Have you ever heard the old adage, “Family is the best medicine?” Well, there seems to be truth to that statement. It has been proven that having family nearby greatly benefits patients battling illness or injury. Did you know that not only is there a direct correlation between the family proximity and the length of time a patient spends in the hospital but the frequency of readmission also decreases when family members closely participate in the recovery process. Imagine how shorter stays in the hospital and less frequent re-admissions benefit not only the individual patient but also how it allows more veterans to be treated annually.
“It has been proven that having family nearby greatly
benefits patients battling illness or injury.”
The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, located in historic downtown Charleston, is one of the most highly rated VA hospitals in the country. The Ralph H. Johnson serves more than 4,500 veteran inpatients annually from 22 coastal counties from Myrtle Beach, SC to Savannah, GA. Charleston is a beautiful tourist-welcoming location—with that comes high dollar nightly accommodations. Not all visitors to Charleston are on vacation and can afford vacation rates. And that is why Fisher House Charleston is essential.
The 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, SC.
The Board of Directors
Trux Emerson Bio
Mr. Emerson has a background in investment and real estate. He became a stock- broker 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 was sold in 1999.
After relocating to Bozeman, MT. Mr. Emerson commenced his career in real estate largely with Bridger Realty. After nearly nine years in the Rockies, the Emerson’s 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. Truxtun Emerson is a direct descendent of Commodore Thomas Truxtun, one of the first six officers in the US Navy. Commodore Thomas Truxtun was the commanding officer of The USS Constellation during the War of 1812. The most current USS Truxtun (DDG 103) was commissioned here in Charleston at Goose Creek April 26, 2009.
Incidentally, Truxtun Avenue is located on the old Charleston Navy Yard. It is this military legacy that has driven my desire to “give back” to our Veterans through the Harbour House initiative here in the Charleston area.
Durbin Emerson Bio
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 that 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 on 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.
By this 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 suites 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 names being read with my precious children and the President of the United Sates 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 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.
Major General Livingston Bio
Major General James E. Livingston retired on September 1, 1995 following over 33 continuous years on active duty in the United States Marine Corps.His last assignment was the Commander of the Marine Forces Reserve in New Orleans, Louisiana.
He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in June 1962, following graduation from Auburn University. Early assignments included service as a Platoon Commander, Intelligence Officer, and as a Recruit Training Regiment Series Commander.
Promoted to Captain in June 1966, General Livingston served as the Commanding Officer of the Marine detachment aboard the aircraft carrier USS Wasp, before joining the 3d Marine Division (Reinforced) in the Republic of Vietnam in August 1967.
On May 2, 1968, while serving as the Commanding Officer, Company E, 2d Battalion, 4thMarines, he distinguished himself above and beyond the call of duty in action against enemy forces and earned the Congressional Medal of Honor.
After his second tour in Vietnam, General Livingston served as an instructor at the Army’s Infantry School, Director of Division Schools for the 1st Marine Division, and, later, as the S-3 for 3d Battalion, 7th Marines. In March 1975, he returned to Vietnam and served as the Operations Officer for the Vietnam evacuation operations which included Operation “Frequent Wind”, the evacuation of Saigon.
He then commanded the Marine Barracks, United Kingdom, London and served as the Commanding Officer, 3d Recruit Training Battalion, then as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations and Training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina. During this period, he earned a master’s degree in Management from Webster University. General Livingston then served with the 2d Marine Division and commanded the 6th Marines before joining the Joint U. S. Assistance Group in the Republic of the Philippines.
Following advancement to Brigadier General on June 10, 1988, he served as Deputy Director for Operations at the National Military Command Center in Washington, D.C. During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, General Livingston commanded the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, 29 Palms, California, and developed the Desert Warfare Training Program. After commanding the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade, he was advanced to Major General on July 8, 1991 and assumed command of the 4th Marine Division (Reinforced). In July 1992 he assumed command of the newly created Marine Reserve Force, and continued through its reorganization in October 1994 with its new title, Marine Forces Reserve.
