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2019 VOLUME 10 • ISSUE 1



The FISHER Family LEGACY Lives On


The Fisher Family Legacy COVER STORY on page 14

SUAVE PARTNERS WITH FISHER HOUSE (Story featured on page 19)



Chicago VA Fisher House Wedding

Wounded Combat Veteran Capt. William Reynolds

(Story featured on page 8)

(Story featured on page 27)

Contents Social Media Support


Hotels for Heroes Program Partners with Airbnb


Guest Family­Profile: The Cangemi Family


Fisher House Volunteers Impact Families 5 Guinness World Records for Gumbo


Little Jeremy Chwalik


Team Fisher House


Chicago VA Fisher House Wedding


Journal Entries


Meet the Staff


Fisher House Salutes


Meet the Manager


COVER STORY: A Family Legacy Lives On 14 NMFA and Fisher House Come Full Circle


Padilla Family Photographs Their Travels to Sydney's Invictus Games 17 Hearts in the Community


House Roundup


Community Groups in Action


Dedications & Groundbreakings


Wounded Combat Veteran Becomes Newest Trustee


Down Range


Fisher House Directory



About Fisher House Foundation Inc. Fisher House Foundation is best known for its network of comfort homes, where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment. These homes are located at major military and VA medical centers nationwide and in Europe, close to the medical center or hospital they serve. Fisher Houses have up to 21 suites, with private bedrooms and baths. Families share a common kitchen, laundry facilities, a warm dining room and an inviting living room. Fisher House Foundation ensures that there is never a lodging fee. Since its inception, the program has saved military and veterans’ families an estimated $451 million in out-of-pocket costs for lodging and transportation. Fisher House Foundation also operates the Hero Miles Program, using donated frequent flyer miles and funds to bring family members to the bedside of injured service members, as well as the Hotels for Heroes program, using donated hotel points and dollars to allow family members to stay without charge at hotels near medical centers. The Foundation also manages a grant program that supports other military charities and scholarship funds for military children, spouses and children of fallen and disabled veterans. Fisher House Foundation Inc. is a nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the IRS code. Donations to Fisher House Foundation or individual Fisher Houses are taxdeductible to the maximum extent permitted by law.

Fisher House Program by the


$451 Million Savings for families in lodging and transportation cost

8.7 Million Days of lodging offered

368,000 Families served

82 Fisher Houses in operation The statistics in this graphic reflect the Fisher House program’s impact since inception.

Address all correspondence to: The Patriot Fisher House Foundation 12300 Twinbrook Parkway Suite 410 Rockville, MD 20852 Phone: (301) 294-8560 Fax: (301) 294-8562 Email: info@fisherhouse.org

At Fisher House Foundation, our magazine, much like the work we do, is about teamwork. The Patriot is created in-house by our communications staff. Our team of graphic designers at Don Schaaf & Friends in Washington, D.C., donates services toward the design of each issue, and our printing partners help ensure we are getting the best rates possible. The Patriot magazine is one of our best resources to educate audiences about the Foundation’s work, and we are proud of the product we create. We are grateful to provide this resource at a very minimal cost, thanks to the work of everyone involved. At Fisher House, we always strive to be good stewards of your donation to the Foundation.

www.fisherhouse.org Cover Photo: Ken Fisher receives sage advice from his granddaughter, Rose, at the Warrior Games. Photo by Kerri Childress

LETTER FROM KEN FISHER Dear Friends, Over the last 20 years, I have come to learn about the depth of strength and character of the men and women who serve and have served this nation. I’ve also witnessed firsthand the service and sacrifices of their families. I’ve always said that the family serves too, and we can’t begin to repay our debt to our service members and veterans without taking care of their families. This issue of The Patriot has a lot of stories about families and the impact they make, not the least of which is my own family and the impact they have had on me and Fisher House Foundation. From my great-uncle Zachary and his wife, Elizabeth, who founded the Fisher House program, to my father, my wife and our children, my family has been dedicated to serving those who served, including their families. And I feel that I’ve come full circle with the building of the two Fisher Houses at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx, the first Fisher Houses in New York City. My roots are in the Bronx and it will always hold a special place in my heart. The Fisher House program cares for men and women who suffer both visible and invisible wounds. These men and women serve even though it requires making sacrifices about which the average American has no concept. They serve knowing they may come home wounded. They serve knowing they may not come home at all. Helping our injured and ill military, veterans and their families isn’t charity, but rather, this nation’s solemn duty. I know I speak for everyone in my family when I say we will be here for as long as it takes. We will find and devote the resources given to us to get the job done. We will help organize a victory at home for those who have served the nation so well. Tammy and Ken Fisher cheer on the U.S. sitting volleyball team at the Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia last October.


Kenneth Fisher Chairman and CEO, Fisher House Foundation @kenfisherfhf

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 awarded by the top national charity watchdog organizations. Fisher House Foundation has received an A+ from CharityWatch in its Veterans and Military category. Out of 65 charities rated, Fisher House Foundation is one of only two charities to receive this distinctive A+ rating. Charity Navigator awarded the foundation its coveted 4-star rating for sound fiscal management for the 15th consecutive year, a rating achieved by less than 1 percent of the charities it monitors.



SOCIAL MEDIA SUPPORT FACEBOOK FEEDBACK www.facebook.com/fisherhouse “I so enjoyed watching the Fisher House being built at the Las Vegas VA. I was volunteering at the VA Hospital and planned to become a volunteer at the Fisher House before relocating.”— Norman Bowlen “Fisher House at Travis AFB was a lifesaver when my Airman son was hospitalized!! Forever grateful.” — Janette DeLorme Parrish “Amazing work by Fisher House Foundation. Our family is grateful for all they have done for veterans & families. My family experienced this great foundation’s commitment over numerous years at The Tampa VA Fisher House.” — Jeff Tischleder “I stayed in a Fisher house at Walter Reed with my pregnant daughter when her husband was severely injured in Afghanistan. It was ‘home away from home,’ and we made friends that became family. It made an unbelievably awful time more bearable, and I'll be forever grateful.”— Margaret Waugh “Fisher House was there for me and my family when my uncle was in hospice and when he passed away. My father and I went to his funeral service, and the day of the service, my father was admitted into the hospital and put on hospice. Tragically, he passed away the next month. I came to Miami from Wichita, Kan., and was so thankful Fisher House Foundation was there to help us through these really hard times. Thank you, Fisher House, for all you have done for us and others.”—Trina Howe

TWITTER LOVE twitter.com/fisherhousefdtn “An amazing day in Brigantine. Polar Bear Plunge 2019 to benefit Fisher House — 63 degrees outside and 47 in the ocean." #Brigantine #polarbearplunge — Gary Paul, @brigantinehomes

“Never too young to volunteer! These awesome volunteers from the Bright Star Chapter of the National Charity League visited our Houston VA Fisher House to provide lunch to veteran family members. NCL is a group of moms and daughters who volunteer together.”—VA Houston, @vahouston “The O’Connor Boys Soccer Program collected almost 100 fleece blankets to be donated to the Fisher House for military families who are staying there while they or loved ones receive medical treatment in San Antonio!” @fisherhousefdtn @tascosoccer @nisd_athletics —OCBoysSoccer, @boys_oc

JOIN THE CONVERSATION! Don’t forget to connect with us on Instagram too (@fisherhousefdtn). Share your story with us using the hashtag #FisherHouse! 2


Fisher House Foundation’s Hotels for Heroes Program Partners With Airbnb Story by Kerri Childress

It’s not unusual for Fisher Houses to be full. And it’s not unusual for military service members and veterans to receive medical care where there is not a Fisher House. That’s when the Foundation’s Hotels for Heroes program steps in. The Hotels for Heroes program provides hotel rooms to the families of wounded, injured and ill military service members who are undergoing treatment at authorized medical centers when a Fisher House is not available. In the past, rooms have been made possible through the donation of rewards points and cash by the hotel's rewards members. Now, donated homes and apartments are also available through Airbnb.

