Organizations We Admire

Fisher House Foundation: Serving More Than Just Veterans

Kathryn Maloney

Fisher House Foundation was launched to build homes for military and veteran families to feel comfortable and stay free of charge while a loved one is in the hospital. 

Conveniently located around local military and VA medical centers around the world, these homes are designed to help military and veteran families through difficult times that come with hospital stays. Fisher House Foundation also operates the Hero Miles program, which uses donated frequent flyer miles to bring long-distance family members to the bedside of injured service members. 

In addition to all the organization does, Fisher House Foundation has the Hotels for Heroes program, which uses donated hotel points to allow family members to stay at hotels near medical centers free of charge. The foundation also manages a grant program, Fisher Service Awards, that supports other charities and scholarship funds for military children, spouses as well as the children of fallen and disabled veterans.

Dave Coker, President of Fisher House Foundation, became the first employee of the foundation back in July 1994. Coker often compares it to the Ronald McDonald house, with a small caveat, 

“​​We do tend to be a best-kept secret.”

Coker grew up in the military and moved all around following his father’s career, a career he eventually followed. Coker received an ROTC scholarship, which included a commitment to serve for at least four years. He served in the Medical Service Corps and his first assignment was with an infantry unit as a medical platoon leader, enabling him to help with the Cuban refugee effort. 

While in the military, Coker received his Masters from Baylor University through the Army program. When Coker was offered early retirement, he thought the best way to continue his serve in his civilian life was to work for one of the organizations that support the United States military.

Dave Coker (president of Fisher House Foundation) stands with his son, Seth Coker, Fisher House Trustee, Kyra Phillips, and her husband, John Roberts at the Fisher House Golf Classic, May 1, 2023.

Now as president of the Fisher House Foundation, Coker continues to serve his country by serving those who are and who have served it. To help do so, the foundation hosts an annual golf tournament to help raise money. The first event the foundation held raised $80,000, and back then, Coker was blown away. 20 years later, The Fisher House Golf Classic raises between $700,000-$800,000. 

“I wish I could say our success was because of brilliant leadership, but it's really because of who we serve,” said Coker. 

The Fisher House Golf Classic took place on May 1 with next year’s tournament announced for May 6, 2024. For more information about the golf tournament, and more information on how you can get involved with the Fisher House Foundation, visit its website here.

Photo credit(s): Courtesy of Michelle Horn (Fisher House Foundation)