Since its beginning in 2011, the Jack Daniels and Armed Services YMCA Operation Ride Home Program has helped a total of 6,410 individuals travel from their bases to homes across the country for the holidays.
2018 will be the 8th year for Operation Ride Home. We are proud and excited to continue offering this program as another way of showing our appreciation and supporting those sacrifice so much.
Who can apply for Jack Daniel’s Operation Ride Home?
Operation Ride Home is open to active duty E-4 and below, both single and married service members travelling with their spouses and/or dependents who may not have the financial means to travel home for the holidays. The service member, their spouse or a dependent may apply.
Does the service member have to be one of the travelers?
Generally the service member travels with their family. However, there may be instances where the service member may not be able to travel, but the family is selected for the program.
What if the service member is deployed? As the spouse or a dependent am I eligible to apply?
Yes, if the service member is deployed, the spouse and/or dependent of an active duty E-4 and below service member is eligible to participate in Operation Ride Home.
Are there requirements for travel distances?
For those driving, the travel destination must be at least 350 miles (one way) from their installation. The choice to fly or drive is an individual decision made by the service member.
When do applications open up for Operation Ride Home?
Applications are now open.
How are participants selected?
Participants will be prioritized and selected based on need, in coordination with their commands.
By filling out an application am I guaranteed free travel home for the holidays?
No, based on the total number of applicants, and the requests for flights versus driving travel requests, applications will be prioritized based on need as determined by their respective installation commands.
How does the process work?
Service members, or their dependent, will submit an application, found at www.asymca.org/opridehome, or through your local ASYMCA branch. Installation points of contact review and turnover completed, prioritized and approved service member applications to their respective Armed Services YMCA branch contact. The branch will then reach out to selected service members to coordinate travel. If selected by your command, additional information will be sent via web and email for you to complete.
What Armed Services YMCA locations and/or Military Installations will be part of the program?
Please see Appendix A with the list of ASYMCA locations and/or Military Installations participating in Operation Ride Home.
How come this program is only available for certain installations?
Currently, we can only offer Operation Ride Home where the ASYMCA has full branches.
What if my travel costs are more than the stipend amount?
If travel costs exceed the stipend amount, the traveler(s) pay the difference. Your billing information will be collected upfront to pay for these costs. In the six year history of this program, many Operation Ride Home participants have paid the difference toward their flight(s). Operation Ride Home is structured to help facilitate travel and offset costs as much as possible, but not necessarily to provide “free” travel. In order to ensure optimal benefit of the donated funds, the program follow guidelines established by the ASYMCA and Jack Daniel’s.
What are the travel booking deadlines?
Flights will be booked no later than December 4, 2017 and pre-paid debit cards for those driving will be distributed no later than December 11, 2017.
Are international flights booked?
Yes, but each traveler will still receive the $400 flight assistance. Any balance past the $400 assistance must be paid by the traveler.
If I am driving, I only receive $100 in travel assistance?
$100 is provided to each traveler in the family. This amount is meant to help with gas, food, or hotel accommodations.
If I’m flying and my ticket is less than the allotted $400 will I receive the difference in cash?
No, if your ticket(s) is less than the allotted $400 per person flying, we do not provide the difference in cash. Less expensive fares will allow more troops and family members to participate in the program. The ASYMCA or authorized travel agents will book travel and will look for the most cost effective flights. Requests for specific airlines/routes will not be accommodated; the priority is to meet the travel dates.
Do you provide flights for family members to visit service members?
No, the intent of Operation Ride Home is to send service members and their families home for the holidays. Travel is not provided for family members to visit the service member.
I received travel assistance through Operation Ride Home in a previous year, am I eligible again this year?
Possibly, applications will are prioritized according to need. Please submit an application and wait to hear if you have been selected.
Do you provide cash assistance as part of this program?
Cash is not distributed as part of this program. The ASYMCA books all flights directly with the family to ensure the proper use of donated funds. For those driving, a pre-paid debit card will be provided; funds should be use for gas, food and accommodations only.
If I have questions about Operation Ride Home, what should I do?
The best way to get details on the program and to find answers, dates and contact info for all participating locations is by visiting www.asymca.org/opridehome or contacting the point of contact at the ASYMCA branch serving your installation (Appendix A of the downloadable FAQs).
What if I have Feedback or comments on the program?
Feel free to share your comments with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or to the branch POC that supports your installation. On social media use #OperationRideHome. Please respect the donors and volunteers who are giving their time and funds and do not post negative comments publicly or on social media.
If I am selected to participate, what is required of me?
If selected, and before travel is arranged, you must sign a waiver of liability. After travel has been arranged, the service member/family must write a thank you note so the ASYMCA and Jack Daniels can share the importance of this program with donors. We kindly ask program participants to share photos, brief video, as well as a testimonial about their experience to demonstrate Operation Ride Home’s value to the military community. On social media, please use #OperationRideHome.
Where do the funds come from that support this program?
Operation Ride Home is funded by the generous contributions of Jack Daniel’s, Jack Daniel’s Distributors, and the general public along with support from the Armed Services YMCA.
How can I help a service member?
You can make monetary donations or donate airline miles to the program and help more families at this link: www.jdoperationridehome.com.