JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – The Fisher House of Alaska has been a “home away from home” to service members, veterans and their families while they receive medical care at the hospital on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Since 1990, the Fisher House worldwide has saved the military, veterans and their families an estimated $200 million in out-of-pocket costs for lodging and transportation. In April, the Fisher House of Alaska wanted to add a playground for children to play and exercise during their stay.
“Every time we have children here, we look at any opportunity for them to do things and not just stay in the house or the hospital,” said Jennifer Hall, Fisher House of Alaska manager. “This playground is well-needed.”
Before ordering the equipment, Fisher House employees had the playground custom made to fit in the limited space in their backyard and shipped from the Lower 48.
Once the equipment arrived, the most complicated portion was assembling it. And that’s where JBER airmen stepped in to help.
Rain or shine, members from the 611th Air Communications Squadron, 611th Air Support Squadron and the 611th Civil Engineer Squadron dedicated more than 13 hours over two days to assemble the new playground.
There are two purposes for the 611th answering the call to assist the Fisher House and Eclipse Playground to build the playground, said Senior Master Sgt. Devlin Huffman, 611th ACS superintendent.
“This is a team-building exercise to help us communicate. In our day-to-day job, we are in charge of maintaining a remote site in Alaska, so this helps us with our networking and communications to do our job,” said Huffman. “The second purpose is to give back to the community and military members.”
Huffman said this playground would help family members distract themselves by coming to the playground to see the children laughing and having a good time.
The construction of the new playground was the latest investment in a 23-year partnership between the foundation and the military.