The Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center's Uptown Division is getting closer to seeing a Fisher House built on the Wrightsboro Road site.
"We need $1.8 million," said Lena Richardson, who is spearheading the effort from the VA hospital's side. "As soon as we get half the money deposited, they will start the process."
In October 2006 the VA was approved as a site for a 21-bedroom Fisher House, which provides free lodging to families of military service members receiving treatment at the hospital. There are 38 Fisher Houses in the United States and Europe.
One of the biggest challenges thus far has been finding a partner to help raise the matching funds. VA employees cannot solicit funds for the project.
Paul Knox is working to coordinate veterans groups around the area, such as the American Legions and Veterans of Foreign Wars, and First Baptist Church of Augusta has a group of volunteers working on the project.
The Community Foundation of the CSRA will be the collection arm of the partnership.
So far, only about $8,000 has been collected for the project.
There is a Fisher House at Fort Gordon; however, it has only six rooms. It is full most of the time, and transportation for families of VA patients is difficult, Richardson said.
She said there is a definite need for such a facility on the hospital campus.
"We have a large group of patients who need hospice care, and their families have no place to stay," she said. "There is a large group receiving radiation therapy, and their families have to stay in a hotel, and it gets expensive. We have (families of) spinal cord patients with no place to stay, and there is a large number in the active-duty wing."
Richardson is confident the money will be raised and hopes at least half will be in by the end of the year so that construction can begin in early 2008.
Checks may be made out to the Community Foundation of the CSRA, with Fisher House designated in the memo line, and mailed to P.O. Box 31358, Augusta, GA 30903.
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