By Hope Hodge
The first Fisher House on a Marine Corps installation opened quietly to family members aboard Camp Lejeune on Thursday.
The building is the 46th in the nation built by the Fisher House Foundation to provide families of wounded service members a free place to stay while their loved one receives treatment. The Lejeune house boasts 12 bedrooms and spacious kitchen and living areas on a single-story floor plan.
The house is the first of a number of projects slated for completion in the next 18 months to benefit and assist wounded Marines and sailors. A 200-man wounded warrior barracks across from the new Fisher House is expected to open by the end of this year, part of a larger $25 million Wounded Warrior Complex expected to be completed in Sept. 2011.
Josephine Callahan, manager for the Lejeune Fisher House, said the base’s commitment to its wounded warriors and volume of troops made it an obvious choice as the first Marine base to receive a house.
“The need was very apparent, right from the start,” she said.
The first Wounded Warrior Battalion and Wounded Warrior Barracks, likewise, originated aboard Camp Lejeune, the work of Lt. Col. Tim Maxwell and commandant-select Gen. James Amos, then commanding officer of II Marine Expeditionary Force. The organization Hope for the Warriors is also building a “Hope and Care Center” aboard the base to provide rehabilitation for troops and support for their families.
Callahan said the house’s first family had settled into its accommodations earlier Thursday morning, and another is expected to arrive later this week. With its upscale furniture and modern décor, the facility had left its first tenants well-impressed, she said.
“They were just so appreciative and so taken aback that this is where they get to stay free of cost,” she said.
Families hoping to stay at the house can receive a referral from a case manager, medical professional or service member’s unit. Referrals are evaluated based on eligibility and need.
Col. Daniel Lecce, commanding officer of Camp Lejeune, declared the house open with brief remarks.
“This further exemplifies one of the greatest hallmarks of the Marine Corps, and that is taking care of your own,” he said. “It is critically important that we take care of each other.
“We will never leave a Marine behind. That is what this house represents.”
An official dedication of the Lejeune Fisher House will be held in February. For more information, visit Lejeunefisherhouse.org.
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