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2013 VOLUME 4 • ISSUE 2


A DAY IN THE LIFE Photo contest winners

UNITED KINGDOM Prince Charles helps dedicate the newest Fisher House in Birmingham, England

THE EAKINS FAMILY A mother's unconditional love

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. Fisher Houses can be found at every major military medical center and several major VA hospitals 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 19,000 families, and has made available over five million days of lodging to more than 180,000 families since the program originated in 1990. 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, the Hotels for Heroes 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 program, 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.

Thank you so much to Don Schaaf & Friends in Washington, DC for your donated services in designing The Patriot.


Cover photo by Greg Martin

Social Media Support


Fisher House in England


Guest Family­Profile— Snyder Family


DHL Sponsors Hero’s Legacy Scholarship


5 Million Nights Lodging Milestone 7 Miss Mary, “Santa” of TLC to Retire


Mental Health Association Award


Fisher House Golf Classic


Play Ball


Warrior Games


Philanthropy Roundtable


A Mother's Unconditional Love


Kangaroo Express— Salute Our Troops Fundraiser


Fisher House Volunteer of the Year 14 A Day in the Life: Photo Contest


Team Fisher House


Ollie's Odyssey


Hero Miles


House Round-Up


Future Fisher Houses in Action


Down Range


Fisher House Directory


FISHER HOUSE FOUNDATION THE PATRIOT CHAIRMAN AND CEO Ken Fisher EDITOR Cindy Campbell ASSOCIATE EDITOR Ashley Estill LAYOUT AND ART DIRECTION ds+f Address all correspondence to: The Patriot Fisher House Foundation 111 Rockville Pike Suite 420 Rockville, Maryland 20850 Phone: (301) 294-8560 Fax: (301) 294-8562 Email:

Fisher House Program by the


$200 Million Savings for Families in Lodging and Transportation Cost

5 Million Days of Lodging Offered

180 Thousand Families Served

62 Fisher Houses in Operation The statistics in this graphic are calculated since Fisher House program inception.

Charity Ratings: A+ Fisher House Foundation works hard to be a good steward of the resources entrusted to us. It is a privilege to do the work we do, and we are proud to hold the highest ratings that can be awarded with the top national charity watch dog organizations. Fisher House Foundation has received an A+ from the American Institute of Philanthropy in their “Veterans and Military” category. Out of 46 charities rated, Fisher House Foundation is one of only two charities to receive their distinctive A+ rating.

LETTER FROM KEN FISHER Dear Friends, It’s fall and that means it’s time for the Combined Federal Campaign, the United Way and many other workplace campaigns. Workplace giving is a great way to donate and thousands of you generously designate your gifts to us every year, often anonymously. I want to thank you for your support—it allows us to be able to continue to meet the needs of those we are privileged to serve.  Since our last issue of The Patriot, we have added two new Fisher Houses to the program; a second house in Houston, TX, supporting the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and a house in Murfreesboro, TN, supporting the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System. We also were honored to have HRH Prince Charles help us cut the ribbon for the Fisher House built in partnership with two amazing British charities, Help for Heroes and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity. Led by my wife Tammy, the Foundation was ably represented by a small delegation. We are ready to start construction for second Fisher Houses at Travis Air Force Base, CA and Joint Base Lewis McChord, WA; and a replacement house at Fort Bragg, NC. We continue to make good progress on the house being built to support the North Florida/ South Georgia Veterans Health System in Gainesville, FL. I also want to acknowledge another milestone: that of having offered five million days of lodging through the network of Fisher Houses.  To our managers and volunteers who have blessed our guest families; thank you for your helping hands. To the families who have found their “home away from home” in a Fisher House, we thank you for the opportunity to help and be a blessing. Finally, to the donors who sustain us, you have my heartfelt gratitude.  Your gifts enable Fisher House Foundation to be a leader in all that we do. I will always give my best efforts to ensure we are good stewards of the resources you entrust to us. Very truly yours,

Charity Navigator awarded the Foundation their coveted 4-star rating for sound fiscal management for the ninth consecutive year, a rating achieved by less than one percent of the charities in the country that they monitor.

Ken Fisher Chairman, Fisher House Foundation




FACEBOOK FEEDBACK “Wanted to say thanks twice... a few years back my son had surgery in Albany and recently my mom. The Fisher House has twice blessed my family. My dad, brother and myself are vets. Your hospitality is a blessing from God. Keep up the good work.” — Phil H. “Thank you for all that you do. The Fisher House at Ft. Bliss and Ft. Campbell made all the difference in my recovery from injuries sustained in Afghanistan. As a combat wounded soldier I salute you.” — Danny N.

TWITTER LOVE SargesList @SargesList Fisher House Foundation has awarded over $11 million through their Scholarships for Military Children Program! Help for Heroes @HelpforHeroes

“Thank you so much for the hospitality while my husband recovers at McGuire. Your house is such a clean, welcoming place for our Veteran's families.”

Prince Charles opens Fisher House – a ‘home away from home’ in Birmingham by H4H @QEHBCharity & @FisherHouseFdtn

— Leslie E.

Ken Fisher @KenFisherFHF

“I just donated to your Operation Hero Miles program. Just wanted to say thank you for taking care of our troops. You guys are awesome!” — Jenny D. “Thank you so much for the hospitality when I was staying in Dallas, Texas… my brother is a Vietnam Veteran and has terminal cancer and the house has been a life saver for our family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.” — Jana P.


THE PATRIOT • VOLUME 4 • ISSUE 2 1 •• 2013 2013

Congratulations to the winners of this year's Newman's Own Awards. We are proud to support groups helping military families.

Dedicating the First British Fisher House for UK Military Families:

FISHER HOUSE AT BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, was joined by Fisher House Foundation’s charity partners, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity and Help for Heroes, to officially dedicate the Fisher House UK at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham in England on June 21, 2013. The two-story property is a short walk from Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and will provide a place where the families of British wounded service personnel can stay, free of charge, while their loved one receives medical treatment at the hospital. “We are so proud to help dedicate this first-ever British Fisher House in the United Kingdom that will serve our Allies and their families in their time of greatest need,” said Tammy Fisher, trustee of Fisher House Foundation, who was joined by her daughters Crystal and Brittany, and son-in-law Arie, at the dedication. “Whether we salute the Stars and Stripes or the Union Jack, we all recognize how important it is to have our families around us when times get tough. This Fisher House will be a sanctuary for those who are facing some of their toughest days, and provide a glimpse to a brighter tomorrow.”

June 21, 2013

Mike Hammond, chief executive of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity said, “We are very excited to be able to welcome British military families into the Fisher House UK, knowing that this is so desperately needed by those who care for our wounded troops. It is home from home within walking distance of the hospital, and it will allow military patients to get off the wards and spend some time with their families and friends in a relaxing and comfortable environment.”

