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Southwest Airlines Community

The LUV That Never Dies

Aviator C
Although Southwest is a relatively young Company, we have our share of Retirees, especially when you consider that a lot of our folks have come to Southwest as a second career. However, when it comes time to "hang up the old Southwest ID card," it is hard to let go of the Southwest Family, and fortunately for them, and more importantly for us, they don't have to. The LUVers Group was formed by two or our Original Employees in 2002 as a way to keep all Southwest Retirees connected with the airline they LUV. The group began with meetings of eight to ten Retirees that would meet several times a year here at our Headquarters. Well, that group has grown to 230 members from all across the country. Their lunch meetings usually start by catching up on events in each other's lives, and they transition to ,"Do you remember when?" IMGP1535.JPG At the recent luncheon to celebrate our 35th Anniversary, each member was asked to provide their fondest Southwest memory. Kelli Bartlet, one of our current Flight Attendants and a host of the event, shared some of their memories with me and also provided the photos for this post. Donna Pomroy, our former Administrative Coordinator at the Dallas Station remembers the time when a gentleman enlisted her help to have 24 Customers line up with a red rose to welcome the Customers off of a flight. He waited at the end of the line as everyone deplaned to propose on bended knee to his future wife. Chuck Martin, our former Director of Maintenance recalls when a "small group of Employees" flew to Chicago Midway to recruit former employees of Midway Airlines, which had just liquidated. For sustenance and to save costs, the group lived on bags of White Castle hamburgers. (I don't know about Chuck, but I'd give my eye/ teeth for a fresh bag of hot "sliders" right now!) Bob McNiel, our retired Manager of Safety and Transportation Procedures wants to be around for another 35 years to see how far the "LUV Airline" can go, and former CEO Jim Parker's best memories are the "wonderful, caring People of Southwest." The "$13 Fare War" when Southwest gave the Customer a choice of a $13 fare between Dallas and Houston or to pay the full fare of $26 and receive a fifth of premium liquor was Original Employee Joy Bardo's favorite memory. Gwen Harrison, a retired Flight Attendant/Inflight Supervisor/Inflight Trainer recalls that she felt guilty getting a paycheck because of the Southwest Family feeling. She also fondly (?) remembers her afro wig, hot pants, and go-go boots. Some of the attendees also shared their current activities. Glen Woods who was our Station Manager in Denver (Stapleton) and Albuquerque and Assistant Station Manager in Dallas is currently restoring classic cars, trucks, sailboats, and motorcycles. Former Flight Attendant Deborah Franklin, another of our Original Employees, is restoring old cemetaries and studying genealogy.IMGP1542.JPG That's just a handful of the thoughts of those who attended. Thanks to Kelli for sharing, and more importantly thanks to all these Retirees for making Southwest what it is today!