Compass Flight Attendants Spend Vacation Giving Back

Champa-&-Purdue
Compass flight attendants Judy Champa and Sarah Perdue

This spring, two Compass flight attendants spent their vacation time doing something decidedly different than relaxing on a beach or catching up on sleep.  Judy Champa and Sarah Perdue used their vacation time to travel to Guatemala and help build a house for a family in need.

Judy and Sarah traveled to Guatemala as part of the God’s Child Project, a non-denominational initiative dedicated to fighting poverty around the globe.  God’s Child’s work in Guatemala includes the Dreamer Center in the city of Antigua, which provides health care, education, and crisis intervention services to the local population, as well as Casa Jackson, a hospital that cares for severely malnourished infants and children.   God’s Child also operates a homeless shelter, an orphanage, a drug treatment center, and numerous other educational programs for impoverished children across Guatemala.  Volunteers from all over the world travel to Guatemala to help God’s Child provide services ranging from feeding and rocking babies, to teaching orphans and building homes.

Judy and Sarah were part of a team of God’s Child volunteers tasked with building a home for a family, who was at the time, living in a hut made of sugarcane stalks with a dirt floor.  It took a lot of hard work, but the team was able to finish the family’s new home in just three days.

On day one, the volunteers dug a trench for the house’s foundation, which was made of three layers of brick and mortar.

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On day two, wood was cut to frame the house, and volunteers mixed and poured concrete for the floor.  “All tools were powered by pure muscle,” Judy said.  “Mixing concrete by hand is an arduous job but well worth it – a concrete floor versus a dirt floor can cut disease by up to 70%,” she added.

framing

On day three, the volunteers put the finishing touches on the house, including the signature blue paint that identifies houses built by the God’s Child organization.  A door and window were installed, as well as gutters to guide the rain away from the new home.

Construction 1

“Turning over the house was quite emotional for the family, as well as for volunteers,” Judy said.  “The family presented each volunteer with a handmade card expressing their gratitude for their hard work.”

In addition to building the home, the volunteers took advantage of their time in Guatemala to tour the local God’s Child facilities, including the Dreamer Center and Casa Jackson.  They also distributed clothing to about 200 families (clothing for donation is brought by the many volunteers in their checked bags), and served dinner to the homeless at the project’s Santa Madre Homeless Shelter.

Both Judy and Sarah plan to return to Guatemala next March, and encourage anyone interested in volunteering to join them.  International volunteer work is a great fit for airline employees, as most organizations require volunteers to pay for their own airfare.  Sarah and Judy used their flight benefits to fly to Guatemala, and each paid just over $50 each way.  Judy flew on American (RNO/LAX/MIA/GUA), while Sarah flew American on the way there (DFW/GUA), and Delta on the way back (GUA/ATL).

To learn more about how you can get involved with this worthy organization, please visit godschild.org.

Compass Flight Attendant Doubles as Mrs. Claus for Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

Los Angeles-based Flight Attendant Deborah Gorney has found a pretty remarkable way to give back to the community in her spare time.  For the past 7 years, she’s been part of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Volunteer Mounted Unit with her horse, Luke.  These trained volunteers act as “extra eyes” for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, providing mounted observation patrols everywhere from busy mall parking lots to high school sporting events.  The mounted volunteers also appear with the Sheriff’s department at community outreach events and school visits.

3Each December, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sponsors a number of Santa appearances in the communities it serves.  Several years ago, Deborah’s volunteer work took a festive turn when she was asked to assume the role of Mrs. Claus at these annual events.  In this guest post, Deborah relates what it’s like to spend her Decembers as Mrs. Claus, and why the experience has meant so much to her.

I have been working with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for many years now.  I started in the mounted unit doing trail patrols, as well as appearing at law enforcement events in the school and community with my Sheriff horse, Luke.

One day, my Sergeant approached me and asked if I would become the department’s Mrs. Santa Claus.  He and his wife had been playing Santa and Mrs. Claus, but they they were retiring, and the department needed a new team.  Of course I agreed!  My Lieutenant and long time friend, Karl Claas, agreed to be Santa so that we could be a team. It was going to be so wonderful making thousands of children happy during the Christmas season!

