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Gainesville Fisher House and UF Gators head coach Billy Napier collaborate.

Billy Napier, the head football coach at the University of Florida, Mrs. Patti Fabiani, the executive director of the Gainesville Fisher House Foundation, Mr. Rick Fabiani, the president of the Gainesville Fisher House Foundation, and Mr. Kimo Ortiz (far left), the manager of the Gainesville Fisher House, all take a picture in front of five limited-edition black jerseys that honor veterans, active duty members of the armed forces, and local first responders. The Gainesville Fisher House will directly profit from the jersey sale on May 25.
Author: Ryan Jernegan


In a collaborative effort with the Gainesville Fisher House, Billy Napier, the head football coach at the University of Florida Gators, has donated five limited-edition UF Gator football jerseys. These will be put up for auction on May 25.

This example strengthens the long-standing partnership between UF and the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System.

The Gators honored local first responders, veterans, and members of the military services on November 4, 2023, during their game versus the Arkansas Razorbacks while wearing special edition black jerseys during the 2023 college football season. The jerseys’ nameplate features the following words: honor, courage, dedication, integrity, and excellence—words that are strongly linked to military duty and emergency response.

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

“In trying to figure out our path in life, I think it is a unique decision,” Napier remarked. It takes a unique combination of qualities to pick that road and risk your life, and in my opinion, the military best captures the essence of teamwork and life in general. I’m really respectful of them because of their discipline, sacrifice, and interpersonal relationships.

Gainesville’s Fisher House Foundation, which offers cozy and reasonably priced accommodation to families of veterans receiving care at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center, will directly benefit from the auction of the one-of-a-kind, autographed jerseys.

The National Fisher House Foundation and the general public contribute to the construction of Fisher Houses, while the local Veterans Health System is in charge of the completed homes’ operating expenses. The Gainesville Fisher House is completely outfitted, has 20 bedrooms, a large, fully functional kitchen, dining areas, washers and dryers, and is roughly 15,000 square feet. It is also 100% handicapped accessible.

Coach Napier continued praising the Fisher House and its goal. According to Napier, “The Fisher House is special in its cause and the help they provide.” “I believe the special quality of the Fisher House is that these individuals who defended the liberties we sometimes take for granted are also families.”

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

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