1. Parenting
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

The Fisher House Program Helps Families of Wounded and Ill Servicemembers


Brooke Army Medical Center Fisher House

Brooke Army Medical Center Fisher House, located within walking distance of the hospital, provides a home away from home for family members of ill and wounded warriors.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Army.
When a wounded or ill servicemember is hospitalized miles away from home the Fisher House Program is a valuable resource that military family members can turn to so that they can be close to their loved one for the duration of his/her treatment.

What Are Fisher Houses?

Fisher Houses are essentially custom built homes that are constructed on the grounds of major military installations and VA Medical Centers. Their primary purpose is to provide military families of wounded or ill servicemembers a free comfortable place to stay during their loved ones hospitalization, for however long that may be.

Fisher House History

In 1982, Zachary Fisher and his wife Elizabeth, both life-long supporters of the troops, founded the Zachary and Elizabeth M. Fisher Armed Services Foundation.

Several years later in 1990 they started the Fisher House Program with the intention of giving military family members a "home away from home" so that they can be close to their hospitalized loved one and do so without the added stress of worrying about finding and paying for lodging.

About the Houses

Each home ranges in size from 5,000 to 16,000 square feet; contains between eight to 21 suites; and can accommodate 16 to 42 guests. Most of the homes are within walking distance to the hospital or medical center and for those that aren't, transportation is provided.

In addition to bedrooms, bathrooms and laundry facilities, each house has a well-stocked kitchen and a living room with a library and toy area to help keep young kids occupied. Although every house has a manager, volunteers are available to help and assist military families that are staying in the homes.

Eligibility Requirements

There is no blanket policy that covers eligibility. Because the houses are located on or near military installations and VA Medical Centers, installation or hospital commanders in each locale take several factors into consideration and thus determine eligibility requirements for each specific home.

All Military Families Are Welcome

Family members of active duty, Reserve/Guard, retirees and Veterans are welcome to stay at a Fisher House, regardless of which branch they are affiliated with.

Fisher House Locations

Currently there are numerous Fisher Houses in the continental United States, one in Hawaii and one in Landstuhl, Germany. However, there are many other "future homes" that are in the planning and building phase.

Supporting the Fisher House Foundation

There are two primary ways you can show your support for the Fisher House foundation: monetary donations and/or volunteering.

Volunteering: Although each house has a manager, volunteers play an important role in the day-to-day functions of each home. Volunteers are needed to help with:

  • Babysitting young children so that the parent can have some quiet time or simply take a break when needed.
  • General housekeeping.
  • Delivering food and snacks to the house.
  • Organizing drives for supplies (cleaning supplies, laundry detergents and other household goods).
Monetary Donations: The Fisher House Foundation, which is a not-for-profit 501 (C) (3) organization, relies heavily on donations received from the private and public sector.

When making a tax-deductible donation you have the option of doing so in another person's name, upon which they'll receive a notification that you've donated in their honor. You can also select which program or Fisher House you would like your funds to be used for and 100% of your donation will be applied to that specific house or project.

If you would like to make a monetary donation there are two ways to do so:

1. Online. Go to the Fisher House Web site's donation page and select Online Donation. You'll then be taken to a secure page where you can use your credit card to make a donation.

2. By mail. If you prefer this option, please fill out this form and include it with a check made payable to The Fisher House Foundation. You may then mail the form and your check to:

Fisher House Foundation, Inc.
111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420
Rockville, MD 20850-5168

How Your Funds Are Used

According to the Fisher House Web site, 96% of donated funds are used for programs; 2% are used for administration expenses; and 2% are used for fundraising.

Commitment to Helping Military Families

Since the Fisher House Program began, more than 142,000 families have benefited from its services, and as a result they've saved a combined $167 million in lodging, food and transportation fees. Furthermore, Fisher House volunteers donate more than 70,000 hours per year serving military families.

Additional Resources for the Fisher House Program

Videos: Learn more about the Fisher House Program, including the heartfelt story that sparked Zachary Fisher's desire to ensure that military families are spared the added stress of paying for a place to sleep while they visit their hospitalized loved one who is miles away from home.

Patriot Magazine: Meet some of the amazing families that have been helped by the Fisher House Program and stay current on the Foundation's news via their magazine that's published twice a year (Summer/Fall and Winter/Spring). For added convenience, subscribers have the choice of receiving their issues through e-mail, postal mail, or both.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.