SOURCE: APLUS.COM By Jill O'Rourke
September 11, 2017
Kenny Chesney is personally feeling the effects of Hurricane Irma, as his home in St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands was apparently destroyed. But he's not letting that stop him from doing his part to help others in the area who were affected.
Then a Category 5 hurricane, Irma tore through the Caribbean last week, with ABC News reporting 24 people have been killed in the area. Although Chesney was not in St. John when the storm hit, People reports that the country star told HLN's Robin Meade his house is "simply gone." He described the storm's destruction as "biblical in nature."
Chesney also told HLN that 20 people, along with several dogs, had taken shelter in his residence, where he says all of the house's windows blew out. "They found more shelter in a big closet and were in that closet for a long time, and they made it."
Right now, Chesney is focused on helping the area he loves so much recover. "That place and the people mean so much more to me than my house," he told Meade. "I'm gonna do everything that I possibly can to try to relieve some stress from people that I've really grown to love over the years, who have meant so much to my life. This place, these islands, have meant so much to me."
"These are people who live off the sea, who depend on it. They live right there, and it's gone," Chesney wrote in a Twitter message last week. "Most everyone's displaced. They are frightened, confused, and they don't know where help is going to come from."
The star, whose Nashville home was flooded in 2010, said his plane was loaded up with water and dog food to take to those displaced by the storm. He's also started a foundation called Love for Love City, and is accepting donations through his website. The name comes from a nickname for St. John, as Chesney calls it "an island of giving." He also added that there would be a "musical connection to raise money" at some point, explaining that "music is medicine."
Chesney is one of several big names who are doing their part to help those affected by Irma. That includes NBA star Tim Duncan, who launched a fundraiser which has surpassed $1 million. He promised to fly supplies to St. Croix, where he grew up, and urged people not to forget about the Virgin Islands.
As for Chesney, he's focused on helping others before he helps himself.
"I'm going to rebuild," he told HLN. "But not before everybody else gets rebuilt."