Story and Photos by Kerri Childress

Last fall, Airbnb announced the expansion of its Open Homes platform to include medical stays, allowing hosts to list their homes for free for those traveling for medical treatment. As part of this expansion, Airbnb will be working with Fisher House Foundation to help provide alternative accommodations for military families traveling for medical treatment. “At Airbnb, our mission is to help create a world where anyone can belong anywhere, and our Open Homes platform extends that mission of belonging to those in the greatest need,” said Airbnb co-founder and Chief Product Officer Joe Gebbia. “We are proud to expand our platform to medical stays and leverage the generosity of the Airbnb community to help patients and their families find warm and welcoming spaces to rest and recuperate.” Air Force veteran Ashlee Wajer was the first person to use an Airbnb under the new program. She requires a bone marrow transplant every other month and drives 600 miles to get treatments. Her mom, Kathy, and son, Maverik, come with her. “We were trying to find any kind of resources that would help with hotels and transportation,” said Ashlee. “Fisher House came to my rescue through Airbnb. We have our own private space, and we have the means to cook. It’s been nice. I don’t know what we would do without Fisher House Foundation and its support through Airbnb,” Ashlee said. Ken Fisher, Chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation, added, “We are excited about this new partnership with Airbnb. It will allow us to serve even more military, veterans and their families, particularly those who are not near a Fisher House or when the Fisher House is full — just one more way we can show appreciation to this most deserving group of Americans. Thank you, Airbnb, for caring.” THE PATRIOT • VOLUME 10 • ISSUE 1 • 2019


GUEST FAMILY PROFILE: The Cangemi Family Story by Ashley Estill

NAME: Joseph and Dorothea Cangemi HOUSE: Andrews AFB, Md. HOME: The Villages, Fla. MILITARY BRANCH: Army

Army veteran Joseph Cangemi and his wife, Dorothea, will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this year. Thanks to his time in the service— nearly 28 years in the Army, and over 18 years in civil service— he and Dorothea have traveled the world and called several Fisher Houses their “home away from home” along the way. It was Dorothea’s diagnosis in 1998 that introduced them to Fisher House. Joseph was stationed in Italy when Dorothea was diagnosed with sinus cancer, sending them to the Landstuhl Fisher House in Germany while Dorothea underwent chemotherapy. Following chemo, Joseph and Dorothea were sent to the thenWalter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., to continue her treatment process. While staying at the Walter Reed Fisher Houses, Dorothea actually received radiation treatment at the then-Bethesda Naval Hospital because they could offer her the best plan for her cancer. After Dorothea was cancer-free, she and Joseph continued to travel the world, wherever his job took them. After Joseph suffered a back injury in 2002, they returned to Germany and the Landstuhl Fisher House while Joseph got medical care. “The Fisher House not only helped me, but I knew that Dorothea was in a nice, comfortable home,” Joseph said. “It was the same thing when she had cancer. We were so lucky. Fisher House helped relieve our stress. When you’re sick, stress is the last thing you need.” Joseph and Dorothea currently live in The Villages in Florida, but they continue to head north for medical treatment and various medical appointments. They receive treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda and at the Malcolm Grow Medical Clinics and Surgery Center on Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Although they have stayed at the Fisher Houses at Walter Reed in Bethesda, it is the Andrews AFB Fisher House that they have called home for the past several years. 4


“It’s so peaceful here,” Dorothea said of the Andrews AFB Fisher House. “We eat breakfast here every morning, and I cook at least three or four times a week.” “I’m so grateful for the Fisher House,” Joseph said. “I really feel like it saved our lives. When you’re in the Fisher House, you get relieved of the stress, not only financially, but everything else. It seems like every one of these managers knows your problems and how to help you, and I really appreciate that. We are so thankful to the Fisher House, the managers and staff for their help.” Top Photo: by Ashley Estill Bottom Photo: by Veronica Harris


IMPACT FAMILIES Story by Toni Gross, Tampa VA Fisher House Volunteer

I have been volunteering at the Tampa VA Fisher House since my son was killed in Afghanistan more than six years ago. But this story isn’t about me. It’s a story about another volunteer who heartened an entire family and made one of their worst days more bearable. One recent evening, Miss Kim Providenti and her father, Tony, bought and prepared a meal consisting of four homemade meatloaves, a 12-pound ham, creamy mac and cheese, green bean casserole and much more. I am always grateful to the volunteers who provide these meals. ... Sometimes, though, there are those ordinary meals that become extraordinary because the meal was made with love and care, and because of the reaction of those enjoying the meal. This combination was exactly what happened on this evening. A family of five followed the wonderful smells to the kitchen. I welcomed them to the “Fisher House Feast” and explained a little about who provided the meal and the meal selections on the counter. They were quiet, and there was a solemn air about them. The mother of the family, sister, her two adult children and a nephew filled their plates and disappeared into the dining room. I did not think too much about it. They were new to the Fisher House, and I had not seen them before. Minutes later, one of the daughters came into the kitchen and said, “My father passed away three hours ago. My mother and father had been married for 62 years. Before we walked into the kitchen this evening, after my father's ‘final salute’ at his bedside, we had no idea where we were going to eat.” She was crying at this point and said that the Fisher House meal had been totally unexpected. It provided a quiet place of comfort to spend time with family together as they began their grief journey. By then the mother had come into the kitchen. She was a petite little lady, and tears streamed down her face. She let me know that she, too, was so grateful for the meal and place of quiet refuge. Her daughter tenderly helped her back into the community dining area where the family enjoyed the pumpkin cheesecake for dessert.

Top Photo: Kim Providenti brings homecooked meals to the Tampa VA Fisher House. Bottom Photo: Toni Gross lends a hand.

Well, as you can imagine, I was in tears, too. I was grateful to have been there to witness how the Fisher House made such a difference in the lives of this family. It's times like this—when the unexpected happens — I believe it to be a “God hug.”



Louisiana Chef Cooks 6,800 Pounds of Gumbo, Breaking World Record Proceeds Go to Fisher House Foundation Story by Kerri Childress

Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar, a leading family sports bar, spiced up last year’s Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., by teaming up with world-renowned Louisiana Cajun and Creole chef John Folse to set the world record for the largest pot of gumbo. More than 6,500 pounds of gumbo were prepared and sold at the football game. Fans paid $5 per bowl, with proceeds going to Fisher House Foundation. It was estimated that more than 11,000 bowls of gumbo were sold. The money will go towards the building of a new Fisher House at the VA in New Orleans. “Food has an undeniable power of bringing people together, and I’m proud to use this vehicle to support the team at Walk-On’s for their effort to cook for charity in my home

state of Louisiana,” said Folse. The gumbo included 983 pounds of shrimp, 590 pounds of catfish, 299 pounds of crab, 262 pounds of alligator, 33 pounds of crawfish and 111 pounds of oysters, in addition to the rice, spices and broth. The stainless-steel pot alone was 1,068 gallons and was specially made for the event. This wasn’t chef Folse’s first record; however, in 2011, he cooked a record 4,000-pound pot of gumbo. The previous world record for pounds of gumbo was 5,800 and was set in 2015 as a part of the Major League Eaters’ World Record Gumbo Eating Competition in Larose, La. “As the founder of a company that fosters and supports opportunities for military veterans, and the son of a veteran myself, it

little jeremy chwalik Jeremy looks at photos of himself in the last issue of The Patriot — so proud to be on the cover and in the center spread. Jeremy was born with Down syndrome and two life-threatening congenital heart issues. He and his mother, Erika, were immediately flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and Erika called Fisher House her home. In the coming years, the entire Chwalik family continued to call various Fisher Houses their home as Jeremy received treatment for leukemia. The entire Fisher House Foundation staff wish him love, health and happy days ahead. (To read the entire story, go to www.fisherhouse.org.)



has always been a key effort to find a way to give back to our nation’s service men and women,” said Brandon Landry, founder of Walk-On’s. “We believe wholeheartedly in Fisher House Foundation’s mission to provide comfort and a taste of home to hospitalized military vets and are proud to employ our go-getting, walk-on spirit to aid America’s heroes.”

TEAM FISHER HOUSE PUTTING MEANING IN 26.2 MILES Scott Kaldahl has run five Marine Corps Marathons as part of Team Fisher House. In 2018, he decided to put a personal meaning to each mile by creating a list of people to honor while he ran. He listed 27 names on a wristband, one name for each mile, plus one for the last 0.2 mile. The names are of friends and family who have served in the military and their branch of service is listed next to their names. With every step he took through our nation’s capital, he was reminded that not only is he a Champion for Military Families, but he is also a champion for those close to him who have served and have sacrificed. To learn more, visit www.teamfisherhouse.org.

CORPORATE SPONSOR FEATURE: For the past six years, Navy Mutual Aid Association has shown its support for military families by sponsoring Team Fisher House as a Corporate Champion. Their logo can be found proudly displayed on the side of the team hat. Navy Mutual was founded in 1879 and is the first veteran service organization. With a mission to help military families face challenges, it aligns perfectly with Fisher House Foundation. To learn more about how your company can become a Team Fisher House Corporate Champion, please contact teamfisherhouse@fisherhouse.org.



