September 4, 2012

JetBlue Ready Team Assists Those Affected by Isaac

Seven members of our Ready Team were recently deployed to Louisiana to work alongside the American Red Cross and help those affected by Hurricane Isaac. Prior to Isaac’s arrival, the team helped prepare shelters outside of Baton Rouge for pre-evacuees. In the wake of Isaac, the shelters also provided housing for those in areas where the levees – walls put into place to prevent flooding – were breached.

This week, the team has been providing much needed emotional, physical, and logistical support to over 50 residents of Raceland, Louisiana that have been displaced by severe flooding. While the days have been long, the team never became discouraged and kept on smiling to raise the spirits of those who needed support.

Learn more about the Ready Team

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February 19, 2012

JetBlue Ready Team Creates Valentines For Soldiers

To show a little love for our country’s veterans this Valentine’s Day, our Ready Team, made up of JetBlue crewmembers who volunteer to work with the American Red Cross in its response to major disasters, hosted two “Create Cards for Soldiers” events. Crewmembers came together to create more than 500 Valentine’s Day cards and sweet treats! The team sent the finished products to the United War Veterans’ Council, which hand-delivered them to West Point, local VA hospitals throughout New York, and Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

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December 11, 2011

Ready Team Receives Recognition For Volunteer Efforts

It’s been an exciting year for our JetBlue Ready Team, supporting numerous volunteer efforts and making deployments across the country to help those in need. In June, the team had its first national deployment to Bismarck (a city we do not fly to), in order to support residents who were forced to flee from their homes during the Missouri River Basin elevation. In September, the team deployed again to Binghamton following Tropical Storm Irene.

Their local volunteer efforts include the American Red Cross Metro Area Drill; September 11 Memorial; ING NYC Marathon; Veterans Day parade. The team has grown to nearly 500 crewmembers, composed of volunteers from all over our network.

On December 1, the American Red Cross in Greater New York presented us with the “Corporate Community Partnership Award”! Congratulations to our Ready Team and thanks for all that you do to help those in need!

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June 10, 2011

JetBlue Ready Team deploys to North Dakota

For the first time in JetBlue history, our Red Cross Ready Team in New York deployed to a city that we don’t fly to last week to support rescue efforts due to flooding in North Dakota. The Missouri River Basin elevation has been rising in North Dakota’s capital city of Bismarck following the melting of a late and unexpected snowstorm, and threatens to chase more than 16,000 residents from their homes. Our six participating Crewmembers – spanning various workgroups – will remain in North Dakota for two weeks, returning on Friday, June 17. They will support the onsite logistics operation.

A big shout-out to our Crewmembers for participating in this very important mission. This speaks volumes to how JetBlue is willing to support our fellow Americans in crisis. Here’s to living the values!

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July 2, 2013

Wingwoman Tracy: Giving Back and Gaining a New Perspective

Published on Huffington Post on 7/2/13

Many people travel for work, vacation to visit family and friends or all of the above. Through our travels, we explore our passions and often find new ones. With each new experience, our eyes and hearts open wider than we could ever imagine, and we bring home memories that will last forever. Last month I was lucky enough to travel with fellow JetBlue crewmembers and volunteer in some of the communities in Oklahoma affected by the recent tornadoes . During my journey, I interacted with some of the most courageous people I’ve ever met, who, despite being down on their luck, restored my faith in the human spirit.

After having children I realized how special life can be. I knew that I wanted to help those who may not have the good fortunes I do, so I made a commitment to start making a difference for others. It’s no secret that I’m a big advocate for voluntourism and have traveled plenty in the past across borders to do good. In my experience, I’ve found that volunteering events tend to fall into one of two buckets: heartwarming occasions where people teach and engage with those in need or heart wrenching experiences where volunteers aid in a community’s recovery. My travels to other countries to work with wonderful organizations include Orphanage Outreach and Sandals Foundation, where I’ve taught children about hygiene and helped build a playground, would be placed into the first bucket. But while I enjoyed these experiences greatly, it was my recent trip to Oklahoma that provided some of the most meaningful moments of my life.

