Home / FAQs / If a spouse or other family member from out of state wants to visit an OIF/OEF active duty service member being treated at my VHA medical center but can’t afford the airfare, is there any program to help?

If a spouse or other family member from out of state wants to visit an OIF/OEF active duty service member being treated at my VHA medical center but can’t afford the airfare, is there any program to help?

In September 2003, Operation Hero Miles was created by Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (Maryland) to provide free airline tickets to troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan to allow them to go home on R & R leave. In December 2003, Operation Hero Miles partnered with the Fisher House Foundation to provide free airline tickets to family members of injured troops so they could travel to military hospitals to provide comfort. The Fisher House Foundation has now expanded this program to provide free airline tickets for family members of OIF/OEF active duty personnel who are transferred to VHA facilities. This program is dependent on donated frequent flyer miles and monetary donations to purchase air tickets. Several airlines are accepting the donations and providing free tickets to Operation Hero Miles and the Fisher House Foundation. For more information, please visit: http://fisherhouse.org/programs/hero-miles/ and http://www.fisherhouse.org. The tickets will be available to families of OIF/OEF active duty service members who are inpatients in VHA facilities so family members can travel to the facility. The active duty member must request the tickets from the Fisher House Foundation through their VA social worker or case manager. Requests should be faxed to the Director of Social Work Service in VA Central Office at 202-273-8385 using the VA Operation Hero Miles application form. For more information regarding services available to returning Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve service members of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, please visit http://www.oefoif.va.gov/

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