One of Us - Rory Diamond


Rory Diamond is the Executive Director for K9s For Warriors, an organization headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach that pairs service dogs with military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and/or military sexual assault. Diamond was working as a lawyer at a law firm in downtown Jacksonville prior to becoming the K9s For Warriors executive director a little over a year ago, but he has been involved with the organization for several years. When the brand new K9s For Warriors headquarters opened in May, quadrupling the amount of military men and women the organization could assist, K9s For Warriors Founder and President, Shari Duval, asked Diamond if he would be interested in serving as the executive director to head up the growing operation.

Where are you from originally?

I grew up in Reno, Nevada. I moved to Jacksonville by choice. I literally opened up a map and went through cities and states and drove up A1A after a job interview and I said this is where I’m moving. I love Neptune Beach. I moved to Neptune Beach about three years ago.

What drew you to the area?

I love the beach — I love the small town community of Neptune Beach, and I needed a place where I could move my mom and my sister and her kids and my brother-in-law too, so we all moved to Neptune Beach together. We’re all about a bike ride away from each other.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love to surf and I’m big into anti-crime programs. That’s how I spend my extra time when I’m not here — working on the Jacksonville Journey program, after school programs and stuff like that. I have a rescue dog, a Doberman named Barron. We run on the beach every day.

Do you belong to any organizations?

I’m on the board of Beaches Watch and I served on the Jacksonville Journey, and I then pretty much spend all my time at K9s For Warriors. I used to be a lawyer and I thought that was busy, but K9s For Warriors is 24/7, it’s all the time. It’s awesome.

How did you get involved with K9s For Warriors?

I was a lawyer at a big law firm in downtown Jacksonville and I wanted to find a pro-bono project were I could do something good with my spare time. I Googled and I saw K9s For Warriors was brand new and down the road, so I sent an email to Shari Duval and asked her if she needed a free lawyer, and she emailed me right back in about two seconds, “Yes, God bless you.”

So, I’ve been the lawyer for the organization all along, and I’ve been on the board. About a year and a month ago Shari asked whether or not because we were getting so big, so fast, whether or not I would come run it. I had just made partner at a law firm and I said, I could be a partner at a law firm or I could run K9s For Warriors — easy decision. Every day is different. Every day you’re helping either someone on two legs or four legs, so it’s fun.

Tell me a little about your prior work experience.

I worked in politics. I worked for George W. Bush in the White House for two years. I was there for 9/11 and that kind of got me more geared towards public service and being someone who contributes to the country. And then I went to work for Governor Schwarzenegger in California for a year as his briefing director. That was spectacular. But then it was time to put the silliness aside and go be a lawyer. I went to law school. I was a federal prosecutor for a while which I really loved doing — putting bad guys in jail is a good day.