Photos by Ashley Estill

Bryn Parry, CEO and Co-Founder of Help for Heroes, said, “Families have a hugely important part to play in the recovery process and we recognize how essential it is that they become involved from an early stage. We are delighted to be opening Fisher House UK working in partnership with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity and Fisher House Foundation. It is important to remember that while the withdrawal from Afghanistan draws closer, the end of medical treatment for those who have suffered life-changing injuries does not and while we celebrate the official opening today, we recognize that this facility needs support for the long term.” THE PATRIOT • VOLUME 4 • ISSUE 2 • 2013


GUEST FAMILY PROFILE Story and photos by Ashley Estill


To date, Fisher Houses have provided over five million nights of lodging to more than 180,000 families since the Fisher House program began. For wounded, injured or ill service members, that means having your family by your side when you need them the most. Navy Lt. Brad Snyder is just one of those service members who had his family by his side during his road to recovery. “In September 2011, I was embedded with an assault unit based in Kandahar, Afghanistan,” Brad explained. “On patrol from one village to another, two of our Afghan soldier brothers were injured pretty badly in an IED accident. I was rendering aid and failed to identify a secondary device. In the ensuing blast, I sustained serious injuries to my face and broke my hand.” Unfortunately, Brad lost his vision. Because Brad’s injuries were limited from the neck down, he was able to get back into the rehab setting pretty quickly at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Physically able to begin rehabilitation is just one part of the process; coming to terms with your “new normal” is another. “A week went by before I was able to grasp what was going on and identify with the fact that I was going to be blind for the rest of my life,” Brad said. “The support I received from my family and friends was incredible and left me no choice but to move on.” 4


Navy Lt. Brad Snyder

Indeed, Brad moved on and recovered well enough to participate in the 2012 Warrior Games, just eight months after his injury. A swimmer at the Naval Academy, Brad participated in both swimming and track and field at the games in Colorado Springs, winning seven gold medals total. He won four medals in swimming and three in track and field. Brad then went on to London for the 2012 Paralympic Games and won two gold medals and one silver, all for swimming. Getting to that point wasn’t easy, but Brad had his family by his side helping him get there. Brad’s family stayed at the Augusta Fisher House while Brad was going through therapy – they were just a short walk away from the hospital. It wasn’t just the proximity of the house to Brad, but the community support they received while at the Fisher House. “My mom, sister and brother all benefitted from Hero Miles and Fisher House,” Brad said. “It allowed my family to participate in my recovery. I learned braille with my sister. That was important because for myself, adapting to blindness isn’t so difficult.

I have no choice. I live it. The next best thing is to have my family there with me while I’m learning. It’s brought us together in a big way.” For Brad it was important to have his family there to see that he would be okay. He wasn’t going to struggle or trip and fall forever – his mom, brother and sister were able to see Brad learn and succeed. While Brad’s family helped him, they had a community of people also willing to help. “When my sister was at the Fisher House in Augusta everyday people from the community who were so touched by what was going on, would bring chili, cornbread and crockpot recipes to the house,” Brad said. “The Fisher House is that rally point for personal outreach and it’s so powerful,” he continued. “Fisher House is so local and engaged at the community level. They make it so easy to be involved or benefit from the benevolence of the community. These wonderful families share their stories and that’s so powerful when you need it the most.”

“Adapting to blindness isn’t so difficult. I have no choice. I live it. The next best thing is to have my family there with me while I’m learning.”



DHL Sponsors Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship In addition to the Foundation’s main mission of providing temporary lodging at Fisher Houses, another objective we have is to help provide scholarships for military children. To help support this endeavor, Fisher House Foundation is proud to announce a sponsorship from DHL to support the Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship, a program that honors not only those who have fallen in battle, but those who have become severely disabled through their active U.S. military service since September 11, 2001. DHL announced its support of Fisher House with a donation of $300,000 to help fund the scholarship program for the 2013-2014 academic year. The Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship program was founded in 2010 when President Obama donated the proceeds from his children’s book, “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters,” to help establish a scholarship for children of fallen and disabled service members. The contribution from DHL is the largest corporate grant to the scholarship program since its inception. Donations from DHL and other corporate and private sponsors have made it possible for Fisher House Foundation to help 130 military children with college tuition in the program’s first three years. This scholarship program helps students like Josh Hamilton, a high school senior from Virginia who is a three-time recipient of the Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship. Receiving the scholarship in 2011, 2012 and 2013, Josh is currently enrolled at Princeton University and in addition to a full course load; he is a member of the school’s ROTC. He plans on becoming a chemistry or biology major, setting him up to become a pre-med student and eventually a doctor in the Army.

Photos by Joseph Allen

“The Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship is definitely a great opportunity,” Josh said. “It’s a good way to remember people and the scholarship really helped me a lot.” DHL announced the contribution during the 2013 DHL Public Policy Forum in Washington, DC, a two-day conference on the economy, global supply chains, trade policies, and the changing political-regulatory environment.

“They are investing in education for children of those who have made such sacrifices to protect our nation.” “We are so thankful to DHL for their support to this wonderful program,” said Ken Fisher, Chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation. “Fisher House Foundation has provided invaluable support for U.S. veterans and their families, and we salute their outstanding work,” remarked Wolfgang Pordzik, Executive Vice President for Corporate Public Policy at DHL. “We are honored to support Fisher House Foundation’s mission to provide these scholarships to the children of lost or disabled U.S. service members.”

For more information about the Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship visit: 6


Fisher House Foundation has passed a milestone, marking the five millionth lodging night for military families.



MISS MARY, THE "SANTA" OF TLC, TO RETIRE Reprinted with permission from the Sun Herald Photos courtesy of the Sun Herald

By PRISCILLA LOEBENBERG — Special to the Sun Herald

One guest wrote to Good Morning America about her in 2008. Burley was featured on the program's "Giving Back" series. Robin Roberts described her as "the Santa of tender loving care."

KEESLER AFB ­– Mary Burley has spent the last 45 years taking care of active and retired soldiers and their families.

"She gave me a hug on that first day," said current guest Annette Coxwell, whose husband Henry has been undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments since January.

After working more than three decades as a housekeeper at Keesler's lodging facilities, she transferred to Fisher House. It was there she was able to make the most out of her most renowned talent – making people smile. Those she cares for describe her as an irrepressible font of jokes, songs, dances, hugs and prayers. On Monday, March 25, guests and staff of Fisher House treated the spry 72-year-old to a retirement party to show their appreciation. Her final day of work was March 29. Fisher House is a comfort house for seriously ill patients receiving care at Keesler Medical Center or the VA Medical Center. The guests, who may be there weeks or months under trying circumstances, said it is Miss Mary's ebullient personality that makes the house feel like a home.

"I knew then that we were going to be okay.” "She makes the stress melt away." Guests and staff presented Burley with gifts and certificates of appreciation but weren't able to say much without being interrupted by her enthusiastic hugs. "It's tremendous. She has 45 years of service taking care of people," said Brig. Gen. Bradley Spacy. Larry Vetter, director of Fisher House, spoke about how much she would be missed. "I just thank y'all for putting up with me," Burley said. "I'm a lover of people and I'm just so proud of our wonderful military." She then decided to bring the party up in typical Miss Mary style – by dancing "Gangnam Style." She said she plans to travel a little and go to mass more often, but will probably get a part-time job soon after she retires.

Mental Health Association NYC Award At the Mental Health Association of New York City’s annual gala, the Honorable Eric K. Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, recognized Ken Fisher, Chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation for the Fisher family’s dedication to the men and women of our military. The award presented to Ken Fisher had the inscription, "The Mental Health Association-New York City honors Ken Fisher and his family for their commitment to the well-being of our Nation's Veterans, June 6, 2013."



