The Patriot - Fisher House Magazine - Winter/Spring 2011
It is with great pride that we welcome you to our redesigned Fisher House magazine, aptly titled The Patriot. This name is especially fitting because our founders, Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher, truly defined the word. They taught all with whom they came into contact that being a patriot was not just having a love of one's country, but also giving back to it.
WINTER/SPRING 2011 THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF FISHER HOUSE FOUNDATION, INC. TM fisherhouse.org A MISSIONCRITICAL PARTNERSHIP FISHER HOUSE’S ROLE IN RECOVERY & REHABILITATION “I HAVE TO GET TO D.C. TODAY.” Hero Miles delivers when it counts ON HALLOWED GROUND Opening a very special house in Dover BETHESDA X 3 Expanding at National Naval Medical Center About Fisher House Foundation, Inc. The Fisher House program is a unique private-public partnership that supports America’s military families in their time of need. The program recognizes the special sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and the hardships of military service by meeting a humanitarian need beyond that normally provided by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. Because members of the military and their families are stationed worldwide and must often travel great distances for specialized medical care, Fisher House Foundation builds and donates “comfort homes,” on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times—during hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury. There is at least one Fisher House at every major military medical center to assist families in need and to ensure that they are provided with the comforts of home in a supportive environment. Annually, the Fisher House program serves about 12,000 families, and has made available nearly 3.6 million days of lodging to 142,000 families since the program originated in 1990. By law, there is no charge for any family to stay at a Fisher House operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs; Fisher House Foundation uses donations to reimburse the individual Fisher Houses operated by the Army, Navy and Air Force. No family pays to stay at any Fisher House! In addition to constructing new houses, Fisher House Foundation continues to support existing Fisher Houses and help individual military families in need. The Foundation is also proud to administer and sponsor Scholarships for Military Children, Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship, the Hero Miles program, Team Fisher House, and co-sponsor the Newman’s Own Awards program and the Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship Program. By contributing to Fisher House Foundation or any individual Fisher House facility, you can make a difference in the lives of America’s service members, retirees, veterans and their families when they need help the most. Fisher House Foundation and individual Fisher Houses depend on public donations to continue our important work. If you designate your contribution for a specific purpose or Fisher House, 100 percent of your donation will be allocated for that purpose. Furthermore, Fisher House Foundation never discloses the names of its donors to any other individuals or organizations, and does not solicit contributions by direct mail or telephone. Once constructed, each Fisher House is given to the U.S. government as a gift. Military service secretaries and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs are responsible for the operation and maintenance of the homes. Fisher House Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code, builds new houses, assists in coordinating private support and encourages public support for the homes. Donations to Fisher House Foundation and/or individual Fisher House facilities are tax-deductible to the maximum extent allowed by law. Fisher House Foundation has earned the highest rating (four stars) from Charity Navigator, an independent nonprofit evaluator. Fisher House Foundation has also received an A+ rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy. On the cover: Lt. Col. Ben (Ty) Edwards, USMC, with Dr. Steven Scott at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, Fla. This hospital is one of four (soon to be five), level one polytrauma facilities in the country designed to provide intensive rehabilitative treatment to veterans and service members who experience two or more severe injuries to multiple organ systems in one incident. Patients can receive care for physical, psychological, cognitive, psychosocial impairments and functional disabilities. Cover photo by Ebby Talebi Fisher House Foundation’s Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship 2 A Thanksgiving to Remember 2 Appreciation Over the Airwaves 3 Fisher House Remembers and Pays Tribute to Steve Michael 4 A Celebrity Surprise Montel Williams Cooks, Eats with Fisher House Families 4 Appealing for Justice Law Firm Aids Veterans on Many Fronts 5 Pentagon Display Honors Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher 5 Guest Family Profile — Chirinos Family 6 House Round-Up 8 When Medicine Isn’t Enough 14 Soaring Above and Beyond Providing for Our Soldiers 16 American Gold Star Mothers Support Dover 18 First Lady Champions Military Families 20 Bill O’Reilly Super Bowl Interview Results in over $1M for Fisher House 22 Team Fisher House 23 Future Fisher Houses In Action 26 Down Range 28 Fisher House Directory 29 Ken Fisher Chairman and CEO EDITOR Leslie Happ ASSOCIATE EDITORS Debby Lynn Josephine Mooney LAYOUT AND ART DIRECTION ds+f www.dsfriends.com Address all correspondence to: The Patriot Fisher House Foundation 111 Rockville Pike Suite 420 Rockville, Maryland 20850 Phone: 301 294 8560 Fax: 877 294 8562 Email: email@example.com www.fisherhouse.org Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Social Media Support LETTER FROM KEN FISHER Fisher House “Fisher House is a shining example of what happens when someone sees a problem they can help fix, and then actually puts their life’s effort into fixing it. Many charitable groups come and go, and very few organizations make any difference, for any number of reasons. However, when intelligent planning and a zeal for helping those who sacrifice life and limb meet a growing need for support, something like Fisher House is the result. Thank you Fisher House Foundation and keep up the great work. The servicemen and women and their families appreciate your help beyond words.” —Stephanie Beach Charron Visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FisherHouse Twitter Love Valour Place Valour Place “Great photos from Fisher House. You are inspirational. Valour House is following your lead @FisherHouseFdtn” walkforwarriors John Van Dyke Cote “@USArmy @FisherHouseFdtn I love the Fisher House Foundation and all the great people at the Fisher Houses.” USArmy U.S. Army “#USArmy thanks Fisher House, @FisherHouseFdtn, for helping #Military children with scholarship” Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FisherHouseFdtn Photo by SSgt. Sarah R. Hickory-Martin Facebook Feedback From Left to Right: General James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps; Ken Fisher, Chairman of Fisher House; and Major General Carl Jensen, Commanding General, Marine Corps Installations East, at the dedication of a Fisher House at Camp Lejeune in March. Dear Friends, I just had the privilege of opening the first Fisher House on a Marine base at Camp Lejeune. During the celebration, I was humbled to receive the designation of “Honorary Marine.” It is an honor that reinforces the special bond between the Marine Corps and the American people. It is a bond that remains strong. While I have never worn the uniform, I am pleased to be able to serve those who do. The commitment of the foundation remains steadfast – to support the whole family – by providing the means and the lodging for those whose loved ones have given this nation all they have to give. With your support, we continue to make a difference. This year we will provide over $1 million in scholarships to military sons, daughters, and spouses. Hero Miles has now crossed the threshold and given more than 22,000 airline tickets to reunite loved ones and meet their transportation needs. Currently, there are 54 Fisher Houses providing “A Home Away from Home” during times of medical crisis. This year, we anticipate helping 15,000 families in need of lodging – an increase of 36 percent in just two years. It is my sincere prayer, that all those who pass through the doors of a Fisher House and whose lives we are able to touch through our programs– that they will know that the thanks of a grateful nation are with them, today and always. With gratitude, Ken Fisher Chairman, Fisher House Foundation THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 1 Fisher House Foundation’s Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship Searching for college scholarships is tough. That stress is often amplified for families of service members, but Fisher House Foundation is hoping to alleviate some of the burdens one faces when preparing for college. Fisher House Foundation has launched the “Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship,” established to provide educational aid to children of military members who have died or received a permanent and total disability compensation rating of 100% (or TSGLI) through active military service since September 11, 2001, whether in combat or under other qualified circumstances. These scholarship grants are made possible through proceeds from President Obama’s book, “Of Thee I Sing, A Letter to My Daughters.” Each year, the amount awarded will depend on the sum of royalties and other potential donations. Recipients of the award will receive a scholarship grant not exceeding the cost of tuition, books, lab fees and room and board, to any accredited U.S. post-secondary institution of higher learning. A Thanksgiving to Remember Several Fisher House families celebrated an early Thanksgiving as guests of Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, on November 22, at their home at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. “This is our humble attempt to say thanks,” the vice president said. “Our only regret is that we can’t have 10,000 of your comrades here who have made similar sacrifices.” Having a child in the military, Dr. Biden understands how hard the holiday can be. Vice President and Dr. Biden hosted a similar gathering last year. Their son, Beau, an Army National Guard captain, and now Delaware’s Attorney General, was deployed for nearly a year in Iraq in 2008. Having a child in the military, Dr. Biden understands how hard the holiday can be. “I know what it means to all those thousands of families who look down their table this Thanksgiving and someone they love is missing because that loved one is in Iraq or Afghanistan.” Visit http://fisherhouse.org/programs/ scholarship-programs/ for dates on upcoming scholarships and next year’s deadline. 2 THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 Appreciation Over the Airwaves Radiothons Raise Money and Awareness for Fisher House Story by Randall Bloomquist Did you know that Fisher House Foundation has an air force? Actually, it’s more of an on-air force. Radio stations across the country are supporting Fisher House Foundation by spreading the word about its mission, and raising funds to support existing houses and build new facilities. Those efforts generated nearly $600,000 in donations and priceless media exposure for the Fisher House message in 2010. Clear Channel Radio, the nation’s largest radio broadcaster, is especially supportive of Fisher House. On Veterans Day, 800 Clear Channel stations participated in a daylong fundraising and awareness campaign that raised $265,000 in donations from listeners, and matching funds from USAA Federal Savings Bank, presented by their president David Bohne. The stations conducted interviews with former Fisher House residents, aired public service announcements, and prominently featured Fisher House on their Web sites. Clear Channel’s national radio stars, including Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, all lent their talents to the effort. Several Clear Channel news-talk stations also ran Fisher House campaigns in the weeks leading up to Memorial Day. Among the stations that participated in the “Heroes Month” initiative were WRVA-Richmond, WIOD-Miami, WOAI-San Antonio and WFLA-Tampa. “We’re thrilled to have the support of Clear Channel’s nationwide network of stations and their amazing top-tier talent supporting our military families,” said Ken Fisher, chairman of Fisher House Foundation. “When Americans learn about the Fisher House mission, they respond. Radio is a powerful tool for telling our story.” “We’ve seen first-hand the positive impact the Fisher House program has had on our military families, and it’s a cause we feel strongly about,” said Clay Hunnicutt, senior vice president of programming at Clear Channel Radio. Fisher House continues to benefit from its long-term relationships with two other news/talk stations, Citadel Broad- more news-talk stations joining the foundation’s “air force” and country radio beginning to take an interest in supporting its work. Don’t be surprised if the next time you turn on the radio, your favorite deejay or talk host is urging listeners to support our military families by donating time and/or money to Fisher House. “When Americans learn about the Fisher House mission, they respond. Radio is a powerful tool for telling our story.” casting’s WMAL-Washington, D.C., and Greater Media’s WTKK-Boston. WMAL has raised $3 million for Fisher House in the past six years via its annual holiday season “Operation Fisher House” campaign. In 2010, D.C. personalities Rick Fowler, Fred Grandy, Bryan Nehman and Chris Plante championed the cause with passionate appeals for support. WTKK-Boston personality Michael Graham leads that station’s annual December radiothon, which features appearances by local and national celebrities, as well as an online auction. Together these two independent events raised over $175,000 in less than a combined total of 21 hours of air-time. The bond between Fisher House and radio is growing stronger in 2011 with Fisher House Vice President Derek Donovan presents Jimmy Barrett of WRVA 1140 News Radio in Richmond, Virginia Fisher House Foundation’s prestigious “Patriot Award” for the station’s dedicated support of Fisher House and military families. To Derek’s right are General Manager Ruth Soutermire and talk-host Doc Thompson. THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 3 Fisher House Remembers and Pays Tribute to Steve Michael It is with great admiration that we pay tribute to and remember one of Fisher House Foundation’s most dedicated trustees, Mr. Steve Michael. Michael was a long-time advocate for Fisher House Foundation and one of the co-founders of our annual golf tournament. Using a grant he petitioned for and received, Michael created a golf tournament that, in just three years, grew into a $450,000 tournament. And last year’s tournament, in a tough economy, was able to raise over $600,000. In addition to serving on the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, Michael spearheaded the process for Fisher House Foundation to partner with CharityWorks. After much hard work, Fisher House was the first unanimous choice of the CharityWorks selection board and raised a record $2 million to help build a Fisher House to support A Celebrity Surprise Montel Williams Cooks Lunch for Fisher House Families The holidays were a little brighter in 2010 at the Bethesda Fisher Houses, when talk-show host, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, philanthropist and former Naval officer Montel Williams showed up to cook and share lunch with guest families. He brought along a team that included a chef, his father, father-in-law and sister. “I cannot express how rewarding it is for us to have an opportunity to do what every American should be doing—and that is serve our troops as reciprocation for what they do for us every day,” he said. the Washington, D.C. VA Medical Center. Fisher House Foundation president David Coker had the pleasure of working with Michael since 2003. “Steve was the ideal trustee: dedicated, passionate, selfless and reliable. Although Steve no longer walks with us, his contributions will continue to bless us and those we have the privilege to serve.” 4 THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 Williams served 22 years in the military, enlisting in the Marines out of high school and later graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy and rising to the rank of lieutenant commander. He has long been an outspoken advocate for the troops and for wounded warriors. “We all had such a great time serving our soldiers and their families,” he said. “We are threatening to try and coordinate a bit of a ‘Fisher House Luncheon Tour,’ and visit Fisher Houses around the country. Stay tuned, we may be coming to a Fisher House near you.” Appealing for Justice Pentagon Display Honors Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Law Firm Aids Veterans on Many Fronts Disabled veterans trying to navigate the complex process of obtaining benefits have a powerful ally in Washington, D.C.: the law firm of Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP—or, simply, Finnegan. In fact, the firm operates an extensive pro bono program for veterans. “Many times, they face unfortunate circumstances, with gaps between what they are entitled to, and what they are actually receiving. We are honored to be helping these true patriots have access to the benefits they’ve admirably earned.” Christine Lehman of Finnegan presents Fisher House Chairman Ken Fisher with a donation, just one of the many ways that the law firm contributes to our service members. and what they are actually receiving. We are honored to be helping these true patriots have access to the benefits they’ve admirably earned.” “Finnegan’s attorneys are thrilled to be able to make a difference in the lives of our country’s veterans,” said Christine Lehman, a Finnegan partner and chair of the Finnegan Pro Bono Committee. “Both through the legal services we provide to assist them in securing their welldeserved benefits, and through the firm’s financial contributions