For the soon to come conclusion of a hurricane season with no tropical storm disasters. We suffered terribly from the catastrophic storms in 2017, as we did from similar devastations in 1995 and 1989 and in earlier years. Our losses taught us that in this place, from June 1 through November 30, storm threats always seem to be on the horizon. But today, as we enjoy sunshine and balmy breezes, we can know how blessed we are to be right here, right now.

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For the churches and charities and generous souls providing food for the hungry, beds for the homeless and friendship for the lonely. Need comes in many forms, and the people and communities of the Virgin Islands continually find ways to help.

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For the devotion to duty of the police, fire and other first responders who willingly answer call-outs and put their own lives at risk to save ours.

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For the patience and dedication of the teachers who struggle through countless challenges and still treat every student like a superstar.

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For friends and neighbors who refuse to be deaf or blind to domestic violence and child abuse.

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For the dedicated and seemingly tireless individuals and organizations that rescue, comfort, feed and shelter abandoned, neglected, and cruelly mistreated animals. Their commitment is especially deserving of gratitude because they are under-funded and under-valued by our government.

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For the communal humanity of the people of the Virgin Islands, that unique quality that makes our islands a true paradise.

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For the natural beauty of the Virgin Islands, which is a constant reminder of how fortunate we are to live and work in this glorious place, as best described in several lines of the revered Virgin Islands March, composed by acclaimed Navy bandmaster Alton Adams Sr., a proud Virgin Islander:

“All hail our Virgin Islands,

emeralds of the sea,

where beaches bright with coral sand,

and trade winds bathe our native land…

…where all mankind can join today,

in friendly warmth of work and play.

God bless our Virgin Islands,

beautiful and tall,

beneath a sunny sky,

hilltops high,

hold out a welcome

for one and all.”