TSA Public Affairs Sari Koshetz
ORLANDO, Fla. – A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) program called Team Care assisted more than 750 families who have children with life-threatening illnesses as they traveled through Orlando International Airport (MCO) during the past year. Such customer service is part of TSA's practice of assisting people with disabilities during the security screening process – similar to the enhanced support TSA extends to traveling wounded veterans and their families.
Team Care is staffed by Transportation Security Officers who receive specialized training. In 2009, TSA Team Care employees from MCO attended the Give Kids the World (GKTW) Angel Orientation at the GKTW Village in Kissimmee where they gained familiarity with the disability-related needs of families who have a child with a life-threatening illness. Team Care's efforts were recognized by Mitch Goldberg, Vice President of Give Kids the World.
"It can be intimidating and overwhelming for any inexperienced traveler to navigate through an international airport," said Goldberg. "For families of children with sensitive and life-threatening illnesses, it is an incredible relief to be personally greeted and escorted by the compassionate TSA team … it truly bookends the beginning and ending of a perfect vacation. Thank you TSA for your gracious hospitality to the families of Give Kids the World."
Many TSA employees volunteer and actively support their local communities when they are off-duty. TSA Orlando volunteers have collected more than 1,200 pounds of food for Second Harvest Food Bank, collected and distributed toys for Toys for Tots, taught economics for the Junior Achievement Program, and assisted athletes in Disney's 2010 Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games. Many of these volunteers teamed up with Customs and Border Protection for its on-going Explorers program. Their mission is to help young adults – ages 14 to 20 – by teaching positive character traits, career development, and leadership skills so they can make ethical choices to achieve their full potential in life. In addition, TSA volunteers have hosted a Mentoring Day at the airport for Orange County Public Schools.
"Many TSA employees around the nation, including those in Orlando, are individually contributing off-duty time to their communities," said Federal Security Director John Daly Jr. "The Team Care initiative, started in Orlando last year, demonstrates TSA's commitment to the community and to homeland security. I am confident that through the work of the Team Care officers at the airport, and through the community volunteer work of our employees, TSA Orlando will continue to stand side-by-side with the community and lend a helping hand to those in need."