By Jill Penley
Butler may be located some 300 miles from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, but when it comes to caring, commitment, heart, and dedication for the nation’s military families, distance means little to Linda and
Wayne Gay. For the past five years, as owners and managers of the Watauga Lake Winery, the couple has hosted fundraisers to benefit the Tennessee Fisher House, a place that provides housing for military and veteran families at no cost while service members receive medical treatment.
“The Fisher House Foundation is essential to our veterans and their families,” said Linda Gay, who comes from a military family being the granddaughter of a Marine, a daughter of a Navy Seaman, and the wife of an Army Colonel. “We have met so many people who have used the services of a Fisher House, and they are all so very thankful that it exists.”
Close to 200 guests attended the special fundraising event despite the heavy rain plaguing the area on Memorial Day weekend. Highlights of the evening included music, dancing, and a silent auction to raise money to cover the services provided by Fisher House. Additionally, several veterans in attendance shared experiences and stories of their military days followed by the music of the era by DJ Billy Gambill.
According to Gay, it remains unclear as to just how much money was raised to benefit the TN Fisher House since many donors chose to donate privately by placing donations in sealed envelopes.
The TN Fisher House, located on the Alvin C. York VA Medical Center Campus, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, opened in November of 2013, to provide “a home away from home” for veteran’s families. The Murfreesboro location is one of 27 “comfort homes” operated as part of Fisher House program, named after founders Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher, who dedicated more than $20 million to the construction of comfort homes for families of hospitalized military personnel.
“Eliminating financial burden when faced with such emotional turmoil is priceless for those in need,” said Gay.