I heard today that my friend Chet Holmes, who has always been so generous with his time and advice is back in the hospital. Chet's fight with cancer this past year has been an inspiration to me. I saw he and his family for a wonderful and fun dinner with strong spirits the night before he went back into the hospital. My prayers are with him and I hope yours will be too. -- Keith
Subject: He reminded me of you so I funded his education and then another...
Hey Chet, you just changed some lives. Well, your inspiration of me prompted me to step up in your honor. These boys have the guts and courage and persistence of Chet Holmes. Through all you have dealt with this past year you remain an inspiration to me and I send you the gift of my love and admiration and also the knowledge that you have now changed two boys lives forever. Here's the back story.
I met Jose two years ago when we visited his school and he proceeded to follow us around all day in the village and act as our tour guide. Such charisma. We ended the tour back at his home which he was so proud of. It was a one room shack for he and his family with dirt floors but his pride was real and you could tell they kept the room as cleas as a dirt floor allowed. We left him and his family with food supplies to last months.
Well, last year we were originally scheduled to revisit Guatemala and Jose heard that the Americans were coming back. This is a boy who lives many miles from any bookstore but somehow found his way into the city and somehow bought a copy of my book (translated in spanish). He wanted to be able to say he read it and wanted me to sign it. We changed our plans and and ended up visiting Cambodia and Thailand.
Then two years after having met Jose, we were visiting a school in another village and Jose found his way to us and when I turned around I saw this slightly older version (now 13) of our young "tour guide" proudly holding a copy of "Nunca Comas Solo." I was blown away.
Again we spent the afternoon with Jose. And if that wasn't enough, one other punctuating great moment. In your honor, I had given Jose the support he said was most important to he and his family and I was telling Jose that I really wanted him to go to school. It's a struggle to get these kids to attend school when their families need the money. Over my shoulder a little boy tapped me and said,"Do you want me to go to school?" I smiled as another little Chet found his way to me. "Yes, I do want you to go to school and I'll even pay for it." He responded, "How about college?" I laughed out loud and said, "Absolutely!"
Knowing that my contribution in your honor had just taken an unexpected spike, but so joyful to reward such perseverant behavior in the face of whatever adversity. So Chet, you have changed the lives of these two young men, and may their gratitude and joy spread into your healing process and lift your already inspiring spirit.