HOUSTON, Texas -- Amidst the quiet hum of bees and the gentle work in the hives, military Veterans are finding their peace and purpose through beekeeping.
"It's helped me overcome some fears that I've had, it's helped me be a better mother," Veteran Shynita Reese said.
Her involvement with the bees not only helped her overcome personal fears but also brought a sense of calm and connection to her family life.
"The best part of all this is that my kids enjoy doing it with me," Reese said.
Hives for Heroes, a nonprofit, was established by Marine Veteran Steve Jimenez. The transition from military to civilian life was a tumultuous one for him. He found himself struggling upon his return home in 2018.
"When I reentered civilian life, I felt alone even though I had a family at home waiting for me," Jimenez reflects. "I'm so grateful for the bees, they literally saved my life by transitioning the way I looked at life."
Hives for Heroes, based in Houston, has quickly garnered national attention, stretching across the country with over 4,000 participating veterans. The organization aims to support veterans facing mental health challenges, offering beekeeping as a unique form of therapy and community building.
"I get to be calm and quiet with my friends," Jimenez says. "We don't have to speak, we don't have to talk about our fears, what's our trauma, we get to work through those bees and feel that joy again."