Author Archives: Layne Watson

Leading Team SkyWest in the Fight Against Parkinson’s

Layne Watson
Corporate Communications Manager

Patrick Altree, a San Francisco-based SkyWest captain, first noticed that something was amiss when his right hand would tremble slightly as he was trying to hold something steady, like pouring a can of soda into a glass. He dismissed it as stress or caffeine since it would come and go. But as the problem began to occur more frequently over the next year, he and his girlfriend (now his wife) started a voyage of self-diagnosis. While all the signs pointed to Parkinson ’s disease, Patrick continued to dismiss the idea.

Patrick went through a series of tests he refers to as the “Parkinson’s Field Sobriety” where a patient is asked to walk, open and close their hands, recite the months of the year backwards, touch their fingers to their nose, etc. Based on the results, Patrick was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s at the age of 38. Since being diagnosed six and a half years ago, he has refused to sit on the sidelines and has taken an active role in learning more about the disease and is raising funds to bring awareness to and find a cure for Parkinson’s.

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Every April during Parkinson’s Awareness Month, Patrick heads up Team SkyWest in the Paws for Parkinson’s 5k in San Diego. To date, Patrick’s SkyWest team has raised nearly $20,000 for Parkinson’s related research and has become one of the top 10 teams in terms of total money donated.

“The majority of these donations were from individual employees, many whom I’ve never met,” says Patrick. “These are some of the best examples of what the spirit of SkyWest is all about. The generosity and compassion from perfect strangers has been particularly humbling.”

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Parkinson’s patients are often diagnosed when they’re in their 60s. Patrick’s battle with Parkinson’s began when he was in his 30s and illustrates how the disease can affect anyone. Fortunately for Patrick, he responds well to the only FAA-approved treatment using a drug called L-DOPA. This medication, coupled with running and a good diet, has kept Patrick relatively stable.

“Parkinson’s is relentless. It is degenerative, progressive and there is no cure,” says Patrick. “It is all of those things and so much more. Parkinson’s has been a blessing to me. It has taught me the importance of the here and now, the relevance and finite nature of time and that there are things in this world much bigger than myself. It has taught me patience and gratitude, and just how valuable simple kindness is.”

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Patrick’s fundraising efforts support Parkinson’s research, including determining what causes Parkinson’s and how to prevent the disease, developing new treatments and eventually finding a cure.

The next Paws for Parkinson’s 5K will be held on Saturday, April 16 at Liberty Station Park in San Diego, right next to San Diego Lindbergh Field. You can also learn more by visiting Patrick’s team page here.

SkyWest Flight Attendant Runs to End Thirst

Layne Watson
Corporate Communications Manager

Before she started training for her first half marathon in 2013, Kelsey Galiano, a Minneapolis-based SkyWest flight attendant, had never run a race and didn’t really care for running. Even now that she has trained for and run multiple races, including a marathon, there are plenty of days she doesn’t want to run. But Kelsey continues the grind because of the cause that fuels her: helping to provide clean water for people in Africa who don’t have access to it.TCM me

“There are many days I detest running but I detest people not having something simple like clean water even more,” said Kelsey.

Not having access to clean water takes the lives of hundreds of children every day and is the number one preventable cause of death in the world. To help, Kelsey joined Team World Vision in 2013 with the goal of bringing clean water to as many people in Africa as possible. Thanks to the efforts of World Vision and people like Kelsey, one new person is receiving clean water every 30 seconds.

Kelsey’s personal goal is to provide clean water access to as many as 200 children.joseph

“I donated to provide clean water for two children and I’m hoping to find 99 others to match my donation,” she said. “Just $50 is enough to provide one child with clean water for life!” And with the global water crisis expected to end in 2030, Kelsey hopes she will only need to run for this cause for 15 more years!