to support the Fisher House.” Over the past two years, Finnegan has donated $350,000 to Fisher House Foundation. In conjunction with a ceremony to bestow the 2009 Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Award for Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Service last September, the Pentagon unveiled the Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Humanitarian Award and Legacy display. The display’s lighted and polished panels highlight the couple’s dedication to and work on behalf of the U.S. military, particularly troops, veterans and their families. The display occupies one corridor of a hall that features a similar display on the opposite side—this one honoring the only other person aside from Zachary Fisher to earn the U.S. Armed Forces Honorary Veteran designation: entertainer Bob Hope. The Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Service Award, established by the secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force, is bestowed annually. The Fishers were its first recipients in 1996. A commemorative trophy, engraved with the name of each year’s awardee, now has a permanent home in the Pentagon display. In addition to representing veterans before the U.S. Courts of Appeals and the Army Physical Evaluation Board (PEB), Finnegan donates any proceeds or stipend it receives to veterans’ charities, including Fisher House Foundation. The firm assists veterans who have had their claims denied by the Department of Veterans Affairs, or who feel their disability rating by the PEB is incorrect. These claims and ratings can have a profound effect on a service member and his or her family’s quality of life and future. “Veterans exemplify American dedication, excellence, hard work, and citizenship,” said Ron Smith, counsel for Finnegan. “Many times, they face unfortunate circumstances, with gaps between what they are entitled to, THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 5 Photo by Brendan Mattingly (www.brendanmattingly.com) Marine Lance Cpl. David Chirinos stands in the main hallway of Fisher House IV; David and fiance Sara Schindler recently became Mr. and Mrs. while staying at the Fisher House. Photo courtesy of David Chirinos 6 THE PATRIOT â€˘ WINTER/SPRING 2011 Photo by Brendan Mattingly GUEST FAMILY PROFILE Story by Leslie Happ NAME: CHIRINOS FAMILY HOUSE: BETHESDA FISHER HOUSE NATIONAL NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER HOME STATE: FLORIDA MILITARY BRANCH: MARINE CORPS Five months into a six-month tour of Afghanistan, Marine Lance Cpl. David Chirinos started feeling bad, really bad, in his gut. The base doctor spent a few days trying to narrow down the problem, finally ordering a colonoscopy. Not liking what he saw, he ordered Chirinos be evacuated to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany for further tests, where doctors concluded it was probably cancer. Chirinos was immediately medevaced stateside. At the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., the diagnosis was dire: type 4 colon cancer. Since the cancer had spread beyond his colon to his stomach and lungs, the odds for Chirinos weren’t good. Doctors put him on an aggressive chemotherapy regimen—eight cycles; one week on, one week to recover. For the most part, it was outpatient treatment, and it left Chirinos exhausted. “It’s like you ran a marathon,” he recalled. “You lose all your strength.” Marine Lance Cpl. David Chirinos His fiancée and mother came to help—and they were lucky to learn about the Fisher House on the hospital grounds. “I don’t know what we’d be doing without it,” Chirinos said. Lodging in the area is expensive, creating an impossible sum for the family to manage. “I guess we’d be forced to find someplace nowhere near here to get something cheap and then take the Metro.” Instead, the trio found themselves in a warm and welcoming home. “You just drop your bags, and you don’t have to worry about anything,” Chirinos said. “You can focus on what you’re here for.” “Being here takes you away from being in the hospital,” he said. “It gives you more motivation to get better and get out of here.” When he feels strong enough, he can walk to the nearby pond and feed the ducks. “Being here takes you away from being in the hospital,” he said. “It gives you more motivation to get better and get out of here.” Credit motivation, the healing power of family, the wonders of medicine or maybe even a miracle—but after the course of chemotherapy, a new scan revealed that the cancer in Chirinos’ stomach and lungs had disappeared. While the prognosis had brightened dramatically, the battle was really just beginning. Chirinos faces many months of radiation to shrink the remaining colon cancer and then multiple surgeries to remove it. “It’s great to have other people around,” he said. “They may not have the same struggles, but we’re all struggling. Everybody can relate at some level.” His mother has divided her time between the caring for Chirinos at the Bethesda Fisher House and her two younger sons in Miami. Fiancée Sara Schindler commutes to a job at the British Embassy in nearby Washington, D.C. As is normal for any resident of a Fisher House, Chirinos has forged friendships with staff and other guest families who have come and gone at the Bethesda Fisher House. “It’s great to have other people around,” he said. “They may not have the same struggles, but we’re all struggling. Everybody can relate at some level.” This spring, Chirinos is waiting for one last surgery, and then looking forward to moving on with his life—getting married, maybe taking a vacation cruise and then returning to active duty. When he looks back at his time at the Fisher House, he said, “Overall, it’s been a great experience. You know, you can’t leave here with a bad one.” David has formed a bond and friendship with Fisher House guests. THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 7 HOUSE RO The Patriot always loves to check in and see what our Fisher Houses have been up to. Here we outline a few highlights from houses around the country and in Landstuhl, Germany. CALIFORNIA VA PALO ALTO HEALTH CARE SYSTEM Palo Alto, CA Veterans Day events were courtesy of the local church group from First Congregational Church of Palo Alto. Donning American Flag hats, they created a festive environment – and dinner – where everyone could celebrate what the day truly is about. DAVID GRANT USAF MEDICAL CENTER Travis Air Force Base, CA It felt like summer in December for Fisher House residents at Travis Air Force Base. Their special house guest Curt Correa serenaded the staff and residents with beautiful Hawaiian holiday songs. Throughout the rest of his stay, he even played guitar outside in the gazebo for all to enjoy. Employees from the Walmart distribution center in Porterville, Calif. drove over five hours to the Palo Alto Fisher House last winter, where they showed up with enough decorations to transform the entire house into a holiday wonderland. The decorations came just in time for a visit from Major General Anthony Jackson, Commanding General, Marine Corps Installations West. Photo by Charlene Hall 8 THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 ROUND-UP DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WALTER REED ARMY MEDICAL CENTER Washington, D.C. The Washington D.C. Area Chapter of International Association of Home Staging Professionals came together for one week in September to help rejuvenate Walter Reed’s Fisher House 1, also known as, the second Fisher House in existence. The Fisher House at the Forest Glen Annex to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, was opened in 1991, and naturally in need of some updates. After the week was over, they replaced the cooking top and microwave, provided new lighting throughout the house, as well as blinds, cabinets and much more, keeping the house beautiful for guests. MIAMI VA HEALTHCARE SYSTEM Miami, FL Honey Baked Ham made a deliciously generous donation to several Fisher House locations, including our Miami house. Miami made room in the fridge for several hams, pies and other yummy treats in honor of this past Veterans Day. F LO R I DA EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE HOSPITAL Eglin Air Force Base, FL Known as the “Fisher House of the Emerald Coast,” Florida welcomed its newest Fisher House in September 2010. JAMES A. HALEY VETERANS’ HOSPITAL Tampa, FL Each of the Tampa Fisher House’s 21 suites was refurbished just in time for the holiday season. Beautifully decorated for the holidays, for the fourth year in a row by a local church, they were prepared for Santa’s arrival for their second annual children’s holiday party. The house was even adorned with 30 poinsettias courtesy of a local high school marching band, the Teddy Roosevelt “Rough Riders.” THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 9 GEORGIA DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER ARMY MEDICAL CENTER Fort Gordon, GA In October, Ms. Stephanie Thomas entered the Fisher House as a civilian, but left as Army 1LT Stephanie Thomas. She received a direct commission into the U.S. military and held her commissioning ceremony at the Fort Gordon Fisher House. Congratulations