Tag Archives: Making a Difference

SkyWest Pilots Make Special Landing at St. Luke’s Children Hospital

SkyWest pilots made a special landing at St. Luke’s Children Hospital in Boise, Idaho last week to help spread some holiday cheer. The pilots turned their pilot hats in for some Santa caps as they visited with patients throughout the day.

SkyWest Captain P.M. Schneidau as well as First Officers Luc Levasseur and Zeb Baney, along with several pilots from other airlines, arrived at the pediatric unit with their sack of toys. Some of the gifts included stuffed animals, LEGO sets and gift cards.

“We saw lots of smiles and eyes light up today,” said Captain Schneidau. “Many of the kids were so thankful and it was great to visit with them. We hope a new stuffed animal or toy will make these kids’ stay in the hospital a little easier and leave them with a positive memory.”

The event hits close to home for the Schneidau family who have experienced what families at St. Luke’s Children Hospital are going through right now.

“My wife and I have had two very preemie babies at this same hospital, with our youngest boy spending several nights in the Pediatric ICU,” said Captain Schneidau, who is currently a volunteer on the NICU Family Advisory Council. “So when this event came up, Vanessa and I were thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in such a thoughtful and wonderful event.”

For many families, the holidays are a time of stress and added anxiety as they support and care for sick loved ones. Pilots for Kids is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting hospitalized children and their families by using volunteer pilots to fly in toys and other needed supplies, with the goal of bringing smiles to families and children in need. This Pilots For Kids event was the first-ever in Boise. The event was so rewarding, that each of the pilots are already planning next year’s event.

“We look forward to participating again next year,” said Captain Schneidau. “We hope to make it even bigger too.”

Throughout the year, SkyWest employees have made it a point to give back to their communities through a variety of service projects. And with the holiday season in full swing, our crews and teams are once again finding ways to help make a difference. Read more about SkyWest people making a difference here.

SkyWest’s Lewiston Team Gives Back

The SkyWest customer service team in Lewiston, Idaho (LWS) is giving back to the community this season by donating their time at the Idaho Food Bank.

The team of 11 leveraged their teamwork to categorize and assemble food, sorting over 2,300 pounds of food during their first visit. While they’re generally working together to provide exceptional service, load bags and marshal aircraft, this group of agents put their teamwork skills together in a different way: helping to feed over 1,695 people across Idaho.

“This was our first time volunteering together as a team,” said LWS Customer Service Supervisor Angie Stegner. “We enjoyed it so much that we will definitely be looking for other opportunities in our community to serve.”

The team has already scheduled their return to the food bank in November, December and January and are looking to find more opportunities to serve in the coming months.

“This time of year is hard enough as it is, and the idea that we were helping to feed people and provide a basic human need was incredibly gratifying,” said Angie. “I think we all get so wrapped up in our own blessings that we forget that a box of canned food can mean everything to someone. It was a humbling experience.”

“We have a great chemistry here in LWS,” continued Angie, “but sharing that with our community made us feel more like a family.” 

Great job team LWS! If you are interested in joining a team like the one in LWS, click here.

SkyWest Crew Surprises High School Senior with Memorable Tour at PDX

High school student MaKenna Albert has always had a love for flying. She reached out to SkyWest Pilot Denise Langholz, asking about the possibility of taking an aircraft tour for her senior project.

What MaKenna didn’t realize, however, was that she was in for a treat, as Captain Langholz and the entire SkyWest team rolled out the red carpet to give her a behind-the-scenes tour at Portland International Airport (PDX).

“When MaKenna contacted me, I wanted to show her that her dream of being an airline pilot could be a reality,” said Captain Langholz. “When I was in high school and dreamed of being a pilot, I was mistakenly told that ‘girls don’t become pilots.’ It took some time before I realized that it was simply not true. I love helping people realize their dreams and it was a joy to be able to show MaKenna around and have her meet some of the SkyWest team.”

The day started off with a tour of the airport before they stopped to talk with several SkyWest employees, including Teresa Nelson, PDX First Officer.

“Teresa told me all about all about the operations, training and the Pilot Pathway Program that SkyWest offers,” MaKenna said. “It was very insightful and it was so fun to be able to see so much of the operation.”

