OpenWorld Relief

About Us

Who We Are

We were brought together by tragedy but kept together by compassion and an intense motivation to empower communities affected by natural disasters. We are entrepreneurs, business owners, veterans, educators, medical professionals, and emergency responders who harness the power of our diverse backgrounds to make disaster relief happen in new and innovative ways.

We first came together just prior to Hurricane Maria making landfall in Puerto Rico, with the goal of getting ourselves and volunteers down to the island immediately following the storm. During this initial push, we built strong relationships with local government, local leaders, business owners, large response organizations such as the Army, National Guard, FEMA, and Red Cross. These connections helped us to determine the most impactful missions on a daily basis and gather information that would shape our long-term mission on the island.

OpenWorld Relief is a 501(c)3 that has developed a broad-spectrum approach to disaster relief, encompassing everything from search and rescue through long-term recovery. We continually identify other groups that have been operating successfully and form partnerships with them to streamline the efforts for all aspects of disaster relief and recovery.

Board of Directors

Ben Watsky

Executive Director

Organizational management, board management, organizational strategy, partnerships, project management, risk management, board member.

  • Officer and aviator—U.S. Air Force/Air National Guard, Operating LC-130 aircraft in the polar regions
  • Interim COO and consultant for over 25 companies
  • Certifications: MBA, Risk Manager, FAA–ATP, CFI, CFII, MEI, Safety Analyst

Jana Stone

Project Director

Project management, volunteer management, local networking, relationship management, board member. 

  • Full-time volunteer
  • Psychotherapist
  • Artist 
  • Activist
  • Certifications: Trauma Therapy, Community Emergency Response Team

James Cameron

Logistics Director

Planning and logistics coordination and management, resource allocation, cost-benefit analysis, transportation partnerships, project management, board member.

  • Motor yacht captain
  • Business owner
  • Certifications: 200 US / 500 ITC Captain (U.S. Coast Guard)

Volunteer Staff

Raven Dodson

Administrative Director

Manages daily tasks, contacts, scheduling, partnership communication, documents and contracts, and aids in overall organizational coordination

  • MA in historical theology; AA in network administration
  • Freelance project manager and graphic artist

Jay Watsky

Medical Director

Oversees all medical and health/wellness projects, including those in conjunction with local clinics, and coordinates medication sourcing and delivery.

  • Endocrinology and internal medicine
  • USAF trained

Astrid Miller

Events and Planning Director

Planning and implementation of events for OWR including fundraisers, team meetings, expos, etc. Assists in media management.

  • Holistic esthetician
  • Event planner

Laura Hamel

Media Manager

Functions as OWR’s webmaster and photographer, as well as media, communications, and publications adviser.

  • BA in organizational studies
  • Search and Recovery, Salvage, and Cave diver
  • Former law enforcement

Brian Kay

EMS Manager

Coordinates OWR’s fire and emergency medical services response, as well as conducts fire prevention and volunteer training.

  • Firefighter
  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • Hazmat Operations and Ice Rescue Technician
  • Performance driving instructor

Jackie Watsky

Opportunities Manager

Works with various contacts through networking and events to bring partnership and sponsorship opportunities to OWR.

  • Retired teacher
  • Artist
  • Dosan

Advisory Board

Development Economist, United Nations - UNIDO
Fellow, Columbia University
(Sustainability / Resilience)

AIA National Strategic Council; Founding Director, +LABS Architect (Resilient Building)

Owner, LateralUS
Former US Army Corps of Engineers, Prime Power Technician (Regenerative Systems Design)

Senior Consultant, World Bank United Nations Principal, Resilient City (Resiliency)

CEO, AWG Contracting
(Atmospheric Water Generation)

President, Student Veterans of America
(Veteran Career Programs)

CEO, EOC Tech Innovations
(Security Technology)

Executive Director, The Waterbearers
(Water Scarcity Prevention)

Director, Earth Defense Coalition