My name is Tom Timberlake and I recently travelled to Washington as the nominator for Delta Air Line’s reception of the 2012 Freedom Award.
The Freedom Award, also known as the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their support of their employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve.
I have been employed by Delta as a pilot for 12 of the 23 years I have served our country in the Marines, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. For Delta, I currently fly the 737 as a First Officer (co-pilot). During my military career I flew the AV-8B during my active duty years and the F-16 while in the Air National Guard while concurrently working for Delta. During my 12 “dual-hatted” years of working for both Delta and serving in the military, there has never been a moment when I doubted that Delta’s response and support for me and my fellow service members would be anything less than one hundred percent. Here is a short list of what I have seen and experienced of Delta supporting those who serve:
My fellow employees wrote six pages of well wishes when I deployed overseas; they thank me day in and day out for my military service; we have our “below wing” Honor Guard giving due respect for those making their final trek home; we have sent thousands of letters to service members deployed overseas; some of us get in small groups and give a cheer for those arriving in the terminal returning from an overseas deployment; many captains offer an upgrade to a nicer seat in the aircraft if it is available; the CEO has made a solid commitment to hire qualified veterans in the future by signing on to the 100,000 jobs program; we volunteer in Delta’s Holiday lounges in various cities we serve and have for 45 years now; and we prepare the food for the military visitors of those lounges, overflowing it with delicious Thanksgiving and Christmas treats.
In short, it is the people at Delta that make the difference. So for all these thoughtful actions, I feel that this award is very well deserved and it was a sincere pleasure and honor for me to nominate our outstanding company. I am sure it will be valued by all of my colleagues here at Delta Air Lines.