May 24, 2010

The Harmonica Man

At 71, Andy Mackie is another one of those guys on my heroes list. His life is a great story of how one man's passion can be transformed to positively influence hundreds of young people. Andy is a retired Scottish-born man who probably should have died long ago. But after facing death on more than one occasion owing to a bad heart, he decided to share his personal secret to happiness ... music.

As reported on CBS News Online last December, Andy is the Johnny Appleseed of harmonicas. As you'll see in the video, he's busy inspiring lots of young people to become interested in music. He does that by living out of a motor home and using the money he used to spend for heart medication to pay for harmonicas he gives to kids. He's been at it for 11 years, so far, and has given away 16,000 harmonicas!

If that generosity wasn't enough, Andy is now spending most of his Social Security check to hand craft what he calls Strumsticks. It's a kind of guitar that is easy to learn to play and the kids love it. As part of his ongoing legacy, Andy is even building his own mentoring program by training older kids to teach younger kids to play various instruments.

Andy is a beautiful Elder man, and I hope you find his example as inspirational and motivational as I do. If you would like to support Andy Mackie’s efforts to teach and share music with kids you can do so through the Andy Mackie Music Foundation. You could also just start sharing your gifts with some of the young people around you as Andy has done and see what happens!

If you know someone who should be included in my Man-Making heroes' gallery, please let me know. If the clip doesn't appear use this link.

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