The SXM Strong Mission

The Beginning

On Wednesday, September 6, 2017, the island of Saint Martin found itself in the direct path of one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Irma. That morning I awoke and immediately wanted to find out what was happening on the island. Concerned about the people and places that had welcomed me and my family so many times while we vacationed in this beautiful place, I started a Twitter handle @SXMStrong to show my support and to try to discover any information I could to share with my wife.

Much to my surprise, there were lots of other people from all around the globe who were frantically doing the same thing I was. Slowly but surely, over the course of that entire day, more and more of us connected. Many people found me, and some of those people shared pictures and firsthand accounts of their experiences. People I’d never met were asking me about the conditions in Saint Martin and how to find their loved ones. I was overwhelmed, needless to say, and spent that entire day and well into the night completely wrapped up in this experience. Glued to my computer screen in a home over three thousand miles away, I was experiencing Hurricane Irma in a profound, entirely unexpected way.

To say that SXM Strong just kind of happened would be a little bit of an understatement. At the end of that day it was a very clear to me that there were a lot of people who needed the same information I had been gathering, but I had to find a way to be able to share it in a manner more efficient than answering the same questions over and over on Twitter, which was taking a ton of time.

On the following day, Thursday, September 7th, I built this website as a central repository for all of the information I had and would continue to gather. It’s safe to say, I didn’t have any idea what I was doing at the time. Most of the work I did, people I met, and money I raised and donated was all done in real time, completely off the cuff, and as situations and needs presented themselves.

Celebrating my 50th at Karibuni on Pinel Island with family and dear friends.

After more than a year of connecting people with resources and organizations, traveling from my home in Phoenix to Saint Martin several times to meet people and pitch in however I could, and learning so much about this wonderful place, things eventually started to get back to normal on the island. It was time to determine the next stage, the vision for SXM Strong.

Our Vision

Yes, Irma was what got me involved on the ground in Saint Martin, but I have so much more I’d like to contribute to this amazing place and it’s people through SXM Strong. The vision for SXM Strong is simple: A sustainable Saint Martin for all people to enjoy.

We support people, businesses, organizations, causes, and anything that helps to maintain and progress Saint Martin towards sustainability. Whether it’s the island itself, the oceans that surround it, or the people who call it home, continued sustainability for Saint Martin is our goal.

We love Saint Martin and are blessed to be able to continue to support both this beautiful island, its incredible culture, and its friendly people.

Our Mission

With our vision in mind, our mission needed to be equally as simple.

We seek to inspire others to build a sustainable future for Saint Martin and its people.

I’ve personally dedicated a lot of time and resources to help the local community rebuild and recover from Hurricane Irma. And now that the storm is over and the island continues to progress towards complete recovery, I look forward to a bright future for Saint Martin.

SXM Strong stands for the natural beauty of the island’s rolling green hills and stunning beaches, the friendliness and resilience of its people, the warmth of its oceans and air, the stunning colors of its flowers and wildlife, the savor of its cuisine, and so much more. Saint Martin has to be experienced to be truly appreciated.

Me and my son Wyatt, exploring Grand Case beach in 2014.

I’m beyond happy to be able to share the SXM Strong vibe with you all and am so excited to continue to share my love and passion for this beautiful place. If you’d like to learn more about me, hop on over to my ‘About Me‘ page.

As always, thanks for stopping by and sharing your time with me. If there’s any information you’re looking for, or suggestions you’d like to make, please send a note on the SXM Strong contact page, Twitter or Facebook. You can also find me on LinkedIn here. I’m open to any and all ideas to help promote the sustainability of this wonderful island. If you contact me, I will try to respond and answer inquiries as quickly as possible.

Sincerely,

Jon Ferlise
Founder, SXM Strong

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