Fisher House Foundation Expands Support for VA

By: Kerri Childress
January 17, 2019

What do the VA medical centers in Richmond, Va., Palo Alto, Calif., Tampa, Fla., Minneapolis, Minn., and San Antonio, Texas have in common?  They are all regional Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers, and all will soon have two Fisher Houses to support service members, veterans and their families.

This month, Fisher House Foundation will open a second Fisher House at the VA medical centers in Palo Alto and Tampa.  We broke ground last year for a second house at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, and there are plans for another VA Fisher House in San Antonio in the next couple of years.  Minneapolis’ second Fisher House was opened in 2011.

People may wonder why VA asked the Foundation to build two Fisher Houses at these locations when there are many more VA medical centers with no Fisher House at all.  To understand, you must first know what a Polytrauma Center is.

Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers provide the most intensive specialized and comprehensive rehabilitation care for military and veterans with complex and severe polytrauma. The term Polytrauma is used to describe multiple injuries to multiple body parts and organs, one of which is life threatening, and which occur from a single event. This event can be combat blast-related injuries from Iraq and Afghanistan, or the result of a training or motor vehicle accident, falls, or other such incidents. Examples of polytrauma care include traumatic brain injury (TBI), amputations, burns, fractures, hearing loss and visual impairment.

The fact is, men and women from the recent conflicts survive catastrophic injuries that would have killed them just a few years ago. More of our wounded are surviving, and more of them are permanently disabled by devastating injuries. They will need long periods of rehabilitation and lifelong medical care.  

Much of that care comes from the VA’s Polytrauma Centers and with the injured service members and veterans come their families, often with nowhere to stay and little financial reserve.  These families play a key role in the healing process, so being able to stay near their loved one, free of charge, takes a huge burden off them, especially since they are often there for months, sometimes even years.

As Minie Curry, wife of a Sgt. Anson Curry, who was severely injured in combat, said, “I thank God every day for saving Anson. But as determined as I was to be there for Anson, I just don’t know how I would have done that without the Fisher House.  I would have let both Anson and God down.  I am so thankful for my beautiful home at Palo Alto. So thankful for Fisher House.”