Dr. Charles Luke
Solomon Valley Veterinary Hospital
By Audrey Hambright
Practitioners at Solomon Valley Veterinary Hospital near Beloit, Kansas have brought new meaning to family business.
Veterinarian Dr. Charles Luke and his wife Jeanette, a registered veterinary technician, established Solomon Valley Veterinary Hospital in 1979. Since then, they have continued to build upon a successful practice involving family and friends, including the addition of Dr. Ken Moeller who joined as an associate veterinarian in 1991. Dr. Luke’s two youngest sons plus his daughter-in-law have been practicing alongside him for the past two to six years.
A 1977 graduate of the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Luke gained his interest in veterinary medicine through his father who was a practicing rural veterinarian in Lebanon, Kansas.
“It was through helping him and working with the cattlemen in that area that my love for animals, production agriculture and the outdoors was cultivated,” he said.
The practice now houses five veterinarians, two technicians, one receptionist and five assistants. According to Luke, the practice has always been 50 percent companion animal and 50 percent food animal, even with the growth over the years and the change in the number of and demographics of local farms. Admittedly, he also feels that this could provide more challenges for graduates finding rewarding employment in the future.
Even with the continual changes and new challenges, Luke is grateful for the life he has built around his family and business in rural Kansas.
“While every day provides some unique challenges and enjoyment, it was the family growing up through the years and the experiences with them, that I have enjoyed the most laughs,” he said. “Seeing the improvement livestock producers make year in and year out is a rewarding experience.”
Finally, his advice to all: “Follow your passion!”