Chicago VA Fisher House

Celebrates Love, Friendship and Family During Its First Wedding Story and photos by Kerri Childress



As he sat in his Army veteran’s baseball cap, Melvin (“Mel”) Twining slowly told the story of his son, his two years and one week living at Fisher House, the lifelong friendships he made there—and, most importantly, on that particular day, his wedding to a woman he obviously loves deeply. “I could think of no better place to marry Chel [Ritchel Nagdaparan] than the Chicago [Hines] VA Fisher House,” said Mel. “This is my home, and all these people here today are my family. I couldn’t be happier, even though I have tears in my eyes. I’m sorry I get so emotional, but memories of my son and the love I feel from everyone makes me that way. Fisher House changed my life when my son, Nate, was sick, and it continues to do so today.”

Yes, these families are friends, but Mel will tell you without hesitation that he came to the Fisher House with one family and left with one much, much larger. “In some ways, we are closer than family,” said Mel. “We all suffered together and bonded during traumatic times. We were there to support one another. What goes on behind the doors of a Fisher House is remarkable.” Holly Wright, the manager of the Chicago Fisher House, whom everyone agrees is a mother angel, has a sign outside her office door: “Take a deep breath. You are home.” Certainly, the families attending the wedding that day would have agreed wholeheartedly.

Nate Twining, Mel’s son, was a career 101st and 82nd Airborne soldier. He served a combat tour in Iraq and another in Afghanistan. Although his vehicle had been hit by an IED, it wasn't an IED that killed him. It was a brain tumor. It took years, and, according to Mel, the Fisher House is what kept him alive so long in the end. “While we were living here, Nate touched everyone, and everyone loved Nate. Just ask anyone who knew my son,” said Mel. Mel was right. We asked. “Every morning, Nate would come into the kitchen and give me a kiss. It was the highlight of my day,” said Pearl Clark. “Everyone loved Nate, and I was no exception,” said Sylvia Arcos. “Nate loved board games, and we played a lot. You really get to know someone playing games together. Nate was a saint,” said Fran Edmunds, a Gold Star sister. “Nate, Mel and I would go fishing or to baseball games. I consider them both my dearest friends,” said Ernest Clark, a Vietnam veteran who gave Chel away at the wedding. Wedding guests came from five states. Two couples drove more than 400 miles. Everyone agreed they would never have missed it. They were all there for Nate’s funeral at the Chicago National Cemetery, and they were there to celebrate Mel’s happiness now and to hear Mel and Chel vow their love to one another for the rest of their lives.

Top Photos: Mel and Chel Twining take their first kiss as man and wife. Mel and Chel laugh with their close friends Pearl Clark and Sylvia Arcos. Lovely Leah Manfredy carries Chel’s wedding veil. Above Photos: Friends from five states joined in the backyard wedding at the Chicago VA Fisher House. Mel and Chel consider the Fisher House manager, Holly Wright, second from left, along with her staff and volunteers—Steve Hartless, Tabios Boatright and James Cook—members of their family, "in some ways even closer than family", Mel said. THE PATRIOT • VOLUME 10 • ISSUE 1 • 2019


Entries From Fisher House Guests Within the walls of each Fisher filled House guest suite are journals of a s with entries containing storie or just loved one, encouraging words will rds a simple thank-you. These wo g be read by the next family stayin ce pea in that room to help them find of and hope. Here, we share a few ilies. fam these words, written by our n one of comf ort "My stay at the Fish er Hou se has bee l arriv ed eigh t days and a bag of love . My husb and and

he had und ergo ne. ago for a follo w-up on a proc edu re thou ght of goin g We are leav ing with hosp ice care . The

the stay at the thro ugh this deva stat ing time with out perc ent calm er, and Fish er Hou se is unb eara ble. l am 99

my husb and at this that is the grea test gift l coul d give kind staf f, bea utifu l time in our lives . Tha nk you for the

the oppo rtun ity to envi ronm ent, safe ty, park ing, meal s and ish this time in my shar e with the othe r gues ts. l shal l cher mem ory with love ."



ization, l was "During a life_changing surgery hoskpietall had provided comfort and hospitality li safe havenevnerand one expected or anticipated. lt was a n family, we are so that l wil never forget. As a veterayou do here. l say very proud of the wonderful work ly not too soo . that we wil meet again, but hopeful To all associated with the Fisher House: me during l thank you for the care you have shown ds is greatly my stay here. Your foresight into our enee y from home” appreciated. This has been my “homat awa VA hospital. during my husband’s recuperation the ked in the l felt welcome from the moment l wal ember the door, and, now, as l leave, l wil alwayserem put into making kindness and the great care everyon nurses and Fisher House so welcoming. And to ithe thoughtfulness for members of the community for the rwe’ re spending all supplying a bounty of food, knowingalways remember our time with our loved ones, l wil your kindness. ng to our family, The Fisher House has been a true blessi erans and their such a wonderful service this is for vet on us all to have families. lt made things so much eastoierour a place to stay so we could be close loved ones."

Kerri ss re d l i h C tions unica nd m m Co ryla VP of kville, Ma Roc

MEET The Staff

Fisher House Foundation is comprised of many passionate and talented people. Each issue, you’ll meet someone who helps contribute to our mission of supporting our military, veterans and their families.

Kerri Childress

VP of Communications Serving military, veterans and their families has been my life’s work, and getting a chance to make a difference in their lives has been such a rewarding journey. As a Navy veteran, I retired from government service after 34 years (Arlington National Cemetery, Military District of Washington, Armed Forces Retirement Home and VA) to take a job with an organization that I have admired for decades—Fisher House Foundation. I was on the front lines at VA Palo Alto, Calif., when our severely injured troops started coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. I saw firsthand the impact of a Fisher House and the difference it made for military, veterans, their families and even VA staff. I will never forget when a young Marine was admitted for a severe traumatic brain injury. His 19-year-old wife, eight months pregnant, was there to be by his side. She came alone, but, within days, she had more moms and grandmas by her side than you could count. It was the mother of another Marine being treated at VA who held her hand when her baby girl was born. The baby’s first home for six months was a Fisher House. Fisher Houses are there for all our veterans, from WWII to Iraq and Afghanistan. I hope each time a family walks through the doors of a Fisher House, they know these homes are America’s way of saying, “Thank you for your service and that of your family—you make us proud.” Through the years, my admiration for Fisher House Foundation has never waned. I have never viewed Fisher House as work in the true sense of the word. It’s a passion and a labor of love. I am blessed to have this opportunity.





Military service members, veterans and their families are supported by countless organizations that acknowledge their sacrifices. We feature a top-tier organization each issue.


Fisher House Supports Home Base— a Nonprofit Dedicated to Healing Invisible Wounds Fisher House Foundation knows it can’t be everything to everyone, so the Foundation often reaches out to other nonprofits that support our military, veterans and their families, and asks, “How can we help? What do you need?” For a nonprofit called Home Base, which works to heal invisible wounds of veterans, service members and their families, the answer is a safe, comfortable place to stay during treatment. As a National Center of Excellence, Home Base operates the first and largest privatesector clinic in the nation devoted to healing invisible wounds such as post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, anxiety, depression, co-occurring substance use disorder, family relationship challenges and other issues associated with service. Patients receive a coordinated, individualized treatment plan at Home Base’s Boston clinic. The focus is on a two-week Intensive Clinical Program to heal the invisible wounds of war. Since 2016, Fisher House Foundation has been supporting the program by providing more than 4,000 hotel nights to more than 400 families. Why? Because we understand the need, and Home Base provides care regardless of ability to pay. “When I think about the ways I want to show appreciation and demonstrate a readiness to give back, I think about the work we do at Fisher House Foundation,” said Ken Fisher, Chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation. “I am inspired by the great work being done by Home Base. We will continue to play our part to grow Fisher House Foundation and work with organizations like Home Base to support our men and women in uniform, our veterans and our military families.” 12


Fisher House Foundation is privileged to have amazing managers at our Fisher Houses. These professionals do a wonderful job taking care of the families that call Fisher House “a home away from home.”

