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An "Extreme" Pleasure

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Ok...admit it...if you currently watch - or have ever watched - ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, you have cried (or sobbed...loudly) when the deserving family returns home from vacation and screams "MOVE THAT BUS" only to discover the home of their dreams. It's okay...we all do it...even my husband (sorry, Honey). But that's the beauty of the show. It's an emotional rollercoaster that illustrates the hardships of an extraordinary family living in dismal conditions and the dedication of hundreds of individuals who pull together and work tirelessly to build a dream house for the family in only seven days. The show is especially close to my heart because I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with the show on several episodes over the past two years. Southwest is the official airline of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and, as a result, we get the opportunity to be a part of the show by providing what ever they need to pull off the nearly impossible task of demolishing, rebuilding, and decorating a house in one week. Think it's all a trick of fancy television editing? Well, I can tell you first hand that it really does happen in seven days and that it is the most amazing display of teamwork and human kindness I have ever witnessed. Southwest's first experience with the show was building an airplane room with designer Paul DiMeo for a young boy. Southwest supplied the plane parts and Paul - assisted by nearly 20 Mechanics from our Oakland airport - supplied the design expertise. I'll admit that I questioned some of Paul's ideas (curtains made from peanut packets and wallpaper made up of hundreds of colorful shipping stickers), but it all turned out amazing thanks to our Mechanics and a handful of Flight Attendants and Pilots who also stopped by to lend a helping hand. It was the most exhausting and exhilarating week of my life. Since that time, Southwest has been on site for several more shows - including using our Ramp Agents (and a belt loader) to assist with a move-in on Long Island, taking a hundred sick kids on a surprise trip to Disney World, and rebuilding a church in New Orleans following the aftermath of Katrina. The show is unique in that it is the only reality show of its kind that pulls together an entire community to help a deserving family get back on their feet. Everyone from the designers, to the producers, to the film crew members are amazing individuals with big hearts and unstoppable resolve to work through whatever comes at them to get the job done. Reminds me a lot of my family here at Southwest. We are so proud to be a part of this show and look forward to the new episodes ahead. Paul and Me.jpgHome_makeover_SWA_peanut_curtains.jpgHome_makeover_Reveal.jpg
24 Comments
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I got turned onto this TV program at Christmas while staying with the kids and grandkids in Phoenix - it has turned into a must watch every Sunday. It doesn't surprise me at all SWA is aligned with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition - people who want to make other people happy and have fun while they do it. This describes Southwest's family to a "T".
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I've always known about Southwest's involvement in the show (my wife watches almost religiously, and I always see the Southwest tag at the end), but I wasn't aware that your involvement went beyond providing air transportation for the affected families. Thank you for such a wonderful post!
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Angela, What a great blog entry! I actually remember watching the show the night that the young boy got the "Southwest Airlines" room, and while I thought it was WAY COOL, it didn't surprise me one bit. One of the definitions of 'servant' in my dictionary is "one that serves another", and 'serve' is defined as "to be of assistance to". I cannot think of people who more perfectly embody the Servant Warrior spirit than Southwest Employees! Venues such as Extreme Make-over and the Ronald McDonald Houses, to just name two, are blessed to have 32,000 people who love to spend their time serving others. If Southwest was the only airline that DIDN'T make a profit, and yet the Employees still showed the incredible spirit that they do, I'd STILL say that you're the richest organization I know. While I am aware that you earn tremendous gratitude and appreciation from those that you serve, I also know that the Employees of Southwest don't serve because of what they will get, and that very often, your activities are not publicized and stay below the radar. Y'all serve because it is the right thing to do, and that knowledge is its own reward. Nevertheless, please know that there are those of us out here who DO notice many of the things, and that it makes a huge impression on us. As a Customer, as a shareholder and as a fellow Texan, I'm VERY proud of each one of you! Kim 🙂
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Thanks for the comments! It's a blast working with the crew and I you would not believe the amount of planning, organizing, time management, etc. that goes into that show. On set you forget it's a television show because you're on a construction site and getting that house built safely and on time is the top priority. The filming revolves around the construction - not the other way around. Getting Employees involved in the show is definitely the best part of the relationship with Extreme Makeover. They show up in droves, throw on those blue t-shirts and hardhats and get to work...in Oakland I had maintenance guys that came off the graveyard shift and then worked all day on the site...pretty awesome.
