View Full Version : VA's Largest "Fisher House" Scheduled for Houston

01-05-04, 11:52 AM
VA's Largest "Fisher House" Scheduled for Houston

WASHINGTON (Jan. 5, 2004) - Expensive hotels and cramped couches will soon
be a faded memory for families of veterans being treated for long-term
illnesses at the Houston Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center
when the largest "Fisher House" opens next fall.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi accepted an offer from the
Fisher House Foundation to build a 21-suite facility on the Houston VA
campus in November. Fisher Houses provide temporary lodging to families of
hospitalized VA patients.

The groundbreaking ceremony for Houston's Fisher House is planned for
Jan.16, and is scheduled to include Principi and former President George H.
W. Bush. The former president is honorary chair for the fund-raising

"This is a tremendous example of community members and VA working together
to support veterans and their families," Principi said. "This generous gift
from the Fisher House Foundation will improve the quality of life for
veterans and their families during a stressful period."

The Houston VA Medical Center (VAMC) Fisher House is the seventh donated to
VA by the Fisher House Foundation. It will house families of veterans while
their loved ones receive medical treatment from the VA for unexpected or
long-term illnesses, disease or injury.

Veterans from around the country are referred to the Houston VAMC for
specialized diagnostic care, radiation therapy, surgery and medical
treatment such as cardiovascular surgery, ophthalmology care and treatment
of spinal cord injuries and diseases.

The new Fisher House will include guest suites with private baths, communal
kitchen, living and dining rooms, a library, a family room and a manager's

Normally, each Fisher House has eight to 11 suites. However, the Houston
VAMC's current 35 courtesy guest quarters cannot accommodate all the
veterans' families who want to stay near their loved ones during lengthy
medical treatments. The Houston facility had more than 557,300 outpatient
visits last year and about 10,000 inpatient admissions.

Fisher Houses are built privately and given to the government as a gift
through the Fisher House Foundation, Inc. The program began in 1990.

"The house will serve as a tangible symbol of America's gratitude to its
veterans, recognizing their service and sacrifice," said Kenneth Fisher,
chairman of Fisher House Foundation and grand-nephew of founder Zachary

On receipt of the Fisher House, VA takes over management and maintenance of
the facility. Other Fisher Houses are located in Colorado, Florida,
Minnesota, New York and Ohio, and four homes are being considered in
California, New York, Texas and Washington.

Richard E. Wainerdi, president of Texas Medical Center, led a fund-raising
effort that collected more than $1 million, which will be matched by the
Fisher Foundation for construction expenses.

Major foundations, corporations, local businesses, veterans' service
organizations, individuals, and federal and state lawmakers were quick to
respond with support, including a local furniture store that pledged to
donate all of the furnishings for the home, said Edgar L. Tucker, medical
center director of the Houston VA Medical Center.

"The organizations, businesses, and individuals in the Houston community who
unselfishly gave their time, resources and energy to support this charitable
cause believe as we do - that our veterans deserve and have earned our
respect, our thanks and our gratitude," Tucker said.