Thursday, 25 July 2019 11:56

Dees Bees owner raises $500 for Seaboard Festival 5k scholarship

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Seaboard Festival 5k Race Director Duke Smith receives a $500 check from Donald Dees of Dees Bees Apiary. The donation will go toward a scholarship. Seaboard Festival 5k Race Director Duke Smith receives a $500 check from Donald Dees of Dees Bees Apiary. The donation will go toward a scholarship. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

HAMLET — Organizers of the Seaboard Festival 5k hope to be able to offer three scholarships next year with a recent donation.

Race Director Duke Smith received a $500 check Wednesday from Richmond County native Donald Dees, who owns Dees Bees Apiary in Aberdeen.

But the money didn’t come straight from Dees’ own pocket.

“We helped out last year … with a small donation and wanted to do something a little bigger this year,” Dees said.

About six months ago, Dees said he had the idea to create a Pineland Honey Company label for his honey.

Pineland, of course, is an homage to the fictitious nation comprised of nearly 20 counties in the region used to train Special Forces soldiers during the Robin Sage exercise.

Dees said he marketed the product exclusively at Armando’s Grill in Aberdeen, run by Rockingham resident Carlos Avelar, where the G.I’s frequently eat lunch.

In addition to selling the honey, Dees also sold shirts and used money from the business for the donation. Jason Vuncannon of Aberdeen Supply also donated toward the fundraiser.

Dees said he wanted the donation to be “in memory of our fallen (special forces) guys, because they’re such a large part of our community in Moore County and Richmond County.”

“They train all around us and we’ve lost close friends there, will still have friends over there serving the country and we wanted to bring some awareness to their sacrifices,” he added.

This is Smith’s fifth year as race director. He and Dees actually met following the race in 2012 when Dees overheard him bragging about passing an “old guy” near the finish line. 

That “old guy” was Dees.

Smith said the SF5k is obligated to provide at least one $1,000 scholarship per year, which it has since 2017. However, they raised enough for two scholarships in 2018 and 2019.

The winners of this year’s scholarships have been selected, but not officially announced, according to a spokesperson for Richmond Community College.

“With this (donation), it’s possible we could do a third one for next year,” Smith said. “That’s our goal. If we could do three this year, that would be great.”

The funds for each year’s scholarship(s) are raised the year prior to the award.

Dees himself went to college on a need-based scholarship and after a stint in the military, worked in the core lab at Moore Regional Hospital for 25 years before starting beekeeping about five years ago.

“My whole career was built on a need-based scholarship,” he said. “It feels good to be in a position to give back and help people that are in need as well.”