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Supporting our Southwest Troops

slogan
Adventurer C
We at the LUV airline are a patriotic bunch. We LUV our country; we give America the Freedom to fly; and we support our troops who fight for our country's many freedoms. One way we express our LUV is by encouraging our Employees to wear red shirts on Fridays to show our support for the troops. In addition, our Internal Customer Care Team (this year's Heroes of the Heart!) sends LUV packages to all of our Employees or immediate family members who are called for military service. Many times, individual departments also keep in touch with Employees who have been called for military duty. The attached photos show several of our Southwest Airlines Family Members who are currently serving overseas. mike-clanton.jpgMike Clanton is the husband of my friend, Tina, who works as a Recruiter in the People & Leadership Development Department. Mike is in the Marine Corps Reserves and has been serving in northwest Iraq, near the Syrian border, since early November. handing-out-goodies.JPG Several departments have 'adopted' Mike during his deployment, and have sent goodies for him, as well as backpacks, school supplies and shoes for iraqi-kids.JPGIraqi children. Another friend of mine who is currently serving overseas is a SWA Finance Department Employee named Charles Kitowski. charles.JPGHis girlfriend, Berri, also a Southwest Employee, works in our Flight Operations Department as a Crew Accommodations Specialist. Charles left in January for Afghanistan and will be there until November. Here are a few photos that he sent to us recently. If you look closely at the photo titled "My Room," my-room.JPGthe photo in the calendar on his wall is of Charles and Berri from our trip to Seattle in August to pick up a new 737 (see Sunny's blog, "Can We Bottle That Smell?") Another great story came to us from Bernadette Maldonado, a Baltimore-based Flight Attendant, bernadette-bill2.JPGwho was also deployed to Afghanistan in January of this year. Shortly after arriving, she met Bill Mountcastle, another SWA Employee, who works as a BWI-based Pilot! bernadette-bill.JPGThey had not met each other before, but both found comfort in the fact that they had a Fellow SWA Employee serving alongside them! Attached are some photos that Bernadette sent to her friends at home. I'm so grateful to all of these folks for serving our country, and I'm proud to call them my friends. It makes my heart happy to know that even though they are far away from home, they can feel the LUV we're sending their way.
95 Comments
Sherrie_Maloney
Explorer C
My condolences to Charles' family and Berri. To the rest of our heroes...thank you for your service and may God be with you all
Donna_Lavorata
Explorer C
Dear Berri, and Kitowski Family, You will all be in my thoughts and prayers. Gods precious angels surround you and may Gods comfort and strength be with you everyday. Thank You Charles for serving in our Military. God Bless You and God Bless America!! Rest in Peace.
Julie_Nguyen
Explorer C
Everything I try to say sounds so maudlin and doesn't begin to do him justice. But the truth is there are a countless number of broken hearts tonight, mine and my husband's among them. I know in my heart why he went, and I know in my heart why he fought. And I will carry that with me for the rest of my life. His fight will be mine. He left his job, his family, his beautiful girlfriend and his friends to make a better world for those who had nothing, and he deserves the sleep of the just. Rest in peace my brother and my true friend. I loved you and will love you always. Berri, please accept my deepest grief for your loss. All his friends are yours too and if there is anything we can do for you, we'd be honored.
Grace_Vazquez
Explorer C
Dear Berri, know that Gabi and I are thinking of you, "Charros-Cuchi Cuchi," and the Kitowski family. I recently lost my best friend and sometimes feel I'll never recover, but knowing that Charros is up there still protecting, I feel a little less pain. I met Charros on a Boeing trip where we both were Grand Prize winners, I now feel like a bigger winner for being part of not only the fun, but to have met Charros, and to see simple strangers bond so fast with eachother, the memories will forever be with me, as will you Charros "Happy Birthday" and God Bless you for being you and for touching so many people, you and mom are one of a kind.
