U.K. man raises money for Fisher House

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 - 19:00
24,000-mile journey began in Argentina
Oliver Plunket, a native of the United Kingdom, rides his motorcycle in front of the Fisher House of Alaska on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson July 22. Plunket received a coin from Air Force Col. Thomas Harrell, 673d Medical Group commander, as a token of appreciation from the travels he has taken to raise funds for the newly built Fisher House in the UK. He rode his motorcycle form the southernmost city in Argentina to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, stopping to volunteer at other Fisher Houses and visiting various historic sites.

A young man by the name of Ollie Plunket recently decided to take a seven-month motorcycle ride for charity.

The mission of this 18-year-old from Buckingham, England, was to help military members and their families get the care and support they need overseas. He was raising money for the newly built Fisher House, the only one in the United Kingdom, which opened in June.

“I realized that a military charity was the venue that was going to get me really moving and working to raise money,” Plunket said.

He said his family history in the military and waiting to attend officer training in the U.K. inspired him to give back to the Fisher House.

The U.K.-based Fisher House provides a home away from home for the families of military patients being treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England. It is next to the hospital for convenience, as are most Fisher Houses.

There are 12 rooms available in the Fisher House of Alaska for military members and their families to reside temporarily. Few regulations are implemented for the length of time military members and their families may stay at any Fisher House and there is never a fee.

Plunket’s journey included traveling a total 24,000 miles on his motorcycle, only stopping at historical sites and Fisher Houses. He started in Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world, and traveled as far north as Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.

During his visits, he volunteered a minimum of three weeks at seven separate Fisher Houses in California, Washington and Alaska with room to spare in the seven-month journey.

On July 22, Plunket made it to the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Fisher House, 213 days after beginning his journey. His goal was to raise $150,000 for the newly built Fisher House and he has reached 60 percent of his goal with $89,000. Plunket never used any of the money from his fundraising, but paid completely out of pocket for his trip.

After his trip to JBER, Plunket is donating his motorcycle to the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry in Wasilla, Alaska.

The Fisher House of Alaska is part of a foundation Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher began in the 1980s to give military members and their families a home away from home. There are more than 50 Fisher Houses nationwide, two in Germany and now one in the U.K.

Air Force Col. Thomas Harrell, 673d Medical Group commander, was on hand to welcome Plunket to JBER and discuss his journey through 14 countries.

“The ability to provide lodging for patients and their families at no charge to them is huge,” Harrell said. “Many military members from all U.S. branches of service come in from all over the state and have no place to stay.”

Among the many organizations for military members, the Fisher House is one that really makes the mission of the military run better knowing that they and their families are cared for in their time of need, Harrell said.

Base hospitals and local care facilities that are part of the Veterans Administration allow families to reside in the Fisher Houses temporarily while loved ones are being cared for in their time of need. Guests include active duty service members, Reservists, National Guardsmen, retirees and dependents.

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