Mike "Pee Wee" Bernoske, a Southwest Airlines Operations Agent in Orlando, Florida, passed away on March 19th at age 52 from an aneurysm in his brain. The video above shows a moving tribute to Pee Wee as the Southwest team in Orlando gives him a proper send-off to be laid to rest in Maryland. I never had the pleasure of working with Pee Wee, but this video is a fine testimony of the way he touched the lives of his friends and coworkers.
Mike "Pee Wee" Bernoske
The quote below is from one of his close friends, posted to Facebook:
"Today we said goodbye to a great friend and great man and we did it in a way only Southwest Airlines can do. It was a hard day filled with emotions ranging from tears to laughter at times but the gathering of friends and family for PeeWee was amazing (and that word does not do justice). So many wanted to be there and could not make it in town but we represented for each and everyone of you. On my drive home I tried to think of the right words to express how we came together today. One word defines it "FAMILY" we all experienced something special over the years from PeeWee and that was the ability to laugh and move on no matter what. We all talk about the "Southwest Effect" well I am here to tell you over the years we were lucky and fortunate enough to experience the "PeeWee Effect" and we will all care that with us always. We lost his daily physical presence, but we will all carry his spirit and our memories forever!! God Speed my Friend!!"
Pee Wee's final flight is given a water canon salute as he departs Orlando
*Disclosure - I work for Southwest full time, and I'm not a company spokesperson. I just thought people outside of the airline industry would be interested in seeing how we take care of our own, and the impact we have on each others' lives. This video was shared with permission by the person who shot it.