Operation Hero Miles [Bristol Observer]

January 4, 2013

Bristol Observer editorial

If the Illinois governor didn’t say anything, we probably wouldn’t have known about it.

But now that we do, we figured we’d pass it on to the people of Bristol because we believe it’s a good cause we can get behind.

On Christmas Eve, The Associated Press reported that the governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn, was urging residents to donate their frequent flyer miles to Operation Hero Miles, a program run by Fisher House (FisherHouse.org).

According to the website at Fisher House, “This program allows Americans to donate their frequent flyer miles to Fisher House Foundation and in turn, Hero Miles will fly wounded, injured and ill service members and their loved ones.” The partner airlines are AirTran Airlines, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways.”

There are two categories of eligible recipients, said the website for Fisher House:
“Service men and women with approved leave may be given a free round trip airline ticket for a trip from the medical center to their home or authorized event and return if they are not eligible for government funded airfare. Qualifying service men and women may be given free round trip airline tickets to enable their family or close friends to visit them while they are being treated at the medical center.”

Quinn’s comments were directed toward the people of Illinois, but his suggestion is one that every American – every Bristol resident– should take to heart.

Given the enormity of the tasks performed by the members of our military, we would like to think these men and women were paid well enough that they could fly their families or fly home when they are injured. But this isn’t the case. And airfare for entire families, or even one soldier, can be incredibly expensive. However, for those soldiers who are wounded, and may be feeling down, seeing their families would be a great way to lift their spirits.

Operation Hero Miles seems a great way for people to help our men and women in the armed services, to do so in a meaningful way, without putting too much of a burden on their own wallets.

As those frequent flyer miles are accumulating, you really can’t do anything with them until a set plateau is reached. And you may never accumulate enough of these miles to ever use them in a way you would like.

Operation Hero Miles is a good way to put them to a beneficial and appreciated use.

And there’s strength in numbers. Even if your miles aren’t enough to send one wounded soldier home via Operation Hero Miles, if enough people give a few miles here, a few miles there, the end result will get these military members with their loved ones.

Yes, we know it is too late to foster reunions in time for Christmas or New Year’s, but this is a program that runs year long.

Bristol is always there to help its veterans.
Here’s a chance to help veterans across the country.

To help, go to http://www.fisherhouse.org/programs/hero-miles/