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Fisher Houses: Your “Home Away from Home”

Sometimes medical services are not close to home. For children and their families, there are Ronald McDonald Houses. For the family of military personnel who are being treated at a major military medical installation, there are Fisher Houses.

The first two Fisher Houses opened in 1991. Two years later, Elizabeth and Zachary Fisher incorporated the Fisher House Foundation as a non-profit organization set up to develop and donate the now 57 Fisher Houses and growing (as of 2012).

Fisher Houses are located close to (walking distance usually) military or VA medical facilities to provide family members the opportunity to be with their loved one during treatment and recovery of illness and injury. Each house has a large kitchen, dining room, and living room, all fully furnished, along with laundry facilities. There are individual suites, giving each family who resides privacy.

These houses are donated to the U.S. government after completion, run by one paid house manager and a host of volunteers. Each individual medical facility has separate criteria for use of the houses. However, one constant runs through all the homes; families are not charged for their stay.

To say this is a relief to military families would be an understatement; numerous testimonials on the Fisher House Foundation website from families attest to the needs this group serves, both financial and emotional. Self-reported statistics show that the average stay runs 10 days; the average stay for combat wounds runs between 45-60 days.

Donating to this organization is easy as well as gratifying and safe; second-party audits have determined that 96% of all donations go directly to the programs. Fisher House Foundation has been granted exemplary financial standings by three separate charity rating organizations.

The Fishers, and those who carry on their commitment to civilian service to military servicemen and women and their families, know that a medical issue comes with an enormous amount of stress and strain. Housing for those supporting their loved ones through a crisis should not be one of those strains.

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