David_harvey
Explorer C
God Speed Charles and may peace go to your loved ones David Harvey MDW Captain
George_Baxter
Explorer C
Words cannot express the sadness Kathleen and I have felt since we heard the news of Charles' passing. Our hearts are truly broken. So many memories of You have flooded my mind in the last few days. From Southwest Christmas parties, to our get togethers with Peter and Jen at Mykes house, to the time you and Peter met Kath and I met at The Blaney Stone for drinks. There was the time Kath and I met you and Berri at Kels for lunch and then the last time we saw you at the going away party in the EO at Southwest. I always appreciated and enjoyed your company. You were always there to to help out a friend in need. Remember the time you stayed on the phone with me to walk me step by step until I finally was able to install the compression fitting on our new dishwasher? I really appreciated your help. Kathleen thinks of you as a brother and I think of you as a friend. Though You are no longer with us, You will always be thought of as a brother and a friend and will remain in our hearts until the day we are reunited. May You rest in the arms of Gods Grace and Peace until we meet again. George
Lori_Hall
Explorer C
Dear Barri - My hearts and prayers are with you, the Kitowski family, and all of Charles' friends. I was in disbelief when I heard the saddened news. Charles was so dedicated in serving his Country. I will never forget the great trip to Boeing last year, we had so much FUN. The memories will always live on in our hearts. Barri, take care and be safe! Happy Birthday Charros.......we will miss you! Love, Lori Hall
Gabi_Vazquez
Explorer C
Dear Berri, I am very sorry to hear about Charles. He was a very fun and loving person. Just from our Seattle trip, me and my mom fell in love with you guys. We all became a very close group. I start school soon and everyday I am going to pray for you and your family. You are in my prayers as well as all of my family's prayers. Remember the good times. Love you lots! Gabi
Kathleen_Baxter
Explorer C
Oh Charles.......... God Bless your sweet soul my dear friend. I keep thinking I see you up here in the hallways of headquarters. Then my hopes are crushed when the person walking towards me is not you. I still don't want to believe that this is real and that you are no longer with us on this earth. I will miss our talks at lunch and going out with you outside of work. I will miss your kindness towards animals and your love of nature. Iwill miss your willingness to give anyone a helping hand. I will miss your funny personality and the fact that you could laugh at yourself when you did something crazy. I will miss everything about you my friend. I keep hearing your voice and keep seeing images of your sweet smiling face that will be burned in my memory forever. You have always been such a great friend to me and such a wonderful person that I think of you as my brother. You are truly one of a kind who is irreplaceable. My heart is so very broken and I will miss you dearly. I love you my friend and I cannot wait until You, Me, George and everyone who loved you are reunited again in heaven. I hope all of those that know and love you are able to find comfort knowing they will see you again soon. Kat
dad1
Explorer C
Thank you, Charles for loving Berri. You have shown her how a man is to love a woman.You have given her yourself, love, respect, admiration and friendship. You have the most generous and kind heart, as we can tell by the out pouring of love and concern by your friends. Charles you have one huge circle of friends/Fans. CharlesÃ
Andy_Lough
Explorer C
I never had the pleasure to meet Charles, but I worked with his Aunt Mary Kitowski (now Mary Allison) when she was on the AUS ticket counter. Her husband Art was my Supervisor on the AUS Ramp in the mid 1980's. As a Ride Captain with the Patriot Guard Riders/ Austin Region, I get alerts from the PGR with DoD casualty lists. Each time I read one, my heart sinks. On Monday when I saw one for a soldier named Kitowski I had a horrible feeling. Calls to the Allison's confirmed my fear- Charles was kin to Mary. I've spoken to several people at the G.O. about Charles, and like his Aunt Mary he was loved and respected by all who knew him. Today Charles will be coming home, according to the PGR website on a chartered Southwest flight from Dover, Delaware to HOU. I will be among the Patriot Guard that will be Standing Silent, Tall and Proud as Charles arrives at HOU from his final journey early this afternoon. To all who knew Charles, know that the Patriot Guard shares in your grief. We are saddened by his death, but we are so thankful that he lived. Thank you, Charles. Your mission is done, may you rest in peace. Andy Lough/ # 6770 Ramp Supervisor/ AUS
Dennis_Wood
New Arrival
I have spent the week trying to find the right words to express condolences for Charles' family, for Berri and for the rest of us that knew and loved Charles. All the words and thoughts I have are so inadequate to express our profound sense of loss and sadness at this time, and yet through the tears, we have incredible sense of pride in having known this wonderful man. It's been a very difficult week for all of us to say the least. Charles was one of the 'good ones.' He was the kind of guy that when you got to know him, you knew he was going to be a friend for life. My only regret is that we didn't get to spend more time with him or to have known him longer, but I cherish the memory of every moment we all had together. When my wife Melody and I were planning our wedding, we knew Charles had to be a part of it. He was more than a friend and co-worker, he was like our 'little brother.' He even joked with Melody about her being a 'mother-hen,' at times. I know he truly appreciated it. I can't remember a time when Charles didn't have a smile on his face. I can still hear his laugh and see his smile. I can still hear in his voice the sense of pride he had when he spoke of joining the service and being allowed the honor of doing his duty to his country. My wife and I have a wall at home that honors our family members that have served in the military. Among the photos are family members such as my great-grandfather and Melody's grandfather and father. Included in these photos is soon to be one of Charles Kitowski III. We love ya man!