Since joining Team World Vision, Kelsey has run the 2013 Monster Dash Half Marathon in St. Paul, Minnesota, the 2014 and 2015 Minnesota Half Marathon in St. Paul, the 2015 Hood To Coast Relay in Portland and the 2015 Twin Cities Marathon. While most of these races were in Minnesota, Team World Vision participates in races all across the U.S.

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Kelsey with her World Vision team.

Whether it’s helping a co-worker or sending aid around the world, Kelsey’s focus on giving back is one shared by many of SkyWest’s more than 11,000 employees. If you are interested in donating to Kelsey’s team or joining Team World Vision, no matter your location, go to Kelsey’s fundraising page. More information about World Vision can be found at www.worldvision.org.

SkyWest Movember Mustaches

Layne Watson
Corporate Communications Manager

There have been a few more mustaches than usual among SkyWest employees this past month. No, the trend does not signal a change in uniform requirements. The increase in facial hair was part of Movember, a health initiative designed to bring more awareness to men’s health throughout the month of November.

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Salt Lake City CRJ Captain Jon Warner

Nick Pearson, a Los Angeles-based CRJ captain, led Team SkyWest in supporting Movember, rallying other employees to also participate in improving awareness and encouraging conversations surrounding men’s health.

“When I heard about this cause, I thought it’d be great to contribute,” said Nick. “I also used to be very fond of growing a winter beard but the mustache is the only facial hair we’re allowed to have as pilots, so I looked on this as the next best thing!”

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Los Angeles CRJ Captain Nick Pearson

Movember challenges men to alter their appearance by growing a mustache for 30 days to raise awareness and educate about men’s health issues. SkyWest employees were encouraged throughout the month to look into their own health, including screening and preventative care visits.

Thanks to Nick’s efforts, along with several dozen other SkyWest employees on his team, thousands of dollars will be donated to the Movember Foundation this year!

Hays for the Holidays

Layne Watson
Corporate Communications Manager

Tucked away in Northwest Kansas, the town of Hays should not be overlooked. This old railroad town settled by German immigrants after the Civil War has much to offer any visitor, especially during the upcoming holiday season.Hays

Offering the magic and spirit of the holidays minus the big crowds and never-ending traffic, Hays is home to the annual FrostFest. The celebration kicks off on the first weekend of November and runs through December. Visitors can enjoy numerous holiday-oriented family activities, highlighted with the Annual FrostFest Illuminated Parade on the first Sunday of December. Carriage rides, visits with Santa, caroling and a festive tree lighting also take place throughout the season. On top of that, Hays’ rustic shops that will remind shoppers of simpler times and make it the perfect spot to kick off the holidays.Hays_FrostFest

Hays was originally established as a U.S. Army fort near the end of the Civil War to station soldiers during the cold winter months and the Christmas season gave soldiers an opportunity to reconnect with activities they would have been doing at home. Today, visitors can take part in Christmas Past at Historic Fort Hays to see what life would have been like for those soldiers, including how the Fort would have been decorated in the late 1800s. They’ll also enjoy strolling the fort grounds and seeing living-history programs, luminaries and caroling.

After the Army cleared out, German settlers began to make Hays their home and their influence is still felt today. More than 50 percent of the town’s population claims German heritage, giving this Old West town a unique feel at any time of the year. In particular, September and October are a great time to plan a visit to one of the Oktoberfest celebrations held in the community.Hays_Parade

Hays is also a fantastic destination for any art lover. In fact, the city boasts more artists per capita than New York City! Four times a year (one for each season), the Hays arts council coordinates a city-wide gallery walk that includes visual and performance arts around Hays. The Winter Gallery Walk adds to the already festive atmosphere felt throughout the town.

Kick off the holidays with a trip to this charming and unique destination with convenient United Express flights from Denver, operated by SkyWest Airlines. The best fares can be booked at united.com.

