Although this week's Around the County subject was born in Hannibal, Mo., right on the river, he does have deep Montgomery County roots. His grandfather put a price on his farm (which was about where Indiana Creek Cemetery is, south on State Road 47) thinking it'd never sell. It did, so he packed up the family and moved to Missouri to farm there. The father of our subject farmed for awhile in that state but about the time, today's man, Donnie Wright was a sophomore, Dad quit the agricultural business and while visiting Montgomery County relatives heard of a custodian's job at Crawfordsville High School. Moving his family back to his home area, Donnie's dad retired from just that CHS job.

Donnie graduated from New Market High School and went on to the Air Force. He was one of 150 from Indiana who was part of the Memorial Flight. This group was to attend the Indy 500, stay in a nice hotel and then go on to their first assignment. Donnie laughed and said that they drove around the track one time in a clunky bus then headed to North Dakota where Donnie spent the next two years. To get out of, "that awful state," he volunteered to go to Vietnam and spent two months at home, waiting for orders. When they came, he didn't go to Vietnam; instead, he was shipped to Taiwan where he was a plane re-fueler.

The stint in Taiwan brought Donnie a great blessing in his life, though. He met and married his beloved wife, Kim Kao. When they met, and he realized she could speak a little English, he asked her out. It was love at first site. Donnie said they had $600 to their married name when they returned to the U.S.

Kim has been back to her native country a few times, but mostly she loves her adopted land so much so that she spent 34 years at Kroger.

Donnie worked at RR Donnelley upon his return but went to Inland where he was a machine operator for 34 years at his retirement. The Wrights have two children, Darryl who lives in Houston, Texas and is a sales rep for Kenmore Electric. Darryl has one daughter who loves to come stay with his grandparents. Laura Wright, Kim and Donnie's daughter, is married to Greg Nichols and they have two children, James and Georgana who live in the home that Jim and I built and where our two children, Jay and Suzie, grew-up. Laura is an RN (obstetrics) and Greg is a respiratory therapist. James and Georgana attend Southmont.

Family, genealogy, traveling, gardening and their Rock Point Church membership are all important to Kim and Donnie, but what I think is one of the most interesting parts of their lives is that Donnie is a fifth-generation bee keeper.

Donnie and Kim currently have 14 hives. They have a "bee friendly farm" with clover, golden rod and a small pond. He was quick to thank his neighbor, Bob Edwards for helping with the bees and said that Bob Congelton has probably done more for Montgomery County beekeeping than anyone.

I was so fascinated learning little tidbits about honey bees while talking to Donnie, such as it takes 21 bees a lifetime (their life span is just six weeks) to make a teaspoon of honey. It was also neat to hear about the five generations of his direct ancestors who worked with bees. Donnie's dad had a couple of hives off and on. "It was an annual thing to cut a bee tree down in October and go back that night to fire-out the bees and gather the delicious honey."

Donnie's grandfather kept bees in hollow logs. Now, great gpa's story concerning his bees is lost as far as how he cultured them but it is known that he had bees and may have even had the hives from his father, James Wright's sale. Earlier I mentioned Donnie's deep Montgomery County roots and it was this James Wright who came to Montgomery County in the early 1820s. He died at the young age of 36 leaving a widow and six young children. His four bee hives sold for $7.50 while his cow with calf sold for only $6.25. The explanation for this via Donnie is that honey was extremely sought after as there was little or no sugar in those times.

Donnie and Kim are beautiful people, both outside and inside which is where it counts. Donnie's advice to the world is to, "Trust In God - he'll see us through because he is still in control!" Good guidance! Well, hope you enjoyed reading this week's article and I surely do appreciate Donnie letting me feature his interesting life in this week's Around the County!