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The Fisher House Foundation: Watch Your Dollars Work

The Fisher House Foundation: Watch Your Dollars Work

 

Contributed by Kris Baydalla-Galasso

 

9 Million days of lodging

 

86 Houses in operation

 

368,000 Families serviced in the past 30 years

 

$451,000,000 in savings to families of injured soldiers

 

 

It’s about to be the most wonderful time of the year – a time for holiday parties and get-togethers, for making lists and checking them twice. In your holiday planning this year, take a moment to remember the organization that gives 93% of every dollar raised back to our servicemen, women and veterans: The Fisher House Foundation.

 

It is always a pleasure to talk to Ken Fisher, Chairman and CEO of The Fisher House Foundation. A native New Yorker, just the sound of Ken’s voice brings me back home. Just a few minutes into our call, he has my mind racing and my heart pounding with excitement, as his own excitement is contagious to anyone who takes a moment to listen. 

 

Our call this week was specifically about adaptive sports and their importance in the world of healing. Our house is a hockey house – and several members of my family are involved with sled hockey, an adaptation that gives the sport a seat – in a specially designed sled that allows participants to play the game without needing legs. 

 

There is no arguing the benefits of adaptive sports for wounded veterans. These men and women spent most of their careers in top physical shape and a profound injury is life-altering in so many ways. Adaptive sports can provide not only a path to healing – but an outlet for relationship building and friendships with other people who have faced the same physical limitations, difficulties and severity of recovery. 

 

Adaptive sports are just some of the many services available through the numerous Fisher Houses across the country. All of the services available through the Fisher House Foundation have the same goal: improve the life of the wounded warrior so that warrior can heal.

 

The Fisher Houses across the country ensure that the families of the wounded can be near them while they heal. Having the loving support of family nearby is proven to help with the healing process. 

 

There are six Fisher Houses under construction right now – New Orleans, LA, Ann Arbor, MI, Omaha, NE and Huntington, WV are all getting their first Fisher House. Denver, CO is getting their existing Fisher House replaced and Richmond, VA is seeing a second Fisher house built to help address the needs of the population in that community. These houses are being built now – but there are more on the horizon as the Fisher House program continues to grow. Togus, ME and Albuquerque, NM have houses planned for the near future. 

 

The integrity of the Fisher House Foundation is unquestionable. The services provided are invaluable. It is inarguably worthy of your charitable dollars this holiday season, and any other time of year. Giving to the Fisher House Foundation is easier than you think – in fact, there are many ways to give. I personally set up my Amazon Smile account to benefit The Fisher House Foundation – and while my personal contribution hasn’t been outrageous just yet, the organization has received nearly $90,000!

 

You can help make an impact this holiday season. Visit the Fisher House Foundation website to see how you can make a difference in the lives of our healing veterans!

A Most Heroic Ride: Military Connection

 

Military Connection: toran

By Debbie Gregory.

U.S. Marine Sgt. Toran Gaal, a corporal infantry rifleman in 15 Charlie Company with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, was badly injured four years ago during his second deployment to Afghanistan. An IED claimed his left leg and severely damaged his right leg. He also sustained a crush injury to the left side of his head and lost part of his brain.

Gaal is currently on a 3,000 mile trek, using a hand cycle, across the U.S. Brian Riley is his one-man support crew.

Riley, a fellow Marine, was on foot patrol in Afghanistan in 2011 when machine gun fire penetrated his left leg, which had to be amputated.

A former athlete, Gaal spent two and a half years in physical therapy at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. It was at Freedom Station, where veterans re-acclimate to civilian life, that he met Riley.

Although they didn’t much care for each other at the beginning, they shared a common goal to compete in adaptive sports. They had something else in common: a desire to support other veterans and their families the way they had been supported by the Semper Fi Fund.

The two veterans began planning a coast-to-coast trip, where Gaal would ride an adapted bike, and Riley would provide vehicular support.

Their journey began on June 1st in San Diego, with plans to arrive in Arlington, Virginia, on August 2nd , where they will visit the Iwo Jima and Marine Corps memorials. At the end of the ride, Gaal will place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

To date, Gaal has raised $35,000 of his $40,000 goal, but he wants to raise more.

“I challenge every person in each city we visit to donate $1,” Gaal said.

“Not just for us — for the next generation of warriors who are going to have to endure the hardships we did for recovery.” As Gaal’s website says, “The only limits in life are those we set for ourselves.”

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

A Most Heroic Ride: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Grace on the Field

doc

By Debbie Gregory.

Becoming a professional athlete takes a lot of skill and determination. To serve in the Armed Forces, skill and determination are just a few of the qualities needed to succeed. What happens when both career choices come together?

Daniel “Doc” Jacobs served in the U.S. Navy as a Corpsman attached to the Marines. Recently, he tried out for the Detroit Tigers baseball team. Jacobs, joined on the field by a slew of other hopeful chasing their dream to play for a professional team, trained for weeks. With so many players being evaluated, quick decisions have to be made, quashing more than a few players’ dreams, their professional careers reduced to just a few photos.

But Jacobs had made an impression. As he packed his gear, Tigers officials took the time to thank him for trying out, and for serving his country. He says the Tigers organization have been open and welcoming as an organization, something he appreciates.

At the ripe age of 29, Jacobs knew he would be a long shot to make the team. However, long shots don’t really mean anything to an Iraq War Veteran, who also happens to be an amputee.

Almost ten years ago, Jacobs was lying in a hospital bed in Bethesda after he was injured by an improvised explosive device. He lost his left leg,  the toes on his right foot, and two fingertips on his left hand. He wasn’t expected to make a flight hope, then wasn’t expected to walk again, and then wasn’t expected to serve again. He did all of those things, and more. Jacobs says, “I’m just blessed to be here. Any day you can get out and play baseball is a good day, right?”

He adds that any time someone tells him he can’t do something, it just fuels his fire, “Once you get something in your mind, you’re pretty determined and you just go for it.”

Now discharged, Jacobs is trying to show other Veterans what athletics has helped him achieve. From hand-cycling the Miami Marathon in 2007, to running the Detroit half marathon on his prosthetic, and even trying out for the Dodgers and White Sox, Jacobs is unstoppable.

“I’m heavily involved in the nonprofit work just trying to get out there and get Veterans out in more productive, heathier aspects to living their life.” Jacobs says.

“Because sitting on the couch and feeling sorry for yourself, the survivor’s guilt and the stages of grieving, it’s terrible. Once you get inside your head, it’s a hard place to get out of. I just feel that if I can get out here and play baseball and get my story out there, then it can reach out to somebody else.”

He didn’t leave with a contract, but Jacobs, along with his cause, have been noticed. At the end of the day, this young man has displayed extreme skill, determination, and grace under pressure, both on the battlefield and on the baseball field.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Grace on the Field: By Debbie Gregory