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Celebration of Life video

Steve Kuykendall Celebration of Life

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On February 20, 2022, there was a wonderful Celebration of Life for Marine Captain Steve Kuykendall, Fisher House So Cal co-founder and Board President, on the USS Battleship Iowa. The event included a fireboat pass-by, helicopter fly-over and naval gun salute. Military honor guard ceremony occurred earlier that day. Semper Fi, Steve!

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.

The LBCREC Charity Golf Tournament

The LBCREC Charity Golf Tournament

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The LBCREC Charity Golf Tournament benefitting Fisher House So Cal. took place August 9, 2021 at 9 am at the Old Ranch Country Club.

We’d like to give a BIG shout out of THANKS to all the golfers who generously donated ALL of their cash prize and raffle winnings back to Fisher House SoCal at Monday’s LBCREC Golf Tourney! Our military families and veterans thank YOU!

Shown in the photo left-right: Terry Geiling, FHSC Board President; Paul Hesse of Penta Pacific Properties; Linda Rahn, FHSC Executive Director; and Mark Sokolowski, of Newmark, who organized the event.

The LBCREC Charity Golf Tournament Fisher House Directors

For information, please visit Lbcrecgolf.com. You can also support Fisher House Southern California by donating.

Naval Medical Center San Diego Fisher House Southern California

Naval Medical Center San Diego AstroTurf Installation

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At the beginning of April 2021, the Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) began the renovation of its playground and other grass areas on the two Fisher Houses at this location. NMCSD decided to use AstroTurf for the renovation due to the cleaner, more natural look it yields in comparison to other faux grass. Natural grass can brown quite easily after being stepped on and is easily be torn up by rough playground fun. Not to mention how much water and weekly care is needed to make sure that the grass is maintained for safety, and of course, for cosmetic purposes.

Speaking of safety, AstroTurf provides excellent protection compared to the hard and rough surfaces that natural grass and dirt have. With this new turf, the families staying at NMCSD don’t have to worry about their children falling while playing and scratching up their knees and hands. AstoTurf is completely pollen-free and hypoallergenic, making it beneficial to those with sensitivity to pollen and other allergies.

At Fisher House Southern California, our number #1 priority is the health and the happiness of the military families staying with us at any of our locations. Whether it be the VA Long Beach Healthcare System, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, or Naval Medical Center San Diego – Fisher House Southern California is here to help. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can assist Fisher House Southern California in our mission to protect and help military families, you can help make a difference through a donation or through volunteer work. You can also visit our news section for frequent updates on Fisher House Southern California and our mission.

Steve Kuykendall

In Honor of Steve Kuykendall

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Dear Friends of Fisher House Southern California:

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that our President and CEO of Fisher House Southern California Board, Steven Kuykendall, passed away January 22 due to a short illness from pulmonary fibrosis.

Steve was a Marine Captain who served in Vietnam, a U.S. Congressman who represented Southern California, and a member of the California State Assembly before a stellar career in banking. But what he was most proud of was his service to Fisher House.

Steven Kuykendall was the dynamic force behind the formation of Fisher House Southern California, which built the Fisher House at the Long Beach VA and supported the operations of the Fisher Houses at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton and at the Naval Medical Center San Diego. He also made invaluable contributions to Fisher House on the national level, and he will be missed by all of us who worked with him on behalf of Fisher House these last many years.

Steve was extremely proud of what he was able to do for Fisher House, and as he said to you so many times in his communications with you over the years, he was very grateful for your friendship and for your generous support of our veterans and our military families. And he meant it – your support of his efforts meant the world to him! And for that, all of us on the Fisher House team thank you.

Those of you who knew Steve and share our loss, and who would like to make a gift in his memory, can do so by sending it to Fisher House Southern California at P.O. Box 110, Long Beach, CA 90801 or by going to our website at fisherhousesocal.org. Per Steve’s wishes, no funeral is being planned though a Celebration of Life will take place once we can all gather safely again. Needless to say, we all appreciate what you have done for Fisher House Southern California. Thank You!

Sincerely,

Gary Hopkins
Interim President
Fisher House Southern California, Inc.

View Steve’s obituary.

Steven T. Kuykendall

Steven T. Kuykendall
1947 – 2021

veteran assistance in southern California

Fisher House Long Beach Houses Frontline Workers

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Fisher House So Cal is happy to continue to find ways to offer veteran assistance in southern California. As the pandemic continues to cause challenges for healthcare workers across the country, the entire Fisher House organization is working to be a part of the solution.

Fisher Houses provide military and veteran families housing near their loved one while they are hospitalized for an illness, disease or injury, at no cost to them. Fisher House Southern California’s (FHSC) mission is to help military families by supporting four Fisher Houses throughout Southern California, located at major military and VA medical centers.

