Following Hurricane Irma’s devastating path through the U.S. Virgin Islands, two teenage brothers who’d lost their home caught the attention of an unlikely hero.
Jah-Haile and Jahbioseh Bruce were trapped with their grandfather in their childhood home on St. John during Irma’s landfall on the island and were left with nothing after the storm passed. The boys were picked up by a boat headed to neighboring St. Croix with supplies and other evacuees; when they arrived, they were greeted and immediately taken in by a woman named Sue, the mother of the men who owned the boat that rescued them from St. John.
They knew that the safest place for them would be with their own mother, who lives in Philadelphia. The only obstacle: there were no commercial flights flying out of St. Croix. That is, until an anonymous patron donated his private jet to reunite the boys with their mother. The “anonymous” donor, CNN discovered, was none other than country music star Kenny Chesney.
St. John is a special place for Chesney: he infamously married Renée Zellweger on the island in 2005, and has maintained a home there for years until it was destroyed by Irma. He was, however, mostly unconcerned with the state of his home, telling HLN’s Robin Meade on Morning Express, “That place and the people mean so much more to me than my house… 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… shaped me as a human being.”
As a result, Chesney created a new relief foundation called Love for Love City, a reference to St. John’s nickname of “Love City.” The foundation aims to provide disaster relief to the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.
When asked about Chesney’s heroic act of kindness, young Jahbioseh is grateful he now has “one hell of a story to tell.”