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Breaking ground: Construction begins on Fisher House

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Milwaukee VA Medical Center takes care of the sick and injured members of the military -- and the Fisher House takes care of their families. Milwaukee will soon have its own 13,000 square foot "Fisher House" -- as ground was broken on Tuesday, June 3rd.

The $6.5 million Fisher House will be a home away from home for the families of military members and veterans.

The facility is expected to open by summer 2015.

The Fisher House Foundation is best known for a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment.

The homes are built through donations and the Fisher House Foundation.

Local fundraising efforts to cover the construction of Milwaukee's Fisher House has been tremendous -- with $3.3 million raised so far.

"(Milwaukee) has raised more locally than any other group that we've ever worked with," Fisher House Foundation CEO Ken Fisher said.

The Fisher House Foundation will match the money raised to meet the $6.5 million price-tag.

Milwaukee's Fisher House will feature 16 suites, that can each accommodate up to eight people.

The facility features a common kitchen, laundry facilities, a dining room, and an inviting living room with a library.

It's an effort to keep patients' families near their loved ones, and ease stress.

"Their families lives are turned upside down -- and the one thing that they don`t need to worry about is where they`re going to stay and how they`re going to get there. The lodging that will be provided here will be done so free of charge," Fisher said.

The Milwaukee VA’s Fisher House will be located just northwest of Lake Wheeler and be within walking distance of the VA Medical Center.

Pat and Mary Donahue, whose son Richard Warner was killed in Iraq, first toured a Fisher House in Bethesda, Maryland -- and when they found out there was an effort to construct one in Milwaukee, they became financial supporters.

"His death doesn`t define who he is. I think the greater is, making sure that others are taken care of. I know he would be behind this 100%," Mary Donahue said of her son.

Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy is also championing the effort. His friend was wounded in military action.

"I talked to him I saw how much he changed. The kind of trauma he went through. You know, he`s not the only one. There`s thousands and thousands of those guys just like him," Lucroy said.

There are currently 64 Fisher Houses in the country.

Milwaukee's Fisher House will be the 65th.

For more information on contributing to the Fisher House project, please visit fisherhousewi.org.