SEATTLE -- When military veterans need medical help they often travel quite a distance to get to VA hospitals like the one in Seattle.
But many families would not be able to travel with their veteran without the support of a special place: The Fisher House.
Founded by Zachary Fisher in 1990, they are a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment.
The Fisher House in Seattle is celebrating its’ 10th anniversary.
“It’s just very comforting,” said Melodie Daugherty. “You know you’re a long ways from home, and you don’t know anybody, but pretty soon you do.”
It is a comfort Daugherty needs after the stress of helping her husband Jeff battle stage 4 cancer.
Doctors airlifted Jeff, a marine veteran, from Boise to Seattle for treatment.
Without the Fisher House, Daugherty would still be in Idaho and not by her husband’s side.
“It just takes all that stress out. You can concentrate on your loved one.”
For Tesha Yontz, the alternative was even more dire.
“I would have been sleeping in my car, actually in the parking lot,” said Yontz.
She drove her father, an air force veteran, from Centralia. The Fisher House, she says, is relieving a lot of her burden.
“They’re just like family when we come here,” said Yontz. “They greet us and welcome us as if we were one of their own.”
The Fisher House Foundation built the 21 room home on government property right in the parking lot of the VA hospital.
Families stay there at no cost and local volunteers keep it stocked with food and supplies so that families can focus on their loved ones in the hospital.
“They share each other’s happiness, they share each other’s sorrow,” said Carrie Booker, the home’s director. “They really support each other beautifully.”
Booker says before the home was built families struggled to find places to stay, and often couldn’t travel with their veterans.
“We know that people get better outcomes when they have a loved one with them. It’s certainly comforting and makes us feel good and it’s important.”
If you want to donate or get involved with Friends of Fisher House, click here.