Fisher House Foundations – Comfort Homes

The Fisher House volunteers, who give so much of their time and themselves, are the heart and soul of Team Fisher House. With such a small staff, the Fisher House Foundation depends on the generosity of its volunteers to support their fundraising efforts. is a proud media sponsor of Team Fisher House. If you don’t know much about Fisher House, we invite you to visit their website and find out what a great non-profit they are. Fisher House Foundation”s “comfort homes”, located at major military bases and VA medical centers, enable family members to be close to a loved one during hospitalization. Knowing that a family”s love is the best medicine, Fisher Houses strive to give recovering service members a sense of community during a stressful time. There is at least one Fisher House at every major military medical center, providing the comforts of home in a supportive environment. The houses are usually from 5,000 to 16,000 square foot homes, accommodating 16 to 42 family members. Each house is designed to provide 8 to 21 suites, and they are all professionally decorated and furnished. They feature a common kitchen, laundry facilities, spacious dining room and a living room. They have even remembered the toys for the children. The newer homes are 100% handicap accessible and include elevators. The program began in 1990, and has offered more than three million days of lodging to more than 160,000 families, with no family ever paying for a stay at any Fisher House! In addition to constructing new houses, the Fisher House Foundation continues to support existing Fisher Houses and help individual military families in need. Additionally, they are proud to administer and sponsor Scholarships for Military Children, the Hero Miles program, and co-sponsor the Newman”s Own Award. We salute the good work done by this great organization.

WWII Merchant Marine salutes all of the Veterans of World War II. We are losing too many of these heroes. We also need to take a moment and remember the contributions of the Merchant Marines during this war and others. These are brave men and a few women who are too often forgotten or confused with other services. Next time you see a World War II veteran, remember their sacrifices so we have been able to live in the best country in the world.

It has always been a pleasure to be a participant in the Coronado Fourth of July parade due to their acceptance of the Merchant Marine but this year was unique. I felt I had to share the experience with others. The Silvergate chapter of the American Merchant Marine Veterans of WWII has been in many local parades over the past five years I have been its’ president and seldom have we felt so much recognition and patriotism from the spectators.

In other parades I don’t think the spectators really found out who or what the importance of the Merchant Marines was during WWII. Even when we gave a script for announcers to read as we marched past they seldom read the material correctly and they had us as members of the Navy or the Marine Corps or didn’t read the whole script. To my members this was an insult. Because of this action by the announcers and the lack of physical strength of my mariners they had chosen not to participate in parades. Also I believe too many people don’t realize how difficult it is for these elderly men to walk a complete parade route. I have tried many times to inform the public of what these men went through during the war but the newspapers chose not to print it. If we couldn’t get the message of our part in WWII accepted in a parade an article in a newspaper is almost meaningless.

We have always been a small group but due to our advanced age it is even smaller. Most of the men aren’t able to walk the length of a parade. At the last minute I found one member who felt his legs might hold up and would help me carry our banner. Because of all that had happened before in earlier parades it was truly a joy to experience. It was very moving for us to have so many spectators, including men in uniform, get up from where they were sitting and salute or say thank you to our group of four elderly veterans 85 to 90 years of age. It made the two of us that carried our banner the whole mile and a half feel very proud indeed to be so recognized.

When one has witnessed our government choosing not to fully recognize the services of the Merchant Marine during World War II for having delivered over 94% of all the supplies necessary for the success of our country and our allies to win World War II these actions of appreciation and patriotism on the part of parade observers made us feel very proud. We say thank you to all who attended that parade and salute you.

Byron Ayres
President of Silvergate chapter of AMMV

CalVet to Host Women’s Leadership Conference

The California Department of Veterans Affairs will host a Leadership Conference for veterans and veteran stakeholders on October 4th, 2012 in Sacramento at the Double Tree Hotel. The conference, entitled “A Call To Service, A Call to Action” will empower attendees to “move the needle” when working with women veteran issues in their communities.

Workshops will offer information about how to start a business *or* nonprofit organization, how to host a veteran stand down, how to run for political office, and more. The one-day event will begin at 8 a.m. and conclude with dinner, an evening reception and an awards ceremony.

CalVet will present three awards at the conference: Woman Veteran Leader of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, and Outstanding Volunteer Award. Individuals who do an outstanding job serving veterans in their community and women veterans who demonstrate exemplary leadership in their communities may be nominated at [email protected].

Those wishing to register for the conference may do so at *or* call (916) 653-1402 for more information.

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CalVet: Carolyn Ballou
Jaime Arteaga
August 7, 2012