ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – For families of active military or veterans receiving medical treatment, the burden of lodging and life can be especially trying. That’s where the Fisher House Foundation steps in. They provide crucial services to make life easier during recovery.
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When a member of the military is in need of medical care, having family close by can be part of the recovery. The Albuquerque Fisher House has been playing a vital role in New Mexico over the last two years. “Our main focus is making sure that we are taking care of families who are supporting an in-patient veteran or service member. We provide them with a free lodging, they have beautiful rooms that they can stay in. we make sure that they feel like they’re in their home away from home,” said Christina Ramirez, program manager for Albuquerque Fisher House.
While the Fisher House Foundation was established 30 years ago to save military families the out-of-pocket costs during times of medical care, its the staff and accommodations which make them feel at home. “We try to strive for comfort and make sure that everyone feels like they are in their home, they get away from the beeps and the sounds of the hospital, they can kind of regroup, refresh and then be ready to be bedside that next morning,” said Ramirez.
The Albuquerque Fisher House itself is in its second year. It provides accommodations for over 200 families, saving them $444,000 in lodging costs. The help not only comes at a time when their loved ones are recovering but also at a time when they’re about to pass.
“One of my memorable hospice families was from El Paso, came up here to say goodbye to dad and we were getting ready in the morning and we were having breakfast and got the call that said you need to come over here now, they were able to run across the street and be with dad during his final moments,” said Ramirez.
The staff says that many families staying at the Fisher House can, in some cases, provide emotional support for each other. The same goes for team members ready to give a helping hand. “Just the fact that I did I was in the military for a little bit I feel like I can connect with like a lot of the people here, I mean I know like how the family life is with military families and stuff like that so it just gets me like a little bit of like an inside look for them as well,” said Lemuel Vonhentschel, program support assistant.
When Blue Star mom Ruby Garcia needed to be at her military son’s bedside, Fisher House helped shoulder the burden. From as little as a four-night stay, to some two months long, the Fisher House is proving to be more than a money-saving resource. It has become a lifeline.