Recently, B’nai B’rith honored Southwest Airlines and our Chairman, President, and CEO, Gary Kelly with their annual Distinguished Achievement Award recognizing our commitment to industry innovation, community service, diversity education, and philanthropic leadership.
B’nai B’rith, a humanitarian organization founded in 1843, is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people around the world through programs focused on the elderly, youth education, community service, tolerance, and disaster relief. Through their annual award, they seek to recognize and encourage corporate leaders to continue the efforts of assisting those in need – a natural inclination for Southwest, but not for all others.
Dan Mariaschin, Executive Vice President of B’nai B’rith, was eloquent in his comments on Gary and Southwest, recognizing our citizenship as an extension of our famous Customer Service. With a shared focus on Disaster Preparedness, the evening was also a fund-raiser for the efforts of B’nai in Haiti where they continue to help people get back on their feet. Our own Herb Kelleher gave the keynote speech recognizing Gary’s incredible leadership during these tough economic times and acknowledging his support of continuing to give back to our communities as the right thing to do.
In a small world moment, the evening master of ceremonies was Seth Rikland, a diehard Southwest fan and A-Lister who also happens to have gone to high school in San Antonio with Gary. Seth even played football with Gary!
The evening was a wonderful tribute to all that Southwest does and to our incredible leader, Gary Kelly. In accepting the award, Gary paid tribute to all the Southwest Employees who make it possible for Southwest to remain such a strong Company, delivering wonderful Customer Service to our Customers and to our communities through all your volunteer and giving efforts.