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Gainesville Fisher House collaborates with Billy Napier, head coach of the UF Gators.

In front of five limited-edition black jerseys honoring members of the armed forces, veterans, and local first responders, University of Florida Gators head football coach Billy Napier is pictured with Mrs. Patti Fabiani, Executive Director of the Gainesville Fisher House Foundation; Mr. Rick Fabiani, President of the Gainesville Fisher House Foundation; and Mr. Kimo Ortiz, Gainesville Fisher House Manager (far left). The Gainesville Fisher House will immediately benefit from the auction revenues of the jerseys on May 25.
written by Ryan Jernegan

The Gators honored veterans, active duty soldiers, and first responders in the community on November 4, 2023, during their game against the Arkansas Razorbacks while wearing special edition black jerseys during the 2023 college football season. Honor, bravery, dedication, honesty, and excellence are words that are strongly linked to first responders and military duty and are emblazoned on the nameplate of the jerseys.

Coach Napier said that the original intent of the jerseys was to raise awareness and show respect and admiration for first responders and all branches of the armed forces.

When attempting to determine our course in life, Napier stated, “I think it is a unique decision.” “I believe the military represents life as much as anything we have in terms of life, the makeup of a team. It takes a little something special to pick that route and put your life in danger. I’m really respectful of them because of their discipline, sacrifice, and interpersonal relationships.

The Gainesville Fisher House Foundation, which offers friendly and reasonably priced accommodation to families of veterans receiving care at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville, will directly benefit from the auction of the distinctive, signed jerseys.

Donations from the general public and the National Fisher House Foundation are used to construct Fisher Houses, and the local Veterans Health System is in charge of maintaining the completed residences. With 20 bedrooms, a spacious kitchen with all the appliances, dining areas, washers and dryers, and complete furnishings, the Gainesville Fisher House is a completely furnished, 15,000 square foot, 100% handicap accessible home.

Coach Napier continued her laudatory remarks on the Fisher House and its goal. As for the help they offer, Napier remarked, “The Fisher House is unique in its cause.” “I believe the special quality of the Fisher House is that these individuals who defended the liberties we sometimes take for granted are humans too.”

In addition to being appreciative of Coach Napier’s efforts, the North Florida/South Georgia VHS anticipates more collaborations that will deepen our community links, which benefit both our veterans and the larger Gainesville region.

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