They say everything comes alive in the spring—and that is true for the Adopt-A-Pilot (AAP) program, as well. During the spring months, Southwest Airlines Pilots go into classrooms across the country and inspire students to help them identify and plan to achieve their highest aspirations. The time these Pilots spend in classrooms is a real contribution to the communities. Often, adopted Pilots are among the few outside role models with whom students interact during their school year. I have the privilege of receiving the feedback about the great contributions our Pilots make.
Nearly every day during the spring, letters and e-mails saluting the dedication and professionalism of adopted Pilots cross my desk. As I was preparing a blog for National Volunteer Week, an e-mail came my way from Desert Harbor Elementary School informing Southwest that one of our Pilots, Captain Tom Grosshans, was selected as one of the Volunteers of the Year for Peoria Unified School District (PUSD) in Peoria, Arizona.
Captain Tom was nominated for this honor by the fifth grade teacher who has worked with him through AAP for the past six years.
“Tom brings an amazing gift of high-interest learning to our classroom. (He brings) opportunities for students to talk about career choices and dreams for their future as well as emphasizing how important education and training are to reach those goals….Captain Tom is a true treasure. We appreciate his time, energy, enthusiasm, laughter and love for teaching children. His consistent reminder to our students that future career dreams are possible through education, training, goal setting and perseverance is truly inspirational.”
As a result of this nomination, Captain Tom will be recognized today by the PUSD Governing Board for his outstanding contribution to the school district.
Southwest Employees are consistently recognized for their outstanding contributions to our communities. No doubt, Tom is an extraordinary volunteer who has made a positive impact on students. But the truth is -- Southwest Airlines has many volunteers who are recognized within their communities for their outstanding service -- this is just the most recent great volunteer story that came across my desk before National Volunteer Week!