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During these events, Santa and Mrs. Claus ride a sleigh pulled by a Sheriff department truck.  We are escorted by many Deputy Sheriffs in their patrol cars.  They let the kids know we’re on our way by flashing their horns, making announcements over the PA system, and sounding their horns and sirens.

We do this for three weeks in December, almost every night.  We have anywhere from 12-18 stops per night, and we cover the areas Palos Verdes, Lomita, and San Pedro.  Each night, about 400 to 500 children visit us. They sit on our laps and tell us what they would like for Christmas.  The little ones usually prefer to sit on Mrs. Claus’ lap because Santa can be a little intimidating when you’re little.  Besides, everyone knows that Mrs. Claus loves babies!

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Santa and I love making the children happy.  Their eyes sparkle when they see us and, it’s priceless! However, Santa and I have also heard many sad things from young children.  Some children have asked Santa and I to bring them shoes, because they didn’t have any.  Others only wanted a little Christmas tree because their families couldn’t afford one. Some just want their parents to stop fighting.  Others just wanted us to talk to their mom in heaven for them.

One day, Santa and I decided to do something to help these children.  We started keeping track of children in need and asked Deputies to get their addresses. With the Sheriffs station’s help, we would get them the things they needed so desperately.

It didn’t stop there!  We started getting requests to visit families who had children with disabilities that wouldn’t allow them to come see us on the sleigh.  Of course, we went to their homes and brought them gifts!  We also started getting requests to make appearances at different events and at schools for special needs children and adults alike.

Sometimes our days go from early in the morning to late at night.  But it’s for such a wonderful cause! During a recent event, we visited a military base and brought toys to the children of active duty military personnel.  We love making children of all ages happy.  It is the most rewarding experience ever.  We would not trade it for anything.

When I was younger, Christmas was always my favorite time of the year.  Now I understand that together, we can make a difference in children’s lives over the holidays.

With Love from Santa and Mrs. Claus

From Mrs. Claus and the entire Compass team, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season!

Compass Partners with Women in Aviation on Christmas Adopt a Family Campaign

This holiday season, Compass partnered with the Los Angeles chapter of Women in Aviation to adopt two families through the  Cathedral of Our Lady of The Angels’ Adopt A Family program.  Through local volunteer support, this program has helped needy Los Angeles families celebrate Christmas for over 25 years.

“For many, the holidays are a fun time that involve spending time with family, and giving and receiving gifts,” explains Compass First Officer Laura Miner, who is also the President of the Los Angeles Chapter of Women in Aviation.  “But the holidays can be really hard for families who are struggling financially.” When her Women in Aviation chapter adopted a family for Christmas through the Cathedral of our Lady the Angels program, Laura saw a great opportunity to team up with Compass to do even more good.  Laura got Compass involved, and with the additional support, the groups were able to adopt an additional family.

Laura’s fellow Compass employees rallied to the cause, and pitched in to purchase clothing, toys and household items for the two families – a family of three, and another family of five, including a little girl with heart disease.

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Last Saturday, Compass employees spent the day at Pacific Skies Aviation, where they wrapped toys for the families they adopted, as well as helped out with Pacific Skies’ annual Toy Drive.

Laura said that the best part of the toy drive was seeing Compass employees get so excited about helping the adopted families.  “Everyone wanted to make sure that Christmas was special for them,” she added

We are honored to have been part of such a special event! To learn more about how you can get involved in the Cathedral of our Lady of the Light’s Adopt A Family program, please click here.

Compass Pilots put Flying Skills to Work with Wings of Rescue

Wings Of Rescue is an animal transport charity that flies animals from shelters with high-intake rates to no-kill shelters in other areas that have waiting lists for adoptable pets.  The program, which utilizes Pilatus PC-12 aircraft, is always looking for qualified pilots to transport the animals to their new homes.  Some of the pets that are pulled from the original shelters for transport are already scheduled for euthanasia and have only hours left to live.

