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KELLY GILFILLAN: Outside the Brentwood Bubble
Posted: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 10:58 pm

Home for famlies of hospitalized veterans
The Fisher House program is a unique private-public partnership that supports America’s military in their time of need. The program recognizes the special sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and the hardships of military service by meeting a humanitarian need beyond that normally provided by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

Much like a Ronald McDonald House, a Fisher House is “a home away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. The homes are normally located within walking distance of the treatment facility or have transportation available.

“A new Fisher House will be built on the Alvin C. York Veterans Administration campus in Murfreesboro,” according to Andrea Lawrence of Brentwood, President of the board of directors. “We would love to have built in Nashville too but the VA is surrounded by Vanderbilt properties.”

Due to the distance between this Fisher House and the Nashville VA Hospital, a shuttle will run the families to the hospital each day. This is just one of the many free services provided for the military families.

The Murfreesboro Fisher House will have twenty rooms with various layouts. Some rooms will have two double beds to hold an entire family and some will be smaller. Each family though has private quarters.

Other areas of the house are communal, with group sitting and eating areas. The oversized kitchen has two refrigerators and two freezers that will remain stocked full of food.

“The families tend to cook and eat together,” said Lawrence. “Families bond by staying there together. Sometimes local families will bring food.”

The Fisher House recently opened three new homes in Bethesda, Maryland for the military patients at the Bethesda and Walter Reed facilities.

“We went up to the opening of the three new houses and they were beautiful,” said Lawrence. “Mr. Fisher wanted the military families to live in the manner in which he is accustomed to living. They are wonderful.”

Here is where you can help. The Fisher House Foundation requests that the communities that build a home raise half the funds needed to build the structure. The Fisher House Foundation then matches the funds raised.

The Murfreesboro house is set to cost 3.6 million and the fundraising has begun. Honorary bricks for the garden path are being sold to honor your military veteran or other loved one.

“These bricks will be in an area where the families will spend time outside when they are away from their loved ones who are in the hospital,” said Lawrence. “So many people want to honor people that have served in the military, so this type fundraising is going well.”

The Fisher House had hoped to break ground in May but has had a small delay due to the house being built on historic landmark property. A few unexpected restrictions will hopefully not delay the project long. More time for fundraising then.

If you would like to help provide a comfortable place for the veteran’s families while they are being treated, please consider giving to this worthy cause. For more information, visit their website at

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