Thursday, January 24, 2013 7:10 PM

Terry’s House turns two

Just two years ago in January, Terry’s House opened its doors to families with critically ill or injured loved ones at Community Regional Medical Center … it has been brimming ever since with guests who have found respite and relief.

“What a blessing to be here next to my son,” wrote one guest who travelled from Oklahoma to be with her son who was critically injured in an accident. “It has relieved so much stress.”

Terry’s House has served 1,500 families from 38 states and 13 countries over the last two years. Guests stay in one of the 20 rooms – each equipped with a private bathroom, television, refrigerator, DVD player and balcony. Terry’s House even has a special dog-friendly room named after Terry’s House donors Jim and Debbie Christian’s dog Sunnie. Guests have use of a common kitchen, living room and library, reflection room, computer resource room, conference room, outdoor healing garden, free laundry facility and WI-FI internet access.

One of the longest stays at Terry’s House was also the first guest. Yvonne Frear from Texas stayed nine months before her husband was well enough to travel home after a fiery truck crash. Traumatic injuries are the most common reason why loved ones come to Terry’s House followed by high risk pregnancy and newborns who must spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit. Other reasons include neurology issues, burns, cardiac procedures and rehabilitation. Regardless of the need, Terry’s House stands open to families who need to stay by their loved one.

When Paula Hoffert rushed from Los Angeles to Fresno to be by her son Tony’s side after an accident, she said she was terrified. However, when she needed a break, Terry’s House was right across the street.

“It was so wonderful that we could go to Terry’s House because it’s less than a 5 minute walk for us to get from Terry’s House to Tony’s room,” she said. “So I got used to getting 2 or 3 hours of sleep here and there and Terry’s House was so convenient. I could just go whenever it was a good time where I wasn’t so worried and get some rest and then come right back.”

Terry’s House is entirely dependent on donations for its operating expenses, which is about $500,000 annually. There also are many other ways you can help Terry’s House and the families in residence there. From volunteering to fix a meal to donating to its wish list, every type of gift helps families who are far from home. Find out how you can help by calling (559) 459-7200 or logging on to

Mary Lisa Russell reported this story. She can be reached at