Disaster relief is all part of the job
February 9, 2011 10:22AM
Jeremy T. LeMaire gets ready to help move cargo and passengers into Haiti after a magnitute 7 earthquake struck the region in 2010. | Submitted photo
Updated: May 29, 2011 4:47AM
Picking up the pieces in the aftermath of a natural disaster in places such as the earthquake in Haiti and flooding in Pakistan is just business as usual for Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jeremy T. LeMaire.
LeMaire, son-in-law of Michael J. and Wanda G. Brennan of Channahon, is a financial manager assigned to the 621st Contingency Response Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. As the paying and disbursing agent, LeMaire is responsible for paying for any costs associated with the mission.
LeMaire is part of a highly specialized unit that can deploy quickly to combat hot spots or disaster areas. The unit is often the first to provide the vital pipeline for getting food and supplies to the devastated areas.
Because his unit is the first to arrive, LeMaire and his team often find themselves working and living in conditions far from ideal.
“During Operation Unified Response in Haiti, I was shocked to see the destruction and displacement camps there due to the earthquake. It was even more sobering to see the affects in person than the news was showing. I felt more and more compassion for the Haitians affected, and that helped drive me to work harder each and every day,” said LeMaire.
“My conditions in the field were not bad compared to what the people had to deal with, and I know our team was working around the clock to help ease some of their suffering, even if only temporarily.”
While the primary job for members of his team is to go into combat zones like Iraq and Afghanistan and provide re-supply, medical evacuation and set up or repair unusable airfields, LeMaire believes that their talents lend themselves perfectly to responding to disaster relief operations like Haiti and Pakistan.
“Our mission allows for the quick response to those in need, whether that need is food, water, supplies or evacuation for American citizens,” said LeMaire.
“It is a great feeling knowing we can represent the goodwill of Americans around the world, and help those less fortunate or needing a helping hand in a time of need.”
But having the ability to respond anywhere on a moment’s notice means that LeMaire and his unit are required to stay sharp at what they do.
“My wife and three daughters are very supportive of my career and the U.S. Air Force,” said LeMaire.
“I was not able to attend my daughter’s fifth-grade play because I was in Haiti. She had every right to be upset that I couldn’t watch her performance after months of play practice, pickups and coordination. But she conceded to me when I got home, ‘I know you would have been there if you could, but the Haitians needed you, I understand.’ ”
No one knows what disaster or trouble awaits, but it’s a good bet that LeMaire and his team won’t be far behind.
Jean Edwards can be reached at 815-439-5312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.