top of page
Image by Harry Cunningham


Home  -  Post

  • John Reuter

Finding Calm in the Buzz: How Madison Veterans and First Responders are Healing Through Beekeeping

U.S Army veteran beekeeper

Finding Calm in the Buzz: How Madison Veterans and First Responders are Healing Through Beekeeping

Military veterans and first responders in Madison, Wisconsin, are discovering an innovative way to manage stress and find tranquility: beekeeping. Through the nationwide Hives for Heroes program, veterans like U.S. Marine Corps veteran Francis Donohue are experiencing the therapeutic benefits of working with bees.

The Therapeutic Benefits of Beekeeping

Francis Donohue, a veteran from Great Kills, compares beekeeping to equine therapy or any kind of pet therapy, finding it immensely beneficial for stress relief. The Hives for Heroes program pairs veterans and first responders with experienced beekeeping mentors. Currently, this program boasts over 6,500 members across the United States, providing a supportive community for those involved.

Charlie McMaster, the director for connections for Hives for Heroes and a retired U.S. Army veteran, emphasizes the calming effect of beekeeping. The sound of the bees' wings creates a soothing harmonic, promoting a state of calmness. "You look at them, you hear them, you watch them. You slowly, deliberately, thoughtfully, calm down," McMaster explains.

Beekeeping in Madison

In Madison, veterans and first responders are encouraged to explore beekeeping through local mentors and resources. The program offers a full-year, hands-on commitment, ensuring that participants receive comprehensive guidance throughout the beekeeping season. Mentors like Nick Rozak, from Green Stinger Beekeeping Services LLC, play a crucial role in this process, offering continuous support and expertise.

Getting Involved with Hives for Heroes

The Hives for Heroes program is always looking for more mentors to support aspiring beekeepers, known as "newbies." If you are an experienced beekeeper or a veteran interested in learning more about beekeeping, you can join the program and benefit from its community and resources.

To volunteer as a mentor or to find out more about the Hives for Heroes program, you can email Charlie McMaster at Aspiring beekeepers looking to be paired with a mentor can fill out an application on the Hives for Heroes website at

Local Events and Resources

Madison veterans interested in beekeeping can also participate in local events and meetups. If you think Madison should host a meet up for beekeeping let us know by sending us an e-mail! If we get 5 or more people interested, we will host. The event would provide an excellent opportunity for veterans and first responders to connect with fellow beekeepers and learn more about the therapeutic benefits of working with bees.


Beekeeping offers a unique and effective way for veterans and first responders in Madison to manage stress and find peace. By participating in programs like Hives for Heroes, they can benefit from the calming effects of beekeeping while connecting with a supportive community. If you're a veteran or first responder looking for a new way to handle stress, consider exploring the world of beekeeping.

Stay tuned to our podcast for more stories and insights on veteran life in Madison. Subscribe now and join our community dedicated to supporting veterans and first responders.

John Reuter

The Veteran Realtor

5 views0 comments


bottom of page