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New York gets first Fisher Houses for injured veterans

The first Fisher Houses in New York City were dedicated last week.

The two new Bronx homes were dedicated by Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie, Chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation, Ken Fisher, and James J. Peters VA Medical Center Director, Dr. Erik Langhoff.

The homes will provide lodging for 32 families of veterans and military at no cost, allowing them to be close to their loved ones at the most stressful time – during their hospitalization at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx.

Not only will this mean a savings to military and veterans’ families of nearly $3 million a year, but it also will allow veterans to receive care they could not readily access in the past without a place to stay.

“VA values the support of Fisher House Foundation and our community partners in helping us to keep the Nation’s promise to our veterans,” said Secretary Wilkie. “The two new Fisher Houses will offer comfort to veterans and their families during their time of need—we are thankful to say it’s their “home away from home.”

The new Fisher Houses on the medical center grounds at 130 West Kingsbridge Rd.

A Fisher House creates an instant community for its residents, united by their common mission of supporting a sick or injured loved one, but also provides each individual with a secure and private refuge after a long day at the hospital to rest and recharge.

“Fisher Houses are built on partnerships.  And partnerships begin with community,” said Fisher. “I can’t tell you how excited I am to be part of this. I was born and raised in the Bronx, so it’s like coming home.  I want our veterans and their families to know when they walk in the door of a Fisher House that America cares and we thank them for their service and honor that service in a tangible way.”

Built by Plaza Construction within the hospital grounds, each Fisher House will have 16 handicapped-accessible suites, a spacious kitchen, large communal living, dining and family rooms, laundry room and a shared patio. The homes will be gifted to VA as part of the dedication ceremony.

“When you go to a Fisher House, you don’t see a lot of individuals, you see an extended family. These families help each other through the most difficult of circumstances,” said Dr. Langhoff.  “That is what makes a Fisher House extraordinary, and why their partnership with the VA is so critical.”

Fisher House Foundation recognized the generosity of the following contributors for their extraordinary support of our military and veterans’ families: Delta Air Lines, Carson Family Charitable Trust, Anonymous, Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation, Shipley Foundation, The Gingerbread Ball, Barbara & Robert Sablowsky, Cardinal Health Foundation, Metrovalve, New York Office of the Attorney General, TeamFisher House Fundraisers, Vehicles for Veterans, and the many gifts of a grateful nation.

The Fisher House program was founded in 1990, after Pauline Trost, wife of Admiral Carlisle Trost, former Chief of Naval Operations, made Zachary Fisher aware of the need for housing for military families during hospitalization of a loved one.

The Fishers entered into a “public-private partnership” with the government, who allowed Fisher to build on their land, after which the home was “gifted” back to the military, to operate in perpetuity. 

Zachary Fisher founded Fisher Brothers in 1915 with his brothers Martin and Larry. Currently, Ken Fisher (pictured top center at the dedication) Zachary’s grand-nephew, continues the legacy and serves as the Chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation.

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