Passengers and TSA officers alike, cheered as a motorcade from the Austin Police Department escorted two special Make-A-Wish families to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport for their flight to Walt Disney World.
Once inside, the families of two special kids, Eko and Samara, received formal greetings from members of the Austin PD, Star Wars Stormtroopers and the infamous Darth Vader. TSA officers and staff were also on hand to greet the distinguished passengers and provide them with professional assistance throughout the screening process. After the festivities, four-year-old boy Eko and ten-year-old girl Samara boarded their American Airlines flight to Walt Disney World and their dream was becoming a reality!
That BIG dream was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, American Airlines and TSA Austin. American Airlines coordinated with Austin PD to escort the family to the airport. Eko arrived first with his parents and six-year-old sister. Samara arrived shortly after with her parents and two older siblings ages 12 and 15.
Austin TSA officers and staff enjoyed promoting this special event and helping these children and their families navigate the screening process. “Our checkpoint team enjoyed helping the families through TSA screening and putting the children at ease,” said Supervisor Christian Torres.
Lead TSA officer Brad Bargerstock added, “I enjoyed just being included in this event, helping as a PSS, and being a part of an overall positive experience for these children and families.”
Federal Security Director Mike Scott expressed his pride in how his officers perform their vital security duties with heart. “Our TSA officers at Austin-Bergstrom International provide world class security every day,” said Scott. "Likewise, they switch gears and provide TSA Cares attention, when needed. I am continually impressed with the focus, heart, and professionalism of our team.” said LTSO Brad Bargerstock.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation sponsors children with various critical illnesses in an effort to make their personal wish a reality. A wish granted can be a game-changer for a child with a critical illness. Make-A-Wish says on their website that “when a wish is granted, a child replaces fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope. This can have a real and tangible impact on a child’s health.”
To other travelers at the airport it may have seemed like just another busy day at AUS, but to Eko and Samara this day could prove to be a game-changer. Through collaborative stakeholder efforts and professional TSA officer awareness, without a doubt, TSA officers and staff make a difference every day. Step aside Stromtroopers, TSA officers are a force like none other!