From the team members who worked behind-the-scenes to the crew members operating the flight, ExpressJet is proud to help make the Bert’s Big Adventure trip a lifetime memory for each child and their family. Check out what Alex and a few of our 2015 volunteers had to say about their experience:
Robin Hollums, specialist – Market Planning & Development
I work on the paperwork side of the BBA trip, and even though my part is a very small piece of the overall effort, I love to support the cause. It is such a pleasure to see the children and the families with such joy and smiles on their faces before and after the trip. I also enjoy the preparation for BBA each year because it reminds me of the “heart” of ExpressJet and the ExpressJet people. They care and it shows every day, but on BBA trips the “heart” of ExpressJet becomes visible to others.
Gail Morgan, Maintenance admin – TYS
It was a pleasure for Knoxville (TYS) maintenance hangar to be a part of Bert’s Big Adventure by writing hand-written notes to the Adventurers. This is such an important event that ExpressJet takes part in each year. TYS has always been very supportive in our community and here at the hangar to all children. We recognize that children are our future and teaching and helping them learn plays such an important role. The employees here truly enjoyed writing a brief note to help start their big adventure to Disney World.
Meghan Pogue, specialist – Benefits
While I’ve attended the send-off party a few times, this was my first year as a Family Helper. The entire experience is magical and life-affirming. We learned some details about our child a few weeks in advance, and got to work right away planning a few surprises of our own for him. On the day of the departure flight, all of the kids were buzzing with energy, and had these huge smiles on their faces. When it was our turn to walk the red carpet, I challenged my child to high-five “every single person” lining the carpet. He took that challenge seriously! His mom just kept thanking all of us over and over and you could tell she almost didn’t believe that they were in the middle of this experience.
Monday (the return flight) was even better. You would think that everyone would be sad to see the trip come to an end, but it was again all smiles and excitement. The energy at the dance party was amazing. To see these children, who deal with so much on a day-to-day basis, be happy and carefree was just a fantastic experience. I would recommend volunteering, in whatever capacity you can, for Bert’s Big Adventure. Not only are we providing a great memory for these children and their families, we’re having our hearts filled as well.
Vanessa Anderson, flight attendant – ORD
I had the privilege of being selected as a flight attendant for the departure flight for BBA 2015. I was so very excited from the moment that I was chosen to be part of this great adventure. One of my favorite moments was seeing the mass support at the A-Tech hangar in Atlanta from ExpressJet employees. It warmed my heart! Those who work on the event are so well organized down to the smallest detail. I also loved decorating the aircraft with my fellow crew members in preparation for the kids’ arrival.
It was amazing seeing the excitement of each child as we prepared for takeoff. Lily was bubbling with anticipation! Zailey and Lali were fast friends, and Gabriel was so happy that his brothers were there with him. We pretended that we were on a great big roller coaster at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, and all the families threw their hands up in the air. The crew made each and every child, parent, and BBA staff member feel safe and comfortable during the flight, while getting them excited about their adventure. Dean Murfield, Heather Ragle, and I worked so efficiently it was as if we had worked together every single day. After we landed, it was lovely watching First Officer Gary Shipps and Captain Jennifer Shamsy help every single child down the steps of the aircraft to their awaiting buses. They paid attention to their safety without the passengers even knowing it. Thank you for the adventure, ExpressJet and BBA!
Heather Ragle, flight attendant – ATL
My crew and I were all hand-picked by BBA from applications we submitted to be part of this special day. It’s an amazing honor to watch these beautiful kids light up at taking their first flight, first limo ride, and the VIP treatment they get. It truly is an adventure that will provide these families memories of a lifetime. When we went back to pick them up on Monday I couldn’t wait to hear what they’d done. They were happy, tired and it was obvious that some of the kids and their parents had made new best friends. I spent time speaking to each of the families. The parents were all thrilled to see their kids smiling and enjoying life. It was a well needed break from reality and five glorious days of bonding for these families. The whole crew and I felt a connection with these kids and the organization, so we have decided to make Peachtree Road Race a fundraiser for BBA. Last year BBA received $83,000 in donations. They are able to do so much for these kids with that, what if they had $100,000? Once we get the fundraising page up we’ll be inviting everyone that is running the race at ExpressJet to participate. It’s truly a worthy cause. Until then, hug a loved one… life’s a gift! Go find your own adventure…
Alex Marren, COO
Thank you to every ExpressJet team member who worked to make this flight happen. It’s amazing to see how many crew members applied to operate the trip, the hundreds of hand-written notes our people sent in from around the country, and the excitement of our Family Helpers, employees and families at the Bon Voyage and Welcome Home events. I’m very proud of how dedicated our people are to the Bert’s Big Adventure cause.
Thank you to everyone who supported Bert’s Big Adventure 2015!
Adventurers deplaning as they’re welcomed by ExpressJet employees
Family Helpers greeting their special kids after their trip
Family Helpers helping their special child discover goodies in her bin at the Welcome Back event
ExpressJet crew members with a BBA family
BBA founder Bert Weiss with two adventurers
Adventurer hugging Spiderman at the Welcome Back event
Family Helpers and Bert dancing with the Adventurers at the Welcome Back event
Family Helpers escorting their families with their luggage