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IAVA Vets: Southwest Airlines and Stories From the Field

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At Southwest Airlines, we are thankful for the deep roots we have established with our military partners that support our Heroes.  Together we join hearts and hands to bring meaningful support to our Veterans and their families.  One of the organizations Southwest supports is the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).  The following are IAVA Member Reflections on their Southwest experiences.  “Southwest Airlines gets it.” “I wanted to share how wonderful Southwest Airlines has been to me as a disabled veteran.  In October 2012, I was fortunate enough to attend a retreat through Wounded Warrior Project.  It was the first time my service dog flew with me. The airline was great about ensuring I was in the front seat where she would have room to lay at my feet, and the Flight Attendants offered her water and were very sweet to her.  In March 2013, I again flew Southwest Airlines for Storm the Hill, an effort to break the VA backlog. The airline was wonderful in meeting our needs, ensuring we were first on so my service dog could sit at my feet, and giving her ice to chew on throughout the flight. They offered to help us get off and get our bags and their general attitude of service helped make a difficult, long flight much more enjoyable. Thank you for all you do to help the veterans!” - Melinda Russell, U.S. Army Captain, 2013 Storm the Hill Participant Melinda
My airfare graciously donated by Southwest Airlines allowed me to shine when I needed it the most.”
“I want to thank Southwest Airlines for essentially "landing" me my dream job. As a longtime member of IAVA, I was invited to travel to Washington, D.C. to speak on behalf of not only my family members, but many of my friends who are veterans.  Due to my lack of fulltime employment, I was nervous about applying to become a “Stormer” with IAVA because I was living off my disability compensation as my only source of income. I didn't know how I could afford the trip from Wisconsin to Washington, D.C. to do what I love: helping our nation's veterans. When I received the call and was asked to join IAVA, I was so thankful and overwhelmed!  I boarded my Southwest Airlines flight and spent the week in Washington, D.C. "As a veteran seeing our nation's capitol for the first time, I have never felt more proud of my service in the Marines. During that week, I received a call to interview at the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, where my dream job had become available. Due to my successes in Washington, D.C., my confidence was through the roof, and I landed my dream job. My airfare being graciously donated by Southwest Airlines allowed me to shine when I needed it the most. Thank you Southwest Airlines for all of your support, it means the world to me.” - Tegan Griffith, U.S. Marine Sergeant, 2013 Storm the Hill Participant Tegan