Southwest Airlines dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit is our mission. At Southwest, we are passionate about connecting people to what’s important in their lives and this month we are proud to feature a servant leader Tommy Sablan who has had great success in his efforts to impact the community. His philanthropic lifestyle is rooted in his desire to help others, he shares several experiences that have shaped his path.
Chula Vista native Tommy Sablan is a dedicated member of the local philanthropic community with an inspiring backstory. From an upbringing with many struggles, to achieving sobriety and devoting his life to giving back in San Diego, Tommy has led a remarkable life. GB Magazine recently interviewed him about his dedication to the community:
GB: How have your life experiences inspired you to give back?
TS: My childhood experiences, my mother’s love and inspiration, and my career have shaped my desire to help others. My family’s struggles (being raised by a single mom, losing my dad when I was 5, and having brothers who were heroin addicts) allows me to speak from the heart and help kids at juvenile hall. During my great career with Jeff and Jer, we did a lot for the community, which stayed with me.
GB: How does your position as a radio producer allow you to make a difference?
TS: I have been connected to many organizations and have been fortunate enough to work with shows that care about San Diego, including Jeff and Jer and KUSI Television. I am also trusted by many San Diegans who grew up listening to me. Almost every day, I hear from someone that needs help – from their child using drugs to coping with death.
GB: What has driven you to dedicate your time to the causes you are involved in?
TS: I believe that the LIGHT and SPIRIT of both Chelsea King and Amber Dubois have guided me in making a difference. I was at a Chelsea’s public memorial, where I listened to her father Brent King speak; he said, “If you want to remember my daughter Chelsea, THEN GIVE. Give your heart and time to something you are passionate about.” Now I live a life with that one word in mind: GIVE.
GB: What do you love most about what you do?
TS: I love radio and television, but I believe my true purpose is to help young kids struggling with drug addiction. Because I am 12 years clean and have the life experiences that I do, I get talk to kids – that is where my heart is.
GB: How have you passed along these values to the next generation?
TS: My two kids grew up watching me help in the community, so they love to give back too. They also understand my life and are proud of me, as I am of them. I would love to be remembered for giving back, including the programs I started like Breaking and Entering Christmas as well as Becky’s House, which I started with Jeff and Jer.
GB: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start making a difference?
TS: Find your passion and GIVE your heart to something you believe in.
GB: How has Southwest Airlines’ giving HEART touched your life?
TS: Southwest Airlines, and Lidia Martinez in particular, are all about giving back. For 30 years, Lidia helped the Jeff and Jer Showgram with many community events. And, whenever I have a family that is in need of help, I think of Southwest Airlines first, so I call Lidia and she is there.
Learn more about Tommy’s story by watching his TED Talk!