THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF FISHER HOUSE FOUNDATION, INC. TM
CONTINUING THE LEGACY
FISHER HOUSE PROGRAM IN 20TH YEAR SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY ISSUE
100TH ANNIVERSARY OF FOUNDER ZACHARY FISHER’S BIRTH Longest-serving managers share their memories
FISHER HOUSE AT 20 Ken Fisher discusses the future
MY COUNTRY Country Music legends support Fisher House
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 more than 12,000 families, and has made available more than 3 million days of lodging to family members since the program originated in 1990. No family pays to stay at any Fisher House!
In addition to constructing new houses, Fisher House Foundation continues to support existing Fisher Houses and help individual military families in need. The foundation is also proud to administer and sponsor Scholarships for Military Children, the Hero Miles program, Team Fisher House, and cosponsor the Newman’s Own Awards program and the Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship Program. 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. The Foundation has also received an A+ rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy.
Volunteer Spotlight — Bill Kleinedler
Newman’s Own Awards Grant $75,000 to Military Support Groups 12 A Celebration of Service: Fisher House Program Marks Its 20th Year
Guest Family Profile — Keeley Family
100th Anniversary of Fisher House Founder Zachary Fisher
Meet the Managers
A Day in the Life Fisher House Photo Contest
Fraternity Stays True to Its Service Roots
A Fisher House Family Connects and Receives Support with CaringBridge
Making Music for the Military
Hero Miles Gets a Holiday Boost
Making a Pitch for Fisher House: Strikeouts for Troops delivers Hard and Fast
Fisher House Directory
Ken Fisher Chairman and CEO EDITOR Leslie Happ ASSOCIATE EDITORS Debby Lynn Josephine Mooney LAYOUT AND ART DIRECTION ds+f www.dsfriends.com Address all correspondence to:
On the cover: Fisher House Foundation Chairman Ken Fisher at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., where three Fisher Houses are under construction. Under Ken’s leadership the number of Fisher Houses has doubled since the passing of his grand uncle Zachary in 1999. Cover photo by Mike Carpenter (www.MichaelCarpenterPhotography.com)
The Patriot Fisher House Foundation 111 Rockville Pike Suite 420 Rockville, Maryland 20850 Phone: 888 294 8560 Fax: 877 294 8562 Email: email@example.com www.fisherhouse.org Follow us on Facebook
should be in Washington, DC, New York City, or at the site of an existing or future Fisher House. In the end, we did none of those, and instead, decided to celebrate our two anniversaries in the pages of The Patriot, so you, our guest families, our donors, and our supporters, could share in the celebration. My grand uncle Zachary was a patriot, and hence the name of this publication. More than that, he was a visionary, and that we in the foundation are able to continue to support our service men and women and their families, is a tribute to the model he started – that of a private foundation raising the funds to build these magnificent houses, then donating them to the government which becomes responsible for their operation and maintenance.
LETTER FROM KEN FISHER Dear Friends:
Ken and Tammy Fisher
Almost a year ago, we began thinking about how we should celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Fisher House program, which also coincided with the 100th anniversary of the birth of founder Zachary Fisher on September 26th, 2010. We discussed options like a fundraising dinner, a dinner with corporate underwriting, a picnic or open house, and whether the event
For those of us responsible for the Fisher House program, we are guided by the premise that we are “continuing the legacy” begun 20 years ago by Zachary Fisher and his wife Elizabeth. Just as we could not predict our future in the days and weeks following the events of 9/11, we cannot predict our future today. But I can assure you that the hallmarks of Fisher House Foundation are to focus on families and to be responsive to their needs, and that mission will continue as we embark on our next 20 years. We thank all members of the U. S. Armed Forces and their families for their selfless service, and we thank our donors and supporters who make all of this possible. With gratitude,
Ken Fisher Chairman, Fisher House Foundation
THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2010
LINE New Chicago-area House Welcomes a Very Special Guest Guests at the brand new Hines Fisher House outside of Chicago were delighted by a Memorial Day visit by President Obama. The White House requested that the president’s time at the house be private and low-key so that he could spend time with the families. He thanked veterans and their families for the sacrifices they made in their service to our nation and signed autographs and took pictures with house guests and staff. He even joined in on a holiday barbecue, noshing on a bratwurst with mustard and baked beans.
Above: President Obama shakes hands with Fisher House Foundation Chairman Ken Fisher, as Ken’s wife Tammy look’s on. Below: Foundation President Dave Coker explains the Fisher House program to President Obama. The president visited the Fisher House at the Hines VA Hospital near Chicago on Memorial Day, two days after the formal dedication of the house.
THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2010
News from the Fisher House Community
Marriott’s Texas-sized Benefit Opening gala for resort yields nearly $1M for Fisher House and Intrepid Foundations. Everything’s bigger in Texas—or so any Texan will tell you. And, it’s true—at least when it comes to a certain hotel chain. When the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa opened in March, it became the largest Marriott resort in the world. The opening celebration was of equally grand proportions. The super-sized gala benefited Fisher House Foundation, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, and the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. “We wondered: how could we give back to the community in a significant and meaningful way?” says Mike Kass, director of sales and marketing for the property. “Since San Antonio is known as ‘Military City U.S.A.,’ and since the Fisher House mission is critical as far as what they do for our military families, we wanted to support that mission.” Marriott kicked off the gala Saturday, March 20th, with a charity golf tournament on its 36-hole Tournament Players Club course designed by World Golf Hall of Famers Pete Dye and Greg Norman. At that evening’s bash, dinner was a beautiful and delicious meal created by
JW “Bill” Marriott heralded the opening of the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa with a Texas-sized gala that served as a benefit for Fisher House Foundation and the Intrepid foundations.
Executive Chef Ryan Littman and served to nearly 1,000 guests. Good ol’ Texas boys Kenny Rogers and John Rich were joined by county music legend Wynonna Judd in a fabulous concert. The most memorable part of the evening, however, was a special guest who spoke during the live auction. Wounded warrior Aaron Mankin came forward and addressed the bidders, inspiring them with his personal story. A Marine combat correspondent in Iraq, Mankin and his convoy were struck by a roadside bomb near the Syrian border. The bomb threw Mankin’s vehicle 10 feet into the air.
“When I opened my eyes, I realized I was on fire,” he says. Mankin suffered horrific burn injuries. During his lengthy recovery at Brooke Army Medical Center, his wife and infant child stayed in the Fisher House there, allowing them to remain by his side. “I don’t think people realize how devastating it is for these families, when a young soldier is critically injured,” Kass says. “As well as raising money, we felt it was important to increase awareness of what Fisher House is doing.” One of the highlights of the evening was a powerful performance by the 82nd Airborne All-American Chorus. “The 82nd Airborne was a big hit” says Kass. “Their a cappella rendition of each military branch’s song was really moving.” JW Marriott himself was on hand to help present a check to Fisher House Foundation Chairman Ken Fisher and sister nonprofits from Manhattan. The Texas-sized check was for a whopping $902,300. Alluding to the big-hearted Texas donors, Kass says, ”People really felt that their money was making a meaningful difference for our wounded warriors.” Country music legends Kenny Rogers, left, Wynnona Judd and John Rich entertained guests at the gala.
THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2010
Minnesota Foundation Takes on a Big Challenge Bryan McDonough was a modest young man with a big heart and an outsized sense of duty. When Operation Iraqi Freedom began in 2003, McDonough, just 19, took note of the early casualties—many of them soldiers with families. The war, he told his family, should be fought by “guys like me; young and single.” And so he enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard.
Sailors Rally and Run for Tennessee Fisher House
In December of 2006, eight months into his deployment, McDonough was killed by an IED while on patrol in Anbar Province. His close-knit family was devastated. “You can be reclusive for a little while,” his father, Tom McDonough, reflects, “but you can’t live that way. It’s better to be around people.” And so, to keep their son’s name alive, Tom and wife Renee started the Bryan McDonough Military Heroes Foundation.
When Naval Support Activity Mid-South, located in Millington, Tenn., decided to hold a Navy Ten Nautical Miler run, organizers hoped to attract 250 runners. To their delight, the first-ever event drew nearly 460 participants—19 of them on deployment in Farah, Afghanistan. The event—with proceeds supporting the VA Tennessee Valley Fisher House—was held on June 6th, the anniversary of D-Day (it was held a day earlier in Afghanistan).
Their first efforts were to aid a soldier gravely injured when their son was killed. Since then, they have helped many other Minnesota-connected service members and their families. When they learned of Fisher House Foundation’s plan to build a second house at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center, they saw a good fit with their mission. The all-volunteer foundation geared up for its biggest challenge ever: raising half the money needed for the house’s construction.
Ten nautical miles is approximately the distance from the seashore to the horizon, or about 11 statute miles. Since no race has been run at this distance before, winner Stephen Hill of Memphis set the record, crossing the finish line with a time of 1:07:23.
“At this time, we’re a long way from where we need to be,” Tom McDonough admits—given that the house is slated to open sometime next year. “It’s a lot harder than you think.” Most people, he notes, have never heard of Fisher House. Once they do, though, “they’re ready to open their hearts.” So far, funds have come from military service groups, a boat ride on the Mississippi River, and sales of a Minnesota Fallen Heroes Remembered calendar. Including funds from a latesummer golf tournament, the foundation has presented Fisher House Foundation with more than $100,000.
THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2010
Top: Bryan McDonough with his parents, Tom and Renee, and sisters and brother, Shannon, Katie and Kevin. Middle: Spec. Bryan McDonough deployed with the Minnesota National Guard to Iraq. Lower: Bryan and his mother, Renee.
Even after the house is complete, McDonough says the partnership will endure. “We will continue our support of Fisher House going forward,” he says, “providing meals, meat for the freezer, those types of things. Maybe a playground. Our purpose is to help military families in Bryan’s name—the more the better.”
Sailors stationed at Forward Operating Base Farah had read about the race in Navy Times and wanted to participate. All finishers received a large anchor medal, which, according to Mid-Tennessee Fisher House Foundation head Andrea Lawrence, was a big hit. “It was a really nice memento of the inaugural event,” she says. “What a wonderful race!!” Jessica Fetter posted on the race’s Facebook page. “I am really looking forward to next year! My husband (who is also a runner but couldn’t participate in this race because of work schedule conflicts) absolutely loves the awesome medal, so he is definitely going to run it next year as well!” Planning is, in fact, already underway for next year’s June 5th race. “At a joint meeting of officials from several Navy bases,” Lawrence says, “other base commanders have indicated that they want to join the race next year to make it a Navy-wide event.”
