More Fisher House news.

The Fisher House at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base kicked off its Capital Campaign Monday morning setting a goal of raising $1 million towards the cost of a $2 million facility to be built next year.

The Fisher House foundation has challenged the Wright-Patterson to raise half of the cost.

On hand for the kickoff were retired Lt. Gen. Dick Reynolds, former commander of Aeronautical Systems Center: Maj. Gen. Curtis M. Bedke, commander of Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson; Col. Colleen M. Ryan, commander 88th Air Base Wing at Wright-Patterson; Col. Andrew Monteiro, commander 88th Medical Group; Don and Roni Huber, honorary campaign co-chairs; retired Senior Master Sgt. Chris Stanley, executive director of Fisher-Nightingale Houses, Inc. and John Thrasher, Fisher-Nightingale Houses board president.

"Since the beginning of the Iraq War, there has been more that 28,000 seriously wounded service members," said Stanley, "Having these facilities allows us to provide support to those who have paid a high price for our country. We can't provide this haven without generous donations from the private sector. These facilities make it possible for families to stay together, providing physical and emotional support to patients during trying time. Having the family available is critical to physical healing."

He added that the first house was opened in 1990, soon followed by two more at other bases, and 100 houses are envisioned across the country.

Saying that this campaign core is for injuries "to our soldiers," Don Huber said, "We can't forget these patriots. While the medical center provides the best medical and psychological help, the Fisher-Nightingale facilities provides access within walking distance for the families."

First to contribute to the capital campaign was the Kittyhawk Chapter of the Air Force Association. Its president, Kent Owsley, presented Stanley with a check for $10,000. He gave it on behalf of the chapter's members and business associates, and said, "We challenge Chris and others to help you all touch other organizations to reach the goal."

Col. Monteiro said that the medical center followed "the Air Force core values with the addition of care and compassion that the Fisher-Nightingale Houses help us deliver."

Echoing him, Col. Ryan added that in 2006, the facilities helped 750 families. She said that the new Fisher House would "increase bed nights to 8,030 per year."

Ground breaking for the new Fisher House is expected to take place April 25, 2008. It will be located on the grounds directly behind the existing Fisher House on Schlatter Dr, within walking distance of the Wright-Patterson Medical Center, the largest military medical center in the Midwe