'Inclusion Revolution' Takes Center Stage - United Hub
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‘Inclusion Revolution’ takes center stage

By The Hub team

As the official airline sponsor of this celebration, we hosted a tent at the event, where more than 50 employee volunteers welcomed festivalgoers with giveaways, a digital photo booth and a message board where you could post an inspirational message for Special Olympics athletes. Those who stopped by the tent also had the opportunity to take photos with three Special Olympics athletes from our Superheroes ad campaign — Nikki Jones (aka Lane Lightening), Novie Craven (aka Bocce Boss) and Michael Schmidt (aka Super Hooper). The full-day event at Soldier Field also offered family-friendly activities, including sports, rides and games, exhibits, food and live entertainment.

It was so fun to see the faces of the athletes when we gave them the United Special Olympics pins, said Marketing Operations Program Manager Kathy Shrode, who volunteered at the event. "They were so thankful and you know they were going to treasure it."

Aerial view of United's tent at the Day of Inclusion events

The excitement continued into the night at the Global Day of Inclusion Celebration Concert, featuring performances by Chance the Rapper, Usher, Smokey Robinson and more. We also received a spotlight as our CEO, Oscar Munoz, took the stage to say a few words on behalf of the company.

You're here to be part of something much bigger, much more human, much more connected. You're clearly building a world that's united. Thank you so much, all of you, for being part of this, enjoy the rest of your night, enjoy the celebration, said Oscar, who was joined on stage by Bree Bogucki, a Special Olympics Illinois ambassador and athlete.

Oscar at the photo booth tent with festivalgoers

Chicago O'Hare based First Officer Gerald Boeckmann was one of five employees who were selected to be part of the anniversary celebration. Gerald's 17-year-old son Noah has Down Syndrome and has been a Special Olympics athlete for the last eight years, competing in various sports. Special Olympics is very important not only to Noah but also to his two sisters and Gerald.

It's exhilarating to be a part of this, and, when I was notified that we were one of the families to be selected, the kids were jumping off the floor, said Gerald. "I give credit to all the volunteers and caretakers who work with kids with special needs, and I thank Oscar and United for bringing all of us together."

Special Olympics launched its mission at Soldier Field in 1968 and has since grown to involve 4.5 million athletes from over 170 countries.

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