In 1982, my family moved from Belize to the south side of Houston. We settled in a quiet little neighborhood name Garden Villas off Telephone Road and Airport Boulevard, right next to Houston Hobby Airport. I remember thinking at the time how different everything looked and felt in comparison to the world I had just come from. One of those differences was the plants and trees in the neighborhood. I remember asking my mother what fruit each tree and plant bore. I was taken aback when she told me the only trees that bore anything were the pecan trees. This was a paradigm shift for me because in Belize an overwhelming majority of the trees that were planted in our yards produced some type of fruit. In Belize we had coconut, orange, avocado, tangerine, mango, mame, craboo, canep and papaya trees in our yard. I didn’t understand why you’d plant a tree in your yard that didn’t bear anything. The other difference that stood out for me was the roar of the 737’s flying low above the houses as they landed at Hobby. I distinctly remember climbing up on the roof of our house in the evenings to watch the planes land. I remember thinking how cool it was that the planes would make the trees sway and all the leaves rustle as they passed over head. As time went on, these new things became old things and faded in my thoughts.
More than 25 years later, I was working for Southwest Airlines at the Houston Customer Support and Services Center, and the fight to Free Hobby started to take shape. I remember thinking at the time how awesome it was to be part of a movement to connect the city I now called home to the area of the world from which I came. I did not know at the time that Belize would eventually be one of the destinations that we would end up flying to. Our vision that was laid out by our Senior Leaders took a lot of boots on the ground to make it happen. From the petitions, to the town hall meetings, to the huge presence of Southwest Employees at City Hall, we finally made our vision come to fruition for the communities we serve.
When the announcement was made that we were going to start service to Belize, I thought about how my life was coming full circle. It was a moment I will never forget—I get goose bumps thinking about it to this day. I immediately called my mother and shared the good news. She was excited about the potential convenience of flying back home from an airport that is just a few blocks away from her home. International service from Houston Hobby is a great thing for the folks in Belize, the Houston community, and our loyal Southwest Customers across the U.S. Southwest Airlines has afforded me some great opportunities since joining the Family back in 2007.
On October 15, 2015, at 1:45 I will be on the first Southwest Airlines flight to Belize. For me, our purpose to connect People to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel is now a reality.
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