THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF FISHER HOUSE FOUNDATION, INC. TM
HOME IS WHERE HEALING BEGINS OUR LITTLEST PATRIOT’S STORY OF RECOVERY
NO OBSTACLES TO VICTORY Hero Miles supports the 2011 Warrior Games
IT TAKES A TEAM
IRAQ AND BACK
CharityWorks helps open a new house in our Nation’s Capital
A father and son journey home
About Fisher House Foundation, Inc. The Fisher House program is a unique private-public partnership that supports America’s military families in their time of need. The program recognizes the special sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and the hardships of military service by meeting a humanitarian need beyond that normally provided by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. Because members of the military and their families are stationed worldwide and must often travel great distances for specialized medical care, Fisher House Foundation builds and donates “comfort homes,” on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times—during hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease or injury. There is at least one Fisher House at every major military medical center to assist families in need and to ensure that they are provided with the comforts of home in a supportive environment. Annually, the Fisher House program serves about 12,000 families, and has made available nearly 3.6 million days of lodging to 142,000 families since the program originated in 1990. By law, there is no charge for any family to stay at a Fisher House operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs; Fisher House Foundation uses donations to reimburse the individual Fisher Houses operated by the Army, Navy and Air Force. No family pays to stay at any Fisher House! In addition to constructing new houses, Fisher House Foundation continues to support existing Fisher Houses and help individual military families in need. The foundation is also proud to administer and sponsor Scholarships for
Military Children, Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship, the Hero Miles program, Team Fisher House, and co-sponsor the Newman’s Own Awards program and the Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship Program. By contributing to the Fisher House Foundation or any individual Fisher House facility, you can make a difference in the lives of America’s service members, retirees, veterans and their families when they need help the most. Fisher House Foundation and individual Fisher Houses depend on public donations to continue our important work. If you designate your contribution for a specific purpose or Fisher House, 100 percent of your donation will be allocated for that purpose. Furthermore, Fisher House Foundation never discloses the names of its donors to any other individuals or organizations, and does not solicit contributions by direct mail or telephone. Once constructed, each Fisher House is given to the U.S. government as a gift. Military service secretaries and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs are responsible for the operation and maintenance of the homes. Fisher House Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code, builds new houses, assists in coordinating private support and encourages public support for the homes. Donations to Fisher House Foundation and/or individual Fisher House facilities are tax-deductible to the maximum extent allowed by law. Fisher House Foundation has earned the highest rating (four stars) from Charity Navigator, an independent nonprofit evaluator. Fisher House Foundation has also received an A+ rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy.
On the cover: Air Force Staff Sgt. John Garcia relaxes outside with his son Jordan at the Fisher House at Eglin Air Force Hospital in Florida. Jordan received care at the hospital when a cough turned into something much worse for the then ninemonth old. The Garcia family moved into the 12-room Fisher House so they could be near the hospital for Jordan’s recovery.
LETTER FROM KEN FISHER
Fisher House Golf Tournament Success
Guest Family Profile— Davis Family
Special Thank You for a Special Fisher House
CharityWorks Helps Open DC VA Fisher House
The Power of the Airwaves
Hero Miles: Warrior Games 2011: A Photo Essay
After Iraq: How You Make the Journey Home and Move On
A Day in the Life
Patriot Magazine shares many of the exciting things that have been happening in our program. But because space is limited, it is impossible to list them all—and this issue is no exception. In fact, there are so many working to support military families through Fisher House, we cannot include every wonderful story. Please accept my sincere apology if you can’t find a story about your event—we do appreciate the good works on our behalf.
Fisher House Helps A Family in Need
In Memoriam: Fisher House Remembers Gen. John Shalikashvili 18 Soaring Remarks from Iraq and Afghanistan's Former War Commander
Fisher House Foundation's Heroes' Legacy Scholarship
Dedicating Two Additional Fisher Houses
Future Fisher Houses in Action
Fisher House Directory
This fall we are passing two significant milestones. Our Hero Miles program will pass the milestone of having provided 25,000 airline tickets. Whether it is to help bring family members to a loved one’s bedside, sending a wounded warrior home to convalesce
or to honor the sacrifice of our fallen heroes—we are grateful to each of you who have given your airline miles. We have now used one billion miles to save families almost $40 million in last-minute travel costs. We are grateful to our airline partners who have always gone the extra mile and shared what a privilege it is for them to be involved with this special program. The other milestone we will reach in late October is that of having offered four 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
Facebook Feedback CHAIRMAN AND CEO Ken Fisher EDITOR Cindy Campbell ASSOCIATE EDITOR Ashley Estill LAYOUT AND ART DIRECTION ds+f www.dsfriends.com Address all correspondence to: The Patriot Fisher House Foundation 111 Rockville Pike Suite 420 Rockville, Maryland 20850 Phone: 301 294 8560 Fax: 877 294 8562 Email: email@example.com www.fisherhouse.org
I would just like to say thanks to the Fisher House Foundation. We never heard of this, till we had to go to Michael DeBakey VA Hospital in Houston. The people were wonderful and staying at the house was a blessing. Everyone was very kind and passionate. We met a lot of wonderful people there. Keep up the great work. —Diane Carpenter Hamilton Fisher House came to our rescue in Germany. When our son, Micah, was born we found out he was very sick. We went from the Nuremberg Children's Hospital to the Army Hospital [at Landstuhl]. We were able to stay at the Fisher House there while we waited for a med flight for Micah to be brought to Boston. Thank you Fisher House for putting us up on short notice! —Susanne Monett Kelsall
Life can change in a heartbeat, or the lack of one. I spent the last week in the Fisher House at West Roxbury (Boston) MA after my husband suffered a heart attack. Having a place to stay far from home in that emergency situation was such a blessing. Thank you to the Fishers and to all those involved in making these homes available to those in need. And to all the wonderful staff who were so kind and helpful. —Donna Koutrakos Raised $700 so far for my USMC Marathon team benefiting Fisher House! $300 away from my goal of $1000! So Excited! —Ashley Intartaglia
Visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FisherHouse
Ken Fisher speaks to Fisher House supporters and guests at the dedication of a second house at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System.
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,
Twitter Love JamesRyanJ James Ryan Jeansonne I joined @teamfisherhouse for the Air Force #Marathon on 9/17. Any other #running friends join!
SpeakerBoehner Speaker John Boehner Great meeting this afternoon w/ Ken Fisher, CEO of @FisherHouseFdtn. Doing wonderful work. j.mp/iYG4Rx
IntrepidHeroes IntrepidFallenHeroes Congratulations on opening Fisher House II at the Minneapolis VA today! Thanks for all you do for our military families! Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FisherHouseFdtn
Cover photo by Marianne Lijewski THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2011
GUEST FAMILY PROFILE
Tech. Sgt. James “Jim” Davis
Story by Ashley Estill Photos by U.S. Air Force / Ken Wright
NAME: DAVIS FAMILY
Sixty-four foursomes took to the green in support of Fisher
HOUSE: TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE FISHER HOUSE TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA
House on May 9 for the 8th Annual Fisher House Golf Classic.
HOME STATE: NEW JERSEY & TEXAS
The daylong fundraiser generated over $600,000 in support
MILITARY BRANCH: AIR FORCE
of our Fisher House project at the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. To begin the day, there was a dramatic jump by the Ranger Group, an organization of active duty and former military service member parachutists.
There was a calming strength that Tech Sgt. James “Jim” Davis spoke with when recalling the April 23 mission that could have killed him. When he reminisced about the mission that began at 3:30 in the morning, he was confident but cautious in his tale. What was supposed to be a routine mission ended up not-so-routine, and concluded nearly six hours later. Davis was stationed at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan when he received a call about a downed Army helicopter in a dangerous Afghan valley that needed to be rescued.
