This Independence Day, millions of families across the United States will gather together to enjoy a neighborhood barbecue, watch the fireworks, and proudly wear red, white and blue to celebrate our nation's 240th birthday. But there are countless Americans who are unable to celebrate the holiday with their loved ones because they are stationed far away or are recovering from the battlefield at one of our nation's military hospitals. At Fisher House, employees and volunteers join together with active duty military service members, veterans and their families on Independence Day to celebrate the holiday as a supportive community of friends while their loved ones receive care at nearby Camp Pendleton.
Fisher House is a place to heal, a place to comfort, and a place to call home for our nation's service members, veterans and their family members. With the motto: "A Family's Love is Good Medicine," the Fisher House Foundation provides active duty military and veterans' families with a comfortable and convenient place to stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving medical treatment.
Whether the call just came in that a loved one has been wounded in the line of duty, or a family has been watching their mother, father, husband or wife struggle through a painful recovery process after coming home from the battlefield, what matters most is the opportunity to be by their side during the recovery process. That's where the Fisher House Foundation steps in, enabling family members to be near a loved one in a time of need and focus on their recovery. Fisher House's 70 homes are located in close proximity to major military and VA medical centers nationwide.
In 2014, United Health Foundation partnered with the Fisher House Foundation to build a home at the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, Calif. After opening its doors in 2015, the new facility has become a home away from home for families with loved ones receiving treatment at the Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton. Kiana Bright, manager of the Fisher House Camp Pendleton, described Fisher House Camp Pendleton as a blessing — not only to her, but also to those staying at the home.
"Fisher House staff are proud to be a part of and make a difference in the lives of service members, veterans and their families by offering comfort and support in their moments of need," said Ms. Bright. "Through daily interactions and acts as simple as offering a cup of tea, staff becomes a part of each family staying within the home and aid in the healing process."
Another meaningful attribute of Fisher House Camp Pendleton is its collaborative healing atmosphere for families occupying the eight guest rooms. The home's layout encourages fellowship between families while cooking, dining and relaxing in common spaces. While individuals are experiencing their own personal struggles, families note that one of the greatest features of the house is the ability to bond with other families in similar situations. Most of the connections made at Fisher House continue even after guests have completed their medical treatment and returned to their everyday lives.
"Fisher House is not only a place of healing; it is also a place where members of the community offer to share their kindness with others," remarked Bright. Oceanside community members give back to our nation's heroes by volunteering at the house, cooking meals and donating essential items and food. Employees from UnitedHealthcare and Optum recently donated personal care kits filled with everyday necessities that help to make life a little bit easier for Fisher House families.
"We have a special partnership with Fisher House, and our employees hope that by giving back we can make a big difference in the lives of the families that are making Fisher House their home away from home," said Sonia Mattson of UnitedHealthcare.
According to Bright, "through this type of community support, encouragement from staff and families staying within the home, and the comfort of loved ones, those struggling receive emotional support and companionship to aid in their recovery." Fisher House is so much more than a structure — it cannot be defined by four walls. As Bright said, "Fisher House blesses all who walk through its doors by providing hope for a new and healthy life."