The Campus for the Families of the Fallen consists of three main areas: the Center for Families of the Fallen, the Fisher House for Families of the Fallen and the Meditation Pavilion. The facilities are designed to provide families with an area of privacy, comfort and support while they are at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, to witness the dignified transfer of their loved one.
Center for Families of the Fallen
The Center for Families of the Fallen was dedicated by Former Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Norton A. Schwartz Jan. 6, 2010.
The 6,339 square foot renovated facility includes segregated areas and rooms for families to use for privacy and separation, a cafe area with snacks and beverages, a meditation room, baby changing stations in both restrooms, a private nursing area in the women's restroom, a children's activity room with a chalkboard wall, games and toys and a separate area with TVs and gaming systems.
Schwartz and his wife, Suzie, attended a dignified transfer in June 2009 and recognized the need for a facility with enhanced support to families. Families were originally hosted at the Spiritual Operations Center on the residential side of Dover AFB, which was a chaplain's administration building.
In July 2009, the 436th Airlift Wing made a previous Army and Air Force Exchange Service facility, originally slated for demolition, available for the project. A contract for construction was awarded Sept. 30, 2009 and construction began Nov. 6, 2009. Approximately 6 weeks later, the center was outfitted with furnishings and fixtures.
A Memorial Garden was gifted to the Air Force for the center in May 2011 by the Delaware Federation of Garden Clubs to provide an outdoor sanctuary for families.
The Friends of the Fallen, a private, non-profit organization, support the dignified transfer mission with volunteers who attend to the basic needs of a family prior to witnessing the dignified transfer.
More than 9,000 family members and their accompanying military support staff have passed through the Center for Families of the Fallen since it opened in January 2010.
Fisher House for Families of the Fallen
The Fisher House for Families of the Fallen at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, is a unique facility among the Fisher House Foundation's other locations. It is the only one of its kind, designed for families of the fallen and managed exclusively by uniformed personnel. It is designed to provide short-term, on-base lodging to families who travel to Dover AFB to witness the dignified transfer of their loved one.
The 8,462 square foot house is equipped with nine suites that include private, handicapped-accessible bathrooms and common areas that include a multi-cooking station kitchen, and large communal dining and family rooms.
Identified by the Fisher Foundation as a complement to the Center for Families of the Fallen, the Fisher House for Families of the Fallen is the 50th house within the Fisher family of homes. The House was gifted to the Air Force and dedicated Nov. 10, 2010. It opened to the first family Dec. 9, 2010. More than 3,500 family members have stayed at the house since it opened.
USO Delaware provides an assortment of fresh and frozen meal choices, drinks and snacks to make the family's stay on the Fisher House as comfortable as possible.
Adjacent to the Fisher House for Families of the Fallen is a Meditation Pavilion. The 1,714 square foot Meditation Pavilion provides a quiet place for families to gather, pray and reflect during their stay at the Fisher House. The pavilion is used as a gathering place for families, and is the first and only one of its kind.
Built with private donations to the Fisher House Foundation, the Fisher House for Families of the Fallen and Meditation Pavilion were gifted to the Air Force and dedicated Nov. 10, 2010.