Kevin_Loper
Explorer C
I would like to take a moment and say Ã
Kelly_Blue_Kink
Explorer C
Berri- My heart aches for you and for sweet Cayson. I wish I could be there with you all at the memorial service tomorrow, but I know you have people there who love you and support you. I wish I had the chance to know Charles better before he was deployed. What I remember is how much in love with you he seemed---and how your face lit up every time I asked how the two of you were doing all these past months. As a fellow mommy, I know how monumental it was for you to let Charles into your heart...and into your sweet little boy's world, too. There must be so many questions in your mind, but I hope you know how many people love you and hold you in their prayers. I honestly expected to read stories of heroism and bravery in this blog---about duty, honor and the sacirifice soldier's make each day. There was in deed some of that here. But what I walk away with is the outpouring of love that Charles gave in his 31 years in this world. That's what I think makes him so special, Berri. That, in the end, perhaps our most important mission is not the job we had nor the rank we held...but it is the love and kindness we shared with others. And knowing the smile you always had on your face when you talked about him, I know his mission was complete. Myke, Peter snd Jen....you are in my thoughts as you travel to Katy tomorrow. Please give Berri a huge hug from me. Kelly Blue Kinkel Southwest Airlines, Dallas, Texas
Maegan
Explorer C
Berri and the Kitowski Family, Our thoughts and Prayers are with you. God bless, and thanks to you all for giving the greatest sacrifice any family could give. Maegan Conway, MHT CSA.
Summer5
Explorer C
I had the pleasure of meeting Charles just once, and he was such a delight to be around that I will never forget it. Thank you Charles for your sacrifice for my freedom. My thoughts and prayers go out to Berri and the Kitowski family.
Becky_Morales
Explorer C
Charles Kitowski was a beautiful soul. I was fortunate enough to meet him during college. I can honestly say that my life was never the same after meeting him...he definitely knew how to appreciate life and have fun. My thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family. Although I did not have the honor of meeting his fiancee, Berri, I know how happy he was to have found love. Berri - welcome to the UST family.
Nancy6
Explorer C
I am an employee of SWA and am very proud of the company I work for. I see everyday the young men and women going to and from their duty stations. I was very proud to support the gifts we just sent over to Iraq. My son and daughter are both in the military. My daughter is in the Navy in Florida and my son is in the Army in Iraq. I had a hard time reading the blog about Charles. But I want you to know that you are in our hearts and prayers. God speed to you all.
Afghan_Vet
Explorer C
SGT Charles Kitowski was Killed in Action 12 August 2007 Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. Rest in Peace Brother
Phil8
Explorer C
Charles Kitowski would be so Proud of his SWA SWA is truly a loving family. The very loving and compassionate hearts of SWAers were at BerriÃ
EJ11
Explorer C
I love this! I was in Chicago this past weekend and I walked by a Southwest gate that was dedicated to the troops. It was full of pictures and flags. My boyfriend is currently serving in Iraq and I realy wanted to take pictures of it and send them to him but my camera was broken. Seeing this brought me to tears but it made me so happy and so proud at the same time. Thanks Southwest!
slogan
Adventurer C
Ej, I have photos for you! Can you please post your email address and Brian will be sure to get it to me (without making it visible publicly)?
Joyce_Reeves
Explorer C
Thanks to Southwest for support of our troops.
