Tom Hanks in Indianapolis to honor 'Hidden Heroes'

Tom Hanks spoke to military caregivers at the "Hidden Heroes" banquet at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Wednesday. (WTHR photo)
Hidden Heroes
Celebrating caregivers
Tom Hanks in Indianapolis
Hidden Heroes
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Actor Tom Hanks is in Indianapolis to honor "Hidden Heroes" before Sunday's Indianapolis 500.

"Who volunteers? There you go. We all do," Hanks said as he took a selfie of the crowd at Bankers Life Fieldhouse before Wednesday's Hidden Heroes event.


Jennie Beller knew this was going to be a big day. She would be one of the featured speakers at the Hidden Heroes banquet.

"Before I got involved in the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, I thought my life was over," Beller shared from the podium.

Jennie Beller takes care of her husband, Chuck, a Vietnam veteran. (WTHR photo)

She would talk about the anguish of taking care of her husband Chuck, a Vietnam veteran suffering from the effects of Agent Orange.

"He had a stroke eight years ago as a result of Agent Orange exposure and diabetes," she said later.

So Beller quit her job as Assistant Attorney General of Indiana to take care of Chuck and the Hidden Heroes campaign helped her connect. Today she connected with Hanks who was speaking about the 5.5 million caregivers like her who need to transition from isolation to connection.

"Do you have time on your hands? Do you have services you can render. Expertise you can offer up to families who really need a break taking care of service members at home," Hanks said.

"Do you like me taking care of you?" she asked her husband Chuck who has difficulty speaking.

"Yes," he answered.

"We do a pretty good job there. Yes. Lot of love there," she continued.

The Hidden Heroes City Luncheon was held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 22, 2019. (WTHR)
Tom Hanks greets attendees at the Hidden Heroes luncheon. (WTHR)
Sen. Elizabeth Dole through the Dole Foundation started Hidden Heroes. (WTHR)
Attendees watched a presentation on how Hidden Heroes has made an impact in communities across America. (WTHR)
The crowd of military veterans, caregivers, families and members of Hidden Heroes campaign attended the event at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. (WTHR)
Gov. Holcomb talked about military veterans and the need in Indiana and also mentioned "Cast Away" is his favorite Tom Hanks movie. (WTHR)
Tom Hanks said military influence has been a part of his life since he was young and that's one of the reasons he joined the Hidden Heroes campaign. (WTHR staff)
Ryan Hunter-Reay presented an Indy500 helmet with all 33 driver's signatures on it to Tom Hanks. (WTHR)
Sen. Dole introduces Gov. Holcomb to the stage. (WTHR)
A panel was held to discuss the data and findings for the Hidden Heroes campaign and its need. (WTHR)
Mayor Joe Hogsett weighs in on where he thinks the need for the Hidden Heroes campaign is in Indiana. (WTHR)
Ryan Hunter-Reay presented an Indy 500 helmet to Tom Hanks. (WTHR)
Ryan Hunter-Reay presented an Indy500 helmet with all 33 driver's signatures on it to Tom Hanks. (WTHR)
Jennie Beller and her husband, Chuck, a military veteran attended the luncheon. Beller spoke about being a military caregiver. (WTHR)

The actor was awarded an Indiana Fever basketball, a racing helmet and also took a moment to kid the crowd.

"I have asked friends of mine for the definitive information for the origin of the word Hoosier. I've never gotten one," he queried.

We may not have the definitive answer, but we sure know one when we see Jennie pushing her husband's wheelchair out the door. They are headed for the Children's Museum.

At the Children's Museum, Tom Hanks and Savannah Guthrie got to chat and meet with military families and their caregivers over a BBQ with food and drinks.

Today Show's Savannah Gutherie and actor Tom Hanks address military veterans and their families at a BBQ event for Hidden Heroes. (WTHR Photo/Nicole Hernandez)
Military families and caregivers enjoy food and drinks at a Hidden Heroes event at the Children's Museum. (WTHR Photo/Nicole Hernandez)
Today Show's Savannah Gutherie and actor Tom Hanks address military veterans and their families at a BBQ event for Hidden Heroes. (WTHR Photo/Nicole Hernandez)
Military families and caregivers enjoy food and drinks at a Hidden Heroes event at the Children's Museum. (WTHR Photo/Nicole Hernandez)
Today Show's Savannah Gutherie and actor Tom Hanks address military veterans and their families at a BBQ event for Hidden Heroes. (WTHR Photo/Nicole Hernandez)
Guests are served BBQ food and drinks at a Hidden Heroes event at the Children's Museum. (WTHR Photo/Nicole Hernandez)
Actor Tom Hanks chats with Hoosier veterans and their families. (WTHR Photo/Nicole Hernandez)
Savannah Guthrie meets Hoosier military families and their caregivers at a Hidden Heroes event at the Children's Museum. (WTHR Photo/Nicole Hernandez)
Actor Tom Hanks chats with Hoosier veterans and their families. (WTHR Photo/Nicole Hernandez)
Savannah Guthrie meets Hoosier military families and their caregivers at a Hidden Heroes event at the Children's Museum. (WTHR Photo/Nicole Hernandez)
Actor Tom Hanks talks with military families and their caregivers at an event at the Children's Museum. (WTHR Photo/Nicole Hernandez)
Savannah Guthrie meets Hoosier military families and their caregivers at a Hidden Heroes event at the Children's Museum. (WTHR Photo/Nicole Hernandez)
Actor Tom Hanks talks with military families and their caregivers at an event at the Children's Museum. (WTHR Photo/Nicole Hernandez)
Actor Tom Hanks chats with guests at an event at the Children's Museum. (WTHR Photo/Nicole Hernandez)
Actor Tom Hanks chats with guests at an event at the Children's Museum. (WTHR Photo/Nicole Hernandez)

Hanks will join Savannah Guthrie and Al Roker for a special 8 a.m. hour of the TODAY Show Thursday morning. Sheryl Crow will be the musical guest on the show, which is broadcasting from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Live coverage from the track starts on Eyewitness News Sunrise starting at 4 a.m.

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