CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Camp Pendleton officials along with the Fisher House and United Health Foundations celebrated the construction of a new Fisher House near the Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, Nov. 18.
Fisher Houses are constructed to provide free, temporary housing to the families of service members and Veterans needing medical care.
“The Fisher House offers support to families by allowing them to be there for their Marine and Sailors,” said Brig. Gen. Joaquin F. Malavet, host of the event and deputy commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. “We’re coming together today to build this home; which directly impacts the future health of our Marines and will, in-turn, have a part in strengthening the Marine Corps in a meaningful way.”
Families will be able to stay at the Fisher House at no cost while their service member is receiving treatment at the hospital, which is within walking distance.
“This hospital provides world-class health care, but sometimes the doctors, nurses and medicine aren’t enough,” said Derek Donovan, vice president of programs and community relations for the Fisher House Foundation. “Sometimes patients need their family with them in order to heal, and that’s what Fisher House provides.”
The home will be an 8-suite, 8,000+ square foot home that is expected to serve more than 280 families.
“The foundation pays the lodging fees so that families can focus on the healing,” said Donovan.
The Camp Pendleton Fisher House is unique in that it will be the first of its kind to be funded through the sole support of one organization.
“The Fisher House Foundation is a unique private venture, in that we build these houses and then gift them to the government; then the government operates and maintains them,” said Donovan. “We sustain a relationship and pay the lodging fees to provide for the needs of the house, but the government does a great job of operating and maintaining the houses themselves.”
The Fisher House is expected to provide nearly 3,000 nights of lodging annually, and save those families over $250,000 a year in lodging expenses.
“The fact that the Fisher House Foundation is providing us with a mean to support our Marines and their families in this way is a great example of their continuity of care,” said Malavet. “Projects like this one are really important because it gets to the heart of what America Stands for; the coalescence of support around American families.”
The United Health Foundation provided a $2.65 million grant for the project.
According to David Coker, president of the Fisher House Foundation, the grant for this project is for more than the construction. It will also provide an endowment that will allow the family members to have child care while visiting their hospitalized relatives.
“The Fisher House Foundation has built 64 Fisher Houses near military treatment facilities around the world and we’re pleased to be partnering with them to provide the funds for what they do to serve the men and women who serve our country,” said Coker.
“One of my favorite stories involves a Fisher House manager who was asked by a reporter ‘How many families do you have staying here?’” said Donovan. “The manager said, without skipping a beat, ‘Just one; we’re all family here’.”