Communities that look after their own tend to fare best through difficult times, even if that might seem unusual or impractical in many cases today. There are still stories, however, of how people and organizations with strong ties to particular places and communities have made a difference when it was needed the most.

Although indisputably beautiful and appealing, for instance, the United States Virgin Islands have faced many imposing challenges over the years. Most often, the territory has been stretched to its limits by storms that have devastated important infrastructure components and left many residents needing help.

That familiar drama played out again in 2017 but to a previously unfamiliar degree. Within the space of a couple of weeks, two category 5 storms made landfall in the islands.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria were merciful only with regard to taking slightly different paths through the archipelago. Community members distinguished themselves in terms of how effectively they responded. Under co-founder David Johnson Cane Bay, for example, succeeded in providing a great deal of much-needed aid.

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Disaster

Severe tropical storms are fairly common in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but the details range widely. In the fall of 2017, two hurricanes of the highest measurable levels of intensity struck the islands one after the other.

The first storm mostly wreaked havoc on the islands of St. John and St. Thomas, spurring aid groups and relief workers to focus their efforts on those two heavily populated places. Not long after, the second hurricane ran directly over St. Croix, another island with a large population.

Either storm would normally have been enough to force relief and recovery efforts to continue for a long while. With two powerful hurricanes coming through so close together, things had rarely looked worse for the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Home-Grown Help Makes a Definite Difference

Fortunately, people in the territory were not satisfied to lick their wounds or to give in. Companies like Cane Bay responded to the unprecedented devastation with an equally historic surge of support and assistance.

As a result, the recovery from the hurricanes ended up being far less painful and difficult than had been expected. With community members contributing so much, the lingering signs of the disaster became less obvious with every passing day.