by Lawrence Dolph
A combat-tested leader, Daniel Patrick is now using his experience and tenacity to fight a different battle: helping his military brothers and sisters access the medical care they’ve earned.
“I am lucky to be alive,” Patrick acknowledges. “And I’ve spent much of my early civilian career looking for ways to give back.”
Now he has his opportunity.
“It is an honor to welcome Daniel Patrick as the new Foundation Director of Fisher House Michigan,” says Kate Melcher. A retired Army Captain and Apache Helicopter pilot, Melcher is the outgoing FHM Executive Director who has been elevated to the FHM Board of Directors.
As FHM foundation director, Patrick joins a team of passionate and dedicated community leaders who are charged with raising capital funds for the first ever Fisher House in Michigan. This fall, Patrick will lead the Patriots Pledge, an initiative challenging individual donors to match the generous $250,000 in donations from Michigan companies and foundations. The Patriots Pledge match challenge period begins today and runs through Veteran’s Day, November 11.
“Michigan companies have stepped up to show their support for Fisher House Michigan, and now, they’re asking individual donors to match their commitment. In turn, Michiganders can make even the smallest of contributions double in size,” says Patrick. “Fisher House Michigan is bigger than just a building. It’s about creating a home and community around our Veterans; even the smallest donations can mean the world to these families.”
Patrick understands the importance of both a strong community and a military family. The newly appointed Director served with the Marines from 2005-2009 as an Infantryman, until an enemy grenade changed the trajectory of his career. Since returning from Fallujah in 2006, Patrick has had the benefit of excellent medical treatment. However, thanks to Fisher House, he has also come to appreciate the fact that a family’s love is the best medicine. He intends to ensure that every Michigan Veteran has access to the same benefit.
“He’s never stopped being a warrior, but now he gets to fight for his military brothers and sisters in a different way. Fisher House President Dave Coker reminds us that we’re in the blessing business, and we are truly blessed to have Dan among our ranks,” Melcher says.
Fisher Houses provide military families housing close to a loved one during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury, such as the wounds incurred by Patrick. While there are 72 operational Fisher Houses around the world, including 4 in Ohio, Michigan currently has none. “There are approximately 650,000 Veterans living in Michigan, and it is time that they have the benefit of a Fisher House to help them access the care they have earned,” Patrick says.
“Our goal is to raise a total of $5 million, $3.5 million of which is capital funds to support the national Fisher House Foundation’s construction costs at the VA Ann Arbor site. In addition, we will raise another $1.5 million to ensure the immediate needs of Fisher House families are accommodated so their only focus is on helping their Veteran heal,” Patrick continues.
“Under Kate Melcher’s stewardship, we won site approval by both the VA and the Fisher House Foundation and have raised over $1.1 million toward our goal,” Patrick explains. “With everyone’s help, together, we are going to get this thing built.”
Fisher House Foundation has a Charity Navigator rating of 4 out of 4 stars over the past 13 years, and is one of only three military charities which Charity Watch rates an A+. “As a Michigan-based community foundation supporting Fisher House Foundation, our goal at FHM is to emulate this model of exceptional stewardship of the donor dollar,” notes Melcher.
“We have the momentum and now we have Daniel Patrick,” she says.
“These are our sons and brothers and daughters and sisters who have served us all,” says Patrick. “In my new role, I’m charged with raising awareness and funds in the community, giving me an opportunity to fight for and love on them in a way I never have before. I wouldn’t miss that opportunity.”