If you know me well, particularly in real life, you know that I am not especially patriotic. Now, relax. I love my country and I am incredibly proud of being from Massachusetts, but I just don’t get all rah-rah-rah about ‘Merica and all that. I do, however, believe in strongly supporting organizations that do good things for our veterans, and one such organization is Fisher House. Our Kiwanis Club has held a fundraiser for several years now in which we ask people to sponsor a flag and we donate a portion of our proceeds to Fisher House of Boston. This fundraiser is especially important to me this year and I’m going to give you three reasons why.
- Fisher House is a place where families of veterans receiving medical care at a VA hospital or medical center can stay – for free. The one in Boston is a lovely building that looks like a house and not a hotel. Meals are prepared and served for anyone staying there. Snacks are always available. Conversation and support is encouraged for those that are looking for it but peace and solitude is provided for those who just aren’t feeling sociable. In short, it’s an incredibly welcoming and special place designed to provide safety, comfort and care for people who are feeling especially sad, vulnerable, and scared.
- While my father-in-law Jack was at the VA in West Roxbury, Dale and I spent a lot of time not just by his bedside but also in the family waiting room down the hall. Each time we were in that room, it seemed, we met and spoke with people staying at Fisher House. The stories they shared with us about their experiences there were moving and helpful and a true gift of grace at a time when we were feeling overwhelmed at all we were facing. We talked to a young woman who had left her small children at home to come be closer to her dad after a serious heart attack. She told us about blankets and teddy bears that were available for her to bring home to her children as gifts. We also talked to an older woman who was staying at Fisher House while her husband was in Intensive Care. She was nervous about driving on the highway and was relieved that she could stay in town and not have to face traffic and night time driving. While we talked to those women and others we were able to forget how scared we were and instead were able to feel the joy and relief they experienced because of Fisher House. I’ve long believed that the best way to cope with sadness and uncertainty is to help others and that belief was confirmed over and over again in that family waiting room.
- I’ve had many proud moments since joining our Kiwanis club, times when we have awarded a college scholarship to a local student, times when we have served a meal to the homeless or given away a Christmas tree to a needy family, but I have never been more proud to be part of this club than when I experienced firsthand all of the good Fisher House is doing and comprehended that our hard work is helping them to do it. The Director of Fisher House will be attending our meeting tonight and I have been asked to share my story about meeting Fisher House guests this summer with her. I plan on telling her I blogged about it, too!
If you’d like to get involved with our fundraiser this year and sponsor a flag (or two or more!) for $10 each, I would appreciate it so much. You should know that Fisher House is a non profit four star charity with an A+ rating. They exist solely on grants and donations and receive no government funding. And you should also know that I would be forever grateful and thrilled to have you partner with my Kiwanis Club in this fundraiser. You can make your donation online by visiting our Field of Flags page. Thank you!
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