As we await the winner of the 2013 Belmont Stakes, let me introduce you to Metro Meteor.
In his heyday, Metro was considered one of the fastest Turf sprinters on the New York racing circuit. By all accounts Metro enjoyed a very successful career, and earned almost $300,000 in purses until a knee injury cut his career short. That’s when Southwest Airline’s Flight Attendant Wendy Krajewski and husband, Ron, decided to adopt him. They soon discovered that with Metro they had added more than a horse to their family—they had discovered an artist.
You see, Metro is a painter who spends his retirement with paint brush in his mouth instead of out in the proverbial pasture. Since starting his second career, Metro has generated more than $50,000 in artwork sales. Half of his earnings help find homes for retired racehorses, and, to date, Metro has successfully helped 12 horses find loving families. The other half of his earning goes toward his own rehabilitation expenses.
Metro is truly the most amazing horse I have ever met and I hope you enjoy getting to know him as much as I did!
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Memorial Day is a special time to honor and remember all of our nation’s servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. Simply put, the Memorial Day holiday is a day to honor those who fought and died in service to our country.
Throughout this entire weekend, you are likely to see American flags and other patriotic flare at parades, within our country’s National Cemeteries, and, of course, at the many war memorials dedicated to the honored dead who once so proudly served in uniform. Friends and family of these fallen heroes often visit the war memorials on Memorial Day to pay their respects, as do military personnel and veterans. Here at Southwest Airlines, our Employees are proud to serve America’s military, both active duty and veterans, all year round, and we join them on this year’s Memorial Day in offering our respect and remembrance to all those who lost their lives in service to our country.
Since 2009, Southwest has been the official commercial airline of the Honor Flight Network, an organization dedicated to providing veterans with the opportunity to visit their war memorials in Washington, D.C. Over the past four years, Southwest has provided $2 million in free travel to more than 5,100 veterans through this worthy organization. A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting Roland Ptak of the United States Navy Air Corps. A World War II veteran, Mr. Ptak served in the South Atlantic during the war, escorting convoys and managing rescue operations. Southwest and the Honor Flight Network flew Mr. Ptak from Phoenix to Washington D.C. to visit his war memorial, nearly seven decades after the conflict.
Ptak told me that it was “very, very humbling” to have participated in an Honor Flight with a group of fellow veterans who had survived World War II. As the Veterans boarded their flight in Phoenix, they were met by a large group of Southwest Employees and other smiling supporters, cheering for them as they arrived.
“One of the most important moments for me was the expressions of the people who came up to us, thanking us for our service,” said Ptak, reflecting on his trip. “It was so absolutely soul-feeding.”
Last year, Southwest announced that it would continue to provide free travel to veterans through the Honor Flight Network, pledging $1.2 million through 2015. I’m proud and thankful that I was able to witness Roland Ptak’s dream come true, and even prouder that my Company will continue to provide thousands of other veterans with the same opportunity to pay their respects to the fallen comrades they lost so many years ago. When you watch this video, I hope you can get a sense of how much these trips mean to these veterans. Whatever your plans are for Memorial Day, take a moment to remember those who have sacrificed their all to protect our Freedoms.
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We all know Southwest Customers are the best on the planet; on our airline, even a gorilla and a banana can become friends! Have you ever met Uncle Sam's wife, Aunt Samantha? We have! Have you ever tripped over invisible luggage? When there's a mime on board, you have to watch where you're going. What came first? The chicken or the potato head? See for yourself as some Southwest Employees surprise Customers at DAL with an April Fools’ prank.
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The Southwest Airlines Maintenance and Engineering (M&E) operation runs on a 24-hour schedule. Every few days, the overnight M&E Employees undertake the exciting task of changing an engine. Southwest's engine changes take place at the Maintenance Hangars at DAL, HOU, PHX, MDW, and ATL. However, AMTs must occasionally travel to other Southwest locations to perform onsite engine changes as well. During an engine change, the engine is removed entirely from the aircraft and replaced with another engine. The process can take as few as four and as many as seven hours to complete. Teamwork is crucial; everyone has a job. Like most tasks that AMTs perform, an engine change is an extremely controlled procedure that requires not only skill, but a strict compliance with complex federal regulation. In the past year alone, Southwest AMTs performed 154 engine changes—excluding aircraft retirements.
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