You all know that Southwest is the “LUV Airline”, and every year on Valentine’s Day, we really earn that title. All Employees are encouraged to wear red or pink, many flowers are delivered to our locations, candy is free flowing, and one of our biggest SWA traditions takes place at Headquarters: Heroes of the Heart. (See video here.)
“Heroes” was started 16 years ago as a way to honor a workgroup that has no contact with our external Customers. Flight Attendants and Customer Service Agents may have several opportunities to be recognized for the outstanding work they do, but a lot of our “behind the scenes” Teams never get that chance. And so was created this prestigious honor.
Employees nominate Teams they feel deserve the award, and a committee holds several super-secret-double-probation meetings to select the winner---I’m not kidding about the secret part, everyone involved in the day, from Vice Presidents to our A/V Specialist, have to sign confidentiality agreements; part of the FUN of Heroes is the surprise when the winners are named.
Employees gather in the main lobby of Headquarters on Valentine’s morning-surrounded by thousands of gorgeous balloons and decorations. They are treated to cookies and beautiful music. This year the music was provided by the Arthur Houff Brass Ensemble--made up of all SWA Employees.
The show starts, a video showcasing--but not revealing--the winners plays, and everyone thinks they have it figured out. I heard so many People during this year’s video whispering, “no fair it’s Technology AGAIN, they just won it a few years ago!,” and, “it’s definitely Purchasing”--and I just giggled (I’m on the committee).
Finally, the winners are revealed…
Congratulations to our 2009 Heroes of the Heart: Corporate Facilities! This well-deserving group of Employees is responsible for the planning, design, and construction of all Southwest Airlines’ facilities. Just a few of their vast projects include the development of airport facilities, including opening new cities and bases; the Headquarters renovation and expansion; our Companywide recycling efforts; and our new enhanced boarding procedures.
Not only do they hold one of the highest honors at Southwest Airlines, but our 2009 “Heroes” received several other gifts; the biggest (literally) being a plane! Yep, check your plane as you board; it just might be the Heroes of the Heart plane, emblazoned with the winning Team’s name.
Oh, if you can’t see out the airport windows when your plane arrives because of lighting or something, don’t worry, we can get someone from Corporate Facilities to check on that!