Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

Out of the Cockpit and Into the Disaster Zone

Explorer C

A Passion for Service

As an Air Force veteran, Joe Maxon noticed that the call to service he’d long experienced in the military was missing when he joined the corporate world. In 2019, while working as a Southwest Airlines Pilot, he was able to fulfill that passion when he deployed with Team Rubicon, an international disaster response nonprofit and a Southwest disaster response partner, to The Bahamas to support Hurricane Dorian relief efforts.


While in The Bahamas, he discovered that Team Rubicon’s focus was always on the mission— something that was very important to him. While on the ground with Team Rubicon, Maxon appreciated that, “If something needed to be taken care of, people just did it. There wasn’t any hesitation. There wasn’t any ‘what’s-in-it-for-me',” he said.


 First Officer Joseph Maxon in the cockpitFirst Officer Joseph Maxon in the cockpitPilot Takes Skills from Flight Deck to Rooftop

For Maxon, deploying with Team Rubicon was an opportunity to volunteer his spare time to support a passion of his, helping people who had been impacted by disasters. He has been a volunteer—or Greyshirt—with Team Rubicon for several years, but now with more time available due to the pandemic, he was able to serve in a significant way.


About a year after the Hurricane Dorian response, with the pandemic in full swing, Maxon began volunteering on feeding operations with Team Rubicon, handing out bags of food to anyone in need in the Melbourne, Fla. area. Then, in September 2020, he deployed to the Lake Charles area where he and hundreds of other Team Rubicon volunteers helped more than 809 individuals and worked on 405 homes in the Calcasieu Parish. Maxon spent two weeks in the Lake Charles area, climbing across roofs, and nailing down what must have been acres of blue tarp, all at no cost to the homeowners.


Maxon himself was left feeling a bit grateful by it all, both for what he has and for his ability to serve. “A lot of us have everything we could possibly want,” Maxon said of his time in Louisiana. “Being here helping someone who needs as much as we can give them is worth it.”


Team Rubicon volunteers, Greyshirts, helping communities pick up the pieces.Team Rubicon volunteers, Greyshirts, helping communities pick up the pieces.How can you help continue this mission?

Southwest Airlines is partnering with Team Rubicon to help communities impacted by disasters such as Hurricane Ida. Between now and Oct. 4, 2021, Southwest Rapid Rewards Members who donate a minimum of $25 to Team Rubicon will receive 20 Rapid Rewards® bonus points for every dollar. These donations help further the mission of Team Rubicon by providing relief to those affected by disaster, no matter when or where they strike. Visit Southwest Airlines supports Team Rubicon to learn more.