Beekeeping class draws Veterans


An introduction to beekeeping seminar brought Veterans, employees and the local community together recently at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center.

The class was presented by apiarists Ed Forney and Charles Walter, pictured above. Forney is the Regional Apiary Trainer for the West Virginia Department of Agriculture’s Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture Project.

They organized the class as a way to help Veterans connect with beekeeping. “I have witnessed the positive effects of beekeeping on Veterans dealing with PTSD,” said Forney.

The room was filled to near capacity with people eager to learn about beekeeping. On display were the tools of the beekeeping trade along with several types of beehives.

A number of tools for beekeeping including gloves, screens, and a smoker displayed on a table.

Tools of the trade

Forney and Walter took questions from the crowd and gave everyone an idea of what beekeepers must know and do to be successful.

Ross Curtis, a retired U.S. Navy Veteran, got enough information from the class to peak his interest in beekeeping. Curtis said, “The class was very entertaining and gave everyone a good idea of what beekeeping is. I may add bees to the list of livestock we keep on the farm.”

Forney is hoping to teach more Veterans about beekeeping through the Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture Project. “One of our goals is to bring an apiary to the Veterans at the medical center,” he said.

About the author: Rodney D. Bearman is a U.S. Army Veteran and a Public Affairs Specialist at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center in Martinsburg, WV


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  1. Jeff Knight    

    I’ve been rescuing bees, butterflies, dragonflies for decades of cold or water deaths. How can I use this talent and ability with this posting? Haven’t been stung in over a decade, and I only come armed with honey. My Facebook has proof of handling bare hands.
    Jeff Knight

  2. R Truman    

    hope they have plans for Bee keepers at other VA’s like Augusta,Ga.

  3. Armando Piffaretti    

    Word usage error: “peak” is used incorrectly. In this context, it is spelled “pique” – as in to stimulate, arouse or excite (one’s interest).

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