This year's Fisher House Golf Classic marked the 10th Anniversary of the tournament in support of Fisher House Foundation. Proceeds from this year’s tournament were designated for the Fisher House at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina. Thank you to our sponsors United Technologies, SAP, Gannett Government Media, Fisher Brothers, Oshkosh Corporation, Tee It Up for The Troops, Axiom, Delta Resources, FLIR Systems, KBR, L-3 Communications, and STR, LLC. Guests included the Honorable Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-CA, the Honorable Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., D-GA and the Honorable William P. Huizenga, R-MI; Congressional Medal of Honor recipients Lt. Michael E. Thornton, SEAL, USN (Ret.), CSM Robert M. Patterson, USA (Ret.), 1LT Brian M. Thacker, USA (Ret.), Lt. Col. Alfred V. Rascon, USA (Ret.); and USM Sgt. Maj. Michael Barrett. Thank you to all our sponsors, players and volunteers for an amazing day in support of our military!

Photos by Ashley Estill THE PATRIOT • VOLUME 4 • ISSUE 2 • 2013



San Francisco Giants Dale Beatty, retired Staff Sergeant and Fisher House trustee, threw out the first pitch for the Oakland A's versus Giants game on Monday, May, 26 in honor of Memorial Day. Dale also presented Giants pitcher, Barry Zito, with Fisher House Foundation’s Patriot Award, to recognize Barry and his organization, Strikeouts For Troops, contributions to Fisher House. Photos courtesy of the San Francisco Giants

Seattle Mariners The Mariners celebrated Memorial Day at Safeco Field by honoring several members of the military, including Sergeant Leroy Petry. Sgt. Petry, a Medal of Honor recipient, delivered honorary game ball to the pitchers’ mound prior to the game. Photo by Sarah McEnroe

Oakland A’s Dale Beatty threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the A’s vs. Giants game on Memorial Day.

Photos by Michael Zagaris

New York Mets’ Fans Support Fisher House For the second year, Citi hosted a fundraiser in support of Fisher House at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. Mets fans had the opportunity to play softball at Citi Field by purchasing tickets, where all proceeds went to Fisher House Foundation. Baseball legends John Franco and Dwight “Doc” Gooden came out to support all the players, including members of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, who came to play ball too. Photos by Vicki Reeping 10


WARRIOR GAMES 2013 For the past several years, Fisher House Foundation has been a proud sponsor of the Warrior Games. This incredible week of athletic competitions in May brought together two-hundred sixty wounded, injured and ill service members and veterans from all branches of the military including our allies, the British Armed Forces. This year’s games were at the US Olympic Training Center and the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. In addition to supporting the games, Fisher House Foundation was instrumental in creating the Warrior Games Family Program. Thanks to our Family Program partners Bob Woodruff Foundation, Semper Fi Fund, Fisher House Foundation’s Hero Miles Program, Armed Forces Financial Network, Hope for the Warriors, Navy Safe Harbor Foundation, Operation Homefront, and the USO Warrior and Family Care, the families of the athletes were treated like the heroes they are. Families were provided with roundtrip flights, food, lodging, transportation to all event venues and family care packages! A photo is worth a thousand words and can better show you the spirit of the games. Photos by Ashley Estill

PHILANTHROPY ROUNDTABLE HIGHLIGHTS FISHER HOUSE From The Philanthropy Roundtable, Serving Those Who Served: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Assisting Veterans and Military Families Mastering the Private-public Partnership The Fisher family’s several triumphs in catalyzing medical and family care

When it comes to philanthropy supporting veterans, service members, and their families, the Fisher family represents the gold standard. They were in the field before almost anyone else. Their projects have been soaringly successful. And they have managed to repeat their triumphs-first in one area, then in another, later in third and fourth sectors. Drawn from Serving Those Who Serve: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Assisting Veterans and Military Families, which can be accessed at: THE PATRIOT • VOLUME 4 • ISSUE 2 • 2013


A Mother’s



For Kelly Eakins and her husband Mark, October 20, 2009 was supposed to be just another workday – until they got a call that their son Steven was badly injured in a car accident and on his way to Shannon Medical Center in San Angelo, Texas. Both Kelly and Mark left work to reach their son. Steven Eakins, a fourth generation member of the Air Force, left work that day at Lackland Air Force Base to wish his colleagues best of luck on their deployment. On his return trip to work he crashed into a backhoe on the highway at 65 mph, crushing his skull.

“We didn’t know Tampa and were trying to figure out where to live,” Kelly said. “Mark and I decided to wait until we got to Tampa to figure it out. We found out we were able to get a room in the Fisher House right away. It was so helpful; I don’t know how we would have done it. Seriously. I do not know how we would have managed two households on one income.”

Steven wasn’t expected to make it through his first surgery. He had a severe traumatic brain injury and as a result of the accident, his skull penetrated part of his brain. Steven had over 100 facial fractures, broke his right clavicle, right upper arm and right shoulder.

“The most important thing was to be close to the hospital so I could be with Steven doing rehab and taking him to his appointments,” Kelly continued. “I don’t know how much he understands, but I know he knows when I’m there. It has to make a difference.”

Each day, doctors told Steven’s family that they would be lucky if they got another 24 hours. “I told Steven’s doctors that luck has nothing to do with it, Steven is a fighter,” Kelly said. Steven was medically induced into a coma so his body could rest, and spent the next few months making his way to the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa for long-term treatment. Steven and his mom Kelly arrived in Tampa on July 2, 2010. “When Steven woke up from his coma, he was unable to care for himself – he could not walk or communicate.”


Kelly and Mark made the decision that Kelly would quit her job and travel to Tampa to support their son. Of course, that choice was followed up with many questions. Where would I live? How would I afford it? Can I find something furnished? How close will it be to Steven?


Kelly remained at the Fisher House with Steven for almost three years. Throughout Steven’s hospital stay, Kelly was just minutes away from her son. She had the comforts of home, and other families to help her through everything. “Fisher House has allowed me to be no more than seven minutes from Steven,” Kelly explained. “It allowed me to step away long enough for a meal or a shower with the reassurance I can be back by Steven's side within minutes in the case of him needing me. All of these things have been so important to Steven's recovery.” “Another nice thing about Fisher House was getting to know the families. When I first got here, the majority of the families had

patients on the same floor as Steven. I got to know them in both the home and hospital environment.”

together and we rejoice together,” Kelly said. “You have your own space, but yet there is plenty of area to come together and develop relationships with the others.”

Kelly has become Steven’s caregiver; she is trained to do just about anything Steven needs. She went through a fast track program at the VA that trains the family member to become a caregiver.

Just shy of her third anniversary at the Fisher House, Steven and Kelly were able to go home. Steven’s new VA hospital is the South Texas Veterans Health Care System. They went back home in June 2013.

In a minimally conscious state, Steven is still aware of his surroundings. When Steven’s children came to visit, a daughter Sienna and son Asher, it was Sienna who was able to get the most out of her dad. “Sienna is Steven’s little princess,” Kelly said. “It was when Sienna walked into Steven’s room in the hospital and said, ‘Hi Daddy’ that Steven turned his head.” Although separated from his wife, Steven’s children still visit regularly. “I’ve met other families that are also dealing with stressful times. We share in triumphs and trials – we’ve done it all. We pray

Steven is still suffering from TBI and requires constant care, but Kelly and Mark are hopeful that being home will help Steven progress even more. He is closer to his children and lives near the hill country he has always dreamt of. Through it all Kelly has been by her son’s side. “That’s my job as his mom,” Kelly said.

