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Costa Enterprises – McDonalds supports FHEC with $1,500 donation

FHEC Costa 3-31-2016Costa Enterprises, which operates 19 McDonald’s locations in Northwest Florida, recently presented a $1,500 donation to Fisher House of the Emerald Coast, Inc. through their Coffee for a Cause campaign.  The Costa family donated 50 percent of net proceeds from Monday coffee sales in the month of January to a local non-profit agency.  Donations made to Fisher House enable the organization to continue supporting military families during medical needs with lodging and transportation.   Fisher House, located on Eglin AFB opened in September of 2010, and has saved military families over $1,000,000 in lodging and transportation. The geographic footprint offers services to residents from Pensacola to Panama City.

The check was presented to board members Gordon Fornell and Katy Mitchell, along with board president, Teresa Halverson.  Representatives of Costa Enterprises – McDonalds included Roslyn Snyder, Steven Killebrew, David Costa, Jr., Jackie Wells, Dennis Ealy and Jesse Bell.

“David and his family have always made giving back to the communities they serve a top priority,” said Teresa Halverson, board of director’s president.  “The program that they created has become a trendsetter for other operators and we were honored to be selected again. “

Fisher House of the Emerald Coast hires Administrative Director

Hughes 2016

The Board of Directors for the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast (FHEC) welcomes Mia Hughes as their new Administrative Director. Her responsibilities will include raising funds to support the House, event planning and educating the community about what the Fisher House provides for the military in the panhandle. Fisher House, located on Eglin AFB opened in September of 2010, and began serving its first guests in October of that same year.  The geographic footprint offers services to residents from Pensacola to Panama City.  To date, it has saved military families over $1,000,000 in lodging and transportation.

With more than thirty years of business management and non-profit experience, Mia has been involved with local military families as a community supporter since 2008.  This new opportunity brings that passion and commitment full circle in a formal capacity as she takes the leadership role as the sole staff person.  She was previously Assistant Vice President of the Greater Pensacola Chamber and recently served with the Navarre Area Board of Realtors.  Originally from Panama City, she now calls Navarre home with her spouse, Tony.  Together they have six children, four grandchildren, two horses and a classified number of cats.  They are members of Community Life Methodist Church and enjoy cycling, horseback riding, boating and classic cars.

“Mia brings a tremendous background in non-profit management, fund raising and public relations,” said Teresa Halverson, Board of Directors President.  “As the demand for our services increase, we believe that having someone on board with Mia’s energy and organizational detail is critical to fulfilling our mission, which is to serve those who serve us. “

Operation Hero Miles

Operation Hero Miles

The original concept of Operation Hero Mileswas created by Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersbeger in cooperation with close to a dozen United States Airlines in October, 2003.  Since then, the program has provided over 13,000 airline tickets from over 380 million donated frequent flyer miles, allowing wounded service men and women to visit their families between treatments and transporting loved ones to military medical centers, while their wounded family member receives urgent care.

The program, brilliant in its simplicity, is not just aimed at corporate America.  The most typical donors are retired couples who give a few thousand miles at a time. James Weiskopf the Fisher House Foundation’s vice president for communications comments, “When enough people donate small amounts, it becomes a large amount”.

Operation Hero Miles gives ordinary citizens an opportunity to help our troops in a very direct way that makes a real difference in their lives.  For more information on how to donate frequent flyer miles or credit card frequent flyer points, visit:

Navarre Lions Club Supports Fisher House Again!

Navarre Lions Club Supports Fisher House Again!
December 2008

Fisher House of the Emerald Coast were the beneficiaries for the second successive year of the Navarre Lions Club Golf Tournament, held recently at the Hidden Creek Golf Club in Navarre.

Fisher House board member Angela Campbell is pictured receiving a check for $750 from Lions Club president Denny Hufstader and treasurer Shari Bauer.

