When a soldier is injured and treated overseas, the cost for families to be at the bedside of their loved ones can be prohibitive for most.
But, this obstacle has been shattered with the help of the Fisher House Foundation, an organization that the faculty and staff of Barton Community College have been supporting over the last decade.
The Fisher House Foundation uses its housing facilities, which are located close to hospitals around the world, for servicemen and women to provide temporary lodging at no cost until the soldier is in a stable state of recovery. The fund also helps cover travel costs for family members of injured soldiers.
The Fisher House in Landstuhl, Germany has been chosen as a focus for the Barton fundraising efforts. The medical center that is located in this city is one of the military’s only major medical centers overseas, so the Fisher House was strategically constructed in Landstuhl as well.
In addition, donations may also be used to provide basic-needs items to soldiers at the medical centers. Often times, these soldiers arrive with little more than the clothes they were wearing when injured because emergency evacuation situations provide little time for preparation or packing.
“The last thing people are thinking about in an emergency situation, especially in a foreign theatre is grabbing someone’s personal items,” said Barton fund chairperson Janet Balk. “It’s important to realize there is a delay between when someone is critically injured and when their unit can box up their stuff or their family can get them these basic-needs items.”
Balk, who is Barton’s College Programs, eCompanion and Hybrid Coordinator at the Fort Riley campus, said the integrity of the Fisher House Foundation is second to none.
“This organization is terrific,” she said. “In this day and age we tend to be a bit skeptical because certain organizations have had scandals, or have tremendously high overhead or, for example, they pay their national spokesperson an extremely high salary and that equates to sometimes less than 50 percent of every dollar actually being used to help someone. Through the Fisher House Foundation, 85 percent of every dollar goes directly to helping people.”
Barton Community College has collected and donated more than $16,700 to the Fisher House Foundation at Landstuhl, Germany in one decade with $2,700 being generated in 2012.
Balk said this is a great opportunity for people to give back to our nation’s servicemen and women.
“This is a way to help people that have an immediate need,” she said. “I think it gives people a way to be able to show their appreciation and contribute as civilians, by doing something more than saying ‘Thank you for your service.’”
The faculty, staff and administration at Barton would greatly appreciate your help in supporting this cause. Please send your tax deductible donation to:
Ft. Riley Fisher House Fund
Barton Community College
ATTN: Janet Balk
P.O. Box 2463, Ft. Riley, KS 66442
Make checks payable to “Ft. Riley Fisher House Fund.”