Home Away From Home, the Fisher House in San Antonio

It could be one of the best kept military secrets we have. It is called Fisher House, a home away from home facility for members of the military and their families.

They are often used while a family member is getting medical treatment, and there's one at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

For U.S. Army Veteran Roland Lawrence, the Fisher House has been a home away from home since he began having to undergo radiation treatment there at the hospital at Lackland Air Force Base.

"I know a lot of veterans, and I would tell them to bring their families because they're going to love it," Lawrence said.

There are three Fisher Houses on base, with room enough for 26 families. It was the brainchild of Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher, who set up a foundation back in 1990 to build the facilities on military bases and near V.A. hospitals. Worldwide, there are now nearly 60 in operation.

"They pay absolutely nothing here, and that's the great thing we do for them, and that doesn't happen by accident," said Dwayne Hopkins, executive director of Fisher House. "It happens by people in the community."

Fisher House relies on donations to continue helping out military members and their families with a place to stay when they need medical care. Dottie Kyle needed a place to stay after her mother had to be treated for a broken hip and pneumonia. Her father and brother were all military, so she qualified for the free stay.

"We stayed for the first week and a half in hotels, and spent a lot of money," Kyle said. "Probably about $1,200 on hotels. Didn't know anything about the Fisher House."

Paul Tomey enlisted in the Air Force back in January. It was discovered that he needed a bone marrow transplant, and he eventually moved into the Fisher House so that his family could help care for him.

"It's been good for my family because my family has been real appreciative knowing that we have somewhere to stay, no cost," Tomey said. "Sure, you've got to pay for some meals, most of the time, but I think that's pretty cake if you don't have to really pay rent."

It's a place those in the Coastal Bend could take advantage of in the future, as the San Antonio area looks to add an eighth Fisher House next year.


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