“The Fisher House Tournament is a labor of love for me. I always enjoy loosening up my golf swing by stuffing goodie bags the day before. The tournament gets better and better every year. I enjoy making new friends and seeing old ones, but the best part is seeing so many individuals, companies and groups working together to support the Fisher House Foundation. The need for Fisher Houses is evident, and this tournament is a way to support, and pay homage and respect to the military families who are being served by Fisher Houses every minute of every day around the world. As long as I can swing a golf club I will be there rain or shine.” — Dale Beatty, a Fisher House trustee and double amputee who stayed at a Fisher House during his recovery.
THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2011
“When the Army helicopter went down, from the time we received notification, we were prepared and airborne within less than 15 minutes,” Davis said. “It was a 10-minute flight from where we were in Bagram to the crash site.” When they arrived at the crash site 20 miles away, Davis, who was the flight engineer, worked with the Army helicopters already on the scene to obtain vital information before executing the recovery. Davis and his crew hovered down and established themselves near the wreckage, tactically making the
Jim and Kate Davis enjoy some family time outside the Travis AFB Fisher House, where Jim is healing from an injury sustained in Afghanistan during April 2011. Having his wife and two children by his side is constant motivation to get well.
“As soon as I got hit I said, ‘go, go, go!’ and the pilot realized the urgency in my voice. He knew something was wrong and we flew as fast as we could out of that ravine and around the terrain to avoid being shot at more,” Davis said. THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2011
decision to avoid being directly over the crash and putting his guys where the enemies knew they would be. “I was directing the pilots where to go when they told me we couldn’t go any lower,” Davis said. “All I could see were rocks, and we still had about 160 feet below us. I just said, ‘It’s going to be a long hoist’ and we got stabilized.” Steady in hover mode, Davis hooked his team on the hoist cable and sent them down 160 feet to the crash below. It took about 30 seconds until they reached ground and Davis was working as fast as he could since their helicopter had already been hovering for several minutes. Once his men were on the ground, Davis began to retrieve the hoist, but as he moved away from the door back to his seat, the helicopter took four or five rounds through the floor. One of these rounds went through Davis’ right leg; the rest barely avoiding him and hitting the ceiling instead. “As soon as I got hit I said, ‘go, go, go!’ and the pilot realized the urgency in my voice. He knew something was wrong and we flew as fast as we could out of that ravine and around the terrain to avoid being shot at more,” Davis said. Davis calmly assessed his situation and began putting a tourniquet on his leg, which was bleeding “pretty bad.” His co-pilot flew them back to Bagram while Davis fought losing consciousness from blood loss. In the helicopter, Staff Sgt. William Gonzalez helped Davis tighten the tourniquet to stop the bleeding, and wrapped the wound.
“If my family was here and then had to leave, the mental stress alone would have broken my spirit and caused me to go into a state of depression and hampered my recovery,” Jim said. “My wife and kids are motivation all the time.”
When Davis arrived at the Bagram ER, the doctors were not ready—so Captain Louis Nolting and Gonzalez grabbed Davis and carried him into the ER. Another Marine Corps Lieutenant saw what was transpiring and jumped in to help. To this day Davis still does not know who helped carry him into the hospital. In typical military fashion, once Davis was settled in, his men jumped back into the helicopter, picked up a spare flight engineer and flew back to complete the pararescue mission.
THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2011
Davis spent the first 24 hours after his injury in Bagram receiving nearly 40 units of blood for what he lost; getting the wound cleaned; removing shrapnel; and completing a CT scan to assess the extent of the damage. It was in the Bagram hospital that he received his Purple Heart and Air Force Combat Action Medal.
“There’s not one moment about this place that hasn’t been extraordinary. I’ve been thinking about what it means to us and the people here; it’s a beacon of hope.” From there, Davis was air-lifted to Landstuhl for six days where he received two more surgeries to clean his wound and remove dead tissue before being sent to Andrews Air Force Base while en route to his end destination at Travis Air Force Base in California. At long last Davis would get to see his wife Kate and his two children who were staying at the Fisher House. “When I found out that he was hurt, I was so upset, it was almost too much for my mind to grasp,” Kate recalled. “I heard about the Fisher House but I had no idea what it was.” Kate quickly found out what the Fisher House was and all the advantages of being so close to her recovering husband. “There’s not one moment about this place that hasn’t been extraordinary. I’ve been thinking about what it means to us and the people here; it’s a beacon of hope,” she said. “They cook for us almost every night and the people that stay here are wonderful; it’s not a feeling of sympathy, it’s empathy. They can relate because they’re vets or going through the same situation. You have a support group here that makes all this bearable. For my husband, there are military people here that know what he’s going through
when he talks about his injury. It’s not just a listening ear and not having a clue. They get it.” For their children, Kate and Jim know they’re comfortable and have others to play with. For each other, it’s knowing that they are together and aren’t dealing with this alone. They have each other to rely on, and plenty of other families to rely on as well. They cook together, watch movies, talk and hang out. “It’s good for everybody,” Jim said. Kate also credits manager Charlene Hall and assistant manager Jane Hassanieh for being so supportive and going above and beyond to ensure the Davis’ are comfortable. Whether it’s changing a light bulb, providing a planner to Kate after learning she was exhausted and had so much to do, or getting a car seat for the family upon their arrival, they were well taken care of. Had it not been for the Fisher House, recovery would look a lot different for the Davis family. Because Jim is labeled as a “non-serious injury,” Kate received 30-day orders to be with her husband, meaning everything after would be at their cost. Without Fisher House the Davis family would have to return to their home in Okinawa, Japan while Jim would become a hospital in-patient. “If my family was here and then had to leave, the mental stress alone would have broken my spirit and caused me to go into a state of depression and hampered my recovery,” Jim said. “My wife and kids are motivation all the time. I look at my son and daughter, and my end goal and driving factor is to attend my son’s graduation and walk my daughter down the aisle. I can make a cane look sexy, but not a wheelchair.” “Kate’s been here to pick me up when I fall down, I don’t know what I’d do without her. Being here and having my family has been one of the blessings and provided light out of the darkness.”
THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2011
Special Thank You for a Special Fisher House Reprinted with permission from its author, Robert Stanton Photos courtesy of Robert Stanton
Below is a letter written by Robert Stanton, father of Cpl. Jordan Robert Stanton, USMC, on the loss of his son and his journey to the Fisher House for Families of the Fallen at Dover Air Force Base. Joyce and I wanted to speak to all of our friends who have been so concerned for our family and helpful these past weeks. We know how hard it has been on friends and family who are searching for words that can express their thoughts and prayers. We wanted you all to know that the effort of trying—in that act we knew Jordan mattered to so many—has been a great comfort in dealing with his death. Thank you.
So after a while, we decided it was just the same fear and concern Joyce and I had every day since he joined the Marines, and we understood. You may ask how, as parents, siblings, wives, fiancées, etc., were we able to deal with this fear. I can tell you at times not well, however we are all honored Jordan had the faith in us to handle this burden. It was little compared to actually being a Marine.
Many have asked what can be done for Jordan and all the "Jordans" and their families. Joyce and I have an idea and thought the best way to explain it was to tell our story, so you can possibly feel as connected as we are. I ask that you indulge me and forgive us for burdening you with our sorrow.
On March 4, 2011, our lives changed forever. If you have anyone in the armed services, then you know what it means when uniformed Marines are knocking at your front door. My son, Ryan, was home alone and they could not speak to him, but he knew. He called Joyce, and she called me in a panic. We both raced home. Joyce arrived before me, which
Many people had often asked Joyce and me how we could let Jordan join the Marines, and we were at first caught off-guard. If you knew Jordan then you would know we did not "let" him; rather he spent three years researching all his options and decided that he wanted to be not just a Marine but a Recon Marine. His motivation was in the truest sense unselfish, and he held a great respect for our country and its freedoms, and a personal feeling of responsibility towards continuing the beliefs of freedom and choice. He was also an intelligent, happy young man in search of something in his life that made a difference. He was not seeking fame or fortune but wanted to help people in the way he felt most qualified. Jordan is/was fierce, and, as his brother Ryan said, "had the heart of a lion."
THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2011
hurts me to this moment that she faced them without my help. As I drove racing through the streets, I kept praying for a mistake—talking to Jordan—and knowing that the Marines do not make this kind of mistake.
until he was laid to rest on March 17, 2011. These same Marines were at our side to support and help us through the "business" of bringing Jordan home. It is these next five days that changed our lives forever.
In my home the Staff Sergeant, Captain and Navy Chaplain were at attention, looking at us with a clear-eyed intensity that I came to recognize in every Marine. As the bearers of this horrible news, they carried this burden with so much reverence and compassion but placed our grief above all else. Imagine how difficult this duty is for them and still they press on.
As family gathered, the Marines assigned to work with Joyce and me heard both our pain and sorrow but remained steadfast. The Marines arranged for Joyce, Julie [Jordan's Fiancé] and me to travel to Dover Air Force Base to meet our son. I have no way for describing what it is like to travel among people living their day-to-day lives while every moment and breath you take is filled with grief and thoughts for your fallen son. What I can say is that without these fierce Marines standing beside us and holding our hands we could not have made it.
From that moment forward began an odyssey that every step of the way a Marine was with Jordan 24 hours a day
“I have no way for describing what it is like to travel among people living their day-to-day lives while every moment and breath you take is filled with grief and thoughts for your fallen son. What I can say is that without these fierce Marines standing beside us and holding our hands we could not have made it.”
The Fisher House for Families of the Fallen was built to honor the brave men and women who have given their lives in service to our country. This home serves as a safe haven for those grieving families to remember their loved ones, reflect and have
We arrived at Dover around nine on Sunday night. Raw with emotion, we were driven to a special location on base, the Fisher House. We learned that two wonderful patriots, Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher, had the notion that homes for
some privacy during a difficult time. It is our sincere wish that all who enter this home know that the thoughts and prayers of a grateful nation are with you now, and that we honor their sacrifice in keeping this nation free.
families of injured, sick and fallen heroes could be located near hospitals and in Dover so these families are able to be with the servicemen and servicewomen without financial hardship. One special location is Dover Air Force Base. Here all fallen heroes are brought home. In this house, the specially trained servicemen and servicewomen receive the grieving families. They have a respect and understanding for the families that allows each to withstand the emotion of meeting their loved one. I cannot say how helpful it was to be out of view from normal people. In those days we were not "normal" and needed to be surrounded by those who could both help and also respect our privacy. The Fisher House provided us this great service. We were able to sit quietly with one another, reflecting on Jordan, and then withdraw to our rooms to cry and be with each other. I was also allowed a respectful place to meet with and be guided through the hard business of death. The decisions that must be made —information they must reveal—all difficult to say the least, but again with the Marines' help we got through it all.
The moment arrived near midnight on Monday the 7th of March, 2011. We rode in a special bus from the Fisher House to the tarmac, where a plane sat with our son Jordan, his casket—draped with an American flag—guarded by Marines. The Chaplain turned to us as we rounded the corner and spoke these words: "It's going to get worse from here," and no truer words were ever spoken. The emotion of seeing our son in that moment nearly overwhelmed us all— without the Marines' support it would have. We witnessed the dignified transfer of Jordan the Marines respectfully give all their fallen and then followed Jordan back to the mortuary and the Fisher House. As heavy as the grief was in those moments, we all felt a great uplifting in stepping off the bus and back to the Fisher House. Somehow we all felt Jordan's strength, and in so the strength that all these fierce Marines possess, and for a moment we understood. We had a glimpse into what it is to be a United States Marine. We hope you all can see through us the devotion and spirit embodied in these men and women we call Marines. I am so grateful that through my son's final sacrifice he gave to me this opportunity. Jordan has made me a better man and taught me something I may never have known, and Joyce and I hope this story helps you all understand his sacrifice too. Perhaps we can all be better for his death. If you want to help, let's raise some much-needed funds for the Fisher House, for those fallen Marines yet to come and their families. THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2011
CharityWorks Helps Open DC VA Fisher House
Story by Randall Bloomquist
The Foundation’s ongoing relationship with the radio industry continues to pay huge dividends for the Fisher House mission.
Story by Mary Considine
The much-anticipated new Fisher House at the Washington, DC VA Medical Center opened its doors to the members of CharityWorks for a sneak preview in mid-August. CharityWorks was launched in 1999 by founder Leah Gansler to make a difference in the lives of families in Washington, DC. In 2008, led by George and Marilyn Pedersen, the organization partnered with Fisher House Foundation for a record-breaking capital campaign of nearly $2 million towards the cost of the new Fisher House. Hundreds of donors united their philanthropic efforts with the major gifts made by the ‘Honor Guard’: CSC, ManTech International Corporation, Newman’s Own Foundation, BAE Systems, Leah & Jacques Gansler, L-3 Communications, Mark Lowham and Joseph Ruzzo. The year-long partnership culminated at the “Wish Upon A Star” themed Dream Ball, a magnificent gala at the historic National Building Museum in DC. During the tours of the new house, members of CharityWorks remarked on the beauty of the well-appointed 20-suite Fisher House, on the Medical Center campus, designed to provide first-class accommodations for its firstclass guests. The DC Fisher House creates an instant community for its residents, united by their common mission of supporting a sick or injured loved one, but also provides each family with a safe, comfortable refuge after a long day at the hospital to rest and recharge. Thank you to CharityWorks for taking the lead and making this dream a reality.
THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2011
of the Airwaves
In May, news/talk stations across the country lent their support to Fisher House during the second annual “Heroes Month” campaign. Among the biggest success stories was the morning show radiothon on San Francisco’s KSFO-AM. Host Brian Sussman did his show live from the Fisher House at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System on the Friday before Memorial Day. After four hours of emotional radio that included interviews with Fisher House residents and such notables as former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace, KSFO listeners had donated more than $100,000 to Fisher House. By the end of the weekend, that total had grown to $135,000. Those funds will be used to help build a much-needed second house at Palo Alto, which is home to a Level One Polytrauma Center.
In front of the DC VA Fisher House, you will notice two cornerstones to commemorate two special friends: CharityWorks and Robert Dole. The stone recognizes Robert Dole, a Veteran, Statesman and Kappa Sigma brother, for his contributions to our nation and its veterans.
Richmond, Va. residents also showed tremendous generosity during WRVAAM’s May campaign for Fisher House. The station raised in excess of $110,000 to support the Foundation’s efforts in Virginia. Among the other stations that participated in Heroes Month were WOAI-AM in San Antonio, Texas, WFLA-AM in Tampa, Fla., and KTLK-FM, which did a live broadcast from the new Fisher House at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System on the day that house was dedicated.
San Francisco’s KSFO hosted a radiothon at the VA Palo Alto Fisher House, which generated generous donations and priceless publicity for the Foundation.
Fisher House friends Matthew Zajac and his father Mike pictured with country star Neal McCoy (center) traveled to Dallas to raise awareness to concert-goers at Billy Bob’s Texas.
Dallas news/talker WBAP-AM&FM joined the cause in June with a campaign to raise awareness of Fisher House’s work in Texas. (There are 11 houses in the Lone Star State, including one in Dallas.) That effort culminated with a concert event at the Billy Bob’s Texas honky-tonk in Ft. Worth, where two former Fisher House residents—Matt Zajac and his father, Mike—were interviewed on stage and received a rousing standing ovation.
Stan is just one of several radio personalities set to pound the pavement for Fisher House. Bryan Nehman and Mary Katharine Ham, who host the morning show on Washington’s WMAL-AM, are running the Army 10-Miler along with Peter Ogburn, who is heard on Sirius/ XM’s Bill Press Show.