SUPPORTS FISHER HOUSE The Pantry, Inc. the leading independently operated convenience store chain in the southeastern United States, held their third annual summer-long Kangaroo Express “Salute Our Troops” fundraising campaign. Throughout the summer, Kangaroo Express invited their guests to make donations to their campaign and to share special messages of gratitude to the military. Donations from the campaign will directly support several military support organizations, including Fisher House.

Thank you to Kangaroo Express and your patrons for your support. We can't wait to announce the fundraising total! THE PATRIOT • VOLUME 4 • ISSUE 2 • 2013


FISHER HOUSE VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD With 62 Fisher Houses worldwide serving over 19,000 families per year, it only seems logical that we would need help taking care of our special guests. Fisher House volunteers are so important and provide invaluable services to the military families they support. To honor them, Fisher House Foundation has conducted our annual Volunteer of the Year award to pay tribute to just a few of our amazing volunteers. Here are the winners.

Volunteer of the Year Overall Winner ­­­Renee Tanner Salt Lake City VA Fisher House

“I am just honored to be a part of the Salt Lake City Fisher House. It is truly a blessing, not only for the families that stay, but to me as well.” — Renee Tanner

Air Force Volunteer of the Year Cindy Funderburk Alaska Fisher House

Resides in: Salt Lake City With: Husband Jason and two cats Occupation: Flight attendant for Delta Air Lines for 26 years Volunteer Since: 2011 Volunteer Specialty: Renee has been volunteering at the Salt Lake City since the house opened in 2011. The lead volunteer, she trains new volunteers, does inventory and makes sure every donation of food and goods is made available for guests. In addition to her efforts inside the Fisher House, Renee attends nearly every Fisher House fundraising event and has gotten several community groups to give their time or funds to support the house. Her pleasant attitude makes her a bright spot in every family’s day.

Volunteer Since: September 2012 Volunteer Specialty: Cleaning guest rooms, babysitting, providing rides, sitting with families in the emergency room, cooking, giving tours, landscaping and general maintenance.

“Cindy has become a part of our family. Her love for the Alaska Fisher House and the mission of Fisher House Foundation is our daily medicine.” — J  enny Hall Alaska Fisher House Manager



Navy Volunteer of the Year Cindy Clabaugh San Diego Fisher House Volunteer Since: March 2012 Volunteer Specialty: No birthday or holiday goes unacknowledged in the San Diego Fisher House. In addition, every year she provides a Christmas to San Diego’s foster children and to the families of deployed service members.

“Cindy gives herself not just to the Fisher House community, but to other military and church communities as well. She continues to advocate for the cause every day.” — K  ristin Palmer, San Diego Fisher House Manager

Drive-by Donation Your car can make a difference in the lives of military service members and their families. V-Dac vehicle donation services will help you donate your car, truck, motorcycle, RV, boat, airplanes, heavy

Army Volunteer of the Year Grace Blancett

equipment, or farm

Brooke Army Medical Center Fisher Houses

you will receive a tax

Volunteer Since: 2006 Volunteer Specialty: Grace designed a thriving program for more than 60 volunteers to the BAMC Fisher Houses, for a total of 10,379 service hours to more than 410 Fisher House families in 2012. Grace also plans their annual Founder’s Day BBQ to pay tribute to Fisher House founder Zachary Fisher on his birthday.

“Grace has easily become a family member to our residents and is there to share the good days and offer hugs and quiet words of comfort on the bad days.”

machinery, and in return benefit at no cost to the donor or the Foundation. Fisher House Foundation has been the beneficiary of these services for years, using the donations to continue supporting our military. For more information, go to

— Inge Godfrey BAMC Fisher House Manager





2013 FACEBOOK WINNER “Manager’s Choice”





Alaska Fisher House Photo by Greg Martin

Special memories, lifelong friendships and extraordinary bonds are made within the walls of Fisher Houses. It’s hard to put into words the experience of staying at a Fisher House so each year we host a “day in the life” photo contest. A photo is often the best way to capture the experience of our families. Although they are brought together by a crisis, our families find hope and comfort inside a Fisher House. Here we share with you the winners of this year’s contest and some other favorites.

Augusta Fisher House Photo by Nancy McKnew





Augusta Fisher House Photo by Nancy McKnew

Miami Fisher House Photo by Yvette LeMasters







Run for Team Fisher House BY MICHELE BAJAKIAN

Each year Team Fisher House has hundreds of runners who pledge their support and dedicate their run at different military races to raise funds and awareness for Fisher House Foundation. Here, one runner shares her story about why she runs with Team Fisher House.


first Fisher House home was in Landstuhl, Germany in the summer of 2010. While downrange in Afghanistan, my husband, US Army Lieutenant Colonel Todd Bajakian, discovered a lump in his neck. He was sent to Landstuhl and was diagnosed and treated for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Living in Vilseck, Germany at the time, our children and I were able to stay at the Landstuhl Fisher House during Todd’s visits over a few months period for treatment. I was amazed by the facility and what they provided. It was so comforting to know that we had a place to stay while Todd was being taken care of.



In March 2011, the cancer returned and we found another “home” at the Fisher House at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. While at Walter Reed, my husband had a lengthy stay at the hospital as he underwent intensive chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. Through it all, I never had to worry about where I would be living with our children; how we could stay together and still be near their father without it creating a financial burden. We could be together as a family because the Fisher House was there for us. We had a place to stay, a kitchen to cook in, common rooms and an eating area to rest in, and many resources and new acquaintances to rely on.

I truly believe that family, friends, prayer, and Fisher House were instrumental in Todd’s recovery during that time. We are now celebrating Todd’s second year in remission and he is doing great!

We could be together as a family because the Fisher House was there for us. Our family is stronger than ever and more determined than ever to “pay it forward” for what the Fisher House has done for us.

In October 2011, I ran my first Army Ten Miler for Team Fisher House. In October 2012, I was proud to complete my first marathon for Team Fisher House at the Marine Corps Marathon with one of my best friends and the Army Wife Mafia! What an amazing and emotional experience that was! I will never forget running with those ladies and how I felt thinking about everyone that had helped me support Team Fisher House through their donations. I know I won’t be breaking any records, but I am so excited to be running at the Marine Corps Marathon again this year for Team Fisher House.





“I will never forget the people I met along the way, and their immense courage in facing life after their injuries.” It’s not unusual for some students to take a year off before making the commitment to college. However, it is a little unusual for them to take a year break to ride their motorcycle from Ushuaia, Argentina to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska in support of a charity. That was the case for 18-year-old Oliver Plunket of the United Kingdom. “There were more memorable moments than I can count on this trip, including the ride through the Atigun Pass on the Dalton Highway, Alaska. Riding on the southern side, the ground slowly starts to rise towards the mountains and the spruce trees begin to thin out which made seeing the grizzly bear trotting alongside the road through a stunning glaciated valley that much easier,” Ollie said. On his way up the West Coast of the United States, Ollie stopped at Fisher Houses, visiting with injured military members and their families. “I will never forget the people I met along the way, and their immense courage in facing life after their injuries,” continued Ollie. “At the Palo Alto Fisher House, I met US Airman Seth

Photos (above and below) courtesy of U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Tammie Ramsouer. Photo (left) courtesy of Oliver Plunket

Pena, who had done three tours before losing his leg. He officially died twice, once at the scene and a second in the helicopter medevac – to be revived both times. In the hospital, he woke up, looked his mother in the eye and told her that he would get well enough to one day ride his motorbike again, his passion. He then told me about his new prosthetic leg that was on its way – by the sound of it, the technology is utterly incredible and he noted that he was lucky enough never to stub his left five toes again…to be able to see that situation, from that point of view, is truly admirable!” Ollie’s inspiration for the trip came from his deep respect for several family members who have recently served in the British Army and his own plan to become a soldier. Having passed selection to become a Potential Officer of the British Army, Ollie chose to take a “gap year” – 12 months off before going on to university – to travel the world, and says that supporting the Fisher House UK at the same time only seemed to make sense. Ollie has never done any kind of charity or fundraising work before. Ollie’s journey spanned 14 countries: Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States and Canada. Ollie concluded his journey in June with a stop at the Alaska Fisher House at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage. There, Ollie visited with families at the Fisher House and was also welcomed by Col. Thomas Harrell, 673d Medical Group Commander, who presented Ollie with a coin as a token of their appreciation.