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Ok, Angela, I admit it. My eyes get a bit damp when I watch the show. Did you get to hear Ty on his bullhorn?
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Yes...and it is as annoying as it appears on television! 🙂
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Angela and Brian -- Maybe the next set of TV commercials for Southwest need to have Herb with a megaphone standing on the tarmac yelling: "Captain, MOOOOOVVE THAT PLAAAAANNEE!!!" LOL Kim 🙂
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Great episodes. I am looking forward to more with southwest employees. When they fly families to a non southwest city or country is it on ata? My two favorite activities construction and southwest airlines. ;-) Kim, buttering them up wont get your private cabin moved to the front of the plane! Joe
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I'd like to add this link: http://www.extremehomedetroit.com Still holds the record :-). I didn't get to work on this one. Maybe next time. Joe
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I had the pleasure of being a part of the Makeover Team that worked on the house for Jhryve and her family in Martinez, Ca. Although we did put in many hours during the very short two day involvement, none of our success would've been possible had it not been Angela's extreme planning and dedication. My Mechanic pals & I left Oakland International with little more than coffee, some tools and a few scattered ideas that first morning, not knowing exactly what to expect. Our confusion grew much greater upon arrival, as a raging sea of people worked frenetically to prepare the house for it's returning occupants. Where and how would we fit in to this very organized chaos? That's when we first met with [modest little] Angela, who had already coordinated with Southwest Materials Specialists and Boeing Spare Parts Representatives to procure the components necessary to design the theme room for Jhryve's brother, Lucas. With much help and many laughs from Angela, EMHE's Paul DiMeo and my Co-workers, we managed to transform an hours old, completely bare bedroom into a super cool, Southwest-flavored airplane oasis. And Laura really should get credit for the peanut curtains. Sure - it might've been Paul's idea, but she spent atleast ten hours stringing together countless bags of our favorite inflight snack. There really are no words to describe both the sense of accomplishment in participating and the joy in witnessing the relief & elation of the recipients during the 'reveal'. I will never forget those two days of my life... and I will forever be indebted to Angela and the hundreds of caring folks that donated their time, sweat and LUV to help a very deserving family. On a side note... HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ANGELA!
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On the topic of TV Shows, are we every going to see another season of Airline?? I would love to see another season at my home airport - LAX. They need to get a shot of that bird that has been living and flying around inside Terminal one for years! If anyone of you have spent time at LAX Terminal one, you know the bird I am talking about. Is Airline coming back to A&E??
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Joe, You've ALMOST figured out my ulterior motive. I'm not buttering them up so they'll move my private, windowless and yet sink-enabled cabin to the front. Au contraire, my bud... I'm sucking up so the team will come make over my WHOLE HOUSE into a super cool, Southwest-flavored airplane oasis!!! I want the only two-storied Southwest house in Dallas! LOL Kim 🙂
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Kim, that already exists. It is the Dallas headquarters. There is a whole closet full of notepaper and one of candycorn. Joe
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Nice try, Joe, but you can't fool me. The place you've mentioned is FIVE stories tall and does not qualify as a house. I still have a shot at owning (or sharing with my mortgage company) the only two-story Southwest Airlines RESIDENCE! The only drawback will be getting my guests to keep their seatbelts fastened while they sit on the couch and to return their tray tables to the full upright and locked position when they leave. I already expect to have to come along behind them and pick up the empty peanut packages left in the seats as all the FAs have to do, but what am I going to do with 104 used copies of USA Today every morning??? Kim 🙂
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I had never watched this show until Mark from Higher Power Aviation encouraged me to watch a special episode. The team went to Missouri to build a home and two buildings for a wonderful camp just for special needs children called Ã
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Angela, Thanks for the dedication that is put forth to help support the show. I'm proud to know that we are associated with such a classy show. What a positive example of what we all should strive for.....giving of ourselves first to others truly in need. I know that when my 6 year old daughter and I tune in to the show that I will not have to worry about the contents of the show. I'm a CSA in MCO, and I had the opportunity to check in Denise Cramsey....senior producer of the show. What a treat to meet her. I hope we continue to support the show. If you need volunteers, I would love to be a part of the team. Take care! Becky
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EMHE is my family's absolute #1 TV show, hands down, no contest! It was our favorite show before SWA got involved, but it has even more meaning now that we get to see smiling SWA faces on occasion, and I feel so much pride when we see that beautiful 737 cruising by after the credits. I am so eager for an opportunity to show my smiling SWA face on the show sometime. Hey Angela, any chance the team is coming to the DAL area soon? Or any chance you need extra smiling faces on an upcoming episode? And wow Jason! I hope you do get to serve at Camp Barnabas this summer! That is truly an incredible mission they have, and that was an awesome episode. You'll definitely have to keep us EMHE fans up to date!
