I had the opportunity to go another Celebration Of Service event with The Home Depot Foundation. I go to these service projects and then come home and sit in front of the computer and think how in the world am I going to get you to FEEL all the emotions I felt while I was there. Sometimes it is hard to put it into words. To be surrounded by so many people who are giving of their time and are HAPPY to do it. There is such a positive energy. Not one single person is there because it is required of them. There is cheering, singing, hugging, andcrying. And there is a huge sense of satisfaction to see how much gets done in one day.
I believe one of the main reasons we are on this earth is to help one another. I believe we should use our time, talents, and financial resources to serve each other. And when I hear accounts of people who really live their life that way it inspires me.
I want to tell you about Zachary Fisher.
Zachary Fisher and his brothers make a lot of money in the New York real estate business. He was in construction. He was unable to serve in the military due to a serious leg injury but always had a desire to serve the people who served our country. He used his building skills to help the U.S. Coastal Service in the construction of coastal fortifications. That led to many, many more service projects for the armed forces. You can read Mr. Fisher's bio to see all of the amazing things he did for the military but the one project I want to tell you about today is the Fisher House Foundation.
In 1990 he again drew upon his background in construction and spent $20 million to build homes next to VA hospitals for military families. These large homes have about 20 bedrooms. The families of the soldiers being treated at the VA hospital can stay there for free while their loved one is at the hospital. This way, they are right there if they are needed and can spend as much time with their loved one as possible.
I love that Mr. Fisher saw a need and used his time, talents, and his money to do something about it.
After the first homes were built, they formed the foundation and have now built almost 60 Fisher Houses with more in the works.
Mr.Fisher passed away in 1999. Before he died he was given the status of honorary Veteran. He was one of only two people in history to receive that honor.
I, along with 7 other bloggers, went to the Miami Fisher House to do some work. We painted and landscaped along side over a hundred Home Depot associates.
The smart people got in line first and signed up for painting that was inside..... with air conditioning. Guess who was too busy chatting and ended up weeding and mulching ALL DAY in the insane humidity. I kept hearing the locals saying "It isn't normally this humid this time of year."
While I was at the Miami Fisher House I had the chance to talk to a couple of the guests that were staying there. They did not know ahead of time that we would want to speak to them but were gracious enough to answer some of my questions. I thought it was amazing that they both said almost the same things. One thing that stood out the most was how they felt when they first walked into the house.
I should side track for just a second and say that these homes are stunning. Mr. Fisher was extremely wealthy and lived in a very nice house. He said he wanted the families to feel like they were staying with him in his home. He wanted no expense to be spared. It was just another way for him to show his appreciation for all their sacrifices.
So when these 2 guests that I talked to walked into this house they were stunned. One woman said she literally expected a crowed room with a cot for her to sleep on. She walked in and asked "Is this for me? Is this really for me?" She thought she was in the wrong place.
These homes are set up just like that... as a home. A home with 20+ bedrooms :) Each family is assigned a bedroom with their own bathroom (there are different sizes) and then there is a large kitchen, a dining room, living room, etc.
Not only do they have a free place to stay and they are near their loved one, but they are in an environment with other people who are in the same situation who understand what they are going through. There are bonds and friendships formed. It is a support group in a sense.
I was honored to be apart of this. I am grateful to have been invited to go by The Home Depot. I have a deep respect for those who serve our country and I am so happy to learn more and more about military life and all that goes on behind the scenes. I hope I can teach my kids to be grateful for their freedom the way my mother taught me.
The Home Depot partnered with bloggers such as me for their Celebration
of Service Blog Network. As part of this program, I received compensation
for my time (ie. travel, accommodation). They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about
any product mentioned in these posts. The Home Depot believes that consumers
and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their
own words. The Home Depot’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC
guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.
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