St. Louis House Gets an Official Welcome
Paying it Forward with Real Dough
By proclamation of the Missouri governor, April was declared “St. Louis Fisher House Month.” Gov. Jay Nixon presented house Manager Rachael Fernandez with the official proclamation in his office at the state capitol, recognizing the significant role the house will play in caring for veterans and their families from across the central Midwest.
by Paula A. Welenc, LMSW, ACSW Tampa Fisher House Manager
Supporters of the new house were also on hand, including representatives of the 1904 World’s Fair Charitable Foundation, the Veterans Canteen Service and 12-year-old Jamie Gottlieb, who raised $2,000 for the house. Just one week before the governor’s proclamation, the Missouri House of Representatives issued its own resolution recognizing the St. Louis Fisher House. State Rep. Joe Smith from St. Charles, Mo., sponsored the bill and told the House how much this facility will mean to veterans in every one of the state’s districts.
Stephenie Hadaway has felt the arms of her fellow guests enfold her through the nearly 125 long, tough days she’s spent at the Tampa Fisher House. “I’ve cried with joy and sorrow, laughed when I had nearly forgotten how, and been offered meals that others cooked when I walked in the door looking like a truck had run over me” she recalls. So how does a smart, creative woman find a way to give back? With a very novel gift, of course. Hadaway decided to show her love by helping her extended Fisher House family “rise above” their sorrows and despair through the sharing of her Amish friendship bread. Despite working full time and being the sole caregiver for her beloved husband—a paraplegic who’s been through three surgeries and battled stage four cancer for the past 10 months—she has provided 20 bread starter packets to the Tampa house, complete with a beautiful letter explaining the gift and instructions on its use. “Although the reasons we are all here are not for pleasantry, the friendship and love that extends throughout this place has become a strength to me and I hope the same to
Jerry and Stephenie Hadaway conduct a radio interview during a Military Appreciation Week barbecue at the Tampa Fisher House. Stephenie created starter packets for Amish friendship bread as a way to connect with future house guests.
all of you that pass through the Fisher House doors,” she writes in her note. Hadaway has given a gift that’s much more than a recipe filled with flour and sugar and spices. She’s given a gift that nurtures bodies and hearts as well. “May your lives be sweet and lofty and rise as the friendship bread does,” she writes in the closing line of her letter to her Tampa family. Such a loving gift is sure to help that happen. And to perpetuate the gift, Hadaway’s recipe includes enough dough to return a new starter packet to the Fisher House freezer for future guests. For more information on the Amish friendship bread process, feel free to contact the Tampa Fisher House at (813) 910-3000.
Sew Nice Gov. Jay Nixon recognizes (from left to right) Fisher House Manager Rachael Fernandez; Caryn Gottlieb, mother of Jamie Gottlieb; Jim Donahoe, president of the Fisher House in St. Louis Board; Ray Tober, chief operating officer of the Veterans Canteen Service (a major donor to Fisher House Foundation); Joan Bankston, secretary of the 1904 Worlds Fair Charitable Foundation; Jamie Gottlieb; and Rich Pisani, president, and “Doc” Logan, member, of the 1904 World’s Fair Charitable Foundation.
The Andrews Air Force Base youth quilting group designed and sewed a quilt and donated it to the Fisher House there. One of the quilters was former resident Katelyn Sweet, whose idea it was to select Fisher House to be its recipient. Sweet’s family stayed at the house for five months while her mom, the late Tech. Sgt. Jessica Sweet, was undergoing treatment. The group worked hard and did an amazing job. This beautiful quilt is now on display at Fisher House. Debbie Carle, left, Andrews Youth Center representative, and the Andrews School Age Program Quilting Club participants present a quilt to Melanie Dennison, right, Fisher House representative.
THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2010
Bounty Hunters Deliver to Keesler By Susan Griggs A bunch of Louisiana gunslingers in Old West garb delivered a check for more than $10,000 to Keesler’s Fisher House July 21st. The Bayou Bounty Hunters held a benefit for Fisher House by contributing match fees and other donations from a recent match in Amite, La. The group is a member organization of Cowboy Action Shooting, part of the 84,000-member international Single Action Shooting Society. The group blends the Old West and Hollywood in a shooting sport with vintage firearms, according to Nathan Gifford, alias Foard County News. “Aliases allow people to step out of their daily life and assume an entirely fictitious persona,” Gifford says. “Quite frequently, shooters only know their fellow club members by their aliases.” Shooting is a major part of the sport, but dressing up is almost as important to most participants. Another interesting side of the group is that many shooters travel to their matches in recreational vehicles, adding convenience and camaraderie reminiscent of the wagon trains of the past. “That is the quiet joy of this game,” says Gifford. “You roll back into a different time, slap on your spurs and your badge, hang out with people who are having a good time and listening to the pop and clang as metal meets metal. All this you get to do with your pardette (wife) and buckaroos while talking about the Old West and the day’s festivities.” 6
THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2010
DAVID GRANT USAF MEDICAL CENTER Travis Air Force Base, CA
From left (front row): Terry and Robert Calbert, treasurer and president of the Bayou Bounty Hunters; Brig. Gen. Ian Dickinson, 81st Training Wing commander; member Betty Boggs. Back row: Brig. Gen. Kory Cornum, 81st Medical Group commander; Fisher House Manager Larry Vetter; member Gregory Boggs; Col. Robert Cothron, 81st Medical Group. Photo by Kemberly Groue
The Fairfield Soroptimist Club made a very generous donation to the house. The club is a great organization of amazing women whose mission is “Women Helping Women” locally and internationally. The club’s adopted “sister” in Afghanistan wrote, saying that because of its support she has her own business and was able to vote for who she wanted for the first time ever. Hilda Ross, one of the club’s very active members and a retired Air Force colonel and nurse, was instrumental in facilitating the donation.
SAN DIEGO NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER San Diego, CA The Helicopter Officers Spouses Club has been providing various frozen and fresh foods, paper products and house necessities throughout the year. The club has held various tournaments, events and meetings to help the Fisher House families in their time of need. The guests have loved everything that has been provided and especially love talking with the group members who can sympathize with their feelings toward a loved one.
ROUND-UP DENVER VA MEDICAL CENTER Denver, CO The Friends of the Fisher House held its annual barbecue in July and presented the Lt. Col. Leon Scott Award to Miles Cortez and AIMCO (Apartment Investment and Management Company). The Friends then retired the American flag that has graced the house for the past year and presented it to Kenneth Baines, a veteran and patient convalescing at the house. The Friends group also joined the Denver Zoo in saluting local armed service members with a special night for military members and their families on July 18th.
VA GREATER LOS ANGELES HEALTH CARE SYSTEM
WALTER REED ARMY MEDICAL CENTER
Los Angeles, CA
The American Culinary Federation Chefs de Cuisine Association has pledged to raise $250,000 for the house, and recently presented a $15,000 check to the WLA Fisher House Foundation to that end. In addition, residents were treated to a luncheon prepared and served by a group of its chefs. Also, a group of managers from the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Company surprised guests one day by serving coffee and pastries in the morning, sandwiches and Ice Blendeds for lunch, and tea and coffee in the late afternoon. The group topped off the whole affair with homemade chocolate-chip cookies and lots of gifts for guests.
PALO ALTO VA HEALTH CARE SYSTEM Palo Alto, CA The house celebrated its fourth anniversary in April with an open house. More than 400 family members, patients and staff enjoyed a catered barbecue in the back yard. The celebration coincided with the dedication of the Arrillaga Family Healing Garden, which features a relaxing fountain and shaded seating in the therapy garden. The garden is located across the street at the Polytrauma Center and is accessible to Fisher House guest families.
Affectionately known as the “Breakfast Group,” a very dedicated cadre of grass-roots volunteers has been visiting monthly since August 2008 to prepare and serve a breakfast feast for approximately 20 to 30 guests. Afterwards, they hold an arts and crafts session for the children. Through word of mouth, their popularity among the houses has grown, and every visit is anticipated with excitement. Their dedication to the houses has earned them the Silver 2009 Presidential Volunteer Service Award and Bronze 2008 President Volunteer Service Award.
DWIGHT DAVID EISENHOWER ARMY MEDICAL CENTER Fort Gordon, GA General Dynamics C4 Systems presented the house with a $10,000 contribution (above). Another big thank you goes to the Military Officers Association of America’s Georgia Mountain chapter, especially chapter President Lt. Col. (Ret.) David W. Gordon, for arranging a June 7th golf tournament. The tournament, held at the Achasta Golf Course in Dahlonega, Ga., benefited the house as well as the Wounded Warrior Program. A wounded warrior was the fourth member of each team; not only did they play for free, but they received clubs and golf balls for the tournament. All players received a gift bag which included items from the Masters Golf Tournament. The tournament ended with a barbecue dinner. Col. Paul Wingo from the MOAA Mountain chapter presented the Fort Gordon Fisher House a check for $1,000, the proceeds from the tournament.
BAY PINES VA MEDICAL CENTER Bay Pines, FL The local Girl Scouts have hosted a couple of events at the house, spearheaded by 11-year-old Miss Schenato. It is always enjoyable to see young people working hand-in-hand with the more seasoned volunteers. The house has also been working closely with Maj. Scott A. Macksam, with the U.S. Army ROTC program. This is another group of young, energetic individuals who are anxious to show our veterans how much they mean to us.
THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2010
...House Round-Up Continued
JAMES A. HALEY VA MEDICAL CENTER
EDWARD J. HINES VA HOSPITAL
NATIONAL NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER
A little stardust was sprinkled among the house’s Army patients and their families on a fairy tale night in June when they were feted at the 235th Army Birthday Ball celebration. Cinderella’s pumpkin, disguised as a VA van, carried the formally attired wives, moms and dads, along with their wounded warriors, in their dress blues riding in their wheelchair “chariots,” to the gala. The audience of dignitaries, including Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the U.S. Central Command, recognized their enormous contributions and sacrifices with a standing ovation. The house was presented with a $10,000 donation in their honor.
The house’s official dedication took place on May 28th and was attended by over 700 guests. Speakers included several State of Illinois, military and national VA dignitaries. It was a beautiful day and wonderful start to a special Memorial Day weekend—the house was visited by President Barack Obama on the holiday itself, May 31st. (See related story on page 2.)
