SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES

Fisher House provides aid, services to veterans' families

CEO Ken Fisher goes inside the program supporting the families of our nation's heroes

 

This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," May 25, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARIA BARTIROMO, HOST: This weekend we honor those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. The holiday takes on more weight this year as we watch the scandal unfold at the Department of Veterans Affairs and we struggle to improve the treatment that our service men and women receive when they return home from overseas.

But even when the V.A. can treat our troops, their families need to make do on their own regardless. This is where my next guest comes in.

Fisher House provides lodging and other services that military families cannot afford. Ken fisher joining us right now.

Ken, good to have you on the program.

KEN FISHER, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, FISHER HOUSE FOUNDATION: Thank you for having me.

BARTIROMO: Thank you so much for not just joining us but really for what you do. Explain to our audience the program. All we have been hearing are such bad treatments of our veterans and actually Fisher House is just a complete opposite of that.

FISHER: Well, it's something that works.

We build houses, homes away from home. For families, wounded personnel or veterans to stay in for no charge for as long as the hospital stay dictates. It's a public private partnership that has worked for 21 years the way it works is we build them. We gift them to whichever branch they will serve, including the V.A. and they agree to staff, operate and maintain them in perpetuity.

So it's we have been doing this as I said for 21 years and it actually works in the V.A. system. We have had a great partnership with them. SO in this sense we enjoyed that partnership.

BARTIROMO: Most people don't realize the struggle that families are enduring when their sons and daughters and husbands and wives are overseas fighting for the freedom of the USA. There is enormous other part of the story of families.

FISHER: That's right, Maria. Families serve also. We hear so much about the whole soldier, especially when they're wounded. And families make sacrifices, military families, when their loved ones are deployed they make sacrifices that the average American has no concept of at all.

And so what we try to do is in addition to our core mission is we try and bring to light these sacrifices and their plight and honor their sacrifices by making this program work as well as it does.

BARTIROMO: What needs to be done, do you think?

What do the rest of us need to understand better about our military men and women and their families and how might the public be able to help?

FISHER: Well, I think we've made great strides in honoring them -- the current scandal in the V.A. notwithstanding. We've become very mindful of their sacrifices. It's not uncommon to walk up to a service man or a woman or someone potentially wearing a hat that says "I'm a Veteran" and thank them for their service.

But that's great but they have to be more than words.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

FISHER: They have to be done. They have to be backed up with deeds. And that's what we do. Thanks for your service is not enough anymore.

BARTIROMO: What would you like to see at the V.A.? Knowing that your program works with the V.A. and it's been a positive one, you see the headlines. We know what's going on there.

What's going to move the needle on that situation?

FISHER: Well, unfortunately, it's taken a while to get these reports. I mean, right now, we've got the whistleblowers and the allegations and so forth and calls for resignations and so forth. I think at this point I'd like to see what these reports hold. The problem right now is that they're moving fast enough. And I think that exacerbates the issue because every day some -- there's another story that breaks. And there doesn't seem to be a sense of urgency. And I would like to see the issues put front and center in a meaningful way. Reform is not something that happens one item at a time. And if -- you know you look at what happened and these senseless deaths that have come, let's put some meaning behind them and

reform this system. It can't just be meaningless.

BARTIROMO: And we need the truth. We need to know what's going on in order to really get something done. So that's step one.

Ken, it's been great having you on the program. Thank you.

FISHER: By the way, I just want to tell you that we enjoy another partnership with Sobieski, who's helped us in many ways build houses and promote what we're doing. So I wanted to say thank you to them as

well.

BARTIROMO: I'm glad you did. Shout out there. Ken, thank you so much.

FISHER: Thanks.

BARTIROMO: Have a safe Memorial Day.

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