Gloria4
Explorer C
I will be booking on Southwest anytime I can use them! Thank you Southwest!
use2b2t2
Explorer C
Refer To my post May 16, 2007... As I said not sure if true. The person was at SWA. What I think hapened was this....They played with a radio, and pretended they heard from girls father, and did the best thing they could do. The soldiers gave her a hug, said from Daddy. As a vet, those guys could not have had a com that would have reached her father. I just thought that it was a great thing to do. I believe this story is true (tho no proof). Soldeirs alays have a soft heart for children, I can see them doing it. And hey, I bet it was a gr8 moment for both the mom and daughter. I know they were missing Dad. Reassurance, I think was what they wanted to convey, and I bet they saw she was missing her daddy.
Dennis_Christia
Explorer C
True or not lyou can all make it so: Subject: Red Fridays As a Company, Southwest Airlines is going to support 'Red Fridays.' And here is why (at the end of this story is an explanation of Red Friday) Will you give this to my Daddy? Last week I was in Atlanta, Georgia attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen. Moving thru the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camos. As they began heading to their gate, everyone (well almost everyone) was jumping abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering. When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered for, it hit me I'm not alone. I'm not the only red-blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families. Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal. Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said 'hi.' The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her. The young soldier, who didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her daddy. Suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek. The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter's name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining how much her daughter Courtney missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up. When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military-looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it. After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, 'I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you.' He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying 'your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon.' The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet, he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event. As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in one last act of selflessness, turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek. We need to remember, everyday, all of our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it's good to be an American. RED FRIDAYS ----- Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the 'silent majority'. We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers. We are not organized, boisterous or over-bearing. We get no liberal media coverage on TV, to reflect our message or our opinions. Many Americans, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of America supports our troops. Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday -and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that.. Every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar will wear something red. By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make the United States on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers. If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family. It will not be long before the USA is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once 'silent' majority is on their side more than ever; certainly more than the media lets on. The first thing a soldier says when asked 'What can we do to make things better for you?' is...We need your support and your prayers. Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example; and wear something red every Friday.
Bette_Topp
Explorer C
I think it is wonderful and I believe the American people as a whole, will be very enthusiastic about supporting this. Our military is keeping us free and safe and we need to let them know, so it will contrast what the liberal media throws at them constantly. Great program, SWA - no wonder we love you so much. Bette Topp
Jo_Arnold
Explorer C
You guys are the best! Thank you for thinking of the troops and being proud to let it be known you support them. Yeah! I luv Soutwest! I fly on SW whenever I can. ~Jo Arnold
Charlie_Smith
Explorer C
Bette, this does not appear to be a sanctioned SWA program. The post leads off "true or not . . .". Its not a bad symbolic gesture but something more substantial may be more appreciated by our guys and gals in uniform. Perhaps a care package, some body armor and maybe even voting out the Macheveleans that sent them there and keeps them there under the pretence of lies. They deserve much better than that. Of course you can always blame that nasty liberal media. Media owned by liberal companies like General Electric. GE, a company so left-wing it changed Ronald Reagan from a Democrat to a right-wing Republican. We should all hang our heads in shame to listen to their crafty lies. And they hide all the good news. News so good that even Fox doesn't report it. Our men and women in uniform deserve much more than lip service by a few do-gooders who think running around once a week in a red shirt somehow makes up for the kind of sacrifice military families endure. It doesn't. Wars are really easy to fight from the comfort of your living room. Especially so when its somebody elses kin getting shot at. Let's really show our support and bring our men and women home. Home is where their families need them, their communities need them and their country needs them. They've been away far too long.
Mike_Darrah
Explorer C
My wife and I are leaving tomorrow, Red Friday on SW Airlines, and will be interested in seeing if we are with many other patriotic Americans traveling on Friday. We have bought a red bandana each and will wear it while flying to AZ and back next Friday. Thank you for your support of our troops. God bless America. Mike Darrah, Army brat and proud of it
Not applicable
[...] Until they come home… Red Fridays was started by military families in honor of loved ones overseas. This grassroots initiative of wearing red on Friday is now supported by major companies like Southwest Airlines. [...]