Betsey Striebel

Dayton VA Fisher House DAYTON, Ohio Story and photo by Ashley Estill

Betsey Striebel has been with the Fisher House program since 2014, first as the manager of our Fisher House in Palo Alto, Calif., and now at the Dayton VA Medical Center. Her background as a licensed counselor, combined with her compassion and drive for making a difference, makes her invaluable to the military, veterans and families she serves. “I started with VA 10 years ago,” Betsey began. “I am a licensed counselor by training and was in private practice before I came to Palo Alto. I worked at schools, with kids, families and adults. At the VA, I began working in the primary care clinic, assessing veterans for PTSD, and then became a veteran advocate.” While working in Palo Alto, Betsey became aware of Fisher House, and the opportunity to become the manager presented itself. “I told myself, ‘I’m going to take this chance.’ My first love was working with families,” Betsey said. “I’d worked for some nonprofits in the past, and I was eager to help people and continue making a difference. “I remember walking into the Fisher House for the first time. The environment was so inviting, warm and friendly,” she said.

“It felt like you were coming home and leaving the hospital. It makes such an impact in the ability to care for people.” Coming home to Fisher House means giving families in need a refuge and allows Betsey to help make their lives a little easier. When she sees a family struggling for gas money or groceries, she’s often able to provide a gift card to help them. It’s not only Betsey’s giving spirit, but the generosity of the public that continues to inspire Betsey. “My first Christmas at the Fisher House, I was so overwhelmed at the kindness of the community who wanted to support the families,” she said. “One community member helped provide free tuition for the preschool children, and another came to bring gift cards to families.” “I am just so thankful for the impact of Fisher House. Being a therapist and counselor, I had to fix people, and, here, I can take care of them without having to do that. I can support them and be there if they need a talk, hug or food in their belly. I give what I can, but I get so much more in return.” Above Photo: Betsey Striebel is given the ceremonial Fisher House key by Foundation President Dave Coker during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Dayton VA Fisher House.




Above Photo: Tammy and Ken Fisher sit below paintings of Zachary Fisher, founder of the Fisher House program; his brother Martin; his other brother; and Ken's grandfather Larry Fisher.

A Family Legacy Lives On Ken Fisher Comes Home and Builds the First Fisher Houses in New York City Story by Kerri Childress

Ken Fisher’s family roots run deep in New York City. It was here — “This is like coming home for me, coming full circle,” said Ken. “My two generations ago— that his grandfather and great-uncles grandfather Larry Fisher and my great-uncles, Zachary and Martin, dropped out of school so they could work and help support their devoted their energies to supporting their families and went on immigrant parents. It was in the Bronx where Ken, Chairman and to build a New York City real estate empire. But for them, it was CEO of Fisher House Foundation, played stickball in a parking lot always about family first.” behind the apartment building where he spent his youth. Today, it is where Ken is building the first Fisher Houses in New York City— Perhaps that’s why Zachary, the youngest of the Fisher brothers, appreciated that one of the best ways to repay our military and at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx. veterans was to ensure their families were cared for and nearby



during times of medical hardship. It was that thought that helped create the Fisher House program nearly 30 years ago. “I am inspired by Zachary’s legacy of selfless giving and stepping up to solve a problem,” said Ken. “What he started—and my family and I have continued—is a nationally lauded public-private partnership. I don’t know if Zachary and his wife, Elizabeth, could have truly foreseen the impact of their vision, but I am certain they would be proud of where his family has taken it,” Ken added. Born in the Bronx, Ken went to P.S. 24 elementary school from 1965-70. According to Ken, it looks exactly like he remembers it. “I remember having to clean the erasers at the beginning of the school day. After that, we would head to Goldman’s Luncheonette, where we had egg creams and hot dogs,” said Ken. “The Bronx definitely molded me and gave me the foundation I have today.” Ken lived in the Bronx until fourth grade, during which time his grandfather, dad and uncles began to expand the Manhattan skylines.

“They built the apartment buildings we lived in and donated the land for the Jewish Temple nearby, where, behind the pulpit, is written ‘In Memory of Carl Fisher,’ my great-grandfather. I was bar mitzvahed at the Temple, and it’s where I went to nursery school.”

Above Photo: Three generations of the Fisher family join in the groundbreaking for the two new Fisher Houses at the Bronx VA: Tammy Fisher, Ken Fisher’s wife; Ari Deutsch, Crystal Fisher’s husband; Rose, Crystal and Ari’s daughter; Crystal Fisher, Brittany Fisher and Josh Fisher, Ken’s children; and Ken Fisher.

Left Photo Above: Ken Fisher takes a stroll down memory lane as he walks by his elementary school, P.S. 24, in the Bronx. Middle Photo Above: Ken Fisher is joined by his family at the Warrior Games in 2018. Right Photo Above: Ken Fisher checks regularly on the building of the Bronx Fisher Houses— the first Fisher Houses in New York City.

Zachary built the first 22 Fisher Houses, which Ken would then go on to expand to over 80 homes throughout the country, in Germany and the United Kingdom. During Ken's nearly two decades of Fisher House Foundation leadership, his family has been by his side. His wife, Tammy; and children, Crystal, Josh and Brittany, were with him to open new Fisher Houses, and support the Warrior Games and the Invictus Games. Tammy and Crystal are on the board of trustees, as is his father, Arnold. And, now, there is even a fifth generation of Fishers attending events —Rose, Crystal’s 5-year-old daughter. “My family instilled in me a great respect for our military, veterans and their families, and I have ensured that the same esteem and admiration is carried on in the generations after me. My family and I have never lost sight of who we serve or why we serve,” Ken said. “We are humbled to be entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing Fisher House Foundation. We honor and respect that trust every day. We are proud to continue the Fisher family legacy.”

Photo Above: Crystal Fisher and her dad, Ken, cheer on the U.S. team at the Orlando Invictus Games in 2016.



NMFA and Fisher House Come Full Circle “I asked my husband if he got a hotel, and he said they were staying at the Fisher House,” Kasinda recalled. “They were so grateful to be able to stay close by.” Fisher House came into her life again through its involvement with the NMFA scholarship— something for which Kasinda is so thankful. “The scholarship helped me a great deal,” she said. “Having the scholarship for my education means I have a little extra money for my family. My family is my priority, and I want to make sure they are taken care of.” Story by Ashley Estill

Kasinda Thomas was looking for scholarships for her son, Jahmai, when she stumbled upon the National Military Family Association (NMFA) scholarship — for herself. Kasinda was studying to earn her master’s degree as a licensed professional counselor, with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy, when she found the scholarship that she would apply for and receive. Kasinda is still in her program now (she will graduate in August), but she also works full time; participates in an internship; and is a mom of two and wife to her husband, Army Sgt. Andre Thomas. For nearly 50 years, the NMFA has been supporting service members, spouses and their children. Fisher House Foundation has been a proud supporter of its scholarship program, having donated over $1.3 million since 2010. Fisher House Foundation is one of many military and veteran service organizations that exists, and our combined efforts with other organizations — our partnerships allow us to have an even greater impact on those we are privileged to serve. Our paths are often intertwined by families themselves — just like Kasinda’s family. When Andre was stationed in Germany, Kasinda had complications while pregnant with her daughter. Kasinda first learned about Fisher House after she was medevaced from Heidelberg, where they were living, to Landstuhl. Her mom and husband stayed at the Fisher House while Kasinda was in the hospital recovering for nearly two weeks after having a healthy baby girl.



Kasinda’s son goes to Virginia State University, and her daughter, Harmony, is a junior in high school. Kasinda knows that military spouses take care of everything while their loved one is serving. It’s a responsibility she understands and for which she signed up. “You learn to be resilient and roll with it,” she said. “It’s a part of your lifestyle. You find your strength inside to sustain your family and help move forward.” “I think the NMFA scholarship is a great benefit for military spouses,” Kasinda continued. “It creates this opportunity for us to get businesses, help with school and realize our dreams. Being a military spouse, we’re consumed with our spouse's career and making sure they are successful. With opportunities such as these scholarships, it helps us fulfill our own goals. I am so appreciative this is available.”


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Hearts in the Community Proud Supporters Cruisin for Heroes Written by Lou Realmuto

Cruisin for Heroes is a group of patriots, volunteers and supporters that includes many veterans, like me, who have a love of country and a desire to help those in need. In addition to providing several signature events each year, we collaborate with local community organizations, retailers and companies to bring a family friendly vehicle display to an event that will raise awareness and funding for Fisher House Foundation, as well as other charities/local community service groups supporting military organizations, veterans and first responders, while encouraging interest in preserving the great classic automobile hobby for future generations. Our association with Fisher House Foundation over the past eight years has been an honor, and everyone in our group is truly a “Proud Supporter.” Fisher House’s charity ratings by all the top national charity watchdog organizations is just one of the reasons we wanted to partner. Although last year we raised almost $10,000, our primary objective is to raise awareness. A common theme at many events is the surprising number of spectators, including those in the military who are unaware of the work of Fisher House. Our ability to share information and provide insight into the opportunities available is extremely rewarding, and we are looking forward to another successful year. Thank you to Lou and the entire Cruisin for Heroes group for your spirit of volunteerism and support.