Two generous gifts helped the houses welcome summer—a grill and a golf cart. Organizations such as the Navy Chief’s Group and the local American Legion host barbecues, and the grill brings guests from the two houses together for conversation and support. The golf cart, donated by Club Car, is especially practical as the Fisher House community grows. The walk to the hospital on this large campus can be tough for those who are not very mobile, and kids who stay at the Fisher House look forward to a ride as well.
WEST PALM BEACH VA MEDICAL CENTER West Palm Beach, FL Many Treasure Coast organizations, businesses and families are great supporters of the house. This spring, Bob and Beth Beeson opened their home to over 100 families to raise awareness and funds. The Cascades Men’s Club donated proceeds earned from the concessions at the New York Mets Spring Training Game. Wal-Mart Distribution Center 7838 continues to deliver frozen foods, household cleaners and paper goods, and Wal-Mart staff made a special trip on Mother’s Day weekend to deliver gift baskets to all the moms in the house. The families have enjoyed dinners from local restaurants such as the Mellow Mushroom, CR Chix and Joseph’s Market.
TRIPLER ARMY MEDICAL CENTER Honolulu, HI Conner Dooley, a local Boy Scout with Hickam Troop 135 adopted the houses for his Eagle Scout project. He coordinated the planning and execution of an outdoor social gathering area. After a house tour, a local company donated concrete for the project. The money saved was redirected to purchase canopies and decorations for the area. One of the scouts who came to help was the son of a former guest, and one adult volunteer had done his Eagle Scout project at one of the houses back in 2001.
THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2010
BLANCHFIELD ARMY COMMUNITY HOSPITAL Fort Campbell, KY The Fort Campbell Sergeants Major Association held a fundraiser to benefit the house. Local retired and active-duty members grilled and served lunch on the hospital’s lawn for donations. The association presented $1,200 in proceeds from the barbecue to house Manager Wendy Carlston.
MALCOLM GROW MEDICAL CENTER Andrews Air Force Base, MD Detachment of Maryland, Sons of the American Legion, selected the Maryland Fisher Houses as its Commander’s Project for 2009-2010. SAL posts throughout the state have been hosting fundraising events and collecting donations. They raised more than $40,000 for the houses at Andrews Air Force Base and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. The presentation was made at their 38th Annual Convention in Hunt Valley, Md., on June 26th.
VA BOSTON HEALTHCARE SYSTEM West Roxbury, MA The Boston Fisher House held its grand opening celebration July 22nd. Wounded warriors were joined by members of the Boston Celtics NBA team, including Celtics Guard Avery Bradley. The Celtics partnered with the foundation earlier this year to raise awareness and funds for the house. Before the ceremony, the Celtics, Raytheon Co. and Alder Foods were honored with the Fisher House Patriot Award for their support.
MINNEAPOLIS VA MEDICAL CENTER Minneapolis, MN The Fisher House in Minneapolis has been very busy. The 10-room house is always filled to capacity. Construction started in April on the second Fisher House and is greatly anticipated by everyone at the VA Medical Center. It has been very exciting watching the daily progress and how fast the house is going up. Several groups have taken tours of the existing house and are very impressed.
CAMP LEJEUNE Camp Lejeune, NC Newly opened in mid-August, the house is the first Fisher House aboard a Marine Corps installation. It is co-located, as part of a Wounded Warrior Complex, with the Wounded Warrior BattalionEast Headquarters, Bachelor Enlisted Quarters and Rehabilitation Center, known as the “Warrior Hope and Care Center.” The house’s first donation came in June from the Cypress Landing Golf Club. The club’s annual Military Appreciation Day raised nearly $3,000.
WOMACK ARMY MEDICAL CENTER Fort Bragg, NC
KEESLER MEDICAL CENTER Keesler Air Force Base, MS The Keesler 5/6 sponsored a 12-hour marathon relay in May to support the house. Known as the Dragon Challenge, the event consisted of 16 teams of eight to 12 participants, with a member from each team walking or running around a track at all times. The event surpassed its $3,500 fundraising goal, and organizers presented a check to the house for $3,900. ST. LOUIS VA HEALTH CARE SYSTEM
STRATTON VA MEDICAL CENTER
Jefferson Barracks, MO
The house opened its doors to families on July 28th, with the official ribboncutting slated for September 25th. The 20-suite house is completely handicapped accessible and features a beautiful deck overlooking the Mississippi River. It serves both the VA’s Jefferson Barracks division, with a long-term care focus, and the John Cochran division, about 30 minutes away, which provides acute, surgical and outpatient services. A shuttle bus is available to families going to and from the John Cochran campus.
In May, the VA broke ground on a new parking lot adjacent to the Fisher House. This will alleviate any stress during the day in finding a place to park, as access will be allowed only by Fisher House guests. It will also provide the VA with an additional 10 spaces for inpatients and guests. The project also includes new sidewalks and landscaping around the house.
The inaugural Joshua T. Harris Memorial Ride and Veterans Festival held this spring included a memorial motorcycle ride, a Baddest Bike of the Carolinas competition, approximately 20 vendors and a stage featuring live music. The event was attended by about 2,000 area residents and raised $6,000, which was divided between the Fisher House, Wounded Warrior Project and Give2theTroops.
CINCINNATI VA MEDICAL CENTER Cincinnati, OH On April 19th, Turpin Drama High School put on a wonderful Broadway show, Leonard Bernstein’s “On the Town,” dedicated to our troops. In addition to the three days of performances, the school also raised $500 for the house. Approximately 16 P&G Oral Care, Cincinnati, employees volunteered their time and efforts to create a relaxing seating area in the garden bed for families to enjoy, and also cooked out for all the guests. The house thanks all the employees at the Leyman Foundation for their generous donation of $3,000.
THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2010
...House Round-Up Continued
MICHAEL E. DEBAKEY VA MEDICAL CENTER Houston, TX Angel On A Leash therapy dog teams are helping veterans and their families, thanks to a grant from the Fluor Foundation. The grant funded the development and implementation of the program for six months at the Houston Fisher House. The volunteer teams are a combination of dog-owning employees from Fluor Corporation’s Houston Center and members of the community. They were trained by Delta Society instructors. The program serves as a pilot for possible future programs at other Fisher Houses.
WRIGHT-PATTERSON MEDICAL CENTER
VA NORTH TEXAS HEALTH CARE SYSTEM
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH
In May, the house recognized its dedicated volunteers at its annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon. The heartbeat of the house, the volunteers were recognized for their contributions which include meals, gardening, decorating, and talents shared with guests throughout the year. Honorees received patriotic coasters made specifically for the event.
BROOKE ARMY MEDICAL CENTER Fort Sam Houston, TX Fisher House II reopened this spring after a $400,000 renovation—everything, from the foundation to the window treatments, was redone. On April 5th, the BAMC Auxiliary presented the houses with a check for nearly $40,000, raised at its 10th annual charity golf tournament. In July, the Tripp’s Humor Bar third annual benefit surpassed all expectations— raising $30,000 for the houses—nearly $20,000 more than last year. The event included a barbecue, auction, live music, raffles and horseshoe tournament.
The house provides weekly family orientation meetings to educate guest families. The popular forum also allows families to raise issues and provide suggestions for improvement. The meetings are a positive and collaborative approach to excellent customer relations.
CARL R. DARNALL ARMY MEDICAL CENTER Fort Hood, TX The house has received great support from its families and communities— friends at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Burnet; Wal-Mart of Killeen; Band of Angels, Fort Hood; Texas Department of the Navy—Robert P. Taylor Chapter; Gen. Levi Casey Chapter NSDAR, Desoto; and especially Mr. Timothy D. Chadwick. Families and friends donated funds in honor of his son, Benjamin Daniel Chadwick, who gave his life for our country.
WILFORD HALL MEDICAL CENTER Lackland Air Force Base, TX The houses’ annual Volunteer Luncheon was a great success, with more than 100 people in attendance. The famous Mr. Lou Cabaza entertained on the piano, and Gen. Gene Habiger volunteered his valuable
THE PATRIOT • SUMMER/FALL 2010
time as the guest speaker. The general offered some inspiring words about the Fisher Houses and their great volunteers. Two outstanding volunteers received the “Angel Award”—one of Fisher House Foundation’s highest awards.
WILLIAM BEAUMONT ARMY MEDICAL CENTER El Paso, TX The El Paso Corvette Club held its annual fundraiser for the house on June 12th, raising more than $6,300—its best effort so far. Over the past seven years, the club has donated more than $30,000 to the house, through car shows and donations from members and friends. Club members came to the house to display their fancy cars, take a tour and interact with guest families.
HUNTER HOLMES MCGUIRE VA MEDICAL CENTER Richmond, VA The house is in the final stages of approval for the construction of a wellness patio project. Local Richmond radio station 1140 WRVA and the many outstanding families and businesses around the Richmond area have worked really hard to make this project a reality. The wellness patio will feature a gazebo, pondless water feature and outdoor barbecue cooking area. It will be a place where families can enjoy their days and evenings relaxing after taking care of their veterans.
PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER
Volunteer Spotlight: Bill Kleinedler
In his 40-some years, Bill Kleinedler has been a lot of things—architectural engineer, retailer, soldier. One thing he’s always been is an artist. So when the blast from an IED in Iraq severely burned his face, arms and hands, leaving him unable even to grasp a pencil, he might have sunken into despair. But he didn’t. “It was difficult,” he concedes. “Not devastating.
The “Salty Dawgs” motorcycle riding club presented the house with a donation of more than $6,000 in early July. The “Dawgs” are made up of active-duty and retired service members, as well as veterans who have left the Navy under honorable conditions. This is the fourth year they have donated to the house.
MADIGAN ARMY MEDICAL CENTER
“Art doesn’t come from your hands,” he explains, “It comes from your heart. If I was not able to rehabilitate my right hand, I probably would have learned to draw with my left hand. Or use my toes.” Through the course of six surgeries though, Kleinedler did regain the use of his hand, and immediately returned to his artwork. “The first piece I did was called ‘Inspiration,’” he says. “I was very grateful for being alive, for all the beautiful things around me.” Soon he produced a 19-foot steel sculpture entitled “Hope,” which now graces the Warrior Family Support Center at Fort Sam Houston.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA The 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) and Chapter 16 of the Special Forces Association hosted a Father’s Day barbecue. Though the day was typically gloomy and gray, spirits were lively as families feasted on fare of hamburgers and hot dogs, baked beans, potato salad and more. Gifts included Weird Washington books signed by the authors and $50 Wal-Mart gift cards courtesy of Soldiers’ Angels.
