Fisher House offers families of injured military veterans a free place to stay

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RICHMOND, Va. -- There is a place in Richmond where loved ones of injured veterans can find a home away from home while a family member recovers. This special place is called Fisher House and for the people staying there, it provides a place of tranquility and peace of mind.

For the people behind it, they say helping veterans and their families is what they do best.

"We’ve been here since December. For me, when I come here, it is serenity for me," Sherry Purdy, whose husband needs 24/7 care said.

Sherry Purdy

Sherry Purdy

Under this roof Purdy said she enjoys comfort and safety. Simple things, like making a sandwich, take on greater meaning when your life has been upended.

William Purdy, Sherry’s husband of 45 years and a Navy veteran, was completely paralyzed in a 2002 accident. William has been in and out of McGuire Veteran’s Medical Center, but living three hours away commuting back and forth was out of the question for Sherry.

William Purdy

William Purdy

"I would expect us to be in a motel or hotel somewhere and that can be very expensive," Sherry said.

So, while William receives medical attention, Sherry lives at Richmond Fisher House.

Fisher House director Wayne Walker helped build and open Fisher House in 2008.

"We’re very much like the Ronald McDonald House, but we cater to veterans," Walker said. "I know where every nook and cranny and bolt and screw is in this house and that is a good thing."

The 21-room hotel-like building gives loved ones of recovering veterans a place to stay all at no charge.

"We’ve taken care of more than 4,500 families since we opened the doors," Walker said.

Walker,a former combat engineer who served two tours in Afghanistan, proclaimed his current mission is one of the most gratifying.

Wayne Walker

Wayne Walker

"I’m a veteran. I love veterans and I love what I do here," he said.

At Fisher House, other employees, like Willie MacDonald, used to wear the uniform. He said when a military brother or sister is in need – they roll out the welcome mat.

"We’re going to raise the standards on how we’re going to take care of our nation’s heroes and their families and I’m just glad that I’m going to be a part of it," MacDonald said.

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