Gary Doi has been retired for five years, but he’s yet to show any sign of slowing down.
Doi, former superintendent for the Okanagan Skaha School District, has just produced the second book in his Inspiring Hope series, Fly Like an Eagle, building on the success of the first book, One Story at a Time.
It builds on the work he started not long after retirement, when he created an online community called A Hopeful Sign, a gathering place for people to share stories about hope with contributors from all walks of life and around the world.
It’s still all about spreading hope, said Doi, for whom the idea is a life-long passion.
“Perhaps that’s why the career I chose was a helping profession in teaching and education. I think teaching is all about trying to inspire hope in young people,” said Doi. “After retiring it came back to that, to do something that I would find engaging.”
Fly Like an Eagle contains stories from 26 authors, including Doi himself. The front cover features a painting by B.C. First Nations artist Roy Henry Vickers, whose story opens the book.
“People know of his success, they may not know of his struggles. And the hopeful part is how you overcome the life challenges you face,” said Doi. “He was dealing with addiction issues about 25 years ago and was able to overcome that and wanted to have that story out there.”
The new book also features a story by Anne Snyder, who, at Doi’s request, penned a tribute to her son Jonathan Snyder in the form of a “Dear Jon” letter.
“It’s a wonderful story, a tribute to her son,” said Doi. Capt. Jonathan Snyder, a native Pentictonite, who died in 2008 while serving in Afghanistan.
Doi, who is of Japanese descent, said he was raised on hope. His parents were relocated and interned in the Slocan Valley during the Second World War.
“While I was born a few years after the war, I certainly felt the effects of it because our parents basically had nothing and had to start all over again,” said Doi, adding that until he was nine, he lived in a house without electricity or indoor plumbing, the youngest of five siblings.
“My mother would say that we didn’t have much, but we had each other,” said Doi. “Hope to her was about having a future that was so much better than what they had. I was raised on hope.”
Fly Like an Eagle is available at Hooked on Books in Penticton and Beyond Bliss in Oliver, or online through royhenryvickers.com. He will be doing a reading from the book at the Penticton Library at 2 p.m. on Dec. 13.
Like the first book, proceeds from sales are being donated to charity, in this case, SORCO, the Okanagan Raptor Centre.