Next up in our Meet the COG series is Kemmes Keys!
Kemmes is one of the Investigative Agents for the COG and he was interviewed by Dawn McDiffitt.
What are some of the events in your life that made you who you are?
There’s probably a few, but none stand out more than the passing of my grandfather when I was 16. My grandfather was my father figure growing up and I spent a majority of my time with him. He was always hard on me, mentoring me, and just teaching life lessons for my preparation of manhood per se. In hindsight, up until the point of his passing, I probably took the significance of the relationship for granted. To make a long story short, he was hospitalized approximately one week before he passed away. The day before he passed away, he called and asked me when I would be coming up to see him and I believe that I may have responded by saying soon with his final words being to me, “I’ll be waiting for you.” The following day, the family receives word from the hospital that his condition had deteriorated and that we should come as soon as possible. Most of my family proceeded to head to the hospital; however, I had to watch some of my younger cousins until a family friend could relieve me. Once the family friend came, I went to the hospital. Upon arrival, I was told that he had just stopped talking. When I entered his room he looked at me and eventually smiled, shortly prior to passing away. It was at that moment that I realized the experience symbolized I had been equipped to proceed into manhood – kind of like the mantle being passed. I felt that his smile was a moment of affirmation and since then I have utilized all the lectures, talks, and lessons that he taught as I have proceeded through life.
What is the hardest lesson you have had to learn?
The hardest lesson I have had to learn is that you cannot be nice and trusting of everyone. I believe that some people truly mistake kindness for weakness and will take advantage of you if you allow them. Throughout my life, I have had to find balance between how much I am willing to allow people into my personal space – admittedly, I am uncomfortable interacting with people that I do not know well. I have had to learn to force myself to be open enough not to assume the worst in people and try to trust at the risk of fear of harm and/or rejection. I will readily admit that I am not very trusting of people. This is something that I have tried extremely hard to work through and on.
What motivates you to work hard?
My motivation to work hard is simple – my family. I always want to make my family proud and want my children to be able to live a life much better than I have.
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
I think everyone should explore a different culture and truly immerse themselves in it. Therefore, I believe that society would understand that we are much more similar than dissimilar, stereotypes would be minimized, and prejudices and conflict may be able to decrease. I think everyone should step out of their comfort zones and challenge their beliefs and be more open minded.
If you were on a stranded island with just your family, other than items essential to survival, what are 3 things you absolutely would need?
Easy…a WI-FI connection, a compatible electronic device, and some head wear. I could use the WI-FI to stream music and television. I truly need sports and entertainment. As an introvert, I don’t require much social interaction. Actually, the idea of being stranded on an island is inviting. The head wear is essential simply because I love wearing some kind of hat.
What are three interesting facts about you?
- I was born on a military base – Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia.
- I was a college athlete playing baseball and played in the College World Series.
- I don’t like my given name, Kemmes, and rarely use it outside of professional settings.
What do you want to be remembered for?
Most people would probably want to be remembered for some remarkable accomplishment; however, what I would want to be remembered for is simple. I want to be remembered as being a selfless individual, who was willing to do whatever he could in order to make the world a better place and as a good father, who instilled in his children great morals and values.