Sevan Solutions Jim Evans knows the importance of charity. As a founding partner and majority owner of Sevan Multi-Site Solutions, he ensured it was part of the company’s core values: integrity, respect, teamwork, excellence, and charity. Fisher House Foundation is privileged to have been selected as a beneficiary of the company’s generosity. Not long after the company was founded in 2011, they formed a team of runners who raised funds and awareness for Team Fisher House at the Army Ten-Miler. Always a top fundraising team, they have raised over $50,000 to date—and counting! In 2018, the team hosted its inaugural golf classic and selected Fisher House Foundation as one of three recipients for the event. We are deeply grateful to have received $25,000 from that event. We are honored to have the support of Jim and the employees of Sevan Multi-Site Solutions.



Corporate and Foundation Giving Fisher House Foundation is the beneficiary of many generous gifts. Here, we highlight companies that continue to support the Fisher House program.

Suave Partners With Fisher House Foundation to Raise Awareness and Support Military and Veterans' Families Story by Stacy Thomas

When we got the call that Suave was considering a major campaign to support Fisher House Foundation, we knew it would be a special partnership. It was important for Suave to partner with a charity that aligned with its values. For over 80 years, Suave has valued the importance of family and believes that certain things should be accessible to every American—whether that’s the products you buy or something as important as having your family with you in a crisis. Suave made it clear from the beginning that learning about our mission and the families we assist was imperative to creating a campaign that resonated with the public. We always tell people that we can talk about what a Fisher House is, but the true beauty of the Fisher House program happens before your eyes. Suave started by touring the Fisher Houses at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Suave representatives had lunch with Fisher House families and were able to experience the bond they form with the other families in the house.

To raise awareness for the unique challenges some military and veterans’ families face, Suave also created a beautiful video to showcase the magic inside a Fisher House by highlighting three awe-inspiring veterans and their families who volunteered to share their experiences —the Allen family, the Sawyer family and the Mitchell family. Retired Col. Ben Mitchell, USA, said,“No matter how much medication you give someone, no matter how great the medical team is, the most important healing element is family.” You can see this amazing video on Suave Beauty’s YouTube page.

In addition to educating others about Fisher House Foundation, Suave donated $1 for every purchase of limited-edition packs of shampoo and conditioner sold, and $1 for every specially marked coupon redeemed from Oct. 14 to Nov. 18—achieving a $1 million goal. We couldn't have imagined such a successful campaign, not only resulting in a $1 million donation, but creating an immeasurable amount of awareness for the Fisher House program.



HOUSEROUNDUP 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, submitted by our managers. ALASKA

JBER HOSPITAL Elmendorf AFB Alex, from Eagle River, Alaska, chose the Alaska Fisher House to complete his Eagle Scout project. The project began with Alex organizing and hosting a bake sale at the JBER Medical Group and Hospital. Funds raised were used to purchase toys and building supplies to complete the project to build a deluxe outdoor activity center. The bake sale was so successful that Alex was able to build two activity centers, purchase balls, hula hoops, cornhole, bubbles and various games to fill the centers while also making a cash donation to benefit the Alaska Fisher House. His hard work and dedication will help fulfill the needs of our active duty and veterans and will put smiles on the children and young at heart at the house.

shades, throughout the year, Valle Verde Rotary supports the Fisher House guests by doing wish-list item drives, preparing pulled pork and barbecue pork in individual frozen packages, and completing various group projects in the house. We are incredibly grateful to have them as part of our Fisher House family.




 OUTHERN ARIZONA VA S HEALTH CARE SYSTEM Tucson The SAVAHCS Fisher House in Tucson was the lucky recipient of a generous donation of motorized sun shades for the back patio of the Fisher House. Co-sponsors Valle Verde Rotary worked diligently to not only submit a grant to fund half of the project, but found the perfect vendor for the installation. As everyone knows in Tucson, especially in the summer, the sun is hot. With the sun shades, Fisher House guests can now enjoy sitting on the back patio and relaxing after a long day at the hospital. Along with co-sponsoring the sun



The Fisher House staff was pleased to present Marc McGalliard the Fisher House Angel Award at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony Nov. 18, 2018. This is a great honor because less than 2 percent of all Scouts achieve this prestigious rank. Marc’s Eagle Scout project was a grounds beautification project at the Camp Pendleton Fisher House. Having been raised in a military family, Marc chose his Eagle Scout project to give back to the military community. The project included fundraising, construction of four park benches, and improving the landscaping to create a peaceful and calm environment for our families to reflect in during their time of need. Being outside in a garden setting helps to reduce anger, fear and stress, and to increase pleasant feelings. Our families will be able to benefit from this project for many years to come.



SAN DIEGO NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER San Diego Remember. Honor. Support. BAE Systems Inc. is proud to invest in the local military community where their employees live and work. Seven BAE employees paid special tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces by volunteering over 20 hours of service to revitalize the landscaping below Fisher House. They removed two truckloads of bark and replaced it with two pallets of drought-tolerant rock. The xeriscaping has assisted in beautifying the space and has reduced maintenance to the area.

 DAVID GRANT USAF MEDICAL CENTER Travis AFB We would like to honor Ms. Tricia Low, who has volunteered

over 150 hours to the Travis AFB Fisher House since July 2018. Her time here has made a huge impact on not only our guests, but also our staff, helping all of us in different ways. Perhaps one of the most creative ideas she has come up with was to create custom Travis AFB Fisher House water-bottle labels, which we use regularly for our events. Everyone who has seen them has absolutely loved them. It truly helps to leave a lasting impression on our guests and visitors.

In December, the VA Connecticut Fisher House welcomed a veteran and his wife as guests to our home. During the checkin process, the guests were given a tour of the home. When the guests came upon the framed picture of the USS Intrepid Aircraft Carrier, they were informed of how Zachary Fisher founded the Intrepid Museum Foundation in 1978, saving the historic and battlescarred aircraft carrier from the scrap yard. A huge smile lit up the veteran’s face after hearing this story. The veteran told us he was one of the crew members on the ship that had towed the Intrepid from its decommissioning at Quonset Point, R.I., in 1974. The Intrepid was towed by the USS Shakori ATF-162, a U.S. Navy seagoing salvage ship, called an ocean-going tug (unlike harbor tugs, it was just over 200 feet long). The veteran and his wife, as well as the Fisher House staff, were amazed at how everything came full circle with the veteran’s involvement with the Intrepid. The veteran even sent a photo from the fantail of the Shakori, hooking up to the Intrepid to tow.


 HARLIE NORWOOD C VA MEDICAL CENTER Augusta Just in time for the holidays, the Augusta Fisher House received a very generous donation from POSCO America of 21 brand-new televisions, one for each guest suite and one for the family room. POSCO toured the house in November and, a few weeks later, called and said they purchased the new TVs. POSCO America even installed each TV too!




EDWARD HINES VA HOSPITAL Hines Hines Fisher House was honored to be selected as one the recipients of Chicago Cubs player Kyle Schwarber’s Neighborhood Heroes foundation. Kyle Schwarber has a special place in his heart for first responders and the military, as his family has served in both capacities. He is committed to giving back to the community and felt that the Fisher House met the criteria for his mission. Kyle visited the Fisher House, signed autographs, took photos with guests and gifted the house with a signed jersey. The Fisher House guests were treated to a wonderful afternoon by a very gracious Cubs player!

MP battalion when he was killed in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. This year, as a great surprise, we received a matching donation from Baylor University's active members of Sigma Phi Epsilon. These young men, mere toddlers in 2003, only know of LTC Orlando from those that attended Baylor some 40 years ago, which is an inspiring example of how they honor the legacy of their brotherhood.




BLANCHFIELD ARMY COMMUNITY HOSPITAL Fort Campbell We are so grateful for the support from our friends, near and far. Among those friends is the Texas Rho Chapter (Baylor University, Waco) of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. The alumni have been supporting our home for more than a decade. They hold an annual golf invitational in memory of their brother Kim Orlando. LTC Orlando was the commander of Fort Campbell's 716th 22


The staff and volunteers at Keesler Fisher House would like to recognize manager Larry Vetter, who is also a Navy veteran. Twenty years ago, Larry assumed the position as manager of the Keesler Fisher House, the eighth Fisher House opened. Over the years, Larry has watched the program grow from 24 houses to 80. In 2017, he was integral as Fisher House II was built at Keesler AFB, offering his two decades of experience to both contractors and Keesler leadership. With two Fisher Houses, Keesler AFB now offers a combined 24 guest suites. During his 20-year span, Larry has been an exemplary ambassador for the Fisher House at Keesler AFB. His years of service and loyalty to the program are to be commended.


