Fisher House observes 20th Anniversary
During the luncheon hosted by The Zachary and Elizabeth M. Fisher Foundation at the Gordon Conference and Catering Center, Pete Farrell of General Dynamics C4S presented a check for $5,000 to the Fort Gordon Fisher House. Col. Christopher M. Castle, Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center commander, and Southern Regional Medical Command and Readiness deputy commander, talked about the valuable gift given by Zachary Fisher and his wife Elizabeth.
“The Fisher House Foundation was established by the compassionate and visionary Zachary Fisher and his wife Elizabeth, to provide a home away from home for military families while their loved ones receive medical care,” Castle said. “It’s a place of rest, warmth and the caring embrace of an extended family and friends.”
Their vision continues to grow under the leadership of the Fisher Family…Zachary’s nephew, Arnold Fisher, and his grandnephew, Ken Fisher, who have carried on and expanded the Fisher legacy of caring for and sustaining military families, Castle explained.
Today there are 60 Fisher Houses around the world. Seventeen of them are at Army installations and many are located near a major VA medical center. “Like all Fisher Houses, the Fort Gordon Fisher House is constructed within walking distance of the hospital and provides a comfortable temporary home, a temporary retreat so families can be together to heal,” Castle said.
In fiscal year 2012, the Fort Gordon Fisher House helped 126 families. Among them, 19 families whose loved one was injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring
Freedom stayed at the Fort Gordon Fisher House.
Fisher Houses also support retirees and veterans. Castle pointed out two thirds of the families who stayed at the Fort Gordon Fisher House last year was retirees and veterans.
“Whether wounded, ill or injured, our service members and their families heal better, faster and stronger when they are together,” he said. “There is no better medicine then your loved ones and there is no better place than the Fisher House.”
Once a Fisher House is built, it takes a lot of loving and caring people to give freely of their talents and time to make it a home. This year volunteers contributed more than 1,004 hours to the Fisher House. Much of the landscaping is done by Soldiers attending the Army Advanced Noncommissioned Officer course, the Basic NCO course,Warrant Officer Basic and Advanced courses at Fort Gordon.
The Fisher House gives ordinary people the opportunity to do extraordinary things. During the Easter weekend, Jimmy Brannen, Rick Lane, Randy Brannen, Ray Miller, Rob Sharkey and Chad Waters, all citizens from a small town in Millen, Ga., ran a 250 relay from Fort Benning to Fort Gordon to raise funds for the Fisher House and Fort Gordon Warrior Transition Battalion. “They raised money for people they will never meet,” Castle pointed out.
And for the past six years, around Veterans’ Day, children, their families and faculty at Bel Air Elementary School in Evans, donate money, supplies and paper to the Fort Gordon Fisher House. Because of the Fisher House these children will grew up to be better citizens with an understanding of what it takes to build a caring community, Castle said.
Castle was joined by
Derek Donovan, a retired Marine colonel and vice president of the Fisher House Foundation, Inc., in recogn izing the many volunteers in both the surrounding communities and Fort Gordon.
“Although the Foundation gifts the Fisher House to the government, it is the manager, their staff, and the volunteers that make that house a home,” Donovan said “Fort Gordon Fisher House epitomizes that philosophy and does a superb job of taking care of the families who are their guests.”
As for the future, Donovan offered reassurance of the original commitment made by Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher to service members and their families. “Fisher House Foundation and the Fisher Family have pledged to be here for the families of our servicemen and women and our veterans as long as we’re needed,” he said.”As current conflicts subside, it appears that the Department of Veterans Affairs will pick up a greater share of taking care of our wounded, injured, and ill. We would expect more of our future houses to be located at VA medical centers in order to support that mission shift.”