If you follow Kelleher International or me on social media then you know we’ve focused our attention this week on disaster relief efforts and what we as a community can do to contribute to the rebuilding of targeted areas hit by the devastating forces of Mother Nature.
If you aren’t following Richard’s blog, he’s doing a fantastic job of documenting “boots on the ground” style of his journey - from preparing for Hurricane Irma to riding out the storm with his team - and now wading through the devastation with fellow citizens and most importantly leading efforts alongside his son Sam in helping to rebuild the Virgin Islands.
As someone who’s spent time enjoying the natural wonders and wildlife of the Virgin Islands I find myself worrying about the flamingos and lemurs and other precious species. Did any of them survive? And then my mind drifts to the people who had the contents of their lives wiped away in a moment and now face a monumental climb back to normalcy that might take years.
After seeing images and videos of the devastation Necker and the other islands endured, I've wondered how I can most effectively compound my efforts to provide the greatest aid.
This week I reached out to my friend Petra Nemcova who after surviving the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami founded Happy Hearts Foundation in 2006. Her organization rebuilds safe, resilient schools in areas impacted by natural disasters during times like this - when the media coverage dissipates and the rest of the world gets back to normal, and the victims of natural disaster are seemingly forgotten. Happy Hearts is a phase three deployment organization who comes in once order is restored to a place, and rebuilding schools is finally a possibility. Once those plans are solidified, I’ll share with you ways you can help Petra and Happy Hearts Foundation build hope for the children and communities affected. Stay tuned for that!
To make an immediate impact, I have joined a small team of international business leaders focusing on direct aid to the smaller islands that domestic and foreign governments aren’t able to get to yet. Isolated from outside help these islands are unable to function properly, with tens of thousands of residents now homeless and without livelihoods. I signed on with the logistics team to organize security, transportation, and aid essentials for these islanders.
I am confident in the Kelleher community’s commitment to humanitarianism. Our clients are generous and diverse, and our mighty matchmaking team is securing commitments to resources such as airplanes, ships, bulk food and water, medical supplies and equipment, sanitary supplies, blankets, building supplies, and other essentials to breathe life and hope back into the more remote Virgin Islands. If you or someone you know would like to volunteer time or resources, please email ([email protected]) to coordinate efforts with us and learn more. And, please share this letter with your network to help spread the word.
I'll be in touch soon with more information and updates. I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to a special place that has done so much for me and our world. I look forward to seeing the ripple effect of our efforts.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.