American Employees, Family and Friends Prepare for Humanitarian Trip to Phuket
FORT WORTH, Texas, Aug. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Today, a delegation of 23 people — all American Airlines employees, family and friends — will depart Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport bound for Phuket, Thailand, which was devastated by the tsunami last December. During their eight-day mission, they will hand deliver humanitarian aid, build boats and purchase fishing gear for 10 families, as well as dedicate a playground to tsunami orphans for Airline Ambassadors, International (AAI).
To assist with the mission’s objectives, American’s Vice President of Onboard Service Lauri Curtis and Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) President Tommie Hutto-Blake will present a $25,000 contribution on behalf of the employees of American Airlines to AAI President Nancy Rivard and AAI Mission Coordinator and American Airlines Flight Attendant Steven Ellis prior to departure. Rivard is an American Airlines flight attendant who founded AAI, the United Nations-recognized charity, in 1996.
The $25,000 contribution represents approximately one-sixth of nearly $150,000 raised through donations from American Airlines employees to help tsunami victims.
“The initial outpouring of aid was huge,” said Rivard. “But the flow of aid to Southeast Asia has diminished and there are still plenty of families without homes, medical supplies, and most importantly, hope.”
Volunteers will work side by side with 10 Phuket-area families who lost their source of income during the tsunami. Together, they will construct, outfit, paint and launch a number of fishing boats.
“One of the most compelling aspects of Airline Ambassadors is the unique ability of the organization to transform people by putting them in the position of personally delivering humanitarian aid,” said Curtis. “Last year, a number of us traveled with AAI to Guatemala to import, assemble and deliver wheelchairs for some of the most grateful people I’ve ever seen.”
More than 2,000 American Airlines employees are members of AAI and, along with the rest of its members, provide humanitarian aid to children and families around the globe. Members of AAI become a living link between human need and world resources — modeling the growing trend of volunteer, humanitarian travel.
In the wake of the devastation caused by last year’s tsunami, AAI has made sending relief teams to Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India and Thailand a priority. The mission to Thailand is part of AAI’s long-range effort to adopt the Children’s Learning Center outside Phuket — a shelter for 400 local children orphaned by the tsunami.
According to Rivard, “The contributions of American’s employees will not only help AAI dramatically improve the lives of thousands of children, they will fundamentally impact the volunteers themselves.”
“It means so much to meet the children and families we are helping,” said Ellis, who is serving as the mission coordinator for the trip to Thailand. “It’s even more gratifying to know that I’m traveling with my American Airlines colleagues to deliver aid donated by the employees of my airline.”
About Airline Ambassadors, International
Airline Ambassadors, International (AAI) provides humanitarian aid to children and families in need, as well as international relief and development to under-privileged communities both in the U.S. and abroad. AAI began with airline personnel, but has grown to include medical and business professionals, students and retirees — anyone who wants to travel to make a difference. AAI is the only non-governmental organization (NGO) in the world leveraging contacts with the world’s major airlines to facilitate humanitarian efforts. The group has substantively impacted more than 300,000 children, delivered $18 million in aid and started schools, clinics, orphanages, housing projects and more. Visit AAI on the World Wide Web at http://www.airlineamb.org/ .
About American Airlines
American Airlines is the world’s largest airline. American, American Eagle and the AmericanConnection(R) regional carriers serve more than 240 cities in over 40 countries with more than 3,800 daily flights. The combined network fleet numbers more than 1,000 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 more than 600 destinations in 135 countries and territories. American Airlines, Inc. and American Eagle are subsidiaries of AMR Corporation (NYSE:AMR) .
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