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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
    Gloria Baikauskas Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    As I read your blogs and follow along with you on your life's journey knowing how much God has already blessed you....and continues to bless you...it makes me wonder what He is molding you to do. It is obvious there is a better, clearer meaning to your life to come. When I explain why it is I follow you, adore you and your music, I find people wondering if I am fooling myself as I tell them you are not just an entertainer and musician, you are an incredible human being who genuinely cares about your fans, and people in general. It comes through in your music and performances. I wish there were more Keith Harkins in this world.

  • Guest
    Kris Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    Thank you, Keith! For sharing this wondrous experience with all of us! I finally learned too, that forgiveness sets ME free! You are so right, holding grudges and anger towards someone only burdens us! When you let go, and forgive, you are then free to choose how you feel about whatever the problem was, about that other person, and about life in general! What you describe in this experience brings tears to my eyes. You are a special man, Keith, to take this step of sharing something so personal with all of us, who are mostly strangers! You show yourself to have an open and loving heart, and to be a person we all want to support. You give us that gift every time you share your thoughts, experiences, and feelings. You ESPECIALLY share the gift of music with all of us! I will be forever grateful for all of this, even if we never meet! So, one again, THANK YOU!

  • Guest
    Jeannie Rose Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    Keith awesome blog I think you found the meaning of life love friendship and what really matters.
    I am looking forward to reading the next blog and eagerly awaiting your latest CD
    Jeannie Rose ☺

  • Guest
    Tommie Parker Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    Thank you for sharing your life as it unfolds. These moments are treasures, opening hearts to experience life. You are blessed to be vulnerable to the Gift! Sharing your path with another person is Golden.
    Blessings, light, joy to you and yours.

  • Guest
    Treena Leman Saka Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    Keith what an awesome blog! Glad you came away from this visit with new insight and a renewed faith in who and what you are doing! Necker Island is good for you! I hope Sir Branson invites you and Kelsey every year for this special weekend on the island. Like you I try to live my life without holding grudges. Peace to you and Kelsey!

  • Guest
    Liliane Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    Keith, you are One in A Million! thanks for sharing this with us! You make this Mama proud!

  • Guest
    Tracy Caumartin Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    it sounds like a wonderful experience, how honoured you must feel to have been able to participate and be apart of such a amazing experience. Thank you for sharing.

  • Guest
    Diane Smeltzer Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    Thank you for sharing. You truly a wonderful person inside and out!

  • Guest
    Debra Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    Your unique soul has been penetrated with the experiences and decisions of other special souls sharing this planet. How fortunate you have been chosen to feel their pain in your heart. What generosity!!
    Yes, life changing indeed...we all have free will inborn, how we use it is one of the secrets to happiness. Very much respect your open mind and love of people!!

  • Guest
    Darlene Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    I am continually impressed on how humble you are. You love life and make friends wherever you go. Thank you for including all of your fans in your continued travels.

  • Guest
    Lynne Bortot Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    I always enjoy your blogs but this is by far the best! You have bared your thoughts and soul to everyone and that's not always easy, especially for someone in the public's eye. The horror and heartbreak those speakers had to go through at the time & still deal with today is unimaginable. They are truly inspiring that they chose to forgive. Thanks for sharing their stories, your story & the beautiful pictures. You have been given an awesome life to live & I'm sure you won't ever forget that. Hope to see you soon. Take care & safe travels on the tour (which, btw, I hope is stopping in Pittsburgh). It would be great to see you again & Kelsey too! xx

  • Guest
    Mary Brandenburg Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    What an inspiring blog. It does really make you so aware of who you are and what kind of person you are or what kind of person you want to be. What an honor it must have been for you and Kelsey to experience this wonderful time and hearing what the younger generation has planned for their lives to form the future. God bless everyone there and may God continue to bless their lives.

  • Guest
    Cheryl Sweet Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    Thanks for sharing Keith, your blog is inspiring to all your fans, in times when so many stars are self-absorbed it is so refreshing to see how grounded you are and aware of how blessed you are. My son is the same age as you and i can only hope that he will be as committed to our planet as you seem to be. I wish you and your Kelsey all the best and continued blessings now and always! God bless.

  • Guest
    sandra camilleri Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    beautiful read Keith, so sad but so true , some people on this earth go to hell and back and manage to come out smiling. I wish them only the best!

  • Guest
    Alicia Miller Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    Keith ... Thank you for sharing your time and innermost thoughts about your experience on Necker Island. Among all your other talents, you are truly a gifted writer. You wrote/spoke from your heart and I was captivated by each and every word. You have a way of making a person feel as though they are experiencing everything with you. If anyone ever doubted how pure and genuine your love is, or how big your heart is, that can end now. When you feel the pain of perfect strangers and care for the stories they have to share, God has truly blessed you. It had to be humbling to hear such tragic stories and yet witness the spirit that was still within each of those who had suffered. And to hear of their forgiveness ... that is a lesson we all need to learn. Sometimes when I hear those stories, I can't imagine how their hearts can find forgiveness. Like you said, it doesn't happen over night, but it is something we should all strive and pray for. I have always felt there is something special about you ... beyond your music ... and this is proof. You are an humble old soul, dear one, who always keeps an open heart and mind. Reading your blog touched my heart and made me cry, but they were good tears. The kind you get when something or someone truly touches you deep in your soul. Blessings to you and Kelsey always. I do hope one day to see you publish a book. I would buy the first copy. :)

  • Guest
    Diane Corley Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful blog with us Keith! Thinking of this, brought tears to my heart a few times today! It takes some time to get there, but, making that choice to forgive those that have caused us so much pain, is both courageous and freeing! God has a good plan for each one of them! You were meant to be there Keith, for He knows your tender heart. May God pour special blessings over both you and Kelsey!

  • Guest
    Renne Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    The message of forgiveness and gratitude has been told many different ways and always touches someone. Your why me moment is now its your turn to send the message on in your own words and music looking forward to hearing it

  • Guest
    Cathy Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    Spread the message, Keith !! There is so much horrific evil in this world. Good, decent people must change minds for the better; even if it's one person at a time ...............

  • Guest
    Bonnie Buchholtz Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    Forgiveness was the hardest concept to experience until I allowed the love of God to totally fill my soul and then the overflow resulted in forgiveness from. It is still not easy but I have a in-expendable source in my God that I call on in difficult times. Thank you for sharing the experiences of those who spoke and for you. God bless you in a vast and endless way. I'm a fan forever!!

  • Guest
    Marty Haines Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    Not only do you have an incredible gift in music, but a wonderful way with words. I could feel your amazement at what you heard, saw, felt, and learned. I have just finished a 2 1/2 day Mastermind Summit here in San Diego, and this morning I am still absorbing and reviewing my notes from all I heard and learned. Hopefully, before you crazy life kicks in with all the traveling, you will have time to reflect and absorb too. Thanks again for sharing and looking forward to your new album!

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