ATLANTA — Army veteran Tim Doherty is using his love of beekeeping to help others suffering from PTSD and traumatic brain injury.
"I got into beekeeping after serving a tour in Afghanistan as a deputy surgeon for special forces," he said. "Our installation was attacked. You are on the go and have such great purpose, and then you come home and it's just tough to adjust. I didn’t want to admit I had PTSD, and I did.”
Upon his return home, on what was essentially a whim, Doherty said he decided to try beekeeping.
“It was just kind of a magical moment," he recalled. "You get drawn into it. Maybe it was just a nudge from God in the right direction. Every time I get into a beehive I forget everything else."
Over the last few years, Doherty has taught beekeeping to more than 65 Georgia veterans on his own time and dime.
It was recently approved as an official therapy activity at Atlanta's Shepherd Center, which Doherty is helping run in partnership with hospital staff and Livable Buckhead.
“I actually was admitted to the Shepherd Center for mild traumatic brain injury and PTSD last fall," Doherty said. "The Shepherd Center was sort of my lighthouse in my storm, and I like the idea of being that lighthouse for others.”
To get up close to the things that scare you is no easy thing, but that’s where you find the good stuff. Like camaraderie, purpose, and healing. And, in this case, some well-earned honey.
“That's the best part," Doherty smiled. "Giving the gift of hope to someone else, you at the same time are getting that same gift back.”
Doherty is in the process of building a massive bee learning center and retreat for veterans in Morganton, Georgia that should be open in the next couple months.