Fisher House Foundation Where it all began

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Where it all began…

Fisher House Foundation is best known for their donation of comfort homes built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. The Foundation is a unique private-public partnership that supports America’s military and veteran families in their time of need and made to enable families to be close to their loved one during an unexpected illness, disease, injury or treatment. This program recognizes the special sacrifices of our men and women by their dedication in meeting a humanitarian need beyond what is normally provided by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. Additionally, the Foundation ensures that families of service men and women wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan are not burdened with unnecessary expense during a time of crisis.

Because members of the military and their family often travel long distance to receive medical treatment, Fisher House Founder and Chairman, Zachary Fisher along with his wife Elizabeth, recognized the vast need for a housing resource. In 1991, the Fishers began designing and building their first two homes, donated to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington DC.  A year later, the Air Force received their first Fisher House at Wilford Hall Medical Center in Texas.

By 1993 and 12 houses later, the desire and need for Fisher Houses began to grow. The Fisher House Foundation, Inc became established as the national not-for-profit organization. The goal has since continued to be coordinating private and public support for the building and maintaining of these homes.

From 1990 to 1998, all Fisher Houses were given as gifts to the U.S. Government by the Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Armed Services Foundation. In 1999, the Fisher House Foundation began building new Fisher Houses.

Zachary Fisher passed away on June 4, 1999. At the time of his death, there were 26 Fisher Houses. There is now at least one Fisher House on every major military medical center. Annually, the Fisher House program serves more than 12,000 families and have made available over 3 million days of lodging. By law, there is no charge for any family to stay at any Fisher House operated by Department of Veterans Affairs and the Fisher House Foundation uses donations to reimburse the Homes operated by the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

Fisher House Foundation also operates the Hero Miles Program, using donated frequent flyer miles to bring family members to the bedside of injured service members. To date, Hero Miles has provided over 24,000 airline tickets to our military and their families. The Foundation also manages a grant program that supports other military charities and scholarship funds for military children, spouses and children of fallen and disabled veterans.

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