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NECKER ISLAND - “Forgiveness & Gratitude.”

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NECKER ISLAND - “Forgiveness & Gratitude.”

“As I board a fancy white leather clad boat on tiny dock with one fluorescent light at the end, on the humid Island of Tortola in the BVI’s after a long 23hrs of flying, I look up into the star peppered sky as we pull off into the darkness and I think to myself.  Why me?  Of  the 7.5 billion people on the earth I am right here right now in this present moment in time, on a boat tearing across the Caribbean sea to Sir Richard Branson’s island for the second time in my life.”



The weekend was about “Forgiveness & Gratitude.”


 The trip was for a select few of Horatio Alger students.  We were there to hear their story and what their plans are for the future.  It was a truly amazing experience. The whole concept of the event was “Gratitude and Forgiveness.”  Everyone there was all there for a reason at that moment in time.  Everyone as a collective taught me an abundance.  It was even more food for the soul.  At the event everyone spoke so openly, which is rare in a room with a bunch of strangers. Everyone stood up to the mark and gave it 100%. Amanda Lindhout, Kim Phúc and Jackie & Warren Hance were some of the main speakers.


Amanda Lindhout is a Canadian humanitarian and journalist. On August 23, 2008, she and members of her entourage were kidnapped by Islamist insurgents in southern Somalia. She was released 15 months later on November 25, 2009, and has since embarked on a philanthropic career. In 2013, she released the New York Times bestseller A House in the Sky: A Memoir, in which she recounts her early life, travels as a young adult, and hostage experience.


Phan Thị Kim Phúc is a Vietnamese-Canadian best known as the child depicted in the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph taken during the Vietnam War on June 8, 1972. The iconic photo taken in Trang Bang by AP photographer Nick Ut shows her at nine years of age running naked on a road after being severely burned on her back by a napalm bomb by a South Vietnamese attack.


Jackie & Warren went from living a quiet, private life with their family in a small town on the outskirts of New York City to making international headlines when tragedy struck. They lost all three of their children in a senseless car accident on July 26, 2009. Emma, Alyson, and Katie Hance died at the ages of 8, 7, and 5. In the aftermath of the accident, donations to Jackie and Warren began to flow in. Their response was selfless and immediate: “we should help other children.” Honed over time to a sharp focus, Jackie and Warren created and led the Hance Family Foundation with a vision of hope and love. 

To hear Amanda’s, Kim’s and Jackie & Warren’s horrific stories 1st hand was a lot for me to take. I have never had to think of such pain. I know this sort of pain exists in the world but when you put a face to a story it makes the pain a whole lot more real, you can feel it right in the bottom of your gut.  To see and hear them tell their stories and then to tell us that they have forgiven the people on the other end really was an eyeopener and a heart opener.  That they have forgiven the people who put such pain on them, their families and everyone else involved really made me think, Could I do it? Could you?  After hearing them, it made me think that I should forgive.  Not only is it better for the person who has done wrong but more for me.  There is no point in keeping that grudge on your shoulders, it’ll get heavy after a while.   I’m not saying it is or will be an overnight thing but its something i’ll work on from now on.  I have to.



In between talks we heard what the Horacio Alger Scholars had to say, I don't even know where to begin.  What struck me the most was how special these guys really are.  What blew me away was the strength they had. The strength to stand up and tell their story, be confident in their future plans and tell the world how they are going to consciously try make this place better for everyone.  I kept thinking back at how I was at that age.  I was far from shy but I didn't know exactly who I was or exactly what I wanted to do with my life. They did, and it was so inspiring and refreshing to hear good coming from the mouths and minds of the younger generation of our planet who are going to carve the future of our world.



Also speaking was Jane Seymour & Peter Asher.  The stories of rock n roll, movies, music from the “Golden Era” was special for me.  I eat, breathe and sleep that kind of history on a daily basis and try to style my life, which is my music, in that fashion.  To hear 1st hand inside stories about them people rocks my world.  They talked about the Beatles, Glen Campbell and the good old days.  Need I say any more.


