Last night Chaz and I went back to Capitol Hill. This time it was not for a tour. The Fisher House Foundation (FHF) invited us to come and be apart of their reception on the Hill. FHF wanted to bring a family to the reception so the people attending could hear first hand from a beneficiary of the FHF. When these amazing organizations ask Chaz and I to come talk about them, we jump at the chance. Chaz, Demetria and I actually decided to leave NYC Tuesday night at 9pm so that way we could miss all the morning traffic. So we got in Wednesday morning at 1am and crashed into our beds! We wanted to be in Maryland so we could rest and actually enjoy our night last night and we accomplished that mission. Demetria stayed at our apartment with the girls and Chaz and I went on our little adventure.
We arrived early, but before we knew it the room was filled with people. You couldn't take two steps without walking into a high ranking military person or person associated with Congress. The FHF made sure Chaz and I were very well taken care of. If you haven't met anyone from Fisher House you should. They are the most extraordinary people. They want to help military families succeed. Their hearts are concretely in the correct place. They are constantly looking towards the future to see what else they can do for military families.
I have to tell you listening to Ken Fisher talk about our little family was an absolutely great moment. He wanted to make sure everyone there knew that our presence there was to remind them all what Fisher House was all about. My favorite part was that he pointed out we are only one family and that there are so many more of us out there. He told them about the millions of nights families have stayed at Fisher Houses across the country and in Germany and that Hero Miles just issued its 25,000th air plane ticket. It's just awesome!
The absolute coolest moment came when I saw Chaz across the room and people were lining up to meet him. Then I saw Montel Williams and he had a line too. But Chaz's line was double the length of Montel's, kind of cool, huh?! By the way Montel is another great American. We met him months ago and then again last night. He is a huge supporter of Fisher House. He even comes and cooks for the families staying in the Fisher Houses. He has supplied some of their kitchens. He loves to come in and just hang out with the families. But you know none of what I just told you will end up on the news. So let me tell you that great news!
Another one of my favorite moments came when someone from Fisher House came to thank us for coming. I stopped her and said, "Please don't thank us. Chaz and I are here to thank and celebrate Fisher House. It is our honor to be here. Fisher House is so amazing and has blessed us so much we are so thankful to come and be here tonight." I am glad I said that because it is so true. Fisher House has blessed us so much and we are so grateful to them for everything.
Fisher House helped Chaz and I make this all work. It was their Hero Miles program that paid for my plane tickets back and forth to TN and DC while Chaz was an in-patient. For those who don't know I spent one week with Chaz and one week in TN with the girls. I could not combine my worlds at the beginning or this and I could not clone myself so this was what I had to do to help my family. So one week I was a full time nurse and wife and then the next week I was a tax preparer, mom and etc. I was in Reagan National and Nashville International airports every Wednesday from January 26 to late April. Don't ask me how I did it, because to me the answer is you do what you have to do. You get up everyday and just keep going. Chaz was in too bad of shape for the girls to be around him. And our girls needed to be kids. They needed their school, girl scout troops and most importantly to have fun.
Fisher House blessed us again by providing us an ADA (American Disability Act) suite for our family to stay in. When Chaz got to go out on pass we could take him there. The room was compliant with OT (Occupational Therapy) standards. Then when he discharged from the hospital we stayed there together. Fisher House provides what the Department of Defense can't. The DOD cannot afford to do all the things they need to do, but Fisher House can. The DOD cannot solicit donations to make all these great things possible. So FHF steps in, takes the donations and turns that into a homes away from home for military families .
Living in a Fisher House is like living in a home away from home. You have everything you need, plus you have other families living there. You all share your stories with each other and you heal together. I am still in touch with some of the families that lived in our Fisher House with us. And I am so proud to have met them all and still be a small part of their lives.
I want to make it clear that our family is just one of the many families who have been blessed by FHF. Please don't think we are the only ones benefiting from the FHF. Our family has not received anything more than any other families have received or what is offered to them. FHF treats all families the same regardless of branch or rank. FHF sees that we are all military and all deserve the same treatment. This equality among ranks and branches is another quality that makes FHF so great!
Chaz and I chatted with so many people last night. They were all so fabulous and wanted to just get to know us better. I talked to many of them about continuing our conversations later and even bringing other people into our future conversations. I truly hope this will happen. Chaz and I want to blaze a trail and make life better for the families that follow behind us. I can only hope and pray these dialogs continue and together we make it better for others.
Long story short, Chaz and I had another great night. Many, many, many thanks to the Fisher House Foundation for inviting us last night. Also a million thanks to Fisher House for blessing our family.
Chaz and I have known about FH for a very long time. But to me it is shocking that more people don't know about Fisher House. They are absolutely amazing. So if you can tell someone about Fisher House today. Take a few minutes and visit www.fisherhouse.org to learn more about Fisher House. If you can have a little bake sale fundraiser or perhaps something bigger to help Fisher House help more families. Please remember whatever you do, big or small, it is all important and families like ours appreciate you and your efforts!