Acknowledging and Giving Thanks to Jonathan Falwell For His Impact on Sint Maarten (Videos/Photos)

Call it a coincidence, or perhaps you can call it destiny, that Pastor Jonathan Falwell and his wife, Shari, were vacationing in Sint Maarten — celebrating their anniversary — as Hurricane Irma hammered the small Caribbean island on the morning of September 6, 2017. They were staying at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, which was absolutely ravaged by Irma.

Falwell posted a number of photos and some video of the storm from his Twitter account that were some of the first images to be seen by the world showing the devastation Irma had inflicted on Sint Maarten.

I’d never heard of Jonathan Falwell before that day. Of course, I knew who is father was, Reverend Jerry Falwell, an iconic and controversial head of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. It turns out that Jonathan now serves as the senior pastor at that same church.

After Hurricane Irma hit Sint Maarten, Falwell sprung into near immediate action. Beyond posting the images he had taken on social media (below), he did something else that was extremely significant. He contacted Samaritan’s Purse, an organization that provides aid to the world’s poor, sick, and suffering.

On September 8, 2017, Samaritan’s Purse sent a relief flight — a DC-8 aircraft — to Sint Maarten. It was the first private (non-government) flight to touch down at SXM after Hurricane Irma, that I am aware of. It brought much-needed aid and relief supplies to the battered island. After the plane landed it immediately turned around and took off with approximately 100 evacuees headed to Puerto Rico.

Since that first humanitarian flight landed at SXM, Samaritan’s Purse has had volunteers on the ground in Sint Maarten assisting with relief efforts. They’ve been there helping in any way they can. In addition, they’ve also been assisting other islands throughout the hurricane-ravaged Caribbean. Simply put, they’ve have an incredible impact on the lives of those who live in Sint Maarten and beyond.

As for Jonathan Falwell, you’ll hear and see in the following news clip below that his support for Sint Maarten continues. He’s already made one return trip to assist those on the island in need and to assess exactly what the long-term needs are. Based on that assessment he teamed up with a number of organizations to send more supplies and relief aid to Sint Maarten over the weekend.

In the interview Falwell stated, “It’s just this ongoing, long-term engagement and involvement to help the people of that island, and the islands in the area, to rebuild.”

He’ll be heading back down to Sint Maarten sometime this week to continue to assist. His relentless efforts to help this island that we all love so much have been an incredible example of the man he is.

No, I’d never heard of Jonathan Falwell before Irma, but if I ever get the chance to see him in person I will certainly be sure I tell him ‘thank you for all you’ve done.’

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Jon Ferlise

I fell in love with the island of Saint Martin the first time I visited to celebrate my 40th birthday in May of 2009. Since then, I've spent most birthdays there, and have visited countless other times getting to know this wonderful place and the friendly locals that make it so special. I adore the culture, the people, the community, and the beauty of this stunning island. SXM Strong is a website that I started to support humanitarian relief efforts following Hurricane Irma. There was no plan, it just evolved as I witnessed the devastation that Irma caused the island and the huge need to communicate and disseminate information about what had happened and how people could help support this island and its people.

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