Fisher House also has some good friends at the network level of talk radio. In July, legendary late-night talk host Jim Bohannon devoted an hour of his program to a conversation with Fisher House Chairman Ken Fisher and board member Montel Williams. Bohannon, a Vietnam-era Army veteran, is heard on over 300 radio stations across the country. This was the second time he has used his huge megaphone to tell the Fisher House story. The country music and radio communities are also doing their part to support military families through Fisher House. Superstars Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry recently recorded a public service announcement for Fisher House that airs on stations coast-to-coast. Country radio personality Stan Fisher, who is heard on Atlanta’s 94.9 The Bull, is running as part of Team Fisher House in the 2011 Marine Corps Marathon.
One of radio’s greatest gifts to Fisher House will be delivered on Veterans Day, when all 800-plus stations owned by Clear Channel Radio will join in a daylong fundraising and awareness campaign. Last year’s effort raised over $500,000 for Fisher House and provided millions of dollars worth of media coverage from coast to coast. This year’s “bigger-andbetter” event is expected to generate even more support and visibility. Radio’s remarkable year of service to Fisher House culminates with the broadcast of “The Gift,” a three-hour Christmas Day tribute to our military and military families. This uplifting radio documentary is being produced in partnership with Citadel Media/ABC Radio and is expected to air on upwards of 200 news/talk stations.
THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2011
Warrior Games 2011â€” A Photo Essay By Ashley Estill Service members are undeniably relentless. They possess an ability to overcome challenges and obstacles day in and day out. Unfortunately, some of these obstacles are faced when they return home from deployment, with injuries that are seen and unseen. However, in true military fashion, these men and women have persevered. This was overwhelmingly evident at the 2011 Warrior Games, held at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. For one week in May, over 200 wounded, ill and injured men and women from all branches of the military competed in Olympic-style games. These games included sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, track & field, archery, shooting, swimming and cycling. As a proud sponsor of the Warrior Games, Fisher House Foundation supported athletes and their families alike. Our Hero Miles program donated flights for athletes and close to 300 of their family members to attend the coveted games. Throughout the week, stands were filled with cheering spouses, children, parents, grandparents and friends supporting the accomplishments of their athlete. This pinnacle athletic event proved once again that family is the best medicine.
THE PATRIOT â€˘ SUMMER/FALL 2011
After Iraq: How You Make the Journey Home and Move On
He was on crutches, still with one prosthetic leg, but moving on. Zajac moved out of the barracks and into an apartment off post. Mike made sure his son was well enough to function independently before he said goodbye and went back home to New Mexico.
Story and photos by Ashley Estill
Private 1st Class Matthew Zajac and his father Michael Zajac have graced the cover of our brochure for years. Here, we have chronicled Matt’s voyage from his days of being deployed to being injured to recovering at Brooke Army Medical Center, in San Antonio, Texas. It’s an inspirational ending to his military journey, and the beginning of many more. “I’m alive,” said Private 1st Class Matthew Zajac recently at a charity concert for Fisher House at Billy Bob’s in Dallas. “That’s pretty much the biggest thing.” Ever optimistic, Zajac has taken huge strides mentally and physically since arriving at the Brooke Army Medical Center in 2007. His difficult journey began on May 3, 2007 after his Humvee was ambushed near the southside of Baghdad, Iraq, during a raid which caused Zajac to lose both of his legs and severely damage his right arm. Riding in the lead truck on the raid, Zajac did not know how serious his injuries were. Awake the entire time during the blast, Zajac was temporarily blind, except for a few feet in front of his face. The blurred vision did not help his efforts to free himself from the vehicle. “When the explosion happened, I could feel my legs burning really bad and then it stopped,” he recalled. “When it stopped, I knew I had a problem because it burned past the nerve endings on my legs. I knew I was in rough shape.” Zajac’s legs weren’t his only problem; his right arm was in bad shape as well. Attempting to pull himself out; his right arm was not performing. Then he saw the hole blown through his hand and the severe blood loss he was suffering. Holding on to his life, Zajac struggled to remain conscience as he arrived in the Baghdad hospital for surgery. There he had surgery to clean up his wounds and get “rid of what couldn’t be saved as far 12
THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2011
as legs go.” Then doctors prepped him for arrival at Joint Base Balad, also in Iraq, then for transfer to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. From Landstuhl, a medical evacuation flight would take Zajac to Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in Texas for treatment.
Starting the Recovery Process Zajac’s dad, Michael, was at the hospital when his son came out of his first— of many—surgeries. Mike stayed at a Fisher House and remained there for over a year to help his son during his recovery.
Once Zajac was finally ready to go home, he looked for and decided to live in an apartment in New Mexico, about an hour away from his dad. Back to being independent, it was awkward at first, but Zajac appreciated finally being on his own.
Moving Into the Fisher House Eventually Zajac was progressing well enough to move into the Fisher House with his dad. Still having out-patient surgeries and conducting physical therapy, Zajac was not completely independent yet. He still didn’t have use of his right hand and only had a prosthetic on his left leg. Because Zajac lost his right leg at the hip, it was a much more difficult process to fit a prosthetic on that side.
“The very first thing I did was get recertified for scuba diving. At that point I didn’t have a right leg yet, but despite being a little uncomfortable, I got the hang of it,” he said. Rock climbing and sky diving are also on his list of growing achievements.
Mike was around to help keep track of his son’s medication and help treat his burns. With one functioning hand and
Zajac’s progress didn’t stop with diving and climbing. Medically retired from the Army, he didn’t want to sit around and do nothing. After military life, a 9-to-5 desk job wasn’t for him. He now attends New Mexico State University, enrolled in the mechanical engineering program. Half man, half machine as he declares, engineering seemed like an obvious fit.
“I’m alive,” said Private 1st Class Matthew Zajac recently at a charity concert for Fisher House at Billy Bob’s in Dallas. “That’s pretty much the biggest thing.” “They were dealing with my infections; my hand; the burns, everything,” Zajac said. “Through it all my father was there and stayed with me in my hospital room for a month and a half.” The combination of Zajac’s pain killers caused him to have issues sleeping throughout the night; and when he finally fell asleep, he would wake up not knowing where he was. “I really needed my dad there,” Zajac said. “He was the anchor that tied me back to reality.” Mike would spend the night at the hospital with his son, only leaving for an hour at a time to return to the Fisher House to clean up. Eventually as his son’s health progressed, Mike spent a little more time at the Fisher House, still remaining close to his son. “If my dad wasn’t there, you know I have no idea what I would have done,” Zajac said. “I didn’t know what I was doing there. My recovery time in the hospital would have been substantially longer.”
burns on his back, Zajac needed his father’s help.
“I didn’t even have the ability to focus on a TV show, so somebody had to keep track of my medication and change my burn dressings,” he said. “If it weren’t for having that room at Fisher House, I would have been in the hospital for months longer,” Zajac continued. “They were great at the hospital, but it wasn’t where I wanted to be. It was great to have my dad take care of me.”
Barracks, Off Post and Beyond In the beginning of 2008, Zajac moved to a room at the barracks to gain some of his independence back. He was in a power wheelchair because he still had almost no use of his right hand; but the transitioning process had begun. The dorm-like setting allowed Zajac to take care of himself a bit, while still having his father nearby. After a few more months, Zajac could function independently quite well.
Coming full circle, Zajac is doing remarkably well, maintaining an attitude that most wish for.
2011 Matthew Zajac and his father Michael Zajac at the 2011 Warrior Games.
2007 “That was a long time ago. I can see the stress in our faces, particularly my father’s. We were going through a lot of stress at the time,” Zajac said. “There’s a world of difference between then and now.”
“I get a little frustrated,” he admitted. “It doesn’t come easy, but I try to keep in mind that anything worth doing in life is worth the effort you put into it. I’ve seen a lot of people not do anything for fear that they will fail. It’s life. That’s the way it is. I don’t stop wanting to do things because I can’t move as easy as I used to. The world doesn’t stop because I’m not as swift as I once was.” Throughout Zajac’s entire ordeal, his father always reminded him that they would be okay. Not knowing what the next day would bring, Mike promised his son that they would figure it out together. “Dad said I could do anything,” Zajac recalled. “He always said, ‘You’ll do it.’ I got an amazing amount of support from him. He always said I would be fine.” THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2011
Fisher House Photo Contest
in the life For many, seeing is believing. It’s not enough to read about our mission; in order to truly understand the magnitude of our work, one must see the mission in action.
