The need for a Fisher House in Charleston was undeniable.
There are 75,000 Veterans and active military in the 22 coastal counties in South Carolina to
Georgia. Due to high hotel room prices in Charleston, up to 25% of treated Veterans had family
members sleeping in their hospital room or in their vehicle.
A Fisher House was needed.
The problem was that the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center didn’t have enough land to qualify
for a Fisher House.
No Problem Too Big
Most people would have stopped there. With some out-of-the-box thinking and a whole lot of
determination, Trux and Durbin Emerson, co-founders of Fisher House Charleston, came up with a
plan that lead to raising $4,000,000 to purchase the current site in August 2014.
Fisher House Charleston, at 150 Wentworth Street, in the heart of Charleston welcomed its
first guests in January 2018 into a massive 15,000 square feet, 16 bedroom
home-away-from-home in the heart of Charleston’s historical downtown. We couldn’t have asked
for a better location to be a solace for familes with loved ones being treated at
Charleston’s Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center.
Today and Tomorrow
Although the Fisher House Charleston is under the management of the Ralph H. Johnson Medical
Center, every Fisher House always relies on Community Support and Organizations to underwrite
incidental expenses. Friends of Fisher House Charleston is the surviving independent charitable
organization and 501c3 that provides this support. And we need your help today.
Fisher House Charleston Mission
To provide temporary accommodations to Veterans and their families while the
veteran is receiving medical attention at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Charleston,
Friends of Fisher House Charleston's Executive Committee
Joshua Strimple, a Major and Military Intelligence Officer with the US Army
Reserve, was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal for his service with
Operation New Dawn in Iraq in 2010-11. While continuing to serve in the Army
Reserve, Joshua founded the Charleston Classic, a golf and tennis tournament
that supports the national Wounded Warrior Project. Joshua is also a Financial
Advisor at Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management in Charleston, SC and has
previous job experience in retirement plans for non-profit organizations, as
well as construction management for school districts.
Chris Ward has served the Department of Defense community for over thirty years.
As anInformation Professional in the U. S. Navy, she was responsible for
deploying and securingmission ready networks across the Fleet. Since her
retirement in 2005, she has worked as aConsultant to help match technology gaps
within the Department of Defense with Industrysolutions. She served previously
as the Executive Director at Friends of Fisher HouseCharleston and now joins the
Board as a member.
Kathy graduated with her B. A. in Recreation Administration from Cal State
University, Long Beach and her M. A. from the University of St. Thomas. She
worked for the Department of Defense as a Morale Welfare and Recreation
Administrator in Germany, Korea and the United States before moving into
education with the Public-School system.
Upon her husband’s retirement
from the military, they moved to Maryland where she worked as a fund
raiser/program specialist for a Non-Profit and volunteered at the Andrews AFB
Fisher House. She became a member of the Andrews AFB Fisher House Board of
Directors and eventually was hired by the Board to as Outreach Program Manager.
She is currently retired but active in her community serving on the city's Park,
Recreation and Tourism Commission.
Kathy and her husband have been the
recipient of the care and support of the Fisher House Family while receiving
treatment and his recovery from Cancer. Because of the nurturing they received
while there, she has a strong passion for the Fisher House Organization and the
work they do for all of our veterans.
Born in Edgefield, SC. Butler moved to Washington, DC with his family when he was
a young boy. Returning to SC in 1990 to attend USC, he eventually moved to
Charleston which he has called home for close to 20 years. He works with
Carriage Properties and has enjoyed working in the real estate market for over a
decade. He is a member of the Order of St. John Volunteer Corps which led him to
find the Fisher House, and also The Society of Cincinnati, the oldest patriotic
organization in USA.
Butler, his wife and two young daughters enjoy life
by the water, an active sporting life along with the culture, arts and great
cuisine the Lowcountry offers in abundance. Butler’s family is familiar at the
Charleston Fisher House as they sometimes join him for his Thursday cooking
routine and grocery shopping for the Veterans and their families. Butler has
been a weekly volunteer since they opened in January 2018. Serving the Veterans
and their families in their time of need has brought Butler great joy. His work
there constantly renews his appreciation for The Fisher House which fills a
much-deserved need for those who have served our Country.
Will is an Army brat who spent the majority of his youth in Colorado Springs,
Colorado. He graduated from The Citadel and served as a Army logistician
retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel after 25 years of service. Following his
retirement from Active Duty, he continued to serve as a Department of the Army
Civilian until retiring again in 2016. In his last Civil Service assignment, he
served as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Logistics and Engineering at the Army
Cyber Center of Excellence at Fort Gordon, GA.
