The Iraqi and Afghanistan wars are the two longest wars America has ever fought. As of May 14, 2010, 5,446 U.S. soldiers, Marines, airmen, sailors and Coast Guardsmen have been killed in these conflicts. And 37,641 have been wounded in action. When you see the faces of these young men and women – some who have sustained grievous injury – it’s impossible not to feel that we owe them a huge debt of gratitude for volunteering to serve. No matter how you feel about the wars, you can pray for the safety of our soldiers – and thank heaven for the Fisher House.
Started in 1990 by philanthropist and real estate magnate Zachary Fisher, Fisher House Foundation has built “comfort homes” on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers across the nation and worldwide, to allow family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful time of their lives. There is no charge for any family to stay at a Fisher House and in a mere 20 years, 44 Fisher Houses (one just opened at Hines VA Medical Center in Chicago), have provided more than 3 million days of lodging to 120,000 military families.
Every Fisher house is given to the U.S. government as a gift, and then in a public/private partnership, the operation and maintenance of the homes are taken over by the VA and military services. The houses vary in design, according to region, but each is designed to provide 8 to 21 suites for anywhere from 16 to 42 family members. They are welcoming, comfortable and most important, offer a supportive, family atmosphere for soldiers and their families to recover, heal and be together.
Fisher House Foundation has also started Scholarships for Military Children, awarding nearly $7.5 million dollars for education, and Operation Hero Miles, that has provided 19,000 tickets in donated frequent flyer miles to bring hospitalized service members and their families together, saving them $26 million in airfare.
Of all the veterans’ charities you can give to, Fisher House is one of the best (before you give, check out this survey). Fisher House has been given four stars by Charity Navigator for six consecutive years, and President Obama just donated $250,000 of his Nobel Peace Prize earnings to the organization. This Memorial Day, I can’t think of a better place for my dollars. To join me in donating, click here.
Find Fisher House on facebook