Local group works to bring Fisher House to Tucson - Tucson Local Media: Heroes

Local group works to bring Fisher House to Tucson

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Posted: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 4:00 am

The Southern Arizona VA Hospital could be the next beneficiary of a Fisher House – a facility that allows free stay for family members of veterans receiving treatment.

Fundraising Committee Chairman Dana Staggs says $3 million needs to be raised by the end of the year in order for the project to come to fruition. The total cost of the Fisher House, which would be a 16-room living facility, is $6 million, but the Fisher House Foundation will pay $3 million of that balance.  

Once the money is raised and the infrastructure put into place, the facility would be handed over to the VA Hospital. The home would be used primarily for out-of-state families that need a place to stay while their veteran is receiving care. There would be no limit on the number of days loved ones can stay. The idea is to help with the financial strain that families face when staying in hotels while a veteran receives care.

Since its inception, the Fisher House Foundation, with 63 locations throughout the United States, Germany, and England, has saved veterans’ families an estimated $200 million in out-of-pocket expenses for lodging and transportation.

Supporters of the project are saying Tucson is a great fit for the next Fisher House.

 “We have one of the top-rated VA hospitals in the nation, so this would be a big benefit here,” said Staggs.

Along with other services offered to veterans, the Southern Arizona VA Hospital has built a solid reputation for its traumatic brain injury clinic, polytrauma units, and rehabilitation programs for the blind.

This would be the first Fisher House to come to Arizona.

“The Fisher House will be an important part of what we, in the Tucson area, can offer veterans and their families as they seek and receive extended treatment at our VA here in Tucson,” said Sandra Briney, a member of the Oro Valley Veterans Support Initiative. “It will be a welcoming and available home away from home, so families can be together during a veteran’s treatment.”

To date, about $650,000 has been raised. A number of big contributions have already rolled in, including $100,000 donations from Jim Click and Vantage West, as well as a donation from the Oro Valley American Legion Auxiliary Unit 132.

Another $300,000 grant was given by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

A number of private donors have also contributed, including two veterans who contributed $10,000 each. That doesn’t mean small contributions aren’t welcome, Staggs noted.

“We had one veteran who apologized because he was only able to donate $10. That was all he had,” said Staggs. “But that $10 is every bit as important.”

To donate to the Fisher House, visit www.arizonafisherhouse.org.

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