Veteran joins effort for Fisher House in Tucson - CBS 5 - KPHO

Veteran joins effort for Fisher House in Tucson

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Military families traveling to Tucson for treatment could soon find some relief in their visit with some help from the Fisher HouseFoundation.

The organization provides families with a place to stay when their loved ones need medical attention at a veteran's hospital or clinic.

There are more than 60 homes across the United States and Europe, but the closest one to Southwest Arizona is in El Paso, Texas.

The organization has named Tucson as an area of recognized need for a Fisher House and the effort to make it happen is already attracting support in Arizona.

Local organizers connected with Sgt. Mary Herrera, who had been wounded by enemy gunfire in Iraq. Her time volunteering at the VA resulted in her joining the effort.

Herrera said her new colleagues did not know that during her rehabilitation in Texas she and her mother stayed in a house similar to the one now advocates for.

"It surprised them that I lived in a Fisher House for such a significant time in my life," she said.

Several months in the home provided Herrera and her family with a peace of mind that could not be achieved with a simple hotel stay. Herrera said living there gave her mother the chance to buy groceries and support some of the other families going through a similar experience.

"She would cook for the whole Fisher House," said Herrera. "It's more of a community, more of a family home."

It'll take $3 million to bring that sort of home to the VA campus in Tucson. Dr. Dana Staggs has been raising awareness and money for the project since the start of the year. He said the donations are coming in from a number of individuals but the goal needs to be met by the end of 2014 for construction to being on time.

Staggs said they're hoping for some support from the business community across Arizona. Still, a card with $10 was enough to stick with the organizer and keep Staggs encouraged.

"He explained that he was a veteran and that's all he could afford," said Staggs. "He said he hoped he could give us more at a later time. His $10 will be just as important as someone giving us $100,000. What we're looking at is a community effort here."

You can read more about Fisher House Foundation here, and local information can be found by emailing for more information.

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