Tag Archives: Making a Difference

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SkyWest Maintenance Teams Give Back in Salt Lake City

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

SkyWest’s maintenance team is among the best in the industry; and their experience working nose to tail on our four fleet types provides an unmatched level of expertise. Recently, mechanics at our SLC (Salt Lake City) maintenance base volunteered their time and expertise to the Leonardo Museum, sharing their love for the miracle of flight with the museum’s 180,000 annual visitors. After helping to reconstruct a C-131 aircraft inside the museum for the opening of the FLIGHT exhibit earlier this year, the SkyWest Maintenance team volunteered their time to restore the plane’s luster and shine.Leo Ryan and Kim

“Working on aircraft is part of the love of being a mechanic; giving back to the community is an added bonus,” said Donovan Johnson – Coordinator Maintenance Facilities, SLC. “The Leonardo is an important part of Salt Lake, and we’re happy to do our part to make our community a little better.

Cleaning a 1950’s military era twin-engine aircraft like the C-131 is no simple task. After the museum closed each night, SkyWest people worked to buff, polish and clean the aircraft, bringing its ‘50’s era luster back for the tens of thousands of museum visitors. The volunteers worked through the night for four days straight, using various cleaning and polish equipment as they covered themselves in dust and grime to transform the aircraft from dull to sparkling. By the time they were done, the C-131 had enough shine to see your own reflection!

SkyWest mechanics are a team of nearly 1,000 professionals who work at 12 bases across the United States. They work on the regional industry’s largest – and growing – fleet of 360 aircraft from nose to tail. These highly qualified individuals provide for the safe transportation of more than 30 million SkyWest passengers each year. Their work on the Leonardo is just one example of the hard work and pride that SkyWest professionals take in every aircraft they touch. Thank you to those who volunteered their time and talents to help give back to the community.

Leo Team

Interested in joining our team of professional mechanics? We have openings at bases and are offering moving expense reimbursement! Click here to find out more about becoming a SkyWest mechanic and to apply.

The Leonardo Museum was created to embody the spirit of the Renaissance Man and help the community discover their inner genius. For more information about the FLIGHT exhibit at The Leonardo, click here.

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SkyWest Scholarship Program Helps 32 Students Achieve Academic Goals

Hanna Hansen
Corporate Communications Coordinator

As the new school year begins, 32 SkyWest Airlines employees and family members will pursue their higher education aspirations with a little help from the SkyWest Scholarship Program. This year SkyWest awarded 32 scholarships totaling $40,000 in recognition of outstanding academic achievement, helping our SkyWest people and their families pursue their educational aspirations.

Scholarship Recipient Tara Pendleton

Scholarship Recipient Tara Pendleton

This year’s scholarship recipients come from a variety backgrounds and represent a wide range of academic ambitions. One of our Presidential Scholarship recipient – Jessica Harris – plans to pursue a dual degree in Aerospace Engineering and Applied Math with a minor in Economics. Upon graduation she hopes to focus on improving our nation’s security by contributing to the field of satellite surveillance and research. Another Presidential Scholarship recipient – Tara Pendleton – plans to use her scholarship funds to study Engineering while maintaining a focus on international development and service. From college freshmen to graduate level studies, each of the recipients has shown their ability to excel and SkyWest is proud to fuel our next generation and help them achieve their dreams.

Recipients were selected by the SkyWest Scholarship Committee comprised of employee representatives, who assessed each applicant individually based on a number of criteria, including GPA, career interest, extra-curricular activities, future goals, unique challenges and a letter of recommendation. Applicants to the program are each high achievers, proving that SkyWest is home to some of the best and brightest in the industry!

BreakingNews_Scholarships_2016The SkyWest Scholarship Program was introduced in 2003 and has raised more than $400,000 to assist the higher education of more than 500 members of the SkyWest team and their eligible family members. These funds are raised by donations from fellow employees in conjunction with SkyWest’s annual Mini Indy.

Congratulations and best of luck to all 32 of the 2016 SkyWest Scholarship recipients!

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Honoring a WWII Hero

Layne Watson
Corporate Communications Manager

Doolittle_RaiderNearly 75 years after the historic Doolittle Raider mission as part of WWII, SkyWest was honored to fly the last surviving member of the Doolittle Raiders, Lieutenant Colonel Dick Cole (age – 101), to attend the funeral service of a fellow Doolittle Raider. With a World War II hero on their flight, the SkyWest crew (CA Mike Spencer, FO Jeff Blaylock and FA Hayley Neves) ensured Lt. Col. Cole received the hero’s welcome he deserved.

