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One of Our Own

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photo_servlet.jpegYesterday we received news that one of our Employees, Sgt. Charles Kitowski, was killed by a road side bomb in Afghanistan. I didn't know Charles personally, but it doesn't matter - he's family to all of us at Southwest and we are grieving this loss. The comments have started pouring in from Employees that did know and love Charles. Please feel free to leave comments, share memories, or just offer words of support to his friends and family here. Comments for Charles, including one from his fiance, Berri, are also showing up on an April 9th post by Shelley. My heart and prayers go out to the Kitowski family and Berri. God Bless all of you. - Bob Hearst So sad to hear about the death of one of our SWA young men. As it is to hear of the deaths daily of young men and women in the military. They are all heroes! We do celebrate the return of one of BNA's Operations folks, SSgt Kelso, who will be back in Nashville on the 27th after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is one of the lucky ones: no injuries. We are thankful and grateful. We salute those who have died in serving their country, or who will carry their wounds for the rest of their lives. -Jim Hawkins A salute to Charles one of our Warrior Spirits who gave the ultimate sacrifice in serving our great nation. My thoughts and prayers are with your family and friends. - Eric Hoevers I was deeply saddened to find out about the loss of my friend Charles. I had the pleasure of getting to know him through having lunch with him and a small group of others on the HDQ 3rd floor deck. Charles was always a funny guy, yet sincere and dedicated as well. I truly appreciate him for his service to our Country. -Paul Thompson When I saw the news on our Employee website this morning about Charles… tears immediately started falling down my face over a man I have never met. What a sign that we truly are family here at Southwest. To Berri and other family you will be in my thoughts and prayers in these days ahead. God Bless You and God Bless America. -Joshua Tibbs It is never easy to comment when one of our nations finest, and a true hero of freedom, passes serving their country. The fact that this one was one of "our own" here at SWA only deepens the impact even more. To quote Paul Watson, "In the great scheme of things, what matters is not how long you live, but why you live, what you stand for, and what you are willing to die for." Charles lived to bring the Freedom to Fly to people all across this country, and he died protecting the core Freedoms that define this country. He will be missed by all of us at SWA. - Josh Luse I am saddened by the news of one 'our own' losing his life in the service of our Country. By reading all the entries, Charles (Trey) seemed to touch lives in a special way and leave a little of himself with each person he met. He will surely be missed by all. Berri, this is goes to you.. remember the love he shared with you and as good a person as he sounds like he was…I bet so is his family.. you will all help each other.. my prayers go out to all who are hurting today.. God Bless you.. - Vonnie Selzer Sgt. Charles B. Kitowski III, 31, of Farmers Branch, Texas. I live close to you and work where you worked. Unfortunately, I did not meet you personally but got to know you through this website. I write this with a heavy heart, expressing my deepest sympathy to your parents, Berri, family and friends. Hope that time will heal the unbearable pain and sadness. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. -Terri Vajdi Everyone who proudly wears the uniform of one of our Armed Services and who willingly puts themselves in harm's way in order to "protect and serve" is worthy of our respect and gratitude, and those who make the ultimate sacrifice are the true heroes in our world. My thoughts and prayers go out to Charles' family, to Berri, and to all of Charles' Coworkers and friends at Southwest Airlines. - Sandy Nelson Charles, you will be missed! May the Lord bless you and keep you. - Dav Watson My heart aches for the friends and loved ones of all the fallen service members. I am saddened to know we have lost one of our own. - Cheryl Sullivan Ohhhhhh Charles. I am still in shock this happened to you. It is very unreal, and still new to me, and even though I trust you are in a better place, your calm presence, trusting smile and caring spirit will be truly missed here on earth. I will miss your sense of humor, and the fact that you always "got" mine. Your heart was always in the right place and no matter how many dogs, and cats, I asked you to adopt, you never once ignored my requests. You even helped by taking Bob, knowing how much of a "problem child " he was. I will miss your "Bob stories" and I know he and Annie will miss you terribly. You were the "best-est" friend they could have ever had. I want to thank you for always helping our little group, from the dog houses you built, to delivering them personally, even if it meant driving a while to get there. You donated food and materials when we needed it, and your time when I know you didn't have it. I will miss our joke everytime we saw each other at the same function or party of holding our hand up to our ear and saying, "Call me!" I will miss seeing you and Berri together, and seeing how happy you were as a couple. Berri, I don't know what I could say, except that I am truly sorry for your heart ache, as I am just as heart-felt for Mr and Mrs Kitowski. Thank you for your son. I will never forget you Charles, nor our friendship. Call me! Tracie Fulce
25 Comments
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Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Sgt. Charles Kitowski. What an honor it must have been to know him.
