Bumble Bee Vapor was created by owner Chris Borrelli, a former Army man himself. Our company was founded as a means to support our military service men and women, both past and present, and we are honored to impart this new program in their honor.
In cooperation with our retail stores, we bring you the story of the men and women behind the uniform, who bravely and selflessly fight to keep us safe and enjoy a little (or a LOT) of vaping along the way. They are the quiet supporters who have helped build the vaping community and industry, and we stand with them in support.
To our military community:
Thank you for all that you do to keep us and our country safe. We are forever indebted to you for your heart and sacrifice, and we appreciate you.
You always have a place and a home in the Bumble Bee Vapor family.
Lawrence Beauchamp, United States Air Force
Jacksonville, North Carolina
I AM AN AMERICAN AIRMAN.
I AM A WARRIOR.
I HAVE ANSWERED MY NATION'S CALL.
I AM AN AMERICAN AIRMAN.
MY MISSION IS TO FLY, FIGHT, AND WIN.
I AM FAITHFUL TO A PROUD HERITAGE,
A TRADITION OF HONOR,
AND A LEGACY OF VALOR.
I AM AN AMERICAN AIRMAN,
GUARDIAN OF FREEDOM AND JUSTICE,
MY NATION'S SWORD AND SHIELD,
ITS SENTRY AND AVENGER.
I DEFEND MY COUNTRY WITH MY LIFE.
I AM AN AMERICAN AIRMAN:
WINGMAN, LEADER, WARRIOR.
I WILL NEVER LEAVE AN AIRMAN BEHIND,
I WILL NEVER FALTER,
AND I WILL NOT FAIL.
The U.S. Air Force is built upon a simple foundation of three core principles: Integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. We at Bumble Bee Vapor cannot think of an individual who better demonstrates these principles than fellow Bee and our friend, Lawrence Beauchamp.
Lawrence is a long-time Bumble Bee supporter and has been with us since our humble beginnings, but it was not until the WARRIORS initiative launched that we actually learned the details of his story. His incredible self-sacrifice and commitment to his country touched us so deeply that we knew it was important to give him a voice and share his story with you.
Born in Connecticut, Lawrence grew up in Jacksonville, North Carolina. North Carolina is home to a lot of military bases, namely the Coast Guard’s Base Support Unit, the Army’s Fort Bragg base, the Marine Corps’ Camp Lejeune, and of course, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. Given Lawrence’s proximity and resulting exposure to military life, it seemed only natural that he would continue in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps by joining the military. His father and grandfather are former Navy men, and his family’s military service dates back to World War I. “I always looked up to them,” Lawrence explains to us. However, unlike the men before him, Lawrence instead chose the U.S. Air Force. “(The) Air Force is one of the hardest branches to get into. So I figured I would try and see what would happen.” After scoring in the top 10% of testing, he enlisted. He was 19 and had just gotten laid off from his job as an electrician journeyman. And just like that, a new career was born.
In 2003, Lawrence deployed. When the first bombs fell over Iraq, he found himself stationed at Prince Sultan Air Force Base in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Holding the position of 2F501 Fuels, his primary duties were to maintain the flight line and fuel systems that supported the fighters. It was a dangerous task simply to refuel the jets. “There were a bunch of safety precautions involved. There were days when we had to do hot refuels, when the jets were running and fully loaded.”
He was there just three months before he suffered heat stroke from the extreme conditions that conflicted with his prescribed medication. “My body temp was 105.8 when they found me,” he remembers. “I was flown out to Germany to get the medical treatment I needed. I was flown through some of the worst situations possible. We had to do an emergency landing in Qatar due to heavy gunfire.” It would be another two weeks before Lawrence and his crew found safe passage to Germany, and he was able to get the medical care he so desperately needed.
Fully recovered and anxious to return to his post, Lawrence was instead told by the military that he was a high risk for further heat stroke. Instead of the medical discharge he deserved, he was given an honorable administrative discharge for medical reasons. This determination prevented him from collecting the benefits he had rightfully earned and deserved. “It felt to me like a slap in the face. I had no control over what happened, and they just pushed me out as quick as I came in.”
While he struggled to come to terms with the fact that his military career was now over, he also realized that his discharge prevented him from receiving any support from the institution he had so greatly sacrificed himself for. The next four years found him battling the VA for the benefits that would enable him to receive the care he needed and the support essential not just for himself, but also for his family. After three long years, he was able to receive 20% disabled status, and it took another year to be awarded an increase to 40% status. It was an uphill battle but one that was worth it in the end. Like many veterans today, there is little care or regard of what happens to our veterans when they leave the battlefield and return to civilian life.
Despite the challenges, Lawrence quickly found his place back at home. These days, Lawrence works for Harley Davidson, a job that allows him to indulge in his hobbies and still help others find solace from their everyday stresses. His work schedule is also more conducive to a strong home life, one that allows him to spend time with his fiancé and their daughter. (Her nickname is BB!) They are self-processed nature lovers, and frequently enjoy camping, walks in the woods, fossil hunting on the beach, and cooking out. It is a peaceful life that is a far cry from his earlier days in the military, and Lawrence enjoys every minute of every day with his family.