“The entire crew went above and beyond to make this a special day for Lt. Col. Cole,” said Tracy Gallo – VP of Flight Ops. “That he was going to bury the last remaining member of his squad made the service even more meaningful.”

Left to Right, Front Row: Lt. Col. D.H. Doolittle; Lt. R.E. Cole. Back row: Lt. H.A. Potter; SSgt. F.A. Braemer; SSgt. P.J. Leonard

Lt. Col. Cole was part of one of  the most famous missions in U.S. military history when, on April 18, 1942,  he and 79 other brave members of the U.S. Air Force set out aboard 16 B-25B Mitchell medium bombers as part of  the United States’ response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Their mission, to bomb Japanese forces in Tokyo, was highly dangerous as their bombers were unable to land on the aircraft carrier they took off from.

Led by Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle, 15 of the bombers landed in China after carrying out there mission, where eight crewmembers were captured by Japanese soldiers. The other bomber landed in the Soviet Union, where the crew was interned for more than a year before being returned to the U.S. In total, the Doolittle Raiders lost 11 men on their mission. The remaining 69 heroes returned home to the U.S. With the passing of his friend, Lt. Col. Cole is the last living Doolittle Raider.

Doolittle RaidUpon learning that he would captain the flight carrying this special passenger, Captain Spencer made a quick trip to the local grocery store to pick up nine dozen donuts. The crew then met Lt. Col. Cole in the boarding area and escorted him to the aircraft and arranged for him to sit in row one. After boarding was complete, the donuts were passed out to passengers as Captain Spencer read the story of the Doolittle Raiders over the intercom. The cabin was quick to give Lt. Col. Cole a huge round of applause.

Lt. Col. Cole continued to receive the VIP treatment throughout the duration of his flight to MSO, where he was again escorted by the crew. As we celebrate the birth of the United States this Independence Day weekend, a special thanks to Lt. Col. Cole and all those who have served and continue to preserve our freedoms. At SkyWest, we proudly support more than 1,000 active or retired military members across our operation.

Our crew Mike, Jeff and Hayley are another great example of SkyWest’s unique culture where 11,600+ employees are continually going out of their way to make a difference for their passengers. To learn more about working at SkyWest, visit www.skywest.com/careers .

Read more stories about SkyWest People Making a Difference!

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“I’m Your Match!” SkyWest Flight Attendant Donates Kidney to Co-Worker

McKall Morris
Corporate Communications Manager

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Tonuah Trujillo

At age 16, Tonuah Trujillo, a Seattle-based SkyWest flight attendant, was diagnosed with a kidney disorder called IgA Nephropathy, which over time deteriorates the kidneys’ ability to filter waste out of blood. After an overnight trip last July landed her in the hospital for two days, Tonuah received the bad news – her kidney function had declined to 12 percent and she was going to need kidney dialysis or a transplant very soon.

“When I first got the news it was overwhelming, and we weren’t quite sure how to get the word out to all our friends and family,” Tonuah explained. “My boyfriend, Todd Hoover (a SkyWest captain based in Chicago) and a few other family members decided to start a Facebook page called ‘Team Tonuah.’ We felt it was the fastest way to get the word out about the situation and locate a possible kidney match.”

“Many of [Tonuah’s] friends and family lined up, filled out the paperwork and started the screening process,” Todd explained. “Unfortunately, we soon learned that the requirements to be a donor match can be hard to achieve, as one by one her loved ones were scratched off the list because they weren’t a match. While the list of volunteers was long, nobody could help.”

Kidney Donation

Jeanette Perez

As Tonuah was preparing for dialysis due to the lack of donor matches, an incredible thing was taking place behind the scenes. For nearly three months, Jeanette Perez, a Chicago-based SkyWest flight attendant was taking numerous tests to see if she was a match for Tonuah.

“I became aware of Tonuah’s need via Todd’s Facebook page back in the fall. Long story short, I went through test after test to see if I was her match with the mentality of ‘if it’s meant to be it will,’” said Jeanette. “I was finally given the go at the end of January and told Tonuah the good news. She did not know I was testing. She didn’t even know who I was really – other than our one time meeting on a Christmas deadhead.”

On January 28, Tonuah received a life-changing text from an unknown phone number. It said, “Hey Tonuah! Good morning! It’s Jeanette – we met on Christmas… I brought you doughnuts. Heard you need a kidney. This is a weird text, so I’ll just spit it out. I’m your match. Really didn’t know any other way to put it out there. Fancy a chat sometime?”Kidney Donation 1

“At first I was in shock!” said Tonuah. “I had only met Jeanette one time, and it was just last Christmas. She was on my flight and I felt like we had an instant connection. Unbeknownst to me, she had already been in the testing program since November, before I ever met her.”

