From the Disney Parks Blog and written by: Cappy Surette
As part of an annual tradition, members of the Disney Salute veteran affinity group and Disney VoluntEARS spent a morning this week decorating the Orlando Fisher House for the holidays. This yearly event helps brighten the day for many veteran families who could use a little happiness at this time of year.
Home Away from Home for Veterans in Need
The Orlando Fisher House is just one of the 96 comfort homes across the United States built by the Fisher House Foundation to ease the lives of veteran families in need. The Fisher Houses provide complimentary lodging for military and veterans’ families allowing them to stay while their loved one receives medical care next door at the Orlando VA Medical Center in Lake Nona. Disney has been honored to participate in many VoluntEARS activities in support of the Fisher House over the years and help bring some joy when these families need it most.
A Disney Holiday Tradition is Born
This annual tradition began in 2019 when the Disney Salute veteran group worked with the Walt Disney World External Affairs team to deliver beautiful Disney resort holiday decorations to Orlando Fisher House and bring some holiday magic to veterans and their families who are going through challenging times.
“We love when Disney comes out to decorate Orlando Fisher House for the holidays,” said U.S. Air Force veteran George Denby, General Manager of Orlando Fisher House. “This is among our favorite annual traditions and the highlight of our year. As a veteran myself, it’s special to me to see how this holiday decor brings some happiness to our guests when they need it most.”
Disney Veterans Supporting Fellow Veterans
As a company founded by two brothers who served their country during the First World War, The Walt Disney Company has long admired U.S. military service. The selflessness of the many veterans and military family members who work at Disney is demonstrated through SALUTE, which not only serves to support fellow cast members, but also the military and veteran community at large—like the Fisher House—through volunteerism.
“Support for veterans is in my blood,” said Veronica Lokken, Senior Financial Analyst for Disneyland Sales, who is based in Florida. “My spouse continues to serve, and my father served, so it’s always important to me to find that connection in my community where I can. Being part of this annual tradition at the Orlando Fisher House is so special to me.”
Our tradition was even more special this year as we were honored to deliver a Disney Grant of $25 thousand on behalf of Walt Disney World Resort to the Fisher House in time for the holidays.
“We are thrilled and so grateful to receive this generous donation,” said George. ”It will go to making improvements around our house, for our guests to enjoy while their loved one is receiving care.”
Disney has celebrated members of the United States military and their families in a variety of ways over the past 100 years. Spending time in our communities volunteering is just one way our cast members salute and honor those who have bravely served in our nation’s military. As we recognize National Veterans and Military Families Month, please join us in wishing the Fisher House, current service members and veterans a holiday full of cheer with their families.
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