Heart Behind the LA House, Sharon Hudson
Sharon Hudson is the Fisher House manager for the house at the Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.
When Sharon Hudson became familiar with the Fisher House mission, she was so inspired that she jumped at the opportunity to become Fisher House manager in West Los Angeles, nearly seven years ago. Serving Veterans at the Fisher House has taught her some very important lessons.
“Truly, this job has given me a new vision of the important things in life,” Sharon said. “You’ve heard the saying, ‘don’t sweat the small stuff,’ well, I’ve come to realize that if it doesn’t concern health issues or family or close friends; then it can probably fit in the category of small stuff. There isn’t a day that goes by that one or more families staying here doesn’t make me realize how blessed we all are.”
Sharon comes from a family of Veterans – her dad, her husband, her brother – it was this personal connection to the military that helped her better understand the sacrifices our service members make on behalf of the American people.
She has learned that injured or ill Veterans need their family nearby when they are hospitalized, but beyond that, they also need friends who understand and help them through their ordeal. Sharon said, “What better way is there to say “thank you” to our Veterans, then to take care of their families while their families support them through what could be the most traumatic time of their lives?”
“That’s the magic of Fisher Houses. People stay here and bond with other families as they experience similar challenges. Many may develop life-long friends, whom they stay in contact with for decades,” Sharon said. “It’s such a relief for them to know they are not alone.”
The West Los Angeles Fisher House served 952 families during 2014. “Since we opened our doors, six years ago, we have served more than 4,300 families, saving them an estimated $3.8 million in hotel expenses alone,” Sharon said. “Additionally, through the generosity of our donors, families have also saved in food, laundry, fuel costs, and miscellaneous expenses. That makes me very proud.”
Many people have come together to create this “home away from home.” “We are blessed to have a group of people that truly cares about Veterans, which includes our staff of three, and the wonderful volunteers who give their time so freely,” Sharon continued. “We are lucky enough to have a volunteer Activities Director, Mrs. Joyce Davis, who organizes other volunteers who help her with bingo, cooking classes, chair massages, and various arts/crafts, which help keep smiles on our resident’s faces. They all love Joyce and appreciate all that our volunteers willingly provide. ”
Sharon is quick to say this is the most rewarding job she has ever had, and credits this to Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher. “Their vision, their generosity, will never be forgotten. Our 25th Anniversary year gives us the chance to remember and say thank you, and I hope people always appreciate the great gift our Veterans have given this nation.”