Check out Ollie’s blog at 20


how Much are your Frequent Flyer Miles Really Worth? Story by Tish Stropes, Hero Miles Director Photo above courtesy of Christy Gardner

How much are your frequent flyer miles really worth? I suppose this question is a rather ambiguous one given that we all value things in our life so differently. I am asked this question at least once a week by someone looking to donate their miles to our Hero Miles program. I typically tell them that in terms of a financial value, a frequent flyer mile has no value; that is until it is used. There is sometimes a pause followed by, “So, I can’t get a tax write off?” That’s when I smile (to myself, remember I am on the phone) and say, “No, no tax write off but let me tell you about the young woman who I am booking a ticket for right now. She is the fiancé of a young service member who stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and is now at Walter Reed in the ICU. That young woman will fly tomorrow, to the bedside of the love of her life. She will still be his everything, but now his everything with added strength and the faith that will see them through. Her only job for the unforeseeable future will be to stand by the man who causes her heart to skip a beat and fills her stomach with butterflies. You see, I’ll book her airline ticket today using donated miles, those same miles that for some reason have “no value.” I don’t know about you, but to me, and I know the many people blessed by our program, those miles are priceless. Since the Hero Miles program began in 2004, over 40,000 flights have been booked, flying families to the bedside of their loved one or in other cases sending the wounded, injured or ill service member to a program where they will continue to heal. I am humbled by the generosity of our donors and partners. I am humbled that despite the hard times, people still find a way to dig a little deeper and give a little more. I recently received this thank you letter from a wounded warrior explaining the impact Hero Miles has made in her life:

Dear Tish, I just wanted to take a minute of your time to thank you so much for all of your support of the USA Warriors. I can hardly begin to explain to you what it means to have to opportunity to play hockey with the Warriors. After I got hurt I rehabbed on active duty for a year and a half then was retired and released into the VA system. The first thing they did was list all of the things I would never be able to do again. Some time later a vet dragged me to a clinic for sled hockey and I was hooked. I finally found something I could still do and something I could actually learn to excel at! I’m home now and far from the program but the Fisher Houses’ generous support allows me to still play with my battle buddies. I draw inspiration from them and motivation to keep happy and healthy. Being able to fly back to DC to stay a part of the program helps me be a better and stronger person and that is all thanks to you guys making that possible. I’m not sure where I’d be without the physical and mental rehab the Warriors provide but I know it wouldn’t be as good as it is today. Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, for making me a better person. Your support means the world to me and to countless Soldiers that come through our program. Thanks again, Sincerely, Christy Gardner SGT (R) US Army So, I ask you, “How much are your frequent flyer miles really worth?” You decide.

To donate miles or find out more about our Hero Miles program, please visit: THE PATRIOT • VOLUME 4 • ISSUE 2 • 2013


HOUSE ROUND-UP 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 world. CALIFORNIA



Palo Alto, CA KSFO morning show host Brian Sussman broadcasted live from the Fisher House on the Friday before Memorial Day. His morning show was dedicated to raising funds for Fisher House Foundation. Brian interviewed several families staying in the house, including Kim Fennern, the fiancé of SPC Alex Hussey. Kim has stayed in the Fisher House supporting Alex during his lengthy rehabilitation. Thanks to the entire KSFO team for yet another great radiothon!

Travis AFB, CA

Photo by Curt Campbell

SAN DIEGO NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER San Diego, CA Calvin Cox and his volunteer team created a "meditation garden" for the families of Fisher House. Complete with a glider, tables, solar lighting and lilac trees, the purpose of the project was to give families an outside respite. This project was Calvin's Eagle Scout Service Project, which he planned and managed.

Our good friends at BAE dropped by our San Diego Fisher Houses to cook a wonderful meal for our families but they didn't stop there, before the day was over the entire pantry was filled. This is an often forgotten donation that is so important to our families, after a long day in the hospital, a full pantry allows them to come home and prepare dinner with everything they need.

Retired US Air Force Senior Master Sargent Bob Dohlke, a recipient of “The Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor,” is one of the founders of Bulletproof Brands Inc., a veteran-owned company founded in 2010. Bulletproof Brands Inc. continues the mission of serving veterans by donating five cents for each can sold of their Bulletproof Energy Drink to Fisher House Foundation. Thank you to Mr. Dohlke for your continued service of our military. 22


Steve Wellington of American River Window Cleaning and David Russell of Sierra Pacific Window Cleaning heard about the Travis Fisher House on the Armstrong and Getty Radio Program in Sacramento, and were greatly touched by what the Fisher House does for military and veteran families. Their compassion moved them to action, they contacted the manager and set up a complete window washing for the house. This speaks to the power of one of our favorite morning show teams; Armstrong and Getty. Thanks to them, we have even more new friends helping our Fisher House.



VA EASTERN COLORADO HEALTH CARE SYSTEM Denver, CO Eagle Scout Candidate Brad Burbach and Boyscout Troop 140 built and installed three raised bed planters at the Denver Fisher House. These planters will be used for growing herbs and vegetables for the house guests.

EGLIN AIR FORCE HOSPITAL Eglin, FL The Board of the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast has continued to receive support from the civilian community, with help from special visitors Robert Mondavi, Jr., and the historic 71st and last reunion of the Doolittle Raiders. The Doolittle Raiders, Lt. Col Richard Cole, Staff Sgt. David Thatcher and Lt. Col Ed Saylor, were shown the model of the Fisher House. GEORGIA

CHARLIE NORWOOD VA MEDICAL CENTER Augusta, GA Marge Starcher has shown the Augusta Fisher House what a warm heart she has in addition to her bright smile. Marge makes handmade baby blankets, bibs and receiving blankets and donates them to the Fisher House for babies and children lodging with them. She includes matching stuffed animals with each donation. Marge says that nothing is as comforting as someone’s favorite blanket.


FISHER HOUSE FOR FAMILIES OF THE FALLEN Dover AFB, DE Members of VFW Post 7447 visited the Fisher House at Dover Air Force Base and donated two checks to the Fisher House for Families of the Fallen. After the check presentation, the members were given a tour of the Fisher House from House Manager Tech. Sgt. Cheryl Uylaki. A private organization called, “Friends of the Fallen,” have provided the families at the Fisher House with prayer shawls, grief reading material and support during their time of need. These items bring comfort to our families during their most difficult time, thank you to all those wonderful folks who have taken the time to personally knit the shawls.

