Blair McKeil is the only person who has ever made me tear up during the introduction to a keynote speaker at a luncheon. Not tears-rolling-down-my-cheek-cry, but definitely eyes-well-up.
We had just been together at the 2013 Waterkeeper Gala in Toronto the evening before. He and his wife Kathy were early supporters of our gala and they came out to support our art auction. They were gracious and all was lovely.
I wasn’t prepared for how heartfelt Blair’s introduction to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. would be at the next day’s luncheon hosted by Mohawk College and McKeil Marine.
Blair talked about growing up near Hamilton Harbour, spending much of his life on Lake Ontario. He didn’t just look at the lake or hang around the shore - he was out on the water on ships, using the water, and getting to know it better than most people ever do.
That was an important moment. I realized for the first time that it isn’t just Waterkeepers who feel deeply connected to water. Water leaves its mark on everyone. Blair’s story helped us see that.
Wanting to explore this “personal connection” idea more, we asked Blair to sit down with us and create a video. McKeil Marine had been an important supporter of our gala since the first year, and we wanted to know more about his interest in water.
Check out the video for his story. Be sure to watch all the way to the end, when he reveals the secret to truly sustainable organizations. You’ll like it.
McKeil Marine Limited is a tug and barge operator servicing the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, East Coast and Canadian Arctic. Since 1956 the company has provided innovative marine solutions for customers in transportation and project services. Headquartered in Hamilton, Ontario, McKeil Marine also has offices in Montreal, QC and St. John’s, NL.