How Cane Bay Partners Helped St. Croix Recover From Hurricane Irma

The highest point in the United States Virgin Islands, Crown Mountain on St. Thomas, stands about 1,500 feet above sea level. Although certain of the islands are similarly mountainous, most residents live in low-lying areas close to the sea.

Couple that fact with the less-than-resilient infrastructure that is typical of the U.S. Virgin Islands, and even relatively minor tropical storms can cause significant disruptions to daily life. More severe weather events often leave the islands struggling to recover for months or even longer.

Even given all that, the 2017 fall hurricane season was extraordinary by historical standards. Not one but two category 5 hurricanes passed through the U.S. Virgin Islands within the space of two weeks. That left aid groups throughout the islands and elsewhere fighting to figure out ways to provide the required relief.

One consulting agency headquartered on the island of St. Croix ended up playing an outsize role in the subsequent effort. Under the leadership of partners like David Johnson Cane Bay contributed in ways that left many thousands of residents far better off.

A Can-Do Attitude Makes a Difference at a Challenging Time

People who work for relief agencies tend to become accustomed to making do with whatever resources and arrangements they find before them. That approach typically proves to be the only way to overcome the many hurdles that will present themselves in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

The founders of Cane Bay took the same approach when they became determined to help out in 2017. Instead of succumbing to excessive deliberation, they sprang into action to make sure that aid would become available as quickly as possible. That included:

  • Donating the use of a boat. An avid open-water fisherman, Johnson is the owner and captain of a 40-foot vessel he christened the “Turn and Burn.” He made that craft available to aid workers and others after the hurricanes laid waste to St. Croix.
  • Raising funds. Even successful businessmen like the founders of Cane Bay could never hope to provide all the required relief alone. Johnson and others tapped into their professional and personal networks to raise money for the recovery effort.

Impressive Progress for St. Croix

Decisive actions like these helped St. Croix recover from virtually unprecedented damage. The importance of Cane Bay’s contribution to the recovery work can hardly be overstated.

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