On April 15, PMMI members and guests at the 2012 Executive Leadership Conference took the morning to volunteer at the Brook Army Medical Center Fisher House in San Antonio, Texas.
The 56 Fisher House facilities in the United States and Germany are “homes away from home” for families of soldiers being treated at Veterans Administration and military medical campuses. They’re the U.S. military equivalent of “Ronald McDonald House,” offering free lodging so injured soldiers can have their families close by.
In a letter to PMMI’s Virginia office, Army Fisher Houses Volunteer Coordinator Grace Blancett thanked the volunteers for their hard work and donations that included books, gift cards, frozen meat and monetary support.
“Our Sunday lead volunteer, Tony Ciaravino, praised the group as the best group of volunteers he’s ever worked with,” said Blancett. “He appreciated how eager they were to do anything they could to improve the Fisher House grounds by weeding the flower beds, cleaning up the children’s playground and staining the planter boxes. If the houses needed painting, your group probably would have been ready to tackle that!”
Since their inception in 1990, nearly 160,000 families have stayed in Fisher House facilities. With no charge, the more than 4 million lodging days have added up to savings of over $192 million in lodging and transportation expenses.
Board member Jack Aguero, vice president, marketing & business development, Pro Mach, Inc., who led the 40 or so members and guests, said the work was rewarding.
“Tony [Ciaravino] gave us a tour that really brought home what is going on at that location — and made us all swallow hard as we thought about the difficulties the families are dealing with there,” Aguero said.