Artist Rendition of Future Fisher House in West Haven
Updated: Thursday, 13 Sep 2012, 3:13 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 13 Sep 2012, 11:29 AM EDT
What is a Fisher House you ask? It is fairly straightforward solution to a problem many military families face; the cost of travel and accommodations when a veteran must travel for specialized medical treatment. Fisher Homes are built on the property of military hospitals and VA medical centers throughout the U.S. and overseas. Family members can stay in these homes, free of charge, while a veteran undergoes surgery or recovers from an illness. The Fisher House Foundation builds these homes with funds awarded through grants and private donations and the The Department of Veteran Affairs is responsible for running and maintaining these homes once they are built. In this way it is a unique partnership between the private and public sectors.
Friends of the Fisher House Connecticut along with a huge outpouring of community support have been busy progressing toward their goal of 3 million dollars by spring. The Fisher House Foundation has promised that they will match that 3 million, allowing Connecticut's first Fisher House at the VA Hospital in West Haven to hopefully break ground in April 2013. In September alone there are six fundraisers throughout Connecticut.
One of the many volunteers, Lauryn Maloney-Feiler, is part of a group organizing a Health Festival on September 15th at Old Grove Park in West Haven. She describes the community's efforts in this way- "We not only want to provide a profoundly positive resource for our veterans; we want to have a lasting impact on CT. We believe building the first Fisher House in CT will be like an old-fashioned barn raising. We can unite as a community while we help our veterans. When we are done, the fruit of our labor will stand for generations. As a community we will know we did it together."
The Fisher House Foundation estimates that they have saved military families 192 million dollars in lodging, transportation and food costs since their inception in 1990. There is at least one Fisher House at every major military medical center with plans to build more where ever there is a need. 100,000 veterans are eligible for treatment at the West Haven VA Hospital, including 8,500 from the current wars in Iraqi and Afghanistan. For more information please visit FisherHouse.org and http://www.fisherhousect.org/