The two connected and immediately felt as though they had known each other forever. Between Tonuah’s courage, positive attitude and strength to push on, and Jeanette’s incredible kindness, self-sacrifice and love, these two incredible women truly are an incredible match.

Following several other hurdles, the kidney transplant surgery was performed on March 28, 2016.

Kidney Donation 2The surgery went well and both Jeanette and Tonuah are recovering, slowly but surely.

“Everything is going well. ‘Leftie,’ as we affectionately call the kidney, started working on cleaning my blood right way,” said Tonuah. “I know it’s a long road ahead, but so far I’m feeling good…Words can’t express how amazing I think our SkyWest family is.”

Jeanette and Tonuah are a great example of SkyWest’s unique culture where 11,000+ employees are continually going out of their way to help and support each other. To learn more about SkyWest and the opportunities that are available to work with people like Jeanette and Tonuah, visit www.skywest.com and check out the career page.

For more information about kidney donation, visit the National Kidney Foundation.

Read more stories about SkyWest people making a difference!

 

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SkyWest Captain Praised for Little Act of Kindness

McKall Morris
Corporate Communications Manager

SkyWest people are the best in the industry! Just check out this story that was shared on Facebook after one SkyWest CRJ captain helped a young family with their sleepy toddler.

We landed at midnight and both kids were fast asleep. We waited until we we were the last ones on the plane and woke up…

Posted by Jennifer Braithwaite Cowley on Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Interested in working with incredible people like this captain? Find out more about flying with SkyWest here!

Check out more stories about SkyWest people making a difference!

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SkyWest Mini Indy 2016 Wins Big for Charity

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

2016 SkyWest Mini Indy

The engines revved and the checkered flag flew at the Ridgetop Raceway in St. George, Utah as 34 teams from around the globe recently vied for racing fame at the 2016 SkyWest Mini Indy! The airline industry’s premier charity event, Mini Indy includes Indy-style cars racing up to 25 MPH, a finger-lickin’ BBQ pit master’s competition and golf against the scenic backdrop of Southern Utah’s unmatched beauty – all to benefit those in need!

2016 SkyWest Mini Indy

Since its inception 16 years ago, the SkyWest Mini Indy has raised more than $1 million for United Way Dixie. Those donations have helped countless people in need in Southern Utah, with 100 percent of the proceeds staying in the community to help those who are struggling to meet their basic physical and emotional needs.

2016 SkyWest Mini Indy

In conjunction with the event, nearly $50,000 was raised in 2016 to benefit the SkyWest Scholarship Program through the Mini Indy Golf Tournament and a drawing to win a CAN-AM Outlander Max 400 4-wheeler, generously donated by Bombardier. In the last 15 years, the SkyWest Scholarship Program has helped hundreds of SkyWest employees and their family members achieve their higher education and professional goals.

2016 SkyWest Mini Indy

Mini Indy is just one of the many ways SkyWest gives back to the community. To get more information on the excitement and the partners involved in Mini Indy, visit www.miniindy.org.

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Now Boarding SkyWest’s Fantasy Flight to the North Pole

Hazel Sainsbury
Corporate Communications Manager

SkyWest’s ninth annual Fantasy Flight took of this weekend in Colorado Springs, bringing the Christmas spirit to underprivileged children and their families.

“This event is cherished by everyone involved,” said Lori Hunt, SkyWest’s vice president – People. “Every year SkyWest employees help provide treasured holiday memories for children whose families struggle to meet their basic needs.”

IMG_4939This year, more than 40 children were able to participate in the Fantasy Flight where they took a 30-minute flight from Colorado Springs Airport (COS) to the “North Pole” (Gate 11 at COS). There, the little passengers were greeted by Santa Claus himself, who presented gifts to each child in attendance. The night also included dinner for the children and their families, as well as appearances from local Olympians and Sox the Fox, photos with Santa, a petting zoo and more!

What makes this SkyWest tradition even better is the incredible efforts of the employees and members of the community who volunteer to make the entire night special for everyone involved. In fact, the aircraft, fuel, gifts, dinner and more is all donated to the event. And seeing the excitement of the kids involved makes it all worth it.

Children aboard the Fantasy Flight are enrolled in the Community Partnership for Child Development early childhood education programs. These children live below the poverty level, have an identified special need, or have a home situation that puts them at risk for school failure. To learn more about the organizations SkyWest partners with to make this event possible, visit www.jlcoloradosprings.org and cpcdheadstart.org.

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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!