For the second year in a row, Fisher House sponsored a “Day in the Life” photo contest to demonstrate our objective in action. We asked Fisher House guests, managers and supporters to submit a compelling photo that tells the story of our residents throughout their daily lives. The top three photos were awarded grants for their Fisher House. Here we share the winning photos, along with other notable submissions.
3rd Place | Palo Alto Eight-year-old Yuki Claudio, the daughter of Afghanistan Veteran Edwin Claudio and his wife, Stephanie, tries out a new hand-made rocking horse made and donated by Veteran Ken Rinaldo, who receives his treatment at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. Claudio is being treated on the VA Palo Alto Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center, while his wife and daughter are just across the street staying at the Fisher House. Yuki is now good friends with Daphne and Phoebe Muller (reading), who are the daughters of Russell and Eleni Muller. The girls play together and find friendship while their fathers go through rehabilitation and therapies.
People's Choice | Lackland AFB The People Choice Award came from our Facebook friends who voted for their favorite photo.
1st Place | Palo Alto Cpl. Farrell Gilliam, who lost both legs to an IED explosion in Afghanistan, takes some time to visit with his brother Daniel at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in California. Cpl. Gilliam has been receiving care at the hospital’s Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center for the past six months. His brother has been with him every step of his recovery and is extremely grateful to have the Fisher House, which is just right across the street from where Cpl. Gilliam is rehabbing. Gilliam’s mom visits often, too, and also stays at the Fisher House.
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2nd Place | Tripler
Brayden and Deklin's parents (Canndice & Frank Wooten, both active duty Army) were guests with us while the twins were in the Wilford Hall Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
"Uncle" Ben Mesa has become not just a guest, but a friend and confidant to everyone within these walls. One of his many talents he shares on a daily basis is the love of the outdoors and his respect for the house. Ben has taken on the responsibility and daily care of nurturing the flowers that a local Brownie group donated to the Fisher House.
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Fisher House Helps a Family in Need Reprinted with permission by its author, Marianne Lijewski Photos by Marianne Lijewski
Air Force Staff Sgt. John Garcia had only a couple weeks left of his deployment to South Korea when he learned his son was in the hospital.
Fisher Houses aren’t just for injured service members; they provide lodging when their children are sick or injured as well. This was the case for the Garcia family, who stayed at the Eglin Air Force Base house while baby Jordan recovered.
What started off as a cold and cough for nine-month-old Jordan Garcia escalated to pneumonia and a choking episode, which sent him to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center in mid-April. He was put on a nebulizer to expand his lungs to make it easier to breathe and was prescribed a steroid for asthma. Jordan was released after a few hours, but his condition worsened when he returned home as he struggled to eat, drink and breathe. The next day he, his mother Christine and two-year-old sister Mikaelah rode in an ambulance to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, where Jordan slipped into critical condition. When John Garcia arrived home two days later, he and Christine discussed his next deployment to Italy on May 12. They had already submitted their 30-day notice on their rental house and had to find a place to stay until their future was more certain.
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That’s when they learned about Fisher House on Eglin Air Force Base. On April 28 the Garcias were setting up home in one of its 12 rooms after Jordan was dismissed from Sacred Heart. The Fisher House, which opened in September 2010, provides free housing for active-duty service members, veterans, retirees and their families while a loved one receives medical treatment nearby. The 11,000-square-foot building provides guests with basic cable television, Wi-Fi, two washers and dryers, a well-stocked kitchen designed for two families, and an ample-sized family room. All the rooms are handicap accessible and the backyard provides plenty of space for children to play. Ron Gribble, the manager at Fisher House, says most guests are shocked at how nice and luxurious it is. “The Fisher House is unique,” Gribble said. “We are like no other.” On average, most guests stay from three to five days to a few weeks. As of late June, about 200 people had stayed at the house, Gribble said.
The Garcias felt comfortable with Fisher House’s atmosphere and saw it as a blessing. “You don’t have to worry about not having a place to stay,” John said. “You actually have a place to come home to. Everyone here is very friendly.” “I was telling my husband how wonderful it is that these places exist,” Christine added. “They are amazing to me.”
Although doctors were never able to offer an official diagnosis on Jordan’s sudden health problems, he improved over the next few weeks as his weight increased and he became livelier. Along with that news came John’s new orders to Eglin instead of Italy. Although the Garcias were looking forward to going to Italy, the doctors and treatment available for Jordan locally were far more important.
“You don’t have to worry about not having a place to stay,” John said. “You actually have a place to come home to. Everyone here is very friendly.” The reassurance of a roof over their heads helped the Garcias focus on Jordan’s health. After he was released from Sacred Heart, he was referred to a gastroenterologist and pulmonary specialists for his enlarged liver, acid reflux and reactive airway condition. Jordan was cleared in mid-June of having cystic fibrosis after a sweat test was conducted. An ultrasound also determined his liver appeared to be back to normal. He continued using a nebulizer to help his breathing and taking medicine for his acid reflux.
“I’m just focused on my son,” John said. “And I know he is going to get the right care in Pensacola.” The Garcias are grateful for all Fisher House has done for them. The managers, volunteers and amenities helped them so much in their time of need that the couple wants to volunteer there in the future.
There are always chores to be done, such as gardening and pulling weeds. Gribble says that is one of the hardest jobs to find volunteers for. “Who wants to go out when the heat index is 105 degrees and pull weeds?” Gribble said. “Let me see a show of hands? There you go. Nobody does.” The people who do volunteer their time help out a great deal. They even have a dinner every second Thursday of the month in which they cook dinner for the guests. “It’s been really fun, actually,” Gribble said. With their son still needing medical attention, the Garcias are focusing on the bright side. The family will move into their new home later this month. “(This experience) has brought us close together,” Christine said. “For each other and as a family,” John added. “We spend a lot more time together now.”
“I just wish more people knew what the Fisher House is; more volunteers, more help around for anything and everything,” is needed, John said.
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Fisher House Foundation’s Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship Fisher House Foundation is no stranger to providing scholarships—whether for military spouses or children. Our scholarships support families who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
In Memoriam: Fisher House Remembers Gen. John Shalikashvili
Our newest scholarship is no different. The Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship was established in 2010 and opened in 2011 thanks to proceeds from President Obama’s book, “Of Thee I Sing, A Letter to My Daughters.” In its inaugural year, Fisher House awarded 23 scholarships. We wish them a successful year.
It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Fisher House board member, retired Army General John Shalikashvili. “He was a true American hero, an immigrant who served in and eventually led our armed forces with courage and valor,” said Ken Fisher, Fisher House Foundation
“His caring and compassionate nature touched the lives of millions of people around the globe.” Chairman and CEO. “His caring and compassionate nature touched the lives of millions of people around the globe. Our thoughts and prayers are with his entire family at this difficult time, as we continue to carry out our mission—to serve and support our nation’s military families—to which he was so devoted.”
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Above: Col. David P. Anders (left), Regimental Commander, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus (right), commander, International Security Assistant Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, conducts an inspection of troops during Petraeus's retirement ceremony, Aug. 31, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson, Va.
Photos by Staff Sgt. Megan Garcia
Gen. David Petraeus, commander, International Security Assistant Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, delivers his farewell speech to a formation of 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) soldiers, Aug. 31, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va.
from Iraq and Afghanistan’s Former
Army General David Petraeus took a moment during his the efforts of Fisher House Foundation Chairman and
retirement ceremony to acknowledge CEO, Ken Fisher.
“I think no one individual in our country has done more for our wounded warriors and their families than has [Ken Fisher] and his organization. The Fisher Houses that he has, with his great team, built at military bases and hospitals across our country and overseas have made an enormous difference in the lives of families when they have most needed help and support.” —Gen. David Petraeus
“I think no one individual in our country has done more for our wounded warriors and their families than has [Ken Fisher] and his organization.”