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Another good show today. I can't believe you let Ty out on the ramp! Remember Airplane? The guys at RDU had to be enjoying that! Kim, When are you going to get moved into your fifth floor office in Dallas? Joe 🙂
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Joe, Now that you mention it, that would be a great place to work. I'd be close to the gift shop (there goes half my paycheck already...), close to The Landing (there goes my waistline), and close to one of the best views of Love Field, my favorite airport (I'd need an extra huge hard drive to accomodate all of the pictures I'd take)!! Oops, guess I wouldn't get much work done, would I? Oh well.... Kim ....wait a second, I just figured out what would keep me out of the gift shop, The Landing, and away from the windows facing east -- all those trips down to Brian's office to sneak some handfuls of his candy corn! 🙂
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Funny, in all the news, on the t.v., over in Britain, even here on the blogs, people are talking about the most depressing, black, blue or bleak day of the year! It was, according to the news, January 22nd, but in Britain, January 24th! Did this just come about or have I missed it somehow with my happy-go-lucky self? I'm just tooo naive I guess. I had a wonderful January, I moved into a new home, started child care for my wonderful grandchildren and ripped my bathroom apart to update and modernize it. (Was really hoping for the EXTRME team, but my extreme team is myself usually.) That's ok, because another thing I remembered to do besides date my check '07 is to UPDATE my RESUME to SOUTHWEST! And again, it was a near miss. I just recently called to confirm that SW had received my on-line update and the receptionist jumped to the conclusion that I was calling to re-schedule my flight for an interview in Alameda. I was a little confused but my heart was pounding in my chest when she said, "Oh, hi Serena, I bet you are calling to change your pass, I hear you all have had some bad weather up there!" I slowly answered yes we have, but...she went on to say, "I just talked to .... and she asked to wait until the end of January, would you like to do that also?" I slowly said yes, but...and even though I was praying and hoping I was about to get a pass confirmation and code, I knew I had to find out for sure if it was really ME they were inviting for an interview. So I reluctantly said, "Before you go on, I think we better see if we are on the same page here......, Again my name is Serena W. and I'm calling to see if my updated resume had arrived because I had no on-line communication to let me know." She then said, "Well let me see,...pause...."OH!, I'm so sorry, I thought you said you were SABRINA, not SERENA!" My little ole' heart just sank into the 4 foot drift of snow. I said, gosh, wish I were SABRINA but I'm not so is there an address I can write to so I can confirm my latest bio in my resume?" and she gave me a name and number. We said our good bye's and so sorry's again and I blankly hung up the phone. I sat and thought about the near miss, so close, yet so far. I guess it's better than an outright no hire but my happy-go-lucky attitude strayed for the moment. It's been awhile now and the snow has melted to the ground leaving an ugly dirty mess on my car and I can't find my flower bed but I'll survive. I'm a survivor from way back...ask anyone and they will tell you, I'm a 5 foot and 3/4" tough grandma and I'm not throwing in the towel just yet. Oh yeah, as far as my opening comment on the lousiest day(s) of the year, they can be there if YOU want them to be or not! I feel safe and sound just in between like today, January 23rd, my 9th anniversary to my wonderful husband who I have to thank for bringing me back from a black hole when my happy-go-lucky got lost temporarily. Happy anniversary Glenn! Lots of Luv, if I can do it, anyone can do it! Serena
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More of a question............when will I be able to book a flight for June 2007? I luv Southwest and want to fly with you.
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Maybe they can do that Extreme Makeover of ISP's pad refixing, and when they finish maybe they can do the "Captain, Move that Plane" moment.
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I look forward to the 2/11 program which will be a 2 hour program (that starts one hour earlier than usual), where they will build a house for a 9/11 first responder. Did Southwest get permission (from France and others) to fly the couple to Paris (the couple that combined two households)?
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I wish...because I would have wanted to be on that plane! We obviously can't take them everywhere so they work with other (non-competing) airlines when the need arises. I'm also looking forward to that two-hour special. Looks like a tear-jerker (like that's unusual).