Service members and their families that have emergency travel needs are often provided assistance from the DoD, and this does help out a great deal. But another group that assists travel needs for Servicemembers is the Fisher House Foundation. The Fisher House Foundation can at times assist family members and Service members who are not covered by DoD travel. The Foundation began participation in December 2007 in a program called Operation Hero Miles. This program is one that was created to distribute airline tickets free of charge to service members hospitalized during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, and help reunite these service members with their families.
One of the things that it is best known for is the network of thirty-two comfort homes they provide. Fisher House has this comfort home network for the loved ones and families of military Servicemembers that are receiving medical care at military, civilian, and VA medical centers around the world.
The free airline Tickets are given as a free donation by Anheuser-Busch, and they are available to families and service members. Service members that are undergoing treatment because of their military service in Iraq, Afghanistan, or other theaters involved in the war on terror can qualify for these free tickets. “These tickets are available to our brave men and women who are undergoing medical treatment,” said Spokesman Jim Weiskopf of Fisher House Foundation.
There are eligible recipients in two categories for the tickets:
-Service Men and Women for a free round trip ticket if not eligible for government funded travel. This travel is from their home to the medical center, round trip, or vice versa.
-Families of Qualifying Service men and women can have a round trip free ticket for close friends or family to come visit while receiving approved treatment at a medical center.
The travel and request for tickets has to originate with the particular service member, and to apply they have to contact the medical center they are being treated at. The medical center sends a fax transmission to the Fisher House Foundation on behalf of the Servicemember for tickets. All the flights are currently through American Connection, American Eagle, or American Airlines. There are various possible travel restrictions, including a mandatory fourteen-day advance type purchase and other conditions. Fisher House Foundation and its supporters are not able at this time to assist in overnight accommodations or other travel help, for ticket recipients, but to just in helping provide these free round trip tickets.