COLUMBIANA-Benjamin Firestone American Legion Post 290 has partnered with David Coie, owner of Ace Hardware and Middleton Ace Hardware, to raffle a 2012 Husqvarna 24-hp, 52-inch garden tractor to benefit the Fisher House Program. Because members of the military and families are stationed worldwide and must often travel great distances for specialized medical care, Fisher House Foundation donates "comfort homes" built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times-during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury. Annually, the Fisher House program serves more than 12,000 families, and have made available over three million days of lodging to family members since the program originated in 1990. By law, there is no charge for any family to stay at a Fisher House operated by the Department of Veteran Affairs. Fisher House foundations used donations to reimburse the individual Fisher Houses operated by the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
Lee Lichtenwalner, second vice commander of Post 290, wanted to do something special to bring visibility to the Fisher House program in Cleveland. The Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center is a referral center for ambulatory surgery, blind rehabilitation, polytrauma care, spinal cord injury, spinal cord injury nursing home, bariatric surgery, cardiac surgery, invasive cardiology, post-traumatic stress disorders, gambling disorders, substance abuse, womens sexual trauma, comprehensive rehabilitation center, comprehensive cancer center, teleretinal imaging, and is a comprehensive reference clinical laboratory. The Cleveland Fisher House, currently being constructed, will be a 16,000 square foot home with 21 suites and will accommodate up to 42 family members. The cost to build the Fisher House will total approximately $6 million. The goal of the medical center is to raise $3 million. After the medical center reaches this goal, the Fisher House Foundation will build the Cleveland Fisher House. "Fifty percent of our net proceeds from this raffle will go straight to the Cleveland Fisher House project, and the remaining will be used within Columbiana County for local military veterans as proposed by our post," said Lichtenwalner. "We're excited to team with David Coie of Ace Hardware in Columbiana on this charity raffle," he said.
"I have helped the American Legion and other charitable programs throughout the years as means of giving back to our community, and this is an excellent idea!," said Coie. Raffle tickets are $5 and available at the Columbiana Ace Hardware, 149 N. Main St., Middleton Ace Hardware, 44998 Crestview Road, or the post at 44403 state Route 14. All donations are tax deductible. Checks should be made payable to American Legion Post 290 (Tractor Raffle). Only 2,000 tickets will be sold through May 15. The drawing will held at 2 p.m. on Memorial Day, May 28, at the post. "Our veterans deserve this and we hope everyone in our surrounding communities help make this event a complete success!," said Lichtenwalner.