Southwest Airlines.

Southwest Airlines was founded on innovative ideas, grounded by inspiring people, and has always been driven by the desire to make a difference in the world we live in. From changing the face of the industry in the 1970’s, to continuously providing innovative travel solutions, exceptional customer service, and a dedication to community, we are committed to achieving excellence and always make it a priority to recognize the extraordinary accomplishments of others.

Celebrating exceptional people who embody the “Warrior Spirit” is something that is very important to us, leading us to share three personal success stories this year. These are individuals who have achieved great things due to their ability to motivate and believe in themselves despite the obstacles that life has presented them with.

February spotlighted Tom Starr, Southwest Airlines’ very own SAN Station Manager, who has been working for Southwest for 15 years and worked his way up through the ranks by believing in the airline’s values and confidence in his own abilities. March shed light on Adriana Alcaraz, a local grocer, restaurant owner, and all-around trailblazing woman, who was inspired from a young age to be a strong woman and has continued that legacy raising her daughter. In April, we featured the story of Sofia Salgado, the first Executive Director of MANA de San Diego. Sofia’s position allows her to empower Latinas through programs focusing on education, leadership, and community service. It is people like Adriana, Sofia and Tom that create organizations that can embody the “Warrior Spirit”.

In 2016, we also highlighted the inspiring evolution of the USS Midway Museum, once a small aircraft display, it has now grown into the 9th most popular museum of its type in the U.S.. Southwest Airlines is a firm believer that organizations and people can come together to make what was once thought impossible, a reality. Barrio Logan College Institute and Parent Institute for Quality Educations have achieved just this through programs that enable parents and children to be proactive in gaining higher education. November’s featured organization, South County Economic Development Council is also breaking barriers to champion the development of the bi-national community and businesses across the border.

One of our primary values is to go through life with a “Servant’s Heart”. Above and beyond customer service, a “Servant’s Heart” focuses on putting others first and following the Golden Rule, something we have found in several local organizations. Such organizations include San Diego Grantmakers which makes it possible for companies and individuals to give back, Project Concern International which is making a worldwide footprint in the fight against human trafficking, and Classy which is working to solve the world’s toughest social problems through innovative solutions.

At Southwest Airlines, we believe that the “Warrior Spirit” and “Servant’s Heart” will allow organizations and individuals to make a substantial difference in the world we live in. We are proud to support and share the stories of some of San Diego’s most influential community members of 2016 and we look forward to the stories we will share in 2017.