Stephanie! Photo by Kevin Hull 10 H AWA I I ILLINOIS TRIPLER ARMY MEDICAL CENTER HINES VA HOSPITAL Honolulu, HI Hines, IL Hawaii’s Tripler Fisher House spent President’s Day with Team Fisher House running in the Great Aloha Run. Several of their residents ran in support of Fisher House, in one of the most beautiful places to run. Culinary students from the renowned Kendall College in Chicago held their final class in the kitchen of the Hines Fisher House. The students proved they had culinary chops by displaying proper prepping techniques before serving the house dinner. THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 Also, Operation Support Our Troops in conjunction with Sodexo Corporate Services held a holiday dinner for families of the Fisher House where they presented the house with a $25,000 check. If that wasn’t enough, Sodexo and Kraft Foods also presented each family with a gift. KENTUCKY BLANCHFIELD ARMY COMMUNITY HOSPITAL Fort Campbell, KY The Walmart “Deck the Walls” project visited the Fort Campbell Fisher House this December, with high school volunteers from Fort Campbell and Clarkesville, Tenn. Bringing decorations from Walmart and a feast from Sam’s Club, the volunteers helped to provide an endless amount of spirit within this home. Additionally, when guests checked in during the holiday season, they found a gift under the Christmas tree. MARYLAND MALCOLM GROW MEDICAL CENTER Andrews Air Force Base, MD The Greater Niagara Region American Legion Riders rode from Sanborn, N.Y. to the Andrews Air Force Base Fisher House to collect donations for wounded warriors. Donations were collected at various American Legion posts along the route, including stops in Sanborn, Salamanca, N.Y., DuBois, Pa., Hollidaysburg, Pa., Everett, Pa., and Funkstown, Md. In addition to the 18 bikes on the trip, there was also a U-Haul van picking up and transporting the donations that included clothes, hygiene products, beverages and snacks. The entire trip took four days and covered 850 miles. The donations were sorted upon arrival and delivered to area hospitals and organizations serving wounded soldiers. The ride was headed by Mr. Sam Reeder, president of American Legion Post 1451, and Ms. Cheryl Lepsch, founder of Jammies for GIs. MASSACHUSETTS VA BOSTON HEALTHCARE SYSTEM West Roxbury, MA Residents shared Thanksgiving with Boston Celtics forward/center Glen “Big Baby” Davis, his wife and four other guests. Luckily the ceilings were high enough for the 6’9” basketball star. The Boston Fisher House was fortunate enough to be the charitable partner of the Putnam Boston Jumper Classic last year. This popular horse show in Boston raised over $10,000 for the Boston Fisher House. The event featured gorgeous horses, parachutists donning American flags, and even some Boston Bruins players. THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 11 Photo by Ashley Estill There is No Age Limit on Giving Story By Gillian Gonzalez, Bethesda Fisher House Volunteer After a long and stressful day at the hospital, it is always nice to find a delicious home cooked meal waiting for you in the Fisher House kitchen. One person who understands that providing that comfort is one of the keys to making Fisher House feel like a home is Connor Mulloy. Since December 2009 Connor and his mom, Beth, have been providing meals on a monthly basis for the houses at Bethesda. Connor, a high school junior, is no stranger to charity work. As a seventh grader living in Hawaii he collected cans and redeemed them at 5 cents per can to raise more than $2,000. After taking a cooking class at school he wanted to use his new found talents and thought of Fisher House as a perfect fit for his already busy schedule. He jumped right in by cooking Christmas dinner for the two houses that were open that year, and followed up this Christmas by cooking dinner again. The families at the Bethesda Fisher Houses are grateful to know that Connor and his mom are always thinking of them and take comfort in the meals they provide. 12 THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 M I N N E S O TA NORTH CAROLINA MINNEAPLOLIS VA HEALTH CARE SYSTEM CAMP LEJEUNE NAVAL HOSPITAL Minneapolis, MN Camp Lejeune, NC One of the many perks of the Fisher House is developing lifelong friendships and relationships between the residents. That said, the Minneapolis Fisher House had the privilege to become involved with Tom McDonough and his family, whose son Bryan died in Iraq in early December 2006. They established The Bryan McDonough Foundation, with funding being raised to offset the cost of the second Fisher House in Minneapolis, which will open this summer. A recent participant in the 2010 Holiday Tour of Homes, the Camp Lejeune Fisher House opened its holiday-decorated doors to showcase firsthand what the Fisher House is about. In addition to making the house festive, the Oakleaf Spouses Club brought delicious goodies for tour attendees to enjoy. MISSOURI ST. LOUIS VA MEDICAL CENTER St. Louis, MO Since the September 2010 opening, the St. Louis Fisher House has opened its doors to several families and caregivers of veterans receiving care in the St. Louis area. The Fisher House has received an overwhelming response from the community, receiving assistance making meals, upkeep with the exterior of the house, holiday decorating and more. N E W YO R K STRATTON VA MEDICAL CENTER Albany, NY Always looking for ways to improve life for our residents, the Albany Fisher House has done just that. Right before winter, they completed a new parking lot and sidewalk project, making it easier for guests (especially for the handicapped guests), to access the house. Even the lighting around the walks and house has been modified to make it safer. A very special thank you also goes out to Dorothy Damiano and Marilyn White who have been volunteering for 16 years and 15 years, respectively. WOMACK ARMY MEDICAL CENTER Fort Bragg, NC Local motorcycle builder Hotrodz is currently taking a 1977 HarleyDavidson motorcycle and transforming it into a bike that will feature a new design inspired by the Fisher House. Upon completion the rejuvenated bike will be auctioned off to the public, with proceeds going to the Fort Bragg Fisher House. TEXAS VA NORTH TEXAS HEALTH CARE SYSTEM Dallas, TX The Dallas Fisher House has been rocking and rolling, hosting games, golf tournaments, races and more to raise funds for the house. It is because of these generous events that the residents and the house are always taken care of. MICHAEL E. DEBAKEY VA MEDICAL CENTER Houston, TX Fifth through eighth graders from Kinkaid School in Houston visited the residents of the Houston Fisher House during their second annual, “Day of Caring and Sharing.” The students spent their time folding donated towels, organizing the library and movie cabinet, and providing door ornaments for all of the guest rooms. After all that work, they enjoyed lunch while visiting with house guests. VIRGINIA NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER PORTSMOUTH Portsmouth, VA The Portsmouth Fisher House has improved its grounds by adding a new pavilion for families to meditate and enjoy the outdoors. This outdoor gazebo is accompanied by comfortable chairs so guests can sit back and relax as they watch their children play on the new playground equipment that was also recently installed. WA S H I N G T O N BROOKE ARMY MEDICAL CENTER Fort Sam Houston, TX During the annual Ride 4 Troops campaign last August, bikers began their local journey at Caliente Harley Davidson, continuing on to Javelina Harley Davidson and finished at Texas Pride BBQ, all in support of our troops. Ride 4 Troops raised $20,000, courtesy of the over 500 bikers who participated. MADIGAN HEALTHCARE SYSTEM Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA There was a little extra something under the Christmas tree for the guests of the Joint Base LewisMcChord Fisher House – General Dynamics made a generous donation from the Fisher House’s holiday wish list, donating toiletries, food items and cleaning supplies for the house. GERMANY LANDSTUHL REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER The Soldier’s Angels, long-time supporters of the Landstuhl Fisher Houses, celebrated the New Year by coming out to make homemade pretzels for Fisher House guests. It is custom in Southern Germany to give each other pretzels in the New Year as a wish of good luck and fortune. WILFORD HALL MEDICAL CENTER Lackland Air Force Base, TX Residents and guests of the Fisher Houses at Lackland AFB were treated to a lot party last fall, complete with The Jeffery Charles Band, prizes, line dancing, therapy dogs, an illusionist and of course some of the best Texas barbeque possible. Coinciding with the Lackland Air Force Base Air show, the party was topped off with an aerial performance by the Air Force Thunderbirds. THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 13 Dr. Steven Scott is the Chief of Physical Medicine Rehabilitation at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, Fla. In an interview with Chris Pendl, Dr. Scott reflects on the crucial role the Fisher House plays in the recovery and rehabilitation of the most critically wounded warriors. Dr. Scott works with patient SSG Cory Remsburg, Army Ranger. When medi Chris Pendl: Tell me about how this Fisher House makes your job a little easier and helps our veterans recover. Dr. Steven Scott: When the injured come here, these aren’t simple injuries; these are complex, complex injuries of war. Many of them have never been treated or rehabilitated before, and it takes a long time, sometimes even up to a year. To have the family here and to keep the family together is so essential. It gives us our best chance to maximize that injured individual’s independence and his ability to recover. CP: The motto of the Fisher House Foundation is, “Because a family’s love is good medicine.” Can you speak a little bit about what that means to you and your patients? SS: Many patients will state that after they get injured the first thing they think about is their loved ones at home. That might be the only thing they think about with their severe injuries, and many times that keeps them alive. 