Over the years, American Flyers has dedicated issues to employees who have truly inspired those around them to be better. When I speak to others in the flight industry, I am often struck by the incredible talent and rare individuals who have worked for American Flyers over the years.
This issue is dedicated to Sharon McCormack, who was a beloved staple within the American Flyers community. She was that rare individual in life who stood by the principals of what she believed in, never compromising or giving up. Sharon said what she meant and backed it up with action! I can attest to this truth unequivocally because Sharon was also my mother, and this is how she raised her family and the values she taught her three children.
Sharon worked tirelessly for the employees of American Flyers, making sure they were cared for – and through them, their customers. She didn’t apply for the position, but received it by extension of being married to Clark McCormack, the former president of American Flyers who retired in 2014. She willingly took on the role of mother to all AF employees and many students over the years. Sharon supported her American Flyers family for years before ever officially getting a paycheck.
In one instance many years ago, she received a call from Clark saying he was bringing a student home for dinner who was homesick and missed his family. She welcomed him with open arms, and he ended up living with the McCormacks for the duration of his training so he wouldn’t give up his dream of becoming a pilot. Though now retired, this student, Ermanno Martelli, was a captain for Alitalia airlines, in part reaching his goal because of Sharon’s loving spirit and “never give up” attitude.
Sharon hosted many management meetings at her home and many today still remember the hospitality, food, and desserts she provided during those times. It was not unusual to meet Sharon in the kitchen for a cup of coffee and morning chat while she whipped up breakfast for a group of twelve!
Sharon took on all the jobs that no one else had the time (or desire) to do. Need your school’s carpet cleaned? Call Sharon. Need flowers planted in front of your facility because spring is in full swing? Call Sharon. Have students that need pilot supplies at the last minute? Call Sharon. Need a management meeting organized? You guessed it, call Sharon! She would do anything for the employees of American Flyers if it meant she could unburden them so they could focus on their most important asset – their customers. She was a strong believer in the American Flyers core philosophy of customer service.
Employees respectfully called Sharon “RL,” which stood for “Radar Lock.” If she locked onto you for not doing something right, bless your heart! She would make sure you corrected it immediately. She was Perseverance with a capital P.
Outside of American Flyers, Sharon was passionate about two things: her family and politics, in that order. She was a loving grandmother, and she would often come and watch my young children so I could travel to other American Flyers locations as part of my work. She considered it a way to give back to American Flyers and spend time with her grandchildren. A “win-win,” as she called it.
Politically, she was a proud conservative and backed it up with action. She often could be seen within American Flyers encouraging people to vote. She always had a voter registration card handy as long as you were voting for the “right” party, but she would be willing to respectfully debate your choice as well. She believed in grassroots elections to effect change and even ran an election for a county judge who was successfully elected!
Once Sharon “retired,” she still came and planted flowers at the two American Flyers Dallas locations, and often stopped by to say hello to the AF team. Sharon was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in late 2019 and fought bravely until she passed away in June 2022. I remember sitting in the reception hall after her service and looking around at all the people she touched during her life – the majority of them current and former American Flyers employees. It provided great comfort to our family to know how many people within the American Flyers family loved her. She is missed greatly by those of us who worked side by side with her over the years. Recently, one employee told me he planned on taking over planting flowers each spring in honor of Sharon McCormack.
Someone who can motivate people to carry on their values and traditions after they are gone is truly a representation of a life well lived!