Luke Birky / National Parks Magazine Shoot

Back in October we did a shoot with a fantastic gentleman from Goshen named Luke Birky for an article that National Parks Magazine’s Kevin Grange was writing on Conscientious Objectors (COs) during WWII.  Annie Riker first contacted us with the basic information that the article was about those who objected to war on moral grounds and their commitment to serve the nation in other ways, and we were immediately excited to be part of something like this since we generally don’t support war, but we definitely believe strongly in creating a better country and a better world.  We contacted Luke and arranged for a time that fit his schedule and then went to meet him and his wife, Verna, at their pleasant home in Greencroft’s Goshen campus. Throughout our time at their home, we found their demeanor thoroughly unpretentious.  They were thoughtful, soft-spoken, and peaceful, and their home was full of meaningful things, including a number of lamps and other pieces of woodworking art that Luke has crafted over the years.   Luke shared a few pieces of memorabilia from his days as a smoke-jumper including some old magazines.  This couple is the sort that you just want to sit down with and hear all of the stories they have lived and what they meant for them!  Among other things, we learned that he and Verna’s families are originally from the Pacific Northwest nearby to the setting of Luke’s CO days.  Luke, as you can read in Kevin’s article, while fully aware and eager to help save Glacier National Park, which he had loved since childhood, by smoke-jumping to fight a wildfire, was wholly unaware that this jump in particular would be his last and could well have been fatal if conditions had been much worse.  A downdraft accelerated his descent and a hard fall resulted in a painful broken heel. The time we spent was far too short and it’s nice to know that being in the same town, we have the possibility to spend more time learning from Luke in the future.  You can learn much more about the COs of WWII and some of the principles that were so strongly held by young men in that time to lead them to pay for their own housing and earn nearly nothing for their labors rather than fight in a war.  We tip our hats to Luke and all those who chose a peaceful route to uplift and improve our nation in lieu of weapon-wielding (to take nothing away from anyone who made a different choice they felt was right.)  Please take the time to learn more about these groups and to think about the ideals behind their commitments!  Here are a couple of the photos we shot that day of Luke…

This is how it went down when Janie got the mail.

7 thoughts on “Luke Birky / National Parks Magazine Shoot

  1. Fuuny to see my Dad (Parents) in the “lime-light”. They have always lived their lives in service for others without asking anything in return and especially no publicity. They have been blessed and blessed others. Great models for us. I love them. Glad you got to meet them. Go back for another visit and get a wooden object and vegetables from the garden.

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