STRATTON VA MEDICAL CENTER Albany Recently, the Albany Fisher House was presented with an extremely generous donation from the Order of the Eastern Star, New York state. Equally impressive to the amount, which topped $45,000, were the efforts of the individual who spearheaded the fundraising project, Grand Patron and United States Army veteran Leland Barnes. Lee Barnes embarked on a yearlong tour, together with Grand Matron Lynn Schmitt, across our state, where they presented a passionate message about the mission of our Fisher House and the military families we serve. It is a mission near and dear to his heart because Lee Barnes directly experienced the caring and support of Fisher House when his son, an Army staff sergeant serving in Baghdad, was severely injured in a rocket-propelled grenade attack. This led the Barnes family to Brooke Army Medical Center and the loving environment of the Fisher Houses located there. The support and kindness received during this difficult journey left a lasting impression on the family and inspired Lee to include Fisher House Albany as his beneficiary of the Order of The Eastern Star, New York State, Grand Patron project.

them for their sacrifices. The movement was originally started by Catherine Roberts of Seaford, Del., in 2003, and has now spread across the United States as well as internationally.

with others—to share the burden of their loss—as a burden shared is lessened. Everyone wins when all feel like the lucky recipient of nourishment and love. That night, sharing stories of loss, we all won. ­— Quinn Kiger-Good


CINCINNATI VA MEDICAL CENTER Cincinnati The Gallatin County Homemakers have supported the Cincinnati Fisher House for years. However, its latest donation may be its best yet. The group of homemakers from Gallatin County— who possess a clear passion for improving local communities and supporting veterans—donated over 75 patriotic pillowcases to our Fisher House. The pillowcases are adorned with the Fisher House name and some of America’s most distinct iconography, thereby enhancing the patriotic feel of our house and brightening the stays of our guests. TEXAS

VA NORTH TEXAS HEALTH CARE SYSTEM Dallas Ronald Brannon, a Vietnam-era Army veteran who served in a combat zone from April 1971 to February 1972, was presented a Quilt of Valor on Oct. 19, 2018—a thank-you for his service to our country. Lucita Brannon worked diligently to get the application and the documentation required to have the quilt presented to her husband of 36 years. The quilt was presented to Ronald at VA North Texas Fisher House. Ronald was overcome with emotion by the surprise his loving wife had arranged. Quilts of Valor is a nonprofit foundation whose goal is to cover all physically or psychologically wounded service members with a freedom quilt, honoring


SALT LAKE CITY VA HEALTH CARE SYSTEM Salt Lake City To honor her brother-in-law, Major Brent Taylor, who had been killed in Afghanistan seven weeks prior, Kate Taylor Borden chose to spend her 35th birthday making a meal for veteran families at the Salt Lake City Fisher House. As she arrived with a slightly older couple, she introduced them as her parents. She said, “I spent my childhood in foster care and these fine people—Becky and Bennett Borden— adopted me last year as an adult.” She added, “That’s really rare; I’m superfortunate.” Bennett responded, “We are actually the fortunate ones.” As the evening progressed, this impressive family—who provided everything from homemade soups and salads to desserts, floral centerpieces and snack bags to go—became even more impressive. As the veteran families dined, Kate, Becky and Bennett made a conscious choice to “split up and get to know as many people as possible,” validating their stories and experiences, and genuinely thanking them for their service. Later, after they cleaned the kitchen and toured the home, they excitedly shared the stories they had heard. As I watched this unfold, beginning to end, I choked back tears. Kate, who lived a lifetime of loss, and who had tragically lost her brother-inlaw seven weeks prior, stated that it is her life’s mission to do her part to connect

FISHER HOUSE TRAINING Fisher House managers from across the country and around the world, joined together for a week-long training in Orlando, Fla. While there, they also had an opportunity to visit the new Orlando Fisher House. Said one of the managers, “This opportunity helps us all grow and learn new and better ways to serve our families. It’s also a time when we get to see old friends and make new ones.”







Fort Belvoir


Each spring, our home comes to life with the help of our friends from Ruppert Landscaping. Across our property, scores of roses, day lilies and hydrangeas bloom throughout to bring bright colors to our families. Each week through the growing season, our team from Ruppert trims, prunes and mows to ensure our families have the best healing environment available. From the first year, the staff from Ruppert has embraced our mission, waving from the mowers at the children watching from the window and cutting flowers for the ladies rocking on the porches. They have planted trees to remember family members we have lost and assisted our families with so many questions about how-to projects they are planning when they return home. We are truly grateful to the Ruppert family and their employees. It wouldn't be a beautiful day on our property without them. Thank you, Tom, Greg, Pedro, Mr. Velazquez, Joaquin, Manny and all the wonderful employees that work tirelessly to create our beautiful property.

A huge thank-you goes to WO2 Nicholas McKenzie for completing the New York City Marathon in aid of Fisher House and raising £1746.39, along with other fundraising events. Nicholas works as the logistics manager at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, so he has a close relationship with Fisher House. As well as taking part in marathons, Nicholas fundraises annually with a team of colleagues by doing the Marches Nijmegen, which is a 100-mile march with their kit over four days in the Netherlands! The team will again be taking on this challenge in July 2019.

FLAG FLIES AT FISHER HOUSES The world was encouraged by Invictus Games Sydney 2018 to “Fly the Invictus Games Flag” from buildings, cars, ships, planes, gardens and even from the top of the Sydney Harbour bridge — and Fisher House didn’t hesitate to join in the international event. The Invictus flag “toured” 12 select Fisher Houses with representation from families who were staying there. To the families, the flag symbolized their loved ones’ journeys from injury and illness to recovery through adaptive sports, and the family’s journeys alongside them. At the DC VA Fisher House, Ken Fisher, Chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation, joined Invictus Games Orlando 2016 gold medalist Sgt. Elizabeth Marks; her fiance, Mason; and Vietnam veteran Bob Newton and wife Ann to raise the flag and fly it for all to see. The Invictus Games is an international adaptive sporting event for wounded, injured and ill service men and women, both active duty and veteran. It uses the healing power of sports to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and celebrate the crucial role played by family and friends. Additionally, the flag was flown at the Landstuhl, Germany, and Birmingham, U.K., Fisher Houses. Stateside, it flew at Fisher Houses located at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska; VA Palo Alto Healthcare System, Calif.; Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio; Milwaukee VA Medical Center; Hines VA Medical Center, Chicago; Tampaand Gainesville VA Medical Centers, Fla.; Boston VA Medical Center, and Walter Reed National Medical Center, Bethesda, Md.





At Fisher House Foundation, we have community groups throughout the country who support their local Fisher House or raise funds and awareness for a future Fisher House in their area. Here are some highlights.

Cleveland, OH

Greater Cleveland Fisher House, Cleveland, Ohio There’s big news out of Cleveland, Ohio as construction of the two Greater Cleveland Fisher Houses (GCFH) is complete, following a March 23 groundbreaking last year. Foundations were dug; bricks were laid; and both houses are now under roof. The GCFH Team is planning at a ribbon-cutting this summer. Once open, the Cleveland houses will support the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, the nation’s third largest VA medical center. Up until this point in time, the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center was the largest VA Medical Center in the nation without a Fisher House. Thanks to the generosity and support of the Northeast Ohio community, that has now changed.

Fisher House of the Emerald Coast Inc., Eglin AFB, Fla.

Eglin AFB, FL

Introduced last August to raise awareness for meal opportunities, Fisher House of the Emerald Coast Inc. announced Celebrity Chef, a multiweek series featuring local food enthusiasts. Meals were prepared at the house and served to guests by board members who acted as chef assistants. One of the celebrity chefs was 14-year veteran of both the Navy and Army, Aaron Hale, an EOD technician who spent 11 months in our Fisher House in 2012 after he was severely injured and subsequently blinded when an improvised explosive device exploded during his second deployment to Afghanistan. During this extended stay, Aaron relied on his culinary skills he learned in the Navy to cook for guests to promote hope and healing. In 2015, he contracted bacterial meningitis, and was deaf until a cochlear implant restored hearing to one ear. Since retirement, Aaron continues to focus on capabilities by running marathons, including the Boston Marathon; kayaking; and climbing mountains—and recently started an artisan fudge company, Extra Ordinary Delights, with his wife, McKayla. His return to the Eglin Fisher House last fall to prepare a meal was a mini homecoming for him and an inspiration to other guests staying with us at the time.