There are many reasons I enjoy being a flight attendant for JetBlue, from the people I work with to the cities I travel to. Still, a part of my job that I take the most pleasure in is the opportunity to volunteer for JetBlue’s community and recovery efforts. In the past I’ve had the pleasure of raising funds for a cause that is particularly close to my heart, Angel Flight Northeast, a JetBlue-sponsored organization that flies terminally ill patients and families to get the critical care they need at no cost to them. But there has still never been an experience quite like my trip to Oklahoma with the JetBlue Ready Team. My seven days working with the American Red Cross in Oklahoma was my first experience being deployed as a part of the Ready Team and it will certainly stay with me forever.

Under the airline’s Care & Emergency Response Team, the Ready Team was launched in 2009 and brought together more than 100 JetBlue crewmembers to be trained by the American Red Cross to respond to major disasters. The size of this initiative continues to grow within the company and I’m proud to say that I’m part of a 542-person team trained and ready to deploy to a disaster zone on a moment’s notice.

I was part of a group of 20 JetBlue crewmembers who touched down in Oklahoma to aid in disaster relief. We came from all over the country from New York and Salt Lake City to Long Beach. We met and worked alongside local volunteers, as well as members of the New York Fire Department who also made the trip to the Midwest. We worked together for a full week, often for 10-12 hours straight. It was an “eat, sleep and volunteer” environment. I didn’t know one person prior to arriving, but I’m always amazed at how close strangers become when they share the same goal of helping others. We marked logistics in a warehouse in Oklahoma City before loading up trucks with supplies to bring to affected communities. We brought people everything from baby food and diapers to rakes and flashlights. I’ve always known about the fantastic work that the Red Cross does, but I was blown away by how the whole operation was so well organized on the ground.

I was most astonished by the resilience of the people in Oklahoma who, despite losing everything, still remained positive. As a flight attendant I meet hundreds of people each year flying in every direction, but I’ve never met nicer people than I met in the communities of Oklahoma. Many stood beside concrete slabs where their homes once were and instead of crying for their loss, they were smiling for their survival. Being with the victims and observing their positive attitudes was a truly special experience and I hope that I was able to give them just a sliver of the hope that they gave me.

I have been lucky enough to travel around the world to pursue a passion of mine, giving back to people in need, but my trip to Oklahoma proves that you don’t need to go far to make an impact. Do what you can to make a difference — you don’t need to go far to do something that matters. Spend your weekend getting involved in your local community; help build a playground, volunteer to read to the elderly. There is plenty of good to be done everywhere. And if you’re new to volunteering don’t take on too much at once. Reach out to local town offices or nonprofit chapters in your area to learn about ways you can help. The easiest way to get your feet wet in giving is to join charitable groups that already organize volunteering events; bring friends, family and co-workers with you and make a difference, whether in your own backyard or somewhere else in the world. Every bit of help makes a huge difference.

Tell me your favorite ways and places to give back and follow me on Twitter (@Wingwoman_Tracy) for more voluntourism tips.

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June 4, 2013

Helping Those in Need in Oklahoma

Following the tornado in the Midwest, eighteen members of our Ready Team have been deployed to Moore, Oklahoma to assist the American Red Cross in their relief efforts. This specially trained team of volunteers at JetBlue will assist on a 14-day deployment to the impacted area.

Taken by our crewmember and Ready Team member Donnie in Oklahoma this week

We’ve also opened up a payroll deduction link internally for crewmembers to donate to American Red Cross Disaster Relief and have shipped supplies out to the area most impacted.

Our thoughts are with those in Oklahoma during this most difficult time.

Learn more about the work of our Ready Team.

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April 7, 2013

Volunteering During Red Cross Month

Since 1943, March has been designated as Red Cross Month, a time to recognize the organization’s relief efforts both in the U.S. and across the globe. Our airline is the largest group of corporate citizens in the local Greater New York chapter, with 565 crewmembers trained by American Red Cross (ARC) as Ready Team volunteers. Rob Maruster, our Chief Operating Office also serves as chair of the chapter’s board of directors.

In honor of Red Cross Month, our Care and Emergency Response department organized some volunteer opportunities in the New York area–and 40 of our crewmembers volunteered to help last month:

  • Assembled 200 Comfort Kits for communities that experience a natural disaster
  • Joined the ARC phone bank (Our crewmembers made 1,200 calls to volunteers in the ARC database, and reminded them to update their profiles with information vital to volunteer managers, such as special skills and languages.)
  • Repaired homes affected by Hurricane Sandy

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March 13, 2013

March is Red Cross Month

March is Red Cross Month, designated back in 1943 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt when the organization held large-scale fundraising campaign during World War II. Financial support was needed for the war, and FDR called upon the American Red Cross to lead a fundraising initiative to reach a goal of $125 million. The Red Cross reached that target and beyond, with funds totally $146 million, a campaign FDR called “the greatest single crusade of mercy in all of history.”

