Mission trip provides moving moments for Mokena doctor
BY GINGER BRASHINGER Correspondent December 12, 2012 2:46PM
Mokena chiropractor Dr. Ben Duke, who was in the Dominican Republic helping the poor, is as seen at Chiro One Wellness Center in Mokena. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 14, 2013 6:02AM
Dr. Ben Duke has found an abundance of satisfaction in the role of provider.
“For me, life is all about service,” the Mokena chiropractor said.
As the owner of Chiro One Wellness Center in Mokena, Duke, 32, said his daily mission is to help others find an overall “wellness,” which includes a healthy body, mind and spirit.
His mission has no borders. Duke recently joined a group of 40 chiropractors and volunteers through the joint efforts of Chiro One and the Maximized Living organization for a 2012 Chiro Mission trip to the Dominican Republic.
The trip’s main purpose was to offer treatment and aid to those in need. But Duke said the doctors also were able to visit a very special place.
“We (had) raised — in about two or three years — $100,000 for an orphanage,” Duke said. “It was really great (to see it). There were about 50 kids there. The pastor in charge, his gratitude was amazing. It was really neat to see that.”
Duke said nothing in his life’s experience compared with his visits to the Dominican Republic’s schools, “desolate villages” and hospitals on his six-day trip.
“It was just an eyeopening experience,” Duke said. “In one hospital for disabled kids, there were mattresses on the floor in a big room with kids with cerebral palsy laying on them. The conditions were just nothing that we would consider (even) standard.”
Duke said even though he thought the team was only able to do “the bare minimum,” the people were very grateful.
“It’s amazing how they are happier with nothing than we are having everything,” Duke said.
Yet Duke felt he was on the receiving end of the mission.
“I wanted to be able to do a tremendous amount of service without getting paid for it,” Duke said. “I wanted to be able to give back.”
But after he saw the attitude of the people, despite their impoverished living conditions, Duke said he returned home with a different attitude of his own.
“Why would I ever whine or complain about anything?” he said. “I have nothing to complain about. I should be very grateful for what I have.”
As a lifelong athlete, Duke had personal experiences with chiropractic care that led to a way to “give back.”
As a high school athlete in downstate Olney, Duke participated in several sports, which eventually took a toll on his knees. Rather than submit to surgery that he believed would sideline him, Duke visited a chiropractor.
“It kept me playing, and it kept me relatively pain-free,” Duke said. “I wanted to exhaust any
avenue I had before I went the surgical route.”
As a standout baseball player at Eastern Illinois University, Duke again opted for chiropractic care to help rehabilitate a stress fracture in his lower back.
After his playing days, he pursued a medical degree at the University of Illinois.
“I found crisis care was not for me,” Duke said. “I was more in the initiative of proactive or preventative care.”
A year later, Duke entered Palmer Chiropractic College in Davenport, Iowa, where he earned his chiropractic degree. He has practiced for six years in Mokena in what he hopes is a caring environment for his patients.
“We try to create a family
environment, a very positive place,” Duke said. “Not just in a physical capacity, but in a mental capacity as well.”
The front window of his business recently held bags and boxes of food donated by his patients and staff to be distributed to the Frankfort Township Food Pantry. Duke said they will provide gifts for a “Giving Tree,” as well.
“We’re always doing something,” Duke said.
He plans to be part of another Chiro Mission to Haiti in the fall of 2013 to help with the ongoing relief effort from the earthquake of 2010.
Duke said he believes the “inner peace, inner joy” he feels when he helps others is as important to him as his help is to them.
“Unfortunately, some people are born into a situation without a choice, like the people of Haiti or the Dominican Republic. It truly makes me value and give thanks for all the good and all the bad in my life,” Duke said.