Operation Hero Miles for the wounded veterans

Citizens with unused air miles can donate those frequent flier miles to Operation Hero Miles to help military families visit service members who were injured in Iraq or Afghanistan.

"I encourage everyone in the Land of Lincoln to honor those who fight for our freedom by supporting Operation Hero Miles," Gov. Pat Quinn said. "Donating unused frequent flier miles is a convenient way for the people of Illinois to show appreciation for our heroes, like Corporal Chad Watson."

Wounded troops are recovering in military hospitals around the world.

Watson was a marine corporal wounded in 2006 in Fallujah, losing his right leg above the knee to an improvised explosive device. He was transported to Bethesda Naval Hospital where Operation Hero Miles flew out his then-finance Jillian, sister, brother-in-law and best friend to be with him during his surgery and recovery. Watson's family used Operation Hero Miles five times during his 18-month stay at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to travel from Illinois to Washington, DC.

Watson and Jillian now live in Port Barrington.

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