Lastly I’d like to say thank you to my good friends Glenn & Mindy Stearns.  You are the most generous people I know.  Your ability to bring the right people together at any given time is so on point.  Thank you for having Kelsey and I.  And an extended thank you to every single new friend that I made on Necker.  


I am grateful for every moment in life.  The good and the bad.  It molds me into the person am.  I am grateful for that second of realization that I had on the boat on the way out to Necker.  Its those little moments in life that make me realize whats going on around me and prepare me for the big moments.


Thanks Necker. Kx





Myself, Kelsey, Glenn, Mindy & Bear in Montana.



Myself & Kim Phúc

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I gave Sir Richard a guitar as a thanks for having me stay last time.                        Me and the main man Glenn. Love you buddy.



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The Entire Necker Family.                                                                                       Myself & Amanda Lindhout.




Jane, Myself and Kelsey. How does this all happen?



Kelsey and I happy out on Necker.

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  • Guest
    Barbara Tuesday, 18 August 2015

    Wow totally speechless! !!! What an honor that has to be for the two of you !!!! Reading this really makes you think of how this world isn't all lollipops and roses and how life can change so fast !!!! I commend each and everyone for how they turned their situation around to something positive !!!! KEITH what a wonderful Blog you just text and thank you for giving food for thought to all your followers!!!!

  • Guest
    Janet Tuesday, 18 August 2015

    Thank you, Keith, for these words on today of all days. Nine years ago on 8/18/06, my son was killed by a drunk driver in Houston. He was only 36 years old. I could'nt believe the agony that struck like a bolt of lightening. I felt that it would consume me, and it takes a long time to heal. I have gratitude for his life. I try to forgive, because if you don't forgive, the wound festers. If I don't forgive, then that drunk owns me. I think of Jackie and Warren, and wonder how the agony I have suffered, multiplied by three, could be endured.

  • Guest
    Wendy Marchant Tuesday, 18 August 2015

    Beautiful of you to share this! I love following your journey. I've had situations like you described and I will never forget them.

  • Guest
    Donell Tuesday, 18 August 2015

    That's the most beautiful blog I have ever read Keith you opened my eyes to a whole new world about forgiveness those people are so strong and amazing you have given me a lot too think about thanks so much for sharing Keith you are a amazing man full of heart

  • Guest
    Donell Tuesday, 18 August 2015

    That's the most beautiful blog I have ever read Keith you opened my eyes to a whole new world about forgiveness those people are so strong and amazing you have given me a lot too think about thanks so much for sharing Keith you are a amazing man full of heart

  • Guest
    Wendy Tuesday, 18 August 2015

    You are indeed an exceedingly fortunate man in so many ways. It is wonderful that you stop to recognize and appreciate that. I hope you always remember the people and moments that brought you to where you are and the many who are supporting you and carrying you forward. Thanks for such an insightful blog.

  • Guest
    Priscilla Reid Tuesday, 18 August 2015

    Dear Keith! I have been a fan of yours since the first promo tour CT had to the U.S. All of your adventures have been so much fun to experience with you. Watching you and your voice mature has been so interesting. Thank you so much for sharing other parts of your life and your perspective on the world and its fascinating people! I wish you and Kelsey the very best and the wonderful life you will share. Keep on rockin'!

  • Guest
    Barb Thompson Tuesday, 18 August 2015

    Keith, I have so loved watching you grow and change over the last 3 years since I found out about you. This blog isn't one you would have written a few years ago on the CT website :-) I think you have learned more about yourself, but I also think that you are more willing to let us see who you really are, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate that trust. You are a brilliant young man, and, I think, one of the best of your generation. I'm going to love continuing to watch you unfold.
    And Kelsey, thank you for making our Keith happy and taking care of him for us. I worry about him a lot less now that I know he has you :-)

  • Guest
    Allene Quina Tuesday, 18 August 2015

    Kieth, you are and will be an inspiration to youn people. You have so much yet are willing to give so much to others and yor fans. Most of us would never know about places like this, but through you have learned. Hope you know how much your sharing means. Thanks

