It has been a vision for years, and now the Fisher House is finally becoming a reality in Tennessee.
The facility provides a place where wounded members of the military can heal with their families by their side.
One former patient, Stephen Cochran, is now living his dream of being a singer. But when the Marine was badly injured in Afghanistan, that dream looked grim.
"I was on my last mission. I was coming back home to Nashville to be a country music singer. That was my whole plan. You know what they say, 'you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans,'" Cochran said.
He was outside Kandahar when his vehicle hit a hole where troops had been digging up anti-tank mines planted by the enemy.
Cochran broke his back.
"Woke up a month later in Germany. From Germany I went to Bethesda, and then back to Vanderbilt," Cochran said.
He was told he'd be paralyzed, but these days he walks just fine. Much of the credit for his recovery, he says, goes to the support he received from the Fisher House.
"My mother got to stay in a Fisher House while I healed in Bethesda. And if we hadn't had a Fisher House, literally, she wouldn't have been able to be there for me," Cochran said.
The Fisher House organization puts up military families for free while their loved ones recover there.
"You need that, especially. You come home, you need something that's familiar, someone that's familiar, someone that can help you. Everybody, every man, I don't care who you are, needs their mom every now and then," Cochran said.
Cochran joined several other veterans Thursday to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new Fisher House at Alvin C. York Veterans' Hospital in Murfreesboro.
Organizers have worked for years to raise money for the facility, which will serve veterans from all over Tennessee and surrounding states.
"It's just a great place that families can come be together and heal together, because that's the one thing you need, is your support system while you're trying to get back on your feet or get to a better place mentally and physically," Cochran said.
Cochran said it's important to have such a place where veterans and their families try to heal from the physical and emotional scars of war.
"This is the only country where we only ask 1 percent to step up and take care of us. So we need to make sure we take care of that 1 percent when they come home," Cochran said.
For more information, and if you'd like to support the work of the Tennessee Fisher House, visit: http://www.tennesseefisherhouse.org.
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