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Sharing our Servant’s Heart: The Volunteers of LUV


I don’t have to tell any of you that one of the things that sets Southwest apart is the enormous Servant’s Heart exemplified by our Employees in the communities where we live and work.  Giving our time, giving back, and doing the right thing are hallmarks of our Company.  Recently, I got to celebrate our Employees’ Servant’s Hearts in action at our Volunteers of LUV ceremony held at Headquarters. 

Volunteers of LUV are extraordinary volunteers who make a positive difference each and every day.  These volunteers were nominated by their peers and, this year, by the nonprofits and schools where they dedicated their time.  We had more than 350 nominations and selected the following 24 for their outstanding service—often there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as we celebrated, applauded, and honored their accomplishments.  Their volunteer work is inspirational, and it sets an example to us all to get out there and give back, record our volunteer hours, and earn tickets for the nonprofits and schools through the Tickets for Time program. 

The 2012 Volunteers of LUV recipients:

  • Chicago Captain Ken Oliver volunteers at least twice a week at the Lawrence Kansas Meals on Wheels.  Ken feels fortunate to have a healthy family and great job, and he says it feels good to help out where there’s such a big need.  The organization is grateful to Ken for delivering meals to homebound elderly and/or disabled clients. 
  • Kevin Meoak is a Customer Service Agent in Burbank, and volunteers with the Academy for New Musical Theater. This professional program is one of only three in the United States, as well as a cultural institution in Los Angeles.  Kevin has helped hundreds of writers and actors through various programs.  The Academy would love to hire him, but they know he is equally dedicated to Southwest! 
  • David Yock, a First Officer based in Chicago, is a dedicated volunteer at St. Joseph Catholic School.  David volunteered more than 160 hours in 2011, which earned the school four roundtrip tickets through Southwest’s Tickets for Time program.  Along with teaching the Adopt-A-Pilot program, David is a school board member and is always involved in a number of various projects.  St. Joseph’s says that David is a wonderful role model and a true inspiration with his winning attitude and positive, pleasant personality.   
  • Dana McCann is a Senior Associate Invoice Processor at Headquarters, and she has a strong passion for the Legacy Brain Foundation.  Her Servant’s Heart is reflected in her desire to honor past Employees who fought long and hard battles with this disease, such as Gary Wende and Joan Ferris.  She is willing to go the extra mile and help in any way she can.  The Legacy Brain Foundation is thankful she has chosen to share her time and talents to help patients with their many needs. 
  • Dallas Captain Mike Decanio works with the Pegasus Project, a nonprofit located in East Texas that is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and placement of neglected, abandoned, and abused horses.  He nurses the horses back to health, and he trains them using natural horsemanship techniques so they can find loving homes.  Mike is united with Pegasus Project because of their shared love of horses and the desire to alleviate suffering. 
  • Melissa Ryan is a CS&S Customer Representative in Oklahoma City and has worked as a volunteer with Calm Waters since 2008.  Calm Waters is a support center for children and families experiencing feelings of loss and grief due to divorce or death.  Melissa is a specially trained Grief and Loss Facilitator and conducts groups for grieving children on a regular basis.  Melissa says that is it wonderful to see the families as they begin to heal and regain joy in their lives.
  • Emergency Response Senior Coordinator Dora Villarreal shares her time and LUV with Community Partners of Dallas, working with kids to help them develop empathy for others, build positive relationships with adults and peers, and become empowered to make a difference in their world.  Her passion allows her to have a positive impact on Dallas-area children and inspire hope for the abused and neglected children served by Dallas County Child Protective Services. 
  • Houston First Officer Rich Spinelli doesn’t like bullies and people who take advantage of others.  His for justice is funneled straight into the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation.  The Foundation’s mission is to facilitate improvements and reforms throughout the criminal justice system.  Rich is committed to making New Orleans a safe place to live, work, and visit. 
  • Alicia Prigmore, a CS&S Customer Representative in Phoenix, has a personal affinity for Dress for Success, an organization whose goal is to build client self-confidence and self-esteem in a supportive environment.  When she was raising her daughter as a single parent, she had the support of this wonderful group behind her.  Alicia says that seeing a woman come in who is not confident and then walk out a transformed, vibrant woman is incredible!  
  • Dallas-based Flight Attendant Lynn Schwirtz is a court-appointed advocate for children in the foster care system through CASA, a nonprofit organization of volunteers who are voices for abused children in court.  Lynn’s passion is clear by her advocating tirelessly and assertively for a sibling group of four children who have been in foster care for almost four years. Lynn has been the one constant in these children’s lives during this time, and her commitment is invaluable.   
