Second Fisher House breaks ground at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

New home for families with loved ones receving treatment at Madigan

By J.M. Simpson on September 26, 2014

Doubling down on a house is a good thing.

Since 1992, the Fisher House has been a haven of comfort for family members to come and be near to loved ones receiving care at Madigan Army Medical Army Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"The Fisher House is our commitment to our warfighters and their families," commented Col. Charles Hodges, JBLM's commander, yesterday afternoon.

"It is an integral part of who we are."

That "integral part" of the JBLM community is about to double.

In the shadow of MAMC, approximately 150 community and military leaders gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony marking the construction of a second Fisher House.

"We are thrilled to expand our network of Fisher Houses in the Northwest," said David Coker, Fisher House Foundation president.

"This home will be the second at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and we consider ourselves fortunate to continue to support this community."

>>> Joan Shalikashvili stands next to the cornerstone honoring her late husband, Gen. John Shalikashvili, during a groundbreaking ceremony for Fisher House II. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

The Fisher House Foundation is best known for its network of 65 comfort homes in this country and Europe where military and veterans' families can stay at no cost while a loved one receives or recuperates from medical treatment.

Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher established the Fisher House program in 1990 through their dedication of more than $20 million to the construction of the first comfort homes.

"This new Fisher House will be a haven for the hardest times some face in their lives," said Col. Ramona Fiorey, commander, MAMC.

The new 10,000 square foot Fisher House will offer 12 suites along with a well-appointed kitchen, large communal living, dining and family rooms, and a patio.

The Fisher Foundation helped more than 22,000 families last year at no cost to them.

During the ceremony, Mrs. Joan Shalikashvili unveiled a cornerstone honoring the work her late husband, Gen. John Shalikashvili, did in support of the Fisher House.

Support for this new house is stellar.

The Seattle-Tacoma community took a role in supporting its construction. Organizations as diverse at the Bonneville Seattle radio stations and Friends of the VA Puget Sound Fisher House to Delta Airlines spearheaded the drive for funds.

"Delta is dedicated to supporting active military and veterans through our Force for Global Good," wrote Tad Hutcheson, Delta's vice president for community affairs.

For one family in attendance, the ceremony struck home.

"It just warms the heart to know this place was here for us," said Michelle Torri, whose son is receiving care at MAMC.

"It's home."