As exciting as everything was, it was just the beginning for MaKenna.

After watching the ground crew welcome an inbound flight, PDX Captain Tracy Leland took the opportunity to walk MaKenna through each of the steps to prepare the aircraft for flight. Afterward, Makenna was able to take a tour of the maintenance hangar, meet more of the SkyWest family and sit inside the flight deck of a SkyWest jet, where she envisioned herself taking the controls as an airline pilot.

MaKenna also got to visit the crew lounge where she enjoyed talking with crew members about their experiences and why they chose SkyWest.

“It was awesome,” MaKenna said about the tour. “All of the pilots were so nice and took the time to answer all of my questions.”

Bob Venturella, SkyWest’s PDX Chief Pilot, added to MaKenna’s special day as he surprised her with a ride in his Piper Cub aircraft. Venturella took time to teach her about flying the aircraft and answered any other questions MaKenna had.

It was an awesome day for MaKenna.

“She hasn’t stopped smiling,” added Shannon Albert, MaKenna’s mother. “She has found her passion and is now focused on her goal to become an airline pilot.”

For Langholz, the tour was a great reminder why she chose SkyWest and why she still loves coming to work every day: “The people. Everyone at SkyWest makes it amazing,” said Langholz. “When Bob surprised MaKenna by taking her flying, it went above and beyond what was already a perfect day. So many others also took time out of their busy schedules to make it all possible.”

The kindness and teamwork did not go unnoticed as MaKenna repeatedly asked Captain Langholz throughout the day if “everyone at SkyWest was always this nice.”

“I felt so proud to be able to tell her yes,” said Langholz. “The people at SkyWest are truly remarkable, generous and kindhearted. It was a privilege to share the Spirit of SkyWest with MaKenna and show her that we are here to help her accomplish her dream of becoming an airline pilot.”

SkyWest Pilots Give Back To Aviation Community

Whether its search and rescue missions to finding missing hikers, or coming to the rescue when natural disasters strike (Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.), the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), with its 60,000 members, continues to support communities across the country by donating their time and aviation expertise to provide essential services for those in need.

Photo by Robert Bowden

SkyWest pilots Kyle Curtiss and Matt Creed are among the many volunteers that donate their time to help with the different programs that CAP has to offer. From providing emergency services both on the ground and in the air, to its award-winning aerospace education and cadet programs, CAP – an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force – is providing paths for youth to become aviation leaders.

“I just love watching their eyes light up,” said SkyWest pilot and Flight Operations Supervisor, Kyle Curtiss.

“It’s an experience unlike any other” added SkyWest Assistant Chief Pilot, Matt Creed.

When they are not in the air flying one of SkyWest’s 2200+ daily departures across North America, you can find Kyle and Matt helping out their local CAP units which they help oversee.

“I got started in 2013 and I just love it,” said Curtiss who is now the Central Michigan Group Commander in the CAP program. “I love my job, I love flying and I just wanted to give back and get involved in the aviation community.”

Photo by Robert Bowden

For Matt, who has been involved with CAP for more than two decades and is now the Great Lakes Region Commander, it was love at first flight.

“I got involved with CAP when I was 10 years old. I later became a cadet and I’ll never forget my first lesson. I had great CAP instructors and to be able to pass that on to the younger generation is something that I really enjoy and love to do. They are our future leaders and their excitement is contagious.”

Photo by Robert Bowden

Together, the SkyWest pilots give tours of the facilities and different aircraft. The tours have quickly caught on with units doing so across the state.

“It’s great to show the kids how the operation is run and all the different aspects that go into flying,” said Curtiss. “Their eyes light up when we’ve taken them to the airport to see air traffic control tower. How many people can say they have been able to do that?!”

“We love giving tours and giving the kids that opportunity to experience sitting in the front seat of an airplane and seeing the control tower,” added Creed. “Most kids don’t get to see the operation up close like that, but CAP has allowed us to give them those experiences. It’s awesome!”

