Thanks to Ann Arbor Rotary, the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System may get Michigan’s first Fisher House. With support from the Maryland-based Fisher Foundation, the house will provide free or low-cost housing for veterans’ families while their loved ones are treated at the VA hospital.

Why Ann Arbor? “The demand has grown,” says Randy Ritter, retired associate director of the Ann Arbor VAHS, and local hotel rates have gone up. “Vets and their families who come from outside Ann Arbor need housing,” he says.

Why Rotary? Ann Arbor club president Ashish Sarkar explains that assisting vets will be a focus of the service group’s 100th anniversary next year. It’s a personal cause for the energy consultant, who emigrated from India in the early 1970s and saw young friends drafted for the Vietnam War.

How big will it be? “Sixteen rooms is typical,” says Ritter, who’s acting as a liaison between the VA and Rotary. No plans have yet been drawn up, but Sarkar estimates the cost at $7-$10 million.

To kick off the fundraising campaign, Rotary has organized a free Veterans Day celebration at Hill Auditorium, including talks by WWII vet Art Holst, Robert Fletcher (“Fletcher’s Korea,” July) and veterans of the conflict in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan (see Events, November 11). “I’d like to get the youth there,” Ritter says. “I think they need to hear these stories.”