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November 2021

Double the Impact of Your Gift—Donate before December 31!

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Fisher House Southern California | Supporting Americas Military Fisher House So Cal logo gift to fisher house so cal

Dear Friend of Fisher House Southern California,

When the Larry and Helen Hoag Foundation received the Memorial Day appeal from Fisher House Southern California, which I sent in May announcing the new Steve Kuykendall Memorial Fund for Children, they wanted to help.

Consequently, they have committed $25,000 from the Larry and Helen Hoag Foundation to serve as a Challenge Grant for Fisher House Southern California, whereby they will match all gifts to Steve’s fund up to a total of $25,000.

Who, you might be asking, is Steve Kuykendall? Well, Steve is a former Marine Captain who served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He also served as a U.S. Congressman from Southern California. And, Steve was the founder of Fisher House Southern California.

In 2013, his unwavering leadership led to a successful $6 million fund raising campaign that built a brand new 16-unit Fisher House at the VA Medical Center in Long Beach.  What, you might be asking, is a Fisher House? Well, a Fisher House is a “home away from home” for families of wounded, injured or ill service members or veterans who are receiving care at a major military or VA medical center.

In recognizing the special sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform, and also the hardship on their families, Fisher Houses provide free temporary lodging to these military and veterans’ families, allowing them to be near their loved ones during their medical care, so they can all focus on getting their loved ones better.

Located near military and VA medical centers, each Fisher House is designed to accommodate from 16 to 42 family members. The Houses are beautifully furnished and have common kitchens, dining rooms, living rooms, libraries and play areas for the children. And, there is no charge to stay at a Fisher House.

A stay can range from just a few days, to weeks, to even months, depending upon the nature of medical care required. Our Fisher Houses in Southern California provide a home away from home to several thousand people every year, and 15% of them are children.  

Sadly, Steve passed away this past January from lung disease, likely attributed to Agent Orange exposure during his time in Vietnam. The children who stay in our Fisher Houses were near and dear to his heart, and our Memorial Fund is our tribute to him for his lifetime of dedicated service to our country.

And that’s why I am writing to you now – to ask you to consider your donation to the Steve Kuykendall Memorial Fund for Children.  If you do, your gift will count double as it will be matched dollar for dollar by the Larry and Helen Hoag Foundation.

Steve’s fund will provide the children who stay at our Houses – at the VA in Long Beach, the Naval Hospital in Camp Pendleton, and the two Houses at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego – with whatever they need so their stay is as much like home as possible.

It could be books, toys, games, puzzles or computer programs both for play and education.  It could be sporting equipment, like baseballs and gloves, for instance, to have a catch out on the lawn.  It could be for a special meal, brought in, to alleviate the burden of having to cook for the night.  Or it could be a dinner or a movie out with mom and dad or grandma and grandpa, which the fund will provide, along with travel vouchers to get back and forth to the House.  Or it could even be a party to celebrate something special while away from home – a birthday, for instance, or even a holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Steve’s fund, along with our dedicated staff and volunteers, will make that happen.

Won’t you help make our Fisher House like home for the children who stay with us? Remember, your gift, will have Double the Impact if made by December 31, thanks to the Larry and Helen Hoag Foundation.

To make your gift, you may go online at www.FisherHouseSoCal.org or call us with your gift intentions at 562-297-0990. You can also send a check to FHSC at PO Box 110, Long Beach, CA 90801.

On behalf of the countless families you will be helping, especially the children, I send our genuine thanks and appreciation in helping us meet this Challenge Grant. Your gift, made today, will help us do more for our veterans and military families and their children at our Fisher Houses, especially now, during this season of Thanksgiving.

From all of us at Fisher House So Cal, we wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Yours truly,

Signature

Terry Geiling
President and CEO
Fisher House Southern California, Inc.

Dana Point 5th Marine Support Group Regiment Wins 2021 Spirit of Hope Award

Fisher House So Cal Board Member Mike Lipscombe Accepts 2021 ‘Spirit of Hope’ Award​ on Behalf of DPSG

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Excerpt from The Dana Point Times:

Mike Lipscombe, Fisher House So Cal Board Member and President of the Dana Point 5th Marine Regiment Support Group (DPSG), was presented with the 2021 ‘Spirit of Hope’ Award on behalf of the DPSG​. The DPSG was recognized for its support of the Marines, Navy Corpsmen, and families of the 5th Marine Regiment of the United States Marine Corps headquartered at Camp Pendleton.

The Spirit of Hope Award was established in 1997. It was first granted to entertainer Bob Hope by the United States Congress and is awarded annually in his honor. The basis for the award was to recognize Hope’s commitment to entertaining military servicemembers over many decades, both within and outside of combat zones. The Department of Defense now presents the award to winning recipients.

“We are truly honored to be chosen for the Spirit of Hope Award from among so many other patriots and generous Americans who were nominated,” DPSG President Mike Lipscombe said. “We will continue our mission of caring for the ‘Fighting Fifth’ and their families for many years to come.”

Lipscombe accepted the Spirit of Hope medal at a ceremony held on Wednesday, November 10, at the Memorial Garden in the San Mateo area of Camp Pendleton—the same day that the U.S. Marine Corps celebrated its 246th birthday.

While the Spirit of Hope Award is traditionally presented to recipients at the Pentagon, the location was moved to Camp Pendleton due to COVID concerns. Lipscombe said that being able to accept the award at the garden that the support group has helped develop and care for was just as meaningful.

Spirit of Honor Award

The Spirit of Hope Award is given to recipients who have demonstrated a commitment to significantly enhancing the quality of life of servicemembers and their families serving around the world. Photo: Lillian Boyd

The DPSG aided in spearheading the effort to bring the 5th Marines Vietnam War Memorial for Camp Pendleton—an effort that took about a decade.

“The Memorial Garden is a special place, because it gives people who have served in the 5th Marines m the past a place to come back to and reflect on those who were lost,” said Capt. DJ Sargenti.

Lipscombe got involved with DPSG in 2013. While his military service during the Vietnam War brings a unique perspective on what members of the “Fighting Fifth” may need from the community, Lipscombe says those needs are constantly changing.

“We’ve expanded some programs; we’ve extended scholarships for summer camps for kids. So, any Marine family that has a child who wants to go to a class year-round can do that,” Lipscome added. “we find ways to serve the Marines, and we find ways to serve their families.”

Lipscombe has been president for the support group for three years. He says the DPSG’S achievements could not have been done without the efforts of each volunteer and a rallying community.

“I’ve been in a couple other Marine Corps units before here. There’s never been anything like this,” Sargenti said of the support group. “This is very unique. Everything that the Dana Point 5th Marine Support Group provides is unmatched.”

For the Spirit of Hope Award, each division of the Armed Forces and the Department of Defense is invited to nominate an individual or organization who epitomizes the values such as duty, honor, courage, loyalty, commitment, integrity, and selfless dedication, and who significantly enhances the quality of life of servicemembers and their families serving around the world, and contributes an extraordinary amount of time, talent, or resources to benefit servicemembers.

DPSGH joins a list of previous Spirit of Hope winners, including Gary Sinise, American Idol finalist and country music star Kelly Pickier and her husband, Kyle Jacobs, and singer-songwriter Toby Keith. Other organizations recognized have been The Fisher House Foundation, The Soldiers’ Angels, Camp Hope, and The Injured Marines Semper Fi Fund.

The DPSG is a nonprofit organization that supports U.S. servicemembers and their families from the 5th Marine Regiment and the Wounded Warriors Battalion West at Camp Pendleton. It currently has more than 350 volunteers from all walks of life. For more information, visit danapoint5thmarines.com.