VA North Texas Health Care System
Fisher House Is Home Away from Home for Veterans’ Families
"If it weren't for Fisher House I would not be able to see my husband every day."
Navy Veteran Charles Heard has been receiving his care at Dallas VA for many years. His wife Norma has always been by his side. The couple celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary in February 2012. Coming with him to the hospital for outpatient care has never posed a problem, but during his inpatient stays, Mrs. Heard found difficulty – until recently.
She found out about Fisher House in February 2012 and has been a guest ever since.
"I was able to get a room right away," said Mrs. Heard. "I really appreciate being able to be close to my husband while he's in the hospital."
Both Mr. and Mrs. Heard enjoy their home in Denton of course, which is 50 miles away, but appreciate Fisher House. "Although I miss being able to work in my garden," said Mrs. Heard, "the people here at Fisher House are just as beautiful as the flowers in my garden."
Mr. Heard is comfortable knowing his wife is so near. "When I need her to be by my side, she can get here right away," he said. "If she was at home, it would take too long for her to get here."
Fisher House Foundation donated the home built on the campus at Dallas VA. It opened in February 2009. Since then, more than 1,700 families have stayed – absolutely free. It’s a beautifully decorated and inviting house that includes 21 suites with common dining, living, kitchen and laundry areas. On a pleasant day, guests can take a short walk to the hospital to visit their loved one or catch a ride if they like. Fisher House provides a courtesy ride or guests can catch the dedicated shuttle that runs every 30 minutes.
"Fisher House guests are like family."
Moreover, Fisher House provides an opportunity for families to support each other. Although guests sometimes eat meals together, it’s not a requirement. Fisher House guests are free to make their own meals at a time that best suits them.
"I enjoy the support from the staff and the other guests," said Mrs. Heard. "Together we talk about our Veterans and it makes me feel better."
It’s not unusual for guests to bond with Fisher House staff and other guests during their stays. Fisher House Manager Lydia Gray-Henderson said they become part of the family and sometimes, goodbyes are not easy. "We love being able to accommodate Veterans' families while they are here, and although it’s good to know the Veterans are better, we hate to see their loved ones go," she said.