The founder of the uplifting Heroes to Hives program for veterans and honeybees is Adam Ingrao, a veteran who himself found wellness and strength from the scars of war through beekeeping.
Ingrao founded Heroes to Hives as a disciplined 9-month program to help bring opportunity, structure and mindfulness to Michigan veterans coping with anxiety, depression and major adjustments in their lives.
The course is offered through Michigan State University Extension. Heroes to Hives has trained 128 military veterans and their spouses since the program began in 2016, according to the MSU website.
Fitting back into civilian life after tours of duty can be a great challenge for veterans and their families. There are 640,000 veterans in Michigan, many facing difficulties integrating into a non-military lifestyle.
The main Heroes to Hives apiary is located on the peaceful Kellogg Biological Station Bird Sanctuary, along with at least half a dozen other instructional sites around the state of Michigan.
Interested veterans who don't live in Michigan will be excited to know that in 2019 the Heroes to Hives program launched an online part of the program so US veterans and National Guard members nationwide can apply for the program.
A recent expansion of the Heroes to Hives program is a heart-warming example of the good that can be done when community comes together.
Cormac Wright manages Ford global energy systems and is also in charge of Ford’s corporate-wide beekeeping program initiative that supports honeybees and the ecosystem.
Wright arranged for a dedicated 5-acre space at the 800-acre Ford Cherry Hill Farm in Ypsilanti for the Heroes to Hives program. There will be plenty of pollinator-friendly plants for honeybees and other pollinators to enjoy. This will be a serene setting for veterans learning to love the beekeeping lifestyle.
Sincere thanks to Adam Ingrao, Michigan State University Extension and all the corporations and private donors that have come together to create such a beautiful program to support the well being of veterans and honeybees.
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