By Drew Brooks
Staff writer, Fayobserver.com
Families at Fort Bragg's Fisher House had a special guest Tuesday as country music singer Collin Raye paid a visit.
Raye, a four-time platinum recording artist whose career began in the early 1990s, walked into the home to a warm applause from soldiers and their families.
“It's good to be here with you,” Raye said. “I'm just really humbled and proud to be here.”
Raye was visiting Fisher House residents, wounded warriors and others who receive treatment at nearby Womack Army Medical Center.
He posed for pictures and signed autographs. But often, it seemed as if Raye was the one in awe of those he was visiting.
“I just get giddy about the military,” he said.
Raye performed an acoustic version of his song “Love, Me.”
He and the nonprofit group Wish for Our Heroes brought gifts for the house and the families. They included household items, flat-screen televisions and toys.
Jeff Wells, president of Wish for Our Heroes, said Raye is a big supporter of troops who jumped at the opportunity to tour Fisher Houses with the organization. “It was sort of a natural fit,” Wells said.
Spc. Bryan Pack, a Tennessee native assigned to Fort Bragg's Warrior Transition Battalion, posed for a picture with Raye and quickly sent a copy to his mother.
“I grew up listening to country music,” Pack said before listing some of his favorite Raye songs. “It's definitely great to see him.”
The Fort Bragg Fisher House opened in 1993 and serves about 300 families a year, manager Paula Gallero said. It's one of more than 60 such homes spread across military installations and Veterans Affairs hospitals.
The houses serve as “a home away from home” for families of patients receiving care at major military medical centers.
The Fort Bragg house's seven rooms can hold up to 25 family members at a time, Gallero said, and operates with a waiting list.
Gallero said Raye was the first celebrity she can remember to visit soldiers at the house since it opened.
Staff writer Drew Brooks can be reached at email@example.com or 486-3567.