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In True Southwest Fashion

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This wasn’t my first time in New York City, nor was it my second.  But it was definitely my first time to experience a Southwest city opening, and my first time to head up a Share the Spirit volunteer effort in a city we’ve so quickly grown to LUV.  

With applause still ringing in the air as we “rapped” up the press conference Sunday morning--officially kicking off service at LaGuardia Airport (LGA)--several Employee volunteers loaded into a bus and headed to New York City’s Flushing Meadows Park for a little “hands on” action.  As with every Southwest city that we serve, our goal is to give back to the community through our Share the Spirit efforts.   And you better believe New York is no different.  While the city may be big and the volunteer opportunities endless, in true Southwest fashion, we found a way to serve NYC. 

Just a stones throw away from LaGuardia, you can find a peaceful paradise within “the city that never sleeps.”  The 1,255 acre Flushing Meadows Park is filled with family-friendly attractions including a zoo, several museums, a botanical garden, a recreation complex, and a baseball stadium; just to name a few. 

 

And while you can see families gathering for picnics, soccer games, and participating in just about any outdoor activity you can find, the park itself needed a little TLC--that’s where Southwest Airlines stepped in.  With gloves and trash bags in hand, we got to work “beautifying” the park.  We had a team of volunteers picking up trash as far as the eye could see, and another set of volunteers painting the park benches that lined the entrance of the park and the main thoroughfare. 

No matter how big (or small) the task may be, Southwest Airlines Employees are always ready to Share the Spirit and take on a new challenge.  New York City, we’re here and ready to serve!

