By Chelsea Gitzen
Whenever a family receives news that a loved one in the armed forces is harmed, be it by disease, illness or injury, it’s a disturbing moment in time.
How will they travel to the loved servicemember in need? Once there, how will they find them? Where will they stay? What will they eat?
Joint Base Andrews has an answer to those questions – the Andrews Fisher House – a facility that exists to give care to the families of ill, sick and wounded servicemembers during their hospitalization in the area.
Through the coordination and aide of Janet Grampp, Fisher House manager since the program was established in 1994, a volunteer staff goes above and beyond the house’s core mission.
The Fisher House team works hard to make those families coming to stay at the house feel completely taken care of. They send the family directions to the house from the local area. If no prior arrangements are made, they pick up the family from the airport – going as far as Dulles International Airport. They take the time to meet the families who arrive at all hours of the day and immediately try to offer some comfort. They see to it that they are all settled in their rooms, offer a fully stocked kitchen, and strive to meet any of their needs, said Ms. Grampp.
The outstanding volunteer support Ms. Grampp receives keeps the Fisher House program going. This assistance comes largely in part from the Joint Team Andrews community.
‘‘Typically, when I send out an email to the base to recruit volunteers, I’m blown away by the large response from people,” said Ms. Grampp.
Joint Team Andrews support of the Fisher House is never in short supply, and the caliber of their help is impressive said the Fisher House manager.
‘‘People on this base are really excited and enthusiastic to help their fellow Airmen,” said Ms. Grampp. ‘‘It’s pretty amazing.”
Over the years, Ms. Grampp has built the Fisher House’s community relations and volunteer base so that the program has become a well-established port in the storm.
‘‘The Fisher House is an invaluable resource to Joint Base Andrews – a true home away from home for military families during a time of need,” said Col. Robert Miller, 779th Medical Wing commander. ‘‘The personalized support is second to none, thanks to the staff and volunteers. We are very lucky they are here.”
"Holidays, birthdays & anniversaries have been celebrated with tears and smiles with people who truly understand what the other person is experiencing."
- Kamryn Jaroszewski