Thursday, June 9, 2011

Families of wounded vets get new home away from home

Families of wounded vets get new home away from home ...
Posted by: Jeremy Olson Updated: June 9, 2011

As dignitaries celebrated the construction of a second Fisher House at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center today, it seemed appropriate that Terry Maxwell and her husband, Bill, were on hand. Terry has stayed at the first Fisher House -- a home away from home for relatives of veterans undergoing treatment -- so much over the past year that she has become its den mother.

Other families there know she has an open door policy, so they can talk to her if they are stressed or if their loved ones are struggling with treatment across the street at the Minneapolis VA. They also can look to her to enforce house rules about noise or curfews, and can count on her making mean cheesesteaks or stuffed peppers for everyone.

"I love cooking," said Terry, 46, "so I cook meals for the house. I shop if they need shopping. I help wherever I can. Financially, I can't do much. But physically, while I'm here, I do all I can."

The first time Bill needed to come from central Wisconsin to the Minneapolis VA for prolonged treatment, Terry was skeptical about what she perceived as "government housing" at the Fisher House. She worried it wouldn't be comfortable for her and her two grade-school children during tests and treatments for her husband's heart condition and breathing problems. What she discovered on that first trip last year was that the rooms were larger and more comfortable than most hotels, and that the camaraderie of other families at the house was irreplaceable. Her family has stayed there a dozen times, and arrived Wednesday in time for today's dedication ceremony of the second Fisher House on the VA campus.
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Families of wounded vets get new home away from home

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