Normally, the intent of anyone's vacation is to relax, enjoy the attractions the area has to offer, and return home with fond memories of a good time.
In my case, two separate incidents on St. Thomas, being robbed of all the jewelry I was wearing and then being mauled on my leg by vicious dogs, almost destroyed my vacation. (See "Island impressions: armed robbery, dog attack".) Had it not been for the outpouring of generosity and concern by certain individuals whom I would now wish to thank, I would have been on a flight back home with a lingering distaste of the island and an absolute resolution never to return to any of the Virgin Islands.
First and foremost, I would like to thank my husband, Bob, who not only consoled me, but convinced me that leaving the island so abruptly would mean giving in to the heightened emotional and mental anguish I was experiencing, that my ever-present inner strengths would prevail, and that I would cope with the situation and possibly even enjoy the balance of our stay. He was right.
Even though our activities were limited due to the physical injuries I had sustained, my staying only gave me the opportunity to meet some wonderful people who, upon hearing about my ordeal, offered their concerns, time and services. To name a few …
Attorney Julie Evert of Belfon and Evert, who not only offered her utmost empathy but kept in constant touch with us to see that all our needs were met. Thank you, Julie.
Shaun Pennington of the Virgin Islands Source Internet publication, who sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers, wrote about the occurrences in the Source not only to enlighten the public of my situation but to improve the safety of the island's beaches, not only for the tourists but for all, and arranged a once-in-a-lifetime viewing of the Rolex regatta from the Ritz-Carlton catamaran. Thank you, Shaun.
Bill Jowers, the general manager of Magens Bay Authority, who not only visited us several times to convey the regrets of the beach authority but genuinely went out of his way to seek help from the Victims Advocate Bureau regarding the loss of property from the robbery. Having grown up on the island, Bill even entertained us with facts about the land and its development over a period of years. He should be a tour director. Thank you, Bill.
Marshan Sam who, as a certified massage therapist, actually came to our hotel to give myself and Bob body massages, which were not only extraordinarily beneficial for myself but incredibly therapeutic for Bob who, having had back surgery about a year ago, strained his back while running down the beach in search of help after I was bit by the dog. Must find someone like Marshan up north. Thank you, Marshan.
Derek Hodge, the former lieutenant governor, who, being at Craig and Sally's restaurant the same time as us, offered and kindly paid for our meal. What a beautiful gesture. Thank you, Mr. Hodge.
Pamela C. Richards and Monique Sibilly-Hodge, the commissioner and assistant commissioner of the Department of Tourism, respectively, who not only wrote a letter of concern but gave us a gorgeous package of cheeses, crackers and chocolates together with gift certificates for a meal at the Banana Tree Grille restaurant and a treatment at the Journeys Spa at the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort. Not only did we delight in such a delectable dinner at the Banana Tree (everyone must try their key lime pie) but we thoroughly relished the services at the spa. Thank you.
Paul Doumeng, operations manager of the Bolongo Bay Beach Club and its restaurant, who showed his graciousness by offering the most delicious lobster dinner at a table overlooking such a picturesque view of the hotel and bay. Thank you, Paul.
Abe Tarapani, owner of Diamonds International, who generously gave us new wedding bands to make up for mine that was stolen. They are beautiful and will be worn not only in commemoration of our marriage but in memory of the goodness of St. Thomas. Thank you, Abe.
And all of the employees at the Island Beachcomber Hotel where we stayed. For that special gardenia that was left in our room, for the many "Trust in God" sentiments that were expressed, for "Stompin" Stan and "Jammin" Jim's Voodoo punches, I thank each and every one of you.
Now I'm thankful that I did stay and not run. A belief I now hold with all my heart is that even though we all suffer or experience negative moments in our lives, the positive does certainly outweigh any negatives … and it's people who make this happen.
Love and regards to all.
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