Visit http://fisherhouse.org/programs/ scholarship-programs/ for dates on upcoming scholarships and next year’s deadline.
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Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH
On April 29, 2011 a second Fisher House was dedicated at Wright-Patterson AFB Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio. Serving one of the Air Force's largest medical treatment facilities and military families dealing with a vast array of medical emergencies, the two Fisher Houses now offer a total of 20 private suites.
Two Additional Fisher Houses Fisher House Foundation recently added two new houses to our growing Fisher House family. We opened a replacement Fisher House at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio; as well as a second house at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System in Minnesota. Minneapolis is the first VA to receive a second house.
Fisher House resident Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher Ellis cut the ceremonial ribbon with Lt. General Thomas J. Owen, Commander of Aeronautical Systems Center, Medal of Honor Recipient SFC Ron Rosser (U.S. Army Retired), and other dignitaries.
Photos by Ashley Estill
The new home replaces the now-closed Nightingale House, the military’s first Compassionate Care Facility. The Fisher and Nightingale Houses have provided lodging for more than 10,000 families over the past 21 years.
Minneapolis VA Health Care System, MN
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Medal of Honor Recipient SFC Ron Rosser (U.S. Army Retired) salutes the American Flag during the dedication of a Fisher House at Wright-Patterson AFB.
The new two-story Fisher House adds an additional 20 private suites of family lodging at one of the VA Health Care System’s level-one polytrauma centers, treating active duty and veterans for rehabilitation of injuries such as traumatic brain injury, blindness and amputation. Due to complicated injuries, families may be at their loved one’s beside for months. This Fisher House was the 19th home built for the Department of Veterans Affairs, and was filled to capacity within weeks of opening.
Photos by April Eilers, VA Photographer
Ken and Tammy Fisher joined Tom McDonough, father of fallen hero Sgt. Brian McDonough (USANG) and chair of the Bryan McDonough Military Heroes Foundation, senior VA officials, and donors to dedicate a second Fisher House at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System in Minnesota.
HOUSE ROUND-UP The Patriot always loves to check in and see what our Fisher Houses have been up to. Here we outline highlights from houses around the country and in Landstuhl, Germany.
DAVID GRANT USAF MEDICAL CENTER Travis Air Force Base, CA The Honeybee Trio, a local musical group of high school students, visited the Travis Fisher House and performed some of their repertoire of Big Band era songs. The guests were thrilled by their beautiful voices and great songs. The trio generously held two concerts in May to raise funds for the Travis Fisher House. The sincere compassion these young girls displayed for our military veterans and their families was inspiring and heartwarming.
VA GREATER LOS ANGELES HEALTHCARE SYSTEM Los Angeles, CA Sandre Wiley, a long-time volunteer at the Fisher House in Los Angeles, organized a joint venture with the American Legion Post 283 and the Culver Palm Church of Christ in honor of Mother’s Day. Their celebration included makeovers, massages and a luncheon. The volunteers helped make the event successful for those in their “home away from home.”
F LO R I DA
JAMES A. HALEY VETERANS’ HOSPITAL
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER ARMY MEDICAL CENTER
Fort Gordon, GA
In March, the Tampa Fisher House received a very special photograph from the 2008 Photographer Laureate of the City of Tampa, Jeremy Chandler. Jeremy Chandler’s relative, Staff Sgt. Scott Millican, was a long-term patient in the hospital recovering from combat injuries sustained in Afghanistan. During of his stay, a variety of family members were able to lodge at the Tampa house in order to lend their support to his recovery and rehabilitation. Jeremy’s aunt and uncle, Ray and Bonnie Millican, were particularly grateful for the stays, expressing how expensive it would have been to lodge elsewhere and how comfortable they were in knowing their parents were safely staying just steps away from the patient’s bedside when they visited.
The St. Teresa of Avila’s Ladies Auxiliary of the Knights of Columbus Council 8495 made a donation of paper products and canned goods to the house at Fort Gordon in July. Paige and Brian joined their grandmother in collecting and delivering these items in July.
MIAMI VA HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
HINES VA HOSPITAL
Miami, FL The new year began with the USS Intrepid Former Crewmembers Association presenting the Miami VA Fisher House with a flag that was flown over the USS Intrepid, a naval ship commissioned in 1943 and decommissioned in 1974.
WEST PALM BEACH VA MEDICAL CENTER West Palm Beach, FL
VA EASTERN COLORADO HEALTH CARE SYSTEM
The West Palm Beach house held an open house to the community at large; a gathering of 150 people visited and toured the house. Palm County Sheriff’s Explorers directed traffic while the SunCoast High School Fisher House Club gave tours. Families, veteran service organizations and various individuals took part in the festivities, including local radio show host, Joyce Kaufman, who visited with families.
Hines, IL Michael Einig chose the Hines Fisher House to complete a project to earn his Eagle Scout Merit. He built a garden area for the guests, complete with an arbor, bench and greenery. Michael calls it the, “Garden of Gratitude.” He belongs to Boy Scout Troop 392 and was supported by American Legion Post 1983. He raised the money for his materials by participating in “Hike for Heroes.”
Aurora, CO The Allen family stayed at the Colorado Fisher House for two weeks in June, when Michael’s wife Amanda found out that their unborn baby boy had hypoplastic left heart syndrome and would need open heart surgery as soon as he was born. Baby Matthew Allen had the support of his big sister Hanna, four years old, and his parents who were staying at the Fisher House. Since then, Matthew is doing very well, only seeing a doctor once or twice a week.
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THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2011
BLANCHFIELD ARMY COMMUNITY HOSPITAL
ST. LOUIS VA MEDICAL CENTER
Fort Campbell, KY
St. Louis, MO
Army Maj. Gen. John Campbell, commander of the 101st Airborne Division, honored the Fort Campbell Fisher House by presenting the staff with a flag they flew on the 101st day of the year (April 11, 2011), over their headquarters in Afghanistan. Because so many Fisher Houses played a part in caring for the injured soldiers from their division, they thought it was fitting to present Fisher House with such a thoughtful gift.
Several different organizations pitched in to help raise funds to install a new playground behind our Fisher House at the St. Louis VA Medical Center. The playground has rubber mulch for the children’s protection, a slide, climbing walls, swings, tunnels, binoculars and is fenced in, so families can overlook the river and relax as they enjoy watching their children play.
MALCOLM GROW MEDICAL CENTER Andrews Air Force Base, MD Master Sgt. Chris Sweet and his wife Tech Sgt. Jessica Sweet stayed at the Fisher House at Andrews AFB three years ago after Jessica was diagnosed with leukemia. Sadly, Jessica passed away in February 2009. Chris has since found the strength to move on and married Danielle Balmer this past 4th of July beneath the Air Force Memorial. Danielle too, lost her husband, Tech Sgt. Ryan Balmer in Iraq four years ago. Carrying a photo of each spouse they lost to war in her bouquet, Chris and Danielle have blended their families, creating something amazing out of tragedy.
WOMACK ARMY MEDICAL CENTER
VA BOSTON HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
Fort Bragg, NC
West Roxbury, MA
Home2 Suites by Hilton, a recently launched extended-stay hotel brand, officially commemorated the opening of its first hotel in Fayetteville, NC by announcing a surprise charitable gift to Fisher House. On March 16, 2011, Home2 Suites updated all guest rooms at Fisher House with new bed frames, box springs and mattresses, as well as new bedding, blankets, iHome clock radios, bath towels, bath mats, wash cloths, and a variety of toiletry items. "Fisher House is making a difference every day in the lives of these servicemen and women and their families, so it's an honor for us to do what we can to support this worthy endeavor,” said Bill Duncan, global head, Home2 Suites.
