On the Radar
Arnold Fisher is angry.
The real estate mogul and philanthropist wants know why the U.S. government isn’t doing more to help the country’s veterans in their recovery from post-traumatic stress (PTS) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
“If we can’t do this, we are not a decent people,” Fisher said. “We lose that decency if we can’t help those who help us.”
So Fisher is channeling his anger for the better good.
He told “On the Radar” in a behind-the-scenes interview at the “Hero Summit,” hosted by the Daily Beast, that he and his family have made it their mission to fill the void in assisting the country’s veterans through their two foundations: The Fisher House Foundation and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
“All the money comes from the American people, the government is not part of this,” Fisher said of the foundations, which operate through private donations. “Why, I don’t know, but they’re not, so if they’re not, we have to step up.”
The Fisher family’s philanthropy on the part of veterans began in 1990.
“My family started this many, many years ago,” Fisher said. “My uncle Zachary started it by going to a hospital with Admiral [Carlisle] Trost, and they came out in the evening and there was a car, the windows were fogged up and in the car was a sailor.”
Fisher explained the sailor was sleeping in the car because his wife was in the hospital at the time, and he didn’t have the money to get a hotel room for the night.
“Zach … said that will never happen again, so he started the Fisher House,” said Fisher.
The Fisher House Foundation, which is now operated by Arnold’s son, Ken Fisher, provides a network of homes where the families of veterans can stay while their loved one undergoes medical treatment in nearby facilities. The foundation recently made headlines for offering to pay for the emergency military death benefits that were temporarily suspended during the government shutdown.
“This is our mission,” Fisher said. “Look at us; we’ve been successful in this country. We’ve taken a lot from this country, it’s given us a lot, [and] it’s time to give back.”
Fisher also discussed his family’s second foundation, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which has provided state-of-the-art rehabilitation facilities for veterans recovering from war-inflicted wounds, with special emphasis given to those suffering from TBI.
“It’s a difficult wound, it’s the unseen wound. When you get wounded in the arm or leg, even if you lose an arm or leg we can see that, so we know you have to fix it, but this you can’t see,” he said.
To hear more about the work Fisher’s family is doing to help the nation’s veterans, including why he says he’s so passionate about this work, check out this episode of “On the Radar.”
ABC News’ Alexandra Dukakis, Kyle Blaine, Charlie Finamor, and Vicki Vennell contributed to this episode.