Is a blessing random?

This week our home on Eglin has hosted a family with some not so great news.  With current restrictions on house occupancy, one family member can stay at our house, the remaining members who are drawing near for those final precious moments will be staying at partner hotels.  Their journey saddens me and makes me wish no one ever needed our comfort home.  BUT it also makes me grateful for all the wonderful people who support our mission with time and treasure so that no one is ever turned away.

I received a call today from a credit union near Warner Robbins.  They had an elderly member who recently passed and had designated the remaining proceeds from their retirement account to the Eglin Fisher House. An apology was offered as “it wasn’t much money.”  I shared our gratitude and the message of timeliness for the young family saying their final goodbyes this week and that every amount is meaningful both to the giver and to us as the steward of those funds.  A sweet moment because someone in Warner Robbins had some connection to the military, to our house specifically and wanted their remaining treasure spent on military and veteran families.    It gave me comfort that needs are met through folks we will never meet.

Our generous community always comes through, even when it’s as far away as Warner Robbins, to remember a long life well lived, and another one cut tragically short through illness.  (It actually made me weep to think of how random things really are not. Tears of joy for the kind donor’s meaningful gift to the tears of sadness for our family.)

The take away; life is short, no matter the length, love well, love often and make a difference in the lives of those around you.

 

Happy Birthday Doc A!

Our board of directors is blessed with some great servant leaders.  Today we celebrate Doc A, AKA Joe Agostinelli, USAF, Retired and distinguished member of our community and our Fisher House.  He volunteers with us, the USO and he LOVES all things sports related.  He can often be found on a diamond, his own field of dreams.  Thanks Doc A for all you do for us and others.   Here is a little video we did to celebrate wonderful you.

St. Patrick’s Day Baby, Marc Ambrose

We are so blessed to have a fabulous team of caregivers who love our military families to the moon and back.  Two are veterans themselves and we enjoy sharing special milestones for them and with them.  On March 17, we are celebrating the birthday of our house manager, Marc Ambrose.  He’s been with us now for 5 years and leads the team that brings comfort to our guests.

 

We made a little happy video for Marc, who is travelling to see family.  View here.

Rangers Lead The Way

What a day in the swamp! For the past two years, Camp Rudder and their leadership have invited military affairs members to a day of training.  We did the river swim and swamp walk last year, and this year, Dan Nowers  of Odyssey Systems Consulting Group and Fisher House board member received his certificate of achievement.  Trust me, the river crossing AKA swim is neck deep and not for the faint of heart.  Shiver me timbers!

Everyone had a great attitude and literally jumped right into the swamp to experience a tiny taste of the training our 6th Ranger Training Battalion Camp Rudder Army Ranger students endure.

The water was a chilly 50 degrees, but this group of civilians took it in stride. A reptile show was included in the tour and our attendees were able to get up close, and even a hands-on experience with some of the resident reptiles.

Thank you to our Rangers for their service to the nation and for welcoming us to their home.

Did you know?  Our home on Eglin AFB is open to all services and a few student Rangers have been cared for in our home as they rehabilitate after injuries.

Keeping families together, for hope and healing

Back in January, we took a call from a Major at the Eglin Hospital late on a Saturday evening needing to secure rooms for a family who were with a loved one, waiting for him to pass.  This compassionate, tenacious Major said the patient was a retired MSgt and his entire family was at his bedside, including a toddler and he was desperate to get her specifically over to our Fisher House.  We are third on the list to be called after hours and this Major said he was prepared to call anyone, even the President of the United States himself to take care of this family.  Our house staff promptly returned calls placed to them, prior to the call I received and reservations had already been made.  Sadly, the patient did pass and gratefully, his family were cared for at our Fisher House.  We sent a note to the hospital Commander, complimenting this Major on such great advocacy on behalf of his family.

Fast forward, two months, we get a call from a family wishing to place a commemorative brick at the Fisher House in honor of their dad who passed away in January.  We don’t always know the families as the support group AND due to privacy, but I asked if their dad passed at Eglin Hospital.  Yes……on a Saturday evening…….Yes…………did you have a young child with you………………Yes…………………..Oh my.  When I shared that I took the call, and relayed the comment from the Major about calling whoever he needed to call……this family stated that this Major also bought them dinner and looked after their needs as much as he did for their dad.  WOW.  I read the obituary for the MSgt; it was so touching, he was part of SOF, a crew chief on the Pavelow and Hueys and the love his family had for him overflowed from this tribute.

We are so blessed with folks who serve, like this retired MSgt, like this Major who went above and beyond, like the Commander (Colonel Matthew Hanson who leads by example) and our house staff,  Manager Marc Ambrose, John Stephens and Don Peckham who field calls at all hours to ensure our families feel loved, have a warm and clean place to rest (thanks Judy!) and something comforting to eat.  (We have a great partnership with Walmart, and the Crestview Walmart Packed the Pantry for March through their community grants, thanks Mr. Dickerson and team at #944.)  All of this because of our generous community who love our military like we do.

Rest in Peace Retired MSgt, USAF, good and faithful servant.  Thank you for your service and for the many lives you touched.

