From the Green Berets to bees.
That’s the transition Sergeant Major John Klapperich has made over the last few years. A Northern Virginia native, Klapperich served in the Army for 27 years, 24 of them as a member of a Green Beret Special Forces Unit.
Now, he works as a beekeeper in Lake Ridge, and owns Sweet Sophia – named for his youngest daughter – a small business that makes products using the beeswax and honey that his bee colonies produce.
“Beekeeping is something that is very interesting to me, it’s all something we hear about…so we started keeping bees. My wife’s been a long time maker of balms, and salves, and lotions…so we started making stuff with the bee products, and we’ve been expanding our apiary – our bee yard,” said Klapperich.
For Klapperich, the skills he learned in the military have served him well as a business owner and beekeeper.
“Some of my friends talk about, ‘Why beekeeping?’ And I think, well, after all our time in the Green Berets, you know, what better environment than to be surrounded by thousands and thousands of unpredictable, little venomous creatures…being in the Army, and being in the Special Forces particularly, you learn a lot of skills like planning, operations, and supply chain management,” said Klapperich.
Klapperich is also a member of the Prince William Regional Beekeepers Association, which seeks to promote beekeeping in the area.
“They promote sustainable beekeeping in our area. As we all know the bees’ population is declining, and what the bee clubs do is offer education…they offer a fellowship…as well as offering beekeeping courses. All of the bee clubs around here promote sustainable beekeeping which means that we produce, and we raise our own bees, we raise our own queens, as opposed to getting them,” said Klapperich.
According to Klapperich, the association offers residents the opportunity to save some of the bee population, as they will pick up swarms from area properties, so the bees don’t need to be exterminated.
For more information about Sweet Sophia, click here.
Learn more about Klapperich’s bees in this video: