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Difference Maker: Josh Ray

If you hear a buzz around Quincy, it may well be coming from Josh Ray’s over bee-hives.

Josh has lived in Quincy for 26 years, his entire lifetime. Although he is young, he has accomplished quite a lot in his short life.

Josh is a Midway volunteer fireman and a beekeeper with over 200 hives under his maintenance. He has been a beekeeper for the past 11 years and served as a fireman for the past six years.

These seem like two careers with nothing much in common, but if you take a closer look, you may find that both provide a level of service to Josh’s community.

Everyone can clearly see the service in fighting fires, responding to vehicle wrecks, and helping Midway residents defend their businesses, natural resources, and homes from fires, but beekeeping as another aspect of community service that is a little more difficult to discern.

This is a subject that Josh could spend hours on as it is his passion.

“Bees are essential to our lives,” he says. “If it wasn’t for their pollination of plants our food supply would be severely curtailed. They also produce honey, which is used in so many ways. Bees are important and thus it is important to have beekeepers to work with them and keep them from being wiped out by mites, diseases, and other dangers. Honey bees really are our friends and need to be preserved.”

QUESTION: How did you become interested in beekeeping?

“I grew up in the country and was around nature and bees all the time. The bees fascinated me. I was only 10 years old when I got my first hive.”

QUESTION: How did you become interested in being a firefighter?

“That is not so easy to answer. It really just evolved. I was a dispatcher at the sheriff’s office for five years. Through that experience, I was exposed to the need for firefighters and decided I’d like to try it.”

QUESTION: Do your 2 diverse careers enhance each other or cause conflicts with each other?

“Actually, they are quite different but perfect for me. If I have to respond to a fire, there is no problem leaving the bees for a while.”

QUESTION: I know you have 200 hives, but how many bees do you have?

“I can’t be sure or exact. There are about 45,000 bees per hive, so that would be a huge amount.”

QUESTION: Which segment of your life gives you the most pleasure and why?

“Beekeeping for sure. We specialize in pollination, honey, and queen breeding. Two-thirds of our food comes from honeybees. Their pollination is needed for all our fruits and vegetables, except corn and grains like wheat and rice.”

QUESTION: Speaking of honey, do you sell a lot?

“We sell mostly to wholesalers and to others by word of mouth. We don’t have to advertise. Last week I had 210 gallons of honey and I don’t have a single bottle left.”

QUESTION: Is there anything people might be surprised to know about you?

“I don’t think so. I’m pretty much an open book. Oh, they might be surprised that I retrieve bees. If anyone is having a problem with bee infestation in their homes or businesses, I can come and humanely remove them for them. All they need to do is call me at (850) 510-0401. Other than that, I’m not a very surprising fellow.”

Do you know someone who is making a difference in their community?
Whether their contributions to Gadsden County are large or small, we would like to hear about the people who do good deeds locally!
If you have an idea on who would make a good Difference Maker spotlight, contact The Herald editor at or (850) 539-6585.

Judy Conlin –