Many thanks to Matt and Kyle, as well as all the SkyWest people who volunteer countless hours across the country to make a difference in the lives of others! You are excellent representatives of SkyWest and we thank you for all that you do and for sharing your love of flying.

For those interested in joining SkyWest, you can learn more here.

Photo by Robert Bowden

SkyWest ORD Team Puts Their Strength to the Test for a Good Cause

On Saturday, Sept. 22, SkyWest Airlines participated in the 10th Annual Special Olympics Plane Pull hosted by United Airlines and UPS in Chicago. The Plane Pull event is the ultimate tug-of-war competition as teams of 20 battle to pull a UPS Airbus A300 or United Airlines 737, weighing more than 180,000 lbs over 12 feet as fast as they can.

The event took place on the cargo ramp at Chicago O’Hare where SkyWest Airlines fielded two teams which included over 40 employees! SkyWest believes in supporting the causes our people are passionate about through the Spirit of SkyWest: Our People in Action program, which is set up to allow SkyWest to contribute fundraising dollars for any SkyWest team member participating in an eligible charitable cause. All proceeds collected from the Plane Pull benefit over 22,000 adult athletes and over 20,000 young athletes (ages 2-7) whom compete in the Illinois Special Olympics.This year the event raised nearly $190,000 to provide life-changing opportunities for thousands of Special Olympics athletes.

Beyond this event raising funds for a good cause and participating in some friendly competition, the SkyWest teams and their friends and family enjoyed entertainment, music and food at the event. It’s just another example of SkyWest people giving back and having a great time while doing so! Learn more about SkyWest’s people making a difference. 

SkyWest Crews Volunteer for Wings for Autism Event in Boise

The airport is fast-paced, loud and can be overwhelming for almost anyone. For those with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, it can be unfamiliar and even scary. It is easy to understand why families who have children with such disabilities shy away from the airport.

That’s why SkyWest Airlines teamed up with Boise Airport, The Arc of Boise, TSA and Delta Air Lines, to offer Wings for Autism for some very special passengers.

According to The Arc, “Wings for Autism is designed to alleviate some of the stress that is experienced when traveling by air, the program provides families and individuals the opportunity to practice entering the airport, obtaining boarding passes, going through security and boarding a plane.”

SkyWest has participated in several events helping families with children who have special needs understand and get familiar with airport and aircraft procedures. Time and time again SkyWest crews have gone above and beyond to volunteer their time and resources to help these families.

This past weekend in Boise, Idaho (BOI), that same story rang true as volunteer after volunteer poured into BOI to help The Arc of Boise with their Wings for Autism event.

Whether it was Savanna Son, BOI InFlight Supervisor, talking to each family individually and making them feel welcomed and comfortable as they awaited their flight or ERJ Captain Patrick Persson hosting each child in the cockpit and taking several minutes with each of them to show them the insides and outs of the plane, our SkyWest crew made this a special day for all involved.

The children boarded a SkyWest E175, complete with a special sendoff from crews lined up on each side of the jetbridge. After a full safety demonstration from the flight attendants, they “taxied” around the airport while enjoying snacks and beverages. They were welcomed back to the gate with high fives and plenty of smiles.

Read more about SkyWest’s partnership with Wings for Autism events.

Many thanks to the SkyWest people who volunteered countless hours of coordination and expertise to share their love of flying and provide these families with memories that will last a lifetime! Interested in joining the SkyWest team? Learn more.

SkyWest and Habitat for Humanity Build Up Casper

Justin Giles
Corporate Communications Coordinator

Last weekend, the SkyWest team in Casper, Wyoming (CPR) had the chance to give back to the community by working with Habitat for Humanity to help build and repair homes in the city of Casper. Seven SkyWest team members, along with their families, volunteered their time and hard work for the community they love while the CPR airport was closed for runway construction. Together they nailed away as they assembled and put up walls, adding paint as a finishing touch.

“There is no challenge we will not take on,” said Lea Ursey, SkyWest CPR general manager. “Thank you, SkyWest, for supporting us in our drive to give back to the community.”

This isn’t the first time SkyWest people have gone above and beyond to give back to the communities in which we work and live. Nearly 200 SkyWest employees showcased their commitment to teamwork and quality last year, working alongside Habitat for Humanity to build homes for those in need in Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Interested in joining our team? Learn more and apply online at http://www.skywest.com/skywest-airline-jobs.