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I am still in shock. Charles was an unbelieveable person, and truly irreplaceable. A fellow finance employee said to me Ã
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I arrived this am for my 915am shift so i missed the moment of silence for charles at 900am...i had my own moment of silence..being a veteran myself, it grieves me to no end to hear of a fallen comrade...even though i did not know Charles personally, anyone serving in the military is my comrade in arms...He deserves to be put on a pedestal and honored for serving our great country...my prayers are with his family and girlfriend... GOD BLESS AMERICA AND ALL OF OUR TROOPS IN HARMS WAY... Sincerely, Robert Abrego
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You gave the "ultimate" sacrifice for our country. As a member of the military, you brought your integrity and honor to Southwest Airlines. You are gone from this physical life; yet will forever be in the hearts of your fellow SWA and military families. God be with your loved ones and thank you. Dianne Meyers(PHL ramp)
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I went to AIT with Trey at Ft. Lee. He was a wonderful person and soldier. I had the priviledge to be considered one of his friends throughout our training together, and for that I consider myself lucky. Our group of friends affectionately referred to Trey as "Monkey". I met some of his family in North Carolina, and they are as wonderful as he was. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Kitowski family. I was shocked by the news of Trey's passing. I never imagined anything like that would happen to anyone I knew, especially not him. Trey was truly a special person! He will always be in my thoughts. May God bless you and keep you , "Monkey"!
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Our thoughts, prayers and gratitude go out to Charles and to those near and dear to him. While those of us in the Southwest family in RSW did not know Charles, we can still feel the loss. It is difficult to express feelings of loss, more so when it is one of the willing. To Charles and to all of those willing to risk everything to do right, thank you and God bless. David Smalling
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Charles you laid down your life so others may have a chance at freedom. You raised your right hand so that we in America could continue to live in freedom. You defended our country with honor, with courage and with commitment. You are a true American hero. You are someone that we should all look up to as a role model. My prayers go out to his family and to all those who knew him. I am truly sorry for your loss. MAY HE REST IN PEACE Francisco
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As much pain as IÃ
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It would have been an honor knowing you Charles. Thank you for serving our great Country, fighting for our Freedoms, and making the ultimate sacrifice. Your extended Southwest Family will miss you. God Speed to your Family.
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Words cannot express the pain and hurt we are going through right now for the Kitowski family and Berri. We loved Charles very much. He was a wonderful person, had a great smile, so full of life and love for his family, friends and Berri. The love, support and prayers that we have received over the last few days from his friends at SWA has touched our hearts. Thank you SWA for that. Charles you will be truly missed. We will always remember you!
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While I don't work for SWA and didn't know Charles, it's been touching to see the outpouring of grief and support for him from his fellow employees. It's so easy to let any of our servicemen or -women become just a statistic and not a person. Through these posts, Charles has become a person to me, and I'm amazed by how many lives he affected. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.
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My heart is heavy with sadness and also filled with great pride. My prayers go out to Berri and the entire Kitowski Family. I am forever grateful for the sacrifice that Charles made for me, my family, and for our Country--God Bless.
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My thoughts and prayers are with Trey, Berri and the whole Kitowski family. I attended high school in Houston with his Aunt Gail, many years ago, and have loved knowing the Kitowski family. May God bless you all; I am so sorry for your great loss. Peace to each of you, Jessica
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I flew on Southwest on August 9, 2007 to Las Vegas from Washington Dulles. My flight was supposed to take of at 12:50 and arrive at Las Vegas at 2:50 Pacifffic time. The flight was 6 hours late taken off. The piolt and the crew were wonderful, after sitting on the runway for 1-2 hours. The piolt brought the plane back to the gate and gave updates. The piolt allowed us to get off the plane and told when he was going to give the updates. Today I recieved a $75 voucher to fly on Southwest, I will defintlely take you up on this offer. Once again Southwest is a geat airline to fly.