SkyWest Team Welcomes Special Passengers

Layne Watson
Corporate Communications Manager

SkyWest’s team in Arcata, California (ACV) recently welcomed a very special group of passengers onboard. Twelve children with autism or down syndrome had the chance to experience the miracle of flight, even though they never actually left the ground!

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The eager passengers arrived at the airport, checked in at the counter with their bags, went through security and then boarded a 50-seat CRJ200. Once on the plane, the VIPs (Very Important Passengers) listened to the flight attendant’s announcements before receiving a snack and drink. A few even got to sit in the flight deck and make announcements! The group then deplaned and headed to baggage claim to pick up their checked luggage.

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“I’m not sure who had more fun: us or the kids!” said Angeline Vandenplas, SkyWest’s ACV general manager. “We all had such a great time.”

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The effort of the Arcata team, along with Captain Katie Overdick, First Officer Marko Miliceric and Flight Attendant Elle Eguchi who spent an extra two hours at the airport to participate, is a great example of SkyWest’s commitment to give back to the community. And for these passengers, it makes for a fun experience that they’ll remember for a lifetime.

SkyWest Mini Indy Races to Help Those in Need

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Layne Watson
Corporate Communications Manager

For the 15th year, dozens of teams revved up their go-karts and raced around the twists and turns of the “Ridgetop Raceway” at the SkyWest Mini Indy. While some were lucky enough to walk away with a new trophy, the real winner is clear: thousands of people living in Southern Utah.

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“SkyWest believes in supporting the communities where our more than 10,000 employees live and work, and Mini Indy has been a big part of that tradition now for 15 years,” said Mike Thompson, SkyWest Airlines COO.

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Mini Indy is a unique event that brings businesses from around the world and hundreds of their employees to St. George, Utah to help those in need. Money raised from race entries and sponsorships is all donated to the United Way Dixie, which helps support 17 local charities like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah and the DOVE Center.

“Without the generosity of our sponsors involved in Mini Indy, we would not be able to fund the agencies that provide important human services to our neighbors in need,” said Rebekah Pectol, administrator, United Way Dixie.

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Since its inception, Mini Indy has raised nearly $1 million to help those living in Southern Utah. But it’s impossible to track the countless individuals who have benefited from this impressive race.

Fun and Relaxation in Butte, MT the Heart of Big Sky Country

Layne Watson
Corporate Communications Manager

Once the largest city west of the Mississippi River between Chicago and San Francisco, Butte, Montana not only sits in the heart of Montana’s Big Sky Country, it also holds an important part in American history. And while Butte offers a memorable past, it also provides plenty of fun and relaxation for visitors today.

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Founded as a gold and silver mining camp, Butte was at the center of the copper boom that resulted from the development of electricity and industrialization of America in the early 1900s. And a visit to the World Museum of Mining is a great way to get a unique look into Butte’s storied mining heritage. They even offer one of the most realistic underground mine tours in the world. Equipped with a hard hat, cap lamp and battery belts, visitors will venture 65 feet into the mine to get a first-hand look at life as a miner.

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For those that prefer adventure above ground, Butte offers incredible outdoor activities as well. Enjoy a day of scenic and man-made beauty by visiting the Our Lady of the Rockies statue. Summer tours are available for visitors to see this 90-foot marvel sitting atop the Continental Divide overlooking Butte. Second in size in the U.S. only to the Statue of Liberty, Our Lady of the Rockies is a must see when visiting Butte.

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After the tour, head up to Georgetown Lake just 40 minutes outside of Butte. The lake is nestled in the shadows of the Anaconda Pintler Mountains and offers everything from recreation to relaxation. Fishermen should plan on bringing their bait and tackle as the lake is rated Montana’s most prolific and sees more fish caught per person than any other in the state. Georgetown Lake also makes for the perfect backdrop for nature hikes.

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Summertime in Butte is the perfect time to enjoy a festival, the largest of which is the Montana Folk Festival. This outdoor music festival features some of the best traditional performers in the nation, ethnic and festival foods, a lively family area, and folk life demonstrations and workshops. The Folk Festival, along with the numerous other festivals in Butte, is sure to create a lifetime of memories for families visiting the area.