The Fort Gordon Fisher House celebrated their 20th Anniversary in April with a luncheon to thank and honor those who have supported their home for the past two decades. Col. Christopher M. Castle, Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center commander, and Southern Regional Medical Command and Readiness deputy commander, spoke to the crowd about the incredible legacy that began with Zachary Fisher and his wife Elizabeth. ILLINOIS

HINES VA HOSPITAL Hines, IL The Heart of a Marine Foundation in partnership with Mario Tricoci Salon & Spa hosted a red carpet day of pampering for the guests of the Hines Fisher House. One of the Fisher Houses guests, Ruth, a Marine veteran, celebrated her 90th birthday that day by getting her very first pedicure. The spa day ended with a dinner at the Schaumburg Ram Restaurant & Brewery. Led by executive Jim Welch, approximately 100 of Motorola Solutions’ top leaders dedicated one day of their three-day annual conference to renovate and beautify the exterior of the Hines VA Fisher House.







Bethesda, MD

Home Depot and their generous grant to support Fisher Houses strikes again! This time they completely updated all the bathrooms in the Keesler Air Force Base Fisher House, totaling over $110,000 worth of upgrades. Thank you yet again to Home Depot.

The Navy Fisher House Program wished a fond farewell and best wishes to Becky Wood who served as manager since August 2007. Becky is one of the most compassionate people that you will ever meet, she not only has been a great manager, she has been a great friend to each and every guest who has walked through her door. Being a manager at a Fisher House is a tough job, Becky makes it look easy. We are sad to see her leave Walter Reed but pleased that she will take her love and compassion to the future Fisher House at the VA Hospital in Murfreesboro, TN.


VA BOSTON HEALTHCARE SYSTEM West Roxbury, MA Craig Orsini, a Boston-based photographer and videographer created a video about retired Staff Sergeant William Kleinedler and his journey from injury to recovery. “The Art of Healing” chronicles Bill’s resiliency and how Fisher House and art helped him recover. Bill currently has art hanging in the Warrior and Family Support Center at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas and a sculpture in the backyard of the Boston Fisher House. To view the video, visit Fisher House Foundation’s YouTube page:


MINNEAPOLIS VA HEALTH CARE SYSTEM Minneapolis, MN Home Depot comes through yet again for another Fisher House, this time in Minneapolis. The local Home Depot team installed new cabinets, lighting, appliances, tile sinks and bathroom necessities. Thank you to Home Depot!



Keesler AFB, MS


ST. LOUIS VA MEDICAL CENTER St. Louis, MO Emma and her cousin Nathan decided they should enjoy the backyard of the Fisher House and share with other guests their love for Fisher House. As they chalked the patio, Emma’s older brother is in the background keeping an eye on them.


STRATTON VA MEDICAL CENTER Albany, NY The Albany Fisher House has recognized two of their dedicated volunteers, Carol and Tony Spensieri who spent countless hours transforming the landscaping around the Fisher House and serenity garden. This garden provides a warm and tranquil place for guests to take a few moments break. Tony and Carol maintain the garden, volunteering countless hours to the project.


VA PITTSBURGH HEALTHCARE SYSTEM Pittsburgh, PA The month of July was filled with many events for the guests at the Pittsburgh Fisher House. The Pittsburgh Area Camaro Enthusiasts held a cookout for the families as well as the Mon Valley A.B.A.T.E. group. The local Lions Club hosted a car show with proceeds going to the Fisher House. Finally the PGA TOUR Wives Association stopped by and prepared a meal for the guests. What a great group of supporters!


VA NORTH TEXAS HEALTH CARE SYSTEM Dallas, TX Citrix Systems, Inc. held a luncheon for the Dallas Fisher Houses guests in April. Many thanks to Citrix for hosting a lovely lunch for our families. NORTH CAROLINA

CAMP LEJEUNE NAVAL HOSPITAL Camp Lejeune, NC In celebration of Marine Chevrolet Cadillac’s 67th anniversary, they hosted an All American Anniversary Celebration in July, filled with a weekend worth of events to benefit the Fisher House at Camp Lejeune. The event included a concert by country star Chris Cagle. Marine Chevrolet partnered with the Got to Be NC, Piggly Wiggly, WRNS, and Pepsi to host the country singer. A great time was had by all!



HOUSE ROUND-UP BROOKE ARMY MEDICAL CENTER SAN ANTONIO MILITARY MEDICAL CENTER Fort Sam Houston, TX The Brooke Army Medical Center Fisher Houses recently held their second annual Children’s Day in July. Over 300 children came out to enjoy the activities of the day, including piñatas, coloring contests, a magic show, face painting, and making candy castles. One of their guests enjoyed spending time with the rabbits – with her dad by her side watching her. Local costume characters Shamu, the Spurs Coyote, the HEB buddy and the VIA bus, came in to join the day’s festivities.

MICHAEL E. DEBAKEY VA MEDICAL CENTER Houston, TX Houston based talk show host Michael Berry challenged his listeners around the country to send in funds for Fisher House Foundation, at the end of the fundraiser he would shave his evergrowing beard, as well as shave his head bald. The rest of his team jumped in on the bet as well. Michael Berry raised over $100,000 in a matter of days. The mass head shaving for the Berry team took place at the Houston Fisher House. Talk about enthusiasm!

Photo from

WILFORD HALL AMBULATORY SURGICAL CENTER SAN ANTONIO MILITARY MEDICAL CENTER Lackland AFB, TX The 321st Training Squadron Military Training Instructors assigned to Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, TX were on hand to support Wilford Hall Fisher House’s 22nd Anniversary. Dinner was served to guests by Galen Nursing School.



Our good friends at WOAI in San Antonio have done it again. They did a week long on air fundraiser calling it “Heroes Week” to bring attention and funds for both the San Antonio based Fisher Houses at Lackland, Brooke Army Medical Center and our newest San Antonio Fisher House located at the VA Medical Center. A special thanks to program director Peter Bolger at WOAI.


QUEEN ELIZABETH HOSPITAL BIRMINGHAM Sir Cliff Richard, British pop singer, stopped by the UK Fisher House to visit with families and tour the new facility.


FORT BELVOIR COMMUNITY HOSPITAL Ft. Belvoir, VA In partnership with the Armed Forced Financial Network, Belvoir Federal Credit Union donated gift cards to the Fisher House in Fort Belvoir. To celebrate the 28th anniversary of AFFN supporting the military and their families, Belvoir Federal took part in the “Thank You” card program, showing appreciation for the sacrifices military families make.

NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER, PORTSMOUTH Portsmouth, VA The Salty Dawgs of Virginia, a motorcycle riding club made up of United States Navy Veterans, held their 7th Annual Poker Run in support of the Fisher House Portsmouth. They featured door prizes, 50/50 drawings, bike show contests, trophies and vendors. Thanks to all for riding for the house.





Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA

Seattle, WA

Local radio station KISW, in partnership with Elysian Brewing, have donated $300,000 to Puget Sound Fisher House and Joint Base Lewis-McChord Fisher Houses to honor and assist Veterans and active military personnel and their families. Thanks to the support of the KISW listeners, the total donations have reached $300,000. The number one afternoon show, The Mens Room, partnered with Elysian Brewing to create Mens Room Original Red. An instant hit, the success allowed them to give back to the community.

Puget Sound may have a reputation for being gray and rainy but this summer has defied all expectations. The proof? Name one other place, besides a greenhouse, where tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, lettuce, peppers, apples and strawberries all ripen at the same time! Long-time volunteer Virginia Carmen presents one day's bountiful harvest... destined for the plates of the guests of VA Puget Sound Fisher House.


