JetBlue, American, and Delta Providing Roundtrip Tickets for Veterans
WORCESTER – Today, the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) joined local, state, and federal elected officials in a ceremony to honor veterans at Worcester Regional Airport (ORH). The event, which also marks the 750,000 th passenger milestone, highlighted a special donation to Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program, which helps service members, veterans, and their families heal from invisible wounds.
“Every day our country is safe and free is a day made possible by America’s veterans,” said Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA). “We also salute the military families here in Massachusetts and throughout our nation that have made tremendous sacrifices on our behalf. Many of these families eagerly await the arrival of their loved ones at Worcester Regional Airport when they return home, so it’s an especially fitting place for this ceremony. I’m grateful to Worcester Regional Airport for their recognition and support of our veterans, and I congratulate them on this important milestone.”
“I am pleased to congratulate Worcester Regional Airport for reaching this milestone, connecting 750,000 passengers to their destinations across the globe,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration is grateful for the brave men and women who serve and we commend Worcester Regional Airport for supporting veterans here in Massachusetts.”
The three airlines that serve ORH—JetBlue, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines—each donated 2 roundtrip tickets to connect Veterans to care at Home Base through its two-week Intensive Clinical Program, which is available to Veterans across the county – at no cost to them.
“Congratulations to Worcester Regional Airport on reaching this milestone, and thank you to the airlines that serve the region for your support of veterans in Massachusetts and across the nation,” said Francisco Ureña, Secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services. “We are grateful to the veterans among us for their service, and to the many men and women throughout the Central Massachusetts region currently serving in the military.”
“Home Base has remained steadfast in its commitment to eliminate any barrier to care faced by our warriors and their families as they seek care for their invisible wounds,” said Brigadier General (ret.) Jack Hammond, Executive Director for Home Base. “We will use today’s gift to transport 6 wounded veterans to Home Base for our life-saving 2-week Intensive Clinical Program for post-traumatic stress, in order to assist these great patriots to reclaim their lives.”
Founded in 2009, Home Base is a partnership of the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital. Home Base is the only private sector clinic in New England that provides care to all veterans and families, regardless of their ability to pay or discharge status. Since its inception, Home Base has provided care and support to more than 21,000 Veterans and family members and trained more than 73,000 clinicians, educators, first responders and community members – all at no cost – ensuring a brighter future for the 21st century warrior and military family.
“The City extends its congratulations to Massport and Worcester Regional Airport on reaching a milestone of 750,000 passengers. As Worcester continues to grow and thrive, so does our airport,” said Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. “We also salute all our veterans for their service to our country and thank JetBlue, American and Delta for providing roundtrip flights to those veterans in the Home Base program.”
“The Chamber is grateful for the service our veterans have provided to safeguard our nation and proud to recognize them today at this milestone event for the Worcester Regional Airport,” said Timothy P. Murray, President & CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Our country and our skies are safe because they have stepped up to defend them. We are also pleased to have had three quarters of a million passengers fly out of ORH – and look forward to celebrating one million passengers very soon.”
Worcester Regional Airport offers 5 daily roundtrip service through JetBlue, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines, with connections to over 120 destinations around the world. Since Massport took ownership of the airport in 2010, the passenger volume at ORH has more than doubled. In FY2019, the airport served nearly 170,000 passengers. Earlier this year, Massport launched a $300,000 marketing campaign with a goal to increase the passenger volume to 400,000 annually within the next five years.
“It's gratifying to represent Massport at this special event that honors the sacrifices of our veterans as well as today’s celebration of another great milestone of 750,000 passengers at ORH. These accomplishments continue to demonstrate the success of Massport’s significant investment into the region,” said Massport Board Chairman and Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis.
Over the past 9 years, the Authority has invested more than $100 million in improvements, including in a Category III Instrument Landing System, completed in 2018. Two new jet bridges were installed this summer, doubling the number to 4. These investments will allow ORH to accommodate more flights and serve more passengers.
“We offer our sincerest gratitude to the men and women who have served and continue to serve our country,” said Massport CEO Lisa Wieland. “We thank our airline partners for their generosity and helping Home Base provide local veterans with the transportation they need to get specialized care.”
Students from Worcester State University and local veterans services groups also volunteered to plant 2,500 flags outside Worcester Regional Airport to salute service members who are returning home and to thank veterans for their service and sacrifice.
“As we take the time to thank our Veterans for their Service, let's not forget to thank our military families of our veterans for their service and sacrifice as well,” said Alan E. Jackson, M.Ed., Director of Military Affairs/Veterans Services, Worcester State University.