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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
    Karen Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    AMEN! Beautifully written!

  • Guest
    Gail Barstow Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    You are so blessed to have had the opportunity to meet and share, with so many lovely, miraculous people. It must have been tremendously humbling to hear their stories...Their tragedies and their triumphs. A truly uplifting experience. Wishing you, and your Kelsey many more such times throughout your lives...

  • Guest
    Susan Davis Wednesday, 19 August 2015

    Hi Keith, I really enjoyed reading your blog and was happy to hear that you got something out of it. I have had the opportunity to work on forgiveness in my lifeand would like to share something that really helped me.All of a sudden the word willingness was brought to my attention. And so I prayed for willingness to forgive. It is amazing what happened.One day when I least expected it, it came to my thoughts and over time I was able to forgive for MY sake.I don't feel that bitterness anymore and have gone on to look at my part in things, and own up to my own mistakes. We are all human and can survive being humbled. My wish for you is that you find peace in your heart.Good luck, Susan

  • Guest
    Jan Thursday, 20 August 2015

    Forgiveness can be very hard but giving it is not really for the one that hurt you. It is meant to cleanse your soul and I am glad that you have been touched by this. I am probably close to your Granny Peg's age, and I guess she and I have both done a lot of living. People that hurt you unintentionally are easy to forgive. It's those that meant the pain that are more difficult. You know that Jesus came to Earth to pay for our sins, and to show us how to forgive. He paid our blood sacrifice in the brutalist way, and yet He gladly paid. He paid for you and me, and anyone else that will ask it of Him. And God will forgive us for allowing Jesus to take the sin away from us. I don't really know what the Catholic Church teaches, but I have been told enough to know that many of the members come away without understanding God's forgiveness. I hope that this experience has shown you just how big is God's love for you, Kelsey, your families, and even me. This is why we say that Christians are not perfect. We are just forgiven. Much love to you and to those who are dear to you. And much love to the speakers that shared their trials and tribulations. They are spreading God's love through their testimonies.

  • Guest
    Jan Thursday, 20 August 2015

    Btw, maybe next year you will be invited again. And maybe the topic will be on how to say I'm sorry when you really don't feel sorry at all. That is on the opposite side of the equation. I'm sorry- I forgive you.

  • Guest
    Ginette Fowler Thursday, 20 August 2015

    Wow!! Now I'm beginning to understand why this young man and his music is having such an impact on me. Keith is discovering many of life's mysteries that have taken me twice as long to uncover! God bless you Keith...it looks like you are fast tracking through the mysteries of the "Universe"!! So happy to have made your acquaintance through your music!!!

  • Guest
    emily mixell Thursday, 20 August 2015

    thank u for sharing i love reading your blogs :)

  • Guest
    Tammy Morse Thursday, 20 August 2015

    You looked good and your a very awesome person. You are one of my most favorite in Celtic Thunder and I follow your musical career and would like to get more of your albums both your and the Celtic Thunder. I am disabled so I listen and watch the stuff you put out and I am hoping to get more of them.
    love your voice and your work..

  • Guest
    Julie Friday, 21 August 2015

    Great wisdom and well put; I grew up in a household who did not know how to forgive and it was miserable after a personal tragedy I became a Christian and it opened up a new world for me but just lately have suffered depression so your story has uplifted me thank you for such encouraging words .

  • Guest
    Joyce Palfreyman Monday, 24 August 2015

    Home nee

  • Guest
    AnnieC Tuesday, 25 August 2015

    Your words, whether it is in your music or here on your Blog, you rock my world in ways you can never imagine. Firstly, I am so very glad that this experience in your life has meant so much to you. Over time this will continue to come out in your music as you share that part of your soul with the rest of the world. I am grateful to be able to come to this place as often as I want, to read and re-read and remember and change who I am because of your words and experiences. Thank you.

  • Guest
    Penny Friend Thursday, 27 August 2015

    I enjoy reading your inner personal thoughts, and the depth of of your reactions and emotions. Your words are like a song that needs to be written. Thank you for all that you share the us. You're so open and willing to share. It's amazing1 and thank you!

    Penny x

  • Guest
    Melisa Riconti Sunday, 30 August 2015

    You were blessed with an amazing talent and Glad you are not wasting it. Bless you and safe travels throughout your life journeys

  • Guest
    Linda Arrasmith Sunday, 30 August 2015

    What an amazing experience for you & Kelsey.Thank you for sharing this. It's a lesson we all need to learn & practice.

  • Guest
    Nancy Gonseth Thursday, 03 September 2015

    You've been given eyes that see and ears that hear, and grand opportunities are being afforded to you because you CHOOSE to use them...your receptivity is the key.
    All I can say is, "Blessed for a purpose, my man, blessed for a purpose...make it count."
    It appears that you will.

  • Guest
    Donna Stockwell Monday, 14 September 2015

    I really love all that you and your lovely Kelsey do for others. And I feel very blessed by so much love that you express for all. Love with all my heart.

  • Guest
    Donna Stockwell Monday, 14 September 2015

    I really love all that you and your lovely Kelsey do for others. And I feel very blessed by so much love that you express for all. Love with all my heart.

  • Guest
    Donna Stockwell Monday, 14 September 2015

    I really love all that you and your lovely Kelsey do for others. And I feel very blessed by so much love that you express for all. Love with all my heart.

  • Guest
    Wendy Sunday, 04 October 2015

    Thank you for this account from deep in your soul that is clearly alive and well in this world. You reminded me of a moment at Scara Brae

  • Guest
    Geraldine Jarrett Friday, 08 July 2016

    Reading your blog makes it clear why you were invited to this wonderful event. Thanks.

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Guest Sunday, 25 February 2018