Posted on Oct 23, 2022
Fisher House Southern California Executive Director Linda Rahn, left, speaks to the club; The Naval Medical Center in San Diego has two Fisher Houses (left)
Imagine having a family member in the military, or who is a veteran, and they need medical treatment somewhere far from home. Also imagine that money is tight. How will you get to where they’re being treated? Where will you stay so you can support them during their recovery?
The Fisher House provides a home away from home where families of active military members and veterans can stay, free of charge, while their loved one is undergoing treatment. Executive Director of Fisher House, Southern California, Linda Rahn, was our speaker at the October 20, 2022 meeting. She explained that Fisher Houses provide lodging at spacious homes near military VA medical centers. The houses have between 8 and 21 guest suites, each with a private bathroom. Guests share a kitchen, dining room, laundry, and common living spaces. In essence, Fisher Houses are similar to Ronald McDonald houses where families can stay while children are receiving treatment for life-threatening illnesses. 
Fisher House was founded 30 years ago by New York philanthropist and real estate developer Zachary Fisher. In 1986, Fisher’s friend, Admiral Trost, then Chief of Naval Operations, told him that his wife Pauline had watched an injured sailor and his family arrive at the National Naval Medical Center and wondered where they would stay in the expensive region. This story sparked an idea for Zachary Fisher: He would build houses on military bases to give families a place to stay while their loved one was being treated.
There are now 130 Fisher Houses, two of which are in San Diego.  The Fisher Houses relieve the burden on families so they can focus on the healing process without having to worry about funds for hotels. Family members who must travel more than 50 miles to be with their loved one while they receive care are eligible to stay at a Fisher House, and there is never a charge.   
To date, Fisher House has provided over 15,000 nights of lodging to military families, which translates to an average cost savings of over 2 million dollars. Families typically stay around 10 days and they enjoy the support of other families who are also staying in the Fisher House.
Fisher House also helps with transportation expenses through the provision of Lyft/Uber fares, gas cars, and golf carts to take them to and from the nearby medical center. While the government does cover the cost of plumbing, staffing and electrical maintenance, as well as maintaining the foundation and the roof, all other expenses are covered by the Fisher House foundation.  Visit the Fisher House Southern California website to learn about ways you can help.