When the Rear Detachment for our son's unit called to tell us that Noah had been wounded in Iraq, one of the first questions we asked was whether we should make arrangements to go to Germany where we know seriously injured are sent first before being returned to the U.S. When we made our arrangments
to go to Germany, we went to the Fisher House website and then called to see if the Landstuhl Fisher House could accommodate us. I cannot begin to describe for you the comfort and care we received from Kathy Gregory, the manager (who we discovered is a resident of the same small Arizona town we live in!!) and the rest of the staff and the many volunteers at the Landstuhl Fisher House -- and how welcomed we were and how great it was to be with other families going through the same anxiety and worry that we were... and how incredibly uplifting it was when our crisis had passed to offer help and encouragement to other families with more critically ill soldiers than ours... FH was the island of calm in the middle of a horrible event that tested our mettle...
The mission of the Landstuhl Fisher House (and all Fisher Houses) is to provide a "home away from home" for families of patients receiving medical care at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany. Families served are from the U.S. European Command (including Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom), U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, and 72 Embassies in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Of the almost 3,000 families served by the Landstuhl Fisher Houses, more than 450 families were of service members involved in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Fisher House Foundation is a separate fund that builds these wonderful Fisher Houses and donates them as gifts to the various military services to operate but once donated, the Houses do not receive any government funding and donations are a significant portion of their income to cover operating costs (and nominal room fees which are waived for OEF and OIF families). There are two Fisher Houses at Landstuhl -- each with 19 rooms and they have nearly 100% occupancy year round and each provides a kitchen, food, meals (cooked by volunteer organizations locally), computer for keeping in touch with families back home but mostly a place to offer comfort and share the fellowship of others...
The estimated operating budget for the two Landstuhl Fisher Houses is $218,000 annually of which more than $155,000 must be raised through donations given by organizations, clubs and individuals.
Towards helping support Landstuhl Fisher House, marathon runner Norm Raynal (a 64 year old, 2-tour Vietnam Vet and the father of a 3rd ID soldier who served in OIF I) is walking a series of five marathons between May and November 2005 to raise money for Landstuhl Fisher House -- and is seeking pledges for the total 210 kilometers he plans to walk. To learn more, visit Norm's website.
I know that much attention is focused on charitable giving for the victims of Hurricane Katrina (Fisher House is working there, too!), and with Hurricane Rita bearing down on the Texas coast, there is certain to be charitable need there as well... but I ask that you consider giving to this truly worthy cause and supporting the Landstuhl Fisher Houses (or a Fisher House near you).
Give in honor of your soldier(s), in the name of your parents, in honor of someone's birthday or anniversary, the birth of a grandchild, put it on your Christmas list -- or give just because it is such a worthy cause!! If you are not in a position to give personally, perhaps you know of church or charitable or veterans organizations (Lions, Kiwanis, VFW, VVA, etc.) in which you have a membership that would consider such a request... Your donations directly and immediately assist wounded soldiers and their families in their hour of greatest need.
Donations may be mailed to
Landstuhl Fisher House
CMR 402, Box 669
APO AE 09180
And a brief update on Noah: He tells me today that he's moving much better although not without pain -- but he says he is improving!! Thank you all for your continued prayers and thoughtful support!!
And to my dear BIL and SIL and their/our family and friends and to all others in the path of Hurricane Rita, our thoughts and prayers and love are with you all.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.
Thanks to Holly from Soldiers Angels filling in for Mrs. Greyhawk at The Mudville Gazette for the mention.