Everyone has as story worth telling. And with every story, there is a story behind the story. Human interest stories are like Russian nesting dolls — the largest doll represents our life and the smaller dolls within are additional stories built from our experiences.
This month’s main feature about food trucks is case in point. While fact-checking the article, I came across an article highlighting the Ward family, owners of Duke’s Place, a food truck serving Cajun and Creole soul food. David Ward is featured on the cover of this issue with a catfish po’boy sandwich, a photo captured during a Garden City food truck event in June.
When I discovered The Daily Evergreen article, I was compelled to find out how the Wards found their way to a food truck event in Garden City from Washington state. As Paul Harvey would say, here’s the rest of the story …
David’s parents, Brian and Vanessa also known as “Papa and Mama Duke,” established their food truck, named after their late son, Edward “Duke” Kennedy Ellington Ward, in Moscow, Idaho, in 2016, after Vanessa took a leap of faith, quitting her paralegal job to pursue her passion. At the time, Brian was a professor of music at Washington State University.
In the summer of 2019, the Wards moved their food truck to Lawrence where Brian, also a jazz pianist, composer and arranger, began pursuing a doctorate in music composition.
Duke’s Place is truly a family business, with members playing supporting roles while continuing to pursue their passions. Oldest son Damon “Happy Feet” Keller serves as general manager in addition to his teaching responsibilities for Portland Public Schools as the dance department director and his work as a professional dancer. David, also known as “Bam Bam,” works as assistant manager and bookkeeper when not performing as a professional drummer and bandleader. And son Jacob, nicknamed “Chalumeau,” handles social media and consumer relations while he finishes college.
There is more to the Ward’s story and to those we encounter each day. Every story is worth telling and sharing as it helps us find the commonalities that can bring us all together.