On a crisp, sunny afternoon, a plane quietly glides onto the runway in Montgomery, Alabama. Its arrival is awaited by fire trucks sitting solemnly near the runway, waiting for the plane to taxi safely to its gate. In tribute to its special passenger, the fire trucks salute by spraying an arch of water over the top of the aircraft, an honor normally afforded only to pilots to commemorate their final flight. Fifty-four years ago, those same fire hoses would have been aimed directly at the passenger of this particular flight. This day, however, the Montgomery Fire Department salutes Rosa Parks as her body lands in Alabama, en route to Washington, D.C. She is on her way to the Capitol Building, where her body will lie in state--the first woman ever afforded this act of respect.
When Karen Price-Ward, community affairs and grassroots manager for Southwest Airlines, received a phone call from the NAACP asking the airline to help transport Parks's remains, Karen immediately went into action. Within hours, company leadership had given approval to lend a Southwest Airlines 737 aircraft to transport Parks's remains and 137 of her friends, family, and members of the NAACP on this historic journey.
Southwest Airlines Is in the Business of Life
Every day, we seek opportunities to give back and engage wherever we are and wherever we go. It's in our DNA to follow the Golden Rule and lead with our servant's hearts--taking action in the communities we serve. For Southwest, being a good corporate citizen means giving back through volunteerism, with individual and personal efforts, or serving together as teams, or in corporation-wide efforts.
Southwest Airlines works to develop mutually beneficial partnerships that support all of our communities and their individual needs. We take pride in being "the hometown carrier" in the sixty-nine cities (to be seventy-two by May 2011) we serve. But because each of our cities is as diverse as our thirty-five thousand employees, our actions must vary to fit the complexion of the community. With an emphasis on education, leadership, and community outreach, Southwest Airlines is leaving a footprint of our commitment on the communities we serve.
For example, it's no secret that education can transform a person's life...