National K9 Veterans Day

We love the Veterans in our community, including those faithful K9s who have served and will continue to serve. It’s National K9 Veterans Day today….and we recognize the impact they make on the mission and in the lives of their human counterparts. Read more here. https://conta.cc/2NXN8x2

Eggs on the Beach sets October 2021 Date

MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. –February 9, 2021—The Emerald Coast’s official Big Green Egg EggFest cooking competition, Eggs on the Beach, is returning to Seascape Resort in Miramar Beach on Oct. 16, 2021. Presented by Bay Breeze Patio, the family-friendly event celebrates the delicious results of cooking on the Big Green Egg while benefitting two local charities–the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast and Food for Thought. Cook teams will be smoking, grilling and baking their favorite dishes on the Big Green Egg while tasters sample the delicious bites and vote for their favorites.
The annual cooking competition unites cook teams, ranging from backyard grillers to local restaurants to local non-profit organizations. Cook teams prepare a variety of dishes from meats and seafood to veggies and desserts on the Big Green Egg in an effort to earn the “People’s Choice” votes and a brand new large Big Green Egg.
New for the 2021 Eggs on the Beach cooking competition is the new enhanced location behind the Seascape Towne Center overlooking the pond and fountain. The new location will allow each cook team to have their own 10×10 tent, allowing for more prep space and social distancing. In addition, the tiki bar, public restrooms and access to Seascape Towne Center businesses will provide added convenience and enjoyment for cook teams and tasters.
“We’re excited to see this event evolve,” said Bay Breeze Patio co-owner and event co-founder Wayne Paul. “Bigger is not always better. After canceling the 2020 event, we’re coming back better than ever. The new location at Seascape will allow us to hold a more intimate and customized experience. The best part is that Eggs on the Beach will once again support two incredible local non-profits that are serving needs in our community among students and active and retired military.”
Non-profit teams will again have an opportunity to compete for cash prizes and proceeds from the event benefit The Fisher House of the Emerald Coast and Food for Thought. The Fisher House of the Emerald Coast provides a home away from home for military families during medical treatment, and Food for Thought is fighting hunger and food insecurity among area students by providing backpacks with healthy snacks for students in Walton and Okaloosa Counties.
The cooking competition will be enhanced by kid’s activities, live music, and drawings for a chance to win a Mini-Max Big Green Egg and more. In addition, top ranked college football games will be aired
in the ENCO Sports Zone. Beverages including beer, wine, cocktails, water and sodas will be available for purchase.
For those who have thought of owning a Big Green Egg, Demo Eggs, which are used during the competition, are available for pre-sale at a discounted price. Demo Eggs are available in Large or XLarge and come with a nest (metal stand) and plate setter along with a limited lifetime warranty. Demo Eggs are used during the event and will be available for pick-up between 4 – 5 p.m. on October 16. Eggcessories, including temperature controls, baking stones, egg covers, and cooking utensils, will also be discounted during the event.
Save the date! Eggs on the Beach will take place from 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 16, 2021. Cook team registration will open in April. Taster tickets will be on sale soon. To learn more, visit www.EggsontheBeach.com.
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“That’s my Big Project”, said Kathryn Guidry

Destin Banner Art brings coastal flair to Main Street in Destin.  Our Community Ambassador, Kathryn Guidry of Valparaiso, was a featured artist and painted a sunset scene with a heron.  Many of you know Kathryn as our designer extraordinaire, contributing to all our creative projects throughout the year.  Kathryn was interviewed for the banner art, and courtesy of the Destin Log, an excerpt appears below.  Kathryn was joined in this effort with another incredible Fisher House supporter, Kathy Schumacher who donates highly sought after art each year at our Helping Heroes Gala.

“I did it because it kind of reflects the area and the colors were very vivid, so I thought it would make a perfect banner,” Guidry said.

Although this is Guidry’s first time to participate in the banner project, she’s dabbled in all sorts of arts and crafts all her life.

“Growing up I had a father who was very artistic and talented … so I guess it kind of runs in the family,” she said.

When her children went off to college, she had more time on her hands and took painting lessons.

Since then she has done artwork to raise money for such local organizations as the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society and Children in Crisis. She’s also very involved with Fisher House.

Fisher House is located on Eglin Air Force Base and provides a “home away from home” so that military families can be together during treatment for serious illnesses.

More:2019 – Art banners installed on Main Street

“That’s my big project,” she said, noting that her husband is retired military.

Remember Lauren Reho? Where is she now?

She first started her volunteering with us while in high school, raising money as part of the Miss Niceville High School pageant, donating $2100 as the Peoples Choice/Runner Up, she joined us as Dorothy with the Grand Boulevard Festival of Trees, we placed second, joined us for the Helping Heroes Gala, parents and sister in tow, and this past Christmas, she came home from college and hosted a fundraiser with her mom and friends, raising another $760 for our families. I love this girl and her heart for serving military and veteran families. HEY, she is part of a military family too and they raised her right. Kudos Pam and Pete! Lauren will also be coming home from school in April to volunteer at the Wine Festival. The sky is the limit!

 

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Fisher House of the Emerald Coast, Inc. is an independent non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code, EIN 26-0283970, PO Box 2007/350 Boatner Road, Eglin AFB, FL 32542. www.fisherhouseemeraldcoast.org/850-259-4956

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES, REGISTRATION CH23713.  "A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE WITHIN THE STATE, 1-800-435-7352, WWW.FLORIDACONSUMERHELP.COM.  REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE."

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