  • Guest
    kathi Spriggs Tuesday, 18 August 2015

    Thanks for sharing your time on Necker Island with us Keith. These stories were heart breaking,and to hear that they chose Forgiveness made me so happy for them.
    You are such a humble young man! May you and Kelsey have a long and blessed life together. I am dealing with something right now and your Blog has helped to make the right choice. To Forgive the bad person and to go on with my life as the person I am suppose to be. THANKS KEITH for making my day brighter, and for lifting some pain from my heart. #onmercystreet #keithharkinrocks #harkinheadquarters #goodpeople

  • Guest
    Jane Stennett Tuesday, 18 August 2015

    Thank you for sharing your experience. Those people have been through a lot. If those people can forgive, then we all should be more forgiving. Take care and Hod bless you and Kelsey.

  • Guest
    Deb Pevlin Tuesday, 18 August 2015

    By far the best & most eloquent blog you've written to date! "Gratitude & Forgiveness" - two great virtues. I think it's easy to be grateful, but forgiveness is oh so hard. It's something everyone has to work at all the time, but if these people can forgive the horrendous things that were done to them, then we should all be able to forgive! Of course, it's easier said than done, which is why it's so hard. So glad you & Kelsey were able to have that wonderful experience on Necker. And thanks for sharing it all with us.

  • Guest
    Suanna Crew Tuesday, 18 August 2015

    I'm so glad to hear you had such a wonderful, fulfilling visit. You're looking better than I've ever seen you look. Your words are so very heartwarming and eye opening. I always say I am truly blessed because each day I can open my eyes and get out of bed. I dedicated my life to taking care of people who couldn't do just that. If all I get out of it is a smile, I've done what I set out to do. Often times a smile is all someone has to give. I never take it for granted. Thank you for all you do for others. Always stay true to who you are. Thanks again for a wonderful blog.

  • Guest
    Suzanne Laurent BRUNELLE Tuesday, 18 August 2015

    What a wonderful blog. Best wishes to you and Kelsey for a wonderful life

  • Guest
    CONNIE STRATZ Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    Thank you keith for being yourself kind young man with a big heart and a beautiful soul, i would to travel around the world to help those in need as my financial situation is not so great either, God bless and keep you safe huggs to you.:)

  • Guest
    Diana vanbommel Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    Thanks for sharing A lovely soulful read.Nice to end the day of my birthday.Grateful for your songs that remember moments in time! Success and happiness in your upcoming tour.

  • Guest
    Vicki McDonald Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    Very well said! What you gleaned from that experience takes most people years to realize those feelings of forgiveness and gratitude. Many of us are a work in progress. You are so gifted. Many of these gifts you are just now becoming aware of. Yet, you have gifts that you have inherited from your Mom, your Dad and Grandma, that have not scratched the surface. One day they will, and you will look back on this amazing journey and know how far you have come and what your next step will be. Keep on, Keith Harkin!

  • Guest
    Nancy Randall Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    What a wonderful experience it must have been! While gratitude comes easy for me, forgiveness is harder. These people you have told us about found it within themselves to forgive some horrific things, so the rest of us should be able to learn to do this.

  • Guest
    Bonnie Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    Very well written. Makes one think, and tear up. Glad you both enjoyed your time there.

  • Guest
    mary Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    Hi Keith, after reading your blog, I have a turnaround feeling about you. My developmentally delayed adult daughter and I saw you pull up to kells here in Seattle about 2 years ago. I bluntly asked if you who you are, and you responded kindly. I do this for my daughter, as she is delighted with CT, especially Ryan Kelly, as she is half scotch-irish/native. Anyways I asked to take a picture of you and my daughter. Your reply was "to bz". Well you certainly are, but I realized you were just pulling up...I was a taken aback afterward, but you are young, and after reading your blog, you were blessed to have emotional experiences, part of growing up. I have changed my mind about you, and really are turning in the serious young man we first saw on mythology. Good success in your career and personal life, and if you ever come to Srattle, maybe I. Can get that pic of you and my daughter after all

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