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The people of American Airlines have always had a special relationship with the communities we serve and call home. Our customers are also our neighbors. As their gateway to the world, we are able to enrich their lives and bring them closer to the people they care about. In an all-too-polarized world, where so much energy is wasted pulling people apart, we pull people together. It is this same spirit of community and caring that drives American’s annual Season of Giving campaign, which kicks off this month and runs through the rest of the year.
Season of Giving is our time to renew the commitments we have made to the causes we care about and to explore new opportunities to make a difference in the communities we serve. Given the constraints of this column, I can barely scratch the surface of the wide range of worthy causes that the people of American support. But I would like to highlight a small sample of the employee-driven initiatives taking place this month.
As they do every year, hundreds of American employees will donate their time to host Sky Ball, a black-tie gala that raises money for a number of important military charities, including Snowball Express, an event that creates hope and new memories for the children of our country’s fallen heroes. Last year alone, Sky Ball raised $1.1 million to support our men and women in uniform and their families — and we intend to beat that mark in 2012.
For nearly 30 years, the people of American have been deeply involved in the fight against breast cancer. We are particularly proud of our support of breast-cancer research, having pledged to raise a minimum of $1 million a year for eight years, with that money going to fund a study of inflammatory breast cancer (the most lethal form of the disease) at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
This month, our people will have a chance to participate in a new campaign, “Walk While You Work,” which will enable them to complete the equivalent of a 5K race in the course of their normal work activities. The idea is to not only raise money but also to enlist in the fight a lot of folks who don’t have the opportunity to -participate in a traditional Race for the Cure. We’ll also be raising money for breast-cancer research and awareness this month through the annual -American Airlines Celebrity Golf/Tennis Weekend in Southern California, an event we have hosted for nearly two decades.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Mother Teresa. She said, “We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love.” She also said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” The people of our airline — and of our country, for that matter — have -demonstrated time and again that the answer to our toughest problems lies not in any one person doing it all but in every one of us doing our part. That’s what Season of Giving is all about: each of us doing our part to build a brighter future for everyone.
I want to thank all of my American Airlines colleagues, whose generosity and spirit of service reflect so well on our company. And of course, I know I speak for them in thanking you for flying with us today.
Have a great trip!
Thomas W. Horton