The Extra Mile

Kenneth Shapiro It’s official. The holiday season has begun. As I write this, Thanksgiving is almost here, Christmas decorations are up in the lobby of our office building, and the Japanese noodle shop where we go for lunch has a tiny plastic tree by the cash register. And travelers everywhere are packin

By: Kenneth Shapiro

It’s official. The holiday season has begun. As I write this, Thanksgiving is almost here, Christmas decorations are up in the lobby of our office building, and the Japanese noodle shop where we go for lunch has a tiny plastic tree by the cash register. And travelers everywhere are packing their bags and preparing to brave those airport crowds.

With all the hustle and bustle, it can sometimes be hard to truly get into the holiday mood, so I thought it might help to acknowledge one western travel agent who sums up the spirit of giving. Susan Parr, of Susan Parr Travel Inc., in Port Angeles, Wash., is this year’s winner of ASTA’s Extra Mile Award. The award honors those agents that go above and beyond the call of duty. You can read more about Parr’s good work in our People section on page 13.

While Parr’s dedication is indeed exceptional, when I looked back at some of the e-mails and press releases I received this year, I found that our industry has no shortage of heroes.

Jan. 6: “Skylink Travel Group USA will deliver more than $2.4 million in pharmaceuticals to aid tsunami victims.”

Feb. 14: “The Sheraton Seattle Hotel & Towers raised a record $74,000 to benefit the Northwest Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.”

March 4: “A benefit to support Laura’s House, an organization dedicated to ending the silence of domestic violence, was held at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach, Calif. The event raised over $20,000 for the local charity.”

I could go on and on. Every month of the year almost every day, in fact there was news of someone in our industry, both agents and suppliers, reaching out to those in need. In particular, whether it was a tsunami, earthquake or hurricane, the travel industry responded immediately to these natural disasters with an outpouring of aid. Even while the event meant a huge setback to their businesses, agents and suppliers were quick to reach into their pockets and give.

At this “thankful” time of year, let us all be grateful for agents like Susan Parr and others who have brought pride to the profession the ones who can always be counted on to go that extra mile. K.S.

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