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In Memory of Ken Armstrong

2011 Snow Ball Gala Benefit Raises Almost $10,000 For FOFH-IL Support of Hines VA Fisher House

Friend and musician George Mutert organizes evening of live music, endless pizzas where friends, relatives of Ken Armstrong – early supporter of the fund-raising campaign to construct Hines VA Fisher House—gather to reminisce

“We welcome and are grateful for fundraising efforts like the Snow Ball benefit organized by generous supporter George Mutert at the Park Ridge Inn December 2011. These funds go directly to help pay for operations, maintenance, groceries, supplies so families can stay completely free of charge,” says Friends of Fisher House-Illinois (FOFH-IL) President Betty Stamatis.

DSCN2989Sincerest Thanks to George Mutert from (l-r) Holly Wright, Hines VA Fisher House Manager; and Betty Stamatis, FOFH-IL President for the $10,000 Contribution Raised by His Snow Ball Benefit In Memory of Ken Armstrong. Stamatis presented a FOFH-IL Certificate of Appreciation to Mutert for his amazing effort.

Photography Courtesy
of Harry Theodore

“We thank, not only Mr. Mutert and his band, but also all of the attendees who generously donated to the FOFH-IL mission in memory of Ken Armstrong,” Stamatis adds.

The Fisher House humanitarian program recognizes the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and the hardships of military service. This program fills a humanitarian need beyond that normally provided by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. That is why Friends of Fisher House-Illinois was formed as a volunteer, non-profit to assist Hines VA with their financial budget for Hines VA Fisher House.


From 2005 to 2008, a local grass roots campaign by Fisher Houses for Illinois was coordinated by current FOFH-IL President Betty Stamatis for DMS Pharmaceutical Group. This drive raised sufficient funds to be matched by Fisher House Foundation for construction of a  $5.7-million-dollar, 20-private bedroom-suite Fisher House now on the grounds of Hines VA Hospital.

According to Stamatis, "We were finding the task of raising over a million dollars rather daunting until a shot in the arm and assistance arrived in the person of the very enthusiastic Ken Armstrong. He especially liked to distribute Defending Your Freedom camouflage bracelets for donations. Some of you may remember these wristbands imprinted with “Defending Freedom” and “Pray for Our Troops." He managed to successfully spread awareness of our mission this way. I believe he single handedly wiped out our supplies!

"Ken generously provided his business and personal mailing contacts for solicitation letters we composed together and mailed. Ken, in his usual disarming style followed up on the mailings. I suspect he did a little arm-twisting to bring in donations. Pretty soon, Ken had his entire family helping out at the annual benefits."

"We are deeply gratified by the generous Chicago community response to the critical need to build a Fisher House in Illinois.” We count Ken Armstrong as foremost on our list of the construction fundraising phase supporters. He with his partner Kim Ericson gave sizeable monetary contributions to the cause. We will always be grateful for their generosity."

Stamatis concludes, "People like Ken Armstrong, his friend George Mutert and the public are the frontline and pivotal to raising funds to ensure veterans and military families can stay at the Hines VA Fisher House free of charge, no matter how long.  We also need to help these cash-strapped families by providing as many of their needs as possible during their stays."

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Military Families Express Heartfelt Appreciation

Fisher House is a Godsend. So many of us want to be with our family members but can’t always afford it with the cost of travel, lodging and food. Thanks to Fisher House we can!


What a blessing! The Fisher House has relieved me of so much stress. Don’t know what I would have done.


This is such a great opportunity for families of veterans affected by war and illness. It warms my heart to see the government, community, families and those who serve out nation working together for the greater good.


The place is more than just a place to sleep. It’s just like your second home.


My grandmother and I stayed at the Fisher House to keep my father company during his long treatment/recovery… If not for this home, my father would have been a sad and lonely man.


…The Fisher House provides peace of mind for the patient as well as their family…the manager and staff are a true blessing…