CHICAGO - December 23, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today joined United Airlines to encourage people across Illinois to help injured servicemembers overseas connect with their families this holiday season through Operation Hero Miles. This program helps wounded or ill overseas servicemembers and their families visit each other without having to worry about the financial burden of airfare.
“There’s no better cure than the care and support of loved ones,” Governor Quinn said. “Operation Hero Miles gives our Wounded Warriors a chance to be with family and friends while they heal and undergo medical treatment. I encourage people throughout Illinois and across the country to donate their frequent flyer miles to this program and help Wounded Warriors connect with their families this holiday season.”
Administered by the Fisher House Foundation, Operation Hero Miles uses donated frequent flyer miles to provide free round-trip airline tickets to military families flying overseas to visit a servicemember receiving medical treatment. The program also enables wounded or ill servicemembers with approved leave to fly home at no cost. To date, Operation Hero Miles has issued more than 34,000 donated tickets, saving servicemembers and their families nearly $54 million. To donate airline miles, visit www.fisherhouse.org.
The governor recently returned from his eighth annual trip to visit servicemembers receiving treatment at Landstuhl Medical Center in Germany, bringing holiday cards made by children in Illinois with him.
Governor Quinn has made commitment to veterans, servicemembers and their families a top priority throughout his career in public service. He has led programs including the Illinois Warrior Assistance Program and the Veterans Cash lottery ticket, which has awarded more than $10 million to non-profit organizations across the state that provide health care and post-traumatic stress disorder treatment, housing assistance, disability benefits and other services to Illinois’ veterans.
As Lieutenant Governor, Governor Quinn championed the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund Act, which established a fund to provide grants to families of Illinois National Guard members and Illinois residents serving in the U.S. Armed Forces Reserve components who were called to active duty as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. These grants help service members and their families with the costs of food, housing, utilities, medical services and other expenses they struggle to afford because a wage-earner has temporarily left civilian employment to be placed on active military duty. The fund has distributed more than $14.5 million to over 27,200 Illinois military families to assist with the financial burden at home when a loved one is deployed overseas.
For more information about these and other programs for our Veterans, visit www.OperationHomefront.org or call the Illinois Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs at 217-782-6641 or 312-814-2460.