Every President following FDR has issued a proclamation that March is Red Cross Month, a time to recognize the organization’s relief efforts both in the U.S. and across the globe. Nearly 70,000 disasters a year require Red Cross assistance, and its volunteers mobilize to offer relief. The Red Cross also gives support to the military and their families.

The Ready Team activates during natural disasters to assist with the Red Cross’ efforts

 JetBlue and the American Red Cross

The Red Cross, formed in 1900, trains approximately 9 million Americans each year in first aid and other skills to be ready when tragedy hits. In fact, 565 of our crewmembers have been trained for the American Red Cross Ready When the Time Comes program, and our team is the largest group of corporate citizens in the Greater New York Area.  Our Chief Operating Officer Rob Maruster was named Board Chair of the American Red Cross Greater New York Region. After Hurricane Sandy, Rob appeared on an American Red Cross telethon to help raise relief funds, and discuss how our airline offered support to those impacted.

JetBlue is the largest member of the New York American Red Cross and the greater New York area is the Red Cross’s busiest region, home to more than 13 million people. Responding to approximately 2,500 local disasters annually, the group provides relief through food, shelter, and emotional support.

Learn more about our work with the American Red Cross
Meet our Care and Emergency Response team

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January 10, 2013

A Day in the Life: Care and Emergency Response

A Day in the Life, where we take you behind the scenes at JetBlue to learn more about the important jobs that work in concert together to run a major airline. This time, we visit with Penny on our Care and Emergency Response team who has one of the most forward-thinking jobs at our airline.

The Care and Emergency Response Team: (from left to right) Athena, Christina, Kristal, Puneet, Matt and Penny

The Care and Emergency Response team falls under our Operations team, positioning it as one of the vital wings at JetBlue. The team is responsible for preparing JetBlue to effectively, compassionately and responsibly handle major crisis at the airline. Headed by Penny, who has been with JetBlue since 1999 (before we had a name or aircraft to fly), along with her five team members, Christina, Kristal, Puneet, Matt, and Athena, has built a nimble and caring team that manages thousands of crewmember volunteers to effectively plan for and mobilize around challenging times.

The team is responsible for setting up our Emergency Command Center (EEC) at our Long Island City support center, a space with 27 assigned positions that activate in times of need. The team is also in charge of planning for the 100 assigned members of the Go Team to provide incident management support on-site in the event of an aircraft incident; and the Family Support Team (FST) composed of more than 200 volunteer crewmembers based in our Salt Lake City support center trained to provide assistance to family members via phone. Every city throughout our network also has at least one trained crewmember who serves as emergency response liaison who works on their preparedness plan locally.

The Ready Team activates during natural disasters to assist with the Red Cross’ efforts

Penny’s team also ensures that all plans and procedures are updated and tested. Her team organizes a full-scale emergency drill every other year and annual tabletop drills to keep everyone fresh on protocol surrounding an emergency or major incident.

We’ve extended the purview of the Care Team to include helping one another in times of need that extend beyond our own operations. We have more than 1,200 trained Care Team members throughout our 75 city network who may be called upon at any time to travel to an area to assist where help is needed during natural disasters or other unfortunate events. In addition, we have a Ready Team made up of over 500 specially trained volunteers who activate to work with the Red Cross during natural disasters, whether or not they occur in communities that we serve. Learn more about the Ready Team and where they’ve traveled to assist others in need.

Unloading supplies to help those impacted by Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy is the most recent example of our Ready and Care team activation. Penny and the Care team knew that although we had many crewmember volunteers in the New York area that many may have been impacted by the hurricane and so the team called in 40 Care volunteers from our Florida stations to assist. In addition to the partnerships we formed to assist our customers and impacted communities following the hurricane, we also set up a team to assist affected crewmembers.

The Care and Emergency Response Team’s job is to prepare for major crisis and make sure that we have the people, plans and supplies in place to activate quickly and effectively. “We like to think of ourselves as a team who needs to balance our heads and hearts,” Penny relays. “Caring is part of our DNA, it’s who we are, and it’s so rewarding to know that we’re helping to build a stronger company.”

