Written by: Pam Platt, WaterStep Communications Specialist
“WaterStep’s bee power delivers, thanks to volunteers like Dave Roos”
With WaterStep Nation, it’s all about the teamwork … from the Louisville, Ky., headquarters where staff and volunteers manufacture WoW carts, BleachMakers and ChlorineGenerators, and where we collect and sort shoes that donors bring in to help fuel the organization’s worldwide, safe-water programs and projects … and then branching out to safe-water ambassadors throughout 70 countries who first learn how to operate WaterStep’s safe-water appliances and then use them to help save and improve lives in their communities.
It’s a veritable hive of activity, wherever the work occurs.
And speaking of hives of activity …
A less obvious, but more literal, application of busy, buzzing teamwork happens at WaterStep’s Old Louisville locale on a street – Myrtle – that’s named after a flower, and flowers play into this story, too:
The four hives of honeybees atop the flat-roofed, three-story building.
There, the bees having gathered nectar and pollen from neighborhood flora, produced about 105 pounds of honey in 2023, honey that is bottled and gifted to WaterStep donors and friends, a sweet treat for their generosity and support throughout the year.
Longtime WaterStep volunteer Dave Roos is responsible for the bees and the beekeeping, and overseeing the honey the bees produce.
He was a zoology major in college, but the bulk of his career was working as a sports copy editor at The Courier Journal for 31 years.
Always fascinated by colony insects, Roos started with bees as a hobby when he turned 50. Before he started working with the WaterStep rooftop hives about six years ago, his volunteer work with the organization included making trips to Costa Rica, the Amazon and Ecuador to help with training on safe-water equipment for people in those regions.
In addition to the bee work, Roos continues to work as a “shoe ambassador,” every week picking up and bringing in about 240 pounds of donated, gently used shoes that will go to support WaterStep water programs and people throughout the world.
For Roos the parallels between the bees and WaterStep workers, here, there, and everywhere, are easy to see: in the hive, everyone has a function, they do their duties, and they produce something useful.
As the saying goes, anyone who thinks they’re too small to make a difference, has never met the honeybee. Or a WaterStep volunteer and donor.