Free service brings families closer to injured, sick vets

1:10 PM, Nov 11, 2009   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers, a Fisher House enables family members to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury.

The Fisher House program is a private-public partnership supporting America's military in their time of need. Veterans' families sometimes have to travel great distances for specialized medical care.  A Fisher House can become their free home away from home.

"If it hadn't of been here I'd still be sleeping in my truck or in the lobbies, so I'm very pleased that this is available to us," a current Fisher House resident named Linda said.  She traveled to Minneapolis with her husband so he could receive treatment for a liver problem.

Minnesota has one Fisher House in Minneapolis.  It has 10 rooms and enough beds for 20 guests at a time.  But due to the Minneapolis VA Medical Center's designation as a Polytrauma treatment center, the need for rooms continues to increase. 

"Four years ago, the Minneapolis VA was designated as one of four Polytrauma treatment centers in the country, which means we are receiving combat wounded veterans from the Upper Midwest," VA Medical Center Public Affairs Officer Ralph Heussner said.  "The Fisher House is place for families to stay for families to stay for three months, six months, sometimes even longer." 

Heussner says the Minneapolis Fisher House has operated at 105-percent capacity for several years.  That's why there is an expansion underway.  A facility that will  have 20 more rooms and 40 additional beds is being constructed next to the current house in south Minneapolis.

By law, there is no charge for any family to stay at a Fisher House. The Fisher House Foundation uses donations cover costs at the homes which are operated by the Army, Navy, and Air Force.  In addition to operating current homes and constructing new houses, Fisher House Foundation supports individual military families in need.   

Go to http://www.fisherhouse.org/contribute/contribute to find out more helping support Fisher Houses.

 

(Copyright 2009 by KARE 11. All Rights Reserved.)

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