Truman VA builds a home for veterans' families

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COLUMBIA - The Harry S. Truman VA Hospital is building a home to ease the burden of travel for veterans and their families.

The Columbia location was one of a handful of VA centers selected to have a the new comfort home built on the campus. It serves 43 counties in Missouri and 1 in Illinois, with many of its visitors traveling far distances for their healthcare.

Stephen Gaither, a veteran and volunteer member for the board of directions of Friends of Mid-MO Fisher House Inc. said the addition will give back to deserving veterans.

“It is an opportunity for family members of veterans who are receiving healthcare services to stay in those houses until their loved one has completed that treatment and can return home,” he said.

Friends of Mid-Mo Fisher House Inc. is in the fundraising stages of the process. It’s a not-for-profit organization that will raise money to offset construction and support costs. They have created a board that is working on community outreach and gathering resources.

“If we were to raise 3 million before 2021, they might come see us soon. We could have a building by 2020,” Sylvia Jackson, Chief of Voluntary Service at the VA, said.

The Columbia Fisher House will host 16 families at one time. Each room is themed, with the idea of a typical American home in mind. All amenities are free including food, rides in and out of the facility, cleaning and even flights.

“Hero Miles are credits that are donated by members of the community who may not be able to contribute money, but have several miles built up,” Jackson said.

Fisher House is an international foundation with 74 homes located in the U.S. and two in Europe. It was founded by a New York City contractor who built a home for veterans at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

According to Gaither, each home costs 6 to 7 million dollars.

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