FORT WORTH, Texas, Nov. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Today, Veterans Day, American Airlines, American Eagle, and their employees will continue their long-standing support of veterans and the military through a series of special activities and programs.
"American Airlines has a long history of supporting our armed forces and veterans," said Roger Frizzell, American's Vice President Corporate Communications and Advertising. "We are proud to honor the bravery and dedication of the men and women who selflessly serve our country, and supporting these initiatives is a great way to do so."
American Airlines is partnering today with Blue Man Group, the Sands Foundation, and ThanksUSA to host a group of wounded warriors and their spouses from around the country for a special weekend in Las Vegas. The group will travel from Washington, D.C., to pick up more attendees in San Antonio, Texas. The group will subsequently arrive in Las Vegas to enjoy a weekend of relaxation to thank them for their sacrifice and service to our country. The visit will include a special performance by Blue Man Group at The Venetian Las Vegas.
"We can all take pride in being part of a company that so steadfastly shows its commitment to our military," said Capt. Steve Blankenship, Managing Director - Veterans Initiatives at American.
During the fourth quarter of 2009 alone, American, American Eagle and employee volunteers are supporting a number of initiatives related to the military and veterans, including:
-- Sky Ball VII: In October, American Airlines and the Fort Worth Air Power Foundation hosted the seventh annual Sky Ball fundraiser, which benefits the families of reservists and members of the National Guard stationed at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth, Texas. Legendary performer Tony Orlando headlined the event, and guests also enjoyed special appearances by musician Lee Greenwood and actor Gary Sinise. More than 600 American and American Eagle volunteers supported the event, which raised over $400,000.
-- St. Louis Rams Salute to Veterans: On Nov. 15, when the National Football League's St. Louis Rams host the New Orleans Saints, a halftime Salute to American Veterans will include a pass-in-review featuring local military organizations. Prior to the game, members of the Rams team will visit a local Veterans Administration hospital. American Airlines is flying in Sgt. 1st Class David Russell Milner, his wife and their three children on one of its signature yellow-ribbon aircraft to enjoy the game from a suite donated by the Rams. SFC Milner has been in the Texas Army National Guard for more than 10 years and has twice been deployed to Iraq. He was recently awarded the bronze star for meritorious service.
-- Snowball Express: For the first time ever, Snowball Express is making its way to North Texas Dec. 9-13, where more than 2,000 attendees are expected. Snowball Express is a volunteer organization that was established to provide fun and memorable experiences for the children and spouses of fallen military heroes. As the official airline of Snowball Express, American and employee-volunteer crews will provide the majority of the air travel for the program. The group will enjoy an excursion to the Mesquite Championship Rodeo, a tour of the new Dallas Cowboys stadium, and a visit to a Dallas Cowboys football clinic, as well as time to meet with the renowned Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.
-- Veteran/Military Employee Resource Group (VMERG): American's VMERG, the first of its type in the U.S. airline industry, is a group of employees whose purpose is to promote the roles and contributions of veterans and active-duty military employees, and to serve as a liaison between American Airlines, American Eagle, and the veteran and military communities. In a little more than a year, the VMERG has grown from three to six chapters, located in Chicago O'Hare International Airport; Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport; Tulsa International Airport; Fort Worth's Alliance Airport Maintenance Base; American's corporate headquarters in Fort Worth; and American's Southeastern Reservations Office (SERO) in Cary, N.C.
In recent months, the VMERG has participated in the Washington, D.C., Memorial Day Parade; Chicago's Marine Week; and the Rockford, Ill., Air Fest. In August, the SERO chapter partnered with the North Carolina Heroes' Fund to host the inaugural North Carolina Heroes Gala to help provide support for deployed guardsmen, reservists and their families. The VMERG has also hosted bingo events for veterans, movie night for National Guard families, and welcome-home and send-off receptions for military members. Earlier this year, VMERG chapters collected cell phones and calling cards to send to deployed troops - more than 757 cell phones and nearly $3,800 in calling cards have been sent to date. The VMERG is currently partnering with American's Christian Employee Resource Group to collect items and donations to send to combat-support hospitals in Iraq.
"I feel very fortunate to work for a company that fosters employee resource groups as completely as American does," said Susan Seelbach, VMERG's National President. "I am not only proud of all we do for our military men and women, but of all the community service and support our company and its employees offer to so many nonprofit groups."
American Airlines recently earned the distinction of being on G.I. Jobs' seventh annual list recognizing the nation's Top 100 Military Friendly Employers. More than 60 percent of American's pilots and approximately 10 percent of all American Airlines employees are active military service members or veterans. The G.I. Jobs Military Friendly Employers list serves as the primary benchmark of corporate recruiting programs aimed at veterans. The annual survey is one of the key tools used to determine the nation's most Military Friendly Employers. Criteria for the rankings included assets dedicated to military hiring, Reserve/Guard policies, percentage of new hires who are veterans, veteran training programs, and previous three years' rankings.
About American Airlines
American Airlines, American Eagle and AmericanConnection® serve 250 cities in 40 countries with, on average, more than 3,400 daily flights. The combined network fleet numbers more than 900 aircraft. American's award-winning Web site, AA.com®, provides users with easy access to check and book fares, plus personalized news, information and travel offers. American Airlines is a founding member of the oneworld® Alliance, which brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business, enabling them to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own. Together, its members serve nearly 700 destinations in more than 130 countries and territories. American Airlines, Inc. and American Eagle Airlines, Inc. are subsidiaries of AMR Corporation. AmericanAirlines, American Eagle, AmericanConnection, AA.com, We know why you fly and AAdvantage are registered trademarks of American Airlines, Inc. (NYSE: AMR)
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SOURCE American Airlines