Fisher/Nightingale Houses Inc., Dayton, Ohio In July 2004, the Fisher/Nightingale Houses Inc. at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, started a popcorn operation in the Medical Center near the pharmacy waiting area to raise funds for the Dayton-area area Fisher Houses. To date, volunteers have popped corn a total of 2,076 times and have raised a grand total of $290,490.26 That’s a lot of popcorn! A side (and important) benefit is ensuring hospital patients and their families know that the Fisher Houses are here to support them during their medical situations.

Joint Base Andrews, MD

Dayton, OH

Joint Base Andrews Fisher House Inc., Md. Martin’s Snacks, a family-owned company located in south central Pennsylvania, began supporting the Joint Base Andrews Fisher House (JBAFH) Inc. in 2015. Since then, they have contributed almost $50,000 through the sales of their specially designed Dippin’ Potato Chip bag, which features JBAFH. The contributions help to fund programs and services for families receiving care at Malcolm Grow Medical Center, Joint Base Andrews, Md.




Anchorage Fisher House II, Alaska

Alaska Fisher House II Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, at Anchorage, Alaska, opened its second Fisher House Sept. 10, 2018. The 16-suite home will help support the many military and veterans’ families who are receiving treatment at JBER Hospital. Dayton Fisher House On Wednesday, Nov. 7, a 16-suite Fisher House was dedicated at the Dayton VA Medical Center. We are grateful to all the supporters, community, donors and volunteers who will make this home a reality for so many military and veterans’ families. Palo Alto Fisher House II

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On Saturday, Feb. 16, a second Fisher House was dedicated at the Palo Alto VA Medical Center. Foundation trustee, Lynne Pace, and her husband, Retired USMC Gen. Peter Pace, led the fundraising efforts to build this beautiful new 20-suite home.


Tampa Fisher House II A second Fisher House was dedicated at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa on Feb. 27. The second Fisher House can accommodate an additional 16 families per night, providing vital lodging assistance to those receiving care at this polytrauma hospital.

GROUNDBREAKING Albuquerque Fisher House

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The New Mexico Health Care System and Fisher House Foundation broke ground for a 16-suite Fisher House in Albuquerque. This will be the first Fisher House in New Mexico. The groundbreaking was well-attended by Legion Riders who were an instrumental part of bringing this house to Albuquerque.


Richmond Fisher House II Ground was broken for a new Fisher House at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center Sept. 26, 2018. This will be the second Fisher House for this polytrauma VA medical center. The new Fisher House will provide lodging for an additional 20 families per night, bringing the total number of families served by Fisher House at the Richmond VA to 40.

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Occasionally, Fisher House Foundation not only helps a service member in their greatest time of need, but years later, it is blessed to continue the relationship and have them join the Foundation’s board of trustees. That is the case with retired Army Capt. William Reynolds, who lost his left leg to a remotely detonated IED in Iraq in 2004. After receiving treatment in Baghdad and Landstuhl, Germany, he ultimately ended up at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. “My recovery was so long. I went through nearly 30 surgeries,” said Will, who is also an Army Ranger. “There are so many financial and emotional sacrifices that the families make when their loved ones are wounded or injured. Just knowing that my family was taken care of by Fisher House was a huge burden lifted off me. I’m proud to give back to this great organization now.” A graduate from West Point, Will knew things would never be the same again after the explosion, but once the pain was over and reality set in, he decided not to be defined by his injury. After his rehabilitation, Will was back to running and competing in the Invictus Games. In fact, he was a co-captain of United States’ 115-athlete contingent at the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando, Fla. “Adaptive sports helped me become an athlete again,” Will said. “Support of the Invictus Games and Warrior Games is just another reason I’m proud to be part of Fisher House Foundation. The Foundation was there for these warriors in their darkest hours, and it was there for the celebrations.” A father of five, Will trains between eight and 15 hours per week, depending on when in the season. Additionally, after almost a decade of consulting at Deloitte, Will just began his own consulting business, SERVE Advisory Group. “We couldn’t ask for a finer representative on our board,” said Ken Fisher, Chairman and CEO Fisher House Foundation. “He knows better than any of us what needs to be done to support our military, veterans and their families. And he understands the benefit of adaptive sports and our Hero Programs. It’s a great fit.” For Will, having family at his bedside was the biggest benefit in his healing process after his injury and during his recuperation, he said. “And that wouldn’t have happened without Fisher House. I want to play a part in helping others. I don’t want to just point out the problems; I want to be part of the solution and being on the board of Fisher House Foundation is a step in the right direction.”





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

CALIFORNIA David Grant USAF Medical Center I, II 100 Bodin Circle Travis AFB, CA 94535-1804 (707) 423-7550 fax: (707) 423-7552 Manager: Ivana Jordovic travisfisherhouse@comcast.net

VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System

Ann Arbor, Michigan Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System Omaha, Nebraska New Mexico VA Health Care System Albuquerque, New Mexico Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center Richmond, Virginia (second house)

Togus, Maine VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System

Fisher House for Families of the Fallen 220 Lajes St. Dover AFB, DE 19902 (302) 677-5317 Manager: TSgt. Stasia Smith stasia.smith.3@us.af.mil

Southern Arizona VA Health Care System 3601 S. 6th Ave. (9-135) Tucson, AZ 85723 (520) 838-3680 Manager: Kelly Laurich arizona.fisherhouse@va.gov

or under construction:

VA Maine Healthcare System



The following projects are currently in design

Denver, Colorado

ALASKA JBER Hospital I, II 4943 Zeamer Ave. 673 MDSS/SGS/FH JBER, AK 99506 (907) 222-1673 Manager: Jenny Hall jennifer.hall.24@us.af.mil

VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System 11301 Wilshire Blvd. (10AF) Bldg. 523 Los Angeles, CA 90073 (310) 268-4457 fax: (310) 268-3499 Manager: Erma Mickens erma.mickens@va.gov VA Palo Alto Health Care System I, II 3801 Miranda Ave. Palo Alto, CA 94304 (650) 493-5000 x. 60384 fax: (650) 849-1269 Manager: Tracy Marino tracy.marino@va.gov Naval Medical Center San Diego I, II 34800 Bob Wilson Drive Bldg. 46 San Diego, CA 92134-5000 (619) 532-9055 fax: (619) 532-5216 Asst. Manager: Lori Erickson lorene.l.erickson.naf@mail.mil Naval Hospital Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton Bldg. 2014 San Jacinto Road Camp Pendleton, CA 92055 (760) 763-5308 Manager: Vicky Powell-Johnson victoria.powell-john@usmc.mil VA Long Beach Healthcare System 5901 East 7th St. (FH) Long Beach, CA 90822 (562) 826-5905 Manager: Ivan Cikos ivan.cikos@va.gov

COLORADO VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System 1954 Quentin St. Aurora, CO 80010 (303) 399-8020 x. 2049 fax: (303) 364-4882 Manager: Tessa Levy tessa.levy@va.gov

CONNECTICUT VA Connecticut Healthcare System 950 Campbell Ave. Mail Code 135 West Haven, CT 06516 (203) 937-3438 Manager: Amanda Salthouse amanda.salthouse@va.gov



DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Washington DC VA Medical Center 50 Irving St. NW Washington, DC 20422 (202) 745-2482 Manager: Stacey Childs stacey.childs@va.gov

FLORIDA Bay Pines VA Healthcare System 10000 Bay Pines Blvd. Bay Pines, FL 33744 (727) 398-6661 x11350 fax: (727) 319-1106 Manager: Shentrela Diggins shentrela.diggins@va.gov Eglin Air Force Base Hospital 350 Boatner Road Eglin AFB, FL 32542 (850) 883-2865 Manager: Marc Ambrose marc.ambrose@us.af.mil James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital I, II 13000 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. Tampa, FL 33612 (813) 910-3000 fax: (813) 910-3088 Manager: Paula Welenc paula.welenc@va.gov Miami VA Healthcare System 1201 NW 16th St. Miami, FL 33125 (305) 575-7260 fax: (305) 575-7261 Acting Manager: Richie Sanchez lerrichiad.sanchez@va.gov North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System 1601 SW Archer Road Gainesville, FL 32608 (352) 548-6492 Manager: Michelle Howard kimberly.howard@va.gov Orlando VA Medical Center 13800 Veterans Way Orlando, FL 32827 (407) 631-9800 Manager: Terri Turner teresa.turner2@va.gov 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 shelley.prickett2@va.gov

