Governor Pat Quinn today encouraged families throughout Illinois to support Operation Hero Miles, a program that benefits servicemembers who were injured in Iraq or Afghanistan. Through the program, people can donate unused frequent flyer miles to allow military families to visit their loved ones recovering in military hospitals around the world.
"Operation Hero Miles is such an important program that allows military families to be together -- something that is especially important during the holidays," said Governor Quinn. "I encourage people throughout our state to celebrate the holidays by donating unused frequent flyer miles to our military families."
Administered by the Fisher House Foundation, Operation Hero Miles provides airline tickets to military families for travel related to a servicemember's medical condition. Servicemembers being treated as a result of an injury can also request a ticket to travel home while on medical leave.
For more information or to donate airline miles for families to visit wounded military personnel at military or Veterans Affairs medical centers around the world, please visit www.fisherhouse.org. To date, the program has issued more than 20,000 donated tickets, saving military families nearly $27 million.
Operation Hero Miles partners with the following air carriers:
* AirTran Airways
* Alaska Airlines
* American Airlines
* Continental Airlines
* Frontier Airlines
* Midwest Airlines
* United Airlines
* US Airways
Tomorrow, Governor Quinn will make his sixth trip to visit wounded servicemembers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and Fisher House in Germany. Landstuhl is often the first stop on a long road home for many soldiers wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan. During the visit, Governor Quinn will hand-deliver thousands of holiday cards made by Illinois schoolchildren to servicemembers, doctors and staff at the facility.
During today's event, Governor Quinn also highlighted a number of other programs that benefits Illinois' Veterans and servicemembers.
The Veterans Cash lottery ticket is a scratch-off ticket that benefits Illinois Veterans. All proceeds from the ticket fund rehabilitative programs and other services for our Veterans. Since Governor Quinn championed the program in 2006, it has generated more than $8.4 million for Veterans organizations across the state.
The Illinois Military Family Relief Fund allows residents to donate to Illinois military families in need of financial assistance while loved ones are deployed overseas. Since its launch in 2003, the program has distributed nearly $12 million dollars to families across the state.
For more information about these and other programs for our Veterans, visit OperationHomefront.org or call the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs at 217-782-6641 or 312-814-2460.