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The Gift of Travel: Southwest’s Medical Transportation Grant Program


The following blog post was co-written by Debbie Wafford and Stephen Keller.   



Our Customers travel Southwest for many different reasons, and we love being a part of the journey that helps connect them to what’s important in their lives.


One group of travelers who especially tugs at our Hearts are those traveling to or from receiving medical treatment. At Southwest, we recognize this type of travel can come at a stressful time and cause a financial burden for families, which is why we launched our Medical Transportation Grant Program (MTGP) 14 years ago.


This year, we’re donating 10,000 roundtrip tickets to 79 nonprofit hospitals and medical transportation charities across North America, easing the burden of travel for medical patients and their caregivers. Through the MTGP, organizations can distribute tickets directly to those who need to travel, like Oyoana.


Oyoana, a Marine Corps veteran, was injured during her 2005 deployment in Iraq. She sustained extensive burns to her face and hands. Since then, she has been treated by UCLA Operation Mend to help heal her scars. Operation Mend provides advanced surgical and medical treatment, as well as comprehensive psychological-health support for post-9/11-era service members, veterans, and their families at no cost.


Operation Mend has been involved in our MTGP since 2015. Through this partnership, we’ve been honored to help countless veterans receive the medical treatment they need.


Now in its 14th year, Southwest’s MTGP has donated nearly $36 million in transportation costs to more than 89,000 patients and caregivers. To view the full list of participating hospitals and charitable organizations for 2020, visit