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JBLM Fisher House provides peace of mind

Local donations aid in operations

PLACE OF REFUGE: The Zachery and Elizabeth Fisher House sits just a short distance from Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord and provides a lodging option for those families with a Servicemember being treated for injuries. Staff Sgt.

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Most Servicemembers and their families never want to think about what happens in the event their Soldier, Marine, Airman or Sailor is ever injured in combat. So when it does happen, life can become very hectic and chaotic.

Fortunately, there is a place where family members can go for a warm meal and a comfortable bed to sleep in, that won't put a stress on their financial wellbeing.

The Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher House, located on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, was established to do just that, and also provide a quiet and safe place for families as well as a place to listen when the stress of a serious event becomes too much.

"Basically it is a lodging location, but you have an environment in which you have people who understand and support you and can emotionally be there for you," said Jodi Land, Fisher House business manager. "It is a comfort and healing environment. Families come to take care of someone else, so someone needs to take care of them and that's what we provide."

The two-story, seven room brick home looks like a regular house, but inside provides a host of features and functionality for individual spouses or for families with children. The home provides a kitchen and dining area, living room, laundry area, outdoor pavilion and fenced outdoor play area. Most amenities, including toiletries, towels, linens, kitchenware and prepaid phone cards, are provided.

But the Fisher house could not provide the resources its offers alone. The organization is provided a certain amount of government assistance, but much of its regular bills and maintenance are paid for and provided by both financial and physical donations from the communities that surround JBLM.

"We have an incredible community that wants to do something supportive for our Servicemembers who make many sacrifices for them. Monetary donations go into our operational budget. Things like the light bill, cable bill and phone bill get paid," said Land. "One hundred percent of the donation goes to the house. Zero percent of the donation goes to overhead."

On-air personalities Miles Montgomery, Steve "The Thrill" Hill and The Ted Smith of KISW's the Men's Room, a popular radio show out of Seattle, have fully embraced the Fisher House and donate to it annually.

"Ted Smith's dad was the first one to put the bug in Ted's ear about the Fisher House and his dad was a veteran so that sounded like a cool charity to help," said Montgomery. "The station does things for different organizations, but we wanted something we could be a part of and that was the Fisher House."

The Men's Room crew, in cooperation with Elysian Brewery, came together to produce a beer for those fans of the show. And through a portion of the profits, the two have been able to give more than $200,000 over the last two years to the Fisher House.

For Hill, being able to give to an organization that provides some piece of mind for Servicemembers and their families is simply about giving back to those who protect the freedoms they are able to enjoy.

"There are people out there fighting for people like us to do virtually nothing. And the troops are the people who do that. You have the right to live as ridiculously as we do, but it is important to pay it forward to the people who protect your ability to do so," Hill said.

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