First Lady Dedicates Homes for Ailing Service Members & Veterans

By Jenny Schlesinger

Dec 2, 2010 1:50pm

ABC News’ Arlette Saenz reports:

At Bethesda Naval Medical Center, First Lady Michelle Obama dedicated three new residences, which will provide free lodging for veterans, service members and their families while they or a loved one are treated at a nearby hospital. 

“Often, in order to heal, our service members need more than just the best medical treatment.  They also need folks who will travel that road to recovery with them,” Mrs. Obama said.  “That is what Fisher House provides for so many military families.  That chance to be together when they need each other most.  Houses like this one allow them to leave behind their worries about costs and logistics and focus on what matters most, helping their loved ones heal.” 

The residences were donated to the military by the Fisher House Foundation, which has provided 53 homes at military and VA medical centers across the country.  The residences at Bethesda Naval Medical Center will provide free lodging to up to 60 families of veterans and service members seeking treatment at nearby facilities.  Fisher Homes consist of between 8 and 21 suites with private bedrooms and baths, with families sharing a kitchen, dining and living area. 

“This house and others like it across the country remind us of a simple truth that when our men and women in uniform are called to serve, their families serve too.  Their sacrifice is their families sacrifice as well,” Mrs. Obama said.  “And that’s particularly true in times of crisis when our service members and veterans are sick or wounded and are struggling to get well again.”  

Marine Corps 2nd Lt Walter Vine and his wife Sephora, an Army vet who served one tour in Iraq, are living in a Fisher Home, while their daughter is in the neonatal intensive care unit after being born three months early in October.  The Vines feel blessed to be in such close to proximity to their daughter Jadzia, which is Germanic for female warrior, especially after receiving calls in the middle of the night regarding their daughter’s status.     

“At one o’clock in the morning, the hospital called and said your daughters coding,” Sephora Vine said.  “We wouldn’t miss out on an opportunity if maybe, it was her last breath and that we’d get to see her that one last time, so being here was very helpful, and it definitely is a blessing to be here.”

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