NEW YORK, NY On September 17 at Citi Field, Fisher House Foundation was honored by Citi and the New York Mets for our legacy of supporting our nation’s wounded warriors and their families. Ken Fisher, Chairman and CEO, accepted the award on behalf of the Foundation. Thank you to Citi and the New York Mets for your support.

Pictured: Mets legend Tom Seaver, Fisher House Foundation Chairman Ken Fisher and Citi's Suni Harford at Citi Field Photo courtesy of Marc Levine




IN ACTION Milwaukee, WI The Milwaukee Fisher House hosted their May 2013 Gala at the 128th Air Refueling Wing. There to help support the event were Governor Scott Walker, BG Dunbar, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Gary Wetzel, Base Commander Col. Metzler and Ken Fisher, Chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation. —Photo courtesy of Dave Gilo

Cleveland, OH

Gainesville, FL

Murfreesboro, TN

Burning River Lacrosse held their 6th annual Fisher House Charity Lacrosse Showcase in May, and raised more than $57,000 to benefit the Greater Cleveland Fisher House. Held at Hawken School’s Walton Stadium, the event featured teams from all over the state and included a special guest speaker, Sue Yocum, who shared her family’s story and Fisher House experience with the crowd. Burning River Lacrosse has raised $297,000 in support of Fisher House over the past six years.

The Gainesville Civic Chorus Master Chorale, with special guests the Gainesville Barbergators, presented the Spirit of America VII concert, in honor of our nation’s veterans. The concert was held at the University of Florida auditorium, and a portion of the proceeds from the concert benefited the Gainesville Fisher House.

The Nashville Fisher House board posed for a photo with the family of James Hunt, a wounded warrior, along with the Tennessee Commissioner of Veterans Affairs. James was the official starter of the NROTC Run for Veterans and his mother and father walked with him during the race. James’ family stayed in a Fisher House while he was recovering from wounds.




IN ACTION Chicago, IL GE’s military veteran employee group will be working a concession stand at Soldier Field for 19 events. The proceeds will be split between Fisher House and Honor Flights. All proceeds to Fisher House will benefit the North Chicago Fisher House building fund.


Denver, CO

West Haven, CT

A Food Truck Fundraiser was held to support the Denver Fisher House in May. The Crock Spot and RollinGreens food trucks were parked in Aurora near the Veterans Hospital, selling lunch and donating a portion of proceeds to the Denver Fisher House. Patrons could build a bowl of fried rice or barley; or enjoy chicken tacos; a beet and balsamic salad or bulgogi tacos, to name a few. Thanks to the food trucks for supporting Fisher House.

On November 10, the New England Region of Fred Astaire is hosting a gala, “Dancing With Our Heroes,” to benefit the Friends of Fisher House Connecticut, the local group supporting the future Fisher House at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System. The dance competition will be between military heroes and their professional dance partners. A group of judges and audience voting will determine the winner.


“Why I ’m a Fisher House Volunteer” By Wendy Van Kylen

From Left: Fisher House Board Director Curtiss Peck, Cecilia Gore Executive Director of the Brewers Community and Fisher House Marketing Committee Member Wendy Van Kylen during a check presentation to the Fisher House Wisconsin.

Milwaukee, WI It’s been more than seven hours. We should hear something soon. The doctor said surgery should take about six hours. I’m sure Dad is fine. Three more hours passed. The waiting room at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison was now empty except for our small family and the ticking clock. When the doctor came in we learned of the unexpected complications encountered that day. All we had planned for – a ‘routine’ surgery, a couple of nights at a hotel in Madison, and then back to life as usual – was replaced with one large question.

“What is Plan B?” We can figure this out. We can change hotels but we will have to find one close to the hospital. We can take turns staying with Mom, his wife of 43 years who couldn’t imagine being without him. We can navigate the cafeteria and vending machines. We can take turns driving back to Milwaukee to get clean clothes. Nothing we can’t handle. Nothing we wouldn’t do. Our small family seemed large when we all gathered around Dad in the ICU that night. Although almost all of the ICU beds were full with veterans, we only saw one other family that evening and another in the next five days. Perhaps their families weren’t able to find an answer to “What is Plan B?” that allowed them to be close. I am certain that our presence played a significant role in Dad’s recovery. We would see his heart rate increase on the monitor every time Mom walked in the room. My brother stayed with him during every procedure (that caused me to hide in the stairwell). My sister-in-law brought cards and letters from his grandkids every day. My husband was able to remember and understand what the doctor said when emotions would get the best of us. And, on Dad’s last day on the surgical recovery floor, his doctor said, “Normally, I wouldn’t let you go home today but I can see you have a strong support system.”

So, when people ask me why I’m a Fisher House volunteer, I tell them that story. Dad is a Vietnam Veteran. He and Mom traveled 112 miles to Madison from Wisconsin Rapids where they still live. The rest of us live in the Milwaukee area. I wonder what our experience would have been like had there been a Fisher House available. I wonder how many of the families who weren’t able to find an answer to “What is Plan B?” would have been helped by Fisher House. I wonder how many veterans in that ICU would have recovered more quickly if their families were near.

Wendy’s family, including her father, ran/walked the Brewers 5K in July. Wendy was the top fundraiser.




RANGE Fisher House Foundation is building on its commitment to help military families

The following projects are currently in design or under construction: David Grant Air Force Medical Center Travis AFB, CA (second house) Malcom Randall VA Medical Center Gainesville, FL Womack Army Medical Center Ft. Bragg, NC Madigan Healthcare System Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA (second house)

Future projects with an immediate recognized need: Southern Arizona VA Health Care System Tucson, AZ Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton Camp Pendleton, CA VA Long Beach Healthcare System Long Beach, CA VA Palo Alto Health Care System Palo Alto, CA (second house) VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System Denver, CO (second house) VA Connecticut Healthcare System West Haven, CT VA Medical Center Tampa, FL (second house) VA Medical Center Las Vegas, NV Portland VA Medical Center Portland, OR Clement C. Zablocki VA Medical Center Milwaukee, WI





Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Hospital 4943 Zeamer Ave. 673 MDSS/SGS/FH Elmendorf AFB, AK 99506 (907) 222-1673 Manager: Jenny Hall

Bay Pines VA Healthcare System 10000 Bay Pines Blvd. Bay Pines, FL 33744 (727) 319-1350 fax: (727) 319-1106 Manager: Rena Graves

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 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 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: Kristin Palmer David Grant USAF Medical Center 100 Bodin Circle Travis AFB, CA 94535-1804 (707) 423-7550 fax: (707) 423-7552 Manager: Charlene Hall

COLORADO VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System 1954 Quentin St. Aurora, CO 80010 (303) 399-8020 x. 2049 fax: (303) 364-4882 Manager: Joy Weyna-King

DELAWARE Fisher House for Families of the Fallen 220 Lajes St. Dover AFB, DE 19902 (302) 677-5317 Manager: TSgt. Cheryl Uylaki

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Washington DC VA Medical Center 50 Irving St. NW Washington, DC 20422 (202) 745-8692 Manager: Stacey Childs

Eglin Air Force Hospital 350 Boatner Rd. Eglin AFB, FL 32542 (850) 883-2865 Manager: Ron Gribble James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital 13000 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. Tampa, FL 33612 (813) 910-3000 fax: (813) 910-3088 Manager: Paula Welenc Miami VA Healthcare System 1201 NW 16th St. Miami, FL 33125 (305) 575-7260 fax: (305) 575-7261 Manager: Carolyn Soucy West Palm Beach VA Medical Center 7305 N. Military Trail-Route 136 W. Palm Beach, FL 33410 (561) 422-5554 fax: (561) 442-8793 Manager: Shelley Prickett

GEORGIA Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center One Freedom Way Augusta, GA 30904 (706) 729-5773 Manager: Anne Arnold Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Hospital Fisher House Rd. - Bldg 280 Fort Gordon, GA 30905-5650 (706) 787-7100 fax: (706) 787-5106 Manager: Francisco Cruz

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

ILLINOIS Hines VA Hospital 5000 S 5th Ave. Hines, IL 60141 (708) 202-7154 fax: (708) 202-7155 Manager: Holly Wright

*Please direct all correspondence to the Zachary and Elizabeth M. Fisher House, along with the specific house address. For any correspondence questions, please contact the Fisher House manager directly at the desired location.



