Hearts Behind The Snow: Volunteer, Barry Schwartz

By: Barry L. Schwartz
January 8, 2016

Barry Schwartz, worked behind the scenes at Naval Support Activity Bethesda Hospital to ensure the area was safe during snowstorms. Fisher Houses all across the world are supported by countless individuals like Barry who support the home and those who reside within their walls. The following is in Barry’s own words:

“I’ve always had a special respect and appreciation for our troops back to my early childhood.  After spending time at the Bethesda Naval Hospital doing snow removal, both during storms and on other warmer days for site preparation, that respect and appreciation continued to grow.  I often saw our wounded warriors -- walking, running, being wheeled to PT [physical therapy] and treatments and sharing time with family and loved ones.  Their courage always showing through their injuries.

I’ve always taken the menial task of snow removal seriously, probably due to some childhood fatherly advice of “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing it right.”  At the Bethesda hospital though, I was always keenly aware that the sidewalks and roads we cleared were being used by our country’s heroes.  Quite often they were wounded and had less stability on their way to their daily tasks, treatments, meals and such.  It drove me to make sure we did the best we could do for them.

 There were a few times I got to take a midnight “breakfast” break or an early morning “dinner” break and sometimes used the cafeteria in the main building.  Again I got to see our heroes upbeat and positive, despite the daily challenges of recovery.

Many nights of driving around pushing snow in complete boredom I thought of our warriors and mentally promised to make a contribution to Fisher House Foundation from what I’d earn that evening.  So a year or so late, I finally logged on and sent a donation.  While there was no place to express it, my donation is in appreciation of our young men and women and their contribution to America and the world they try to improve.  It is also in honor of my children, Ethan and Geena, who in their youth and health are an everyday reminder of what our troops fight for and what sacrifices they endure.”