|Kenneth Fisher, chairman of the Board of Trustees and chief executive officer of the Fisher House Foundation, will receive the 2009 George Catlett Marshall Medal, the highest award presented by the Association of the United States Army. |
Awarded annually to an individual who has exhibited selfless service to the United States of America, the medal will be presented to Fisher by the Association’s Council of Trustees to recognize his contributions to the armed forces, and his number one priority – taking care of combat casualties and their families – underlying his firm commitment to the highest American ideals.
The award presentation will take place Oct. 7, at the George Catlett Marshall Memorial Dinner, the final event of the three-day AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
“Following in the footsteps of his uncle and aunt, Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher, and his father, Arnold, Ken Fisher has devoted his time, talents and business acumen to ensure that our brave wounded warriors and their families are treated with the utmost dignity and respect as patients and families stay in a Fisher House – a much needed and appreciated home away from home -- free of charge and for as long as necessary,” AUSA President Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, Ret., said.
Adding, “In a time of prolonged and persistent conflict where our troops are sacrificing their well-being to preserve our freedom and liberty, it is comforting to know that if our service members and veterans are in need of medical assistance, rehabilitation, treatment or care, their families, because of Ken Fisher’s perseverance, generosity and love of country, are well taken care of and have direct access to their loved ones while in a military hospital or rehabilitation center.
“As a well-recognized and highly-respected voice in articulating needs of our wounded warriors and their families, he is an internationally known philanthropist who uses his unique and singular talents to benefit our sons and daughters, who sacrificed so much while serving in harm’s way, and their families and relatives.
“The Association of the United States Army – on both the national and chapter levels – has been a proud and continuing supporter of the Fisher House Foundation and all it does for our heroes and their families. It is an honor for us to now recognize Ken Fisher. He is truly deserving of AUSA’s highest award.”
Fisher, a senior partner in the New York City firm Fisher Brothers -- a prominent family-owned real estate development company that has constructed many buildings gracing the city’s skyline – took over from his father as chairman and CEO in 2003 when Fisher House Foundation had 32 Fisher Houses.
“Under his dynamic and creative leadership,” Association officials said, “there are now 43 houses with plans to construct 12 more in 2009. The foundation has a goal of 62 residences by the end of 2011.”
The homes, strategically located within walking distance of the treatment facilities, are on 18 military installations and 10 VA medical centers.
Typically, the houses are 5,000 to 16,000 square feet, provide eight to 21 suites, and can accommodate 16 to 42 families of wounded warriors and combat casualties focusing on long-term rehabilitation from serious wounds received in Iraq and Afghanistan, to include traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder.
Since the onset of combat operations in these two theaters, thousands of military families of those hospitalized have stayed in Fisher Houses. There is no cost to stay in a Fisher House, and families who have stayed have saved over $11 million in lodging costs, food and transportation.
In 2008, 12,000 families stayed in a Fisher House. And, now that patients and families may reside in a house, Fisher insists that every room of every new house be handicapped accessible.
Approximately 120,000 families – using 3 million lodging days and $100 million in lodging costs, food and transportation -- have been served since the foundation began in 1990.
When originally built, a Fisher House would cost approximately $700,000, now a new home, depending on its location, costs between $5 million and $6 million.
In 2007, Fisher was appointed by President George Bush to the President’s Commission on Care for Returning Veterans.
The Fisher Foundation also administers special programs to include The Scholarships for Military Children Program that has awarded more than $6.4 million in grants to the over 4,100 sons and daughters of service members, and it donates, annually, $100,000 to the National Military Family Association for spouse scholarships.
The Hero Miles program has resulted in 16,000 free airline tickets for service members and their families for a savings of more that $21 million in transportation costs, and the partnership with the foundation and Paul Newman’s Own and the Army Times Publishing Co, has produced grants for 114 volunteer organizations working to improve military quality of life.
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