Manhattan organization helps veterans find new hobbies, purpose through farming and beekeeping

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MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) — When you look at the products inside Golden Prairie Honey Farms in Manhattan, you’ll notice a seal with the saying, “Homegrown by heroes.”

“There’s no greater enjoyment that you get out of something when you can see the end product,” retired army veteran Terrance Bork said. “Especially a frame of capped honey.”

They sell beekeeping supplies and honey all maintained and harvested by veterans and service members.

It’s part of a program called SAVE Farm, which stands for Servicemember Agricultural Vocation Education.

The program was started by army veteran Gary LaGrange.

“My daughter is a clinical psychologist specializing post traumatic stress, suicide and brain injuries,” LaGrange said. “She had worked with some folks at Fort Riley in 2012 and discovered that their work in a greenhouse was very therapeutic for them. So, she suggested that we open a training farm.”

They offer a number of farming and beekeeping courses to veterans and soon to be veterans to help them develop new hobbies and a new purpose.

“Since I’ve retired from the Army, I’ve gone through a couple different jobs, was trying to find where I fit in,” Army veteran and head beekeeper for Golden Prairie Honey Farms Anthony Krebs said.

Krebs decided to take a beekeeping course with SAVE Farm last year. Since then, he’s mastered the craft and recently became their head beekeeper.

“So many folks around me here at the farm and at the shop have similar life stories, long time service in the military,” Krebs said. “So, it’s comforting to be around somebody that has the same background as you. Given that, I feel like I found a place where I belong.”

His wife Sandy also took up beekeeping and is currently the sales manager for the shop.

“This is one project out of my husband and I’s 20, almost 22 plus years of being married that we have finally found something that we love to do together,” Sandy said.

Whether it’s beekeeping or farming, SAVE Farm is dedicated to serving those who have served us.

“We owe it to them to help them reintegrate into society,” LaGrange said. “They’ve given a lot to us and it’s just the right thing to do to help them become what they want to become and if that’s farming, then that’s what we’re all about.”

All of the money made through Golden Prairie Honey Farms goes back into SAVE Farm’s training programs.

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