WHAT WE'RE KNOWN FOR
Located in close proximity to the medical center or hospital it serves, each Fisher House consists of between 8 and 21 suites, with private bedrooms and baths. Families share a common kitchen, laundry facilities, spacious dining room and an inviting living room with a library and toys for children. Fisher House Foundation ensures that there is no fee to stay in a Fisher House. Since inception, the program has saved military and veteran families an estimated $192 million in out of pocket costs for lodging and transportation.
Fisher House Foundation operates the Hero Miles Program, using donated frequent flyer miles to bring family members to the bedside of injured service members as well as the Hotels for Heroes program using donated hotel points to allow family members to stay at hotels near medical centers without charge. 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.
THE FISHER HOUSE PROGRAM
Recognizing the special sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and the hardships of military service, the Fishers sought to meet a humanitarian need beyond that normally provided by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. Because members of the military and their families are stationed worldwide and must often travel great distances for specialized medical care, Fisher House™ Foundation donates “comfort homes,” built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful time – during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury.
There is at least one Fisher House™ at every major military medical center to assist families in need and to ensure that they are provided with the comforts of home in a supportive environment. Annually, the Fisher House program serves more than 10,000 families, and have made available nearly 2.5 million days of lodging to family members since the program originated in 1990. By law, there is no charge for any family to stay at a Fisher House operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs; and Fisher House Foundation uses donations to reimburse the individual Fisher Houses operated by the Army, Navy, and Air Force. No family pays to stay at any Fisher House!
Though best known for the network of Fisher House comfort homes, the Fisher House Foundation also operates the Hero Miles Program™, using donated frequent flyer miles to bring family members to the bedside or injured service members. To date, Hero Miles has provided over 26,000 airline tickets to our military members and their families. The Fisher House scholarship programs are now in their 12th year and will surpass $10M in awarded grants. 6,739 sons and daughters of military families have been blessed through the generous support of Defense Commissary Agency business partners and others wanting to make a difference through education. Additionally the Fisher House Foundation provides scholarships for military spouses and through the generosity of President and Mrs. Obama, they administer the Heroes Legacy Scholarships supporting the children of our Fallen Heroes and those who have become 100 percent service disabled since 9-11. For more information about these and other Fisher House™ programs, visit www.fisherhouse.org
GREATER LOS ANGELES FISHER HOUSE
Like all good works, the Greater L.A. Fisher House began with a great idea – to house military family members – at no cost to the family – while a loved one undergoes treatment at the Los Angeles Veterans Administration. Given the significant concentration of Veterans living in Los Angeles and the tremendous need to house them during the stressful time of a hospital stay, the Veterans Administration recognized the need to build a local Fisher House.
Executive Director and Founder of the Greater L.A. Fisher House Tim Byk rose to the challenge of attracting local support to build a Fisher House for the community of greater Los Angeles. In 2005 he gathered together a small group of concerned community members to form what is today the Fund Raising Committee and the Board of Directors of the Greater Los Angeles Fisher House Foundation, a 501(c)(3).
With enthusiasm, persistence and much hard work, Byk and his 100% volunteer committee raised the funds, which were matched by the national organization, Fisher House™ Foundation a 501(c)(3). On February 6, 2009, Tim Byk and the GLA Fisher House Foundation joined the Fisher House Foundation, alongside government and military officials to dedicate the 42nd Fisher House – the much needed Greater Los Angeles Fisher House. Generous donations for veterans in crisis in California helped make the first Fisher House a reality.
Military family medical support in the form of temporary housing is vital as loved ones rally around veterans receiving treatment. Located on the VA of Los Angeles campus, the 16,800 square foot, 21-suite facility presents an elegant dining room, inviting living room and library, cozy family room, laundry facility, state-of-the-art kitchen, exterior patios, manicured landscape, and is 100% accessible. Each suite has a fully accessible private bath, internet access, computer, T.V., queen-sized or double beds with 450 thread count linens to keep guests comfortable. There are even adjoining rooms in case a family has more than one Veteran in the hospital for treatment. The GLA Fisher House gives military families as much of a feeling of home as possible to include the residents themselves, who offer each other camaraderie and support. To date the GLA Fisher House operates at 90% occupancy, has served over 2,500 military families and saved those families $2.2 million in lodging expenses.
Now medically retired from the Army and back home in Alhambra, Chang is enrolled in Pasadena City College working on completing his GE’s and still contemplating a major. He enthusiastically supports the efforts to build a Fisher House in West LA. “I know there are so many injured soldiers and veterans who have to come from all over Southern California to VA’s West LA Medical Center for medical care and a Fisher House would be really great for them and their families.”
Eddie is expected to need more surgery in the future and wants to continue his recovery in Los Angeles instead of in Washington, DC over 3000 miles from his friends and family. Many veterans and active duty service members who are on convalescence from military hospitals Walter Reed and the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland receive care at the VA West LA Medical Center. Therefore, a Fisher House would be greatly beneficial by easing the difficulties that soldiers like Eddie face during the long and painful recovery process.
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