Blanchfield Army Community Hospital 652 Joel Dr. Fort Campbell, KY 42223 (270) 798-8330 fax: (270) 798-8804 Manager: Wendy J. Carlston

Stratton VA Medical Center 113 Holland Ave. Albany, NY 12208 (518) 626-6919 fax: (518) 626-5452 Manager: Jerry Jensen

MARYLAND Malcolm Grow Medical Center 1076 West Perimeter Rd. Andrews AFB, MD 20762 (301) 981-1243 fax: (301) 981-7629 Manager: Janet Grampp Walter Reed National Military Medical Center I, II, III, IV, V 24 Stokes Rd. Bethesda, MD 20814-5002 (301) 295-5334 fax: (301) 295-5632 Manager: Kenneth E. Merritt

NORTH CAROLINA Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital 4 Recovery Way Camp Lejeune, NC 28547 (910) 450-3885 fax: (910) 450-3887 Manager: Josie Callahan Womack Army Medical Center 12 Bassett St. Fort Bragg, NC 28307-5000 (910) 432-1486 fax: (910) 432-3825 Manager: Lorie Southerland


Walter Reed – Forest Glen 2460 Linden Ln. Bldg 173 Silver Spring, MD 20910 (301) 295-7373 fax: (301) 295-8012 Manager: Maurice Borde

Cincinnati VAMC 3200 Vine St. Cincinnati, OH 45220 (513) 475-6571 fax: (513) 487-6661 Manager: Karrie Hagan


Wright-Patterson Medical Center I, II 417 Schlatter Dr. Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433 (937) 257-0855 fax: (937) 656-2150 Manager: Karen Healea

VA Boston Healthcare System 1400 VFW Pkwy. West Roxbury, MA 02132 (857) 203-4000 Manager: Elizabeth St. Pierre

MINNESOTA Minneapolis VA Health Care System I, II 1 Veterans Dr. Minneapolis, MN 55417 (612) 467-5602 fax: (612) 970-5864 Manager: Marge Oslund

MISSISSIPPI Keesler AFB Medical Center 509 Fisher St. Keesler AFB, MS 39534-2599 (228) 377-8264 fax: (228) 377-7691 Manager: Larry Vetter

MISSOURI St. Louis VA Medical Center 1 Jefferson Barracks Rd. St. Louis, MO 63125 (314) 894-6145 fax: (314) 894-6147 Manager: Karen Poston

PENNSYLVANIA VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System University Drive C, Bldg 33 Pittsburgh, PA 15240 (412) 360-2030 fax: (937) 656-2150 Manager: Heather Frantz

TENNESSEE Tennessee Valley Healthcare System 3400 Lebanon Pike Murfreesboro, TN 37129 (615) 225-5758 Manager: Becky Wood


WASHINGTON Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Bldg. 36015 Fisher Ln. Fort Hood, TX 78254 (254) 286-7927 fax: (254) 286-7929 Manager: Isaac Howard Brooke Army Medical Center I,II,III,IV San Antonio Military Medical Center 3623 George C. Beach Dr. Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234 (210) 916-6000 fax: (210) 916-6488 Manager: Inge Godfrey Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center I, II 2002 Holcombe Blvd. Houston, TX 77030 (713) 794-8095 fax: (713) 794-7194 Manager: Frank Kelley Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center I, II, III San Antonio Military Medical Center 1445 Foster Ave. Bldg 3865 Lackland AFB, TX 78236 (210) 671-6037 fax: (210) 671-6020 Manager: Ramona Lewis South Texas Veterans Health Care System 7485 Wurzbach Road San Antonio, Texas 78229 (210) 617-5300 x. 16626 Manager: Harry Robinson

Madigan Healthcare System 9999 Wilson Ave. Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA 98433 (253) 964-9283 fax: (253) 968-3619 Manager: Jodi Land VA Puget Sound Healthcare System 1660 South Columbian Way Seattle, WA 98108 (206) 768-5353 fax: (206) 277-1415 Manager: Cecile Bagrow

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

UNITED KINGDOM Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Mindelsohn Way Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham B15 2TH 0121-472-6217 fax: 0121-4130-6897 Manager: Patrick Hogan

UTAH Salt Lake City VA Health Care System 690 S. Valdez Dr. Salt Lake City, UT 84148 (801) 588-5900 Manager: Quinn Kiger-Good

VIRGINIA Fort Belvoir Community Hospital 9201 Woodbury Rd. Ft. Belvoir, VA 22060 (703) 805-5203 Manager: Roxannamaria Calderon

VA North Texas Health Care System 4500 S. Lancaster Rd. Bldg 79 Dallas, TX 75216 (214) 857-2574 fax: (214) 462-4923 Manager: Lydia Henderson

Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth 853 Fisher Dr. Bldg 287 Portsmouth, VA 23708 (757) 953-6889 fax: (757) 953-7174 Manager: Jill Thompson

William Beaumont Army Medical Center Bldg 7360 Rodriguez St. El Paso, TX 79930 (915) 569-1860 fax: (915) 569-1862 Manager: Harry Hicks

McGuire VA Medical Center 1201 Broad Rock Blvd. Richmond, VA 23249 (804) 675-6639 fax: (804) 675-5979 Manager: Wayne Walker



Fisher House Foundation, Inc. 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420 Rockville, MD 20850-5000

Because we

our heroes.

For more than 20 years, Fisher House Foundation has been dedicated to meeting the needs of our military heroes and their families, all made possible by the generosity of people just like you. At the very heart of our program, we construct and donate Fisher Houses to military and VA medical centers, and support the operation of more than 60 existing houses. These “homes away from home” offer a welcoming place to stay for the families of our military while their loved ones receive specialized medical care. Because lodging at any Fisher House is free, patients and their visiting families can focus on what’s most important, the healing process. Additionally, our Hero Miles program assists with travel needs, and our scholarship program offers educational advancement to military children and spouses. Show your love by making a donation to Fisher House. To find out more, please visit or call (888) 294-8560.

Fisher House Foundation

CFC Code: 11453

©2013 Fisher House Foundation Creative services donated by ds+f, Washington, D.C. | Photo provided by Craig Orsini.

Fisher House Patriot Magazine 2013 Volume 4 Issue 2  

Our Lodging Milestone: Five Million Nights

Fisher House Patriot Magazine 2013 Volume 4 Issue 2  

Our Lodging Milestone: Five Million Nights