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As Hurricane Irma ripped through the U.S. Virgin Islands, teenage brothers Jah-Haile Bruce and Jahbioseh Bruce lay fearfully on the floor of the shower in their home on St. John, pressed up against a concrete wall.


“Five minutes later the roof just ripped off our head,” recalls Jah-Haile in an interview with CNN. Added Jahbioseh, “That’s the moment where I was terrified, because I felt like Irma was a spirit. I felt like I saw the hand grab the roof and throw it off into the wind. It was crazy.”

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The boys and their grandfather survived, but lost their home and nearly everything in it.

The brothers were taken to St. Croix by a private boat sent to pick up evacuees. The plan was to try to make it to their mother in Philadelphia, but there were no commercial fights available off the island.

As CNN reports, that’s when an unexpected gift arrived.

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An initially anonymous person donated use of his private jet to fly the boys to safety. CNN confirmed that the donor in question was none other than country superstar Kenny Chesney. As previously reported, Kenny had already been using his plane to sent palates of bottled water and pet food to the ravaged islands, where he himself had a home that was destroyed by the hurricane. He’s also started a fund, the Love for Love City Foundation, to raise money for Irma’s victims in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

As for the Bruce brothers, they’re just grateful for the help reuniting with their mother stateside. “I don’t even know what to say [other] than thank you,” said Jah-Haile. “I heard that the guy wanted to stay anonymous.”

Kenny Chesney rescues stranded teens from hurricane-ravaged Virgin Islands Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP
Phyllis Stark is a Nashville-based entertainment journalist who has been reporting extensively on country music (and loving every moment of it) for more than two decades.
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