Kleinedler’s gratitude extends to Fisher Houses as well, where he and his family have spent many months over the past three years. After moving to Massachusetts, he learned of efforts to build a Fisher House there, and quickly became the project’s number-one supporter.
PUGET SOUND VA HEALTH CARE SYSTEM Seattle, WA On June 10th a Healing Garden was dedicated at the house. Students from the University of Washington Landscape Architecture Design/Build program designed and installed the beautiful garden, creating an oasis for guests to relax, refresh and restore. Features of the garden include an open-air pavilion, seating and edible plantings.
LANDSTUHL REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER Landstuhl, Germany As part of the staff appreciation day on June 29th, Fisher House Foundation treated more than 1,000 care providers at the military’s only major medical center outside the U.S. to ice cream sundaes. The servers all came from the Baskin Robbins store in the new Ramstein Air Base Base Exchange Food Court.
Top: Bill Kleinedler’s sculpture “Hope” graces the fireplace of the Warrior Family Support Center at Fort Sam Houston. Kleinedler donated the piece to lift the spirits of warriors and their families undergoing hardship. Above: Jenny and Bill Kleinedler were married this past July. Below: Staff Sgt. Bill Kleinedler served in a civil affairs unit in Iraq.
“Bill has done so much,” says the house’s manager, Elizabeth St. Pierre. “His firsthand account is such a compelling illustration of the need—I can’t say how valuable it’s been for us to have him here locally.” Kleinedler has appeared on TV shows, spoken at fundraisers, was even honored by the Boston Celtics—each time bringing much needed publicity for the Fisher House project. He’s also donated artwork to auction. Kleinedler brushes aside the praise. “It’s just a small thing, just me saying thank you back,” he says. “Without Fisher House, I couldn’t have been in the mental place I am now. I would hate for a wounded warrior coming from overseas not to have that available to them.”
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NEWMAN’S OWN AWARDS $75,000 GRANTED TO MILITARY SUPPORT GROUPS This year, 138 organizations applied for Newman’s Own Awards grants, and the program awarded a total of $75,000 to eight initiatives. Founded by the late actor Paul Newman, Newman’s Own, Inc., directs a portion of the sales of its food products sold at military commissaries to fund grants that improve quality of life for military families. The awards program is a partnership between the company, Fisher House Foundation and Military Times Media Group. Over the past 11 years, the program has awarded 133 grants totaling $675,000. Inova Health System’s Military to Medicine program earned top honors and a $15,000 grant. It aims to address two critical deficits in the American labor force–the projected severe shortfall of clinical healthcare workers by 2020 and the hundreds of thousands of military spouses who would like to pursue a career but are challenged by frequent relocations and inaccessibility to affordable education and training. The Military to Medicine program provides health care training and career opportunities to military spouses, veterans, caregivers and transitioning service members. Daniel Nichols, executive director, says the grant will allow his program to expand its coursework in clinical fields, such as nursing and occupational therapy. “Military to Medicine is not interested in creating jobs that go nowhere,” he says. “We’re about creating a healthcare workforce at the ready.” Its goal is to enable the extended military population to enroll in shortterm certification courses that provide immediate, portable career accessibility in health care fields. It develops, licenses and delivers technical training online and in satellite learning centers around the country. Its staff conducts skills assessments, training and job referrals through a growing national network.
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Other organizations that received grants this year were:
A cr tog mil an i
Carolina Canines for Service—$10,000. Military Prisoners train shelter dogs to become service animals to wounded veterans. Marriage Management Consultants—$10,000. Conducts interactive, skills-based workshops to strengthen military marriages. Military Spouse Corporate Career Network—$10,000. Will create online job training workshops and referrals for military spouses, caregivers and transitioning veterans. Project Sanctuary—$10,000. Provides therapy through recreational retreats and long-term follow-up to strengthen military families. Military Missons in Action—$10,000. Modifies homes for disabled veterans to enable independent living.
Daniel Nichols, executive director of Military to Medicine, the top entry in the 2010 Newman’s Own Awards competition, with a bust of Paul Newman. He is congratulated by Gen. James Cartwright, Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; as Tom Indoe, president, Newman’s Own, presents a check for $15,000.
Blue Star Families—$8,000. Encourages reading by distributing free books to military children and families. Dover AFB Health and Wellness Center/ Key Spouses Club—$2,000. Encourages good nutrition and healthy habits through lessons centered around community gardens. Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recognized these and all volunteer efforts that support military families. This group, he said at the September 1st awards ceremony at the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes, is “representative of a much larger population out there who does this day in and day out, without thanks.”
Newman’s Own: Above and Beyond Guests at the Newman’s Own Awards ceremony in September were treated to a delightful surprise—a $100,000 donation to benefit the Fisher House being constructed at Dover Air Force Base. Thomas Indoe, president of Newman’s Own, Inc., presented the check on behalf of his company. “Considering what the Fisher House at Dover is all about, we felt we had to be a part of it,” he says. The Dover house will provide lodging for families witnessing the repatriation of the remains of their fallen heroes. “When you think about loved ones having to sit and wait in a hotel in Dover to receive the remains of their soldiers,” he says, “it just seemed wrong.”
Me the got goin ver Tro
ritical need, a dynamic and deep-hearted entrepreneur gether they set into motion one of the most important litary-family-assistance programs in the country. It was image that stuck with her: arriving at the National Nav
A CELEBRATION OF SERVICE THE FISHER HOUSE PROGRAM MARKS ITS 20TH YEAR F RIENDS PAY TRIBUTE TO FOUNDER ZACHARY FISHER ON THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS BIRTH
edical Center, Bethesda, in the mid 1970s, Pauline Trost n e landing of a helicopter. “A sailor, his wife and two child t out,” she recalls, “and I thought, ‘My god, where are the ng to stay?’ Hotels and motels in the Bethesda area are ry expensive.” Some years later, still haunted by the mem ost approached the Washington
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The Houses that Zach Built
A critical need, a dynamic and deep-hearted entrepreneur—together they set into motion one of the premier military-family-assistance programs in the country. It was an image that stuck with her: arriving at the National Naval Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md., in the mid 1970s, Pauline Trost noted the landing of a helicopter. “A sailor, his wife and two children got out,” she recalls, “and I thought, ‘My God, where are they going to stay?’ Hotels and motels in the Bethesda area are so very expensive.” Some years later, still haunted by the memory, Trost approached the Washington area’s Naval Officers Wives Club about doing something to help military families coming to the center for treatment. The club agreed to address the problem, possibly locating an old building on the grounds and offering to renovate it.
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Serendipitously, while ideas were percolating, Pauline’s husband, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Carlisle Trost, was approached by Zachary Fisher. Fisher was known to the military for the generous assistance he had previously provided to military families beset by tragedies. “He called me one day, and said, ‘I have money available, and I want to do something to benefit all the military services,’” Adm. Trost recalls. “I came up with three possibilities—one of which was Pauline’s idea for temporary lodging. He called me back and said, ‘That’s what we’re going to do. You help get the land made available, and we’ll build it.’ In a matter of months, ground was broken, and less than a year later the first Fisher House was open.”
Zachary and Elizabeth sport flight jackets given them by the commander of the supercarrier USS Forrestal.
It was an amazing gift at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.—not a barracks, not a motel—this was a real home— and it was first class. “Zachary and his wife Elizabeth wanted these young families to have the very best,” says Vivian Wilson, one of the first two Fisher House managers hired and now manager of the houses in Landstuhl, Germany. “People always asked, ‘Why not just convert an existing building?’ But that wasn’t their standard. They wanted something much higher.” And so: hardwood floors and cabinets, brass hardware, fireplaces, ultraplush carpeting, sofas and linens.
Building a Network And it was merely a start. Financed entirely by the Fishers, the house was donated to the Navy for it to operate. Just three weeks after the first house opened, a second one opened at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Next came a house for the Air Force at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. “Three houses became five houses became eight,” says Fisher House Foundation President Dave Coker. “The first 25 houses, Zachary was personally responsible for.” Each one was gifted to the military or the VA. Fisher’s investment, however, went well beyond money. “He could just have said, ‘Here are the houses—good luck and goodbye,’” says Wilson. “But Mr. Fisher was incredibly warm and totally engaged—he wanted to know about the families living in the houses. He was genuinely interested in their circumstances and would even ask to speak to the residents. He wanted to see for himself that they were happy and comfortable with their accommodation, and if they had any special needs.” With the network of houses steadily growing, structure was needed. House managers formed an association so they could help and learn from one another. Individual
houses cultivated local support groups from within their communities. Fisher House Foundation was established in 1993 to ensure the program grew in the most optimum direction possible. In addition to building houses at military medical centers, the foundation expanded the program to the Veterans Administration system. As Zachary Fisher’s health declined, the foundation assumed the responsibility for building new houses. Still, when Zachary Fisher died in 1999, the program felt his loss deeply. “When Zachary passed away, I’ll never forget where I was when I got that call,” says Malcolm Grow Medical Center Fisher House Manager Janet Grampp. “Our hearts were broken, and we immediately started wondering, worrying, ‘What’s going to happen now—this was his dream.’” The anxiety was for naught. “That family never faltered; never missed a step,” Grampp says. “They’ve taken the program to where I never could have imagined. We owe a great debt to the whole Fisher family for continuing it. It speaks volumes about the kind of people they are.”
Planning and construction of new houses continued. Foundation trustees debated the idea of building a house outside of the U.S.—in Landstuhl, Germany. “We needed a Fisher House there, but it wasn’t met with immediate acceptance,” says John Lowe, an early adviser and still-active board member. “A team of us went over to Germany and scouted it out. We came back with a solid recommendation—the Army brass was fully in favor of it. Finally the board said, ‘We’ve got to do this,’ and that was it.” It was a prescient move. Less than four months after the first Landstuhl house opened, Operation Enduring Freedom was launched. In addition to hosting military families from the U.S. European Command and Central Command and embassy families from 72 countries, the two houses became a critical resource for families of service members injured in Afghanistan and Iraq. “Today, they’re one of our greatest accomplishments,” says Coker.