14 THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 Also, when they see their loved ones they feel like they are coming home. And so having the family here for them is a healing process. It’s an opportunity to look ahead and not look behind, and for the family to do the same. It gives them a pathway forward; they can then move from the horrors of these injuries of war to another part of their lives. isn’t SS: Well the two different things: the mechanisms of war to cause injury have changed. There are a lot more explosions and blasts and destructive type of weaponry. These cause total body type trauma—multiple types of injuries to one person, up to maybe five major injuries. At the same time, the Fisher House offers a family atmosphere—meaning that among the different families that live here, they develop their own family culture, their own networking and care groups. Even when they leave, they keep those connections throughout the rest of their lives. It does offer that support. And when the individuals come back for another medical issue, or for a recheck, they’re always part of this home, and the home always welcomes them. The home is what we emphasize, not the hospital or the negative things associated with illness. At the same time, our trauma care has improved to where we can keep these service members with multiple injuries alive now. Not only keep them alive, but bring them back fairly quickly. With air flights and advance critical care teams, we can give them a chance to recover or to rehabilitate. CP: What is unique about the advances in medicine and the injuries you’re seeing? But at the same time as they’re recovering from these devastating, multiple injuries, Wake up; we gotta get up and do things. I need you Dad, get better.” He was only 3 years old and he knew it was bad, but he wanted to give his dad that motivation to recover—and he has, which is even more amazing. icine Interview by Chris Pendl enough they’re going through all the complications—the worst resistant organisms and infections, because the war is in a contaminated area. And you don’t just treat one missing leg in therapy. You treat someone who maybe can’t think, who can’t see, who may have both legs gone and you teach them how to walk. That’s challenging; and that complexity is what makes the length of each stay a little longer and why families have to be there. As a family, they need to get acquainted with this new person, too, and the Fisher House is one of those important aspects, because it allows a family and the injured person to reunite and become a family again after being away at war and deployed for so long. As they go through all these injuries, which take a long time to heal—and recovery and rehabilitation—they do that as a family, not separated from one another where they become isolated and not a family unit anymore. I just read an e-mail from a family member who was here several years ago. Their son sustained a very serious head injury and we did not know what he was going to be able to do…walk, think. But he started moving, interacting, participating. We did some surgery that made some parts of his brain that weren’t there be reactivated. In the recovery pathway his interest in rehab was to go back and serve the country again. We didn’t think there was any chance at all, but the family was here all the time. They participated in his rehab; we got them to participate in the community a little bit. He had to learn direction, learn how to interact with people because his memory was that bad. Believe it or not, we got him up to the White House to become a White House guide, where he could talk to people, learn to give them directions. A great story. The email I got said he continues to serve in the military now; and his family is supportive and proud. Without his family being there to support and enable him, I don’t think we’d have had the successes we see here. CP: Is there one story of recovery that is unique or embodies what this house is? You take these seriously injured and you don’t really give them a lot of hope. But the family being here and the atmosphere at the Fisher House gives them that hope and you’d be surprised how many times we see miracles and things you wouldn’t think they could do. SS: Every seriously injured soldier has a great story of heroism that could be a chapter in a book. I remember a case I had with a really seriously injured [soldier] and I didn’t think he was going to make it. His mom was there by his bedside, and she got his little boy on the phone, only 3 years old. Even though he was not responding, or awake at all, his son would say, “Dad, how are you doing? Ever since I’ve known the Fisher family, the board of trustees, the house—the whole concept is always about giving back. And the families, it’s the same thing; you can sense the whole atmosphere of giving back. And what they’ve given is hope for the future, hope for the injured, hope for our country; and that’s something we all should feel proud about. It’s a great American story. THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 15 Soaring Above and On January 22, Staff Sergeant Chaz Allen was injured when he stepped on a pressure-plate IED in Afghanistan, immediately losing both legs and breaking his elbow. Flying first to Kandahar, Chaz was then flown to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. where he remains, recovering and getting stronger each day. Story by Ashley Estill Because our soldiers are stationed and sent all over the world, when tragedy strikes their families are often thousands of miles away. This is where Fisher House Foundation’s Hero Miles Program helps. Hero Miles collects donated frequent flyer miles and uses them to bring family members to the bedside of injured service members. While Chaz was in Afghanistan, his wife Jessica was running their household in Tennessee, taking care of her own business, their two little girls and shuffling them back and forth to school, Girl Scouts and dance classes. “I only got to talk with Chaz every so often and had just spoken with him about our upcoming summer vacation,” Jessica recalled. “When he was injured and I got the call, I said, ‘No, I just talked to him, he can’t be hurt.’” Devastation soon faded away as Jessica moved into reaction mode – making arrangements and plans for their “new normal” as she calls it. Step one was getting to Chaz. The Army took care of Jessica’s first trip to see Chaz – and although her original flight with American Airlines was canceled due to weather – Jessica was able to get to D.C. “I told them my husband was injured in Afghanistan and I just got permission to be with him,” Jessica said. “I don’t 16 THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 care if you have to put a parachute on my back; I have to get to D.C. today.” So American Airlines went to US Airways, who immediately put Jessica on a flight to be with Chaz. Going forward, it was Brandi at the Soldier and Family Assistance Center (SFAC) who told Jessica about Hero Miles and told her to take advantage of their wonderful services. The process was effortless – Jessica filled out an application and within hours she had confirmation of her flight itinerary. “Doctors didn’t want me to be away from Chaz for longer than a week and he did not want me to be away from our kids,” Jessica said. “So we decided I’d be with Chaz for a week then go back to be with the girls for a week.” What did Hero Miles say? Done. Jessica flies on US Airways every week, the same flight from Tennessee to D.C. and back home again. And in the off-weeks Chaz’s other friends and family are there to be with him, while Jessica’s family takes care of the girls. “I was in Chaz’s room when we got the call saying that Hero Miles would be taking care of us,” Jessica recalled. “Chaz and I were like, sweet Jesus, thank you! It took so much stress off of us.” “The generosity of Hero Miles and the flexibility of the program is amazing. They’re willing to help families any way they can,” Jessica said. “I had no idea something this fabulous was in existence.” Top: Staff Sergeant Charles “Chaz” Allen, his wife Jessica and their two daughters. Bottom: Chaz’s first visit with his two little girls since his injury in