When he’s not helping others as a nurse in Shadyside, he’s giving back to his community with the actual fruits (and vegetables) of his labor. His various ducks, which can sometimes be heard throughout the Troy Hill neighborhood, even produce eggs that Ben will often share with his neighbors via a Facebook community page.
But the most interesting part is seeing him on his rooftop tending to his bees in the enclosures Ben also made himself. After showing me how to graft a tree (which he has done so that his fruit trees grow multiple kinds from the same set of roots), I got over my fear of heights and climbed up the ladder in a full beekeeper suit with my camera gear to check out his daily routines.
Almost everything he does is as sustainable as possible including his garden that will produce plenty of food for himself and his webbed friends out back. The pine needles he burns to use as smoke to calm the bees are even donated by people in the neighborhood. And the honey from the bees is packaged and sold. Most of the wooden pieces in his home were even built by Ben as well.
“It’s rewarding to work with your hands and is sustainable and impacts other people,” Ben says.
My words could never do justice to Ben’s many skills, talents, and endeavors, but I am continuously grateful for people like him allowing me into their lives to show a little slice of what they do to help better this city.