Helping Veterans Heal: The Fisher House

Helping Veterans Heal: The Fisher House

Our Veterans and Active Duty Military have one of the single hardest jobs in the world. Every day they risk their lives to ensure that we maintain the freedoms we hold so dear. While they serve with honor, they often live for extended periods of time away from their families. If a soldier is thousands of miles from their loved one and requires medical care or hospitalization, it can be devastating. The Veterans Administration recognized this difficulty facing military families. This led to the creation of the Fisher House.

In 1990, Navy Admiral Troust and his wife contacted Zachary Fisher. Admiral Troust and his wife expressed the critical need for a place where families could spend quality time with their ailing loved ones. They entered into a partnership with the government to form the Fisher House. This non-profit organization would provide temporary housing to these military families. The first Fisher House opened in 1991 at Walter Reed Medical Center.

The Fisher Houses are fully accommodating, with up to 21 suites, with private bedrooms and baths. There are common kitchen areas, laundry facilities and dining and living rooms. All Fisher Houses are strategically located on military installations or VA medical facilities. Families are so close to their loved ones, they can walk to the bedside.

As of April 2017, there are 72 Fisher Houses located throughout the world, 32 at VA medical facilities.

The average stay at a Fisher House is roughly ten days. But, as long as the family has a need and loved ones that are receiving care, they can stay longer. Fisher House Foundation ensures that there is never a lodging fee.

Additionally, travel expenses are another challenge for these families. In 2005, the Hero Miles Program was established to reduce some of the traveling burdens. Fisher House Foundation administers the Hero Miles Program. This program provides a service that provides round-trip airfare to wounded, injured and ill service members undergoing treatment at a military or VA medical center. Families are also eligible for the program. Individual airline passengers can donate their frequent flier miles to the Hero Miles Program. These donations make the flights possible.

To date, Fisher House has aided more than 335,000 soldiers and their families. They have saved military families an estimated $400 million in lodging and transportation costs.

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Melani Gonzalez has worked in the healthcare industry for 10 years. She served seven years as a state investigator with Health and Human Services Adult Protective Services. This is where she grew to love senior citizens. “I believe that protecting our vulnerable seniors is not only an honor, but a responsibility in our communities. Sometimes just listening to their wisdom makes all the difference in the world to me!”

Melani also serves as volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association and, as a US Army Wartime Veteran, she also spends ample time assisting our Veterans who are senior citizens.

Melani has 5 living generations in her family, and her great grandmother Gussie, who is 101-years-young gets to enjoy all of Melani’s love and attention on a daily basis.

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