Beekeeping Charity Helps US Army Veterans To Get Back On Track

A mother of three has revealed how her army veteran husband has found new strength by taking up beekeeping.

Katie Ray and her husband Ron – who are based in the small town of Trafalgar, Indiana – got to know the fascinating features of apiculture after being introduced to the trade by friends from their local church.

Picture shows a Hives For Heroes logo, undated. They are a national military veteran non-profit organization focused on honeybee conservation and connecting veterans through purpose and relationships in their local communities. (Katie Ray, NewsX/Bee)

Reflecting on how it all started, Katie – who describes her nearest and dearest as “a little family with a big love for beekeeping” – told NewsX: “I had always loved bees but could never convince Ron to get on board, so I was ecstatic when he finally agreed. Much like a honeybee, my husband is voracious when he dives into something new.

“He read everything he could get his hands on about honeybees and beekeeping and that is how he found Hives for Heroes. As a medically retired army veteran, he was so excited to see that there were more of his brothers and sisters in arms finding solace and purpose in beekeeping.”

Hives for Heroes – a non-profit organisation headquartered in Houston, Texas – aims at achieving a “healthy transition from service.”

Katie Ray poses with husband Ron Ray and their three children in undated photo. The family is based in the small town of Trafalgar, Indiana. (Katie Ray, NewsX/Bee)

The institution works on providing “connection, purpose and healthy relationships fostering a lifelong hobby in beekeeping.”

Katie says she is convinced that apiculture has functioned as a “hands-on therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder” for her husband, who has in the meantime become the state leader of Hives for Heroes.

Today, the couple and their three sons Atticus, Rowan and Killian manage more than 15 hives.

Speaking to NewsX, Katie stressed how much they enjoyed offering honey as well as a wide range of natural products such as wood polish and lip balm on their website and at local markets.

She explained: “Our customers know that we only harvest a small amount from our bees and promote healthy hives over profit.”

Another astonishing aspect of the ARK Hive Apiary family business is its honeybee rescue and removal service.

Katie said: “What most people do not understand is that when you rescue a hive from a preexisting structure or catch a wild swarm, it takes the hive time to fully recuperate.

Picture shows all natural beeswax lip balms from ARK Hive Apiary, undated. Another astonishing aspect of the ARK Hive Apiary family business is its honeybee rescue and removal service. (Katie Ray, NewsX/Bee)

“We have some hives that we may have to nurse for over a year before they would have enough excess to harvest but that’s just fine with us.”

Asked by NewsX to summarise what their very own bee business means to her and her family, Katie said: “We just love how beekeeping has branched out in so many positive directions for us. We want to share that with others.”

Katie also offered an outlook on the Ray Family’s future projects: “We hope to open a Memorial Apiary to honour fallen soldiers one day. It’s in our hearts to design it as a combination of an English garden and Arlington. We want to create something that works as a healing place for families of the fallen.”

Ron Ray (right) poses with his fellow veteran Adam Nevins in undated photo. Adam custom built this handicap accessible, fully adjustable, Horizontal Langstroth Hive. (Katie Ray, NewsX/Bee)

For more information on the Ray Family business and Hives for Heroes, visit:


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