Major General Livingston is a native of Towns, Georgia. He is a graduate of the Amphibious Warfare School, the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the Air War College. His decorations include the Medal of Honor; Distinguished Service Medal; Silver Star Medal; Defense Superior Service Medal; Bronze Star Medal, with Combat “V”; Purple Heart, Third Award; Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal, Second Award; Navy Commendation Medal, with Combat “V”; Combat Action ribbon, Second Award; and various other service and foreign decorations. He is also a qualified military parachutist.
Major General Livingston is married to the former Sara Craft. They have two daughters, Kimberly and Melissa. Kimberly, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Medical University of South Caroline is currently a MOHS Surgeon in a private practice located in Denver, Colorado. Melissa, a graduate from Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana and is currently serving as a volunteer board member at the Medal of Honor Grove at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
Kent Hutchinson Bio
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 companies.
Upon retirement he became active with Fisher Houses in the Washington DC region and recently resigned as President of the Fisher House at Joint Base Andrews.
Joshua Strimple Bio
Joshua Strimple, a Captain 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 specializing in retirement plans for nonprofit organizations, as well as construction management for school districts.
Andrew Francis Bio
Andy is 67 years old. Married 30 years to Susan. Two adult children and 3 grand children who live in Indianapolis, Indiana.
- 1971 – 1977: Founder and CEO of Custom Trim of Indiana, Inc. I built the largest automotive aftermarket trim business in Indiana, and one of the largest in the U.S.
- 1974 – 1976: Founder of Van World, Inc. A van conversion company.
- 1982 – 1984: General Partner, in a natural gas company entirely in the state of Ohio.
- 1978 – 2007: McDonald’s Restaurants Licensee. Owned and operated eight restaurants in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Other Professional Experience
- Board Member, Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce
- Board Member, Indiana Chamber of Commerce
- Board Member, Indiana Muscular Dystrophy Association
- President of INCO, Inc. The Central Indiana McDonald’s Restaurant Association
- Board Member, Indiana Education Association
- Member, Indiana Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee
Education / Certificates
- Associate Degree – Electrical Engineering. DeVry Institute, Chicago, Illinois
- 100 Ton Merchant Marine Masters License, U.S. Coast Guard
Other Life Experience
- 1969 – 1971: U.S. Army. Served in Vietnam. Life Member, DAV.
- 2007: Retired
- 2007-2012: Lived aboard a power boat. Cruised 26,000 miles including U.S. East Coast, Bahamas, Caribbean, Central America, South America, through the Panama Canal, and spent a year in the Pacific Ocean before cruising back to Charleston, SC.
My hobby is restoring vintage Corvettes. I play golf (not well), swim, bicycle, and lift weights for exercise .
BG Gilbert S. Harper Bio
The Harpers are a military family. Gil Harper grew up as an Air Force brat; his wife, Kris, grew up as a Navy brat; and they raised three Army brats.
Gil served in the Army for over 29 years, retiring as the Army’s Chief of Transportation. He served in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America and commanded the 593rdArea Support Group in DESERT STORM and RESTORE HOPE.
A graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, he earned master degrees in mathematics and operations research from Stanford University and was a National Security Fellow at Harvard University. He has taught as an adjunct professor at the Citadel, College of Charleston and three other colleges.
After retiring from the Army, Gil joined Pearson plc, first as SVP, Warehousing & Fulfillment, Penguin Group (USA) and later as Managing Director, Pearson Shared Services – UK. He is currently Managing Partner, Broadmoor Business Solutions and Outside Director, Streit USA Armoring. He is a member of the Board of Governors, Harbour Club.
The Harpers continue to support military veterans and families. Gil is President of the West Point Society of Charleston and Chairman of the Board of Advisors, Patriots of the Lowcountry. Kris works in the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum; volunteers with Olive Branch International, a humanitarian assistance organization supporting military families worldwide; and is completing a doctorate, focusing on educating the military child.
