Beekeeping community steps up to help beekeeper hit by financial setback

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- When a well-known New Mexican beekeeper got stung with a recent financial setback, the beekeeping community stepped up.

"I call it a passion. My wife calls it an obsession,” said Craig Noorlander. “And she’s probably more accurate."

Noorlander has been keeping bees, teaching New Mexicans about beekeeping and driving across the state to help other beekeepers.

"[When I was] helping folks out because of COVID, It was over 29,000 miles I put on the vehicle," said Noorlander.

Earlier this year, Noorlander’s specialized bee-carrying truck broke down twice. When he delivered “packages” of bees to customers, he discovered some had overheated.

"I ended up losing 300 packages out of the 760 – had about 150 people that I couldn’t take care of. And that breaks my heart,” Noorlander said.

He took out a loan to pay back customers and fix his truck, a cost of about $50,000.

When the New Mexico Beekeepers Association heard about Craig’s misfortune they started a GoFundMe.

"It’s very humbling. I’ve been moved to tears on more than one occasion…. including now,” Noorlander said.

As of Monday afternoon, the GoFundMe had raised over $17,000.

"The outpouring of love and support has been very humbling,” Noorlander said. “People tell me well you deserve it and I tell them, I just try to do the right thing. And help people out. That’s what we’re here for, to help people out."