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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Instructor’s Passions Range From Bikes to Bees

  • Wayne Keesey
  • Wayne Keesey
  • Wayne Keesey
  • Wayne Keesey
  • Wayne Keesey
  • Wayne Keesey

If there is a true Renaissance man on WCC’s campus it may well be motorcycle instructor and department chair Shawn Deron, 36. He is a self-described carpenter, plumber, mechanic, electrician, computer geek, philosopher, avid reader and learner, tool connoisseur, farmer, botanist, etymologist, photographer, entrepreneur, and teacher. But most of all he loves anything to do with speed and bees.

Three years ago a friend introduced Deron to beekeeping and he became fascinated. He read and collected all the books he could about bees and beekeeping—even some that were written in the 1700s and 1800s.

When Deron talks about his bees, his usual calm demeanor switches into high gear.

“The first time I tried it I knew it was something that I was supposed to do,” said Deron. “I started with a few hives and now have 50, with about 60,000 bees per hive. When I work with the bees I never wear gloves. I do get stung but I kill less bees without the gloves.”

Deron founded Raisin River Apiaries at his farm near Monroe, and sells honey at farmers markets and craft shows and by special order. According to Deron, bees are nature’s most perfect creatures. The honey is tasty and good for you and because bacteria cannot live in it, the Incas and Mayans discovered it could be used to cover wounds like a sterile bandage. Beeswax is used to make such things as candles and lip balm, and the glue that holds the hive together, called propolus, is used by herbalists for a variety of natural remedies. Perhaps most amazing is that bee venom can help with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Deron said he suffers from the Peter Pan Syndrome of always looking at things with the enthusiasm of a kid. If you wander down to the motorcycle lab you can’t miss him. He has long hair that he hasn’t cut since 1992, multiple earrings, and an air of serenity about him. Tall and slim, he is part Polish and part Cherokee, and he also has a wild side. That comes out most often when he’s on or around motorcycles.

“I didn’t tell my parents that I had a motorcycle until the day I graduated from high school. By then I’d had it for over two years. They’ve accepted it now, but my mother tells me that I should slow it down. But I can’t—I’m a speed addict,” said Deron, who rides a motorcycle every day unless it’s snowing.

Deron worked for American Harley Davidson for eight years until he got a visit from WCC.

“I knew WCC was starting a new motorcycle program, and I thought they just wanted my advice,” he said. “They asked me to teach part time, and now I’m department chair.”

He loves teaching and credits it with helping him become more talkative, which helps when people stop at his farm and want a tour. Besides the approximately three million bees, Deron has 20 chickens, two dogs, and a cat.

“I owe everything that I am doing now to my friends and family, who by the way still think I go too fast,” said Deron.

To see Deron riding his motorcycle, check out the new video about WCC’s School of Automotive and Motorcycle Technology.

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