As the President of Unity Jets, a boutique-style private jet firm, it may seem as though Kevin Diemar has a front row seat to spending, but the Miami-native says giving is actually closer to his style. Inspired by his grandfather, Bill Schwartz, who served in the Navy, as Mayor of his North Carolina town and in leadership positions in the United Way and Kiwanis Club, Diemar’s community service began at a young age. “As a child I had a great role model,” he says of Schwartz. Those lessons served Diemar well recently, as he used his unique business position to full advantage post-Hurricane Maria, sending supply-filled flights to Puerto Rico.
Diemar says the idea originated quite simply. “We got the idea because we were able to secure a humanitarian flight into St. Croix, and in coordinating the flight we asked one of the St. Croix airport employees we were dealing with if we could somehow help her by sending something along with the passengers that were going down to bring back evacuees,” he says. When she mentioned that after days of eating MREs (military ready-to-eat meals) some simple fast food would life their spirits the team jumped on the idea. “She requested 10 burgers. We went ahead and sent fast food meals for 30,” says Diemar. “Their response of appreciation was so overwhelming that we realized what a difference we could make.”
“Helping is infectious…when others see the good and joy companies are providing they want to get involved. Every little bit that anyone or any company can do to help is a step in the right direction to making our community a better place.”
From there, the Unity Jets team jumped to action, working with both private citizens in Aguadilla and organizations such as Unidos por Puerto Rico in San Juan to fill empty flights with supplies as they headed down to rescue those leaving the island. Diemar and wife Jenny (no stranger to community service due to her own leadership roles with JAFCO) filled two large SUVs with supplies and reached out to friends and family via Facebook for even more. “Everyone felt the need to contribute, and wanted to help, but didn’t know how, and we were giving them the ability to do just that,” he says. “We bought much needed items, such as food, flashlights, fans, batteries, sunscreen, baby formula, baby food, diapers and wipes, pet food, toilet paper and countless other desperately sought-after items.”
Diemar’s plan is still in action, he says, and he continues to encourage other companies to find ways to make a difference via their own specific opportunities. “With every plane that we know flying down, we inquire to see if there is room to load on supplies,” he says. “We have been able to make approximately six runs down with goods to help those in need and we continue to search out opportunities.”