lot of people don't realize what's out there and the help that's offered to them because its not well published," said Gina.
Which is why this conference was organized in the first place.
San Diego was one of the first cities nationwide to sign up for the Hidden Heroes Initiative.
The program aims to create a national coalition to highlight the challenges these caregivers face and what the long term needs are.
"Its great work, it's loving work, its challenging work, but you're heroes for doing it," said Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
Faulconer said with tens of thousands of military and veteran caregivers in San Diego, it makes sense to give them access to each other and the resources they need.
"These are mothers, fathers, spouses that are taking care of our men and women that have served our country so admirably and it's a chance to say thank you to the caregivers and also know they have strong support," said Faulconer.
For decades, Regina Henry has been caring for her 90-year-old husband, World War 2 veteran and Purple Heart recipient Don Henry.
"The rest of the world doesn't understand how difficult it is to stand up and advocate for yourself," said Henry.
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