Dear Friend of Fisher House Southern California,
When the Larry and Helen Hoag Foundation received the Memorial Day appeal from Fisher House Southern California, which I sent in May announcing the new Steve Kuykendall Memorial Fund for Children, they wanted to help.
Consequently, they have committed $25,000 from the Larry and Helen Hoag Foundation to serve as a Challenge Grant for Fisher House Southern California, whereby they will match all gifts to Steve’s fund up to a total of $25,000.
Who, you might be asking, is Steve Kuykendall? Well, Steve is a former Marine Captain who served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He also served as a U.S. Congressman from Southern California. And, Steve was the founder of Fisher House Southern California.
In 2013, his unwavering leadership led to a successful $6 million fund raising campaign that built a brand new 16-unit Fisher House at the VA Medical Center in Long Beach. What, you might be asking, is a Fisher House? Well, a Fisher House is a “home away from home” for families of wounded, injured or ill service members or veterans who are receiving care at a major military or VA medical center.
In recognizing the special sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform, and also the hardship on their families, Fisher Houses provide free temporary lodging to these military and veterans’ families, allowing them to be near their loved ones during their medical care, so they can all focus on getting their loved ones better.
Located near military and VA medical centers, each Fisher House is designed to accommodate from 16 to 42 family members. The Houses are beautifully furnished and have common kitchens, dining rooms, living rooms, libraries and play areas for the children. And, there is no charge to stay at a Fisher House.
A stay can range from just a few days, to weeks, to even months, depending upon the nature of medical care required. Our Fisher Houses in Southern California provide a home away from home to several thousand people every year, and 15% of them are children.
Sadly, Steve passed away this past January from lung disease, likely attributed to Agent Orange exposure during his time in Vietnam. The children who stay in our Fisher Houses were near and dear to his heart, and our Memorial Fund is our tribute to him for his lifetime of dedicated service to our country.
And that’s why I am writing to you now – to ask you to consider your donation to the Steve Kuykendall Memorial Fund for Children. If you do, your gift will count double as it will be matched dollar for dollar by the Larry and Helen Hoag Foundation.
Steve’s fund will provide the children who stay at our Houses – at the VA in Long Beach, the Naval Hospital in Camp Pendleton, and the two Houses at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego – with whatever they need so their stay is as much like home as possible.
It could be books, toys, games, puzzles or computer programs both for play and education. It could be sporting equipment, like baseballs and gloves, for instance, to have a catch out on the lawn. It could be for a special meal, brought in, to alleviate the burden of having to cook for the night. Or it could be a dinner or a movie out with mom and dad or grandma and grandpa, which the fund will provide, along with travel vouchers to get back and forth to the House. Or it could even be a party to celebrate something special while away from home – a birthday, for instance, or even a holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Steve’s fund, along with our dedicated staff and volunteers, will make that happen.
Won’t you help make our Fisher House like home for the children who stay with us? Remember, your gift, will have Double the Impact if made by December 31, thanks to the Larry and Helen Hoag Foundation.
To make your gift, you may go online at www.FisherHouseSoCal.org or call us with your gift intentions at 562-297-0990. You can also send a check to FHSC at PO Box 110, Long Beach, CA 90801.
On behalf of the countless families you will be helping, especially the children, I send our genuine thanks and appreciation in helping us meet this Challenge Grant. Your gift, made today, will help us do more for our veterans and military families and their children at our Fisher Houses, especially now, during this season of Thanksgiving.
From all of us at Fisher House So Cal, we wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving.
President and CEO
Fisher House Southern California, Inc.