Savannah Guthrie honored in star-studded tribute to veteran caregivers
Former Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) and actor Tom Hanks honored “Today Show” co-host Savannah Guthrie at an event Thursday celebrating caregivers of military veterans.
Hanks and Dole traded lighthearted banter at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s annual Heroes and History Makers gala.
Hanks, who is the chairman of the Hidden Heroes campaign, emceed this year’s event, taking a “Dole stroll” through the crowd, motivated by Dole’s breaking with tradition during the 1996 Republican Convention in which she left the podium and walked through the crowd.
Hanks approached Dole, to let her know not to leave her table until she finished her vegetables, to which she challenged Hanks to do the stroll in high heels, as she did in 1996.
The event honored Guthrie, who Hanks described as “America’s sweetheart,” for shedding light on military caregiver issues facing millions throughout the country.
“Courage, determination, faith, and hope. These are the qualities I have seen in every family I have met,” Guthrie said in her speech, addressing veteran caregivers. “But above all, what I see in you is love. … You are showing the world what love looks like, what love acts like, what love gives, and what love sacrifices.”
While talking to reporters backstage, Guthrie praised the work that the “Forrest Gump” actor has done. “Tom shows the way. When he says he’s involved, he’s involved,” Guthrie said. “He’s all in. He would move heaven and earth to be here for the Dole Foundation.”
Many of the speakers, including Guthrie, honored the late Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.), who focused on veterans care and rights throughout his long career in public service. “His devotion to veterans remains the bedrock and the leading part of this mission,” Guthrie said.
Elizabeth Dole stressed to the crowd the importance of protecting military caregivers and said the issue reaches beyond political affiliation. “Caring for our caregivers is not a Republican cause, or a Democratic cause,” she said.
Guthrie echoed this sentiment.
“We all love our soldiers, we love our troops, we love our service members,” she told The Hill. “When we care for those who care for them, that is the patriotic thing to do, and I think that every American cares deeply about that.”
Guthrie and Hanks told reporters that nothing helps veterans and their caregivers more than support and engagement from those around them.
“If there is a best way in order to combat that trauma and that ongoing desperation, it is community,” Hanks said. “It is being part of something bigger than oneself.”