23 Comments
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Southwest's commitment to community is very evident . My question is, how far does that commitment go? I am one of several thousand readers of the Fat Cyclist blog. http://www.fatcyclist.com/ The Fat Cyclist "Eldon Nelson" is currently waging a war against cancer. His wife has stage 4 breast cancer and as a way of helping her fight he has set a goal to raise a half a million dollars for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Currently the Friends of Fatty (his readers) have collectively raised $344,788 for LAF. He has energized people (me included) who have never met him to hop a bike and commit to riding 100 miles in the San Jose LiveSTRONG Challenge. Read his blog and comments from his readers and you will see a level of strength, dedication and love that fills you with hope that there are beautiful people out there and that someday we may find a cure. If you read his blog for today, you will see why I am writing to you. Here is an exerpt from the end of today's blog "Help Me Fight People are of course always asking how they can help, and to tell the truth I often have no idea what kind of help I need. But here’s something some of you may be able to do, if you want. As you know, one of the ways I’m coping with all this is by trying to convert it into something good: raising money to fight cancer. I’ve got ideas and plans for some really great new giveaways, but a lot of them involve travel, and that’s one nut I have not been able to crack. So. If you have a lot of frequent flier points, or are sitting on a free flight coupon or otherwise have ways of making it possible to give someone else a round trip ticket, and you’re willing to use your power of flight for good, email me. I’ll have more updates soon. Meanwhile, thanks for your support. I owe all of you a lot." So I am asking if Southwest can help us with our fight and provide Fatty with free travel so he can continue these fundraising efforts? As I said Fatty has thousands of fans who are very loyal and I can tell you, your assistance would win customers for life!!
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I can't say it any better than Angie did, but any support Southwest can provide to Elden (Fatty) and his family would be a wonderful thing -- I know I am not alone in this feeling. Win Susan!
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Like AngieG, I, too, applaud your commitment to community and I, too, ask how far does it go? As another follower of www.fatcyclist.com, I've watched him raise nearly $350K for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. He's got a talent for raising money for a good cause and He's currenlty looking for some help with travel options for his latest raffles and I'd like to challenge you to step up and help out. Check out today's blog post and contact him! Thanks and happy (con)trails!
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I am also a friend of the Fat Cyclist. I am riding the 100 miles in the San Jose LiveSTRONG Challenge for his team in support of his wife Susan. I fully support his request and echo the same sentiment that Angie, (who I have never met), expressed in the comment before me. Thanks in advance for your support! Fremont MikeJ
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@AngieG Go on SouthWest, you could make a big difference here. All Elden and Susan need are a few of your empty seats. Better still, he doesn't want them for himself. He wants them to help him raise money to fight cancer. The permalink you want to look at is here: http://www.fatcyclist.com/2009/07/01/update-on-susan-july-1/
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I appreciate your commitment to the community. I am a friend of the Fatcyclist and have committed to riding 100 mile course in the San Jose LiveSTRONG Challenge. I would like to echo my support for Angie's comment and hope that you can help out for a truly wonderful person and cause. Thanks in advance Southwest! Mike Jones in Fremont
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If anyone has ever demonstrated Southwest's motto of "displaying the Warrior Spirit, acting with a Servant’s Heart, and embracing a Fun-LUVing Attitude", it's Fatty. As another of FatCyclist.com's loyal readers and daughter of a woman bravely battling cancer, I too am asking if Southwest can join our fight. A couple of round-trip passes raise thousands for LAF...
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Just another word from a "Friends of Fatty" reader. If there's anyone that works for Southwest or has any way to donate air miles to the fund raisers that Eldon Nelson has going, please please do so. He's not thinking of himself or even just his family but the whole "affected by Cancer" group that we all know a member of. Everything this man does is aimed at attacking Cancer thru the Lance Armstrong Foundation and all money raised goes straight to them to help those in need and to fight Cancer. Thank-you
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Hi Southwest! I have a horrible fear of flying, but when I do...Southwest is my choice. I'd like to ask you to help out my friend, Fatty. He is trying to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. He needs some help with transportation to make his prizes super! Will you lend a hand? Friends of Fatty are loyal. Many businesses have contributed to Team Fatty's fundraising effort, and will attest that Team Fatty make loyal customers! www.fatcyclist.com WIN SUSAN!
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Hi everyone, especially Friends of Fatty. It sounds like he is doing some remarkable work, and I would imagine that you will have a lot of Southwest Employees volunteering to help. The events at Flushing Meadows Park were of a voluntary nature, and trust me, when our folks volunteer, things happen. We also have a Charitable Giving group and they provide assistance to official 501.C charities around our system, but as you might imagine, our hearts are bigger than our budgets. While it's not our policy to donate travel directly to individuals, we do donate tickets to fund-raising events that will assist individuals. For full details of our program and to request assistance please go to http://southwest.sponsorport.com/. Thanks, Brian
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I will echo Angie's comments. She said it so well. We all know people who have been diagnosed with cancer. Susan is just one of too many. I hope Southwest Airlines can help The Fat Cyclist raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation to fight cancer.
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I am here echoing support for Elden (aka Fat Cyclist) and his family in their fight against cancer. Fatty has tirelessly supported his family, his wife Susan in her cancer fight, and the Lance Armstrong Foundation - all while suffering the personal impact of this hateful disease. If you donate it, Southwest, Fatty can parlay your donation into a bigger impact in the fight against cancer. Please consider helping. Thank you.
