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The End of a Chapter...

Explorer B
Wow, I have never really given much thought to some of the emotions I'm feeling today…they're throwing a party for me in a few minutes…a retirement party. I know, if you looked at my bio I may appear to be old enough to "retire"…but actually, I'm 48 years young, still young enough to chase a passion but in this strange industry of airlines I'm actually old enough to retire with 20+ years…confusing huh? This is a Company that no Employee should ever consider leaving because it truly is a Company of People and those People become friends, those friends create a fun and supportive environment, those friends are there day in and day out working with you for a common cause…and that's the first year on the job. I'm just a few months short of 22 years here so, you can only imagine what I feel I'm leaving behind at the end of this week. Today they will carve out three hours of what would otherwise be productive time (we're all about productivity) to have fun, tell old stories (some that have become urban legend), and share goodbyes. Then everyone will go back to work, and work hard as they have just been reminded why this is the best place to work in the world. For me it will turn a sad week into a happy week …So why am I leaving? Confusing huh? Oh, they're calling me to attend…I guess I should…I'll be back in a few minutes… Damn, that was brutal…brutal in the sense that it makes leaving all of this even harder…I think it's a conspiracy, a torturous way to keep you from leaving. They have all this food for you, balloons everywhere, and gifts galore…even a new sports coat to wear in lieu of the polo and shorts I wear today. And the People…my friends…the smiles, tears, comments, and stories…man this is killing me. Anyone that ever questioned the Southwest Culture and Spirit never understood it to begin with…Why am I leaving? Confusing huh? I LUV this place and always will but there are two things I LUV as much or even more – my children (who I LUV more than anything in this world) and my alma mater. I'm starting a new chapter in my life at SMU as the Associate Athletic Director of Marketing and Public Relations. It's a great university with a proud history and I can't wait to get there. So, in a nutshell, I'm leaving for another passion, another challenge, another life experience. Not as confusing huh? Although I'm leaving, a big piece of my heart will always be with Southwest and I'll always remain connected as a Customer (Southwest serves a lot of Conference USA cities)…In fact, I think I'll be a high maintenance Customer just for the fun of it…I'll miss everyone I've worked with at Southwest Airlines, it has truly been my home away from home. Good Bye. Note from the blog editors: Richard has made innummerable contributions to our Company over the past 22 years. His wisdom, humor, and passion will be greatly missed by many at Southwest. Yes, we are feeling sorry for ourselves today, SweetCollegeWeb.jpegbut anyone who knows Richard knows that he is a SMU Mustang through and through and we wish him the best of luck in this new chapter of his life. We'll be cheering for you Richard!