Belvidere’s very own author – Mike Doyle

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Mike Doyle holding the newer copy of his book.

Kaylee Bowman, Reporter

Belvidere, Illinois in the current generation has become a place that the up in coming long to leave. Young adults view it simply as a small farming community that the Chrysler Factory dominates, so if the factory or farm life isn’t your forte, Belvidere isn’t the right place for you. Although most of this has truth within the opposed bias, the town holds more promise and history than most know. Mike Doyle, author, and retired educator set out to change this and bring light to one of the town’s most tragic events.

In 1967, Belvidere and its residents were nearly destroyed emotionally and physically by a tornado. The storm tore up many homes, businesses, etc., but most importantly it took the lives of some of the town’s beloved.

Doyle, a long time resident of Belvidere, wanted those people and events to never be forgotten. He dove into an endless pile of research to begin writing his book that would come to be known as the 1967 Belvidere Tornado. This may not seem like a very time-consuming job to some, but he focused solely this short timeline of only a few months in order to get the book ready for the 40th anniversary of the tornado. He wrote 1,000 words a day or more in order to get this done. Boone County funded and published the book for Doyle. His work actually sold out quite quickly which lead to him making a separate book for the 50th anniversary.

Doyle has become a very cherished person in the community and that’s not just credited to his published works. He worked within the Belvidere school district for many years before retiring and often subs on a regular basis currently. He actually wrote both books in Belvidere High School, which most can agree makes it more sentimental. Doyle really engulfed himself into this book and actually wept of joy once it was completed.

The residents of Belvidere and all of us at North are so grateful to have Doyle living and working amongst us. A big thank you to Doyle for bringing Belvedere’s history to light by writing this book and speaking about it in our school.