We begin in mid-1993 as the Southwest Employees Environmental Program (better known as Project S.W.E.E.P.) was growing in popularity. Through the group’s tree-planting contributions commemorating the Barry Goldwater Terminal 4 in Phoenix, Project S.W.E.E.P. was committed to spreading the word that Southwest Airlines was indeed an environmentally-conscious Company during a time when few companies considered their effect on the Planet.
Meanwhile, that summer, an already dry and arid South Phoenix was ravaged by two colliding brushfires. Much of the beautiful desert lands that fell victim were portions of South Mountain Park, which suffered nearly 2,000 acres of damage to what is the largest municipal park in the nation. Voluntarily answering the call of duty, Project S.W.E.E.P.’s small-but-mighty team joined together with their friends and family on a rainy Saturday in October to help reclaim the withered land and plant more than 500 native plants.
You’ll recognize some familiar faces here giving their time to plant trees in the park—Ginger Hardage, now our SVP of Culture & Communication, and Linda Rutherford, now VP of Communication and Strategic Outreach.
Nearly two decades later, volunteering from the heart is still a common theme here at the LUV airline. In fact, today, April 26, Southwest Airlines is announcing its founding sponsorship of the Trinity River Conservation Corps, a program to coordinate and manage annual volunteer events for the conservation and upkeep of the Trinity River Corridor and Great Trinity Forest in Dallas.
In addition, as part of our Spring Systemwide volunteer activity, we are working with the City of Dallas and the Trinity Trust on a conservation project involving approximately 150 of our Dallas Employees. Some things never change!
In the photos above, we see Ginger and Linda—20 years later—still sharing their Servants’ Hearts alongside their Southwest Co-hearts at the Trinity River project. Pictured in the red shirt next to Linda is Kay Weatherford, our VP Revenue Management.