Jean-Louis Button, an avid skydiver with ambitions to one day be a tandem master, is coming to the aid of the people from St Maarten. In order to raise money for their cause, he is taking up one of his other passions: bike riding. In addition, if a certain amount of money is raised, Button said he would do the entire ride in his flip-flops.
Button said that he feels a close connection to St. Maarten because he was born there. His Go Fund Me page states, “Although I have lived in the UK for most of my life, I still feel a connection to the island.”
The category 5 hurricane, Irma, passed through St. Maarten. The results of this have been devastating. It is estimated that close to 70 percent of the houses and businesses have been destroyed and there has been over €1.2 billion worth of damage.
In order to raise money for St. Maarten, Button is going on a 1,000 kilometer bike ride through the Netherlands. The bike ride will take place from October 1, 2017, until October 13, 2017. His goal is to raise at least £1,000.
“I have also decided that if we can get up to £1,000 before the end of this month, I will do the entire trip in my flip flops,” Button said on his Go Fund Me page. “Yes, my flip flops.”
As of September 26, 2017, Button has raised £1,015, so it looks like he will be riding his bike 1,000 kilometers in his flip flops.
Button said that his bike is “definitely not designed for long distance. It only has one gear and to break you have to pedal backwards.”
Despite these two less than desirable conditions, Button said that he is “determined” to show his support and looks forward to giving the bike ride a go. Button’s route will take him by the coastline of the Belgium border, past the city Antwerpen and to Oss.
The UK government has jumped in on the fundraiser too. According to Button, “The UK government will match all donations.”
The UK government’s statement read, “Donate now to help families in desperate need. Every pound donated by the public will be matched by the UK Government, up to £3 million.”
All of the money raised will go directly to the Red Cross.
On August 28, 2017, Button posted a picture on his Facebook page of him above the ground ready to jump out of a plane. When asked by somebody how many skydives he has done, Button replied, “Getting close to 230 now.”
As far as other skydiving activities go, aside from being a tandem master (the person primarily responsible for deploying parachutes) Button said, “Time to strap on a wingsuit and see how much more fun that is.”
“As always, safety first,” he added.
Button said that he has worked a variety of jobs in the past including stacking shelves, working in IT and as a sales manager. These days he is dedicated to skydiving full time.