As we started to think about Memorial Day, we couldn’t help but focus on Southwest’s relationship with Honor Flight, whose mission is to transport America’s Veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit those memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends. As the Official Commercial Airline of Honor Flight Network, Inc., Southwest provides transportation for 1,000 veterans annually. Many of our Employees have embraced Honor Flight and volunteer for the organization in various ways. Over the Memorial Day weekend, we will honor our Veterans and showcase how our Employees are supporting Honor Flight as they share their photos and stories.
Flight Attendant Maggie Bowman:
Recently, on a seemingly normal trip, something extraordinary happened that has forever changed my life. We had just finished a leg to Austin, when the Ops Agent came onboard to let us know our next leg to DCA would be a WWII Honor Flight with 40 veterans. Honor Flight Austin does eight to ten flights a year for veterans of WWII and the Vietnam and Korean Wars. During the flight, I made sure to thank each veteran for their service and sacrifices for my freedom. I tried to chat with each one, and learned that they were all so excited to be treated with such dignity and to such an exciting trip.
Once we landed in DCA and all the passengers and veterans deplaned, I couldn’t stop thinking about the wonderful mission of this organization. Now, I am not only volunteering with the organization, I am also using my communication degree as a board member who works to help find veterans in the Austin area who want to take the trip of a lifetime. Today, one month after I was the “D” Flight Attendant on an Honor Flight, I have traveled with an Honor Flight on my own time using my non-rev benefits to assist, and I have more trips I’m volunteering for in the future. Giving time to this organization has already been so rewarding. It is truly humbling to see the joy and pride of these men and women as they view the monuments (especially those monuments dedicated to their specific wars) and memorials in Washington, D.C., and as they observe the solemnity of Arlington National Cemetery.
It also makes me proud to work for a company with a long history of supporting worthwhile causes. Because of Southwest’s participation with Honor Flight, I am now involved in my community and a cause that is undeniably worthwhile and meaningful. Thank a vet for making our country the wonderful place it is today.
Inflight Supervisor Brenda Burgett:
L-R Inflight Crew Base Coordinator Laura Nichols and Inflight Supervisors Maureen Manion Luterzo and Brenda Burget, decorate the jetbridge for each Honor Flight out of Las Vegas.
I was fortunate to get involved with Honor Flight about five years ago when it was introduced in LAS. As a Station Administrator at the time, I was asked if I could help out in any way. Being somewhat on the creative side, my first thought went to decorating. That quickly grew from decorating the jet way to sitting in on planning meetings to organize the wheelchairs, food, gates, etc. Two years ago I transferred to Inflight and have been fortunate to continue supporting our Veterans and Honor Flight. I now am able to assist in RNO as well as LAS and am absolutely thrilled to be able to do this. I come from a Military Family and helping with Honor Flight is my way of honoring my father, grandfather, brothers and uncles who have all served.
Thank you so much for running this piece for Memorial Day and for bringing recognition to our Veterans. I believe we owe these heroes a debt of gratitude and love being involved with Honor Flight for this reason!
Laura Nichols, Crew Base Coordinator, Inflight
I have been decorating the jet way in Las Vegas for the honor flights for three years and I just love it! My son is in the Army and my father was Navy. I enjoy meeting all of the heroes and I am honored and proud to be a part of it. You can’t help but get emotional when you see the smiles on their faces. A big thank you to all who put their time into this wonderful event. I am looking forward to the next flight.
If you know a WWII, Korean or Vietnam War vet who has not had the opportunity to participate in an Honor Flight, please contact your local Honor Flight for details of how to make that happen or visit https://www.honorflight.org.