Monthly Archives: October 2010

Jackson Sun Newspaper Article

Andrea Lawrence, David Hughes, Jackie Utley

Vet family home set

Murfreesboro project to cost $6.7 million
BY LAUREN FOREMAN
LFOREMAN@JACKSONSUN.COM
• October 13, 2010

The president of the Tennessee Fisher House Foundation spoke to reporters Tuesday about plans to develop a Murfreesboro home for families of hospitalized veterans.

The approximately $6.7 million Murfreesboro project will be started this spring and finished by the spring of 2012. The home, near the Alvin C. York Veteran’s Administration, will include 20-suites that will have a living room, dining room, kitchen and family room area. It will be one of 46 Fisher houses, located on 18 military installations and at 15 VA medical centers.

The Fisher House Foundation builds temporary homes for military families during hospitalization for illness, disease or injury, said Andrea Lawrence, president of the foundation.

From a double kitchen with top of the line finishes, to decor that fits the architectural design of the neighborhood, these suites are comparable to luxury hotel suites, with a living area and bedroom, Lawrence said.

All the common areas are handicap accessible with entertainment in the form of television, games, DVD’s and an outdoor playground.

The purpose is to be a “home away from home” for families during a time of need, Lawrence said.

She reflected on her father’s hospitalization for a stroke, the family commuting to his location.

“We did not live where they did, so we had to go and pay a motel,” Lawrence said. “And if you think about somebody in the hospital for months on end trying to pay for a hotel and food, veterans and active duty military don’t make enough money to be able to afford to do that.”

Providing financial assistance was a part of the organization’s initial purpose when it was started in 1990 by Mr. and Mrs. Zachary Fisher.

The Fisher House Fundation has helped 73,000 people in a ten-year time frame, Lawrence said.

“There is no cost to the family,” said Jackie Utley, spokeswoman for the Jackson Madison County Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

“It’s totally free, whatever they need, if they need food, if they need clothing, if they need phone cards, if they need transportation wherever; it’s totally free.
Construction of the houses is funded in part by community donations and in part by donations gained from the national Fisher House Foundation, and 97 percent of each donated dollar goes to building the homes.

Lawrence said the families can stay in the homes as long as needed, some staying two weeks, some staying two years.

They are selected on a first come first serve basis but must live more than 50 miles away from the facility the veteran is being treated in.

David Hughes, veterans liaison at Lipscomb University, suffered a spinal cord injury in Afghanistan while serving with the U.S. Army Special Forces. He lived with his wife in North Carolina and was a resident at two different Fisher homes in Landstuhl, Germany and Tampa, Fla.   “For anyone that’s going through that process of trying to recover from an injury or wound or even an illness, having family that close and knowing that they have a place to rest at night,” Hughes said. “You’re putting enough stress on them already as it is, and this is just another means to take that stress off them, and in turn it takes the stress off you.”

Hughes also said the Fisher House has been therapeutic in putting families with similar stories together, forming an internal support group just by living with each other in a common area.

“The first evening I went over to the Fisher house to eat dinner with my wife in the dining room. I walked in, and all these ladies were crying and hugging one another,” Hughes said. “I asked Pam, ‘Well what’s wrong?’ She said, ‘Well her husband’s been battling cancer, and he just died today.”

Lawrence said plans for expanding the resources Fisher houses provide to its families include group therapy.

Learn how to donate to this organization by visiting the regional website at http://www.tennesseefisherhouse.org/donate/ or the national site http://fisherhouse.org/donate/index.html. People can give an automatic $10 donation by texting HERO to 40579.

The president of the Tennessee Fisher House Foundation spoke to reporters Tuesday about plans to develop a Murfreesboro home for families of hospitalized veterans.

The approximately $6.7 million Murfreesboro project will be started this spring and finished by the spring of 2012. The home, near the Alvin C. York Veteran’s Administration, will include 20-suites that will have a living room, dining room, kitchen and family room area. It will be one of 46 Fisher houses, located on 18 military installations and at 15 VA medical centers.

The Fisher House Foundation builds temporary homes for military families during hospitalization for illness, disease or injury, said Andrea Lawrence, president of the foundation.  From a double kitchen with top of the line finishes, to decor that fits the architectural design of the neighborhood, these suites are comparable to luxury hotel suites, with a living area and bedroom, Lawrence said.  All the common areas are handicap accessible with entertainment in the form of television, games, DVD’s and an outdoor playground.

The purpose is to be a “home away from home” for families during a time of need, Lawrence said.

She reflected on her father’s hospitalization for a stroke, the family commuting to his location.

“We did not live where they did, so we had to go and pay a motel,” Lawrence said. “And if you think about somebody in the hospital for months on end trying to pay for a hotel and food, veterans and active duty military don’t make enough money to be able to afford to do that.”

Providing financial assistance was a part of the organization’s initial purpose when it was started in 1990 by Mr. and Mrs. Zachary Fisher.

The Fisher House Fundation has helped 73,000 people in a ten-year time frame, Lawrence said.

“There is no cost to the family,” said Jackie Utley, spokeswoman for the Jackson Madison County Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

“It’s totally free, whatever they need, if they need food, if they need clothing, if they need phone cards, if they need transportation wherever; it’s totally free.”      Construction of the houses is funded in part by community donations and in part by donations gained from the national Fisher House Foundation, and 97 percent of each donated dollar goes to building the homes.    Lawrence said the families can stay in the homes as long as needed, some staying two weeks, some staying two years.   They are selected on a first come first serve basis but must live more than 50 miles away from the facility the veteran is being treated in.   David Hughes, veterans liaison at Lipscomb University, suffered a spinal cord injury in Afghanistan while serving with the U.S. Army Special Forces. He lived with his wife in North Carolina and was a resident at two different Fisher homes in Landstuhl, Germany and Tampa, Fla.

“For anyone that’s going through that process of trying to recover from an injury or wound or even an illness, having family that close and knowing that they have a place to rest at night,” Hughes said. “You’re putting enough stress on them already as it is, and this is just another means to take that stress off them, and in turn it takes the stress off you.”

Hughes also said the Fisher House has been therapeutic in putting families with similar stories together, forming an internal support group just by living with each other in a common area.    “The first evening I went over to the Fisher house to eat dinner with my wife in the dining room. I walked in, and all these ladies were crying and hugging one another,” Hughes said. “I asked Pam, ‘Well what’s wrong?’ She said, ‘Well her husband’s been battling cancer, and he just died today.”

Lawrence said plans for expanding the resources Fisher houses provide to its families include group therapy.

Learn how to donate to this organization by visiting the regional website at http://www.tennesseefisherhouse.org/donate/ or the national site http://fisherhouse.org/donate/index.html. People can give an automatic $10 donation by texting HERO to 40579.

Board Members Interviewed on WBBJ TV, Jackson TN

Tom Britt, Andrea Lawrence and David Hughes

Andrea Lawrence and Board Member David Hughes, who was wounded in Afghanistan, were interviewd by Tom Britt on 7 Eyewitness News Midday in Jackson TN on October 12, 2010

Murfreesboro Breakfast Rotary Donation

On October 14, 2010, the Murfreesboro Breakfast Rotary made a donation to the Tennessee Fisher House Foundation, Inc., in honor of Col. Jeff Holmes, Commander, and the members of the 278th Armored Calvary Regiment of the Tennessee National Guard, who recently returned from deployment in Iraq.

Pictured are Jim Batchelor, Col. Jeff Holmes, and Andrea Lawrence