Running out of room for families of ill-stricken veterans - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Running out of room for families of ill-stricken veterans

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Veterans often have to travel a long way to get to Houston's Debakey VA Medical Center.  They often have to stay a long time too.

Chris Grimes, from Lufkin, was there for chemotherapy for leukemia.  He was diagnosed in 2006.  In 2011, it took a turn for the worse.

"I take it day by day now.  At first, I was in shock," Chris said.

His wife, Brianna, and sons, Seth and Liam, were also there, staying at the Fisher House, a free place for families to stay on the VA campus.

"Life is pretty easy with the kids being able to see their dad which is really important right now going through this," Briana said.

Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher started the Fisher House system in 1991.  Now, there are 58 of them.  This was the largest at the time, built with 21 rooms.  They are all built and furnished with private money, then donated to the VA which staffs and runs them.

The only problem is this one is not big enough.  At any given time, there are six or seven families on the waiting list.

"It's difficult.  It's one of the most difficult things from a managerial standpoint is knowing someone is standing in front of you who need a room and you don't have an accommodation for them," manager Frank Kelley said.

On Nov. 12, they will break ground on an additional Fisher House, right in front of the current one.  The problem is they don't have enough money to complete it.  They are hoping donors step up to help out those who help families like the Grimes.

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