SkyWest Crew and Make-A-Wish Work Together for Memorable Flight

Freddy Lemmo
Corporate Communications Coordinator

Few things bring as much wonderment and awe as the miracle of flight. For 5-year-old Scarlett, a recent trip on a SkyWest flight to start off her Make-A-Wish journey on a Disney Cruise was made even more memorable thanks to Chicago crew members Captain Kevin Jones, First Officer Troy Halterman, and Flight Attendants Tania Randall and Rachel Bryan, who made sure Scarlett’s journey started on a high note.

Prior to boarding their American Eagle flight from Appleton, Wisconsin (ATW) to Chicago (ORD), Captain Jones was handed a letter from the Appleton ground crew. Inside was a request from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin. The letter explained that this crew’s flight was the beginning of 5-year-old Scarlett’s journey on her way to receive her wish to go on a Disney Cruise. It described Scarlett’s situation and asked if the crew would provide the family with a memorable experience.

Captain Jones with Scarlett (left) and her twin sister Evie (right)

The crew sprang into action to give Scarlett a flight to remember. Tania warmly greeted the family and showed them the features of the galley. Rachel showed Scarlett how to make passenger announcements on the aft hand phone at the rear of the aircraft. After the short 60-minute flight, Scarlett and her twin sister Evie joined the pilots in the flight deck. First Officer Halterman demonstrated what various displays indicate, and the girls capped off their experience with a photo in the flight deck.

Below is Captain Jones’ response to Make-A-Wish Wisconsin following his flight with Scarlett and her family.

Dear Make-A-Wish Wisconsin,

It was with great joy I received your letter today prior to the boarding of American Eagle flight #3238 in Appleton. Our ground crew handed me your letter regarding Scarlett and her family. During our welcome announcements, we introduced Scarlett as one of our honorary crew members. I invited the family to join us near the flight deck/cockpit during deplaning, and Scarlett and Evie were willing to jump on my lap for some photos. Thank you, thank you for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful experience! They are on their way!

Warmly,
Kevin C. Jones, SkyWest Airlines

Each day, SkyWest people transport our customers to and from some of the most important events in their lives. Thank you, Captain Jones, First Officer Halterman, and Flight Attendants Tania and Rachel for your excellent service. Scarlett, we hope you and your family had a memorable experience!

SkyWest Family Shows Up During Time Of Need

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

“If you ask why I choose SkyWest, I’ll tell you it’s the culture!”

Those were words written by Kirksey Hagan, a new SkyWest CRJ first officer in training. She joined the SkyWest team last month and had an immediate introduction to the SkyWest family going above and beyond after she experienced a medical emergency.

When Kirksey woke up in serious pain a couple of weeks ago, she reached out to a friend she had made in training class, Brent Blackmore. It was a very early morning wake-up call after several rigorous days of training, but Brent stopped at a pharmacy to pick up some medicine before driving Kirksey to urgent care. She was advised to go straight to the emergency room, and Brent drove her there and waited with her until she was diagnosed. Training Admin Manager Jen Baron left work immediately to meet them there.

Kirksey and Jen

Kirksey needed an emergency appendectomy, and her family was not be able to make it to the hospital in time. Jen stayed at the hospital through the surgery, working with the SkyWest Travel Center to coordinate travel to Salt Lake City for Kirksey’s family. She also contacted the training and housing teams to fill them in on Kirksey’s situation. She even offered for Kirksey to stay with her family to help her recover over the Easter weekend. After surgery, another classmate also drove to the hospital to bring an overnight essentials bag and check in on her.

“In a time where I felt my lowest, I had my SkyWest family taking care of me,” she said. “They truly honor and stick to their Guiding Principles, and I’m so glad I was given the opportunity to, and made the decision to, come to SkyWest Airlines.”

Kirksey’s story is just one example of the more than 13,000 SkyWest employees who continually make it a priority to take care of each other. Learn more about the SkyWest team: http://ow.ly/3TU450hdoBQ