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Shepherd Center Recipient of Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program

Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) announced that more than 90 nonprofit hospitals and medical organizations from across the nation were selected for Southwest’s 2013 Medical Transportation Grant Program.  By connecting the airline’s service with the hospital’s care, this program alleviates the financial burden of air travel for families who are facing serious illness by providing complimentary, roundtrip airline tickets to nonprofit hospitals and medical organizations. The nonprofit hospitals and medical organizations have the freedom to provide the tickets to patients who must travel to receive needed medical care. For 2013, Southwest will provide more than $2.8 million in free transportation to caregivers and patients seeking medical treatment. Now in its sixth year, Southwest’s Medical Transportation Grant Program has provided more than $10 million to organizations in 24 states. To see a full list of the 2013 recipients, please visit:    

            “We are proud to partner with world-renowned hospitals across the nation such as The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and new recipient, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and give the gift of flight for patients to get the best medical care available,” said Linda Rutherford, Southwest Airlines Vice President of Communication and Strategic Outreach. “After more than four decades of giving from the heart, our commitment to community is stronger than ever, and we are humbled to help ease the difficulties these patients and families are facing through this unique program.”

            In addition to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, new 2013 recipients in the Medical Transportation Grant Program include three medical organizations in Atlanta—Emory University Hospitals, Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, and Shepherd Center. To learn more about the Medical Transportation Grant Program, visit to see an infographic illustrating how the program works.

The impact of the Medical Transportation Grant Program has touched the lives of more than 26,000 patients since the program’s inception.  Visit the NUTS About Southwest blog to read stories from some of the patients and families who have benefitted from the program. 

To learn about qualifications for travel assistance through the designated organizations, please contact the Social Work, Travel/Concierge Service, or Patient Assistance Department directly at each location, as each have unique guidelines for administration of tickets.


In its 42nd year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by nearly 46,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually.  Southwest is the nation’s largest carrier in terms of originating passengers boarded, and including wholly-owned subsidiary, AirTran Airways, operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world to serve 97 destinations in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and six near-international countries. Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for its triple bottom line thinking that takes into account the carrier’s performance and productivity, the importance of the People who work there and the communities it serves, and its commitment to efficiency and the Planet.  The 2011 Southwest Airlines One Report™ can be found at

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.