Page 5 - Scene Magazine April 2022 47-04
P. 5

   Local Interest
BY AARON D. EDLEFSON, MPA
Director, Calhoun County Veterans Affairs
   Imagine that you are a Veter- an that has been diagnosed with
an illness and the treatment requires thatyoubeina VA Medical Cen-
ter (VAMC) for an extended period
of time. You are already anxious and stressed about your diagnosis. To add to your worries, the hospital where treatment is available to you is several hours away from your family who are your only support system. The idea
of being apart from them is almost as agonizing as the illness you are facing. You know that the treatment will be long and daunting, and your family will be the most meaningful respite you will receive while undergoing treatment. There are plenty of hotels near the hospital, but you know that you are not reasonably able to afford keeping your family in a surrounding hotel for the duration of your treat- ment. You are not sure what to do. You have even weighed the option of skipping the treatment altogether, but you know that is not a realistic option. Out of ideas, you decide to contact your medical team at the VA and ask if they have any suggestions. Fortunate- ly, they do.
from a friend named Zachary Fisher. Mr. Fisher was a successful business- man who worked in construction and real estate in New York. A long-time supporter of the military, Mr. Fisher’s reason for this call was to ask Admiral Trost if he knew of any projects that he might be able to assist with. The Ad- miral mentioned several ideas includ- ing his wife’s. Mr. Fisher decided to support Mrs. Trost’s dream and after a gift of over $20 million, the first Fisher House was opened in 1991 in Bethes- da, Maryland. It was dedicated by then President George H.W. Bush. Later
1991, Fisher Houses have housed and served over 400,000 families with a savings to those families of over $500 million.
Fisher Houses
 the same year, a second Fisher House opened at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. To date, there are currently 91 Fisher Houses that are located on 25 military bases and 41 VA Medical Centers across the world (there are Fisher Houses in Germany and the United Kingdom). Opened on June 1, 2020, the Fisher House in Ann Arbor is one of the newest. The Fisher House at the Ann Arbor VAMC serves not only the families of Veterans receiving care at the VAMC, but also those who are receiving their care from a VA-autho- rized hospital in the community. Since
Eligibility is established by the base or hospital that the Fisher House is attached to, but the commonality is that there is no cost for a family to stay at a Fisher House. In order to be eligible for families to stay at the Ann Arbor Fisher House, families must live more than 50 miles or more than two hours from the Fisher House, must be actively in- volved in the Veteran’s treatment plan, are medically stable, and are willing to abide by all guidelines and regulations established by the House.
If you have questions regarding Fisher Houses at the national level (fisherhouse.org), their contact number is 888-294-8560. For local inquires, the Ann Arbor Fisher House (fisher- housemichigan.org) can be contacted at (734) 845-3055. If you have questions regarding benefits for Veterans please contact us. Calhoun County Veterans Affairs can be reached at (269) 969- 6735. If you would prefer to reach
us by e-mail, you can do so at va@ calhouncountymi.gov.
 Providing services for veterans and their families.
Federal Benefits Emergency County Burial and Programs Assistance Benefits Benefits
                                                                                              (269) 969-6735 • 190 East Michigan Avenue, Third Floor, Battle Creek, Michigan calhouncountymi.gov/departments/veterans_affairs/index.php
In the mid-1970’s, Pauline Trost rec- ognized the hardship that service mem- bers and Veterans faced when receiving medical treatment away from their fam- ilies. Starting in Bethesda, Maryland, where Mrs. Trost’s husband, Admiral Carlisle Trost was serving as Chief of Naval Operations, she envisioned tem- porary housing where families could stay, at no cost, while their Veteran
 or service member was undergoing treatment. In 1986, Mrs. Trost brought the idea to Mrs. Iris Reiman who, at the time, was the president of the Naval Officers Wives Club in the Washington area. Mrs. Reiman presented the idea
 at the club’s next meeting and it re- ceived the club’s full support. In 1990, Admiral Trost received a phone call
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