JBLM kicks off campaign for second Fisher House

By Melissa Renahan on April 15, 2012

"Today is about awareness," said David Coker, president of the Fisher House Foundation, Inc. "The start of the Fisher House was when Zach Fisher became aware of this need for military and their families."

Coker addressed a crowd during the announcement this week that Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the surrounding community would be working together to build a second Fisher House on the growing base. In 2011 alone, the JBLM house served more than 300 families and continues to operate at 100 percent capacity.

Since its inception, all of the Fisher Houses have saved active duty military and veteran families an estimated $192 million in lodging and transportation expenses.

"I told the Fisher House that I would be there until my son walked again and they simply said ok," said Mike Zajac, father to Wounded Warrior Pfc. Matt Zajac who was severely injured by an IED in 2007 and spent more than a year undergoing treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. "It is so important to be there as a family member in this sort of situation. We would not be here today without the Fisher House."

The Fisher House Foundation is joined in the JBLM campaign by the Bonneville Seattle Media Group, which reaches approximately one million people in a given week via its online news site and three radio stations. Furthermore, the Mariners and Seahawks organizations have pledged support, as has Toyota of Puyallup.

"From an installation perspective, a second Fisher House is a huge resource," said JBLM garrison commander Col. Thomas Brittain. "With the number of Servicemembers and families we support, especially those who are undergoing a hard transition, it is necessary."

Brittain is hopeful that the fundraising over the next year will allow the base to break ground in early 2013. The new house is slated to be a one-story structure, larger than the existing JBLM house and located directly east of Madigan's Medical Mall.