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Truly a wonderful cause. Southwest, please help support Susan by doing something for those who are helping her with this fight for her life.
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As a friend of Elden and Susan, please consider a gift that will go a long way towards helping others. Thanks for your time
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Hello, another "Friend of Fatty" here. I applaud the volunteer effort that has been instilled in the Southwest community. That is wonderful - I actually did not know that until coming here just now. This is an effort I would like to support in the future - and I will do so by choosing Southwest when possible. Elden "Fat Cyclist" Nelson is an amazing human being. The fact that he is still a functioning human being amazes me. In the 3 years I have been following Fat Cyclist, I have watched Elden juggle homelife, working, taking care of his 4 children, taking care of Susan, and trying to take care of himself. He does an amazing job. And through all of that - he has managed to give back. Through his blog, he has helped bring together thousands of people who have helped him raise nearly $350,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation!!! $350,000 - and the year isn't even over yet!!! We are fiercely loyal to Fatty, and are willing to do anything to help. Unfortunately - I have no miles to donate. I don't even accumulate miles because I don't know how. But, Southwest - you could be part of something really big and wonderful here. Please, I implore you - donate roundtrip airline tickets to the cause! Help us help Fatty raise money to eradicate cancer. A disease, by which 1 in 3 people will be diagnosed with - at lease once in their life. Do the right thing Southwest!! Please!! WIN SUSAN!!!! WIN SUSAN!!! WIN SUSAN!!!
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Brian, thanks for your quick response to the outpouring of support for Susan and Elden "Fatty" Nelson, and for the link to SW's charitable support policy. The page is helpful and clear on what constraints apply to charity-related requests. There is one additional indirect way in which Southwest may be able to help support Team Fat Cyclist. We are by far the largest team participating in this year's Livestrong Challenge, with nearly three hundred team members collectively registered for the Philadelphia and Austin Livestrong events, which will take place in late August and October, respectively. If Southwest can issue our team a group discount on reservation rates (and possibly some form of discount on bringing bicycles along on our flights), our team members can each apply the savings towards their own individual fundraising goals. I'm already booked to fly Southwest for the Austin event, and looking forward to my travels with you. It would be wonderful if we could encourage many of my fellow "Fatties" to fly Southwest as well.
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Another reader here from Fat Cyclist. I see you posted it's not your "policy" to donate tickets to individuals. Please consider standing behind your community rather than your policy. We are strong in the thousands and we will be so grateful for you to help him in this time. Please. In the sense of enlightened self-interest, it would be a very good move for your airline. And I promise I will fly with you.
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Brian (SW), thanks for your reply and while we understand the policy, this is more a corporate to non-profit type of donation as the money raised by the donation of a flight would all go to the LAF and not directly to an individual. What you may not understand about the community of the Fat Cyclist is that it goes well beyond one brave, inspired struggle against this awful disease. It is really about how that sturggle has galvanized that persons husband to band together a huge online community that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the fight against cancer. Maybe you could be that galvanizing influence at SouthWest who bucks the official policy and the "times are tough" economics and simply advocates to add a plane ticket to an effort that will surely add 10x the value of that ticket and certainly untold more good pr as well. Just a thought but something you might consider. Thanks again on behalf of the Fat Cyclist community fighting for Susan and for everyone struggling with cancer.
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I'm one of the most distant Friends of Fatty living in Adelaide Sth Australia and i would also like to add my voice to the cause. I understand your policy to not donate to individuals but this is not an indivividual it's a movement. Fatty while being absolutely devoted to Susan is fighting back against her Cancer the only way he can and that is by helping to beat Cancer for everybody . By marshalling the troops Fatty is currently making the biggest impact in the history of Livestrong and I would have thought it would be a good move for an organization such as yours to get on board as well as just a good thing to do. I will not be riding at Austin but rest assured if you were supporting us when I next get to the US I will be supporting you. Cheers. Go Fatty and WIN Susan P.S. Fatty is a champion blogger with a huge audience maybe the word donation could be replaced by sponsorship. In the words of another member of Fatty's Army I'm not saying ..... I'm just saying. Jeremy - Australia
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This is another FoF's (Friend of Fatty's). I am amazed at the community that has developed around this family, I call myself a friend but have never met them. Elden has set a bar, for caring and loving and family that is much needed in society today. It would be great if Southwest could show their support for people who are trying to make a difference. Because in the midst of all of this, Elden is not looking at himself or his family alone, he has taken up the fight for many who are battling cancer and is doing phenomenal work to raise funds for the Lance Armstrong Foundation which supports many people who need assistance during the fight with Cancer. Come on Southwest show you strength and join the fight!
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Yet another of Fatty's friends - this time in the UK. This man and his efforts to fight cancer are truly remarkable. If you can help him to help others through his truly staggering fundraising efforts then I implore you to do so. Mark K
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Southwest, you have the best rep in the world for helping. Do help this man and his family. Do some commercials with him. Do whatever it takes. He's trying so hard to help all of us.
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please help fatty at http://www.fatcyclist.com/