By Cynthia Spalding
The Fisher House of Anchorage officially opened its doors Dec. 22 to family members of military patients.
"The Alaska Fisher House is a compassionate-care facility located within walking distance of the (Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson) hospital and the Veterans Affairs Center," said Air Force Lt. Col. Andrea Vinyard, 673d Medical Support Squadron commander. "The house provides a comfortable place to stay at no cost to the guest."
The Fisher House serves patients and families from all branches of the military receiving active medical treatment at the base hospital or local area hospitals.
The house provides a safe and comfortable home-away-from-home for families in need.
There are a total of 12 rooms available.
"We are thrilled to have a Fisher House on JBER and we are extremely grateful for the incredible generosity and graciousness of the Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Foundation," said Air Force Col. Robert Evans, 673d Air Base Wing and JBER commander. "Their overwhelming support to military communities, over many years, has made an enormous difference in the lives of so many of our families during the most difficult times.
"Their generosity is evident in this beautifully appointed Fisher House; every detail is perfect. The warmth of their love will be felt by all who stay here," Evans said.
Fisher Houses have only a few regulations about who can stay and when.
Eligible guests are active duty, Reservists, Guard, retirees and those receiving care through the Veteran's Administration, and their families, at the base hospital or a local Anchorage facility.
Guests must live outside a 50-mile radius of the hospital unless the active duty member resides in a dorm in which case their family is eligible to stay while caring for the patient.
Guests must be able to care for themselves independently and be able to exit the building in an emergency.
Family members wanting a room must not be involved in a domestic violence situation that may pose a threat to others, or themselves in the house.
Transportation is not provided, so guests must be able to provide their own. The base hospital is just across the parking lot.
Housing is not available to guests that require care or assistance, that are a threat to themselves or others, and guests that live within a 50-mile radius of the hospital, except with the previous caveats.
Units are encouraged to carry out drives for supplies that are needed for the house or to "adopt the pantry" and help fill the cupboards with non-perishable snacks and staples.
Units or organizations can also sponsor one night a month to cook a meal for guests. This must be coordinated in advance so guests know about it and so units know how many people will be eating.
Currently there are a variety of needs - paper products like toilet paper, towels, napkins and printer paper, as well as cleaning supplies (brooms, mops, toilet brushes, etc), small trash cans, liquid laundry detergent, and dryer sheets. Dishwasher soap and non-perishable food products are also welcome.
To arrange a stay, visit www.akfisherhouse.org, email Jeffery.firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the House directly at 222-1673.
A formal ribbon-cutting ceremony will be hosted Feb. 17.
"Holidays, birthdays & anniversaries have been celebrated with tears and smiles with people who truly understand what the other person is experiencing."
- Kamryn Jaroszewski