There is a quote by an unknown person about Veterans that says, “We don’t know them all but we owe them all.” Often, when Veterans retire from active duty they return home with little support, sometimes still carrying the trauma and wounds from their service in the military. This is what happened to Steve Jimenez when he retired from the Marines and returned home. He struggled emotionally and was having a tough time transitioning. Steve felt lost. One day a friend asked him to go to a bee keeping event and he said yes even though bees were NOT an interest of his. This experience of being around the bees shifted something inside of Steve and he began learning about beekeeping. Beekeeping helped him heal wounds and develop healthy coping skills. Bees saved his life. Steve wanted to share the power of healing and bees with other Veterans so in 2018 he founded Hives For Heroes. A hyper-local global organization non-profit that focuses on Saving Bees and Saving Vets. Steve says “We are an organization that plays with bees.” I had the honor to speak with Steve about all things Hives For Heroes.
“The life of a swarm of bees is like an active and continuous campaign of an army; the ranks are being continually depleted and continually recruited.” John Burroughs
Honey bees are super important as they pollinate flowers, fruits, and vegetables to make things grow. They live in hives with one queen bee, worker bees, and drone bees. Every three or four bites of food you eat have been pollinated by a bee. Honey bees have been declining. Honey bees, as Steve found out, are also therapeutic. A person working with bees needs to be calm and peaceful. The constant buzzing creates a soothing sound which helps to heal a person’s soul. What Steve found through his experience in learning how to become a beekeeper is that it gave him purpose, similar to what he had experienced in the military. Spending time with a mentor and learning about how to care for these precious bees gave him connection. He developed a trusting relationship with his mentor. Being part of helping to protect bees and having more bee colonies helped him to become part of something bigger than himself, giving him purpose. The fundamental pillars of Hives For Heroes are Connection, Relationships, Purpose, and Service. This connection and working with purpose reflects the military experience for Veterans. It also gives Veterans the ability to create a new identity through beekeeping.
“I have a huge belief in the importance of bees, not just for their honey, which is a healing and delicious food, but the necessity of bee colonies that are vital to the health of the planet.” Trudie Styler
Hives for Heroes operates in a simple, powerful manner. “One Mentor, one NewBEE, and one Hive work together to impact local communities. Any professional beekeeper, or apiarist, can volunteer to become a mentor. Any Veteran of any armed service can become a NewBEE. Once a mentor and newBEE are matched the training begins. Beekeeping requires focus, calm, patience and tapping into your courage to handle bees safely and effectively. Communication and teamwork happen between the mentor, the newBEE and the honey bees. Honey bees require weekly maintenance so the beekeeping gets the Veteran out of isolation to connect with others while providing purpose and meaning to their life. The process of caring for bees creates a state of flow where you become completely lost in all the duties involved in beekeeping. For the first year the mentor works with the NewBEE to develop basic beekeeping skills, the second year involves the NewBEE working with a community of beekeepers including establishing Memorial Hive lots to honor those fallen in combat. Year three the NewBee can now become a mentor to a newBee. To date there have been over 2700 mentors and newBees with a current waitlist of 600 Veterans signed up waiting to be matched with a mentor. Anywhere there are bees is where Hives For Heroes can help out. In addition to the United States, Hives For Heroes is a global organization including Australia and the United Kingdom.
“We salute the courage, honor, and bravery of our Veterans today, tomorrow, and always.” Unknown
It is with honor and gratitude we shine the Kindness Champions Spotlight on the remarkable Hives for Heroes. This incredible hyper-local global non-profit military Veteran service organization is powered by saving honey bees, saving Veterans while providing Veterans a healthy transition from their service. We thank you for being you and bringing your awesome to the world.
For more information on REMARKABLE Hives for Heroes here is their information:
Twitter: @hivesforheroes https://twitter.com/hivesforheroes
Facebook: @HivesForHeroes https://www.facebook.com/HivesForHeroes
Instagram: @hivesforheroes https://www.instagram.com/hivesforheroes/
LinkedIn: @HivesForHeroes https://www.linkedin.com/company/hivesforheroes/
YouTube: @HivesForHeroes https://www.youtube.com/c/hivesforheroes