Will and his wife Carol
have been married for 35 years and reside in Hollywood, SC. He also serves on
the Executive Committee for the Charleston Chapter of the Association of the
United Stated Army.
William E. Cramer, M.D. Is a practicing Anesthesiologist who primarily cares for veterans in the
Charleston area. He retired from the Navy after twenty-four years as a duel designated pilot and
physician before entering private practice for ten years and finally focusing his full attention
Veterans’ perioperative care.
As a naval aviator, Will flew the F/A-18 Hornet from aircraft carriers in support of military
Iraq, Serbia, and Yugoslavia. After receiving his M.D. and training in Aerospace Medicine, he
served as a
U.S. Navy Flight Surgeon and a U.S. Department of Defense Manned Space Flight Surgeon in support
Space Shuttle operations. He later specialized in Anesthesiology and deployed to Afghanistan
with a U.S.
Navy Forward Surgical Team in support of Special Operations.
Will is active in inshore and near shore ocean racing sailor as well as an avid boater who, with
enjoys exploring the Low Country shoreline.
Dr. James Elsey had a 30 plus year medical career in the Atlanta area while
simultaneously serving in a US Army MASH unit as a reserve officer.
clinical specialty is Vascular Surgery and he recently served on the Board of
Directors of the American College of Surgeons. He currently serves on its Health
and Policy Advocacy Organization. He has long history of civic involvement in
child abuse prevention.
One notable honor was the opportunity to run the
Torch prior to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. He recently moved to the
Charleston area is looking forward to supporting the Fisher House mission.
Kent graduated from Dartmouth College and served in a USN Fighter Squadron as an
F-4 Phantom II Naval Flight Officer. He then began a career in Aerospace, first
in Flight Test and then advancing through management to be president of two
Upon retirement he became active with Fisher House in the Washington DC
region and recently resigned as President of Fisher House at Joint Base Andrews.
Trux Emerson has a background in investment and real estate. He became a
stockbroker in Washington, DC in 1972 with Legg Mason then Blythe, Eastman,
Dillon and Sade & Co. and Thompson, McKinnon successively before co-founding
Nye, Parnell & Emerson Capital Management in 1987, a registered investment
advisor and ultimately sold in 1999.
After relocating to Bozeman, MT, Mr. Emerson commenced his career in real
estate largely with Bridger Realty. After nine years in the Rockies, the
Emersons moved to Tryon, NC, where Mr. Emerson co-founded Walker, Wallace &
Emerson Realty in 1998, that specializes in premiere properties including horse
farms in the Foothills of the Carolinas, Landrum, SC and Tryon, NC.
Most importantly, Mr T. Truxton Emerson is a direct descendant of Commodore
Thomas Truxton, one of the first six officers in the US Navy. Commodore Truxton
was the commanding officer of the USS Constellation during the War of 1812. The
most current USS Truxton (DDG 103) was commisioned at Goose Creek, SC on April
"I have no military background, but I did graduate from college in 1973, the era
of Viet Nam and a time of tremendous turmoil in so many aspects of our lives. In
November of 1982, the Viet Nam War Memorial was dedicated at the National
Cathedral in Washington, DC. At the time, my husband and I were living in
Alexandria, VA with our 3 year old and 7 month old daughters. I had taken them
for haircuts and on the way home we passed the National Cathedral where I knew
the names of the Viet Nam War Memorial Wall were being read. It was cold, dark,
rainy, the children were tired and I knew we would be late getting home, but I
felt this compulsion to go into the Cathedral and listen for just a little while
to the reading of the names on that haunting Wall."
"At the time the reading was being done in the War Chapel which is a
relatively small space beneath the nave of the Cathedral. At first, my children
and I were the only ones there, but then I noticed several men in dark suits and
a college classmate of mine that I knew worked in New York for a network news
program. I asked her what she was doing there and she said, "The better question
is, what are you doing here? President and Mrs. Reagan will be here any minute!"
Within a few minutes, President and Mrs. Reagan came in and sat a few rows in
front of us. To be in that lovely chapel at that moment, to listen to those name
being read with my precious children and the President of the United States was
an experience that to this day gives me chills."
"My only regret is that Tyler, now the mother of our two adorable
grandchildren, and Alex were too young to remember or appreciate the
significance of what happened, but I never get tired of telling them how special
that day in November was. Since that time I have never been able to pass a
person in military uniform without trying to thank them for their service.
Harbour House, and now Fisher House, is a way to do that on an ongoing basis and
has given me a purpose in my life for which I am profoundly grateful."