The Fisher House Foundation dedicated its 86th ‘home away from home’ for America’s veterans receiving medical care in Augusta, Maine on Wednesday, a reminder that the nation’s debt to those who’ve served has not yet been fully paid.
Though the Fisher House at the Togus VA Medical Center opened its doors to veteran families in February, the official dedication was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fisher House Foundation President David Coker was on hand to dedicate the first Fisher House in Maine — and just the second in New England — along with VA Maine Healthcare System Medical Center Director Tracye B. Davis.
Like all Fisher Houses, the 13,500 sq. ft. home provides lodging for families of veterans at no cost, allowing them to be with their loved ones while they undergo treatment at the Togus VA Maine Medical Center. This new house will save veteran families an estimated half a million dollars each year.
The VA Maine Fisher House is in an area where many veterans drive long distances to receive specialized care. Since opening its doors, the VA Maine Fisher House has cared for 550 guests while their loved ones received medical care.
“The opportunity for me to stay at Fisher House and spend so much time each day with Rex has made such a difference for both of us,” said VA Maine Fisher House guest Susie Daugherty. “In the midst of the most frightening and depressing chapter of our 40-year marriage, we have received this amazing, spirit-lifting gift of time together, and for me to be able to return each night from the hospital to this perfectly beautiful home away from home is so comforting.”
“We are grateful to have such a wonderful resource available in Maine for our Veterans and active duty service members. These comfort homes greatly enhance VA Maine’s ability to provide access to exceptional health care for Veterans,” said VA Maine Healthcare System Medical Center Director Tracye B. Davis.
“I am honored to finally be part of the VA Maine Fisher House dedication,” said Fisher House Foundation President David Coker. “Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the Fisher House has done an amazing job supporting families during these challenging times.”
Fisher Houses, sometimes described as “Ronald McDonald Houses for wounded warriors and their families,” have served than 413,000 since their inception, offering more than 10 million nights of lodging. They’ve also provided $27 million in scholarships to 15,000 students and more than 70,000 airline tickets provided by Hero Miles to service members and their families, worth nearly $105 million.
The VA Maine Fisher House has 16 handicap accessible guest suites, a spacious kitchen, large communal living, dining and family rooms, laundry room and an outdoor patio. The home was gifted to the VA as part of the dedication ceremony.
Fisher House Foundation proudly recognizes the generosity of the following contributors for their extraordinary support of our military and Veterans’ families: the Wohlers Family Foundation, Fisher House of Boston, Inc., Ruby W. & Lavon P. Linn Foundation, Vehicles for Veterans, and the many gifts of a grateful nation.
While the Augusta Fisher House is the 86th, another five houses were opened during the pandemic bringing the total number of Fisher House to 91.