“…because a family’s love is good medicine”
The Fisher House in St. Louis has provided a place to stay, food, and transportation for our guests for free, as long as a member of their family is being treated at the Jefferson Barracks Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital or the John Cochran VA Hospital. The Fisher House in St. Louis has served 12,000 guests and provided approximately $10 million dollars in cost savings to our guests since it opened in 2010. Our guests are family and caregivers of patients at the St. Louis VA Medical Center who have traveled more than 50 miles to be with their loved ones. There are 20 suites in the house on the grounds of Jefferson Barracks. But if there are more people needing rooms, the Friends of Fisher House St. Louis are able to put them up in nearby hotels. . And free transportation is arranged, between Jefferson Barracks and the John Cochran VA Medical Center in mid-town St. Louis.
Donations to the Friends of Fisher House St. Louis help us provide things that the VA cannot – such as meals, essential amenities and after-hours transportation for our guests as needed. The Friends of Fisher House St. Louis board of directors also has been advised by VA Staff that there will be a need for a second Fisher House in St. Louis, alongside John Cochran when it is renovated in the future. So we are starting plans for that long-range project to serve an even greater number of families!
Here is a heartwarming story told by Rosie Newman who is the wife of Bruce Newman, a Navy veteran and patient of the VA, from Lawrence, Kansas.
How often do you go to a new city, for an extended stay of four months, and have people welcome you with open arms into their “family”? We came to St. Louis for Bruce’s double lung transplant. If that isn’t scary on its own, knowing that you need to find lodging to make him as comfortable once he is dismissed from the hospital was scary in a strange new city.
Once I arrived at the Fisher House, I met the staff and many of the residents also staying there. We all started talking about each other’s reasons for being there. While my husband was in the hospital, my interaction with staff and residents was limited due to the amount of time I spent at the hospital. Never once did I feel uncomfortable coming “home” to the Fisher House, having a late dinner, and having other residents join me or stop to ask how my husband was doing. After he was released, he joined me at the Fisher House, knowing that his rehabilitation routine would go on for months.
The facility is very clean, everybody is respectful, it’s safe, and equipped with all the necessaries of home to keep your life running at ease. Each day the kitchen common area was always stocked with items which you could prepare as if at home. With an on-site laundry facility you are able to keep up with your own laundry, another comfort of home. Staff is always asking, “Do you need anything?” The generosity of the house was more than we ever expected.
Fisher House at Jefferson Barracks overlooks the Mississippi River, with walking and resting areas all around the grounds. The view from the Gazebo included Bald Eagles, Deer and many ground hogs.
We would have never believed that we could be as comfortable away from home, feel secure and enjoy the staff and residents when we started this journey. The Fisher House staff and residents have a special bond. From good days when we are all laughing and enjoying visiting to bad days when you just need a word of encouragement or a hug. We shared smiles, tears and the joy of meeting special individuals at the Fisher House, especially the staff.
As our life travels continue, I will be forever be grateful for the Fisher House, the staff and their Foundation. We will most definitely let other veterans know of this extreme benefit for serving our country.
Supporting the Fisher House in St. Louis by designating CFC #42804 keeps families together, making YOU the guardian angel of our military and veterans. Thank you.