The following is a speech made by IACCF President Cynthia Conlin about Feltrim Development‘s Garrett Kenny at the official grand opening of the Fountains at Champions Gate on June 25, 2015
A few weeks ago, in Ireland, a tormented mother named Fiona Hennessy rang a popular radio show and said her son and his girlfriend had traveled to Orlando on student visas with the hope of work in the sunshine state. The couple had just checked into their hotel, when, within minutes, a robber gained access to their room — and stole their money, cell phones, credit cards, passports, IDs, keys — everything, she said.
The young travelers, both 22, had left their bags in their own hotel room, but someone with a key, she said, had opened the door for a robber. It was an inside job, her son said.
Before reaching Orlando, they had located a place to live but were waiting for some paperwork, and, now, having been robbed of not only their money and IDs, but also the keys to their new home, they were — sadly — stuck.
Ms. Hennessy was worried sick. She couldn’t send cash to her son because Western Union told her that her son would not be able to pick up the money without identification. She pleaded with hotel management, but, surprisingly, they were unsympathetic.
She cried, “They just don’t care!” and added that all they had given her son was a “toothbrush.”
Now, you may have heard some Irish stereotypes. One Irish stereotype, however, you may not be aware of is of the large generosity of the Irish. And I don’t mean being generous with their stories — though many an Irish will spin you a yarn. For the last four years, the World Giving Index has ranked Ireland as the most generous country in Europe. It is currently the 4th most generous country in the word — meaning the Irish people donate to charity, volunteer their time, and help strangers. Generosity is indeed ingrained within Irish culture.
Back to the story.
Joe Duffy, the radio host, listened on-air to Ms. Hennessy, crying though she was, as well as her son who had also called in.
Now you may not realize it, but Joe Duffy is so popular in Ireland that Irish people living in Florida listen to him every day from Florida — over the Internet.
So what would you know. Within minutes, there was a call from an Irish actor living in Florida who gave the couple a bit of cash. An Irish pub owner called and offered them work. And then, an Irish property developer, whom we all know as Garrett Kenny, offered them a place to live.
I think that these accommodations were the best hook-up this young couple could have gotten. This isn’t just any crash pad, but a proper felt. In a resort-style community designed by Feltrim Developments.
When Garrett Kenny calls to offer you a home, you can expect first-class. Swimming pools, movie stars.
We at the Irish American Chamber of Commerce Florida are proud to see such benevolence among our members, and honored to have Garrett and Feltrim Developments among us.
Now, we all know that Feltrim Developments has brought to the Central Florida economy 80 beautiful resort villas at the Fountains at ChampionsGate. Plus 500 homes at Tuscany Preserve in Poinciana. And a $100 million resort called Tuscana. And of course, we all are excited about the new unveiling of Balmoral at Water’s Edge.
We know Garrett Kenny is a natural entrepreneur filled with wisdom of his field. And we know he as a sunshine disposition.
But that’s not all there is to this man.
There’s an old Irish saying that I think someone must have taught Garrett when he was young, and it is: “Three best to have in plenty – sunshine, wisdom, and generosity.”
No matter how many multi-million-dollar developments Garrett Kenny creates, he will always be willing to help two kids whose mother, 4000 miles away, is crying to Joe Duffy. This is someone who certainly has these three things in plenty: sunshine, wisdom, and generosity.
Cynthia Conlin, the 2013-2015 President of the Irish American Chamber of Commerce Florida. She is an Orlando attorney who practices in copyright infringement and general civil litigation.