SkyWest crew with the family.

SkyWest Crews Going the Extra Mile

Caitlin Miller
People Programs Coordinator

SkyWest is home to countless caring and considerate employees. Recently, three stories about some of our incredible crews were shared with us that illustrate the type of people who make up the SkyWest family.


On a recent trip in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City based SkyWest Flight Attendant Jill Roundy noticed a small detail about one of her young passengers.

“He had a Make-A-Wish button on his shirt. Passengers may think we don’t pay attention to them but we really do,” Jill said. “This is the reason I’m a flight attendant. Everyone has somewhere to go with a purpose: a wedding, funeral, job interview, promotion or a birth of a child. We do our best to get them there and with the best intentions to read their mannerisms. But this was a first for me.”

SkyWest crew with the family.

SkyWest Crew (Flight Attendants Jill Roundy and Lacey Finnell, First Officer Aiden Eye and Captain Charles Butler) with the family.

The young boy and his family were on their trip home from fulfilling his wish to go to a concert of his favorite artist. Jill and the rest of her crew took the time to make the family’s trip special, giving them an extra tour of the aircraft after it landed. The little boy was thrilled at the opportunity and after looking into the flight deck, he asked Jill if he could sit in the captain’s seat. Captain Charles Butler was happy to oblige and stepped out as First Officer Aiden Eye took the time showing this young passenger the controls on the flight deck while explaining their functions.

“This only shows that the employees at SkyWest are by far just one great big family caring for the people that fly with us!” said Jill. “Happy to be part of the family.”


A brave six-year-old girl was having a tough day. As her family arrived at the airport in the evening, they made their way to the shuttle for a ride to the parking lot. As the young girl boarded the bus with her parents, noticing there were no open seats, Palm Springs based First Officer, Joe Myers, stood up to give his seat to the mother and daughter.

The girl has lost all of her hair as a result of cancer treatments. During the shuttle ride, a little boy made a comment to the girl about her lack of hair, and she began to cry. As the family got off the bus, Joe walked over to the little girl and told her she was the prettiest little girl he had ever seen. He then took off his hat and showed her his own bald head, telling her she was very special. Joe made her night when he removed the wings from his shirt and pinned them on her, telling her he was making her an honorary pilot.

First Officer Joe Myers

First Officer Joe Myers

Joe made the girl laugh when he jokingly told her, “Boys are made of cotton and are rotten!” before thanking the parents and walking away. The parents were in tears and so moved by Joe’s compassion and love toward their daughter that they went the extra mile to contact SkyWest and share their gratitude for First Officer Myers.

“I was blessed that night,” said Joe. “That little girl touched my heart and gave me far more than I could have ever given her. When I pinned my wings on her, I told her that pilots don’t cry and she could fly with me anytime. Maybe with some prayers she will be able to fly for SkyWest someday! I didn’t do anything that another SkyWest employee wouldn’t have done when faced with the same situation. I feel so fortunate to SkyWest and my wife Jackie for allowing me to pursue my dream! This is a family that I am so proud to be a part of.”

That night the little girl wouldn’t part with the wings and slept in her shirt with the wings safely secured on it. Even now, she will not take them off.


While boarding a flight in Seattle, Tiffany Miller, a Salt Lake City-based flight attendant, noticed one impeccably dressed young woman.

“Out of the corner of my eye I saw her turn around, so I turned to meet her sweet face. Tears were welling up in her eyes, and she spoke to me in a voice I haven’t heard in a while,” Tiffany said. “It was the same tone my children would have when there were monsters under their bed. ‘I’m very scared. Is it going to be really bumpy?’ and after hearing herself she openly started to sob.”

The passenger explained that she flies a lot but just passed through a storm that had “terrifying turbulence.” Tiffany told her that she too had just been through a similar storm, but that she anticipated that everything was going to be fine on the short flight and that she was in very capable hands.

Tiffany then went up to the flight deck to find that Captain Carl Wager had witnessed the exchanged and was wondering what he could do to help. He offered to go back and talk with the girl if she would find it reassuring. The young lady, still full of fear, accepted the offer. Carl went back to her seat, taking up precious moments needed to stay on schedule, to let the passenger know that he understood her fears and was aware of his tremendous responsibility to keep everyone safe.

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Captain Carl Wager speaking with passenger

“I am always confident with my pilots. I am grateful for the level of training, skill and knowledge they work hard to possess. Today I was truly grateful to also have a wonderful and kindhearted captain,” Tiffany said. “I looked down the aisle to see a very relaxed, very sweet moment. It was one that I hope I never forget. It was empathy in action: pure and simple.”