The Beautiful Faces of Hope
Hope could be the single most important service that the Fisher Houses provide. These Compassionate Care Houses are located on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, adjacent to the Wright-Patterson Medical Center. The mission of the Houses is to provide an affordable on-base refuge close to the Medical Center for patients and their families. The Houses are a safe haven after those long days at the hospital, a place where they can rest and regain strength for the next day’s challenges. Families can spend time alone in their spacious rooms, or share conversation and meals with friends with similar circumstances in the warm atmosphere of our kitchens and dining rooms.
The House managers and volunteers try to reduce their feeling of isolation by quickly lending them a helping hand getting settled. In short, they let each family know they are never alone and there are many people around them that care. Society at times looks upon a life threatening illness or injury as a death sentence. It is not and we have the beautiful faces of survivors to prove it. Their diagnosis could mean long-term therapy, but there is always hope.
The Wright-Patterson Medical Center draws patients from around the world. It is the second largest medical center in the Air Force and offers many specialty clinics. They handle high-risk pregnancies and are currently staffed to handle level three newborns (premature babies with multiple life threatening problems). Their oncology specialists are world renown. The Wright-Patterson Medical Center, in partnership with Kettering Hospital, offers state of the art hyperbaric treatments. The chamber is essential for the treatment of some wounds. It is used extensively for diabetic, cancer and burn patients.
The Nightingale House was the first Compassionate Care House in the Department of Defense. It was the dream of Captain Gretchen Lizza, whose son Tony was fighting leukemia. She saw the need for a home-away-from-home at Wright-Patterson AFB. After months of tireless efforts, the Nightingale House opened its doors in May of 1990. Gretchen is living proof to all of us that one person really can make a difference.
In May of 1994, Wright-Patterson became a part of what is now a worldwide Fisher vision with the donation of our first Fisher House. Zachary Fisher, a construction industry giant, and his wife Elizabeth asked what they could do to help military families. They wanted to find a way to give something back to the men and women serving their country. In 1983 the Fishers established the “Zachary and Elizabeth M. Fisher Armed Forces Foundation,” dedicated to providing assistance to military families in need. Zachary Fisher had always felt his gifts were a very small return for all who have fought and died for his freedom. It was the Fishers’ intention to be able to keep military families together during times of medical emergencies or crises when they need the love and support of their families the most.