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Conflicts Require Change The two wars have had a profound effect on the Fisher House program. “Everything changed,” says Wilson, who was manager at the Walter Reed Fisher Houses at the time the conflicts started. “We had to redefine how we were going to use the Fisher Houses, and we did not want to exclude the families we had been serving for so long. It really didn’t hit us hard until 2003, when we went into Fallujah and we got the first huge influx of combat casualties.” The average age of guest families dropped dramatically. The lengths of stay shot up as the grievously wounded received care and therapy. And houses designed for families of the injured became home also to the injured themselves. Not the least—the demand for rooms skyrocketed. Methodically, the foundation has adapted as the circumstances have demanded. The houses’ designs have evolved, with handicap-accessible features. New house construction has shifted toward the VA system, where the wounded will receive extended therapy for years to come. New houses can accommodate 20 families instead of eight. Yet, the camaraderie among guest families that was Zachary Fisher’s visionary genius
Expanding the Vision
remains. “Architect Carl Zarrello is a master,” says Coker. “Even in a 20-room house, you never lose that sense of intimacy. The kitchens are marvelous—some people deal with stress by eating; some by cooking. It’s a beautiful relationship.” The personal touch that was Zachary’s hallmark also lives on. The visits and phone calls with guest families, volunteers and staff that so energized and informed him
“What we’re trying to do,” says Chairman Ken Fisher, “is handle the need currently and try to foresee future needs. The challenge is not to grow too fast; not to build just because we have money to build. We work very closely with the surgeons general, the VA—they tell us where the need is greatest.” And while Fisher credits the foundation’s laser focus on its mission for its success, he doesn’t take a narrow view. “We haven’t
“We haven’t deviated from our core mission, but the mission has evolved. If we continue to show we are meeting needs, people derive comfort from that and continue to support us.” –Chairman Ken Fisher are carried on through the Fisher House Ambassadors. Since 2003, Audrey Fisher and Nancy Edelman, vice chairs of the foundation, have logged tens of thousands of miles a year—at their own expense—to visit the ever-growing number of Fisher Houses to understand the challenges military families face. Their one-on-one, on-the-ground interactions have been invaluable to the foundation as it charts its future.
deviated from our core mission, but the mission has evolved,” he says. “If we continue to show we are meeting needs, people derive comfort from that and continue to support us.” To that end, parallel to building new houses, Fisher House Foundation has been building support for military families in other ways
A Fisher House Timeline: Notable Dates and Accomplishments 1990–2010
1991 First two Fisher Houses open at Bethesda Naval Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center
1995 After 5 years, a total of 23 Fisher Houses are in operation 1993 Fisher House Foundation established in support of the Fisher House program
Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher ask Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Carlisle Trost how they can support families of service members with lodging at medical centers 16
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1994 First VA Fisher House opens in Albany, N.Y. 1992 Fisher House Managers’ Association established and begins annual meetings. First Air Force Fisher House opens at Lackland Air Force Base
CONTINUING as well. Under the leadership of Ken Fisher, the foundation has scrutinized where there are gaps between what the military is authorized to do for families and what families may need. Where Fisher House Foundation can make a difference—and do so efficiently—it has stepped in.
staff manage the organization, and 96 cents of every dollar spent goes directly to programs. Current Chairman Ken Fisher “runs this like a business, making the best investments he can,” says Coker. “It’s his way of honoring the donors who make this possible.”
Over the past 10 years, the foundation has initiated a handful of carefully chosen programs that augment and reinforce its mission—Hero Miles, which offers free air fare for families of wounded or ill service members; scholarships for children and spouses; and Newman’s Own Award grants for local non-profits that serve military families in their communities. Its latest endeavor, the Family Support Initiative, piloted at three Army installations, aims to address the daily problems faced by families of deployed soldiers. “The idea is to solve small problems while they’re small—and not let them become big,” says Coker. “Big problems take up huge resources and become a distraction to the ones fighting the war.”
Coker finds inspiration from the Fisher family. “One amazing thing—it was true about Zachary and it is true as Ken continues to lead the program today,” he says, “they have an awful lot of responsibilities with their business and everything, but when they hear about challenges a service member is having, or an issue in need of their attention, they are there. They are available 24-7 to us. This is something that’s very important for them, and the program would not be what it is without their leadership, their sincerity of purpose.
Even as the Fisher House program continues to grow—by year’s end there will be 53 houses at 38 locations—overhead expenses remain low. Fewer than a dozen full-time
Chairman Ken Fisher talks of Fisher House Foundatio How do you see Fisher House Foundation evolving, in the short term, and in the longer term? Ken: We are primarily a need-based foundation, and we are positioned accordingly. Our goal ultimately is to build a Fisher House at every major DOD and VA medical treatment facility. But we will continue to respond wherever and whenever we’re needed if the need is validated. Over the short term, we’ve got plenty on our plate. In the long term, that will depend on what the circumstances are around the world.
“Sometimes people pass down hair color in a family,” Coker concludes. “For the Fishers, it’s a genuine commitment to supporting others and a real love and respect for our military.”
2001 Scholarships for Military Children program begins. First Fisher House built outside U. S. opens in Landstuhl, Germany 1999 Program founder Zachary Fisher passes away, and nephew Arnold Fisher becomes chairman, Fisher House Foundation 1997 24 Fisher Houses have now offered 500,000 days of lodging
1996 Fisher House in Denver transferred from Army to VA after Fitzsimons Army Medical Center closes 1998 Responsibility for building new Fisher Houses transfers from Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher to Fisher House Foundation
2003 Ken Fisher succeeds his father Arnold as chairman, Fisher House Foundation. Fisher House Ambassador program debuts
2002 Newman’s Own Awards program begins. Second house in Germany opens
2000 After 10 years, program has now offered 1 million days of lodging. There are 27 houses in operation; 40,000 families have been assisted
G THE LEGACY
s about the future on How will the U.S. departure from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan affect the program? Ken: If it’s ever possible for us to leave entirely, and I pray that it is, it will probably affect the DOD portion of the program, because, obviously, there won’t be as many casualties coming in. It will not affect the VA portion. More and more young service men and women are surviving horrific injuries, and all the follow-up and rehabilitative care will be administered through the VA. Add to that the veterans from Vietnam, Korea—in some cases even World War II— still undergoing treatment, and the need for houses in the VA system is just going to increase. So we will not change direction. We’ve already geared up toward the VA; the majority of our efforts in the next few years will be at the VA.
Ken Fisher and his father, Arnold Fisher, also a former chairman and a current vice chairman of the foundation.
What do you feel are the greatest unmet needs in the U.S. Military?
How many Fisher Houses are still needed?
Ken: For years, the greatest unmet needs have been the needs of the families. In many cases, the families have been almost invisible. These families are making sacrifices and bearing burdens that the average American can never understand. They send their loved one off to war, but they’ve still got to pay the bills, pay the mortgage, raise the children if they have them. And when their service members are wounded, prior to the Fisher House program, they didn’t really have a place to stay, unless there was base housing, and then there was a charge associated with that.
Ken: We’ve already opened four new houses this year, and we have 14 more under construction right now. I have a list given to me by the VA and DOD for future needs, and that totals 14 or 15 more. After that, we’ll revisit where we are. If one house isn’t enough at a particular facility, we may have to build another.
We as a nation are slowly addressing this problem, with the extension of the Family Medical Leave Act, and the stipend just legislated for caregivers, caregiver respite programs, things of that nature. While the government is great at supplying the “bullets and beans,” we’ve lagged behind where it relates to families. That’s why Fisher House Foundation is so critical, and why it will remain critical. Not only the lodging at no cost, but the Hero Miles program, to help get them there, and the scholarships, the Newman’s Own grants, that help not only troops but their families as well.
What happens when all those Fisher Houses are built? Ken: Well, first, I’ll be very, very happy. Second, hypothetically I envision the trustees sitting down and saying, “What now? What can we do now?” We could become more of a quality-of-life initiative. One day I could see us doing community centers at the bases. But that’s a long way off and a lot of dollars. I’ll just say we’ll reevaluate when we get there.
What is the legacy you would like to leave behind? Ken: My legacy is really my uncle’s legacy. Fisher Houses were born from his passion. And because Zachary’s work was so critical, when he passed, we could not allow it to stop. I got involved, and then it became my passion. The legacy that was passed to me was the responsibility to give back, and I want to pass
2009 Fisher House Foundation receives a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for the fourth consecutive year. Chairman Ken Fisher awarded the George C. Marshall Medal by the Association of the U.S. Army
2005 President George H. W. Bush dedicates first of the newly designed 21-suite Fisher Houses in his hometown of Houston
2007 Two 21-suite Fisher Houses and the Center for the Intrepid open at Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio. Chairman Ken Fisher appointed to Presidential Commission to study care for America’s wounded warriors
2004 Hero Miles program begins. Fisher House II in Honolulu dedicated in memory of Anthony and Anne Fisher. Annual Fisher House Golf Classic debuts
2006 Fisher House Foundation Executive Director David A. Coker is appointed president, Fisher House Foundation
2008 Foundation fulfills goal of constructing a house at every VA polytrauma center, and receives an A+ rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy. Chairman Ken Fisher named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News and World Report
that on to future generations of my family. I’d like my legacy to be that I cared; cared enough to make some sacrifices in my own life to give to these people who give so much to this nation—and that I was also a good husband and father at the same time.
Do you envision a next generation of Fishers carrying on the legacy? Ken: I pray that when the next generation gets old enough, there will never be a need for another Fisher House. That being said, unrealistic as that is, I do see my children getting involved in the Fisher Houses— more than I see them getting involved in the family business.
Any final thoughts? Ken: That it is a privilege to do this. And I don’t say that lightly, because of the time it takes. It has been a long road, and as we approach our 20-year anniversary, we’re in the midst of our most aggressive expansion ever. It can be a challenge managing it— managing the growth so we don’t get way ahead of ourselves while serving those who deserve the best this nation has to offer.
helping military families. Sticking to the core mission is the main reason we have maintained an A+ rating from the Charity watchdog groups—even through this aggressive expansion. I attribute our success to the Fisher House staff. We’re blessed with great people who are as passionate about this as I am. I want to give a standing ovation to the entire Fisher House crew. This is and will remain a team effort—no one person can do this alone.
As the need has grown, we have evolved commensurate with that need, but we haven’t strayed from our core mission:
It’s very difficult to juggle what has become two full-time jobs—managing a 6.5 millionsquare-foot real estate portfolio and at the same time managing the growth of the foundation as pragmatically as I can. It’s not easy sometimes…my wife Tammy keeps me well grounded. Tammy is very engaged in the foundation as well—it gets a little infectious. My oldest daughter is 28—she already gets it. My teenagers aren’t in that kind of mode yet, but when they go to the house grand openings, and they see the impact the houses make, it leaves an impression.
