Why It Started

Daniel My Brother

Steve Kelley with his brother The whole backdrop of my life, all the fundraising stunts and this website concept, have their roots in my relationship with my brother Danny.

He was institutionalized for most of his life. I never understood why I could have such a blessed and rich life experience while he was being warehoused in a dank smelly, smoke filled State mental institution in Ypsilanti Michigan.

Danny was just a year older than me. He’d never driven a car. He’d never kissed a girl. He’d never really had what you and I take for granted…freedom. He was imprisoned in his mind from a young age. The institution was just a physical place for his “care”. 

 Life was such a dichotomy, experiencing such incredible privilege and yet my mind would always wander to that awful place thinking about what Danny was doing at that same moment. How could I enjoy a party at John Elway’s house, have dinner with some big celebrity or maybe a powerful politician and not be thinking of Danny. You could say I was imprisoned too in my mind.

It was my secret life’s goal to get wealthy enough to get him out of that place, but I simply couldn’t do it. I finally gave up. It was in truly giving up that the doors finally opened. My dearest father-in-law Marv Olsen said simply; “Danny’s not your child, he’s God’s precious child…you have to let him go, really let him go and give him to God”. I did. The very next day, through a series of literal miracles we were able to finally get him here to Colorado. It’s a long story and hard to relive even now. I’m deeply grateful to know he’s home and safe. Danny died alone in a nursing home room on a Tuesday night in the Fall of 2001. I will see him again.

It’s from this perspective that I always want to do something for others less fortunate. Tears are never far away when I see someone do something for others, especially when they really didn’t have to.

So thank you Danny for teaching me and giving me a perspective I would’ve never otherwise had. Like the Elton John song, “Daniel my brother” says; “You’re eyes have died, but you see more than I, Daniel you’re the star”…. 

 Fighting a sometimes unfair world, and frankly hating being lied to and ripped off, became the two sparks for KELLEY'S HEROES™.