Fisher House headed to Columbia offers home away from home for veterans, families

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It's a home away from home for veterans and their families.

The Fisher House provides temporary housing during difficult times for our service members and their loved ones. There is now one in the works for the Midlands. The facility in Charleston just opened up in January.

Rebecca Truett is temporarily living at the newly-opened South Carolina location.

"The sacrifices these men and women make for us and the freedoms that we do have in this country, it makes it very personal," Truett said.

Truett's husband served in the Army for 22 years as an aviator. Sadly, a visit to the doctor's office a few years ago made life as a veteran a lot different than expected.

"My husband was diagnosed, in 2015, with lymphoma," Truett said.

Twenty-one sessions of radiation and six chemotherapy treatments later, the lymphoma has returned. This time, a stem cell transplant was required at the Medical University of South Carolina.

"Then there is a 30-day window of time that you kind of have to stay in the area, go back and forth every single day for blood work and possible infusion," Truett said.

With their home in Ridgeway two-and-a-half hours away from the hospital in Charleston, commuting wasn't exactly an option. Neither was paying for a hotel.

"Charleston is a very expensive area and just by the grace of God, someone told me about the Fisher House. They said, 'did you check the Fisher House in Charleston,' and I wasn't aware of it here," Truett said.

She called and expected there to be any rooms available.

"I get Vicki on the phone and she says, 'absolutely, what dates do you need to be here?" Truett said. "And what kind of room do you need, and how can we help you and how can we accommodate you?"

The couple says this was a huge burden lifted and one less thing to worry about.

"There are so many things you're going through anyway when you have a medical issue. Then, on top of that I've got to find a place to live," Truett said.

Vicki Johnson is the manager at the Fisher House in Charleston.

"If they live more than 50 miles away and their family member is hospitalized, or they have a need for ongoing treatment, they're eligible to stay here at our Fisher House," Johnson said.

The stay is free of charge, as long as needed with 16 suites available in Charleston.

"What we do is try to take away everything that the family would have to worry about so that they can focus on their loved one," Johnson said.

Truett says she's been more than comfortable.

"The kitchen is fully stocked! We have tons of wonderful, wonderful people in this area that graciously come in cook us meals," Truett said. "They come and they clean up. I've had people fold my clothes (laughter)."

Just a six-block walk to the hospital, Truett says the Fisher House offered the help her family needed when they were otherwise out of options.

"The Fishers are just such angels," Truett said. "To have the foresight that they did to start this is just so remarkable. This is something that I hope people don't need, but when they do need it, there is nothing better."

The Fisher House in Charleston opened on Jan. 10 and they've already had more than 130 families stay there just in the last few months. There are 76 locations nationwide.

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