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Author: Joe Public

American States Utilities Goes Bronze

ASUS has been partnering with our Eglin Fisher House for years, almost $10,000 since 2017 and will also be a part of this year’s 17th annual Helping Heroes Gala August 22.

About ASUS and their connection to the Eglin community – Located along the beautiful Emerald Coast of Florida is Eglin Air Force Base, the largest base in the United States Air Force. Home to the 96th Test Wing and the Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate, the base spans portions of Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties in Florida. In late 2016, Emerald Coast Utility Services, Inc. (ECUS), a wholly owned subsidiary of ASUS, was selected as the sole provider for water distribution and wastewater collection by entering into a 50-year privatization contract.

In recent news, they were awarded the 4-Star Employer award for supporting veterans and the military-connected community.  Meaning, families?  Yes I think so…..way to go Zig, Annemarie and the local folks here at Eglin Air Force Base.  They also received the Platinum Hire Vets Medallion Award for 2023.  Who loves our military like we do?  ASUS me thinks!    Check this out for more of their good work!  A prize if you can find Fisher House in the content!




What does Teamwork makes the Dreamwork mean?

“Teams come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re married, you and your spouse are a team. If you are employed by an organization, you and your colleagues are a team. If you volunteer your time, you and your fellow workers are a team…Every day in some way, you are part of a team. The question is not, ‘Will you participate in something that involves others?’ The question is, ‘Will your involvement with others be successful?’”

Tickets to the gala here

Friends Books here – book signing in August.

In a recent gathering of our Board of Directors, we grabbed some professional photos featuring some of our high functioning TEAM.  Thanks to Lexi Rutkowski, our professional photographer, she was a delight to work with and created some wonderful images of the WHO behind our WHAT…….Stay tuned but here is a sneak peak.  Like Mets and Baseball?  Here is a fun video that captures TEAM spirit.



P.S. I met Lexi during COVID.  She was USAF AD and started volunteering from home during the “two week” lockdown that became so much more.  She successfully pulled off all our behind the scenes activities that entire year, went on to have another baby, transitioned to a Civilian supporting the same role, she and her spouse started a small business and both are now happily working together in the “family” business they created.  WOW.  So yes I am a fan. Shop local, and shop with those who give back in very BIG ways.

Gordy Fornell is awarded DAR Most Prestigious Award

Congratulations are in order. Last week, Gordy Fornell, founding board member and Vice Chair, was presented the Daughters of the American Revolution’s most prestigious award, the DAR Medal of Honor. While we know him as Gordy, Lt. Gen. Gordon Fornell, USAF, Ret. was recognized for his service to the local community since his retirement in 1993. Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel, State Rep. Patt Maney, R-Shalimar, and DAR representatives Lija Eldridge and Cindy Addison presented Fornell with the award… “No one has been more active and effectively engaged on a continuous basis in his efforts to improve our community and all of our families in Northwest Florida,” Maney said. Maney added that Fornell flew more than 200 combat missions and held various command and operational assignments, including test pilot and leadership roles at Edwards Air Force Base and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Fornell also served as the commander of the armament division at Eglin Air Force Base from 1985 to 1987.

Our House staff are the best

Ever stayed at a Fisher House?  Learn what one guest had to stay about our house at Eglin.

“The house keeper – Alexis – is absolutely AMAZING!!! What a world of a difference with the facility cleaning under her care!! Not only does she pay incredible attention to detail, very thorough job, but she has such a happy joyful attitude that’s quick to help and serve without hesitation! I do not think there could be a better fit for the Fisher House to have someone with the cheerful attitude AND high integrity to do such a above & beyond job at cleaning around the clock – no matter if someone is observing or not, she is always doing a thorough job that goes the extra mile rather than taking shortcuts. Her selflessness and willing to service others with a cheerful spirit is contagious and lights up the room. What a wonderful team you have working here at the Fisher House! Having Alexis working during my stay made a tremendous and noticeable difference.”

Words from Guests December 2023

“I was unable to have my family to help me recover from a pretty major surgery.  What I didn’t realize about the Fisher House was that I would feel just as cared about, and supported as if they had been here! Always a smile available or a fun chat to pass the time.  Attention to detail was great as well.  On day 2, the staff noticed the sports drink that I had stocked my refrigerator bin with.  On a grocery run, they purchased more for me to enjoy well after my supply ran out as well as for others staying.  I will use the blanket that a volunteer made for guests for so many years to come.  And I will never forget how many yummy cookies showed up on that magical first Wednesday of the month. I was beyond grateful for all those sweet calories!   There aren’t enough words!! I Love you all.  Best Wishes!”

Making a Difference

Simple acts of kindness, fulfilling basic needs.  A warm, comfortable place to stay and something delicious to eat.  THAT makes a difference in ways we can all relate.  Let’s help lighten the load for families staying with us, and at all Fisher Houses across the network.  Set your 2024 Make A Difference Goals, visit our calendar to sign up for lunches and dinners:

Borrowed from our friends in Missouri, here are some thoughts shared recently about the IMPACT of meals at a Fisher House.

Excerpt from Columbia Missourian, December 10:

After preparing meals and talking with some of the families, the American Legion

“One inpatient Veteran’s spouse told us that because of her constant vigil at her husband’s bedside, she hasn’t had a balanced meal in nine days,” Fizer said. “She spent more than a week snacking here and there, but not really fulfilling her nourishment needs.”

Another guest told the American Legion volunteers that she wasn’t planning to go out and get dinner due to traffic, since it was a University of Missouri home game. However, when she came into the house that evening and smelled the brownies baking, she said it made her mouth water.

2023 Fisher House’s Biggest Fan

Round of applause for TEAM Axient and their families, led by Joel Abrahams, who earned the honor through all-year support from preparing meals, tail-gate morale parties at the Fisher House, hosting collection drives as part of Christmas in July, support for our Gala and volunteering at many community festivals. Thanks to Joel, Suzanne and Gunny, and all the employees who embody giving back. #wenoticed

Learn more about recent news here, congrats Joel!


Guestimonial from October 2023

Our families say it best…

“Thank you so much for providing an amazing place to stay for these two weeks. We felt so welcomed and at home with everyone.  It was perfect and couldn’t have asked for better staff to be there for us!”

2023 Volunteer of the Year

Congratulations, Wayne Williams, 2023 Volunteer of the Year! Wayne has been volunteering with Fisher House for the past 7 years, helping to organize all the moving parts for our annual gala, and all the festivals we support in the community. In 2021, Wayne stepped up to be the Liaison and now skillfully leads almost 800 volunteers in 7-12 special events each year. Event inrastructure, set up, staffing, tear down – he specializes in chaos management and trying to teach me how to put up a tent! Wayne retired from the Marines, continues to work full time for Lockheed Martin at Eglin, and is making a big difference in our mission.   Appreciate you Wayne!