  • Cheri Weidman is the Greenville/Spartanburg Station Administrator who is involved with a number of wonderful organizations such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Harvest Hope Food Bank, and Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas.  And this is only what we know about her just since GSP opened a year ago!  Cheri says that after being on the receiving end of assistance from some outstanding organizations in the past, she will continue to give back to the community as often as she possibly can.   
  • Oakland First Officer Wendy Hales-Mora is an active Adopt-A-Pilot who volunteered more than 160 hours at Barron Park Elementary School.  Wendy loves being able to introduce kids to math, science, geography, careers, goals, and values from a different or a “real world” perspective.  She believes every child has the potential to be enormously successful, and all it takes is being able to inspire them in the right way, at the right time. 
  • Lori Piper, a CS&S Customer Representative in Phoenix, has shown an incredible drive to help homeless teens get back on their feet by volunteering at the Outreach Shelter in Tempe, Arizona.  The organization provides meals, hot showers, and assistance with finding jobs.  Lori always has a big supply of clothes, food, and water to give, and her love and kindness radiates in all she does.
  • Emmett Tullia is a Houston-based Captain, as well as a volunteer firefighter with Manchaca Volunteer Fire Department.  Firefighter Tullia volunteers when he is not flying for SWA, and responds to emergencies, medical calls, and other duties as a volunteer firefighter.  Emmett received the Firefighter of the Year award for 2011 and continues to show the department and his community his great level of interest and service.
  • Senior Attorney Katy Drechsel plays a critical role as a National Parks Conservation Association volunteer focusing on the importance of maintaining our national parks.  The National Parks Conservation Association shared that ,without Katy’s help throughout the year, they would not be able to accomplish all the things that need attention in our National Parks.
  • Delane Gomez, a CS&S Customer Representative in Albuquerque, serves on the advisory board of Basket of Hope.  Every week hundreds of children are diagnosed with cancer, and she puts together baskets of goodies to deliver to critically ill children in the hospital during such a difficult time.  Delane says that the smiles of these children touch her heart in a way she never imagined. 
  • Orlando Maintenance Line Mechanic Chuck Crawford volunteers with Air Mobile Ministries—a nonprofit organization that provides disaster relief all around the world.  They bring medical supplies, food, clothing, and a water purifier to those in need, and Chuck’s dedication and deep beliefs in the causes that Air Mobile Ministries serves is inspiring. 
  • Cheryl Gilmore is a Senior Source of Support Representative at Headquarters, and says that Southwest Airlines and Habitat for Humanity have given her the opportunity to help families realize the dream of owning a home—as well as a backyard so the kids can play safely.  When the new homeowner receives their keys, Cheryl feels the utmost pride and satisfaction knowing she was part of building a dream home for someone.   
  • Oakland First Officer Joel Reiner is basically a “Joel of all trades” at Neighborhood Christian School in Dixon, California.  Along with participating in the Adopt-a-Pilot program for fifth grade classrooms, Joel is always willing to help in the school office or help the teachers, as well as utilize his skills to build and fix things around the school.  Joel is a great example to the school community and a quality Southwest Employee. 
  • Steve Cohen is a CS&S Customer Representative in San Antonio and volunteers with the National Parks Service and Amtrak for a program called Trails and Rails.  He provides cultural and historical information on the Texas Eagle Route from San Antonio Missions National Historical Park to Ft. Worth.  Steve goes the extra mile to provide great information to Amtrak passengers who would normally not be exposed the work of the National Parks Service. 
  • Houston-based Flight Attendant B.K. Hoffman soars above and beyond the Southwest tradition of cooking dinners for Houston’s Ronald McDonald House.  A cancer survivor herself, she has an innate understanding of what these kids are going through, and expresses it in her own loving ways.  BK steps in whenever and wherever she can, and whether it’s to drive families on field trips to the rodeo or Texans games, or even just help a young lady shop for her prom dress, she is always sharing herself.
  • J.D. Lynd is an Oakland-based First Officer who volunteers with the Efrain Anthony Marrero Foundation, an organization that educates people about steroid use and performance enhancing drugs at all levels of sports.  A personal interest in supporting the organization began by seeing the devastation of the death of his daughter’s friend as the result of steroid abuse.  J.D. has supported parents through interventions, as well as established support systems for athletic departments with information about the detriments of using steroids. 
  • Rapid Rewards Representative Chris Olivas volunteered more than 230 hours at the Resource Center of Dallas, where he lends his helping hands to everything from the hot meals program, AIDS crisis hotline, library, and bingo night to picking up donations and washing dishes.  Last year, Chris earned the organization four roundtrip tickets through the Tickets for Time program.  Now, Chris’s goal for this year is to earn them their maximum of six roundtrip tickets.   
1 Comment
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I respect Southwest in many ways and one of them includes this--they are so giving.