January, after they flew from Tennessee to D.C. courtesy of the Hero Miles program. To make a donation or find out more about our Hero Miles program, visit: www.fisherhouse.org/programs/hero-miles Photographs by Kenneth Marti Beyond Providing for Our Soldiers “I told them my husband was injured in Afghanistan and I just got permission to be with him,” Jessica said. “I don’t care if you have to put a parachute on my back; I have to get to D.C. today.” THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 17 American Gold Star Mothers support Dover Story by Leslie Happ About Gold Star Mothers American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. is a unique but fiercely dedicated group of women who share a heartbreaking bond: each of them have lost a child in service of our country. Founded in 1928, they are a private non-profit organization, whose only requirement is that your child died while on active duty. These incredible women fundraise, support and attend events throughout the year, creating awareness for the American Gold Star Mothers and their mission, all while supporting our troops. To find out more information about AGSM, please visit www.goldstarmoms.com. For several years, American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., had been gearing up to launch a national fundraising campaign for Fisher House Foundation. Last winter, just as their plans were taking shape, the leadership heard about the need for a very special house—one that would serve families not of injured or ill service members, but those families who would make the pilgrimage to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to witness the dignified transfer of remains of their loved ones killed in the line of duty. “We firmly believe it was not a coincidence that this project arose just as we were getting ready to kick off our campaign,” said American Gold Star Mothers National President Molly Morel. “I knew immediately, just like the Fisher House Foundation knew, that this was a perfect fit for our effort.” “...every member of the Gold Star Mothers shares a heartbreaking bond with these military families— they too, have lost a child in service to their country.” That’s because, by definition, every member of the Gold Star Mothers shares a heartbreaking bond with these military families—they too, have lost a child in service to their country. 18 THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 Fisher House Foundation CEO Ken Fisher (center) is pictured with television personality and former naval intelligence officer Montel Williams and the American Gold Star Mothers during the dedication of Delaware’s Fisher House for Families of the Fallen on November 10, 2010. When he learned that there was no lodging for these families on Dover’s base, Fisher House Foundation Chairman Ken Fisher made construction of the Dover house top priority. “We didn’t want another day to go by without these families having a place to grieve,” he said. In only six-and-a-half months, the stately home was completed and dedicated— the day before Veterans Day—along with an adjacent meditation pavilion. Nearly two dozen Gold Star Mothers from across the country joined Fisher, military brass and other VIPs for the ceremony. In addition to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Commander Col. Thomas Joyce, television personality and Marine Corps and Navy veteran Montel Williams delivered remarks at the dedication. “I support our troops’ is not just some token phrase,” Williams said. “I wanted to do something tangible, so that we could give something back to families. “’I support our troops’ is not just some token phrase,” Williams said. “I wanted to do something tangible, so that we could give something back to families. When I connected with the Fisher House Foundation, I immediately wanted to get involved.” By adopting the Dover house for their campaign, the Gold Star Mothers attracted enthusiastic support from their membership as well. They easily surpassed their fundraising goal of $50,000—in the end topping $80,000. “Having Dover as our project, I think that energized our membership in a way that perhaps fundraising for the general pool couldn’t have done,” said Morel. “This house touched our hearts in a very special way.” The Gold Star Mothers’ donation was added to many others—including part of President Obama’s Nobel Prize money— to make this special project a reality. “It meant more to the American Gold Star Mothers to participate,” Morel said. “For the few dollars we raised, we’ve received such a huge reward—knowing that this house is there for families like ours. It was a wonderful experience.” THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 19 First Lady Champions Military Families Story by Leslie Happ “In order to heal, our service members need more than the best medical treatment,” said First Lady Michelle Obama at the dedication of three new Fisher Houses at the National Naval Medical Center. “They also need folks who will travel that road to recovery with them; the spouse who sits by the bedside and serves as their champion and their voice day after day; the parent who pushes and encourages them week after week; the son or daughter who reminds them of everything they have to look forward to. That is what Fisher House provides for so many military families.” The First Lady joined Ken Fisher, Fisher House Chairman, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus; Commander of the Medical Center Rear Adm. Matthew Nathan and Fisher House officials and guest families at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on December 2. “It is an honor to have the First Lady here to dedicate our newest Fisher Houses,” Fisher said. “Her commitment to military families is inspiring, we are fortunate to have such a wonderful advocate for our military, families and veterans.” Before the dedication, Mrs. Obama took the time to speak to every family inside the Fisher House; listening to their concerns, embracing them and offering them her heartfelt support. The families were touched by her warmth and compassion. In fact the December visit was Mrs. Obama’s second to the Bethesda Fisher Houses—in a three-month period. 20 THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 She met one-on-one with the guest families, and it “made them feel so special,” said manager Becky Wood. Obama praised the courage of the service members and their families, and the commitment of the Fisher family. “I think it’s worth noting that Zachary’s family was not a military family,” she said. “But they loved their country… They remind us that even if we’re not part of a military family, we’re all part of the American family, and every single one of us…has an obligation to support the men and women who protect us, and the families who love them.” Fisher House Chairman Ken Fisher is joined by the First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama at the ribbon cutting of three new Fisher Houses at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Photo courtesy of Daniel Ashe. Interior designer Beverly Archer Miears decorates every Fisher House, taking special care to create an environment that is both warm and comfortable, while also aesthetically unique to the region in which the Fisher House is located, so guests feel right at home. Photo courtesy of Daniel Ashe. THE PATRIOT â€˘ WINTER/SPRING 2011 21 Bill O’Reilly’s Super Bowl Interview results in more than $1M for Fisher House Bill O’Reilly, top-rated host of Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor,” joined President Obama in a campaign that originated on Super Bowl Sunday in the White House, and has since raised over $1 million for Fisher House Foundation. After the Super Bowl Sunday interview, O’Reilly asked the President to sign his hand-written notes that he used as a reference for the interview, with a promise that the signed document would raise money for a charitable cause. President Obama agreed and suggested that O’Reilly donate the proceeds to Fisher House Foundation, an organization that the president has, and continues to support. O’Reilly agreed and together they have raised a tremendous amount of funds and awareness. O’Reilly set a lofty goal to raise $250,000 for Fisher House. Everyone who donated $500 to the organization would in turn, receive a copy of his notes with the presidents facsimile and O’Reilly’s original signature. Due to an overwhelming response from O’Reilly’s viewers, the goal was quickly surpassed as the fundraiser hit the $500,000 mark, then the $750,000 mark until the momentum eventually led to over $1 million for Fisher House. Now that’s a serious bi-partisan effort. Thank you to both President Obama and Bill O’Reilly — two great friends of the program. Fisher House Foundation will use the proceeds for the following projects: $50,000 to Heroes’ Legacy Scholarships, scholarships for the children of our fallen and disabled military heroes (established with proceeds from the President’s children’s book). $100,000 to help build a Fisher House at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia. $100,000 to help build a Fisher House at the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System in Utah. $100,000 to help build a Fisher House for the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System in Pennsylvania. $100,000 to help build a Fisher House for the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Virginia. $100,000 to help build a Fisher House for the Audie Murphy VA Hospital, San Antonio, Texas. Newest VA level one polytrauma center. $200,000 to help build a Fisher House at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska. $300,000 The remaining $300,000 (plus) will be used to pay the lodging costs for families. 