By: Kaylah Jackson
For families of service members who have gotten ill or are working through recovery while at a VA hospital, the idea of their lives as caregivers might not have been a reality they preferred to think about. That is why the Fisher House Foundation is working to relieve families of those worries by providing them with a roof over their heads and a loving environment.
The first four houses the foundation built only had about 6 rooms and have since grown to over 70 houses throughout the United States and can accommodate 16-24 family members. Since 1990s they have offered more than six million days of lodging to more than 305,000 families.
“These houses started to become mini communities…it has become a support system that I think the families find invaluable because for them, the healing process for them starts in the houses,” said Ken Fisher, chairman and CEO of the Fisher House Foundation.
The foundation also has expanded to also include other programs to include Hero Miles and Hotels for Heroes: which allow people to donate their frequent flyer miles to families in need. If a Fisher House is not available, they will house a family in a hotel at no charge while their loved on is receiving treatment at authorized medical centers.
Connecting families and caregivers with their loved one while relieving them of the financial burden that comes with lodging or relocation has been the central concept for the organization for years.
Fisher House has no plans of stopping and wants to build a house wherever needed. They have an ideal public/private partnership that works with the VA and the surgeon’s general to find the areas with the greatest need to determine the next house location. In the coming years, they plan to build 9 more homes that are in the process of being built. Fisher House makes it a point to expand in thoughtful ways and include the service members and the sacrifice of their family members in the conversation.
“Our mantra is that ‘Thank you for your service’ is a wonderful thing but it’s not enough anymore. There’s too many issues facing our veterans. If one veteran commits suicide that’s too many, if one veteran is homeless, that’s one veteran too many,” said Fisher.
If you need help or want more information about the Fisher House Foundation, visit their FAQ page.