February 1, 2017

It seems that hearts, or valentines, have always been special to me. I was born “Deep in the Heart of Texas” in San Antonio. My mentors, Herb and Colleen, always had hearts displayed somewhere as they operated Southwest Airlines. More importantly, the environment they fostered at Southwest Airlines was always “straight from the heart.” My mother and father’s favorite song was “Cuando Caliente Del Sol” or “Love Me with All of Your Heart.” The wedding ring I gave my wife was a heart shaped single diamond. Mariachis sang “Cuando Caliente Del Sol” at our wedding and this song has become our song. My valentine for over thirty years has always allowed me to follow my heart (or tolerated it).

Each time I read the Bible I notice the frequency that the word “heart” appears. I know this is not an accident. On several occasions I have appeared in front of groups sharing heartfelt stories wearing a full body heart costume that displays my “bird legs.” When I created the KING AEROSPACE Companies and designed our logo and uniforms, the placement of our gold wings over the heart was for a good reason. I often remind our team members, as I point to my own heart: “What makes our gold wings gold is not the thread but the passion and commitment from the heart of the people who have earned the right to wear the wings.”

At my mother’s graveside funeral service, I had mariachis sing off in the distance in her honor. When I feel a little melancholy, I always seem to know where to find some mariachis, along with a couple of drinks of Bacardi, diet coke and two limes, to serenade my disheartened heart back into happiness.

If there is a singer that I connect with from the heart, it is Ray Price. I remember being at the 150th anniversary horse sale at the famous King Ranch (no relation) in South Texas. It was a “father-daughter” trip and my then teenage daughter found a horse that she just had to have. She held my hand and looked into my eyes and said lovingly and seriously: “Daddy, if you’ll buy me this horse, I’ll take care of you when you are old.” She got a new horse! That evening after the sale, there was a fiesta and outdoor dance on the ranch’s mansion lawn featuring Ray Price. He sang all of his famous songs, including my own favorite. Then a couple years later, at my own ranch, I remember dancing under the same Texas stars with my valentine to the same song. These are priceless memories for me. From the heart, whatever good that I have accomplished would not have happened without the support of my valentine. I dedicate this song to her. May your valentine be as good as mine!

Listen to the song I dedicate for my valentine sung by Ray Price.

Written by KING AEROSPACE Founder, Jerry Allan King-Echevarria.