Kenny Chesney’s home in the U.S. Virgin Islands was completely leveled by Hurricane Irma. The country superstar revealed the extent of the devastation in an interview with Robin Meade on HLN.
Chesney says he invited about 20 people and 10 dogs to stay at the St. John house during the hurricane. “My house was, we thought, a very safe place for everyone,” Chesney told Meade. “Because it was built with stone, concrete and bricks in an area of the island where we didn’t feel like we were going to get a direct wind. So I felt like if they went downstairs it would be a very safe place.”
Thankfully, everybody survived. But the terrified people huddled in a closet to weather the storm. “I had 200 mph wind-tested windows throughout my house, and every window in the house just blew out,” Chesney says.
Chesney clearly sounds distraught for the community. He mentions the damage Florida is going to take, but elaborates that the U.S. Virgin Islands just don’t have as good an infrastructure to deal with it. “The toughest part is just the infrastructure,” he says. Florida, he says, has the infrastructure to plan better.
Chesney developed a deep love for the island community over his 15 years there. “These people live off the see, and they live off the land and they live off each other,” he says. “They’re facing an uphill battle. And they’re facing years of cleanup.”
Chesney also expresses concerns for the hospitals and for the pets. In fact, Chesney is currently sending water and dog food to the Virgin Islands via his plane.
Chesney explained the damage further on Twitter and also included pictures.
— Kenny Chesney (@kennychesney) September 7, 2017
“I don’t know right know how we’re going to do this,” Chesney captions the tweet. “But I want to help.”
He called on his fans, “No Shoes Nation,” to step up. “Give us a few days to figure this out,” he writes. “I know the No Shoes Nation is mighty. They’ve dug in before and made a difference. I have a feeling once we have our plans in place, they’ll be there again.”
Chesney also vowed to rebuild, but not before they help the rest of the islands. Since strengthening to a Category 5 hurricane, Irma brought damage to much of the Caribbean.