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And what’s a trip to big game country without great food? After a day of adventure and excitement, head over to Casagranda’s Steakhouse and Guido’s Bar in the historic Bertoglio Warehouse of Uptown Butte. Diners will be treated to a seasoned, hand cut, Rocky Mountain grown steak and a wide variety of specialty wines and beer in this historic Old West building ­– the perfect end to a day full of fun and adventure.

Get started on an unforgettable visit to Big Sky Country by booking a convenient SkyWest flight, operating as Delta Connection, from Salt Lake City International Airport. The best fares can be found at Delta.com.

Slamming Cancer One Dunk at a Time

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Layne Watson
Corporate Communications Manager

SkyWest’s history is one full of ambition and perseverance. It’s little wonder then that SkyWest people and their families exhibit those same attributes. Need proof? Look no further than five-year-old JP Gibson, grandson of SkyWest Crew Time Coordinator Sherri Gibson. JP was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at the age of two. Since then he has faced the disease with so much determination and tenacity that even the Utah Jazz took notice and signed JP to a contract in October.

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Fulfilling his dream of joining the Jazz, thanks to the Anything Can Be project, JP quickly took the sports and media worlds by storm. After signing his one-day contract in the presence of Jazz executives and media personnel, JP took to the court to showcase his skills. He entered the Jazz preseason, intrasquad scrimmage to a huge ovation from the thousands of fans in attendance at the Energy Solutions Arena.

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This phenomenal boy has not only achieved his goal of playing for the Jazz, but he and his family have brought increased awareness and funding to pediatric cancer. His parents, Josh and Megan, have become active lobbyists for pediatric cancer care and are involved with CureSearch in Salt Lake City. And even though he’s only five, JP has brought hope and courage to people across the country.

JP’s story is filled with hope and determination, and is a testament to the human spirit that is displayed by SkyWest people and their families every day. Please join the entire SkyWest team in supporting JP in his fight against cancer, and wishing him a long and healthy life!

SkyWest Crews Welcome Five-Year-Old “Pilot” Onboard

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Layne Watson
Corporate Communications Manager

For a child enamored with planes, simply boarding a flight and taking a seat with their face pressed eagerly against the window is an experience to remember. However, thanks to a special request, some amazing crewmembers and a carefully coordinated effort by SkyWest Airlines employees, five-year-old Calibrooke Myers recently had a flight experience that is sure to be cherished for a lifetime. Kelsey Myers, Calibrooke’s father, reached out to SkyWest representatives before his recent flights asking if he could get some type of special memorabilia for his aviation-loving daughter.

“I was just hoping she would get a sticker or something,” said Kelsey. He never expected the royal treatment bestowed upon Calibrooke. Kelsey said, “The crews really went above and beyond anything I imagined. They were truly amazing!”

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As Calibrooke boarded each of her flights, dressed in her captain’s uniform, she got a VIP tour of the flight deck and even had a chance to sit in the captain’s seat. Wise and attentive beyond her years, she listened as the pilots explained what various instruments do. And it wasn’t long after takeoff that Calibrooke was busy explaining to other passengers everything she had learned about the instruments the pilots were using to navigate the plane as they ascended through the clouds.

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Calibrooke also received plenty of mementos as part of her journey, including wings, posters, cards signed by crewmembers and a sign with Calibrooke’s name waiting for her as she took her seat. The packages from the flight attendants also included the stickers Calibrooke’s dad was hoping for when he originally contacted SkyWest.

All of the attention added up to an unforgettable experience, both for Calibrooke and the crewmembers who witnessed the sincere joy this young passenger finds in flying. With her love for flight and natural ability to understand aviation, there’s a good bet Calibrooke could be back in the flight deck piloting her own SkyWest flight in the future!