Geona Johnson Bio
I joined the Harbour House Board of Directors to make a positive impact in the lives of Veteran’s families and to assist in facilitating an effort that I believe is vitally important to our community; temporary lodging for the families of veterans while their family member is undergoing medical treatment. Harbour House is modeled after the successful Fisher Houses that operate across the country and provide free accommodations to the families of veterans; many of whom have traveled far distances to obtain medical care.
As the daughter of a World War II Veteran and the wife of a Retired Lieutenant Colonel who fought in Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, I strongly believe that Veterans and their families deserve the very best this community and the United States of America can provide. I am pleased to be a part of this very special and significant effort in our community and in the lives of those who have served our country unselfishly.
James A. Roy Bio
Jim Roy is senior program manager for Scientific Research Corporation. He joined SRI in 2013 after a 30 year distinguished military service career in the USAF. His final position was as the 16th Senior Chief Master Sergeant of the USAF As the the ost senior enlisted man in the Air Force his role was to be the personal advisor to the USAF Chief of Staff on all issues regarding readiness, welfare , morale and progress in utilization of the of the enlisted force.
Jim serves on the US Air Force Association National Executive Committee and Board of Directors plus a number of other associations that support our military forces.
Paula Roy Bio
Mrs. Roy has a long history of supporting military families. Most recently, she served as Director of the Air Force Association Airmen and Family Programs. She has received many honors including the USAF Distinguished Public Service Award and Honorary President of the Air Force Sergeants Association Auxiliary.
Mrs. Roy is also the wife of Jim Roy the 16th Senior Chief Master Sergeant of the USAF.
Russell Wenner Bio
Russell Wenner is Director of Investments with Abbot Downing/Wells Fargo in Charlotte. Russell, who has extensive experience working with ultra-high net worth families, currently has $950 million assets under management. For more than 31 years, Russell has guided both investment management and business development for various family office platforms.
Chaplain Charles C. Baldwin Bio
Chaplain, Major General, Charles C. Baldwin was raised in the home of an Air Force chaplain. He graduated from RJ Reynolds High School, Winston-Salem, NC, in 1965, and the U. S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, in 1969, then became an Air Force pilot. He flew for five years, including two combat tours in Vietnam; one was the Super Jolly Green Giant HH-53 rescue helicopter. He was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and four Air Medals.
In 1977, he graduated from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY, and served as a pastor in Kentucky and Indiana. He became an Air Force chaplain in 1979 and has served in Italy, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and across the United States during his service to the men and women in the Air Force.
From 2004 to 2008, he served as the Chief of Chaplains for the US Air Force. He provided moral and spiritual counsel to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, leadership to the Chaplain Corps and pastoral care to the Air Force members and families. He made eight trips to Iraq and Afghanistan to visit the troops.
After his retirement, Anne and he moved to Charleston, SC. He has been married to Anne for 45 years. They have three children with spouses and ten grandchildren.
Rear Admiral James H. Flatley, III Bio
Rear Admiral (Ret.) James H. Flatley III is the chief executive officer of the South Carolina Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Charleston. His leadership and contributions to aviation in South Carolina include the rebuilding of Patriots Point to premier Naval Air Museum.
Flatley also had an outstanding career as a Naval aviator, earning the Air Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross, among many U.S. and foreign awards.
Further, in special airmanship, Flatley demonstrated the possibility of operating the large C-130 Air Force transport on and off of Navy aircraft carriers. Flatley made not one, not 10, but 29 “Touch and Gos” and 21 “Full Stop Landings” on the carrier USS Forrestal.
Flatley was made an Admiral, thus following in the footsteps of his father who was the USS Yorktown’s first Air Group Commander, in WW II. Flatley retired in July 1987 to Charleston and continues to be a force in South Carolina Aviation.
Flatley was named to U.S. Naval Aviation Carrier Hall of Fame in 1999.