Skip to main content

How It All Began…… with 95 houses on the road to 100

A dream come true by Pauline Trost:

“In the mid-1970’s, as I came onto the grounds of the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda for a clinic visit, I saw a helicopter land at the medical center heliport.  A sailor, his wife and two children came down the steps with their luggage.  I wondered where they would stay.  Living in the D.C. area, I knew that hotels and motels in the Bethesda area were expensive and likely beyond the means of couples such as this one.  These thoughts remained on my mind for years.

When my husband became the Chief of Naval Operations in 1986, I thought this might be a good time to pursue my dream of providng affordable temporary housing for families of those facing a medical crisis at Bethesda.  I spoke with Mrs. Iris Reiman, then president of the Washington area Naval Officers Wives Club, and asked her if she would explore how members felt about taking on such a project.  She brought up the subject at the next meeting and reported agreement on planning the concept.  We originally thought about finding an unused or underused building on the medical center grounds which could be converted into a place for people to stay on a temporary basis.

In early 1990, my husband received a call from our friend, Zachary Fisher, who had provided generous assistance to families of service personnel beset by tragedy. Zachary indicated that he was prepared to expand his support and asked my husband for thoughts on projects he might undertake which would benefit personnel of all military services. Among other ideas, my husband mentioned my dream. Zachary was taken by the concept and we discussed it further. He said, “I’m a builder, I have my own architect, we can do this.” Things moved rapidly thereafter, bureaucratic hurdles were overcome, a site was identified for the first house, and in 1991, the first Fisher House opened with President and Mrs. Bush joining the Fishers and us at the dedication ceremony. The dream had come true.

Zachary Fisher told me later it was the most satisfying thing he’d ever done. In a letter to my husband and me in January, 1992, commenting on a thank-you letter from a wife who had stayed at Fisher House I at Bethesda, he wrote: “The attached letter says it all. I knew how important the Fisher Houses would be – but I never imagined how many lives would be changed!” Zachary and Elizabeth were true American patriots.

Best Day at Fisher House Story by Manager Robert Campbell

“……………..The day that I started working here. The very first day I encountered the love and compassion for our nation’s greatest treasure: our nation’s military heroes.  From the very first day, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our nation’s veterans. Every day to me is the best day at the Fisher House.  Like any other job there have been some bad days and even in those days there is still something to be grateful and thankful for.  In the words of J.P. Lane, an Army veteran and double amputee who stayed in a Fisher House, “A bad day is a good day in the making”.  These words ring true in a day at the Fisher House.”

Best Day at Fisher House Story by Don Peckham

Romans 12:10 states “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves”.   Years ago, I talked with a nice lady on the phone.  Her Husband was in bad shape & was in critical condition at an off-base hospital.  His life was in God’s hands, & he was touch-and-go for at least a month or so.  The amazing part was for the duration his wife was up early in the morning, packed up for her daily trip to the hospital to be by his side.  She prayed with him, held his hand, fought for his care, & advocated for his best treatment.  We would not see her unless she returned to get something.  She would stop & update us from time to time, but mostly in the mornings on her way out.

He had some terrible days, & at times, wasn’t expected to make it.  But he was blessed when his condition was stabilized a bit, & then improvement came like blessings from Heaven.  He was able to go home & years later he is still coming back to us for medical appointments.  His wife sings the praises of the Eglin’s House the Fisher’s built, & it’s part in allowing her to be a part of his recovery.  That my friends, was a great day, & prayers were answered.  Indicative of a family’s presence is good medicine!

What being a part of Fisher House means… our house staff, Guest Hospitality Chere’ York

“Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.” – Harry Truman.

This quote is one I remember from middle school. It has always instilled and inspired me to give back whenever I can. I was familiar with similar houses because of my sister using the Ronald McDonald house when my nephew was born with a tumor on his lung. After his medical condition was treated, I started doing so much research on that house and similar missions. It was like a match made in heaven when I saw a position open at the fisher house. I come from a medical background, but knew my heart was in for something more specifically directed to a more individualized way to give back. I remembered that quote and knew I had to be a part of this! I have spent many hours on duty and off advocating and spreading awareness of the house and the mission. The future was and still is unsure and not promised but I couldn’t pick a better place to call my second home!

What being a part of Fisher House means……to our staff, Judyann Schneider

“Working at the Fisher House is not a job, it’s people caring about others and helping to the best of my ability.”  Judy has been with our Eglin Fisher House since 2016, starting as the housekeeper, and receiving a promotion last year to Guest Services.  Judyann coordinates the What’s for Dinner program to feed our families.

What being a part of Fisher House means to our staff…..Manager Robert Campbell

 “To be a part of such an amazing organization that takes care of our nation’s veteran’s is such an honor and privilege. It means waking up with a sense of purpose each day knowing that I am affecting the lives of veterans and their families. It means as a veteran myself and helping veterans through a difficult time in their lives and I want to pay forward the hospitality to them and in return when I need assistance the Fisher House will be there for me and my family.” 

Words from our Guests April 20, 2023

Ever wonder about the impact of staying at a Fisher House for our military families?  Read here.

“To the wonderful people here at Fisher House – what a kind, loving, amazing place this is.  You go above and beyond with your beautiful set up, building and grounds.  Sinc we live in NH, when our son was hurt in Florida, you so kindly were able to put us up while we healed in adjoining rooms.  My husband was able to work remotely and I was able to help assist his recovery.  We were here a lot longer than I thought we would be, yet you never once made us feel uncomfortable.  God bless you!”

Celebrate National Doughnut Day June 2nd

Help our Fisher House on National Doughnut Day June 2nd by bringing in a box of your favorite doughnuts to our Eglin AFB Fisher House across from the Hospital. You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy donuts and that’s kind of the same thing. You could have a doughlightful day with us too June 2nd! Signuphere

Eglin Fisher House Open House, May 19, 2023

EGLIN’S FISHER HOUSE OPEN HOUSE: Have you ever wondered what’s inside that beautiful building across the street from the base hospital?  Or what is the Fisher House mission?  Come find out those answers, as you are cordially invited to attend an open house for the Eglin Fisher House on Friday 19 MAY 2023 from 0800 – 1600. If you have any questions, please give us a call at 883-2865.