No one likes that phone call, civilian or military; a loved one is injured or seriously ill and you should be by his or her side. Anybody who has had to purchase a last-minute ticket knows the costs can be exorbitant. If you are the spouse of a military family member, you 1) are mostly likely underemployed, having to find a new job every three years or so, and 2) know exactly how much your beloved makes. Or you’re a parent of a serviceman or woman, retired and living on a fixed income. How are you going to afford a trip across the country, or perhaps even to another continent?
Hero Miles Program, administered by the Fisher House Foundation, provides free airline transportation to family members (or close friends) to visit and provide support for their loved ones. Service members who are not eligible for government-sponsored airfare to return home may also be eligible for this program.
Seven airline participate; American Airlines, Alaska Air, AirTran Air, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and U.S. Airways. People donate their frequent flier miles from these companies’ incentive programs by contacting the individual airline companies. Credit card reward miles from these seven companies are also eligible for donation. From the pool of miles, tickets are granted to eligible applicants.
Applications (reported at one page) are usually available at the Service Casualty Office or other social work office at the service member’s hospital, which are then verified by hospital medical personnel. Should you have any additional questions or have a hard time getting in contact with the social service office in question, the Fisher House Foundation phone number is 888.294.8560. They are more than happy to guide you through this process.
Nobody ever wants to use these programs. It’s better, however, to know that should the worst happen, you know what resources are available to you. Zachary Fisher may not have been able to join the United States Marine Corps during World War II due to medical issues, but his legacy of assistance to military families have made him (and his wife Elizabeth) one of this country’s greatest civilian supporters of service members and their families. His family continues his legacy and want to help serve those who serve.