Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson's newest housing unit is officially open for business.

Fisher House is a place where military families can stay, while the service member is treated at the Joint Venture V.A. Hospital. It's the seventy-eighth in the nationwide program; the second at JBER.
 
"When we opened the first house, it could accommodate 12 families. We quickly realized with the V.A. Clinic and the Joint Facility, there was a need for more, which necessitated the need for another 16 suite house to help the families here," said Fisher House Foundation President David Coker.
 
Each room is designed to make the families comfortable and feel at home. They can also cook their own meals, but should not be surprised if volunteers drop food off for them. There's also a place where the little ones can be entertained.
 
The average stay at Fisher House is nine days, but the longest anyone has ever stayed in one of these buildings is three years. All free of charge.
 
"That allows the patient and families to focus on the healing process, instead of worrying if they can afford the stay," Coker said.
 
Dana and Brenda Becker of Glenallen are frequent guests at Fisher House. They say it gives them one less thing to worry about when they have to stay here.
 
"There's times when we come in, and it's three or four days we have to stay in Anchorage. If you're talking summertime, you're talking close to $400 a night in a motel. Winter, you're still taking a couple of hundred dollars a night," said Brenda.
 
Fisher House is also open to military families, even if the loved one who is hospitalized did not serve in the military. Dana served in the Navy and likes that arrangement.
 
"They have done as much, or more than the veterans themselves. They're the ones who are still behind when the veteran is deployed. They stay home, and keep everything running there," Dana said.
 
Fisher house expects to serve more than 10,000 families a year in Alaska in its two buildings.
 
"This is wonderful," Dana said, as he and his wife show their friends their home away from home.

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