Phil Revollo, an American Airlines Facilities Maintenance team member in Miami, knows exactly what he would do. Donate them to help others.
For the past five years, Phil’s been the Miami chapter president of the Christian Employee Business Resource Group (CEBRG), a group that celebrates the values and tenets of Christianity through special events, programs and community outreach opportunities at American.
Phil, who’s been with American for nearly 25 years, feels that giving back to communities in need is an integral part of the CEBRG’s mission. With nearly 1,500 members at 15 chapters across the airline’s system, the group is able to touch the lives of many.
“We can help give others a chance at life,” Phil said. “That drives me every day.”
And that’s what drives the Miami CEBRG. Members have taken more than 10 missions trips to various countries. The group has served one Nicaraguan community in particular for the past five years, and, over time, the lasting relationships the CEBRG developed provided invaluable insights about the community’s greatest needs.
Though their established relationship with the Hope and Glory Foundation, a nonprofit that provides prosthetics for children missing limbs, chapter leaders were able to help the small community’s children. To offset travel costs, the Miami CEBRG donated 350,000 miles to the Hope and Glory Foundation through American’s Million Miles program.
With the donation, the foundation is able to provide transportation to young patients and their families from Nicaragua to Miami, as they make their way to Shriner’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida, where they receive their prosthetics.
Their work supports small patients facing big challenges. Patients like Emanuel, an 8-year-old soccer player who is excited to get back on the field. What is typically a same-day turnaround trip for most patients turned into an extended stay. To ensure his prosthetic fit properly, he required extensive surgery. As a result, Emanuel stayed in Miami for three months to receive the critical care necessary, being driven to Tampa eight times.
Shriner’s Hospital covers the cost for prosthetics, doctors’ visits and any surgical procedures international patients need. The foundation covers organizing Visas, passports, departure permits, air tickets, food and housing. Like most nonprofits with lean fiscal and human resources, the Hope and Glory Foundation relies on the generosity of others to improve the lives of children like Emanuel.
”One of the most expensive parts of our programs is buying plane tickets,” said Tim Roberts, CEO of the Hope and Glory Foundation. “Not too long ago, we had Emanuel here, and tickets would have been about $2,500. And because of the miles, we only paid a fraction of the cost.”
Three months and eight hospital visits later, Emanuel was grateful to receive a prosthetic leg designed just for him — a perfect fit. And on July 1, the CEBRG helped fly Emanuel home to Nicaragua. During his flight, CEBRG members even arranged for Emanuel to meet the flight crew and see the cockpit.
“I would never have imagined sitting with the captain and being given a private tour,” Emanuel said. “Thank you, American Airlines.”
Phil attributes stories like this one to the hard work, faith and dedication of CEBRG members.
“This is a team effort,” he said. “All the people working in the background make this happen.”
In addition to their work with the Hope and Glory Foundation, the CEBRG also worked with a local church in Nicaragua to build a water well for the community and is currently raising funds to build an educational facility.
Steven T. Johnson Jr., Senior Manager of Inclusion and Diversity at American, believes that the CEBRG’s sustained efforts to address social issues in the community are aligned with American’s company culture and purpose. “The work of the CEBRG is an essential part of how we care for people on life’s journey.”
American’s EBRGs and the Million Miles program
The Million Miles program is one of the many ways American empowers team members to make a difference. EBRGs (and their respective chapters) are responsible for completing 2,000 hours of community service each year. Once EBRGs complete the hour requirement, they qualify to receive 1 million miles to be utilized for various sponsorships — each EBRG may contribute to up to 10 nonprofit organizations.
From left, Hope and Glory Foundation Vice President Zoriada Roberts with Emanuel and his mother, Idalia.
From left, CEBRG Miami President Phil Revollo, Vice President of MIA Hub Operations Juan Carlos Liscano and CEBRG Miami Vice President John Malik (far right) visit with Emanuel and his mother, Idalia, at the airport.