On our country’s birthday, we pause to remember our nation’s distinctive history that produced the uniquely diverse culture that Americans enjoy; and to honor our country’s heroes who have paved the way for the freedoms that we experience today. Southwest Airlines is deeply committed to the families of our country’s service members and supporting charitable organizations that serve them. Retired Captain, Ted Lawson, volunteers with the Wounded Warrior Project and shares his story of the Wounded Warrior Family Ski Week sponsored by Southwest.
I got involved with this activity while still employed fulltime with Southwest as the Director of Flight Safety. Since my plans were to move to Breckenridge upon retirement, I started investigating the various volunteer activities in the area. One of the best organizations here is the Breckenridge Outdoor Educational Center (BOEC), a group that provides adaptive help with outdoor activities to people with special needs. The BOEC was used by the Wounded Warrior Family Ski Week organization to provide all of the adaptive needs of the group. I grew interested due to my previous military service and desire to give back to our soldiers who have given so much in their service.
When I asked Southwest Airlines for help to defray one of the major expenses of the week, they immediately said yes! What a Company! I am extremely proud to have been a part of this great company for over 33 years.
The week was an unmitigated success. I don’t know who received the most benefit from the interactions all of us had, the volunteers, or the Soldiers and their families. I can attest to the comments I received during the week: “This is the best thing to have happened to our family since my husband’s return.” “ I didn’t know that others kids have dads who wake up in the night screaming, but now that I do it helps me with my fears.” “Before I got here, I didn’t know if I could ever ski, but look at me now!” “I can’t believe that I could catch so many fish in one afternoon.” “We will never forget our trip and the many new friends we have made in this short week.”
One of the soldiers was able to take the Imperial chair lift to the highest part of the mountain and ski down. He was ecstatic because it was so far beyond his goals for the week. All of the children were able to bond and have now exchanged the e-mail, Twitter, FaceBook pages that all kids use these days.
I want to give my most humble thanks to Southwest Airlines for helping to make this event happen. Every family continually expressed their gratitude to Southwest for providing their transportation. It is through generosities such as this that we will all be able to help nurse the wounds of our returning soldiers and to ease their return to everyday society.