The South Atlantic Coast Region of the Navy League (Georgia, North and South Carolina) recently undertook a fundraising effort to leave a lasting gift to the city of Charleston, SC as a reminder of the 2016 Navy League National Convention. South Atlantic Coast (SAC) Region President, Jeff Alexander, suggested Fisher House as an appropriate charity to support based on his experience with the organization in Portsmouth, VA.
“We have had a very positive experience with the Fisher House in Portsmouth over the past year. Our son has been in and out of the Portsmouth Naval Hospital for treatment of a broken foot due to an injury on his ship. The Fisher House provided my wife with a safe, clean place to stay on the campus of the hospital. And the staff there has been nothing but wonderful,” said Alexander.
The idea of this fundraiser was presented at the winter SAC Region meeting in Savannah, GA. Each of the councils in the region was asked to present this idea to their board for action. As time was short the goal of the project was established at $1,500. Due to some outstanding response, that goal was not only reached but doubled. Special thanks go out to the Camden-Kings Bay council who raise $1,200 of the total. A check for $3,000 was presented to Durbin and Truxtun Emerson, Founders of the Charleston Fisher House project, at the welcome reception of the 2016 Convention in Charleston.
The Charleston Fisher House project dates back to late 2012. At the suggestion of Gen. James E. Livingston, USMC (Ret), Harbour House was formed as an independent charitable corporation with the purpose of building and operating a Fisher House type facility for the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, SC.
According to Fisher House, twenty five percent of veterans being treated have a family member sleeping in the patient’s room with them or in a car due to the high cost of hotel rooms. The need for this facility is undeniable: families of Veterans undergoing treatment at the hospital desperately need a comforting place to stay, free of charge.
The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center didn’t have enough land to qualify for a Fisher House in Charleston, South Carolina. In order to address this issue, Fisher House Charleston LLC was formed in 2013 to purchase 150 Wentworth Street. In August, 2014 this site was purchased and by December 31, 2015 the Fisher House Charleston retired all but $400,000 of the debt associated with that purchase. The VA is in the final stages of approval on the donation of this land.
This entire effort is projected to cost $10,000,000+. The land portion ($4 million approx.) is all but paid for. In addition, the Fisher House Foundation has raised approximately $4,000,000 dedicated to the construction of Charleston’s Fisher House. That leaves approximately $2,000,000 to $2.5 million left to raise for the entire funding and construction of our Fisher House in Charleston. Ground breaking is expected in mid to late 2016.
Once this facility gets online the benefit to military service members and their families will be enormous not only to our sea service families but members of all branches of service as many families stay in the Fisher House for weeks at a time. Let’s keep this momentum going.
Fisher House Charleston Contributed substantially to this article.