We would like to extend a warm welcome to Ms. Jennifer Daugherty to the Army Fisher House family. Jennifer is the new Manager at the Fort Blisss Fisher House.
By C. Todd Lopez
Another house full of warm beds has become available for the families of service members who wind up injured and find themselves in a military hospital.
At Fort Belvoir, Va., a short distance from the Pentagon, out the front door of the brand new, spacious, state-of-the-art Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, visitors and patients can see the brand new Fisher House that was opened for business during a ceremony, May 22.
There are nearly 60 Fisher House Foundation homes now on military bases in the United States and Germany. The homes provide private suites for the families of military members receiving care at military hospitals, and have common kitchens, laundry facilities and dining rooms.
According to Ken Fisher, of the Fisher House Foundation, the foundation has provided 4 million nights of lodging for family members, has served 170,000 families and saved them $180 million in associated lodging and travel expenses.
“We owe these men and women and those who wore this nation’s uniform a debt we could never hope to repay…” Fisher said. “It’s more than just words. It’s more than just building houses. It’s remembering that behind each and every man or woman that wears this nation’s uniform is a family. And that family serves this nation too. They make sacrifices and bear burdens that the average American has no concept of.”
When a service member is injured, those families suffer too, Fisher said, they too sacrifice for America. The Fisher House Foundation helps those families through those troubled times, when their loved ones are in the hospital receiving care for the wounds they suffered while wearing their military uniform.
“It provides that home away from home; it provides, not just that room that they can stay in and sleep and rest, it provides a support system, so that the families can share the joy of the good days, they can help each other on the bad days,” Fisher said. “Not every story has a happy ending, but at Fisher House we have focused on the healing process. Helping these families, to us, is as important as helping the service man or woman, especially during those times.”
Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III said that war sometimes can bring out the best in people, and that the outpouring of generosity over the last decade has been “a positive outcome” of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The kindness shown by so many across this great nation has been both humbling and inspiring,” Austin said. “There is no greater example of this than what we are witnessing here today.”
The Fisher House Foundation, Austin said, along with the donors and organizations that support it, have had “an immeasurable impact” on the military, veterans and their families.
While service members are getting care at military hospitals around the world, at Fisher House, Austin said, they are being provided “with the very best medicine possible: and that medicine is the love and support of their family members.”
The commander of the new Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Col. Susan Annicelli, said the new home is a “stunning addition to the community, and a phenomenal resource to patients and families receiving care at Fort Belvoir and within the National Capital Region.”
The Fort Belvoir Fisher House features 12 suites for families.
“The home offers a nurturing refuge from the stress and vulnerability of hospitalization, rehabilitation, and recovery,” Annicelli said. “It’s a true complement to the healing environment. The home promotes a sense of community while bringing the comfort of a home away from home at a time needed by both patients and the families who have supported them.”
Annicelli said the Fisher House Foundation has supported military and veteran families for more than 20 years now with a commitment to both patient- and family-centered care that “extends well beyond the walls of the hospital.”
“On behalf of all our treatment teams here at Fort Belvoir, thank you for your generosity, and continued focus on making a difference in the lives of our service members each and every day,” Annicelli said.
There are now Fisher Houses in more than 20 states, in addition to houses in Washington, D.C., and in Germany. The Fisher House Foundation has also donated money to open a Fisher House in the United Kingdom to serve the families of the U.K.’s most seriously wounded military personnel. Military families do not pay to stay at any Fisher House.
Members of the Columbia County Exchange Club provided and delivered a catered meal (chopped pork and chopped chicken, macaroni and cheese, green beans, potato salad, peach cobbler and sweet and unsweet tea) by Shane’s Rib Shack on Tuesday December 20, 2011; they also handed out holiday greeting cards and gift cards for each Fisher House Family. Special thanks to the following individuals from the Columbia County Exchange Club, Mrs. Phyllis Salazar, Mr. Darrell Byrd and Mrs. Wendy Strom for their time and effort in delivering the catered meal from Shane’s Rib Shack and ensuring a joyful holiday and holiday meal for the Fisher House Families.
On Tuesday, 9 June 2009, Lori Araiza and Art Salsido from the International Military Students Office, (IMSO), US Army Sergeants Major Academy, escorted 8 International students who were attending the First Sergeants Course on a visit to Fisher House at William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC), Fort Bliss, Texas.
Joyce Stophel, Manager, Field Studies Program, IMSO stated, ” The International Military Student Office provides our students an additional program along with their academic training. The Field Studies Program goal is to ensure that our students return to their homeland with an understanding of responsibilities of governments, militaries, and citizens to protect, preserve and respect the rights of every individual. By visiting the Fisher House and learning about the generosity of Zachary Fisher and family for our soldiers, they too will understand about “Diversity and American Life.””
First Sergeants, Atkins, Jamaica; Conley, Jamaica; Hinds, Jamaica; Lashley, Trinidad-Tobago; Lemes, Brazil; McLean, Jamaica; Markovski, Macedonia and Plummer, Jamaica, all enjoyed the tour of Fisher House where they saw firsthand the warm comfortable living conditions a Fisher House provides, and a detailed history and briefing given by Fisher House Manager Mr. Harry E. Hicks, Jr., a former First Sergeant and retired Command Sergeant Major. Each student received several mementos from the manager to take back to their homeland. With all of this, the highlight of their visit was meeting and talking with Army CPL, Terry Williams, a wounded warrior who explained what Fisher House has meant to him and his wife. Williams verbally walked them through his encounter with members of the Iraqi forces, his injuries, his hospital treatments from Iraq to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, to William Beaumont Army Medical Center, and his recovery, rehab and follow-up treatment at WBAMC.
On behalf of the entire student group, First Sergeants, Plummer and Atkins, (fourth and eighth from the left) respectfully on photo number one, presented a donation to Fisher House upon their departure.
International Students pose in Fort
Bliss Army Fisher House living room
Students meet CPL Williams. Photo 3,Group photo with CPL Williams, center front, Art Salsido, left and Lori Araiza, right
Group photo with CPL Williams, center front, Art Salsido, left and Lori Araiza, right
Joined by Hicks
CPL Williams briefs Students
Air Force Major General (Ret.) & Mrs. Smith, Perry stopped by the Fisher House on 26 February 2009 and given a tour. They got a chance to talk with the Lozada Family (Fisher House Family). MG (Ret) Smith is also a guest columnist with the local paper and the secretary of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation.
Mr. Dennis, CEO NSC, and Mrs. Butler, Marketing NSC, with the National Science Center/Fort Discovery along with Mr. Clark, with General Dynamic, presents to SFC Lozada, FH Family member, and Mr. Cruz, Fisher House manager, with 100 Fort Discovery tickets for the Fisher House Families to use.
US ARMY FISHER HOUSES
U.S. ARMY MEDICAL COMMAND