Lieutenant Gen. John Kelly, USMC, has been a long-time advocate and supporter of the Fisher House program. Alder Foods, Inc. raised funds to recognize and build a special tranquil water garden in honor and memory of 1st Lt. Robert E. Kelly, who was killed in action in November 2010.
CINCINNATI VA MEDICAL CENTER Cincinnati, OH NORTH CAROLINA
CAMP LEJEUNE NAVAL HOSPITAL Camp Lejeune, NC
WALTER REED NATIONAL MILITARY MEDICAL CENTER Bethesda, MD In late July, Think Food Group's Jaleo restaurant in Bethesda treated Fisher House guests to a delicious homemade dinner. The renowned Spanish tapas restaurant first served guests their ensalada de remolacha con cítricos: a salad of red beets, citrus, blue cheese and pistachios with a sherry dressing. While Head Chef Paul Yeck was preparing two kinds of paella outside, guests also enjoyed Gazpacho estilo algeciras: chilled Spanish tomato soup. Finally, Chef Yeck served his chicken and wild mushroom paella; and a delicious vegetable paella.
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The Camp Lejeune Fisher House hosted a BBQ in celebration of the July 4th holiday. Guests, as well as members of the Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune staff, were able to enjoy hamburgers, hot dogs, Italian sausage, salads and all the fixings.
For Memorial Day 2011, Holy Cross Elementary School third and sixth graders from Latonia, Ky., participated in a fundraiser for the Cincinnati Fisher House. The theme of the fundraiser was “Freedom,” and the students were very generous in preparing the meal, drinks and bringing decorations for the enhancement of the dining room. When the students weren’t busy cooking or decorating, they received a tour of the Fisher House, which they enjoyed.
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BROOKE ARMY MEDICAL CENTER SAN ANTONIO MILITARY MEDICAL CENTER Fort Sam Houston, TX The 6th Annual San Antonio Ride 4 Troops was held in May to benefit the Brooke Army Medical Center Fisher Houses and the Lackland Air Force Base Fisher Houses. The Ride, which included both motorcycles and cars, was a success and event planners are looking forward to next year.
WRIGHT-PATTERSON MEDICAL CENTER Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH It was a hot day at Wright-Patterson AFB when the Ohio Society Children of the American Revolution made their way to Fisher House II. They showed up with arms loaded with wonderful donations for the houses. The youth sat outside on the patio making colorful, patriotic and camouflage blankets for the guests to keep in their rooms. TEXAS
CARL R. DARNALL ARMY MEDICAL CENTER Fort Hood, TX Representatives from the Hilton Garden Inn-Temple and ARAMARK Star Team recently presented the Fisher House at Fort Hood with a contribution raised from a community-wide garage sale. The successful fundraiser was able to provide support for the Fisher House, in addition to two other local charities.
MICHAEL E. DEBAKEY VA MEDICAL CENTER Houston, TX A tribute to Marine Corps Capt. Richard Pirner was made by his wife, daughters and son in the form of a bench to be used by the Fisher House guests. Installed by the Houston Chapter of the First Marine Division Association (FMDA), the bench is located in a shaded area so everyone can enjoy it.
MADIGAN HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
FUTURE FISHER HOUSES
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA
Over 5,000 items collected during a wish list donation drive were delivered to the Lackland Fisher House by members of the African American Cultural Association and the San Antonio Northwest Civic and Social Club. Sixty-two volunteers staffed tables at the commissary and the BX while 42 unit representatives collected donations during a two-week period in July. The amount of items donated was unprecedented.
Anchorage, AK Fisher House of Alaska is currently raising funds for their 12-room Fisher House now under construction at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. A raffle auctioning a patriotic 2011 Dodge Truck from Chrysler Jeep Dodge of South Anchorage will assist in completing the project to bring the first Fisher House to Anchorage.
Operations Assistant Nikki Wasierski said farewell to her Fisher House family in May, having worked with the Fisher House at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for over two years. Nikki began her relationship with Fisher House as a volunteer, but became a full-time employee and was instrumental in helping move their home forward. Relocating with her husband to Fort Benning, Ga. this summer, Nikki will move on knowing she made an impact in the lives of many.
Salt Lake City, UT The Fisher House at the Salt Lake City VA Health Care System is officially underway. A groundbreaking ceremony was held July 1 to commemorate the start of building the first Fisher House at the facility.
Lackland Air Force Base, TX
Our fundraisers in Tennessee have been working hard to bring the first ever Fisher House to the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in Murfreesboro, TN. Pictured is the Fisher House display they share with others to learn about Fisher House Foundation and how we support our service members and their families.
VA PUGET SOUND HEALTHCARE SYSTEM Seattle, WA Wedding bells rang in the Puget Sound Fisher House February 8. Fisher House guest Sunny had been staying for some weeks in support of her fiancé, Julius, who was rehabbing from a brain injury. The staff at Fisher House created the invitations and even designed wedding flowers in honor of Sunny and Julius. GERMANY
NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER, PORTSMOUTH
LANDSTUHL REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER
July 29 marked the 24-hour marathon Viking Challenge, hosted by the KMC 5/6 Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, to raise funds for the Landstuhl Fisher Houses. The run/ walkathon featured over 100 teams competing in the challenge.
Several Chapters of the Navy Wives Clubs of America (Lady Rebecca Rolfe #314, Tidewater #190, Princess Anne #190, Little Creek #241) donated flowers to the Portsmouth Fisher House. In addition to the hanging THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2011
WA S H I N G T O N
WILFORD HALL AMBULATORY SURGICAL CENTER SAN ANTONIO MILITARY MEDICAL CENTER
and potted plants, each one of the chapters often prepare meals and donate generously for the families at Portsmouth.
Milwaukee, WI Gainesville, FL
West Haven, CT
In May, the Gainesville, Fla. community had the opportunity to support veterans and military members by participating in the Gainesville Fisher House Foundation’s gala weekend which included a fishing tournament on Friday; a Night in New Orleans on Saturday; and a grand finale Golf Tournament on Sunday. More than 500 people, 120 golfers and 50 volunteers participated in the weekend’s events.
Fisher House Foundation was extremely humbled to find a special letter in the mail from two young children who are philanthropists in the making. Connor and Zoe decided to sell duct tape bracelets over Memorial Day Weekend at their town’s parade in Connecticut. They concluded their letter with hope that “this money helps lots of families.”
The 2nd Annual Fisher House Benefit Motorcycle Ride was held in September to help raise funds for the future house at the Clement C. Zablocki VA Medical Center. The event featured a motorcycle ride in the morning, followed by a post-benefit ride party at the House of Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee. Guests at the fundraiser were provided an opportunity to get close to the National Guard Patriot Chopper, built by the famed Orange County Choppers team in 2006.