Los Angeles-based First Officer Alexei Tsekoun started flying for Wings Of Rescue in 2015, and is an ardent supporter of its mission. “I’ve always been very passionate about animals,” Alexei said. “They may not be human, but we’re saving their lives.  Without bringing them to another area, they would be put down.”

Alexi later introduced fellow Compass pilot Cassandra Shultz to the organization.  Cassandra, an animal lover who had always wanted to fly the Pilatus PC-12, knew immediately that Wings of Rescue would be a perfect fit for her.  “Interacting with animals is important to me, but I don’t have a pet because I’m always traveling for work,” Cassandra explains.  “I knew that this would be an opportunity for me to combine two things that I love – animals and flying.”

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Alexei says that his most memorable experience thus far with Wings of Rescue was the time that he few a large, injured dog to Seattle.  “It really sticks in my mind, because of the medical attention that it needed,” he recalled.  “It was such a large dog, and severely abused.  Its leg was broken and in a cast.”  He was relieved that he was taking this dog away from a situation where it was being abused to a new life where it could receive the love that it deserved.

Cassandra’s most memorable rescue was the first one that she participated in.  During that trip, she transported around 90 dogs and cats from Salt Lake City to just outside of Denver.  In addition to encountering some of the worst weather she’d ever experienced as a pilot, the trip was also incredibly eye-opening.  In a post on Wings of Rescue’s blog, she relates how the importance of her mission really sank in when she realized that all of the animals that she was transporting were scheduled for euthanasia.  “This wasn’t about my love for cute things or flying cool airplanes. This was immensely more meaningful. This was about salvation.”

Wings Of Rescue is always looking for pilots qualified to fly PC-12 aircraft to help transport animals.  However, Alexei points out that there are many other ways that non-pilots can help out.  “They always need help loading and unloading the animals on flights, cleaning cages, and even donating money can help. Flying BC-12s around the country isn’t exactly cheap.”  One of the easiest ways to give is by shopping on Amazon via Wings of Rescue’s AmazonSmile link.  Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to Wings Of Rescue.

For more information on how you can get involved, click here.

Compass Employees Rally to Raise Money for Mechanic Injured in Motorcycle Accident

Compass Airlines is more than just a company.  We’re a family, and we look out for one another.  When a member of our Compass family was seriously injured recently, his fellow employees sprang into action to raise money for his medical expenses.

Lonnell Johnson is a maintenance contractor at our Los Angeles maintenance facility.   Recently, he was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, breaking his neck, both ankles, his pelvis, and his left hand.  Lonnell’s daughter was a passenger on the motorcycle, but fortunately escaped with only minimal injuries.  Thankfully, Lonnell is now back home recuperating, and his doctors expect him to make a full recovery.

However, Lonnell’s medical bills following his accident were extensive.  To help Lonnell with his expenses, Compass Tech Ops Regulatory Compliance Manager Dan Sackett organized a spaghetti fundraiser and collected donations on his behalf.

The fundraiser, which was held at the Delta Air Lines Woolman Café in Minneapolis, was a big success, and raised a total of $503.00.  Compass employees weren’t the only ones who donated this this great cause – employees from our mainline partner, Delta Air Lines, also chipped in, as well as employees of Minneapolis-based Endeavor Air.

“Some of the people who attended the fundraiser or donated money had never even met Lonnell, but were moved by his situation,” Dan said.  “It was great to see everyone come together for a good cause.”

Contributing to the fundraiser’s success were Maintenance Control Administration Assistant Michele O’Brien, Technical Publications Coordinator Carol Johnson, and Aircraft Records Supervisor Sandy Hall, who each volunteered to serve spaghetti to attendees.

In addition to the spaghetti fundraiser, Compass mechanic David Parker also set up a GoFundMe page for Lonnell’s expenses, which numerous employees have donated to.

The kindness and generosity of the Compass team is truly remarkable!