SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — For some veterans, it can be a challenge coming home and starting over. Finding a job can sometimes be a struggle, but one local veteran decided to become a beekeeper.
Alejandro Jauregui, retired Staff Sargeant fo the 82nd Airborne Division, is the co-owner of Fury Bees. Most people call him Alex, and bees are his life.
Fifteen years ago, Jauregui would have never imagined being a beekeeper.
“I served 11 years, did four tours- two in Iraq and two in Afghanistan,” Jauregui said. “[In] 2012 I stepped on an IED and lost both my legs.”
He spent two years learning to walk again. Jauregui said coming home and finding a job was tough.
“I think being disabled, people are stand off.. especially in this area, a lot of AG area. So, I basically couldn’t get a job. So, my brother-in-law suggested we go with bees,” he said.
The bees provide the calm.
“When things get quiet is when things get hard and so having something do, you know, if I’m having a bad day, I’ll come out and I’ll put a couple of hours of work in, and just clear my mind, so that’s another big plus about doing this,” Jauregui said.
It’s an expensive business, but fortunately, a local veteran organization stepped in to help out.
“Farmer Veteran Coalition is a non-profit that works with military veterans involved in agriculture,” said Yani Bunch with the Farmer Veteran Coalition.
“So they ended up partnering with Semper Fi Fund and with Vessels for Veterans and all three of them bought me a forklift,” Jauregui said.
Beekeeper and fellow veteran Henry Harlan is his mentor. Harlan runs Henry’s Bullfrog Bees.
“If he’d ever wore long pants, you’d never know that he had a disability. He does everything everybody else I know does,” Harlan said.
Jauregui’s message to other veterans is to find your passion.
“Once I started being active in the veteran community, it got me the motivation to start working. So just find something that you enjoy and start getting active in any way,” Jauregui said.
Even if it’s with bees.
“I still talk to my buddies and they’re like I’ve heard of veterans doing a lot of things but I’ve never heard of them doing beekeeping so I would have never have imagined it. It’s been very therapeutic for me for sure,” Jauregui said.
He currently has 700 hives and hopes to have 4,000 in the near future because of the demand for bees in the agriculture business.