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RANGE The following projects are currently under construction: Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Anchorage, AK VA Salt Lake City Health Care System Salt Lake City, UT Projected fall 2011 starts: VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System Pittsburgh, PA Audie L. Murphy VA Hospital San Antonio, TX Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital Ft. Belvoir, VA Projected 2012 starts:
VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System Denver, CO (second house) VA Connecticut Healthcare System West Haven, CT Orlando VA Medical Center Orlando, FL Ramstein, Germany Tripler Army Medical Center Honolulu, HI Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center Chicago, IL Korea VA Maine Health Care System Togus, ME
Malcom Randall VA Medical Center Gainesville, FL
VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System Omaha, NE
Womack Army Medical Center Ft. Bragg, NC (replacement house)
New Mexico VA Health Care System Albuquerque, NM
Tennessee Valley Healthcare System Murfreesboro, TN
Nellis Air Force Base Las Vegas, NV
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) David Grant Air Force Medical Center Travis AFB, CA (second house)
Fisher House Foundation is building on its commitment to help military families
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Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center Cleveland, OH Portland VA Medical Center Portland, OR VA Caribbean Healthcare System San Juan, PR Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center Houston, TX (second house) Clement C. Zablocki VA Medical Center Milwaukee, WI
FISHER HOUSE DIRECTORY
CALIFORNIA VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System 11301 Wilshire Blvd. (10AF) Building 512 Los Angeles, CA 90073 (310) 268-4457 Fax: (310) 268-3449 Manager: Sharon Hudson firstname.lastname@example.org VA Palo Alto Health Care System 3801 Miranda Ave. Palo Alto, CA 94304 (650) 493-5000 x 60384 Fax: (650) 849-1269 Manager: Shelly Foutz-Lowe, LICSW shelly.foutz-Lowe@va.gov Naval Medical Center San Diego I, II 34800 Bob Wilson Dr., Bldg. 46 San Diego, CA 92134-5000 (619) 532-9055 Fax: (619) 532-5216 Manager: Kristin Palmer email@example.com David Grant USAF Medical Center 100 Bodin Circle Travis AFB, CA 94535-1804 (707) 423-7550 Fax: (707) 423-7552 Manager: Charlene Hall firstname.lastname@example.org
COLORADO VA Eastern Colorado HCS 1954 Quentin St. Aurora, CO 80010 (303) 399-8020 x 2049 Fax: (303) 364-4882 Manager: Joy Weyna-King email@example.com
DELAWARE Fisher House for Families of the Fallen 220 Lajes St. Dover AFB, DE 19902 (302) 677-2402 POC: TSgt. Latersa Frazier firstname.lastname@example.org
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Washington DC VA Medical Center 50 Irving St., NW Washington, DC 20422 (202) 745-800 x 6023 Manager: Kenneth Merritt email@example.com
FLORIDA Bay Pines Healthcare System 10000 Bay Pines Blvd. Bay Pines, FL 33744 (727) 319-1350 Fax: (727) 319-1106 Manager: Rich Kippings firstname.lastname@example.org
Eglin Air Force Hospital 350 Boatner Rd. Eglin AFB, FL 32542 (850) 883-2865 Manager: Ron Gribble email@example.com James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital 13000 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. Tampa, FL 33612 (813) 910-3000 Fax: (813) 910-3088 Manager: Paula Welenc firstname.lastname@example.org Miami VA Healthcare System 1201 NW 16th St. Miami, FL 33125 (305) 575-7260 Fax: (305) 575-7261 Manager: Carolyn Soucy email@example.com West Palm Beach VA Medical Center 7305 N. Military Trail – Route 136 West Palm Beach, FL 33410 (561) 422-5554 Fax: (561) 442-8793 Manager: Mary McCabe firstname.lastname@example.org
GEORGIA Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center Fisher House Rd., Bldg. 280 Fort Gordon, GA 30905-5650 (706) 787-7100 Fax: (706) 787-5106 Manager: Francisco Cruz email@example.com Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center One Freedom Way (00P/Fisher House) Augusta, GA 30904 (706) 729-5773 Manager: Anne Arnold firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
ILLINOIS Hines VA Hospital 5000 S 5th Ave. Hines, IL 60141 (708) 202-7154 Fax: (708) 202-7155 Manager: Holly Wright firstname.lastname@example.org
Blanchfield Army Community Hospital 652 Joel Dr. Fort Campbell, KY 42223 (270) 798-8330 Fax: (270) 798-8804 Manager: Wendy J. Carlston email@example.com
Albany Stratton VA Medical Center 113 Holland Ave. Albany, NY 12208 (518) 626-6919 Fax: (518) 626-5452 Manager: Jerry Jensen firstname.lastname@example.org
Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital 4 Recovery Way Camp Lejeune, NC 28547 (910) 450-3885 Fax: (910) 450-3887 Manager: Josie Callahan email@example.com
Malcolm Grow Medical Center 1076 West Perimeter Rd. Andrews AFB, MD 20762 (301) 981-1243 Fax: (301) 981-7629 Manager: Janet Grampp firstname.lastname@example.org 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: Becky Wood email@example.com Forest Glen Annex—Fort Detrick 173 Stephen Sitter Ave. Silver Spring, MD 20910 (301) 295-7374 Fax: (202) 545-3202 Manager: Maurice Borde firstname.lastname@example.org
MASSACHUSETTS VA Boston Healthcare System 1400 VFW Pkwy. West Roxbury, MA 02132 (857) 203-4000 or (857) 203-6503 Manager: Elizabeth St. Pierre email@example.com
MINNESOTA Minneapolis VAHCS I, II 1 Veterans Dr. Minneapolis, MN 55417 (612) 467-5602 Fax: (612) 970-5864 Manager: Marge Oslund firstname.lastname@example.org
MISSISSIPPI Keesler AFB Hospital 509 Fisher St. Keesler AFB, MS 39534-2599 (228) 377-8264 Fax: (228) 377-7691 Manager: Larry Vetter email@example.com
MISSOURI St. Louis VA Medical Center 1 Jefferson Barracks Rd. St. Louis, MO 63125 (314) 894-6145 Fax: (314) 894-6147 Manager: Rachael Fernandez firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
Womack Army Medical Center 12 Bassett St. Fort Bragg, NC 28307-5000 (910) 432-1486 Fax: (910) 432-3825 Manager: Paula Gallero firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center 2002 Holcombe Blvd. Houston, TX 77030 (713) 794-8095 Fax: (713) 794-7194 Manager: Frank Kelley email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Cincinnati VAMC 3200 Vine St. Cincinnati, OH 45220 (513) 475-6571 Fax: (910) 432-3825 Manager: Karrie Hagan email@example.com Wright-Patterson Medical Center I, II 417 Schlatter Dr. Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433 (937) 257-0855 Fax: (937) 656-2150 Manager: Karen Healea firstname.lastname@example.org
TEXAS VA North Texas Health Care System 4500 S. Lancaster Rd. Building 79 Dallas, TX 75216 (214) 857-2574 Fax: (214) 462-4923 Manager: Lydia Henderson email@example.com William Beaumont Army Medical Center 5005 N. Piedras St. El Paso, TX 79920-5001 (915) 569-1860 Fax: (915) 569-1862 Manager: Harry Hicks firstname.lastname@example.org Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Bldg. 36015 Fisher Ln. Fort Hood, TX 78254 (254) 286-7927 Fax: (254) 286-7929 Manager: Isaac Howard email@example.com
Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth 853 Fisher Dr., Bldg. 287 Portsmouth, VA 23708 (757) 953-6889 Fax: (757) 953-7174 Manager: Loretta Loveless firstname.lastname@example.org McGuire Richmond VA Medical Center 1201 Broad Rock Blvd. Richmond, VA 23249 (804) 675-6639 Fax: (804) 675-5979 Manager: Wayne Walker email@example.com
WASHINGTON Madigan Healthcare System 9999 Wilson Ave. Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA 98433 (253) 964-9283 Fax: (253) 968-3619 Manager: Jodi Land firstname.lastname@example.org VA Puget Sound Healthcare System 1660 South Columbian Way Seattle, WA 98101 (206) 768-5353 Fax: (206) 277-1415 Manager: Cecile Bagrow email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2011
Fisher House Foundation, Inc. 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420 Rockville, MD 20850-5000
We put a lot of heart into everything we do. And your support helps make it possible!
For over 20 years, the Fisher House program has worked tirelessly to meet the needs of military Families everywhere. We continue to build and donate Fisher Houses to military/VA medical centers, support existing houses, administer our Hero Miles program, help military families in need and provide scholarships to military children and spouses. At the very heart of our program, Fisher Houses offer a “home away from home,” a place where families can stay and support their loved ones—at no cost—while they receive specialized military hospital/VA medical care. These houses allow the patients and families to focus on what’s most important, the healing process. We encourage you to find out more about the Fisher House program by visiting us online at www.fisherhouse.org or by calling (888) 294-8560.
©2011 Fisher House Foundation | Creative services donated by ds+f, Washington, DC www.dsfriends.com | Some photos compliments of Brendan Mattingly www.brendanmattingly.com
It is with great pride that we welcome you to our redesigned Fisher House magazine, aptly titled The Patriot. This name is especially fittin...