GEORGIA Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center One Freedom Way Augusta, GA 30904 (706) 729-5773 Manager: Courtney Deese courtney.deese@va.gov Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center Fisher House Road - Bldg. 280 Fort Gordon, GA 30905-5650 (706) 787-7100 fax: (706) 787-5106 Manager: Francisco Cruz fheamc@aol.com

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



Tripler Army Medical Center I, II 315 Krukowski Road Honolulu, HI 96819 (808) 433-1291 x. 28 fax: (808) 433-3619 Manager: Bridgette Patterson bridgette.n.patterson.naf@mail.mil

VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System 6900 N. Pecos Road North Las Vegas, NV 89086 (702) 224-6789 Manager: Cadie Franco cadie.franco@va.gov



Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital 5000 S 5th Ave. Hines, IL 60141 (708) 202-7154 fax: (708) 202-7155 Manager: Holly Wright holly.wright@va.gov

Albany Stratton VA Medical Center 113 Holland Ave. Albany, NY 12208 (518) 626-6919 fax: (518) 626-5452 Manager: Michael Fitzpatrick michael.fitzpatrick3@va.gov


James J. Peters VA Medical Center 130 West Kingsbridge Road Bronx, NY 10468 Manager: Ellen Trbovich Ellen.trbovich@va.gov

Blanchfield Army Community Hospital 652 Joel Drive Fort Campbell, KY 42223 (270) 798-8330 fax: (270) 798-8804 Manager: Wendy J. Carlston wendy.j.carlston.naf@mail.mil

MARYLAND Malcolm Grow Clinics & Surgery Center 1076 West Perimeter Road Andrews AFB, MD 20762 (301) 981-1243 fax: (301) 981-7629 Manager: Veronica Harris jbafhmanager@gmail.com

NORTH CAROLINA Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune 4 Recovery Way Camp Lejeune, NC 28547 (910) 450-3885 fax: (910) 450-3887 Manager: Josie Cotton josephine.cotton@usmc.mil

Womack Army Medical Center 3120 Loop Road Fort Bragg, NC 28307-5000 (910) 432-1486 fax: (910) 432-3825 Walter Reed National Military Medical Manager: Jim Dixon ftbragg.fisherhouse@gmail.com Center I, II, III, IV, V 24 Stokes Road OHIO Bethesda, MD 20814-5002 (301) 295-5334 fax: (301) 295-5632 Cincinnati VA Medical Center Manager: Michael Ybarra 3200 Vine St. mybarra@fisherhousebethesda.org Cincinnati, OH 45220 (513) 475-6571 fax: (513) 487-6661 Walter Reed – Forest Glen Annex Manager: Karrie Hagan 2460 Linden Lane karrie.hagan@va.gov Bldg. 173 Silver Spring, MD 20910 Dayton VA Medical Center (301) 319-5442 Fisher House, Bldg. 425 fax: (301) 328-5618 Dayton, OH 45428 Manager: Maurice Borde (937) 268-6511 x. 2887 wrafh.fg1@gmail.com Manager: Betsey Striebel betsey.striebel@va.gov


VA Boston Healthcare System 1400 VFW Parkway West Roxbury, MA 02132 (857) 203-4000 Manager: Elizabeth St. Pierre elizabeth.stpierre@va.gov

Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center 10521 Lee Ave. Cleveland, OH 44106 Manager: Tyler Estell Tyler.estell@va.gov


Wright-Patterson Medical Center I, II 417 Schlatter Drive Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433 (937) 257-0855 fax: (937) 656-2150 Manager: Karen Healea karen.healea@us.af.mil

Minneapolis VA Health Care System I, II 1 Veterans Drive Minneapolis, MN 55417 (612) 467-5602 fax: (612) 970-5864 Manager: Jessica Peterson jessica.peterson@va.gov

MISSISSIPPI Keesler Medical Center 509 Fisher St. Keesler AFB, MS 39534-2599 (228) 377-8264 fax: (228) 377-7691 Manager: Larry Vetter larry.vetter.1@us.af.mil

MISSOURI VA St. Louis Health Care System 1 Jefferson Barracks Road St. Louis, MO 63125 (314) 652-4100 x. 66945 fax: (314) 894-6147 Manager: Vanniecia Brown vanniecia.brown@va.gov

OREGON VA Portland Health Care System 1601 E. Fourth Plain Blvd. Vancouver, WA 98661 (513) 220-8262 x. 57685 Manager: Barbara Decoito-Weaver barbara.decoito-weaver@va.gov

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


SOUTH CAROLINA Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center 150 Wentworth St. Charleston, SC 29401 (843) 805-8200 Manager: Vicki Johnson vicki.johnson@va.gov

Fort Belvoir Community Hospital 9201 Woodbury Road Fort Belvoir, VA 22060 (703) 805-5203 Manager: Roxannamaria Calderon belvoirfisherhouse@gmail.com


Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center 1201 Broad Rock Blvd. Richmond, VA 23249 (804) 675-6639 fax: (804) 675-5979 Manager: Wayne Walker wayne.walker@va.gov

Tennessee Valley Healthcare System 3400 Lebanon Pike Murfreesboro, TN 37129 (615) 225-5758 Manager: Becky Wood rebecca.wood4@va.gov


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

Brooke Army Medical Center I,II,III,IV San Antonio Military Medical Center 3623 George C. Beach Drive Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234 (210) 916-6000 fax: (210) 916-6488 Manager: Inge Godfrey fhbamc@aol.com


Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Bldg. 36015 Fisher Lane Fort Hood, TX 76544 (254) 286-7927 fax: (254) 286-7929 Manager: Steve Wakefield steven.h.wakefield.naf@mail.mil

Madigan Army Medical Center I, II 9999 Wilson Ave. Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA 98433 (253) 964-9283 fax: (253) 968-3619 Manager: Pamela Barrington manager@fisherhouse-jblm.org

Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center I, II, III 2002 Holcombe Blvd. Houston, TX 77030 (713) 794-8095 fax: (713) 794-7194 Manager: Frank Kelley frank.kelley@va.gov

VA Puget Sound Health Care System 1660 South Columbian Way Seattle, WA 98108 (206) 768-5353 fax: (206) 277-1415 Manager: Carrie Booker carrie.booker@va.gov

VA North Texas Health Care System 4500 S. Lancaster Road. Bldg. 79 Dallas, TX 75216 (214) 857-2574 fax: (214) 462-4923 Manager: Lydia Henderson lydia.henderson1@va.gov South Texas Veterans Health Care System 7485 Wurzbach Road San Antonio, Texas 78229 (210) 617-5542 Manager: Erik Zielinski erik.zielinski@va.gov 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: Philip Harralson HM-Fisherhouse@sbcglobal.net William Beaumont Army Medical Center Bldg 7360 Rodriguez St. El Paso, TX 79930 (915) 569-1860 fax: (915) 569-1862 Manager: Alice Coleman alice.m.coleman2.naf@mail.mil


WISCONSIN Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center 5000 W. National Ave. Bldg. 150 Milwaukee, WI 53295 (414) 384-2000 x. 44570 Manager: Jennifer Kiefer jennifer.kiefer@va.gov

GERMANY Landstuhl Regional Medical Center I, II CMR 402 APO, AE 09180 (0011 49) 6371-9464-7430 fax: 011-49-6371-866679 Manager: Vivian Wilson vivian.l.wilson.naf@mail.mil

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

UTAH VA Salt Lake City Health Care System 690 S. Valdez Drive Salt Lake City, UT 84148 (801) 588-5900 Manager: Quinn Kiger-Good quinn.kiger@va.gov



Fisher House Foundation Inc. 12300 Twinbrook Parkway Suite 410 Rockville, MD 20852

Because we

our heroes.

For nearly 30 years, the Fisher House program has provided “a home away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. These homes provide free temporary lodging to military and veterans’ families so they can be close to their loved one during a medical crisis.

www.fisherhouse.org (888) 294-8560 CFC Code: 11453

80+ HOUSES Upto to Up

1,100 Families Helped Daily


Families Helped Since 1990

8.7 MILLION Lodging Days Provided

©2019 Fisher House Foundation Creative services donated by ds+f, Washington, DC www.dsfriends.com | Photo courtesy of Craig Orsini

Profile for Fisher House Foundation

The Patriot Magazine Volume 10 Issue 1  

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