Invictus is a tribute to those who have paved the way before us, sacrificing everything and remaining unconquered in their desire to do what was right. More specifically, it is a tribute to James P. Kelly, the father of our CEO. Jim’s Dad used to recite the poem, ‘Invictus’, written by William Ernest Henley, repeatedly in front of his young son. By the age of ten, Jim could recite a couple stanzas himself. Papa Kelly would tell his son that nothing in this world was insurmountable, nothing was beyond our capability, and that even under extreme adversity anything was possible if you believed in yourself and your unconquerable soul. This created a belief in his son, as well as many others who have been inspired by the poem, that they could accomplish anything if they worked hard enough and never doubted.
The original Jack Armstrong, the All-American boy, Jim’s Dad, never smoked, drank or swore. He grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts, the seventh of 13 children of a poor immigrant Irish Catholic family. Losing his father early and watching his older siblings work hard to help his Mom and to keep the family safe, he knew early on that he had to earn everything on his own. His life was dedicated towards a devotion to God, his country and his innate love of mankind. He was a man who had the rarest of qualities, he never had a bad word to say about anyone; he always found a piece of goodness. He lived by the trinity of God, America and family all his life. He touched many lives and although he never was rich, he was rich in everything that counted; a wonderful wife, the love of his family, and vast friendships across all walks of life.
During WWII, Jim’s Dad enlisted into the United States Marine Corps, following brothers who served in the Navy and Seabees. While serving, he created many life-long bonds but he also lost close friends, to include losing his youngest brother a few years later during the Korean War. It was during his time in the Corps, where he learned about the ultimate sacrifice people made for their country. It was with immense pride that he called himself a Marine, a pride he carried with him his entire life. He wore his signature red Marine Ball Cap proudly for over 60 years and when he finally left us, he had a Marine Honor Guard salute him for his service and his undying support to the Corps.
To his children he was Dad, to his grandchildren he was Papa, but to everyone he was known for his kindness, his honesty and his integrity. He loved children and was gracious with his time. An avid baseball player in his youth and with the Marines, he was passionate about all Boston sports (but particularly the Red Sox), the church, his kids, and his grandchildren. He married the beautiful Auburn haired girl of his dreams, Kathleen, and had two children, James and Christine and instilled in them an unquenchable desire to succeed.
Papa Kelly could and would talk to anyone (a trait not lost upon his son, our CEO). He knew everyone in Brookline and most of Boston. He treated everyone the same and respected them all. It didn’t matter if you were a CEO of a multi-million dollar company or the parking attendant at the local college, if you loved America, God and treated your family right, Jim’s Dad was your fan. He had a gift of making everyone feel important and that what you said was the most interesting thing in the world.
‘Invictus’ was his favorite poem. It was his love of this poem and what it represents both personally and for it’s message, that our CEO Jim Kelly decided to honor his father and name the company Invictus International, as a tribute to him and how he lived his life — an inspiration to all who knew him. This poem and the core values set in him by his father and mother, is what has guided Jim throughout his entire life. Jim’s war cry of “live with passion, give your gift” is something that he instills in both his personal and business life, which is also a great credit to both his parents. Be passionate about what you do in life and your gift is yourself…. To the Unconquered amongst us, we salute you!
I N V I C T U S
by William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.