Gov. Pat Quinn: Hero Milles, Operation Homefront
December 23, 2013 -- Gov. Quinn visited Eyewitness News to discuss several creative ways to support military veterans this Christmas, including encouraging people to embrace the season of giving by donating their airline miles to veterans so they can come home and see their loved ones.
Hero Miles is one of the Governor's signature initiatives.
About Hero Miles:
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 40,000 donated tickets, saving servicemembers and their families nearly $63 million. A list of major airline partners that help support the Hero Miles program include: Airtran Airlines, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways.
Governor Quinn Announces Annual Trip to Visit Wounded Servicemembers
Scheduled to Depart Thursday to Deliver Holiday Cards to Servicemembers; Reminds Families Across Illinois to Honor Our Troops This Holiday Season
CHICAGO - Governor Pat Quinn today announced he will be departing Thursday of this week on his annual journey to personally deliver holiday cards to wounded servicemembers. This year the Governor will visit the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) in Bethesda, Md. Each year schoolchildren across Illinois demonstrate their overwhelming support for our troops through the Illinois Heroes holiday card drive, which helps ensure a brighter holiday for wounded soldiers.
"I salute everyone who took time this holiday season to show their support and appreciation for heroic veterans and servicemembers," Governor Quinn said. "We can never thank our soldiers enough for the sacrifices they have made to keep us safe and to secure our freedom."
This year will mark the ninth time that Governor Quinn has visited Illinois troops and their families for Christmas. For the previous eight years, Governor Quinn traveled to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Germany, which is the largest American hospital outside of the United States. Since many servicemembers have returned home since the drawdown of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Governor Quinn will be visiting the WRNMMC this year. During the visit, Governor Quinn will present servicemembers, doctors and staff at the facility with holiday cards made by Illinois schoolchildren.
The cards will be shipped to Maryland through Chicago-based United Airlines. Governor Quinn has always made our veterans, servicemembers and their families one of his top priorities. He championed numerous veterans' causes during his service as Lieutenant Governor and Illinois Treasurer. In 2011, Governor Quinn launched the Welcome Home Heroes program to support Illinois servicemembers seeking homeownership.
In 2012, the Governor proposed in his State of the State address and signed into law the Hiring Veterans Tax Credit. The law provides a significant additional tax credit to businesses who hire unemployed veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, to both help businesses create jobs and give those jobs to the people who have sacrificed so much for our state and our country. Earlier this year, Governor Quinn launched the newest Veterans Cash instant lottery ticket, a $2 ticket with all proceeds going to benefit Illinois veterans' organizations. Since the Governor first championed and launched the program in 2006, Veterans Cash has awarded more than $11 million in grants to more than 210 veterans' organizations statewide. The Illinois Lottery's Veterans Cash game is the first lottery game in the United States to earmark 100 percent of net proceeds to veterans.
For more information on these and other programs for our veterans, please visit operationhomefront.org.
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