Hurricane Irma devastated much of the Virgin Islands last August, including's Kenny Chesney's home there. But he spent several days more concerned about the area he adored and the friends who chose to ride out the Category 5 storm.

"A year later, it’s not in the news anymore," Chesney observes in a new People magazine interview that will hit newsstands on Friday (Aug. 3). "This is something I’m going to be passionate about for the rest of my life."

Chesney was in Nashville while dear friends took shelter in his St. John home. "They sent me a video saying thank you and we love you and just all that kind of stuff," Chesney recalls. "And that’s the last I heard from anyone."

After days of worry, the country superstar got good news — about his friends, at least. They survived, but his home of two decades didn't, and neither did many of the homes on the island.

"I literally wept in the helicopter," Chesney says.

But rather than dwell, he stepped in to help those who lost more than he had. It wasn’t long before Chesney launched his Love for Love City Foundation, a non-profit that continues to raise funds for the people of St. John and U.S. and British Version Islands.

In a continued effort, proceeds from Chesney’s new album Songs for the Saints are going toward the cause.

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