Talk to beekeepers and they will tell you how relaxing their job is, not exactly the response you would expect from people constantly surrounded by bees. There seems to be something about that buzzing and the forced calmness, though, where they are just able to lose themselves in the moment for those few hours when they are tending to their hives. That feeling is surely why veterans are now using honey bees to help them with their PTSD.
This is an experience that Army Captain Jeremey Idleman believed would be beneficial to his fellow soldiers struggling with their return to life after deployment. When he returned from war in 2005, he was one of those individuals that struggled with the adjustment. He stated, “When I got back from Iraq in 2005, I had some issues. I actually got the idea from my uncle who was doing beekeeping since he was 12. He asked me, ‘Have you ever thought of being a beekeeper?'”
He found himself becoming very calm when he was working around the bees, so he figured it would help his fellow serviceman. That thought ended up turning into reality when he created the nonprofit Bee Found. Bees Found, in turn, started a new program called Bees for Bravery, a program that has helped numerous veterans cope with PTSD. Idleman stated, “It personally helped me, so I thought it could help other veterans with PTSD. We’re literally saving lives.”
One of the men impacted by the program is Eric Bergandz, who was deployed in 2002. He stated, “We had a helicopter shot down while I was in Iraq. I try not to burden my wife or family with the issues I had.” He added, “This was a great way for me to kind of get a little more purpose, focus, and it’s very calming.”
These days, we seem to lose more veterans to suicide than we do in battle, something Idleman is hoping to change with this program. He stated, “Really, the goal of Bee Found is to prevent more of these veterans from being remembered on Memorial Day, because we want them to stay with us.” I think we can all agree that is a very worthwhile cause and we all wish Captain Idleman success in his venture.
For more information about Bee Found, please click here.