Chesney's Virgin Islands home sheltered 17 during Irma - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Chesney's Virgin Islands home sheltered 17 during Irma

They all survived the storm and got off the island, thanks to Chesney. (Source: CNN) They all survived the storm and got off the island, thanks to Chesney. (Source: CNN)

ST. JOHN, Virgin Islands (CNN) - Country singer Kenny Chesney has been a long time resident of St. John.

He wasn't at his house when Hurricane Irma hit, but 17 people were there at the time.

They all survived the storm and got off the island, thanks to Chesney.

Kate Hanna, who waited out the storm at Chesney's home in the laundry room, described the storm as "the scariest thing I've ever been through in my entire life."

Children and dogs were among those who sheltered at Chesney's home, which ended up being extensively damaged.

During the storm, a window blew in and there was flooding, Hanna said, but everyone she knows has been accounted for, though most of her friends have lost their homes. 

She said her house was completely destroyed.

Chesney, who said he was just at St. John last week, described the photos coming out of the Virgin Islands as "really, really heartbreaking." 

Chesney said despite their storm losses, the islanders still have heart: "They cannot take away our heart and our spirit and how resilient everybody is, and that's one of the things that really drew me to the Island in the first place."

He wants to help all the victims of the Virgin Islands.

"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," Chesney said.

For those interested in helping Chesney's disaster relief effort for the U.S. and the British Virgin Islands, more information is posted on the singer's website.

Copyright 2017 CNN. All rights reserved. Raycom News Network contributed to this report.

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