Tag Archives: SkyWest Flight Attendants

Doolittle Raid

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!

Cropped

“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!

 

First Snowball

SkyWest Flight Attendants Deliver Holiday Magic

McKinnley Matson
Corporate Communications Coordinator

It was one of the most amazing acts of sheer kindness she had experienced in a long time – her family’s own Christmas magic. That’s how Jaimi Nielson described SkyWest flight attendant Erin O’Shea’s actions after Jaimi’s son, Owen, left his bag at a gate in San Francisco before boarding a recent flight.

A prized collection of LEGO sets, his “best friend” (a well-loved stuffed lizard) and favorite storybooks were among the possessions that five-year-old Owen accidentally left in SFO. After realizing what happened, he was heartbroken and cried the whole flight.

The Nielsen’s searched for a way to retrieve the bag, but what they found wasn’t good. The bag had to be picked up in person and the cost of a flight to reclaim the items would cost well over $1,000.

Enter Erin O’Shea, a SkyWest flight attendant.

Flight Attendant Erin O'Shea with the bag of toys.

Erin O’Shea with Owen’s bag of toys.

Erin met Owen while he was flying from San Francisco to Salt Lake City and offered to help. After she finished her trip with a flight to Chicago, Erin jumped on a different flight back to San Francisco, rather than flying directly home to Salt Lake City. In SFO, she was able to work with TSA to ensure all the security requirements were met and picked up the bag. Erin then flew back to Salt Lake and delivered it to Owen’s family.

“We asked her why she would be willing to do this,” Jaimi explained, “and she simply said, ‘Because he captured my heart.'”

Thanks to Erin’s quick thinking, Owen was overjoyed to find his most treasured possessions back at his side when he woke up the next morning.

But Owen wasn’t the only young boy who experienced some holiday magic this month. More than 1,000 miles away, in Minneapolis, five-year-old Ethan and his younger brother were on their way to live with their Nana in Duluth, Minnesota. There were sure to be a number of changes in store and the one thing Ethan really looked forward to was snow.

Having lived in Mississippi, Ethan had never seen snow before and he couldn’t wait to get to his Nana’s house to have a snowball fight! When his flight from Minneapolis to Duluth was delayed due to weather, he couldn’t help but feel disappointed. Ethan told Linzie Clayman and Jacie Vonada – Minneapolis-based SkyWest flight attendants all about his plans for the snow. But as the hours passed by, Ethan’s excitement turned to frustration.

“Their Nana looked pretty stressed out,” Linzie said. “When the snack cart rolled around, Jacie and I helped her get some snacks for the boys, but Ethan still seemed pretty sad.”

That’s when Linzie and Jacie concocted a plan – a secret mission to make Ethan’s day special.

They talked to the first officer for the delayed flight, and within a few minutes, he returned with a snowball, just for Ethan.

First Snowball

Ethan’s first snowball!

Ethan’s whole face lit up at the sight of his first snowball. But he wasn’t the only one. Other travelers around the gate area saw the exchange and couldn’t help but smile as Ethan carried his snowball around until it melted. That simple act of kindness helped keep Ethan’s spirits high until he was able to arrive at his new home.

The actions of Linzie, Jacie, Erin are repeated by countless other SkyWest employees on a daily basis as they work to provide incredible customer service for every passenger, especially during the busy holiday travel season.