Veterans Guest House Story
In the early 1990s, veterans visiting the Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC) in Reno noticed that windows on a car were fogged up on a cold morning. This meant only one thing – someone spent the night in their car. It was discovered that a wife and her children had spent the night in their car while her husband was in ICU. This family had no other choice but to sleep in their car so they could be together while he was in the hospital. These veterans, our founders, said “never again on our watch will this occur.” This is when the idea for the house began.
In 1994 the “Spouse House” was opened in a 1935 bungalow located across the street from the VAMC. This house could sleep 5 guest a night and was providing 800 guest nights a year. It became apparent that the need to support our veterans and their families was greatly needed.
In 2002, the Spouse House name was changed to Veterans Guest House. In 2004 a new house was built with 12 beds replacing the original bungalow. The need for a larger home continued to grow and in 2012 a second house was open. The Veterans Guest House provided lodging to over 5,200 veterans and their families in 2014.
This “Home Away from Home” which provides veterans and their families temporary overnight lodging while they are receiving medical treatment is privately funded and receives no government funding for it operations. It does maintain a non-profit 501(c) (3) status from the IRS. Donations are always welcome and the community support during the Radiothon fundraising event is crucial for our operational budget.
How I became involved with the Veterans Guest House
I was telling a good friend that I had visited my Dad at a VAMC in California and had no place to sleep but in my rental car. I had asked the VAMC if I could take a blanket out to my car so I could get some sleep before meeting with the doctors in the morning and it was just scary to think I was sleeping in my car in a parking lot. My friend said here in Reno we have the Veterans Guest House to support our veterans and families while they are getting medical treatment. I knew right then that I wanted to support the Veterans Guest House. I was asked to help with a Radiothon over 10 years ago and I have never stopped helping. I have seen how important the Guest House is to our veterans and their families. They know that they have a safe place to call “home”. I am now a board member and have continued to see the need for our lodging. The Guest House is truly an amazing place and I know every day I am supporting and giving to a fantastic organization. – Carol Langford