When The Unified Group, a group of independent mechanical contractors from all parts of the U.S., had their November 8 business meeting in Puerto Rico canceled, the contractors wanted to get on a plane for Puerto Rico and help rebuild the devastated island. The group’s executive director, Janet Kelleher, investigated to see if the contractors could get onto the island, and if materials were available for the rebuilding process. She was told that The Unified Group would not be able to stay on the island due to: lack of water, lack of food, safety on the island, lack of transportation on the island, and a lack of hospitals if needed.

The group was undeterred. They immediately partnered with Convoy of Hope, a faith-based, nonprofit organization whose mission is to feed the world through children’s feeding initiatives, community outreaches and disaster response.

By mid-November, the group raised $7,000 to help the struggling people of Puerto Rico.

“It’s amazing how quickly and enthusiastically our contractors responded,” Kelleher said. “They were pushing me to find out more about how they could help. They really wanted to get over there and get their hands dirty. But even if we could have arranged flights, we were urged not to come.”

“This unfortunate event really opened our eyes to another aspect of what the group can do together,” said founder, Tim Smerz. “We are, first and foremost, a group of business people helping each other in business, but there was such passion among members of the group to help that I’m sure we will be engaging more in volunteer projects in the future.”

While the long process of rebuilding Puerto Rico takes place, The Unified Group continues to raise funds to help those in need.

Publication date: 11/30/2017

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