A Home-Away-From-Home for Military Families

May 15, 2017

UnitedHealthcare employee volunteers assemble personal care kits for military members and families that stay at the Camp Pendleton Fisher House.

In 2015, United Health Foundation teamed up Fisher House Foundation to build the first home for military families at the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California. Following is a Q&A about our partnership with Fisher House Foundation.

Q: Who is Fisher House Foundation?
A: Fisher House Foundation is best known for a network of 72 homes where military and veterans' families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving medical treatment. These homes are located at major military and VA medical centers nationwide and in Europe, close to the medical center or hospital they serve.

Q: How does the community support local Fisher Houses?
A: "It's more than the gift of the building," said Kiana Bright, Fisher House manager at Camp Pendleton.  "When our community supporters come to fix a dinner, or help with the garden, or just take time to visit, it means so much. It means that America has not forgotten the sacrifice of our military and their families.  It's a warm way to say thank you for your service."

Judi Miller agrees.  "I had no idea how I would be able to stay close to my husband, Ted, while he was in the hospital. I went to the Fisher House not knowing what to expect, but when I rang the bell, a couple of lovely women pulled me inside and took my things and sat me down to hot coffee and food. Fisher House has saved precious time and money for our injured Marines, and taken care of their bodies and their souls. God bless all those who volunteer and work at Fisher House during our time of need."

Q: How has United Health Foundation partnered with Fisher House?
A: To provide military and veterans' families a comfortable home-away-from-home while their loved ones receive treatment at the naval hospital, United Health Foundation partnered with Fisher House Foundation to build the first home at the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California. This was the first house to be funded through a single donor and it serves an estimated 280 families with nearly 3,000 nights of lodging annually.

"When someone you love is injured or becomes ill, you want two things," said Dave Coker, president, Fisher House Foundation.  "You want the best medical care possible for your loved one, and you want to be there.  That's where Fisher House Foundation comes in and that's where United Health Foundation has made such an impact."

Q: How have local UnitedHealth Group employees supported Camp Pendleton Fisher House?
Local employees in California have been active in volunteering with Fisher House at Camp Pendleton, whether it's planning BBQs or bringing in meals for guests, packing personal care kits or delivering Easter baskets. Kiana says the prepared meals have been incredibly helpful because "it saves time for the families; the last thing on their mind is making a meal."

On the first anniversary of the Camp Pendleton house, UnitedHealth Group employees donated and assembled 300 personal care kits for residents. The personal care kits included everyday necessities such as shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and shower gel that will be used by families staying at Fisher House. The anniversary event brought together family and veteran organizations and UnitedHealth Group employees to show their support and appreciation for military members and their families during Military Appreciation Month.

United Health Foundation provided a $2.65 million grant to fully fund the construction of the Camp Pendleton Fisher House that opened in 2015.