Paying It Forward is a series by Giles Cadman about his personal journey to finding ways to give back and make a difference. Read the first in the series here.
I remember the week of Hurricane Irma so vividly. Watching the blob of yellow, red, and green swirl across the screens of multiple glowing devices – she was everywhere. Hurricane Irma was coming for my home, The British Virgin Islands, and there was nothing anyone could do but wait for disaster to strike.
I had left the island earlier that week. I faced some criticism for this, but I wasn’t about to put my loved ones in danger. Lives were taken by the hurricane and much of the island was destroyed.
The aftermath of Irma
I have shared photos of the devastation on my social media channels. My house and most others were pretty well destroyed. Magnificently, “my” tiny little stray cat was still poking around. Whole boats were out of the water and laid flat on the shore.
It was like Irma was a human force. That she physically picked up homes, boats, and trees and threw them around like little toys. But it’s the aftermath has been the most difficult. All of the island's infrastructure is gone and will take years to build up again.
A wakeup call
I’ve always been a supporter of local business in the BVI. But after Irma, it’s going to take a very long time to rebuild the tourism and other industries that were previously starting to flourish.
As I said in my previous blog, I’ve been feeling a little useless lately and I haven't thought much about the paying it forward concept I learned about years ago. Hurricane Irma destroyed much of the BVI. But if one good thing can come from it, perhaps it could be to find a way to use these tragedies to fuel social change and make a difference.
Paying it forward when disaster strikes
I’m not asking you to take a flight to the BVI to see the extent of the damage for yourself. But if you are in a position to pay it forward, perhaps donating to the BVI could be an excellent way to give back.
Just think about it. How many times have you been "lucky" in your lifetime? Taking these moments, and harnessing the power of kindness and passing it on, is what paying it forward is all about. Stay tuned for my next blog to read my challenge to you.
Giles Cadman is Chairman of The Cadman Capital Group, a group of cohesive, complementary companies, operating in the international trade, retail, leisure, and investment markets. Learn more about Giles.