Keller family tradition

Published 3:34 pm Monday, April 26, 2010

During spring break, the Keller family of Alabaster took a Royal Caribbean cruise on Navigator of the Seas to Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Labadee, Haiti. Both Kellers, James and Patti, are graduates of Tourism College and met while working for the same company in the Huntsville area.

Patti is a Leeds native. James was raised in Grant and graduated from a school sponsored by the Daughters of American Revolution.

From 4 Seasons Travel to Wright Travel to Adventure Travel, Keller has worked his way up the ladder of the travel/tourism field.

A very important perk of his job is the travel opportunities afforded to him and his family as he serves as vice president of operations, vacation and marketing. Daughters Gracie, 11, and Maggie, 8, swam with dolphins, rock climbed, ice skated, saw exotic animals, stood in awe of giant icebergs in Alaska, watched local craftsman and created exotic carvings, pottery and jewelry.

They also learned about other cultures and experienced new foods.

Keller earned his certification in 1990 from the Institute of Certified Travel Consultants in Wellsley, Mass.

He taught college classes in travel and tourism and heads up the Community Service Non-Stop Team. He works with 160 employees to support national and local charities.

“Giving back is a must for a successful employer,” Keller said.

This trip was Maggie’s birthday trip. Her cruise ship room was decorated with lots of surprises just for her.

When they were told during the cruise that Royal Caribbean was donating school items to the children of the devastated area of Haiti, Gracie and Maggie were quick to volunteer to sort school supplies and pack backpacks.

Gracie said she loved the feeling of knowing some child was going to be thrilled over simple things like pencils, paper, glue, T-shirts and towels.

Keller said, “We love the feeling of community and the great opportunity for raising our girls in Shelby County.”

Community columnist Sandra Thames can be reached by e–mail at