2010 In the program’s 20th year, there are a total of 48
Fisher House Chairman Ken Fisher has overseen a dramatic expansion of the program.
houses in operation, with more than 3.5 million days of lodging offered. Guest families have saved an estimated $150 million in costs of travel and commercial lodging. President Obama donates $250,000 from his Nobel Prize honorarium to Fisher House Foundation. More than 20,000 Hero Miles airline tickets provided free to service members and their families since the program’s inception
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GUEST FAMILY PROFILE NAME: KEELEY FAMILY HOUSE: KEESLER FISHER HOUSE KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE MEDICAL CENTER
HOME STATE: FLORIDA MILITARY BRANCH: AIR FORCE
In November of 2002, Christie Keeley began experiencing complications with her pregnancy that required her medical evacuation to the Keesler Air Force Base medical center. Due to the severity of her condition, her doctor recommended that her then-husband, David, go as well. Orders were cut, and he soon followed. “It all happened so quick I wasn’t able to make reservations for a place to stay,” recalls David, then an Air Force technical sergeant. The billeting clerk arranged for him to stay at the base’s Fisher House, which he’d never heard of before. “I didn’t know my way around Keesler very well, but the directions seemed simple enough,” he says. “When I arrived at the address I was sure I was in the wrong place.” Before him was a large, two-story brick home, adorned with Christmas lights. “Through the window left of the door I saw a family in the dining room eating supper,” he continues. “Through the right window
Air Force Master Sergeant names his son Zachary in honor of Fisher House founder I saw family members sitting next to the Christmas tree, watching television. Surely this was the base commander’s home. I pulled out of the parking spot and went out in search of anything else that might be the Fisher House.” It didn’t take long for him to realize this had to be the right place, so he made his way back. A brass plate near the front door verified it was indeed the Fisher House. “It was certainly more than I expected. This wasn’t a hotel; this was a home,” he says. “As I turned the corner I found the best-stocked kitchen I’d ever seen. Any cooking implement you could ever want or need was there for our use. Sitting on the counter were cakes, cookies and pies, baked fresh by the Keesler Officers’ Wives Club.”
He found his suite equally impressive. “It had anything I could have ever wanted or needed—a television, internet access, even my own private exit,” Keeley says. “My stay there felt more like a bed and breakfast than traditional military lodging.” Being only a block or so away from the hospital made it easy to keep in touch with the hospital staff should Christie take a turn for the worse in the middle of the night. Keeley spent his days at the hospital with her, discussing holiday plans and hoping both she and the baby would come out of it all okay. The doctors determined that an early caesarean section was necessary if Christie were to survive the pregnancy. Time was running out, quickly, and the couple still hadn’t decided on a name for their son. “One night I sat in my room and read a brochure about Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher and how they began the Fisher House program,” recounts Keeley. “The contributions of Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher have helped thousands of service members and their families around the globe—in my eyes, making them true American heroes. As I left the Fisher
House that evening to have supper with my wife I noticed the statue of Elizabeth and Zachary next to the dining room. It was then it hit me: What better name for our son than ‘Zachary’? Christie agreed, and the rest is history.” Zach was born three months premature, and the doctors offered little hope he would ever survive to leave the hospital. After her discharge from the hospital, Christie joined her husband at Fisher House, and together they made frequent trips down the street to feed Zach and check on his progress. “Fortunately we had a little fighter on our hands, and he proved them all wrong,” says Keeley. “A couple of days before Christmas we took him home—our tiny but healthy baby boy.” Now seven years old, Zach knows of his namesake, Zachary Fisher. “We recently took him to visit the Fisher House at Keesler, and any time we encounter volunteers seeking donations for the Fisher House, he proudly explains how he came to be named Zachary,” says Keeley, now a master sergeant stationed at Hurlburt Field on Eglin Air Force Base. Keeley has become an ardent supporter of Fisher Houses, and plans to take an active role in volunteering for the soon-to-open Fisher House of the Emerald Coast at Eglin. “The thankless contributions of Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher, as well as those who operate and maintain the Fisher House, made a very stressful time in our lives so much easier,” he says. “I put this out to service members around the world, regardless of marital status, age or rank: Support the Fisher House program in any way you can. A donated dollar, an annual allotment, even volunteering time at a local Fisher House makes life easier for a fellow service member in need.” Master Sergeant David Keeley with now sevenyear-old son Zachary. The Keeleys were guests at the Keesler Fisher House when Zachary was born prematurely in 2002. Photo courtesy of Nikki Keeley
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The Centennial of a Patriot Zachary presents the Intrepid Freedom Award to President Ronald Reagan.
Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher on their wedding day.
Zachary with Joint Chiefs of Staff after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton.
Zachary Fisher: Builder...Philanthropist...Patriot From his modest Brooklyn beginnings and his start as a bricklayer at age 16, Zachary Fisher rose, with his brothers, to develop much of the modern-day New York City skyline. He attained vast wealth and success, and, through good, oldfashioned hard work, earned himself the right to a retirement of leisure and comfort. But Zachary had other ideas. Prevented by a construction accident from active military service, he nonetheless embraced our armed forces—recognizing in them the embodiment of American democracy and the sacrifices it demands. During World War II, he drew on his building skills to assist the U.S. Coastal Service in the construction of coastal fortifications—and his attachment to the military only grew.
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His patronage was vast—from spearheading the transformation of the destined-for-the-scrap-yard aircraft carrier Intrepid into the world’s largest naval museum— to disbursing generous sums to hundreds of individual wounded and fallen warriors and their families. The philanthropy of Zachary and his beloved wife, Elizabeth, extended to many other areas—the arts, Jewish causes, medical research—but his passion burned brightest for the military. The Fisher House program is among his greatest legacies. Over the years, his superlative generosity was recognized by generals and presidents,
with honors no less substantial than the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The year Zachary died, in 1999, Congress conferred upon him the status of honorary veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. And while Zachary was undoubtedly deeply touched by the accolades he received, he was a profoundly humble, sincere man, whose fulfillment came not atop the pedestal, but at the
This Fall Marks the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of
Fisher House Founder Zachary Fisher September 26, 1910—June 4, 1999 With their wives watching, Zachary and President George Bush open the first Fisher House at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, in 1991.
Zachary with Intrepid Freedom Award recipient Margaret Thatcher.
Zachary and Elizabeth at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.
bedside of a wounded warrior. As Gen. Henry Shelton, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at Zachary’s memorial service, “We cannot forget this wonderful man, so full of greatness and humility, who sought not glory for himself, but rather glory for America’s fighting men and women.”
Sailors onboard USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) honor Zachary by lining up on the flight deck.
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THE MANAGERS Vivian Wilson
Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center
William Beaumont Army Medical Center
On Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Inge Godfrey: I was proud they would even know my first name. Zachary always greeted us with a smile. Long after a Fisher House was built and dedicated, Zachary would continue his service to our guests by keeping in touch with managers in order to address any concern the guests might have. Paula Gallero: Zachary was the kind of guy who didn’t care if you were a janitor or a general. Everybody was equally important to him.
On a Special Memory Harry Hicks: After 9/11, understandably, a lot of houses sort of changed course. Here in West Texas, we are co-located with the VA, so we take care of quite a few veterans and retirees. But now it’s quite a combination; we take care of families whose soldiers are in Warrior Transition Units as well, when the soldier is hospitalized.
“Zachary was the kind of
guy who didn’t care if you
were a janitor or a general.
On How the Program Has Changed Over the Years Janet Grampp: Volume. Not just that, but the makeup of our guests has changed. When we first started, we thought we were opening the house for families; in reality, it is for the patients as well. We weren’t really prepared for that at the beginning; we had to change policies and procedures to take care of the whole family, including the patient.
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Portsmouth Naval Medical Center
Everybody was equally important to him.”
Paula Gallero: How it’s grown. I think Zachary would be very proud of us right now. I was there when Mr. Coker, and then Jim Weiskopf, came along as foundation employees. For a long time, they were the only two who ran the place—the amazing things they’ve done… they just worked so hard. Now, it’s a business. But it’s a business with love.
Janet Grampp: The opening here at Andrews was a really big event. The person doing the entertainment that night was Ray Charles. One of my very first residents was a young lady who had been recently blinded in a car accident, and she was at the dedication. They became fast friends. As we were showing everyone around the house, the power went out. Oh my gosh, Mr. Fisher was trying to make sure everything got back on track, but these two just carried on as if nothing had happened—it doesn’t make any difference to us, they said— and just kept going. Loretta Loveless: I remember a time we had a whole house where everybody but one family had cancer—all younger than 24 years old. A three-year-old with bladder cancer, a four-year-old with inoperable cancer, two 22-year-olds with testicular cancer, a 23-year-old with eye cancer. It should have been a sad place, but instead it was a happy, happy place. It’s exactly what Mr. Fisher envisioned— the camaraderie among families. Mothers, wives helping each other, hoping. Nobody had any hair or eyebrows, but everybody was lifting everybody else up. That’s what Mr. Fisher built.
For our special Fisher House 20th Anniversary issue, The Patriot interviewed its six longest-serving house managers. Here they reflect on facets of their jobs with a perspective ranging from 15 to 20 years.
Womack Army Medical Center
Brooke Army Medical Center
Malcolm Grow Medical Center
On What They Love About Their Job Harry Hicks: Meeting the families when they come in. A lot of them are from out of town; they really have no idea what they’re getting into. They think it may be something like a barracks. They come through the door to this beautiful place and their whole expression changes; the weight of the world lifts off their shoulders—then the tears and hugs come. That’s what we’re here for. I’ve enjoyed every second of my time with the program. I couldn’t ask for a better job. Janet Grampp: The most wonderful part about this job is all the generous, compassionate people who are attracted to what we do, and who want to be a part of it. I’m from Washington, DC, and life can be very hectic; you can get very distracted. But working in an environment like this brings back what’s important. I can ask for anything, and people don’t say no. They just don’t. It’s such a genuine mission we have that people just respond. Loretta Loveless: The best thing about my job is the families—talking to them, meeting them and giving hugs. We do that all the time—give hugs. The reward
at the end of the day is that you’ve helped somebody. A lot of times they have other things going on besides what’s happening at the hospital. You become a social worker, a minister, a mother.
you navigate this medical journey you’re embarking on; you’re going to leave us with a lot of resources, and here’s what you can expect.” Often times, it’s not what you say, but rather a warm embrace that lets them know that they are safe and not alone. Fisher Houses are so much more than lodging.
