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First Lady Visits Families at Walter Reed Fisher House

First Lady Michelle Obama spoke individually with about 45 service members and their families during a visit to Fisher House No. 4 on the campus of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., April 4, 2012. DOD photo by Terri Moon Cronk

BETHESDA, Md., April 4, 2012 – The first ladies of the United States and the U.S. military helped to observe Easter and the Month of the Military Child here today by visiting children and their families at a Fisher House on the campus of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

 

By Terri Moon Cronk

 

The Fisher House Foundation donates homes built on the grounds of major military and Veterans Affairs Department medical centers. The homes give family members a comfortable place to stay to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease or injury.

Bearing treats for everyone in the group, First Lady Michelle Obama walked into a flurry of children’s Easter craft-making, greeted by a large sign in a rainbow of colors that said, “Welcome Mrs. Obama.” Deanie Dempsey, wife of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, also was on hand.

“It is always one of my favorite things to come visit Fisher House,” Obama told the group of about 45 recovering service members, their spouses and children. “This house is a home away from home to so many of our military families. The work they do here is amazing. Every single house that I have visited is just like this — the level of quality, the level of comfort, the staff is always is amazing.”

The first lady told the group that staying at the Fisher House while their service member is an inpatient or recovering at Walter Reed is something they deserve.

“Our military families, our troops — you all deserve this kind of high-level treatment for what you go through for this country, for what you sacrifice,” she said. “This should be the kind of place that welcomes you in times like these. So we always are just thrilled to shine a light on the good work [of the Fisher House].”

Obama said she came to the Fisher House to visit the families who are staying at house No. 4 at the medical center, but that she didn’t come empty-handed. She brought White House-baked Easter cookies for everyone. As a second surprise, the first lady brought each family tickets for April 9’s 134th annual White House Easter Egg Roll.

“It’s very exciting,” she said of the egg roll amid applause. “It’s going to be so much fun. … We’ve got hula hooping, and we’ve got tennis, and we’ve got games. So come ready to play, OK?”

Obama then revealed what she called the “most important treat” of her visit.

“I brought one of my best friends in the whole world, my only son,” she said. Then Bo, the Obamas’ Portuguese water dog, emerged wearing bunny ears as the children squealed with delight.

“Do you guys want to see Bo?” she asked as she began making her way to each of five tables to visit with every child and family member in the room.

Every child gave the first lady a handmade Easter card, and she signed copies of Marc Brown’s children’s book, “Arthur Meets the President.”
 
 
Related Sites:
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
Fisher House Foundation

Special Report: Month of the Military Child

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