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Sweet Berri, My heart is breaking for you. I know all too well how hard it is to have a loved one serving our country and fighting for our FREEDOM in Iraq and Afghanistan. You and Charles, as well as his family, are true HEROES in my eyes. You have given up the greatest sacrifice, the loss of a loved one. I wish I could take all of your pain away. Please know that your Southwest family is here for you, Berri. Much LUV, Tina Clanton
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To Berri & the Kitowski Family - I did not have the pleasure of personally knowing Charles, but, as part of the Southwest Family, I was moved to tears by his passing and the emotional overflow of Love he has received. I feel compelled to write this & share my experience with whomever wishes to listen. As a young boy, I experienced what is known as an N.D.E. (near death experience). I sincerely believe this was actually a Death experience, that I actually died, and for whatever purpose, came back to life, maybe for the very reason of sharing this experience here & now. All I can say is that when it happened, there was no physical feeling of pain, fright, or emotion. I experienced only calm and peacefulness that is basically beyond words, similar to perhaps "floating on a cloud" and looking down and seeing all that was transpiring at the time in this physical world. It actually was the most beautiful experience I have ever had, which eventually left me with no fear of death and with the certain knowledge that this was not an ending but a true beginning of something more beautiful, mystical and etherial, than I have ever known. Truly there is life after death and Charles, who sacrificed his earthly existence for so selfless a purpose as to bring freedom & peace to others, is experiencing this as we speak. I remember seeing Medieval religious paintings of the great masters where angels are pictured as cherubs floating on painted clouds, sometimes just as a child's head with wings but without a body. I think the symbolism portrayed within was probably a mystical experience similar to the N.D.E. and the artists were trying to convey the everlasting spirit or soul within, that each one of us possesses that never dies, and is beyond pain, suffering, and eventually, death. Please rest assured that Charles IS in a better place and he IS still aware of you and your love for him, and that Our Creator is letting things unfold as they should. May He help you trough this time of grief & sorrow with Love & Blessings until you all can be reunited again. Charles & all of you are in my prayers.
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Berri~ I remember when you first got a copy of the July Spirit Magazine. You held it up to me and asked me if I wanted to see your "hero." Of course I wanted to!!! You were so proud of him. I could tell in that moment how very much you loved this man. When I heard the news about Charles passing, my heart broke for you and Cayson. Just know that all of us here at SWA love you and will be here for you whenever you need us. All my love and prayer, Misty
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I had the priviledge of meeting Charles through Berri. He was funny, caring, full of life - just like Berri! He brought much happiness to Berri and I will always be thankful to him for that. My prayers are with all those who are affected by this great loss. Ber, I am praying for you and thinking about you every day. Love You, Bec
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My thoughts and prayers are with Mr. and Mrs. Kitowski. Charles was my friend my everything. We shared so much together. I will never forget the moments we spent together. I will always love you Charles!
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I have been flying SWA for 25 years from MAF to ELP and am very sad to see that service go away. I cannot even get to ELP through ABQ do you have any suggestions and is there any chance that service will be back in the near future?
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What can I say that hasn't aleady been said of Charles, for those of you that didnt get to know him personaly you misseed a chance to know a person that lived life to the fullest. Always there to lend a hand even when he didnt always want to ask you to lend him one in return. I am a happy person that I took the time when he called and asked " Can you watch the house? Can you feed Annie and Bad Bob? Can you help me with that building he called "the shed". You pac rat. Getting the lawn sprinklers done in time before he left. If I had the chance to get a couple of more blisters on my hands I would be happy to say "ya bud, give me a minute i'll be there. I will miss sitting at the kitchen table and having a "few drinks" then talking till late, of course stopping to get a bite at Taco Cabana. Charles your lunch group will miss our lunches and that famous Charles stretch signaling that lunch was over. Till we meet again we will keep your place at the table and we know that your having all the fajitas and margaritas you can stand. your friend, Myke
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My Sweet Charles! Loving you, Tinking of you,and Missing you today and always! You are always on my mind! I'm so sad today. I love you so much. Berri
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Charles- Today is November 1st...you would be on your way home right now. I've been thinking about you and what all we had planned all day..it's so hard and I'm hurting. I LOVE YOU SOOOO MUCH!
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Berri, My family will be keeping yours and Charles' in our prayers and in our thoughts all month along with the others who have gone before us. The Friedmann family.
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Charles- As it's getting close to 3 months, my heart is still very sad and broken. I love you and miss you so much. I can't believe you are not home with me right now. Tomorrow, will be hard, as I will be with your parents and our friends at Southwest for the Tree Planting Memorial Service for you and Michael Fuga. At least, I know there will be somewhere at work I can go to talk to you. Your strength is helping me through this and I know you are always there for me. LOVE YOU SOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!