This is a guest blog post from Tech Ops Specialist, Jake Garboletti
For the last two years, the Supply Chain Management Culture Committee has adopted a local Dallas Elementary School, Onesimo Hernandez Elementary School, to build a strong partnership with our local community around Love Field. Over this time, the Committee has hosted special events for the school such as Career Day, Field Day, Teacher Appreciation Week, and Clothing drives. They have even planted over 90 trees, installed benches, and created an outdoor learning area on the school grounds by working with the Texas Tree Foundation.
This summer, against all odds, the school’s soccer team won a tournament hosted by the City of Dallas which earned them an invitation to play at an International Tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Unfortunately, the team did not have the funds to fly to attend the tournament. Nearly 25 percent of the school's population identifies as homeless, so a pricey trip to Orlando seemed out of the question.
When the Culture Committee heard about this opportunity, there was not a second thought – we had to help the children make it to Orlando after their incredible accomplishment! The team quickly took off running and was able to secure flight donations for the team as well as provide custom uniforms to help the team represent their elementary school on a world stage.
Not only was getting to play in this tournament a unique opportunity for the children, but it was also their first time flying. To make this flight even more special, the Committee Southwest surprised the children and coaches with Southwest goodies before their early morning flight. After greeting the team at the ticket counter with a team sign and assisting with check-in and security, the Committee met the team at the gate to present them with gift bags and first flight certificates (thanks to the DAL Customer Service Team!). The kids loved their airplanes, Southwest sunglasses, sports bottles, playing cards, and sticker books--all would help make their first flight memorable.
To put the icing on the cake, Customer Service Supervisor Pat worked with the Ops Agent and Flight Crew to allow the kids to come down early, meet the crew, and see the cockpit! This surely is a flight they will never forget. Huge thanks to all of the people at Southwest who helped us do what we do best. Best of luck in Orlando, Onesimo Hernandez Stars!