Who are the Fishers? How did the Fisher House get started?
Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher were giant supporters of the Armed Services. They began building Fisher Houses in 1990 and established the Fisher House Foundation in 1995. Their goal was to provide a loving safe place for families to call home while their loved one received medical care in the hospital. While neither Zachary nor Elizabeth were members of the military themselves; their love and support of those serving and their families was a driving factor of their philanthropic lives.
Mr. Fisher was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998. In 1999, President Clinton signed Public Law 106-161 establishing Zachary Fisher as an honorary veteran in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Sadly, both Mr. and Mrs. Fisher have passed. However, their legacies live on forever in each house and every family who calls a Fisher House home.
Our former manager, Ms. Vivian Wilson, has the distinct honor of being the first Fisher House Manager. (This honor is shared with former Bethesda Naval Hospital Fisher House Manager, Karen Stansbury.) Vivian had the privilege of interacting with Mr. Fisher frequently in the early days of Fisher House. When asked about her experiences with Mr. Fisher she had the following to say:
“Zachary Fisher was a kind and thoughtful man. When we first opened the Fisher House, he called weekly to find out if there was anything that was needed and he wanted to know what the families thought of the house. Was it helpful; is there anything additional that would help to make them more comfortable and so on. People brought him joy and he especially loved to help those who protected his freedom.”
History of the Landstuhl Fisher House
The request by the Department of the Army for a Fisher House to be built at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center was made in 2000. Fisher House One was completed in 2001. A request for a second house was made in 2001 following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 with the anticipation of an increased number of families needing our facilities due to battle injuries. Fisher House Two opened in 2002, since then our houses have been a “home away from home” for over 20,637 families.