Fisher House Helps Service Members’ Children
By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 8, 2011 Military children of service members who died or who were seriously disabled in the line of duty might be eligible for a college education through the Fisher House Foundation.
Foundation chairman Kenneth Fisher says the Heroes’ Legacy scholarships can be used by students to attend school in the fall. The application process is under way and open to the children of all branches of the military.
“We want to help these very special children go to school,” Fisher said. “It’s just one small way that we say thank you.”
The program is for children whose parent died while on active duty, following Sept. 11, 2001.
And, children whose parent became disabled while serving might be eligible, depending on qualifications for the Heroes’ Legacy scholarship, at http://militaryscholar.org/index.html.
In general, the scholarships will cover tuition, books, lab fees, and room and board to accredited U.S. post-secondary institutions of higher learning, according to the website.
The Heroes’ Legacy scholarship grants are principally underwritten by the author's after-tax proceeds from the book, "Of Thee I Sing. A Letter to My Daughters," written by President Barack Obama. The amount awarded each year will depend on the amount of royalties and other donations.
Fisher Foundation offers two additional scholarships: Scholarships for Military Children and Scholarships for Military Spouses.
The nonprofit Fisher House Foundation has helped military families since 1990. As the foundation grew, so did its programs, with the scholarship its latest effort.
It was Fisher’s uncle, Zachary Fisher, who has since passed on, who founded Fisher House.
Zachary Fisher wasn’t able to serve in the military because of an injury, but began the Fisher House project when he saw how expensive transportation and housing costs prevented military families from joining their ill or injured service members where they were hospitalized.
Zachary and his wife, Elizabeth, built the “homes away from home” at military medical centers where families stay free of charge during the service member’s hospital treatment, Kenneth Fisher said.
”This was Zach’s way of serving,” Fisher said. “Zach believed the military was our greatest national treasure.”
The first Fisher House opened June 24, 1991, at the National Naval Medical center in Bethesda, Md. The second opened at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a month later, here, and the Air Force got its first Fisher House afterward at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio.
Fisher said he will continue to build Fisher Houses as the need exists. One such need had existed at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Del. There was no place for families to stay to witness the final coming home of their deceased service members.
“In six months we mobilized and built a house for families of the fallen,” Fisher said, “which in many ways is probably our most-important house. Right next door we built a little family spiritual center so families can worship and pray in their own way.”
The Fisher House for Families of the Fallen at Dover Air Force Base was officially dedicated Nov. 10 2010, the day before Veterans Day.