Stars launch effort for financial aid to U.S. Virgin Islands devastated by Irma

Country music star Kenny Chesney and Retired San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan have both asked for financial aid for the U.S. Virgin Islands, and announced plans to head efforts. The islands were hit hard by Hurricane Irma, which blew a destructive path through the area, doing massive damage and and killing four people on the island of St. Thomas.

“The catastrophic destruction caused by Hurricane Irma requires aid to address the overwhelming needs of the countless victims who face the daunting task of rebuilding their lives,” stated Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, the Virgin Islands’ delegate to Congress, cited in her Facebook post.

To help in that effort is Kenny Chesney, who has a home on the U.S. Virgin Island of St. John. He’s launching a relief foundation for the islands called “Love for Love City,” hoping to help in any way he can “to relieve some stress from people that I’ve really grown to love over the years.”

Chesney’s own home was destroyed, according to the singer. “It’s just simply gone,” Chesney said on HLN’s Morning Express with Robin Meade. “That place and the people mean so much more to me than my house.”

On Facebook, Chesney wrote: “To everyone in No Shoes Nation who has reached out asking how you can help… from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU. We’ve created the Love For Love City Foundation to help provide support for the US and British Virgin Islands which were just devastated by #HurricaneIrma. These people and these islands have meant so much to me throughout my life. All proceeds will immediately be directed toward supporting those affected. Please donate what you can and share. #loveforlovecity.”

NBA star Tim Duncan was born on the U.S. Virgin Islands and grew up there. The player, who rarely makes public statements, wrote a plea for help in The Players’ Tribune. He said he is donating $250,000 right away for storm relief aid, and plans to make matching donations up to the first $1 million.

In the impassioned plea, he wrote: “The people there, many of whom are old friends of mine, are suffering. Weather reports say that another Category 5 storm, Hurricane Jose, is close behind. No one knows what the place will look like when the rain stops.”

Duncan said he’s going to charter a plane to ship supplies from San Antonio when the weather allows, and even plans to put together a team to manage the relief efforts.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about my old neighborhood in St. Croix, where I recently took my kids,” he wrote. “I showed them where I used to play with my friends when I was their age. I showed them my high school Now I’m asking myself, What will still be there after the storms?”

“I’m writing this to ask for your help in the relief efforts, but I’m also asking you not to forget about islands like the Virgin Islands and St. Martin and others, “Ducan continued. “The news of the storm may fade from the headlines, but there are still real people there — good people — who need your goodwill, and who will never forget your generosity.”

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