Captain Sharie Wilkins has been part of the Southwest family as a Pilot for 16 years, but she has lived with a Servant’s Heart her whole life. Not only does Wilkins show an abounding amount of loyalty to her career and her Cohearts at Southwest, but also to the charity work that she does when she’s not in the cockpit.
Dallas-based Wilkins volunteer work is nationwide, and she calls Oklahoma home. Here she volunteered for Reason to Believe, a Christian-based nonprofit riding center. The organization focused on helping women and children dealing with difficult situations. Although Reason to Believe is now closed, Wilkins dedicated herself to volunteering here with her passion to serve.
While helping at the riding center, Wilkins was doing work for another organization Called Hope 4 Women International, which is headquartered in Phoenix. This program was developed in 2006 to empower women in Uganda who are suffering.
Within H4W is the Dress a Girl Around the World program, which Wilkins also partakes in. This group works to sew beautifully handmade dresses, and send or deliver them around the world to children in need. Dress a Girl began in October 2009 and since then has distributed more than 450,000 dresses to 82 different countries.
“So many people make this program a reality for these children,” said Wilkins. “Some of these dresses going overseas could be the only dress that a receiving little girl will ever own.”
Wilkins said she was blessed to be able to combine these two experiences, as each organization taught her so much that she could apply and use with the other organization.
“Knowledge and awareness of the issues that these women and children are facing is extremely important to me,” said Wilkins.
Doing work for these two organizations wasn’t enough for Wilkins, who is always looking to put her Servant’s Heart to good use. Her next step was incorporating her family’s business into her charity work. Wilkins’ son owned a coffee company he had started up after college called Flatlander Coffee Co. After he informed his mom that he was going to sell the company, she knew she could take over and use Flatlander to raise money for her women and children.
Wilkins younger son was living in Colombia at this time, and his wife had established relations with orphanages while they were down there. Wilkins had wondered if the children needed dresses, and her son affirmed they needed everything.
Colombia also happens to be one of the largest coffee growers in the world. Wilkins took to developing a program where she bought coffee beans in Colombia to roast, sold the coffee, and put the proceeds back into empowering women and children in the coffee farming communities.
“When I drink a cup of my coffee, I understand the impact it has on the farmer, the women and the children in these communities. The relationships established are the most important thing,” said Wilkins. “Relationships are all we have and they are our hope.”
“There are so many people that do so much with so little,” said Wilkins. “They are a big reason why I do what I do.”
Wilkins encourages other Cohearts to get involved and give back, because having a Servant’s Heart gives people hope. She encourages everyone to find something they have a passion for and get involved.
“I come across Servant’s Hearts in almost every place I go, and as a Pilot, I travel a great deal,” said Wilkins. “They are not just within the walls of Southwest.”
For more information on Hope 4 Women international and Dress A Girl Around the World, visit www.h4wi.org , and to read more on Flatlander Coffee, check out www.flatlandercoffeeco.com
... View more
Here at Southwest, our fellow Employees are just like family. For some, their Cohearts actually are. This Father’s Day, the spotlight is on those who have followed in their dad’s footsteps, and why they LUV working with their father.
Customer Service Agent Elizabeth Gomez poses with her dad at her station, Bradley International Airport, in Windsor Locks, CT. Ed Gomez has been with the Company for 14 years. Elizabeth says family is very important to her and her father, and having the opportunity to see each other at work in action is delightful. Ed even taught an “Adopt a Pilot” class to his granddaughter’s fifth grade class last year. Elizabeth is very glad she followed in her dad’s footsteps in aviation when she joined the Company last December, but is even more grateful that they work for the same amazing Company.
Marketing Assistant Manager Kristina Snyder is lucky to have her father Fernando Ramirez as her Coheart. Fernando started with Southwest back in the summer of 1989 and is a Provisioning Agent at Love Field. Kristina followed her dad’s lead and became his Coheart in 2006. Kristina says even though she doesn’t get to see her dad at work, it is nice knowing he’s across the runway doing his thing. Growing up, Kristina loved being able to visit her dad’s break room at the airport and check out what went on behind the scenes. She enjoyed experiencing the Southwest Culture from an early age and it’s what inspired her to become part of the Southwest Family.
Brother to Kristina, Jeremy Ramirez, a Sr. Analyst for Flight Ops Scheduling Automation, has worked for the company since the fall of 2010. Jeremy says having his dad as a Coheart is a blessing as their bond transcends outside of family and into the workplace as well. While their jobs are completely different and don’t overlap, Jeremy says the LUV and satisfaction he and his father share from working for Southwest is the same.
Jeremy and Kristina’s brother Robert (Robbie) Ramirez, as well as mother Kim, are also Cohearts, making the whole family united by Southwest. Robbie says growing up he never realized how much his dad sacrificed for their family in regard to much how he worked. He says he is the hardest worker that he knows, and was always working overtime and double after double. Robbie has been a member of the Southwest Family since September of 2013, but recently moved to Chicago and transferred to the Cargo Team at Chicago-Midway. Fernando has been one of the biggest influences in Robbie’s life and, according to Robbie, is almost like a celebrity at Dallas Love Field because of his work ethic and great personality. His nickname here at the Dallas Station is “Big Daddy.”
Shea Swiercinsky very recently joined the Southwest Family in May of 2016, following in her dad’s footsteps. Dan Swiercinsky has worked for the airline for roughly 21 years. Shea works alongside her dad in the Las Vegas Inflight Base. She is an Inflight Base Coordinator and her dad is a Supervisor. Shea says she loves getting to share in the Southwest Airlines LUV with her father and it is the best part of her job. She says she can’t thank him enough for introducing her to the Company and inspiring her to join this big, crazy, and compassionate Southwest Family!
Ashley Barron, a Salt Lake City (SLC) Customer Service Agent, snaps a quick selfie on the job with her dad, SLC Ramp Agent Cesar Barron. Ashley just started at Southwest last year, so she is relatively new. However, her dad has been a Southwest Warrior for almost 17 years now. Ashley says she loves having her father as her Coheart because he has always taught her how to treat others and seeing how he interacts with not only other Cohearts, but Passengers too, is a great experience. Seeing her dad almost every day is something she truly enjoys, and says if she is every having a day where she’s feeling down, Cesar is right there to help her out.
Flight Attendant Katelyn Leake poses with her father, Stan Osborne, at her Inflight Training Graduation in June 2015. Stan has worked for Southwest since 1994 when Katelyn was only five years old, so her love for travel began early. Katelyn says that she values being able to have unique experiences with her dad that no other family members do. When the two fly together, sometimes Stan will tell his Passengers they are a father-daughter duo, but other times they keep it as their secret. Katelyn wishes she could fly with her dad more often, and loves getting to see him in his “element.”
Waldren Joseph Sr. started working for Southwest in January of 2002. His son, Waldren Joseph Jr., was 11 at the time. Waldren Jr. followed his father’s lead and became his Coheart in March of 2011. The two of them both started as Ramp Agents and are now both Houston-based Flight Attendants! Waldren Jr. says he enjoys having his dad as a Coheart because he is one of his best friends. He said they recently had a trip to Costa Rica together it is one of his favorite memories. Being part of the Southwest Family together has become something the father and son can bond over and grow together with. Waldren Sr. says his dad is his “favorite Flight Attendant.”
... View more