The Fisher House Foundation was recently featured in an article in The Daily Breeze and the Press-Telegram! The article explores how Fisher House has helped house frontline workers during the pandemic to keep them and their own families safe from exposure. A total of 15 houses, including Fisher House Long Beach, have provided temporary housing to VA Hospital healthcare workers

Fisher House So Cal is proud to be a part of this amazing effort to help frontline workers in this health crisis. Click here to learn about how we provide veteran assistance in southern California.

Visit this link to read the article in the Press-Telegram.

Pandemic-era heroes: Local organizations provide housing for VA Hospital health care workers

Veterans Day 2020

A Veteran’s Day Message from FHSC

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An Update and a Message of Thanks this Veteran’s Day from
Fisher House Southern California

Rhoden Canlas is a nurse in the Neurology-Rheumatology unit at the Long Beach VA Medical Center. When the COVID pandemic became extreme this summer, he was transferred to the VA’s Medical-Surgical unit where COVID patients were being treated.

But there was a catch. At home were his two elderly parents, along with his two young daughters, ages 4 and 7. Rhoden is a single parent. The last thing he wanted to do was expose his family to the virus.

That is when he found out about Fisher House. One of his fellow nurses told him he, along with several other doctors and nurses, were staying at the Fisher House on campus. So that’s what Rhoden decided to do while he was assigned to the COVID unit. Some nights he would drive to his parents’ home in Torrance so he could see them and his children, but always at a distance. It was hard to explain to his four-year-old daughter why they couldn’t hug. Then he would go back to Fisher House to sleep and be ready for the next day at work.

Most of Rhoden’s COVID patients made it, but some did not. Those final Facetime or Zoom calls arranged by the RNs for dying patients with their family members were the most difficult things to witness, he said.

All of our VA caregiver house guests have extended their heartfelt thanks to the Fisher House team for making the House available during the pandemic.

We, in turn, extend their thanks to you, since it’s been your generosity and your friendship that have enabled our Fisher House to provide a home away from home to them during the COVID crisis.

Learn More About How to Help:
http://www.fisherhousesocal.org/get-involved

Rahn Linda

Welcoming Linda Rahn as our New Executive Director

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Dear Friend of Fisher House Southern California:

Hope this note finds you and your family healthy and well. As an ongoing supporter of our mission and work, I’d like to share an important update with you.

In August, we welcomed aboard Linda Rahn, CFRE, as our organization’s new Executive Director. Linda brings more than 25 years of experience in a variety of fundraising, marketing and administrative leadership posts, with national and local non-profits.

Linda’s vast fundraising experience and expertise will serve Fisher House Southern California (FHSC) well as we seek to strengthen our efforts to provide a ‘home away from home’ for the families who stay at Fisher House at no cost to them, while their loved ones are being cared for in the hospital.

During these challenging times, the four Southern California Fisher Houses supported by our organization remain open to our military families during their time of need, following all safety protocols. We hope to bring you more information in the weeks to come.

In the meantime, from all of us at Fisher House, we extend our thanks to you for your continued friendship and support.

Sincerely,

Steven T. Kuykendall
President/CEO

Memorial Day 2020

Memorial Day Message

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A MEMORIAL DAY MESSAGE FROM FISHER HOUSE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

As of this writing, veterans and service members are being diagnosed with and have died from COVID-19, and the number is increasing daily. The pandemic has caused all the military and VA medical facilities to assess their operation and make changes that restrict patient visitors and how the Fisher Houses are used in this crisis. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, patient families are no longer being allowed to visit patients in our VA hospital, and our Navy hospital patient visits are severely limited for fear of spreading the disease in both directions.

Our VA Fisher House has, however, been opened to healthcare workers who are spending long and arduous hours in the care of their patients. This way they can stay on campus, dispensing with long commutes to and from home during the time of this crisis, and also protecting their families from the possibility of infection.

We are also taking this time to make some upgrades to the facilities under our supervision, such as new water treatment and landscaping improvements to our Long Beach, Camp Pendleton and San Diego Houses.

All of which we can do because of your generous support of our Fisher Houses.

As Memorial Day approaches, I am writing to you in the hope that we can count on your generous support once again, especially during this unprecedented and extraordinary time. Your support of our Fisher Houses at this time help us provide essential respite for our healthcare workers – doctors, nurses, respiratory techs and their support staff — who are serving on the front line of our ongoing battle with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Can we count on your support?

CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT FHSC

We send to you and your family our earnest wishes for your safety and well-being during this very uncertain time. Your help of our families at Fisher House has not gone unnoticed, and all of us – our families, our healthcare workers and our board members – wish you and your family the very best. Stay safe, and thank you again for your wonderful support of Fisher House!

Sincerely,

Steven T. Kuykendall, President/CEO and
The Board of Directors of
Fisher House Southern California, Inc.