On Feb. 14, the National Fisher House Foundation will be hosting the grand opening of the much-anticipated Fisher House located at the Orlando VA Medical Center. The Fisher House dedication is open to the public, and about 300 attendees are anticipated. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m., featuring guest speakers such as Lou Holtz, who is the honorary chairman for the Friends of Fisher House Orlando, and Thomas Bowman, the VA deputy secretary.
By 11 a.m., there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony that will kick off the official opening of the Fisher House doors to the public. Attendees will be be able to tour the house until 1 p.m. Notes will be placed throughout the inside explaining design elements and the overall goal the building hopes to meet. There also will be a tent set up outside providing food and beverages along with an informational booth on how to donate to the organization.
Fisher House manager Terri Turner says that about $6 million was put into crafting the structure. As the public will see, it is a two-story house with 16 bedrooms and basic necessities such as a formal living room, dining room and patio. The couches and tables are set up in a manner that encourages guests to communicate with one another. For example, the dining room has a handful of tables with about five chairs at each. This enables the guests to offer each other support during their time there. There also is a fully-equipped gourmet kitchen that acts as the heart of the house. It is said to contain $12,000 worth of kitchen equipment from Crate and Barrel.
Construction began on the house on Nov. 30, 2016, and it has come a far way. “I think there will be a real buzz about it. I anticipate a lot of interest from the community,” states Turner. She also adds that being in charge of the Fisher House has brought many new experiences to her life, and it has aided her growth as a person. Since getting involved with the project, she has gained more networking within the community and has experienced what it is like to truly help others.
The foundation will send a couple of ambassadors once a year to check on the Fisher House to make sure it is up to par. Turner says there should be no problem in this department as she will do the best that she can to make guests feel at home and to maintain the house. She definitely looks forward to the grand opening as that is the day Dave Coker, the president of Fisher House, will be handing the keys over to her.
There is no cost to stay at the Fisher House as long as one is staying to accompany their loved one who is checked in at the VA as a patient. Currently, no one is on the list to stay at the house, but guests are expected to begin arriving this March.