Fisher House of the Emerald Coast Golf Tournament

Fisher House of the Emerald Coast Golf Tournament
December 2008

At the recent Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting, members of the Chamber Young Professionals who helped  coordinate the First Annual Fisher House Emerald Coast Golf Tournament, presented vice president of the organization, General Joe Oder (Ret’d.), with a check for $20,450 from the event.  Teams participating in the shot gun tournament held in September of this year at Kelly Plantation in Destin, enjoyed a gala dinner the night before.
The event was sponsored by Coastal Business Products, Indyne, Inc. & J.E.® Jacobs.

Pictured with General Oder are Paul Brannon and Chad Hamilton of the Fort Walton Beach Chamber Young Professionals.

Army mom raises $5,000 for Fisher House

Army mom raises $5,000 for Fisher House

Daily News

EGLIN AFB – When Mary Taylor set up outside the base commissary selling raffle tickets to win a patriotic blanket, she had no idea pocket change would add up to $5,000.
“I was just asking for donations,” Taylor explained, adding she thought high gas prices and the economy would keep people from purchasing the chances to benefit Fisher House of the Emerald Coast.

The Fisher House Program is designed to allow families to stay close to the military hospitals for free.

Taylor said she had been lucky as a Navy wife and Army mother that she never had to stay at a Fisher House, but she wanted to help those families who weren’t as fortunate.

Taylor’s husband, Lt. Commander Lloyd “Jose” Taylor, was a veteran of WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam Conflict. He passed away in 2005. Mary Taylor’s two brothers-in-law, also veterans, died in 2006.

“I just wanted to do something in their memory,” Taylor said.

Taylor came across a patriotic-themed blanket called “Grateful Nation” in a catalogue she had.

“I kind of wanted to cry because it was too late for me to get it for my husband,” Taylor said. “Then it was kind of like he was whispering in the back of my ear.”

Taylor purchased the “Grateful Nation” blanket and one called “Land of the Free.”

For 10 days, she stood outside the commissary and in front of local Walmarts. The Army Rangers even shared their space at the Mullet Festival so she could spread the word about the blankets and Fisher House.

“I made $845 the first day,” Taylor recalled. “I just squealed.”

She remembers collecting money one day and meeting a young man who said he wanted to donate because his brother was just home from Iraq and in the hospital. Their mother was staying in a Fisher House to be near to him.

“It makes a difference to people,” Taylor said. “It means a lot. We’re a tourist community and the condo and motel prices are so high. We need this program here.”

Fisher House of the Emerald Coast Volunteer Coordinator Stephanie Trigg said that Taylor’s grass roots effort shows how much one person can do.

“You can tell she’s a lady with a lot of passion and a real can do attitude,” Trigg said. “Our Fisher House is being built on the hard work and dedication of community members.”

Taylor presented a check for $5,076.53 to Fisher House of the Emerald Coast. For more information, or to donate, visit

‘Civic rent’ pays off at Fisher House

‘Civic rent’ pays off at Fisher House

Daily News

 EGLIN AFB – A refuge for families of injured and  sick service members is just a year away from  opening.

Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the  Fisher House of the Emerald Coast marked the  success of two years of planning and fund  raising.

“We’re going to be back next December to give a Christmas present to Eglin,” said Tom Rice, a Fisher House board member.

Fisher House homes offer free temporary room and board to families of servicemen and women receiving medical care. Eglin’s 10,000-square-foot facility will have 12 suites and be built across the road from Eglin Regional Hospital.

“It’s a bed and breakfast and operates 24-7,” Rice said.

“They call it a house, but we all know it is much more than that. It’s a home,” said U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, who attended the groundbreaking. “I look forward to coming back as we open the doors.”

Since 2003, more than 30,000 U.S. soldiers have been wounded, said Maj. Gen. David Eidsaune, commander of Eglin’s Air Armament Center.

“Doctors will tell you, it’s just as important as medicine and surgery in recovery,” he said of family support. “I take great comfort in knowing that our brave wounded have the family they need to nurse them back to health.”

