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Stories of a Lifetime

Local author chronicles veterans and families to preserve their history.

By Kristen Lynch
Photography by Candace Sweet

Americans love the underdog. We resonate to stories of those Davids who defeat their personal Goliaths, perhaps rising from humble and adverse circumstances, fighting their battles upon center stage where we wait with bated breath and cheer alongside them as they finally emerge victorious.

What if you discovered a hero within your own family tree? What if you had a relative who broke barriers like Jackie Robinson, or a great uncle who overcame his own demons from a harrowing war experiences much like Louis Zamperini? So many of us have unfortunately lost touch with that distant relative in the sepia photo, the picture that sits on the living room table, the face that could tell a story.

How do we reclaim and preserve those precious memories? Brian Doke of Eagle has made it a mission to capture family memories, one story at a time. His passion for preserving the past has led him to start his own company, one that is dedicated to preserving your personal history, and that has led to preserving the war stories of American heroes.

Doke got the family history bug that led to his business after learning a bit about his own parent’s lives. “My mother grew up in the Southside of Chicago and recalled seeing men like Al Capone drive by, not just any guys, but real gangsters,” Doke said. “She would tell us about the cars and horses that shared the streets and how they were used for delivering things like milk or blocks of ice.”

Doke remembered being shocked hearing about these events, “These were my mother’s memories; it seemed incredible that this was only one generation ago!” he said.

As he learned more about his own family’s rich history, Doke wanted to record the memories of others. His business, named “The Chronicle of,” uses Doke’s extensive writing and business background to tell other families’ stories. And Doke delivers not just any ordinary story. He writes about your family, creating textured and rich content in which those intimate moments and unique experiences are revealed and shared. Best of all, it’s your story, presented in a hardbound, professional book that includes scanned photos of your family members interspersed with literary passages of your family member’s anecdotal recollections. Also included are periodic blank pages for friends and family members to handwrite their own words.

But family memories were just a small part of what Doke discovered as he delved into personal histories. After interviewing many people and their family members, he realized that several elderly veterans had never shared their stories about their war experiences. And these historically significant recollections might be forever silenced and left unrecorded. “I felt like I needed to capture these words before they disappeared forever,” Doke said.

Compelled to preserve these proud veterans’ words, Brian has now also taken on another memory-preserving endeavor known as “The Chronicle of Veterans Foundation.” His mission is to find and record the stories of those increasingly rare and aging veterans, and he is determined to preserve their memories and war experiences. Most importantly, Brian strives to pursue this project at no cost to these veterans. “I was speaking to veterans at homes who were just hoping to share their story, but didn’t have the means to pay for a book. It was then I knew we needed to find a way to gather these stories, regardless of the cost,” Doke said.

The Chronicle of Veterans Foundation accepts donations to help these veterans to tell their invaluable stories. Each November with the approach of Veteran’s Day, we should take a moment of pause to reflect and above all, appreciate each and every veteran. One way to truly thank them for their sacrifice and service is to listen to their stories.

“Money comes and goes in families. The real treasure is their story, their legacy and most importantly, their words,” Doke said.

TELL YOUR STORY
Brian Doke, The Chronicle Of
13601 W. McMillan Rd. #102
Boise, ID 83713
Phone 208-914-1280
www.thechronicleof.com.