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Southwest Airlines Community

Rakes, and Shovels, and Axes (Oh My!)

Explorer C

They say Southwest isn’t your average internship. Little did I know what that entailed. On the morning of July 10, 75 Southwest Interns piled into cars and caravanned to the Elm Fork of the Trinity River in Dallas. In partnership with Groundwork Dallas, the largest intern class to date made an enormous impact on the Elm Fork Project, an initiative to turn 800 acres of overlooked urban wilderness into a world class ecological education and recreation center open to the public. 1 Peter Peyton, the Executive Director of Groundwork Dallas believes it’s important for us as a community to take ownership of our green space and make sure that it is a clean space for us to recreate, to learn in, and (most importantly) to draw our drinking water from. Due to the recent flooding along the Trinity River, years’ worth of neatly kempt trails were erased and replaced with empty aluminum cans, plastic bags, and all sorts of debris that made the Elm Fork unsightly for humans and inhospitable to wildlife. 2 With service as a strong component of the Southwest Culture, these dozens of young professionals were eager to display their Servant’s Hearts. In a collaborative effort across departments, the Interns united to make a tangible contribution that the entire City of Dallas can benefit from. Armed with axes and rakes, the group combed the area, removing fallen trees and broken glass from trails. It was a “pay it forward” gesture for our generation to pass on, ensuring the space is enjoyable for years to come. 3 After several muggy hours of hard work, everyone packed up and scattered to celebrate their hard work with lunch. Overall, the intern-planned and led project was a tremendous success, providing the City of Dallas with an accessible, green space and giving these young men and women a sense of accomplishment beyond the normal boundaries of a corporate internship.