Flyerz, Squirrel and Local Jumpers Pay It Forward
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced closure of the many DZs located at the Aeroporto de Boituva in Brazil, approximately 50 parachute packers found themselves out of work. For many of the packers, this was their only form of income, and after months of closure and with no government support, they and their families soon found themselves in bad situations. That’s when Leonardo Orsini, owner of Flyerz Wingsuit School in Boituva, stepped in. Orsini contacted Squirrel wingsuits in the U.S. to see if they could help. Squirrel immediately agreed to donate a wingsuit for Orsini to raffle off, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the packers. Sales were initially limited to 85 raffle tickets at R$120 (about $21) each. Tickets sold out almost immediately.
The drawing took place May 29, with Alejandro Montana from Argentina winning the wingsuit. Already a great success, the fundraiser would have ended there if Montana had not decided to give the suit back to Squirrel and Orsini so they could continue the raffle and raise even more money.
At the second drawing on June 15, Brazilian Cesar Fagundes won the wingsuit. The generosity of spirit in the community once again showed itself, as Fagundes also donated the suit back to continue to raise money for the packers. At this point, the raffle—nicknamed Solidairy Wingsuit—became iconic in Brazil. It was a raffle for which everyone was buying tickets, but no one wanted to win.
For the third draw on July 3, the organizers decided that this was it: The winner could not give the suit back. The crowning touch of the drawing was that an artificial respirator technician and skydiver from Northern Brazil won the suit! In all, more than 500 people from all over the world purchased raffle tickets, raising more than R$60,000 ($10,000) for those in need. Orsini said, “All this shows how we are surrounded by good people in our sport.”