Paula Gallero: The gift that Zachary gave me, being able to do this job, has changed my whole life. The best part is, I get all the “thank you’s,” “I love you’s,” “You did this; you did that for me.” I tell them, “No, it’s not me; it’s Mr. Fisher.” It has really changed my life and made me appreciate what I have.
“I am proud to say I’m doing
Vivian Wilson: I had the opportunity to be the manager at Walter Reed for 15 years—where the wounded warriors’ recovery started. Then I moved on to Fort Campbell, where they are transitioning back into their community and family life. Now I’m at Landstuhl—where it all begins. People are traveling from the U.S. and other parts of the world. They may never have crossed an ocean, and now they’re in a foreign country and they’ve been given the worst possible information about their loved one. I feel fortunate to have so much experience—I can say, “You’re not alone—we will help
Inge Godfrey: I am proud to say I’m doing my job for the Fishers—continuing Zachary’s dream. I cannot do what he could do financially, but I work very hard to keep the Fisher Houses in good standing, so that the Fishers, including the newer generation, can be just as proud of them as he was…. I’m trying to keep up the legacy as best I can. I have dedicated many years of service to the Fisher Houses and hope that I will be able to continue for many more years to come.
my job for the Fishers—
continuing Zachary’s dream.”
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A Day IN THE LIFE Fisher House Photo Contest Fisher House managers meet on an annual basis for professional development training and program updates. The 2010 meeting was held in Washington, DC, during the first week of May. At that meeting, foundation President David A. Coker asked each manager to take photos of their guest families on a day of their choice in the month of May, to chronicle “a day in the life” of Fisher House families. The managers competed to see who would submit the most compelling photos, and grants were awarded to those judged to be the top three. They are shown here along with many of the others submitted.
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1st Place Petty Officer Andrew Sortland shares a smile with his daughter, Grace Parker. Grace and her twin brother, Owen Arthur, were born to Sortland and his wife, Carmen, eight weeks prematurely on April 26 at Madigan Army Medical Center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
2nd Place Melissa Davis, wife of a veteran receiving medical care at the Palo Alto VA, enjoys a sunny day with her son Elliot Boone at the Palo Alto, Calif., Fisher House.
3rd Place Keeping their cool on the front lawn of Tripler’s Fisher House I are, from left, Alyssah Manispat, Kaden Cochran, Joel Manispat, Jr., and Kyce Cochran, as Joel Manispat looks on.
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FRATERNITY STAYS TRUE TO ITS SERVICE ROOTS
The Theta-Zeta chapter of Kappa Sigma fraternity at Eastern New Mexico University raised $12,500 for the Military Heroes Campaign, primarily through two “Run for the Heroes” events, wherein brothers covered hundreds of miles in relays carrying a football and a “freedom bucket” for donations.
College fraternities have colorful reputations for campus high jinks, and the rubber ducky race organized by one house at the University of North Florida this spring might have appeared like just the latest. The wildly popular event, sponsored by the Xi-Psi chapter of Kappa Sigma, however, had a bigger purpose than goofy fun. The event was one of scores of
sister, as well as some of the other families, with their loved ones in a comfortable environment.”
fundraisers organized by Kappa Sigma chapters across the country to raise serious money for Fisher House Foundation.
with Tong and another Kappa Sigma wounded warrior, Spec. Dean Schwartz, looking on. Schwartz and his mother also were Fisher House guests.
In 2008, the fraternity launched its Military Heroes Campaign—its first ever national philanthropic program. Each of its 200 chapters was encouraged to participate— devising whatever creative, outlandish or ingenious means necessary to raise funds. The campaign took shape after the fraternity’s executive committee paid a visit to one of its own, Maj. A.J. Tong, who was injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was recovering at the Center for the Intrepid in San Antonio. “We were able to witness firsthand what Fisher House is doing for our soldiers,” says Kappa Sigma Executive Director Mitchell Wilson. “It was very moving to see A.J., his mom and his
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The fundraising goal for the biennium ending in 2009 was $100,000—and the fraternity exceeded that figure, proudly presenting a check to Fisher House Foundation for $117,000 last summer,
Working toward its second biennium $100,000 donation, members traveled to Washington, DC, in August to participate in a cornerstone ceremony at a Fisher House on the grounds of the VA medical center—one that was dedicated to another Kappa Sigma brother, former Sen. Robert Dole. When Dole heard of the plan, he said, “I’m deeply honored to have my brothers of Kappa Sigma dedicate [this cornerstone at] this Fisher House in my name. I am most impressed by the work put forth by undergraduate chapters and leaders to sponsor such a worthy cause.”
A FISHER HOUSE FAMILY CONNECTS AND RECEIVES SUPPORT WITH CARINGBRIDGE On October 26th, 2009, Marine Capt. Blake Smith’s life was forever changed when his helicopter collided with another aircraft over Afghanistan, killing four men and severely injuring two others. As a result of the accident, Smith lost one of his legs and suffered severe injuries to many other parts of his body. Smith spent the first several weeks after his accident in Landstuhl, Germany, where he underwent many surgeries and was stabilized. His parents and sister Amber Herold made their way to Germany and stayed at one of the Fisher Houses near the hospital. “It was an incredible comfort to be able to stay in such a homey environment with other military families,” Herold says. “The Fisher House was the thread holding us together during a traumatic time in our lives, which really helped us to be there for my brother.” While Smith’s family treasured the opportunity to be by his side, there were others miles away who also longed to show their support. Herold did her best to keep family and friends updated, but she knew coordinating e-mail distribution lists would quickly become complicated and time consuming. A few days after her brother’s accident, a friend suggested she create a CaringBridge Web site.
CaringBridge is a nonprofit providing free Web sites that connect people experiencing a significant health challenge to family and friends. “CaringBridge was easy to start using,” Herold says. “All I had to do was get the word out that there was a Web site for Blake’s updates.” The Web sites can be personalized and offer a safe and private space to communicate and show support, saving time and emotional energy when health matters most.
the support for him that was out there. I like reading the guestbook when I need a shot of encouragement,” says Herold. Fisher House recently renewed its partnership with CaringBridge, so that patients and families can benefit from the ease of communication it provides. To create your own CaringBridge Web site that gives recognition to Fisher House, visit www.CaringBridge.org/fisherhouse.
“It was such a relief to know that everyone who wanted information would be up to date as soon as I made a journal posting,” Herold says. “I did not need to spend hours on the phone with people or need to rehash everything when I saw someone in person.” Site visitors can also view photos uploaded by the family and leave messages of encouragement. “Although Blake was unable to read the guestbook himself for many months, it was nice for the family to see all
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MAKING MUSIC FOR THE MILITARY: COUNTRY CD TO BENEFIT FISHER HOUSE It’s no secret that many military families are huge fans of country music. The poignant glimpses of small-town USA, family traditions, trains, tractors and heartache resonate with service men and women who often come from those same small towns. The musical short stories can be a great comfort to those longing for home in the midst of the chaos and confusion of war and long foreign deployments. Recognizing this natural connection, savvy New York music producer and president of Stadium Entertainment Camille Barone set about starting a tradition of her own: launching an annual collection of country hits, with a portion of profits going to Fisher House Foundation. She projects that annual sales of the “My Country” CD could be in the range of $800,000 to $1 million; a 10 percent share could result in an annual donation to the foundation of $80,000 or more. Barone is no stranger to the sacrifices of military families: Her cousin, who served in Vietnam, sustained severe injuries resulting in a lifetime of medical care. “Watching my cousin’s ongoing struggles to cope…was an up-close and personal connection to
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the sacrifices made every day by military families,” she says. “I was sure that the Nashville community would get behind this effort in a big way,” she continues. “And once we got so many Nashville all-stars on board with what amounts to a collection of thank you gifts from the artists, even President Bush graciously agreed to participate.” Indeed, the CD includes a special message from President George W. Bush in which he says, “The families of our wounded military personnel sacrifice so much for our country, without expecting anything in return. Fisher House Foundation helps ease the burden on these selfless patriots.”
The CD cover also bears the Fisher House motto: “Because a Family’s Love is Good Medicine,” and features a cartoon by another big name, legendary Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau. With familiar hits by 14 of the biggest names in country music, from Brad Paisley and Trace Adkins to Reba McIntire and Keith Urban, the collection is likely to have wide appeal. Randy Houser’s “Boots On” is among the CD’s tracks. “It’s tragic that every injured soldier doesn’t get to have family by his/her side during recovery,” he says. “Fisher House fights to keep this from happening, and I’m happy that one of my songs can help them with their efforts.” “I’m honored to be part of this remarkable project,” says Reba McIntire, whose song, “I’ll Be,” with its message of offering shelter “when troubles come around,” is an appropriate addition to the collection. By aligning her professional work and her personal commitment to supporting military families, Barone seems to have struck upon a winning combination. According to some sources, since the war in Afghanistan began in 2001, country music’s popularity in the U.S. has increased substantially, even as interest in and sales of music in other genres has declined.
Hero Miles to Get a Holiday Boost Baileys Irish cream liquer is gearing up for a winter holiday campaign entitled “Baileys Brings You Home,” which will promote Fisher House Foundation’s Hero Miles program. Through Hero Miles, airline passengers may donate their frequent flyer miles to provide free air travel for wounded warriors and their families. To date, the program has issued more than 20,000 airline tickets, worth more than $27 million. Baileys is a supporter of Hero Miles. Its upcoming promotion will feature a national contest in which participants write in why they would like to go home for the holidays. The company will select several winners for a free round-trip ticket home. The campaign will include the Hero Miles logo on materials and emphasize that the program brings families together, not only during the holidays, but during a crisis.
“My Country: Smash Hits” features songs by 14 of the biggest names in country music. Nationally syndicated “Doonesbury” cartoonist Garry Trudeau donated the CD’s cover art.
The country radio audience alone has grown to well over 77 million adults weekly, and sales of country CDs are breaking all-time records worldwide. Given those statistics, the potential proceeds from Stadium Entertainment’s annual release of “My Country: Smash Hits” should go a long way to helping Fisher House Foundation continue its greatly needed support to military families. The CD is available in stores and online.
