Kenny Chesney has always been one of those people who seems to have a positive attitude and outlook, both through his music and through what he does both on and off the stage.
Yet, during a CNN interview on September 12, you could hear the pain in his voice as he spoke with host Anderson Cooper about the recent Category 5 hurricane that hit the Carribbean and destroyed the country artist’s home — and many others — on the U.S. Virgin Island of St. John.
“It’s hard to put it into words, because I have got so many memories, so many friends there, so many fabrics and pieces of my life on that island,” Kenny said on CNN’s “AC360.” “To see that devastation, and to see what it is today, when I was just there last week, is really heartbreaking.”
Kenny joined Kate Hanna during the interview. She was one of 17 people who found shelter in Kenny’s home during the storm, although he was not on the island at the time. “It literally saved our lives,” Hanna said of the once-sturdy house. “My house is pretty much completely destroyed,” she added, before describing what happened during the storm at Kenny’s residence.
“We thought we were in a safe spot and then the window blew in,” she said. “So, we went into the laundry room, and we had 17 of us, including five dogs and four kids … Some of the boys grabbed a couple mattresses and we ended up in there for about five hours with mattresses and a washing machine and dryer and five guys taking turns rotating in and out, holding up the door so that it wouldn’t blow in.” She also said there was some water seeping in, but added, “Luckily, there was a shop vac in there that we were able to dump the water out and kind of keep it not from completely flooding.”
As the interview closed, Kenny showed a glimpse at his optimistic side.
“The rebuilding is not going to be measured within a few days or a few weeks or a few months. It’s going to be measured in years, sadly enough,” he said, before adding, “The heart and the spirit of that island is very resilient.”