MSU Extension liaison connects veterans with opportunities

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension has doubled down on its commitment to military veterans by hiring a new specialist who will work directly with this specialized audience.

Adam Ingrao, himself a veteran, will help connect veterans with education and opportunities available through MSU Extension. He will start by extending Heroes to Hives, a honey bee education and management program that he and his wife, Lacey Ingrao, founded in 2015 on their farm near Lansing, Michigan.

“We started Heroes to Hives to help veterans find a safe space where they could talk frankly about experiences in the military while learning to protect and profit from the most important pollinator we have,” said Ingrao.

Now, with a newly earned postgraduate degree in entomology, the study of insects, Ingrao plans to expand the program by offering versions of it throughout the state, including therapeutic components.

“When you work with bees, you have to move very slowly and methodically,” he explained. “That can be a great benefit to former soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress or who have been injured. Teaching people how to meditate, for example, not only keeps them from getting stung, but it allows them to clear their mind and focus.”

Ingrao will also work to connect veterans with other MSU Extension programs.

“Most people think of Extension as ag education only,” he explained. “But there are many other programs that are of particular interest to veterans. I’m eager to help veterans and their families connect to youth development opportunities like Michigan 4-H, nutrition education programs, health and wellness programs, and the myriad other opportunities that MSU Extension offers to support the success of veterans and their families.”

Jeff Dwyer, director of MSU Extension, said Ingrao is a perfect fit for this position.

“Adam’s commitment to service – in the military and beyond – is unparalleled,” Dwyer said. “He understands veterans specialized needs because he is one. I look forward to helping him grow our commitment to this audience.”

Michigan is home to about 635,000 military veterans – just under 9 percent of the state’s total population.

Michigan State University Extension helps people improve their lives by bringing MSU’s research and resources to individuals, families, communities and businesses. For more than 100 years, MSU Extension strengthens the state’s economy by equipping residents with the information and the skills they need to do their jobs better, raise healthy and safe families, build their communities and set their children on paths to successful futures. For more information, visit http://canr.msu.edu/outreach.

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