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Lackland Fisher House recognizes donors, volunteers during appreciation day

By Senior Airman Krystal Wright | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | Nov. 2, 2017

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —

The Lackland Fisher House honored the contributions of their volunteers and donors with an appreciation day here Oct. 25, 2017.

Fisher Houses are comfort homes where military families can stay for free while a loved one is receiving treatment at a military or Veterans Affairs hospital or a medical center.

“You may ask who stays at our Fisher Houses,” said retired Chief Master Sgt. Dwayne Hopkins, Lackland Fisher House executive director, during his speech at the event. “That, of course, is military families in need. We have military members from all services. We have active duty, retired, those who receive VA benefits and their family members. It is not uncommon to see somebody who served Word War II, Korea, or Vietnam in our Fisher houses or even a 10-year old kid dying of leukemia.”

In the last year, Fisher House took care of 374 military families, for an average stay of 13 days.

“We are very proud of our mission, however, we are even more proud of the opportunity to take care of our military members,” Hopkins said. “It would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of donors, volunteers and the community.”

During the last year, new linen, mattresses, music players, computers, heaters and air conditioning units were installed. A $360,000 bathroom renovation in all three Fisher House buildings  was completed, which included plumbing, tiles, showers and sinks.

An electronic door security system was installed and the parking lot was repaved. In addition, a $100,000 environmentally-controlled storage was built. The next project planned is a $150,000 room renovation.

“Our donors and volunteers have been vital in making all that happen,” Hopkins said. “This year, we had over 1,642 volunteers who contributed 4,256 volunteer hours. That involved landscaping work, cleaning the houses, moving furniture and cooking meals.”

One volunteer in particular, Tech. Sgt. Ryan Dirner, 37th Training Support Squadron military training instructor - received the Helping Hands award for his outstanding efforts, which included organizing a monthly meal for Fisher House residents. In the last eight years, he coordinated with more than 200 volunteers to make 33 meals helping about 670 families and saving them $6,600 in estimated meal costs.

They also recognized some of the supporters.

A plaque was present to Finck Cigars, which will be displayed in one of the Fisher House buildings.

Additionally, the Fish House was presented a check for $48,480 by another donor.