CHICAGO (CBS) — With Christmas less than a week away, Gov. Pat Quinn is encouraging the public to get into the spirit of giving by donating to a program that helps the families of wounded veterans.

WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports that the governor and Illinois Veterans Affairs Director Erica Borggren are asking people to support “Operation Hero Miles,” a program that provides donated frequent flyer miles to the families of wounded veterans, so the families can visit them at military hospitals.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports

Back in 2006, Tom Morrisey – serving in Iraq – was shot eight times. Doctors thought he might lose an arm.

“And it was Hero Miles that first brought my wife and my daughters to my bedside,” he said.

Several surgeries later, Morrisey has both arms, and is very appreciative that “Operation Hero Miles” flew his wife and daughters to the hospital during that very difficult time.

Seeing family members is important for the recovery of wounded veterans, says Borggren, especially at the holidays.

“Through Hero Miles, we can all give our wounded warriors the gift that most of us value the most this time of year: the gift of family,” Borggren said.

To date, Operation Hero Miles has issued more than 25,000 donated airline tickets, saving service members and their families nearly $40 million.

Click here for more information on the program.

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