Norfolk man thanks strangers helping him get to family in Puerto Rico

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — George Rivera showed up to the Lynnhaven Dive Center on Friday to thank the business for helping him get to Puerto Rico to make sure his family is safe.

Rivera has not heard from his son and three grandkids, who live in the mountains about an hour from San Juan, in 12 days. On Saturday, he’ll fly to the island after a generous donation from the dive center’s owner, Lindsey Hillier.

“I’m overwhelmed because of all the good will [and] all the love I am feeling from so many people,” Rivera said.

The Army veteran reached out to the business after hearing about their efforts on WAVY News 10. Rivera says he, his girlfriend and brothers have tried to book flights but they have gotten cancelled.

Hillier says after hearing his story, she purchased him a round-trip ticket no questions asked. The Lynnhaven Dive Center has been collecting donations at their shop on N. Great Neck Road for a couple of weeks.

A small group of female divers, who call themselves the “Dive Hearts”, have been hand delivering the supplies to the island over several trips.

The “Dive Hearts” say helping Rivera was a no-brainer and they hope Hillier’s act of kindness inspires others to give back to others during unexpected hard times.

“You can make a difference. Every single person can make a difference. Just get up and start dong it,” said Kathy O’Hara, who has made two trips to Puerto Rico.

Lynnhaven Dive Center is collecting donations until Oct. 15. The business says they are getting help from a nonprofit, Hillier-Ignite, to privately fly 2,500 pounds of supplies to Puerto Rico.

They are also accepting cash, gift cards and they have listed their specific needs for donations on their Facebook page.