DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Fisher House at the Dayton VA Medical Center has come to the rescue of one veteran and his wife after they suffered a tragedy in September.
It’s a long drive from Faye and Leo Heatley’s home in Osprey, Florida to their lakeside cabin in Michigan. They usually take their time, enjoying stops along the way, and Leo always makes sure to stretch his legs as Faye waits in their hotel room.
“And so he said, ‘I’ll be back in about 15 minutes — half an hour.’ And when he didn’t come back, I started calling him on his cell phone and he didn’t answer,” said Faye. “That was about 6 o’clock. At 8:30, a Tipp City police officer came, knocked on my door. I opened the door, I just almost lost it.”
While out on his walk, a driver didn’t see Leo in a crosswalk and crashed into him, crushing his entire left side.
“When I saw my husband, I didn’t even recognize him,” said Faye.
Leo spent eight days in the trauma center at the Dayton VA Medical Center.
Their children came to help, all of them staying at a nearby hotel, but the bills began to quickly add up and Faye was in need of a better place to stay.
“And then this angel appeared — a social worker — and she told us about the Fisher House. And it’s been a godsend. I don’t know what I would’ve done,” said Faye.
The Fisher House is completely free for veterans and their families to stay and it’s just steps away from the VA. It provides transportation, food, toiletries and even washing machines all at no cost.
“We try to take care of everything they need while they’re here at Fisher House so they can just take care of their veteran,” said Betsey Striebel who manages the Fisher House.
Since opening five years ago, the Fisher House has taken care of its guests’ physical needs while providing support and even friendship.
Striebel said, “We want our community of veterans to know that we are here to support their loved ones, to make their journey in the hospital a little bit easier.”
For Faye and Leo, things are looking up. Leo’s injuries are healing, his mobility is improving and home is on the horizon.
Faye said, “If I couldn’t have stayed here, I’m not sure he would’ve made it.”
For more information about the Fisher House, click here.