Operation Hero Miles

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Last night we had Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., on our show to discuss the program he has been promoting and supporting called "Operation Hero Miles." It is a program by which you — yes, you — can donate frequent flyer miles to help our troops.

When Congressman Ruppersberger first helped launch this program it was because our government flew our troops home from Iraq to a port city (like Baltimore) for R&R, but then the troops had to pay out of their own pockets to go beyond that to their homes. If you lived in mid-USA, or even 500 miles from one of four port cities, it could cost a family a lot of money for that flight home. Many could not afford to do that and it rightfully disturbed people like the congressman. With the miles donated from Operation Hero Miles, the troops were able to get home to see their families. After the program got lots of attention, and the fact that our government was not helping our troops get all the way home to see their families, our government got shamed and decided to pay to get our troops from Iraq all the way to their homes (beyond just the port city).

Then another problem became apparent: Families of injured soldiers could not afford to travel to Walter Reed Hospital to see their injured sons, daughters, wives, husbands, parents, etc. So what did the congressman do? He extended the Operation Hero Miles so that we can donate miles to the program and family members can use the miles to fly to visit the injured. As you know, some troops are severely injured and are hospitalized for a long time. The Fisher House (www.fisherhouse.org) helps provide housing for the families (much like the Ronald MacDonald house to help families of very sick children.)

Congressman Ruppersberger has been promoting this program for a long time. Because his appearance on our show last night reminded me that I needed to help — and could — I went online before the show and donated 90,000 US Air miles from my miles account. Because I live on the road, I have lots of miles. I will donate more from other accounts today. I was in a hurry last night and thus only did one airline.

One other thing: Congressman Ruppersberger ("Dutch") is a fraternity brother of my husband's from the University of Maryland. I can only imagine… I don't ask.

If you have some spare miles you would like to donate… jump in! Just go online to the airline Web site and click away and send me an e-mail after you have done it. It is fun for us at the show to see how we can make a difference by promoting good causes.

You can go to www.fisherhouse.org or go directly to your airline (I went to the US Airways Web site, then to the dividend miles page... and there were directions on how to donate miles.) Donate whatever you can. Note also that this Memorial Day weekend the airlines are going to match what you give — so if you give 5,000 miles, it means 10,000!

Incidentally, I had a thrill on my redeye flight back to D.C. from California. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin was on the flight and we had a chance to talk. Apparently I was not the only star-struck person: Before the flight took off I saw the pilot talking to Buzz and taking him in the direction of the front of the plane (the cockpit?) If you want to know a bit more about Buzz, click here for NASA's bio of him.

One final thing: How much do you think our guest on the volcano hates me? I bet a lot... and I don't blame him. I was so tired last night (I had flown the redeye from California) that I miscalculated on some interviews before him so that by the time I got to him I had only 45 seconds left before the show ended. It was terribly rude of me... and I thought about it all the way home (I am still thinking about it.) He was our last guest of the night and he got short-sheeted. I need to figure out how to fix it with him.

Now for some e-mails:

E-mail No. 1

Hello Greta,
Will you please consider having Stevie Nicks on your show, she is a frequent visitor to Walter Reed Medical Hospital as well as other Veterans Hospitals. She has a personal charity where she personally brings Music iPods filled with music to the injured troops to help them with their healing and therapy. She spends hours visiting with them and never invites the press to get attention for herself.
Stevie never voices her opinion as being against or for the war, she has once stated that she will not be pulled into the politics, but clearly she loves the U.S. military and values their service.
It seems whenever she is interviewed, she is only asked questions about her past use of drugs, she is never asked about her interest or successes today. She has so many stories to share and has also written a song about New Orleans and Katrina, but waiting to release it so she arrange it to help the people there.
She has the largest loyal fan base since Elvis. Stevie is currently on tour, I would love to see her on FOX and especially one of my favorite shows, Greta.
I also enjoy all your visits with Ozzy over the years. I wish you the best, I enjoy watching your show every evening.
Rhonda Gould
Texas Fan!

E-mail No. 2

Donated 50,000 miles on AA. Thank you for letting us know about the match.
Susan and Bill Gau
Midland, TX

ANSWER: This is great... and this weekend the airline matches you!

E-mail No. 3

Good evening, Greta,
Loved the interview with Ozzy! You can tell that he is really comfortable with you. I've seen the way he acts with people that he isn't comfortable with and it isn't pretty. I had to make a massive decision tonight...whether to watch your show or to watch the VH1 Rock Honors where Ozzy was going to be honored. So I chose to watch your interview with him, and I'm glad I did. Plus, I can most likely catch Rock Honors when they show it again.
Oh, bless you for the flyer miles that you donated!! That was just awesome that you did that!
Have a great night. Fabulous job with the interview. I appreciate you!
Elizabeth Ezzell

E-mail No. 4

Dear Greta,
Great interview with Ozzy. Wow! An incredible story of his survival and his love for Sharon and his family. Keep up the great work!
Helmut Weissmuller, Esq.

E-mail No. 5

Thanks for airing the program on Fisher House — I am donating 100,000 miles first thing tomorrow morning!
Wendy Newlon

ANSWER: And, since there is a "special" this weekend... it means 200,000 because the airline is matching!

E-mail No. 6

Greta: I really enjoyed your interview with Secretary Rice... you made it very conversational and it came across really interesting to listen to... good job as always... I was admiring her outfit also as we usually see her in just a business suit and this one looked very attractive. When she talks about her background you realize how very smart she is.
Looking forward to the Ozzie interview tonight... and by the way the cop with the missing wife from last night... I'm going for guilty on him. He actually seemed below par on the intelligence scale too... he however from his demeanor thinks he has everyone fooled... (in his position anyone would tell if they truly knew where their wife was/or what happened to her and get themselves off the hook).
Anything new on Natalee Holloway? Last I saw they searched the Kalpoe brothers' house, but I did not hear that any arrests were made.

ANSWER: I so wish there were something new in the Natalee Holloway case... I feel so awful for her family and the families of so many others with missing children.

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