Read Penny’s 2011 Op-Ed in the New York Times about her role at JetBlue

Check out the previous editions of A Day In The Life and meet:

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November 2, 2012

Taking Flight in the Air and Action on the Ground After Sandy

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been four days since Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast. For all of us, whether you were in the impact zone or far away, it’s been a very long week. Despite the circumstances we faced since Monday, or maybe because of them, we all rose to the challenge and came to each other’s aid. Much like our hometown of New York, we are resilient, capable and stand by each other through thick and thin.

Unloading supplies – water, juice and Eat Up snack boxes to aid those impacted by Sandy

While the storm has passed, the challenges continue. Many areas are expected to remain without basic services for days. We all have family, friends and colleagues in these areas; their suffering is our suffering.

Here’s what we’re doing to best assist them:

For our crewmembers:

The JetBlue Crewmember Crisis Fund (JCCF), an independent 501(c)3 already released $125,000 to crewmembers who have reported significant losses. The company is matching dollar-for-dollar all one-time donations to JCCF, to help our colleagues in dire circumstances. We also activated our CARE Team for these crewmembers to help them rebuild their lives and get them (and their families) back on their feet. We provided crewmembers reporting total losses with hotel rooms, immediate supplies such as food and clothes along with transportation – most importantly, we’ll provide them time to get their lives back in order.

For our customers:

Customers who find themselves booked for travel through November 04 can rebook without change fee or fare difference through November 14. Those who booked travel before October 28 for anytime between now and the end of the year, and find themselves unable to travel, may convert the value of their ticket to a credit, valid for one year. Of course, other individual needs will be handled on a one-on-one basis.

We partnered with our friends at Wafels & Dinges yesterday to offer hot meals to those without power. 14 additional trucks throughout areas impacted will provide free, hot snacks and meals today.

For our communities

Now, it’s our job now to help the community get back on its feet, to bring humanity back to New York and the Northeast. We will do this in big ways – not only by operating a full schedule, but by providing financial support to the JCCF (where we are matching crewmember donations dollar for dollar) and the Red Cross (where we are matching the first $50,000 UPDATE we’ve now matched the first $100,000) – and also in small ways, such as personalizing the “welcome aboard” to our customers and offering those in need a bottle of water, a bag of blue chips and even a waffle or two. We will sponsor 14 food trucks today in lower Manhattan and the Rockaways in Queens, delivering hot meals to those who have gone without for a week. Follow @NYCFoodtruck for more information and for a list of locations.

We’ve been in constant contact with city, state and federal officials to help assess the need of those hardest hit by the storm. We’ve already made donations to AmeriCares and Feed America, both of whom are here on the ground making a difference. Plus, we’ve already had a request to assist with replacing the damaged trees near our Long Island City office. There is no need too big or too small; we’ll find a way to help our community get back on its feet.

Our Care and Ready teams are working closely with local agencies to be of service. While we appreciate people wanting to help, work with you local groups, as the proper infrastructure needs to be in place in order to deliver necessary items to those in need (resources below).

Next Steps

Now that our operation is back-up and running, and the immediate and urgent needs of our crewmembers and customers are being met, we’re transitioning into the next phase of this event – the return to steady-state operations. Our ability to fly 100% of our schedule is important to the region and to you.

Dave, our CEO, is visiting Newark (EWR), LaGuardia (LGA) and JFK today to check-in first hand with crewmembers and customers, and is tweeting from the road – feel free to follow along.

Please continue to take care of yourself, your family, your colleagues and your community. We’ll keep you updated on the ongoing impact of Hurricane Sandy on our company and how we’ll continue to move forward – at 35, 000 feet!

If you’re in need of help or want to volunteer:
We’ve also heard amazing requests from you on how much you want to help donate your time or resources to the effort. We’re humbled by the caring of our customers, but also understand from our partners that there’s more to an organized relief effort than donation of time and supplies. We’d encourage those that want to lend a hand to look into the below groups and work with existing organizations to have the greatest impact.
Time Out New York’s “How to Help Out After Sandy”
American Red Cross
NYC Service
New York Cares
New Jersey’s Volunteer Emergency Response
Boston Cares
Community Emergency Response Teams
Team Rubicon
The Humane Society
American Humane Association

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