 “This got started because of caring,” said Trecia Chedister, a founding member and former vice president of the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast. “Fisher House at Eglin is a reality because of you, the community. Thank you for caring for these families. The Fisher House will pay it forward for many, many years.”
Contributors included Army Rangers who collected more than $4,000 and Valparaiso Baptist Church, which raised $1,000.

Picture: Trecia Chedister, former Vice president Fisher House of the Emerald Coast Board, addresses the audience.

Rice said fund raising for the Fisher House was as simple as informing the public and answering the phone to say “thank you.”
He talked of the “civic rent” that each person involved in this project has paid. “Each one has paid civic rent and continues to do so,” said Rice.

The term comes from an Alabama mayor. “He said we’re all obliged to pay our civic rent. Some pay a little, some pay a lot, some pay with all they have,” Rice added.

To date, the Fisher House Foundation’s 42 houses have helped more than 500,000 families, said foundation president David Coker. “As impressive as that is, it’s not enough,” he said.

The Fisher House Foundation operates on congressionally appropriated funds in areas with demonstrated community participation. The homes are supported through a congressional trust fund and community donations. Once the local board showed community support, the funds were matched.

“I love the fact that the military and the public care enough about the military to support the Fisher House,” said Jane Eidsaune, wife of Gen. Eidsaune and an honorary board member.

Fisher House of the Emerald Coast will continue fund raising to support the cost of running the new house and for construction of future houses.

“In some ways, the Fisher House groundbreaking feels just like a finish line,” said Tony Hughes, president of the board for Fisher House of the Emerald Coast. “It’s not. It’s a start.”

To view more pictures of the event, please click here



Construction has begun!  The contract was signed in August and the expected completion is August/September 2010!  It’s great to see the earth moving!  If you are local, drive by and see for yourself.  We’re all very excited!

Local Veteran’s Charity Golf Tourney Nets $13,000 for Fisher House

1st Place Winners are from left to right, Karl Wicker, Pete Darmstetter, Donna Moses, and Dan Moses.

Local Veteran’s Charity Golf Tourney Nets $13,000 for Fisher House
On Saturday, 14 November under bright blue skies at Bay Dunes Golf Club, local Veterans Organizations held their annual fun Golf Tournament to benefit Fisher House of the Emerald Coast, an organization that builds lodging facilities near military and veterans hospitals to house visiting family members at no cost to the families.

The group, which consists of members of the local AMVETS, VFW, American Legion, Marine Corps League, and Military Order of the Purple Heart, is in its 7th year of fund raising and boasts over $70,000 raised to date towards needy Veterans causes.  This is the second  year that Fisher House was chosen by the group to receive the proceeds

This year, 107 players broken into teams played the course under excellent weather conditions and vied for prizes including a brand new 2009 Kia Automobile put up by Bill Byrd Kia.  Although no one won the auto, James Morris of James Auto missed the prize by about three feet.  With final scores adjusted to compensate for handicaps, there was less than a one point difference between the top three teams.

At the end of the day, it was the team consisting of  Karl Wicker Pete Darmstetter, Donna Moses, and Dan Moses that took home the winner’s trophies with a net score of 58.1 but more importantly, a fun time was had by all with door prizes being given to at least one player on each team.  Prizes were also given for Best Dressed, and Oldest and Youngest Players in the tournament.  The prizes were donated by local merchants who will be appropriately recognized in an upcoming edition of the News Herald.

Following the tournament, a check in the amount of $13,000 was presented to the Vice President of the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast, Joe Oder.  This makes a total of $30,000 in the past two years in donations to the organization.  The facility is currently under construction right outside Eglin Air Force Base in Okaloosa County and scheduled to open to accept visiting families next August.  In accepting the donation, Oder lauded the efforts of the group stating that in his visits to Fisher Houses around the state, the expression of appreciation on the faces of the families receiving lodging accommodations in the facilities is heartwarming and instills a sense of accomplishment to those involved in the effort. The group plans another tournament next year sometime around Veterans Day to support additional Veterans needs.  Story By:  Danny Somers – AMVETS Post 2298 Public Relations Officer