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Colin Powell Interview on WMAL Radio

Interview on WMAL Radio With Fred Grandy and Andy Parks

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
December 17, 2004

(8:09 a.m. EST)


MR. GRANDY: And joining us on our Operation Homefront Campaign on Fisher House Friday, we are very privileged to welcome the Secretary of State, Colin Powell. Mr. Secretary, thank you for joining us on this important day.

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, good morning, and congratulations on the success of the campaign. And as soon as this is over, I'd like to make my contribution. (Laughter.)

MR. GRANDY: Well, you've made many contributions, Mr. Secretary.

MR. PARKS: Yes, you have, sir.

MR. GRANDY: I wanted to ask you, obviously, you've spent most of your life as a career military officer. What has been your relationship with Fisher House in the military and now in your capacity as our top diplomat?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, the originator of the whole idea, Zach Fisher, he was a very dear friend of mine, as was his wife, Elizabeth. And I've been involved with this program since the very early days when Mr. Fisher wanted to do something for the troops. He never served in the military, but he had such a love of the military, and so he came up with this idea of Fisher Houses and he started to create these homes at our military bases that we have hospitals at so that when a child, or a loved one for that matter, is in the hospital, you didn't have to send the family off to some strange motel, but there would be a homelike environment where two or three families could live in this home while they are taking care of their loved one in the nearby hospital. And the program just grew and grew and grew to the size that it is now. And it was an act of pure love on the part of Zach and Elizabeth.

MR. PARKS: You know, Fred and I have been to the Fisher House right up the street here at Bethesda Naval Med.

SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah.

MR. PARKS: It really was amazing, from the moment we walked through the door, to see the family. And the family consisted of many families from across our nation. They're kind of feeling the same pain, feeling the same emotions.

SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah.

MR. PARKS: Because they had loved ones in these facilities. And I've got to tell you, it touches your heart.

MR. GRANDY: It really does.

MR. PARKS: People, you don't realize it until you walk in there and you see it.

SECRETARY POWELL: No, you've got to see it. And that's the real beauty of it. You're not sitting in a motel room worrying all by yourself. You're with other families, with a kitchen, with a family room, where you can talk and share and ease each other's burdens and help each other. And that's what makes these Fisher Houses so very important, and I hope that you exceed your new goal of a million very quickly in the next 50 minutes.

MR. PARKS: Well, we're not going to give up. We're going to stay on Fisher House. But my impression, Mr. Secretary, is that -- and a lot of people don't know -- that, obviously, because we're helping so many uniformed service personnel, we're essentially helping a lot of kids. I mean, we just talked to the Chief Petty Officer of the Navy. He said 18, 19, 20 years old, people who are going through complicated rehabilitations, need their mom and dad or whatever relative can be there.

SECRETARY POWELL: Of course they do. And, you know, I've been up to Walter Reed several times and gone through the wards and talked to these young heroes, and I would say in almost every case there's a family member there, a parent or a loved one, or a wife for that matter, or husband, because this is the time when you really need somebody close by to take you through it. My son was in Walter Reed for a year recuperating many years ago, and we know how important it is for family members to be nearby. We happened to be living in the area so we were nearby, but for those who are living far away, the Fisher House is the only way they can do it.

MR. PARKS: Mr. Secretary, we know you're a busy man and we certainly appreciate you taking time out this morning and joining us in our campaign. By the way, in just the short amount of time since you have been on the air with us, our total has gone from $921,866 to $938,558.

SECRETARY POWELL: Okay. You want to give out the website number or phone number, or what?

MR. PARKS: 202-686-7771. That's 202-686-7771. Or go to our website, 630wmal.com.

SECRETARY POWELL: I'll go to the website.

MR. PARKS: All right.

SECRETARY POWELL: All right.

MR. GRANDY: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY POWELL: Bye-bye.

2004/1374 [End]

Released on December 17, 2004

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