Vantage West Donates $100,000 to Vets
The families of veterans undergoing medical treatment at an Arizona facility will have a place to stay at no cost while their loved ones are recuperating, thanks to a generous donation from Vantage West Credit Union.
The $1.3 billion cooperative in Tucson, Ariz., said it will donate $100,000 to the Southern Arizona Veterans Health Care System, also based in Tucson.
The Arizona Fisher House Foundation is raising $3 million to be matched by the national Fisher House Foundation to build a Fisher House on the SAVAHCS campus.
“The Fisher House provides an important service to our military veterans who have done much for us,” said Robert Ramirez, president/CEO of Vantage West. “We would encourage other local businesses to join Vantage West in supporting this worthy cause.
On Thursday, Arizona Fisher House Foundation and the SAVAHCS recognized the credit union for its donation.
“Fisher Houses are built on the premise that a family’s love is good medicine and when a loved one is ill or injured a Fisher House unites veteran families relieving the financial and emotional strain of being away from home,” said Jonathan Gardner, director of SAVAHCS.
He noted, “The support from Vantage West is a big step in making the Arizona Fisher House a reality.”
Matt Matthewson, board chairman of Vantage West, told a local radio station just how well-known Fisher Houses are with facilities in 60 countries.
“(They) are the equivalent of the Ronald McDonald Houses for military families,” said Matthewson, a retired Air Force colonel, who first heard of Fisher Houses while stationed in Germany and San Antonio.
“My experience is they’ve been a Godsend for military families. Many of them can’t afford to be in temporary quarters and pay for hotel bills nearby,” he offered.
Matthewson said in February, he read about the fundraising efforts in a local newspaper and in March proposed the idea of a contribution to the rest of the board of Vantage West. Ramirez looked into it and by April, the $100,000 donation had been lined up.
“It’s the difference of (families) being able to be with our wounded warriors during these emotional times and the fact that we can bring one to Southern Arizona and specifically, to Tucson, it’s a tremendous opportunity,” Matthewson said, adding Vantage West was originally chartered in 1955 as DMAFB Federal Credit Union to serve military and civilian personnel working at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson.
Vantage West’s donation comes at a time when the Department of Veteran Affairs is under intense scrutiny due to practices at VA healthcare facilities that kept sick and injured veterans on waiting lists for extended periods leading to the deaths of some of those military personnel.
Several media outlets including the Washington Post have reported that 40 deaths occurred at a Phoenix VA facility.
In a May 28 statement, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said after reviewing an Office of Inspector General report, calling the findings “reprehensible,” he is directing that the Phoenix VA Health Care System to immediately triage each of the 1,700 veterans identified by the OIG to bring them timely care.