Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! It’s hard to believe that another year has passed, and we’re celebrating yet another Thanksgiving holiday here on the beautiful island of St. John. There is so very much for myself, and many of us here on island to be thankful for.
For starters, I am thankful for all of you. Fourteen months ago, many of us, including myself, were not too sure what the future of tourism held. We knew you’d all be back, but quite honestly, we weren’t sure when that would happen. I was stunned when I saw some of you start to trickle back last Thanksgiving. Russ Ballou, I remember seeing you and your family here last Thanksgiving. I thought it was a little too soon, but you convinced me otherwise. A big thank you for that. (And thank you for raising more than $30,000 for this island last fall. Simply amazing. Ps: I still think that should be a yearly event. It was so fun!)
And then came Christmas, and many more of you came back. And by early 2018, our beaches and restaurants and villas and condos were full again. And throughout the year, more and more of you came back. You posted pictures, trip reports and spread the good news. (Yes, I read all of that stuff. 🙂 ) And because of that, more people came back. Sure, we weren’t at pre-storm capacity, but this island was filling up once again. It was a beautiful sight, and I thank you all for that. And for those of you who haven’t been able to visit us yet, but continue to love us from afar, I thank you all for that as well. That is very important too.
The past week has been pretty busy here on island. The ferries have been packed full of people with luggage… such a great sight! For the first time since last summer, I have seen Jeeps parking on the side of the road at Francis. That means it’s getting full … so exciting! Trunk has been packed! Not in a too many people way, but in a they’re back kinda way! Maho has been packed! Skinny Legs has been packed! The streets of Cruz Bay are bustling once again. And the mega yachts are back. So great! The way I look at that is, if you own a $200 million yacht, you can pretty much travel anywhere in the world at anytime. Well David Geffen, who owns the Rising Sun, chose to spend his Thanksgiving holiday anchored off of Cruz Bay. That says a lot in my book. I have seen several other big yachts in the waters around St. John over the past week as well. It’s such a nice sight.
I am thankful for this community. There are so many great people who live here. I am thankful for all the hard work people put in to bring this island back to life. We all had our own roles, and each of those roles are important in my book. The people who cleaned up the streets; the people who directed traffic while BCC and WAPA installed new poles or while crews removed the debris and wires; the people who helped evacuate more than 1,000 residents; the people who helped transport our cats and dogs to shelters in the states, the people who reopened their businesses as quickly as possible; the girl who keeps you up to date on the conditions of St. John… 🙂 Again, all of these roles are important and there are so many more.
I am thankful for the citizens and organizations who have stepped up to become community leaders following the storms. I am thankful to the Animal Care Center and Ryan Moore for caring for our animals and making certain they were safely and successfully transported to the states. I am thankful for the staff at Canines, Cats and Critters for filling out so many health certificates in the days following the storms, so residents could temporarily leave island with their animals. I am thankful for St. John Rescue for doing everything it could to help residents in the days and weeks following the hurricanes. I am thankful to Sandy and the Island Health and Wellness Center for working around the clock to make sure people are healthy. I am thankful for Love City Strong for making sure our water is safe and that our homes are mold-free. I am thankful to Kenny Chesney for creating the Love for Love City Foundation, which continues to fix structures around the island today. I am thankful to Tom Secunda and Bloomberg for sending down so many resources including the John’s Hopkins GoTeam, the troopers from New York, for helping rebuild our infrastructure and for financially supporting so many organizations here on island. I am thankful to the folks at Love City Community Network for providing the island with internet services. I am thankful for the All Hearts and Hands volunteers for helping residents clean and now rebuild. There are so many other great organizations helping us out as well. I have so much thanks for all of you.
I am thankful for Mother Nature and her ability to bounce back. Have you seen this place lately??! It’s so green! And lush! It truly looks amazing.
But most importantly, I am thankful for life. As you all know, I was blessed with a new one after the storm as were several other families here on island. I’m not sure there are enough thanks in the world for that. Here are a few recent pics… 🙂
So it’s pretty safe to say that I am very thankful today and every day to be honest.
Again, thank you all for loving and supporting this place. You are just as much a part of this community as we all are. Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone.