Ashley, great article and thanks so much to you and the Southwest Team for a wonderful day and a great experience. As a lifelong Cubs fan, it was a dream come true to pitch from the mound at Wrigley Field! Sharon said she was not surprised that this came courtesy of Southwest Airlines -- just one more demonstration of the great attitude, friendly customer service and extra benefit of being a Southwest customer!
Your loyal customers: Larry and Sharon Ryczek
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Last weekend I saw Freedom in its most natural form at the Dog Park on Montrose Beach. My husband and I recently moved to Chicago with our mutt Charlie and were told about the dog park along the shore of Lake Michigan. Since summer is clearly here we decided to give it a try and see how our Lab/Golden Retriever mix would take to the experience. Let me just say that he LUVed it! What I witnessed put a smile on my face as I saw Yorkies, Great Danes, Bulldogs, Terriers and even a Chihuahua enjoy the freedom of the Montrose Dog Beach. All the various breeds were off their leash and able to swim in the water, run in the sand, and play among themselves, all to the pure amusement of their owners. You could not help but chuckle at Charlie’s enjoyment as there was no leash to hold him back. All you could see for a quarter-mile stretch was tails waging and spirits abounding as they leapt to catch a tennis ball or crashed into the cold lake. I had to practically carry my 100-pound Lab out of the water in order to get home in time for dinner. It was pure joy to watch these dogs experience Freedom. As we celebrate the 4th of July which commemorates the Freedom we have to live our lives in this great country I hope that I can get rid of the burdens that hold me back (at least for the weekend 🙂 and experience that “Happy Dog” Freedom that I witnessed on the Montrose Dog Beach. If you are a dog LUVer and a Southwest Airlines LUVer you need to bring your pet up to Chicago Midway and take Fido to the Dog Beach. Believe me… it will put a smile on your face.
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I had the distinct pleasure of joining the fifth grade class of Dawes Elementary School on their field trip tour of our Southwest Airlines Operation at Midway Airport . Why was Dawes Elementary so lucky? Well... the answer is that they earned it along with their Adopted First Officer Tyrone Ward! The fifth graders were graduating from the Adopt-A-Pilot program, and the culmination of their achievement was a fun-filled day with Southwest Airlines Pilots, playing games like “pin the tail on the Boeing” and cupcakes…there was also a bit of education involved! If a field trip like this would have existed when I was younger I would probably be flying the skies instead of writing this blog! " What is Adopt-A-Pilot," you might ask? The Adopt-A-Pilot Program reaches fifth grade classes in each of our destination cities and the classes adopt their own Southwest Airlines Pilot for a four-week educational and mentorship program, containing curriculum that covers geography, math, science, civics, history, aviation, creative writing, and research skills. “Adopted” Pilots mentor students and communicate a key message: Education is important in reaching personal goals, and that message was communicated thoroughly throughout the day. Chicago Midway was chosen sight for this particular field trip because the Chicago Flight Operations Base won the "2009 Ace Pilot Base" award for having the highest percentage of Pilots register for the Adopt-A-Pilot program. Go MDW! As an award for the winning base, Adopt-A-Pilot sponsored a field trip for the class of an adopted Pilot from the winning Base. This year AAP sponsored First Officer Tyrone Ward's classes from Dawes Elementary. The day started with students listening to our Midway Assistant Chief Pilot Art George talk about the Midway Operation and the 1,000 Pilots based at Chicago Midway. He then dismissed the Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo and Foxtrot groups (Yes, the students learned the Phonetic Alphabet!) to go on a tour of Midway. They also got to board a Boeing 737 and sit in the cockpit like a real Pilot. They also got to visit the Pilot’s Lounge and hear from the Chief Pilot Tony Dorsch who briefed the students about the average day of a pilot. Students were able to view flight manuals and see real time weather updates. The best part of the tour was the opportunity to hear from a legendary Tuskegee Airman. The Tuskegee Airmen were America ’s first black military airmen and were trained in Tuskegee , AL from 1941-1946. They served in WWII, and the students had the opportunity to hear from the 85-year-old veteran pilot, Lt. Williams, who talked about his experience during the war and about how these fifth grade students were the future of the country. What an inspiration! The students also had the opportunity to see and pet Midway’s Canine Unit drug dog named Nicky. His owner, Officer Alaniz, gave an example of how the dog uses his sensitive nose to find illegal items in the airport. In addition, Representative Glen Toby from The Book Bank Foundation gave each student a hardback book to further the foundation’s goal of literacy among youth. Finally the big moment arrived, Adopt-A-Pilot graduation! All the students graduated with flying colors from the Southwest Airlines Adopt-A-Pilot program, learning lessons of science and the physics of flight, hopefully to inspire their young minds to start thinking about their future. Believe me…after meeting these students the sky truly is the limit!
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Ashley! Love this blog on Chi-town. Last year, around this same time, I fought the bitter cold weather of Chicago and I can definitely understand your want (or even need) to hibernate. But it'll be all worth it when July comes around and you are sitting pretty in 70 degree weather while the rest of us here in the dirty south are sweating like burly men in 100 degrees!
Also, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit that SEC sports bar you spoke of, actually the day that Kentucky beat LSU a couple of seasons back, and it was great! There is a wonderful southern camaraderie that is present and it really will take you home for at least a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon. It'll be a fun place to visit come September during football season. I promise!
Good luck in Chicago...I know you'll do great things in Southwest Marketing there!
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Since I can't send you email via your site, I guess I'll just randomly vent on your blog. Actually, I shouldn't even be online, I should be on a plane, your plane, but for some ungodly reason you've decided to pull the plane I was supposed to fly on from our gate and re-deploy it somewhere else. That's flight 1136 out of Las Vegas. Thought you should know I'm regretting my decision to not book with JetBlue. I hope on your next flight, you are delayed indefinitely.
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Hi Miss Ashley,
I was reading your post on the very cold Chicago temperatures and after checking out some of your other posts I just had to comment on this OH..IO one. I very proud to say I hail from the awesome state of Ohio having spent my younger years in the town of Westerville Ohio. I live in Phoenix Az now and my husband and I both work for Southwest Airlines, in fact we each celebrate our 20th anniversaries with Southwest this month. I digress, back to Ohio. Like I mentioned I do live in Phoenix, but I will always think of Ohio as my true home. You know, Ohio and everything that it stands for such as the birth place of aviation, its very down to earth people, and of course its die hard Buckeye fans are really just a sample of the unique qualities and aspects of the state. I have always felt like Southwest Airlines and the State of Ohio are similiar in many ways, and no one could have been happier than me when Southwest initiated service to CLE & CMH way back in 1992. Alright, now I'm really dating myself! Anyway, I just wanted to tell you I'm so glad you've been able to experience two of my favorite things Ohio & Southwest Airlines, because from where I'm standing both, that is the state and the company, cannot be beat!
Love and Peace,
Lori P PC/CCR
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