‘A dream come true’
Ground broken on New Mexico’s first Fisher House
After more than a decade in the making, New Mexico’s veterans are finally getting a Fisher House.
Ground was broken Friday morning on the campus of the VA Medical Center in Albuquerque on the 16-bedroom house that will provide a free place for veterans’ families to stay while they are receiving care.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Rita Navarette, president of Friends of the New Mexico Fisher House and lead advocate for the project. “All is possible when you believe.”
Ruby Garcia of Albuquerque, another supporter of the project, knows firsthand the value of a Fisher House.
When her son Victor had a medical emergency while stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina in 2012, she immediately caught a flight east, initially staying in a hotel for $120 a night before being invited to stay at the Fisher House there.
“The impact Fisher House had on me was the ability to have a home away from home so I could worry only about Victor’s healing process,” Garcia said. “May you never need this Fisher House, but know in your heart it is here for you just like it was for me and Victor.”
Mary Considine, chief of staff of the Fisher House Foundation, said construction is expected to take around
The New Mexico Fisher House project had experienced delays due to the site being located in a federal historical district.
That hurdle was cleared in January when a memorandum of agreement was signed between the state and stakeholders.
Project advocates are hoping to raise half of the $6 million price tag, with the Fisher House Foundation providing the other half.
The New Mexico chapter of the American Legion Riders have raised $65,000 toward the project, according to Aaron Dean, the Riders’ state chairman for Operation Wounded Warrior.
“I’m just ecstatic it’s finally happening,” Dean said. “Having your family there with you is probably some of the best medicine there is.”
There are currently 78 Fisher Houses operating across the United States, Germany and England.
Supporters of the New Mexico Fisher House break ground on the 16-bedroom home at the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center on Friday morning.