Local News

Story published: 04-23-2014 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Winery to hold fundraiser for Fisher House

By Paula Walter

Watauga Lake Winery will be holding a fundraiser for the Fisher House Foundation on Saturday, May 24. The event will include arts and craft vendors, music and a silent auction, with the chance to bid and win two tickets to the Wayne Henderson concert to be held on July 5th. There will be hot dogs, hamburgers and all the trimmings. The event is open to all and there is no admission fee. Proceeds from food sales, the silent auction and a 50/50 raffle will be donated to the Fisher House Foundation.

The initial idea to provide housing for both military and veterans families at no cost while service members, past and present, were receiving medical treatments had its beginnings in 1990. The concept was initially presented to Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher by Pauline Trost, the wife of the then chief of Naval Operations. By the following year, two Fisher houses were open, one at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland and the other at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. There are currently 62 houses in operation, including one in Murphfreesboro, Tennessee located at the Alvin C. York VA Medical Center. After completion, the homes are given to the United States government and then the operation and upkeep is turned over to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Since 1990, more than 180,000 families have been able to stay at Fisher Houses at no costs. More than 22,000 families were helped in 2013 alone.

Fisher Houses are located on 23 major military bases and 23 VA medical centers across the country and are typically located within walking distance of the medical facilities. The houses are large, offering a home away from home concept that can house anywhere between 16 to 42 people. There are a large number of suites, anywhere from eight to 21, that offer private bedrooms and bathrooms. In the home there is a kitchen, laundry room and a dining and living room to share. The savings to the families of veterans and active military has been approximately $200 million since the first Fisher Home opened its doors. The average stay for families of veterans is 10 days, while those who are there to be with loved ones who have suffered combat injuries is between 45 and 50 days.

The Fisher Home Foundation also coordinates the Hero Miles program where wounded, injured and sick service members who are on approved leave receive a round trip ticket from the medical center where they are receiving treatment to home or an approved event. This is applicable if they are not eligible for funding from the government for their ticket. The program also provides a round trip ticket for family or closes friends to come and stay while their family member is at an approved medical center. Airtran, Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, United Airlines and US Airways partner with Fisher House to provide tickets. Visit their website and log into your account and follow the directions to donate or transfer points. Hotels for Heroes is another program where Fisher House partners with where people can donate hotel points. AmericInn, Best Western, Choice Hotels, Hilton, LaQuinta Inns and Suites, Marriott and Wyndham participate in the program.

If you have any questions regarding the fundraiser at Watauga Lake Winery, call 423-768-0345 or 423-768-3633 for further information.