22 THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 TEAM FISHER HOUSE Anyone and everyone can help through Team Fisher House Story by Allie Weiskopf Team Fisher House is the online, grassroots fundraising program of Fisher House Foundation, and enables its participants to become “Champions for Military Families” at any event, anywhere in the world. Last Halloween, 295 Team Fisher House runners tackled the 26.2 miles in and around Washington, D.C., to participate in the Marine Corps Marathon. Their collective 7,729 race miles and fundraising efforts raised over $330,000 for the newest three Fisher Houses at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. It was a busy weekend: Runners received team jackets and team backpacks during packet pick-up at the Marine Corps Marathon Expo, toured the new Bethesda Fisher Houses, and met one another at the pre-race pasta party the night before the marathon. The dinner featured Army Capt. Ivan Castro as the motivational guest speaker. Castro sustained life-threatening injuries while serving as a first lieutenant with the 82nd Airborne Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom September 2, 2006. Shrapnel wounds from a mortar attack resulted in the loss of his right eye and the permanent loss of vision in his left eye. He underwent more than 30 surgeries, yet, although he is blind, he has completed 12 marathons (including two Marine Corps Marathons for Team Fisher House), four Army 10-Milers, four half-marathons, two triathlons, and a 50-mile race. He has also hiked the 14,270 feet to Grays Peak in Colorado. During his remarks, the Captain discussed the physical and mental journey from waking up in the hospital to his return to running. He emphasized the importance of cultivating the attitude of a warrior and focusing on the positive. He also stressed the importance of not losing faith. By the Numbers: Team Fisher House in its 5th year at the Marine Corps Marathon 2010 Stats: 295 Runners 250 Volunteers Ran 7,729 Miles on race day Raised $330,000 13 Sponsors In five years at the Marine Corps Marathon, Team Fisher House has raised $1,273,421. The Team Fisher House program in total (including the MCM), has raised $2,779,782. THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 23 “When I was recovering at Bethesda I overheard a Navy nurse talk about the Marine Corps Marathon and realized I was lucky enough to still be able to run,” he recalled. “I asked about the route—was it flat? Were there potholes? At that time Castro could not stand or walk independently, but rather than feel sorry for myself I maintained a ‘can do’ attitude and worked toward my new mission. My first goal was to run the Army 10-Miler and Marine Corps Marathon in appreciation for all the wonderful care I received at Bethesda.” Team Fisher House at the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon sponsors included Newman’s Own, Military Times Media Group, radio station WMAL AM 630, BMI Defense Systems, HBO, Virginia Emergency Physicians, Picerne Military Housing, MilitaryConnection. com, Pepsi, Touch of Relief, brothers of DC area Kappa Sigma chapters, Donna & Company, and Wild Zipper. Special thanks go to the volunteer team doctor, Dr. Kevin Connelly, and the volunteer team nutritionist, Courtney Engle. 24 THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 Why Do You Run for Team Fisher House? “I run for Team Fisher House for the people—the camaraderie of the organization is unparalleled. It’s great being a part of a team that does so much to help military families. The camaraderie of the group, the volunteers and the sponsors make running a marathon a true experience... I’m proud to be a part of it.” —Maj. Russ Pool, USMC (pictured bottom left) “What motivates me is appreciating all that life has to offer—I know that life is short. I don’t dwell on the bad; but appreciate the gifts I have, especially the ability to run. The things we remember the most are the things we work hard for. A colonel once told me that to be born free is an accident, to live free is a blessing, and to die free is an obligation. There are young men and women fighting in today’s all-volunteer force, and we must honor them and their sacrifices.” —Capt. Ivan Castro, U.S. Army “In 2003 when my brother Alan was severely wounded in Iraq, my parents’ only thought was to get to him immediately. We were very blessed to have friends and family help, but nobody could have foreseen the journey that lay ahead for the next two-and-a-half years Alan spent in hospitals. After a couple of weeks in a hotel at Walter Reed, we were introduced to the Fisher House...This became our Washington, D.C., home very quickly and provided much more than just a living facility. The people that we met became family and offered comfort in ways that we could not have known we would need. Assurances from our housemates kept our family pushing forward; the Fisher House not only provided a place to live but also surrounded us with others facing similar challenges. We learned from each other and gave hope where it was desperately needed. It was our home away from home. I am honored to run for Team Fisher House.” —Christy Babin Army Captain Ivan Castro (left) doesn’t dwell on being blind and continues to embrace life and has participated in nearly a dozen marathons, including two Marine Corps Marathons for Team Fisher House. Register now for these 2011 Military Races Team Fisher House isn’t just for runners… Team Fisher House will host fundraising teams at these great military races: Golfers in Connecticut also used the grassroots approach of Team Fisher House to raise over $25,000 for Fisher House Foundation last September. The 5th Annual Fox Hopyard Military Muster Golf Tournament in East Haddam featured more than 130 players including activeduty personnel and veterans from the Connecticut shoreline. The fundraiser featured representatives from all branches of the military under the stated mission of “Vets Supporting Our Military.” In addition to the donations from the players, over 75 Connecticut businesses supported the event in an effort to become “Champions for Military Families.” Navy Nautical Miler June 5, 2011 – Millington, Tenn. Air Force Marathon September 17, 2011 – Dayton, Ohio Army 10-Miler October 9, 2011 – Washington, D.C. Marine Corps Marathon October 30, 2011 – Washington, D.C. Visit teamfisherhouse.org to join one of these teams or create your own fundraising event… “Champions for Military Families” do more than run! For one runner’s story on his walk across America for Fisher House, visit Jon Cote’s blog at http://walkforwarriors.blogspot.com. THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 25 FUTURE FISHER HOUSES IN ACTION Cleveland, OH The Cleveland team is off and running with the help of the AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary. They have several projects in the works to help get another Fisher House built. Long Beach, CA In honor of the Royal Wedding, the Tiara Tea Party, hosted by the American Gold Star Mothers, took place on April 29 at the Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, Calif. Fabulous tea party guests watched the Royal Wedding with proceeds from the event supporting the future Fisher House in Long Beach. 26 THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 Milwaukee, WI Since last year’s Fisher House Benefit Ride was so successful, the Wisconsin team has decided to do it again. This September 10 will mark the 2nd Annual Fisher House Wisconsin Benefit Ride hosted by Harley Davidson. The all-day event last year featured honorary ride leader, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Gary Wetzel, who kicked things off. Minneapolis, MN The McDonough family lake cabin in Wisconsin was host to the first of an annual “Yellow Ribbon Run” fundraiser. Locals gathered together to travel via snowmobiles to seven area bars and restaurants on a Saturday, collecting a playing card at each location. After reaching each location, they use their five best cards to make a poker hand. The best hand won the grand prize. Riders paid a small fee to join, which covered their morning breakfast, and the remaining proceeds will benefit the second Fisher House in Minneapolis. The inaugural event brought out 86 riders. Official dedication on June 9. Murfreesboro, TN In November, a Public Service Announcement was made by Ahmard Hall, a Tennessee Titan fullback and former Marine. During a Titans game, Hall’s video showed his support for the future Fisher House in Murfreesboro, Tenn. with a texting campaign to help fund the new house. (To see the video Ahmard made, please visit our You Tube page, www.youtube.com/fisherhousefoundatio). THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 27 DOWN RANGE The following are current Fisher House projects. Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Anchorage, AK Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center Augusta, GA Salt Lake City VA Health Care System Salt Lake City, UT In addition, we are working to start Fisher Houses for: Fisher House Foundation is building on its commitment to help military families The following are medical centers with an immediate need recognized by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs: VA Long Beach Healthcare System Long Beach, CA VA Connecticut Healthcare System West Haven, CT Malcom Randall VA Medical Center Gainesville, FL VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System Pittsburgh, PA Womack Army Medical Center, Replacement House Ft. Bragg, NC Tennessee Valley Healthcare System Murfreesboro, TN Nellis Air Force Base Las Vegas, NV Audie L. Murphy VA Hospital San Antonio, TX Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center Cleveland, OH Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital Ft. Belvoir, VA Madigan Healthcare System, Second House Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA Clement C. Zablocki VA Medical Center Milwaukee, WI FISHER HOUSE DIRECTORY CALIFORNIA VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System 11301 Wilshire Blvd. (10AF) Building 512 Los Angeles, CA 90073 (310) 268-4457 Fax: (310) 268-3449 Manager: Sharon Hudson firstname.lastname@example.org VA Palo Alto Health Care System 3801 Miranda Ave. Palo Alto, CA 94304 (650) 493-5000 x 60384 Fax: (650) 849-1269 Manager: Shelly Foutz-Lowe, LICSW shelly.foutz-Lowe@va.gov San Diego Naval Medical Center I, II 34800 Bob Wilson Dr., Bldg. 46 San Diego, CA 92134-5000 (619) 532-9055 Fax: (619) 532-5216 Manager: Belle Esposito email@example.com David Grant USAF Medical Center 100 Bodin Circle Travis AFB, CA 94535-1804 (707) 423-7550 Fax: (707) 423-7552 Manager: Charlene Hall firstname.lastname@example.org COLORADO VA Eastern Colorado HCS 1954 Quentin St. Aurora, CO 80010 (303) 399-8020 x 2049 Fax: (303) 364-4882 Manager: Joy Weyna-King email@example.com DELAWARE Fisher House for Families of the Fallen 220 Lajes St. Dover AFB, DE 19902 (302) 677-3238 POC: Robin Raine firstname.lastname@example.org DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Walter Reed Army Medical Center I, II, III 6900 Georgia Ave., NW, Bldg. 56 Washington, DC 20307-5001 (202) 545-3218 Fax: (202) 545-3202 Manager: Maurice Borde email@example.com Washington DC VA Medical Center* 50 Irving St., NW Washington, DC 20422 (202) 745-800 x 6023 Manager: Kenneth Merritt firstname.lastname@example.org 28 THE PATRIOT â€˘ WINTER/SPRING 2011 FLORIDA KENTUCKY NORTH CAROLINA Bay Pines Healthcare System 10000 Bay Pines Blvd. Bay Pines, FL 33744 (727) 319-1350 Fax: (727) 319-1106 Manager: Rich Kippings email@example.com Blanchfield Army Community Hospital 652 Joel Dr. Fort Campbell, KY 42223 (270) 798-8330 Fax: (270) 798-8804 Manager: Wendy J. Carlston firstname.lastname@example.org Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital 4 Recovery Way Camp Lejeune, NC 28547 (910) 450-3885 Fax: (910) 450-3887 Manager: Josie Callahan email@example.com Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center 2002 Holcombe Blvd. Houston, TX 77030 (713) 794-8095 Fax: (713) 794-7194 Manager: Frank Kelley firstname.lastname@example.org Womack Army Medical Center 12 Bassett St. Fort Bragg, NC 28307-5000 (910) 432-1486 Fax: (910) 432-3825 Manager: Paula Gallero email@example.com Wilford Hall Medical Center I, II, III 1445 Foster Ave., Bldg. 3865 Lackland AFB, TX 78236 (210) 671-6037 Fax: (210) 671-6020 Manager: Ramona Lewis firstname.lastname@example.org OHIO VIRGINIA Cincinnati VAMC 3200 Vine St. Cincinnati, OH 45220 (513) 475-6571 Fax: (910) 432-3825 Manager: Karrie Hagan email@example.com Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth 853 Fisher Dr., Bldg. 287 Portsmouth, VA 23708 (757) 953-6889 Fax: (757) 953-7174 Manager: Loretta Loveless firstname.lastname@example.org Wright-Patterson Medical Center I, II 415 Schlatter Dr. Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433 (937) 257-0855 Fax: (937) 656-2150 Manager: Karen Healea email@example.com McGuire Richmond VA Medical Center 1201 Broad Rock Blvd. Richmond, VA 23249 (804) 675-6639 Fax: (804) 675-5979 Manager: Wayne Walker firstname.lastname@example.org Eglin Air Force Hospital 350 Boatner Rd. Eglin AFB, FL 32542 Fax: (850) 883-2865 Manager: Ron Gribble email@example.com James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital 13000 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. Tampa, FL 33612 (813) 910-3000 Fax: (813) 910-3088 Manager: Paula Welenc firstname.lastname@example.org Miami VA Healthcare System 1201 NW 16th St. Miami, FL 33125 (305) 575-7260 Fax: (305) 575-7261 Manager: Carolyn Soucy email@example.com West Palm Beach VA Medical Center 7305 N. Military Trail – Route 136 West Palm Beach, FL 33410 (561) 422-5554 Fax: (561) 442-8793 Manager: Theresa Ringel firstname.lastname@example.org GEORGIA Dwight D. Eisenhower Medical Center Fisher House Rd., Bldg. 280 Fort Gordon, GA 30905-5650 (706) 787-7100 Fax: (706) 787-5106 Manager: Francisco Cruz email@example.com HAWAII Tripler Army Medical Center I, II 315 Krukowski Rd. Honolulu, HI 96819 (808) 433-1291 x 28 Fax: (808) 433-3619 Manager: Theresa Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org ILLINOIS Hines VA Hospital 5000 S 5th Ave. Hines, IL 60141 (708) 202-7154 Fax: (708) 202-7155 Manager: Holly Wright email@example.com MARYLAND Malcolm Grow Medical Center 1076 West Perimeter Rd. Andrews AFB, MD 20762 (301) 981-1243 Fax: (301) 981-7629 Manager: Janet Grampp firstname.lastname@example.org National Naval Medical Center I, II, III, IV, V 24 Stokes Rd. Bethesda, MD 20814-5002 (301) 295-5334 Fax: (301) 295-5632 Manager: Becky Wood email@example.com MASSACHUSETTS VA Boston Healthcare System 1400 VFW Pkwy. West Roxbury, MA 02132 (857) 203-4000 or (857) 203-6503 Manager: Elizabeth St. Pierre firstname.lastname@example.org MINNESOTA Minneapolis VAHCS I, II 1 Veterans Dr. Minneapolis, MN 55417 (612) 467-5602 Fax: (612) 970-5864 Manager: Marge Oslund email@example.com MISSISSIPPI Keesler AFB Hospital 509 Fisher St. Keesler AFB, MS 39534-2599 (228) 377-8264 Fax: (228) 377-7691 Manager: Larry Vetter firstname.lastname@example.org MISSOURI St. Louis VA Medical Center 1 Jefferson Barracks Rd. St. Louis, MO 63125 (314) 894-6145 Fax: (314) 894-6147 Manager: Rachael Fernandez email@example.com NEW YORK Stratton VA Medical Center 113 Holland Ave. Albany, NY 12208 (518) 626-6919 Fax: (518) 626-5452 Manager: Jerry Jensen firstname.lastname@example.org TEXAS VA North Texas Health Care System 4500 S. Lancaster Rd. Building 79 Dallas, TX 75216 (214) 857-2574 Fax: (214) 462-4923 Manager: Lydia Henderson email@example.com William Beaumont Army Medical Center 5005 N. Piedras St. El Paso, TX 79920-5001 (915) 569-1860 Fax: (915) 569-1862 Manager: Harry Hicks firstname.lastname@example.org Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Bldg. 36015 Fisher Ln. Fort Hood, TX 78254 (254) 286-7927 Fax: (254) 286-7929 Manager: Isaac Howard email@example.com Brooke Army Medical Center I, II, III, IV 3623 George C. Beach Dr. Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234 (210) 916-6000 Fax: (210) 916-6488 Manager: Inge Godfrey firstname.lastname@example.org WASHINGTON Madigan Healthcare System 9999 Wilson Ave. Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA 98433 (253) 964-9283 Fax: (253) 968-3619 Manager: Jodi Land email@example.com VA Puget Sound Healthcare System 1660 South Columbian Way Seattle, WA 98101 (206) 768-5353 Fax: (206) 277-1415 Manager: Cecile Bagrow firstname.lastname@example.org GERMANY Landstuhl Regional Medical Center I & II CMR 402, Box 669 APO, AE 09180 011-49-6371-6183311 Fax: 011-49-6371-866679 Manager: Vivian Wilson email@example.com * Indicates a house opening in summer 2011 THE PATRIOT • WINTER/SPRING 2011 29 Fisher House Foundation, Inc. 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420 Rockville, MD 20850-5000 We put a lot of heart into everything we do. And your support helps make it possible! For the past 20 years, the Fisher House program has worked tirelessly to meet the needs of military Families everywhere. We continue to build and donate Fisher Houses to military/VA medical centers, support existing houses, administer our Hero Miles program, help military families in need and provide scholarships to military children and spouses. At the very heart of our program, Fisher Houses offer a “home away from home,” a place where families can stay and support their loved ones — at no cost — while they receive specialized military hospital/VA medical care. These houses allow the patients and families to focus on what’s most important, the healing process. We encourage you to find out more about the Fisher House program by visiting us online at www.fisherhouse.org or by calling (888) 294-8560. ©2011 Fisher House Foundation | Creative services donated by ds+f, Washington, DC www.dsfriends.com | Some photos compliments of Brendan Mattingly www.brendanmattingly.com