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Flight attendants let good take flight to Thailand

American Airlines’ regional councils, as well as the airline’s Do Crew outreach program, offer great opportunities for our employees to make a difference. And that great work isn’t limited to the 50 states.

Earlier this year, 55 American flight attendants let their good take flight and visited Chang Mai, Thailand, to volunteer at Elephant Nature Park. Founded in 2004, the park provides a forever home to abused animals. And while its namesake indicates otherwise, elephants are actually in the minority at this park, which is home to about 500 dogs, 200 cats and 150 cows and buffalo.

Led by LGA-based flight attendant Robyn Beasley, the group is known affectionately as “Stews for Elephants” — “stew” being short for “stewardess,” as our flight attendants used to be known.

While on a layover in London last December, she shared her travel plans with fellow crew members, several of whom said, “I want to go too!” From there, she started a Facebook page and between December 13 and New Year’s Eve, 54 of her fellow flight attendants pledged to join her on the trip. Additionally, through her private fundraising efforts, Robyn raised $12,000 for the park.

The volunteers spent a week at the park doing everything from bathing and feeding the animals to shoveling elephant excrement to teaching English to the children of park staff and donating clothing and other supplies to nearby villages.

“It’s absolutely incredible the way they treat the animals here. I’m amazed at what they do and can’t say enough good things,” said Robyn, who stumbled on the park by accident while vacationing in Thailand in 2014. After a brief visit, she signed up for a week-long program for volunteers the next time she visited the country.

Accommodations at the park are far from glamorous, Robyn recalls. “There were three or four of us to a room, mosquito netting over the beds, communal bathrooms, no air conditioning or television and very limited internet access. Still, we had the time of our lives.”

Curious about the cause? Visit Elephant Nature Park or follow them on Facebook. 

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