Caring From the Beginning, Manager Vivian Wilson

January 8, 2016

“I’m grateful for having the opportunity so long ago to join an incredible team and for the rich experience Fisher House has brought me. 

Vivian Wilson began her career with the Fisher House program in 1991, when the first Fisher House opened at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. She managed the three houses that were eventually built there before moving to the Fort Campbell Fisher House in Kentucky in 2006, and eventually settling at her current location as manager of the Fisher Houses in Landstuhl, Germany, where she’s been since 2009.

Being with the Fisher House program for so long, Vivian had the good fortune to know founders Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher, whose dedication for our service members and their families was paramount. Vivian fondly recalls how much pride they had in the program, and how incredibly considerate they were to all the Fisher House managers.

“Zachary Fisher was a kind and thoughtful man,” Vivian started. “When we first opened the Fisher House, he called weekly to find out if there was anything that was needed and wanted to know what the families thought of the house.”

“After the first year, we decided we needed a forum where managers could help each other,” Vivian continued. “Zachary eagerly agreed to host it. He loved attending the conference and talking to all of us and hearing stories about the families we served. He remained generous with his time and support until the end.”

Zachary and Elizabeth weren’t alone in their generosity and support of military families. Managers like Vivian, had the desire to do the same. Vivian grew up an “Army brat” and while she never felt the calling to join the military herself, being a part of the Fisher House program was a way for her to give back to the military.

 “When you have purpose and you are in a position to make life easier and more comfortable for people going through a difficult time, it’s a good feeling,” Vivian said. “You want to be there to help for as long as you can.”

Similar to other Fisher House managers, one of Vivian’s favorite parts of being involved with the program is interacting with families. Vivian takes great joy in giving back to service members and their families who sacrifice so much. She still keeps in touch with many of the families she has helped. Vivian says, “It’s hard not to when you have been with them through some of the most difficult times of their lives.”

The Fisher Houses in Landstuhl serve a special mission. Often when service members are injured, they need to be stabilized before making the return trip to the U.S. This is where Vivian steps in to offer not only a home, but advice, guidance and support as families deal with the shock of an injury or illness. Although coming into contact with families at their most private and painful times, Vivian knows that something good can emerge from these situations.

“You meet people at their worst of times and they rise above it,” she explains. “When people are faced with the worst, you see the best in people and that’s what we have the pleasure of seeing every day. They pull themselves up and do what they have to do with the utmost integrity and pride.” 

As Vivian reflects on the Foundation’s 25th anniversary, she knows that Zachary and Elizabeth would have been filled with pride to know the legacy they left behind has helped so many military families, and inspired us all.  

“Zachary taught me very early in my career, that one person can make a difference.”

Fisher House Foundation thanks Vivian and all of our Fisher House managers who take exceptional care of our military families.