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"Warrior" Spirit

syamasaki
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Employees of Southwest Airlines are encouraged to “Live the Southwest Way.”  This includes having a Warrior Spirit (work hard, desire to be the best, be courageous), a Servant’s Heart (put others first, live by The Golden Rule), and a Fun-LUVing Attitude (be a passionate Teamplayer, have fun).  It was only fitting that Southwest partnered with Stephen Jackson of the Golden State Warriors on a community service project because Stephen lives the Southwest Way on and off the court. 

Southwest Airlines is the Official Airline of the NBA and more specifically, the Official Airline of the Golden State Warriors.  As part of our partnership, Southwest had the opportunity to work on a community service project with the Warriors.  This project became an essay contest hosted by Stephen Jackson, a forward for the Warriors.  

A third grade class from Dick Dowling Elementary School in Port Arthur, Texas was chosen to write essays about the thing they like most about Port Arthur and why they want to visit California.  If you haven’t guessed by now, Port Arthur is Stephen Jackson’s hometown.  Stephen helped select ten students to fly out to California to see him play the Seattle Supersonics on February 26.

I flew to Houston on Monday, February 25, to meet the students and their chaperones for their flight.  Kim Domerofski and Tiffany Tesinski from our Houston Marketing office helped make this a memorable experience by decorating the gate that we departed from and providing the students with a goodie bag for their flight.  When I arrived at the Houston airport on Monday morning around 9:00 a.m., there was a thick layer of fog that prevented flights from taking off or arriving.  The flight information screens were showing two-hour delays for flights from earlier in the morning, yet our flight was still scheduled to depart ontime.  All that was running through my head at that point was, “Why today?!” and “What am I going to do with ten third grade students for two hours at an airport?”  We kept checking the flight information screens, and they continued to show an ontime departure time.  Mother Nature was on our side on that morning because our flight departed ontime!

For many of the students, this was the first flight of their lifetime.  As we backed away from the gate, I could hear the excited chatter from the students.  airplane-trip.JPGWe taxied for a bit, and then we were cleared for takeoff.  As we accelerated down the runway and then began our ascent, the laugher and excitement coming from the students made it sound like we were on a rollercoaster instead of an airplane!  I turned around to look at the students and the Passengers around them also had smiles on their faces!  While we were mid-flight, I got up and announced to everyone on board the significance of the specialty aircraft they were flying on that day, Slam Dunk One.  I also recognized the students for their accomplishment, and the whole cabin gave the students a round of applause!

When we arrived in Oakland, Stephen helped one of our Ramp agents marshal in the aircraft to the gate.  The students were not aware that Stephen was at the airport to greet them, and I was disappointed that we could not see Stephen guiding the plane into the gate with the orange batons!

We told the students that there was a surprise waiting for them at the top of the jetbridge.  Not only was Stephen waiting for them with open arms but also local media with their cameras!  It was quite a sight to see Stephen leading the students, Thunder (Warriors mascot), and the media through Terminal 2 of the Oakland Airport.

group-shot.JPGOn Wednesday, the students spent the day at the San Francisco’s Aquarium of the Bay and then it was back to Oakland for the Warriors’ game versus the Seattle Supersonics.  Prior to the game, Stephen met with the students from Port Arthur along with a group of third graders from a local elementary school.  Local media along with NBA-TV was there to get footage of the event and to interview some of the students.  As a surprise for me, each of the students created a thank you card and presented it to me prior to the game.  I was so touched by their effort and gratitude!

scott-and-the-kids.JPGThe finishing touch on the day was the on-court presentation during halftime.  The students were met at center court by Stephen and were recognized for their accomplishment in front of the arena full of Warriors fans!

This was quite the experience for me, so I can only imagine how amazing this was to the group of students from Port Arthur! 

I would like to thank Stephen Jackson and the Golden State Warriors for being great partners!  I would also like to thank Tiffany Tesinski and Kim Domerofski in Houston, Cliff Williams Assistant Station Manager in Oakland, the Port of Oakland, the TSA in Oakland, and the Southwest Airlines Marketing office in Oakland for helping make this event a success!

 

 

5 Comments
The_Bargain_Sho
Not applicable
This is awesome! I bet those third graders will never forget something like this!
Artie
Not applicable
As a former teacher in the Baltimore City Public School System, I was truly moved to tears to see the excitement on the faces of the kids. I had always dreamed of organizing a field trip for my kids that involved air travel, since almost none of my students (in middle school) had ever been on an airplane...or even to the airport. The actions of Mr. Jackson and SWA are commendable. SWA truly is America's hometown airline - thank you for creating a memory that the amazing students from Texas won't soon forget. And PLEASE know that there are many teachers out there, including many of my old colleagues in Baltimore City, who would love to partner with you for something like this in the future. God bless you for your generosity!
Scott5
Not applicable
If the Mavericks don't start beating above 500 teams (something they haven't done since acquring Jason Kidd), it will be the Warriors in the playoffs with their 51 wins and the Mavericks not with their 49 wins.
Rob2
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I have posted this on another blog, after receiving it. I have been told that it may not be legitimate, but I cannot contact Southwest by E-mail to confirm. Sure don't want to deceive anyone. Can anyone confirm?? As a Company, Southwest Airlines is going to support 'Red Fridays.' 'Will you give this to my Daddy?' Last week I was in Atlanta , Georgia attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen. Moving thru the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camos. As they began heading to their gate, everyone (well almost everyone)was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering. When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered for, it hit me. I'm not alone. I'm not the only red-blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families. Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are p u tt ing their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal. Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said 'hi.' The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her. The young soldier, who didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her daddy. Then suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek. The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter's name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining how much her daughter Courtney missed her father, the young sol d ier began to tear up. When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military-looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it. After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, 'I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you.' He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying 'your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon.' The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet, he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event. As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in one last act of selflessness, turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek. We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it's good to be an American. RED FRIDAYS ----- Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the 'silent majority'. We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers. We are not organized, boisterous or over-bearing.. We get no liberal media coverage on TV, to reflect our message or our opinions. Many Ameri cans, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of America supports our troops. Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday -and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that.. Every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar will wear something red. By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make the United States on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers. If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family. It will not be long before the USA is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the onc e 'silent' ma jor ity is on their side more than ever; certainly more than the media lets on. The first thing a soldier says when asked 'What can we do to make things better for you?' is...We need your support and your prayers. Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example; and wear something red every Friday.
Sakelatty
Not applicable
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