Making a Pitch for Fisher House: Strikeouts for Troops Delivers Hard and Fast Steee-Rike! Bad news if you’re the batter, but good news for wounded warriors and their families—at least on July 4th. That’s because FLIR Systems partnered with Strikeouts For Troops to pledge $500 for each strikeout recorded that day across Major League Baseball. And Strikeouts for Troops, a nonprofit with a mission to support wounded service members, directed those proceeds to Fisher House Foundation. At the end of the day, FLIR Systems, which specializes in thermal imaging for military and other applications, was on the hook for 243 strikeouts. At the July 9th Giants-Nationals game in Washington, DC, Strikeouts Founder and Giants Pitcher Barry Zito accepted the check for $121,500—to present to Fisher House Foundation, with service members and their families looking on. They were treated to an 8-1 win by the Nationals, with new phenom pitcher Stephen Strasburg striking out eight.
RANGE By the end of this year, there will be 53 Fisher Houses in operation throughout the U.S. and overseas in Germany. The following are active new-house projects: Washington, DC VA Medical Center Washington, DC Dover Air Force Base* Dover, DE Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center Augusta, GA Bethesda/Walter Reed Medical Center* (Fisher Houses III, IV, V) Bethesda, MD Minneapolis VA Medical Center (Fisher House II) Minneapolis, MN Wright Patterson Air Force Base (replacement house) Wright-Patterson AFB, OH In addition, the foundation has received approval to build houses at the following locations: Elmendorf Air Force Base Anchorage, AK Womack Army Medical Center (replacement house) Fort Bragg, NC Pittsburgh VA Medical Center Pittsburgh, PA Alvin C. York VA Medical Center Murfreesboro, TN Audie L. Murphy VA Medical Center San Antonio, TX Salt Lake City VA Health Care System Salt Lake City, UT
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Fisher House Foundation is building on its commitment to help military families The following are medical centers with an immediate need recognized by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs: Birmingham VA Medical Center Birmingham, AL Long Beach VA Medical Center Long Beach, CA West Haven VA Medical Center West Haven, CT Gainesville VA Medical Center Gainesville, FL Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center Cleveland, OH Nellis Air Force Base Las Vegas, NV Madigan Army Medical Center Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA Clement C. Zablocki VA Medical Center Milwaukee, WI * Indicates a house opening in fall or winter 2010
FISHER HOUSE DIRECTORY CALIFORNIA West Los Angeles VAMC 11301 Wilshire Blvd. (10AF) Building 512 Los Angeles, CA 90073 (310) 268-4457 Fax: (310) 268-3449 Manager: Sharon Hudson Email: Sharon.firstname.lastname@example.org Palo Alto VA Healthcare System 3801 Miranda Ave. Palo Alto, CA 94304 (650) 493-5000 x 60384 Fax: (650) 849-1269 Manager: Tram Le-Nguyen Email: email@example.com San Diego Naval Medical Center I, II 34800 Bob Wilson Dr., Bldg. 46 San Diego, CA 92134-5000 (619) 532-9055 Fax: (619) 532-5216 Manager: Thomas Reese Email: Thomas.Reese2@med.navy.mil CFC# 64977 Travis Fisher House David Grant USAF Medical Center 100 Bodin Circle Travis AFB, CA 94535-1804 (707) 423-7550 Fax: (707) 423-7552 Manager: Charlene Hall Email: Charlene.firstname.lastname@example.org CFC# 44461
COLORADO Denver VA Medical Center 1954 Quentin St. Aurora, CO 80010 (303) 399-8020 x 2049 Fax: (303) 364-4882 Manager: Joy Weyna-King Email: email@example.com CFC# 94848
DELAWARE Dover Air Force Base* 220 Lajes St. Dover AFB, DE 19902 (302) 677-3238 POC: Robin Raine Email: Robin.Raine.firstname.lastname@example.org
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Walter Reed Army Medical Center I, II, III 6900 Georgia Ave., NW, Bldg. 56 Washington, DC 20307-5001 (202) 545-3218 Fax: (202) 545-3202 Manager: Maurice Borde Email: Maurice.email@example.com CFC# 51542
FLORIDA Bay Pines VA Medical Center 10000 Bay Pines Blvd. Bay Pines, FL 33744 (727) 319-1350 Fax: (727) 319-1106 Manager: Rich Kippings Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Eglin Air Force Hospital 350 Boatner Rd. Eglin AFB, FL 32542 Manager: Ron Gribble Email: email@example.com CFC# 66684 James A. Haley VA Medical Center 13000 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. Tampa, FL 33612 (813) 910-3000 Fax: (813) 910-3088 Manager: Paula Welenc Email: Paula.Welenc@va.gov Miami VA Healthcare System 1201 NW 16th St. Miami, FL 33125 (305) 575-7260 Fax: (305) 575-7261 Manager: Carolyn Soucy Email: firstname.lastname@example.org West Palm Beach VA Medical Center 7305 N. Military Trail – Route 136 West Palm Beach, FL 33410 (561) 422-5554 Fax: (561) 442-8793 Manager: Theresa Ringel Email: Theresa.Ringel@va.gov
GEORGIA Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Hospital Fisher House Rd., Bldg. 280 Fort Gordon, GA 30905-5650 (706) 787-7100 Fax: (706) 787-5106 Manager: Francisco Cruz Email: email@example.com CFC# 82565
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: Theresa.Johnson@ amedd.army.mil CFC# 71377
ILLINOIS Hines VA Medical Center 5000 S 5th Ave. Hines, IL 60141 (708) 202-7154 Fax: (708) 202-7155 Manager: Holly Wright Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
KENTUCKY Blanchfield Army Community Hospital 652 Joel Dr. Fort Campbell, KY 42223 (270) 798-8330 Fax: (270) 798-8804 Manager: Wendy J. Carlston Email: email@example.com CFC# 55546
Malcolm Grow Medical Center 1076 West Perimeter Rd. Andrews AFB, MD 20762 (301) 981-1243 Fax: (301) 981-7629 Manager: Janet Grampp Email: firstname.lastname@example.org CFC# 18622
Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital 4 Recovery Way Camp Lejeune, NC 28547 (910) 450-3885 Fax: (910) 450-3887 Manager: Josie Callahan Email: email@example.com
National Naval Medical Center I, II 24 Stokes Rd. Bethesda, MD 20814-5002 (301) 295-5078 Fax: (301) 295-5632 Manager: Becky Wood Email: bwood@ fisherhousebethesda.org CFC# 46926
MASSACHUSETTS West Roxbury VA Medical Center 1400 VFW Pkwy. West Roxbury, MA 02132 (857) 203-4000 or (857) 203-6503 Manager: Elizabeth St. Pierre Email: Elizabeth.firstname.lastname@example.org
MINNESOTA Minneapolis VA Medical Center 1 Veterans Dr. Minneapolis, MN 55417 (612) 467-5602 Fax: (612) 970-5864 Asst. Manager: Marge Oslund Email: email@example.com
MISSISSIPPI Keesler Medical Center 509 Fisher St. Keesler AFB, MS 39534-2599 (228) 377-8264 Fax: (228) 377-7691 Manager: Larry Vetter Email: firstname.lastname@example.org CFC# 31036
MISSOURI St. Louis VA Medical Center 1 Jefferson Barracks Rd. St. Louis, MO 63125 (314) 894-6145 Fax: (314) 894-6147 Manager: Rachael Fernandez Email: email@example.com
NEW YORK Stratton VA Medical Center 113 Holland Ave. Albany, NY 12208 (518) 626-6919 Fax: (518) 626-5452 Manager: Jerry Jensen Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Womack Army Medical Center 12 Bassett St. Fort Bragg, NC 28307-5000 (910) 432-1486 Fax: (910) 432-3825 Manager: Paula Gallero Email: email@example.com CFC# 65512
OHIO Cincinnati VA Medical Center 3200 Vine St. Cincinnati, OH 45220 (513) 475-6571 Fax: (910) 432-3825 Manager: Karrie Hagan Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Wright-Patterson Medical Center I, II 415 Schlatter Dr. Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433 (937) 257-0855 Fax: (937) 656-2150 Manager: Karen Healea Email: email@example.com CFC# 43546
TEXAS Dallas VA Medical Center 4500 S. Lancaster Rd. Building 79 Dallas, TX 75216 (214) 857-2574 Fax: (214) 462-4923 Manager: Lydia Henderson Email: Lydia.Henderson1@va.gov William Beaumont Army Medical Center 5005 N. Piedras St. El Paso, TX 79920-5001 (915) 569-1860 Fax: (915) 569-1862 Manager: Harry Hicks Email: firstname.lastname@example.org CFC# 48325 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: Isaac.email@example.com CFC# 34516 Brooke Army Medical Center I, II, III, IV 3623 George C. Beach Dr. Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234 (210) 916-6000 Fax: (210) 916-6488 Manager: Inge Godfrey Email: firstname.lastname@example.org CFC# 86204
Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center 2002 Holcombe Blvd. Houston, TX 77030 (713) 794-8095 Fax: (713) 794-7194 Manager: Frank Kelley Email: email@example.com Wilford Hall Medical Center I, II, III 1445 Foster Ave., Bldg. 3865 Lackland AFB, TX 78236 (210) 671-6037 Fax: (210) 671-6020 Manager: Ramona Lewis Email: Rlewis-fisherhouse @sbcglobal.net CFC# 87784
VIRGINIA Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth 853 Fisher Dr., Bldg. 287 Portsmouth, VA 23708 (757) 953-6889 Fax: (757) 953-7174 Manager: Loretta Loveless Email: FishrHouse@msn.com CFC# 54480 Richmond VA Medical Center 1201 Broad Rock Blvd. Richmond, VA 23249 (804) 675-6639 Fax: (804) 675-5979 Manager: Wayne Walker Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON Madigan Army Medical Center 9999 Wilson Ave. Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA 98433 (253) 964-9283 Fax: (253) 968-3619 Manager: Jodi Land Email: FLFHManager@aol.com CFC# 56608 Puget Sound VA Medical Center 1660 South Columbian Way Seattle, WA 98101 (206) 768-5353 Fax: (206) 277-1415 Manager: Cecile Bagrow Email: Cecile.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 Email: Vivian.firstname.lastname@example.org
* Indicates a house opening in fall or winter 2010
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We put a lot of heart into everything we do. And your support helps make it possible!
For the past 20 years, the Fisher House program has worked tirelessly to meet the needs of military families everywhere. We have built and donated Fisher Houses at military/VA medical centers, supported existing houses, administered our Hero Miles program, helped military families in need and awarded 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 VA/military hospital 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. To support an individual Fisher House, check your local CFC guide.
Make a difference this year and donate:
Fisher House Foundation CFC Code: 11453
©2010 Fisher House Foundation | Creative services donated by ds+f, Washington, DC www.dsfriends.com | Some photos compliments of Brendan Mattingly www.mattinglyphoto.com