Wayne Walker and his team at Richmond Fisher House have made it their goal to ease the hardships experienced by families of veterans injured in combat. The house was built in July 2008 by the Fisher House Foundation at the Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center location.
Wayne Walker and his team at Richmond Fisher House have made it their goal to ease the hardships experienced by families of veterans injured in combat.
The house was built in July 2008 by the Fisher House Foundation at the Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center, located on Broad Rock Boulevard. The Fisher House Foundation was created to help support America’s military families by providing comfortable, on-site living accommodations for the loved ones of soldiers receiving medical care.
Walker, a retired Army Command Sergeant Major, manages the Richmond Fisher House. His goal is to provide a home away from home.
“I am a combat veteran [and] I can relate to what a lot of these families are going through,” Walker said. “Some of these families stay here for a long period of time, and we get pretty close to them.”
The over 16,000 square foot house has 21 bedrooms, a dining room, living room, family room, and communal kitchen. It’s one of the largest Fisher Houses out of the 45 in existence, not including 12 more houses still in planning stages. Since it’s inception, Walker said roughly 1500 family members have stayed at the Richmond Fisher House.
“The Fisher House is important because families need a place to stay when their loved one is being treated in the hospital, and some of them financially don’t have the capability to spend money for hotels,” said Avila Porter, Richmond Fisher House program support assistant.
The Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center is the largest Veterans Affairs hospital in the country and one of only four Level 1 polytrauma centers.
“These sites provide comprehensive acute care and rehabilitation for veterans with the most severe wounds, many of whom arrive straight from military hospitals such as Walter Reed Army Medical Center,” stated the Department of Veterans Affairs website.
While veterans are receiving care at the hospital, family members who stay at the Fisher House have access to all the amenities of home, free of charge, including a washer and dryer, personal bathrooms, a library full of books and DVDs, linens, and a play area for kids, just to name a few. There is even an outdoor playground set up exclusively for guests.
“It’s stressful for kids to have to sit in a hospital all day, and the playground gives the kids a chance to run around and blow off some steam,” Walker said.
Fisher House relies on the generous donations of individuals and organizations to keep the facility running smoothly. Several local organizations, including Blue Star Mothers of America, Golden Skillet Chicken, and Texas Roadhouse provide weekly meals for the families staying at Fisher House.
“My staff and I spend a lot of time thinking outside the box,” Walker said. “We are always trying to figure out ways to provide better services.”
Those interested in making a donation can visit the Richmond Fisher House website wishlist or contact Wayne Walker directly (Wayne.Walker@va.gov or 804-675-6601) for a list of needed items.