WHO WE ARE
We are a group of private individuals who own homes in the St. Martin Lowlands. As the hurricane hit, those of us off-island watched the devastating news in horror. Much more than our own homes, we were deeply concerned for our island friends and colleagues who were living in its midst. The economic heart of this tourism-driven island has been dealt a severe blow. Hurricane Irma’s wrath swept across St. Martin/St. Maarten destroying the livelihoods of so many closest to us villa owners: the staff, associates, and others who keep St. Martin's tourism thriving.
ABOUT the team
R. D. (Donny) Dicharry, President
R.D. “Donny” Dicharry is president and owner of Source Production and Equipment Co., Inc. (SPEC) which manufactures industrial radiography equipment. Donny and his wife Becky have chaired various church ministries for the past 18 years. Becky is also an active Hospice volunteer.
Donny and Becky live in the United States just outside of New Orleans in Slidell, Louisiana. They experienced firsthand the devastation of Hurricane Katrina as it ravaged their own home. After a year of rebuilding they traveled to St. Martin for relaxation and were immediately captivated by the beauty of the island - even more so by its people. They purchased a villa in the Terres Basses (“Lowlands”) and often visited the island with family and friends. They forged many friendships with local residents, especially the villa workers who became part of the extended Dicharry family.
When Hurricane Irma swept mercilessly through the island Donny and Becky knew from personal experience that no news footage could capture the fear, despair, and trauma of their friends emerging from the wreckage.
Although their own villa was destroyed, Donny and Becky pledged to help those who were decimated by the storm or made homeless. He and villa owners, Pat Cantor and Jon Bobbett, created the St. Martin Lowlands Hurricane Relief Project (SXM Project).
Patricia Honeycutt Cantor
Patricia “Pat” Honeycutt Cantor is a marketing and communications executive whose remarkable career includes high-end retail and publishing. She was Vice President of Communications for Lacoste U.S. as well as Director of Marketing for BAZAAR. Pat is a founding partner of internet start-up Vivinow.com and you may have even seen her on the Oprah Winfrey Show or CBS Morning News. Pat travels the globe and is a creative writer for a variety of clients including several publications specific to St. Martin.
Pat and her husband, Dr. Richard Cantor, first discovered St. Martin in 1975 and fell in love with the island’s Caribbean charm accentuated by European sophistication. They returned frequently and eventually purchased a home in Terres Basses (“Lowlands”). They now divide their time between homes in New York and the island allowing them to develop deep roots while forging friendships among local and expat residents.
When Donny Dicharry called to discuss SXM Project, Pat immediately jumped on board because she knew they could accomplish so much more off-island. Towards the end of October, Pat went to St. Martin to access the damage and while there, she had the opportunity to speak with several recipients of the Project’s aid. She listened to storm horror stories and to sincere expressions of gratitude for the assistance SXM Project has provided. It’s the humility and gratitude of the beautiful St. Martinians that keep Pat inspired and focused.
Jason Brisebois grew up with the world as his backyard. His father was a civil engineer who travelled to trouble spots with a team specializing in engineering feats that were outside of the norm. Much time was spent in Africa and Sri Lanka and oftentimes, the family ended up in obscure parts of the world surrounded by security forces.
Due to his up-close childhood experiences with the security profession, he was naturally drawn into that field in his adult military life. While in Afghanistan, he was on an advance team that provided security for high-ranking military and political figures. As a civilian with a travel bug, he continues in this line of work by providing worldwide bodyguard services for celebrities and executives. Crisis management is an extension of that service - and that's what brought him to St. Martin. Hurricane Irma had decimated the island and Jason was on-island within 48 hours of receiving the phone call.
The moment that inspired Jason to get involved with SXM Project occurred as he and his colleague were driving through Sandy Ground surveying damage of the homes they were mapping. Roads, blocked by debris, became impassable which forced them to progress on foot. While climbing through the rubble, he stopped. On a storm-battered stool, amid the remains of her home, sat an 80-year-old woman with her head in her hands. Jason had seen poverty and desperation in third world countries, but nothing had touched him more than this defeated old woman, sitting on that stool, privately mourning the scattered remains of her life knowing she had to face the daunting task of rebuilding it. In this profound moment, Jason realized he wanted to help the helpless.
SXM Project would not exist if it weren’t for the compassion of Jon Bobbett. While many were still talking about what to do, Jon missed the conversation and was already flying his first plane load of supplies to the island. Meeting the challenge of landing his aircraft at a crippled airport was overshadowed by the appreciation expressed by recipients of the water, food and even diapers that Jon provided in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane. One man, overtaken by emotion, fell to his knees with tears in his eyes as he helped unload the supplies…and Jon returned several times more. He is one of the founding members of SXM Project and for his dedication, we proudly grant him status of Director Emeritus. Thank you Jon!