**This is a guest post contributed by Chuck Baker.
When veterans and active duty military personnel need help, it’s very common for other veterans and service people to step up to lend their collective hands. Providing assistance to their fellow brothers and sisters is ingrained in the hearts and minds of America’s military culture. And while it’s not totally out of the ordinary for non-military men and women to step in and supply aid and comfort, there are some of them who have gone to great lengths to do so. While Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher have long since departed this world, their legacy of help and assistance continues to provide dividends for thousands of veterans — and of additional importance — their families.
Zach and his wife Elizabeth did not serve in the military. They observed that injured military members had several methods of receiving medical attention from the government. But they also perceived that a very important adjacent need was not being met. When soldiers were being treated for wounds or illnesses at military hospitals or Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities, it was often a hardship for their families to pay for travel expenses and high-quality temporary housing in order to visit their warriors. So the Fisher’s did something about it.
In 1991 they opened the first Fisher House at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Today there are Fisher Houses all across the nation where families can say at no charge whatsoever in private guest suites that are professionally decorated and furnished. Such amenities as common kitchens, spacious dining rooms, computer access and more are also provided.
In Southern Nevada, a Fisher House is located on the grounds of the Veterans Affairs clinic, at Pecos Road and 215. The facility is so inviting, writers such as myself sometimes think we’d prefer to move into one of the spacious rooms rather than return to our homes!
Nevada’s Fisher House is under the care of Manager Cadie Franco. She said that among other qualifications, those who are able to stay at the facility include immediate family — parents, children, sisters, brothers — and even care givers. “Whoever their primary support person is.” While full blown meals are not traditionally available, the Southern Nevada location makes partial exceptions. “Because of our location there’s not a lot of services nearby. So we do try to keep basic food supplies on hand,” Franco said. Food is often donated, and groceries are purchased with donated funds. Community groups sometimes come in and prepare meals for residents. Groups include contingents from Nellis AFB, Shadow Hills Church, Wells Fargo bank and others.
*Chuck Baker is a free-lance writer specializing in veterans and military topics.