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JetBlue Airways employee forms special bond with teen with autism

June 17, 2015

Timothy Russo, manager of Strategic Maintenance and Material Planning at JetBlue Airways, has been named to Fortune Magazine's Heroes of the 500 for the special bond he has formed with Jason Harris, a 16-year-old young man with autism.

Russo met Harris at the first Autism Speaks Blue Horizons for Autism event in September 2013 at JFK Airport in Queens, NY. Harris was volunteering at the event through his involvement with Nassau Suffolk Services for Autism. His love of planes and flight patterns led him to strike up a conversation with Russo. Russo shared his contact information with Harris and the two have talked nearly every day since.

“I know it sounds unbelievable,” Deb Harris, Jason’s mom, says. “But they talk every single day about flight patterns and JetBlue.”

Now, Harris is taking flying lessons so that he can realize his dream of becoming a commercial pilot. But Russo has made sure to introduce his mentee to the whole aviation world.

Blue Horizons for Autism events, hosted through a partnership between Autism Speaks and JetBlue Airways, provide families in the autism community with the opportunity to walk through the airport experience in the most realistic setting to better prepare them for future travel. Autism Speaks is working hard with JetBlue to bring this event to as many airports as possible around the country! Learn more and find other air travel resources here.