Perry
Explorer C
Thank you Southwest for helping others to voice their appreciation for our boys here and abroad. We are proud of them and the job they are doing and being asked to do. Semper Fi
Jennifer_Hasket
Explorer C
Thank you for showing your support ! I just heard about "wear red on friday's" and ordered my red support shirt ! I will wear red every friday from here on out until everyone is home where they belong. My daughters school wears red every friday, I thought it was for school support, until I talked to the principal and he told me that the red was for the school support, until red fridays came along and now the red is for support of the military. I can not express my appreciation enough for these brave souls that go and sacrifice everything they have. I found a site where you can get addresses for soldiers who do not receive any letters while being deployed. I can't wait to get home from work, and have my daughter sit down with me to write letters to them ! If anyone has any other things that I could possibly do to support our troops, please let me know. Thank you.
D__V
Explorer C
Very touching story. The only problem is, the parade of soldiers thru an airport is a Busch Entertainment Corporation, promotion that is played at Seaworld, and all of the BEC parks. The other problem, try booking a Southwest Airlines flight in or out of Atlanta, GA. There isn't any.
Maureen_Stavrak
Explorer C
I have experienced first hand the patriotism and love of Southwest employees. In November 2007, I had to say "So long" to my son; who is a soldier and was being deployed to Iraq. There is nothing I could do to prepare myself for that day and that moment when I had to kiss him goodbye. I was sobbing uncontrollably in the Islip Airport, when the SW agent approached me with a pen and paper and said "write him a note. The pilot will give it to him. " She was so compassionate and I will always remember her kindness. Thank you for your support of our troops! They need to know that we have not forgotten them and that they are loved. God bless America and our troops around the world.
Amy_Lynn_Rosen
Explorer C
Thank you for taking the time and effort to support our service people. They deserve every bit of support and respect we send them. I'm not really surprised, though. Many of the founding pilots for Southwest were Vietnam veterans. My cousin, Don Morris, was the 54th pilot hired by your company. When he came home after serving in Vietnam, he was hurt by the hostility many people expressed towards him. Southwest was a professional home and extended family for the rest of his life. Bless all of you for not letting our current service people suffer the isolation that Vietnam vets did!
Not applicable
It has been 10 months since my dear friend Charles' passing. His death was not an end; it was only a beginning. We, his UST friends, have become closer. In his own way, he has inspired us to live more fully, to think of our actions, to see what a difference we can make in the world around us. A few of us visited the University of St. Thomas in Houston yesterday, our alma mater, Charles' alma mater. He has a memorial tree and paver there as well. It is nice to see that, even after he has gone, he still brings us together and reminds us of the bond that holds us, no matter where we are or what we're doing. Thank you, Charles. We miss you dearly...
Gloria3
Explorer C
I just happend to open this Blog and read about Charles' passing. My tears rolled down my face the whole time! I did not know him, but I do know a lot of young men and women, serving in Iraq as of this writing. In my current position I help find housing for military families here in Hawaii. I am amazed how brave and patriotic all of these young people are. I admire and respect these families, because of their service to our country we can enjoy our freedoms here. Thank you and may you all have a safe trip back home! We DO appreciate your service and sacrifice! God Bless! Gloria Almendares Hawaii
Ted_Triche
Explorer C
Thank you Southwest Airlines and all your employees for supporting our troops. Not only do you honor our troops, you honor the flying Americans with the only profitable and efficient airline. I will continue to fly with Southwest when you service my destination. God bless each and every one of you.
Raymond_Medlock
Explorer C
We here at Ft. Bliss are extremely proud of our soldiers and all the soldiers serving. Because of you, we are free.
William_Engleha
Explorer C
Your airline is beyond wonderful, you exemplify what america is all about, which is becoming scarce these days. My son and his wife both work for Southwest, and I couldn'ty be more proud. God bless all of you, keep up the image and great work!!
Wm_Holden
Explorer C
http://www.mrbucks.com/Awarenessweb.jpg I have a company that is providing some of the awareness ribbons for this push. Let me know if we can help any further. Support our Troops
Anonymous3760
Explorer C
I know this is an old post, but I hope it will be updated. Thank you SW for this page. I am going to book my flights with Southwest from now on. Some companies just "get it!" and obviously, SW does.
Stephanie_Kolac
Explorer C
Thank You!!!!!!! *Proud Army Wife*
Flight_attendan1
Explorer C
Friends are worth keeping for. They are reliable friends indeed!