On November 1, 2014, Lawrence found vaping. When asked what made him switch to vaping, he says simply, “My daughter. She always telling me that smoking was bad, and she didn’t want to see me get sick.”
His military service also enabled him to find a community that understands and respects his sacrifices to his country. “Being a Vet has helped me find companies (Bumble Bee) that are about helping and supporting the military.”
He has also used vaping to further his personal interests. He has just launched a new page on Facebook called ENC Juice Reviews, which is dedicated to juice reviews in order to help boost smaller companies and homemade e-liquid.
When reflecting back on his life, Lawrence writes, “I just want to say I’m glad when I see other people like me get to do what they enjoy and have a good story behind it. Being in the military made me grow up really fast and learn that I did serve (my country) and am still proud I did it. No matter what happened – and how it happened – I am a better person now and will always keep going.”
Indeed, Lawrence is the embodiment of today’s Airman. Despite the dangers of his position, he persevered and sacrificed his own health for the safety of our country and his fellow airman. Instead of falling victim to his injuries, he instead chose to give back to the vaping community through his endless support and promotion of small business. And to boot, he is one of the kindest, most gentle people we have had the privilege of knowing.
He is an active member of The Bumble Bee Hive, always quick to lend advice and share feedback. His upbeat personality, generous spirit, and commitment to the vaping industry is a rare find, and we are so touched to have someone so incredible share his time with us and our Bumble Bee family.
As you read this, a care package is on its way to him with some Bumble Bee and a gift from our friends at The Vape Deck in Atlantic Beach, Florida.
Lawrence, we are honored to have you in the Bumble Bee family, and we are lucky to call you our friend. Your selfless sacrifice and unbreakable spirit is the very heart of Bumble Bee Vapor, and you always have a home with us. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you, and we salute you.
Please visit his Facebook page here and help us in supporting him:
ENC Juice Reviews
A Note About This Month’s Sponsor, The Vape Deck, as relayed by owner Marty Parsons:
On April 12, 1995, I left my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland and reported to Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois to fulfill my 6 year contract as an Electronics Technician. Prior to boot camp, I hadn't smoked a cigarette for 2-1/2 years (I originally started smoking when I was 13 years old). A couple of months after boot camp, a few of us were out at a bar, and I made the mistake of smoking a cigarette. The habit got me again!
After completing a school in Great Lakes and one in Virginia Beach, I headed south to my first command, the USS Hue City (CG 66) in Mayport, Florida. Since I smoked during most of my 20 years, I will make the rest brief so here it is in a nutshell:
April 1997 - April 2001: USS Hue City (CG 66) in Mayport, Florida; during the summer of 2000 I met Kim through a mutual friend. She emailed me, we met when she visited Florida, she moved to FL a month later. We married in January of 2001 and knew each other for 6 months prior to getting married!
June 2001 - June 2004: Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD; assigned to Ground Electronics Maintenance Division
July 2004 - June 2007: USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) in Mayport, Florida
August 2007 - August 2008: Naval Expeditionary Guard Battalion in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I worked here as a guard in the detention facilities (this was an unaccompanied tour so Kim and Ty had to stay back in Florida).
December 2008 - February 2012: Naval Station Mayport; assigned to Ground Electronics Maintenance Division
May 2012 - April 2015: USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) in Mayport, Florida. In March of 2013, I broke my smoking habit and picked up vaping. There is a designated smoking area on the ship known as the “Smoke Deck." The upper chain of command said that we needed to use our electronic cigarettes on the smoke deck. We (the vapers) were fortunate enough to have a voice; one of the Chief Petty Officers spoke up and stated that we were vaping to stay away from cigarettes. It was his voice that helped our command in designating us with our own vaping area. This place was located on the other side of the ship (opposite from the smoke deck) and it is known as "The Vape Deck."
There is no way any of my accomplishments would have been possible if it weren't for Kim. All too often, the military spouse is overlooked because they aren't the one who is deployed or away. Kim has had to deal with raising our son, Tyler, fixing what breaks around the house (or the vehicles), taking care of the pets (one dog, one cat, and six snakes...yep, six snakes), and every little thing life throws at her. She has put off taking care of a knee injury, which happened during my last deployment (last year) - she is that stubborn, and she always puts me and Ty first. She was paying the bills while saving money for us to start our business. There really is no other way to put it then Kim is the driving force behind our accomplishments. It’s important for everyone to know that while I put in twenty years with the Navy, Kim was the driving force during fourteen of those years. I have to say that she is truly a hero and I am very fortunate to have her on my team.
With two years of not smoking and only vaping under my belt, I felt that it would be awesome to retire from the Navy and open our own vape shop. Despite numerous vape shops in the Jacksonville area, we wanted ours to be closest to the base in Mayport. While we are still in the early stages, we have a great location, and most of my shipmates know where we are located. At least a few times a week, some of my friends enjoy their lunch break from the ship by picking up some chow and chilling at the shop with us. If the tunes aren't playing, there just might be a movie playing on the TV. We have the PS3 and the XBox 360 in case folks want to play some games...not to mention the board games for the old school gamers!
As I conclude my military career, I’m still able to see my shipmates, as well as other folks who decide to stop in. I'm still the same guy just hanging out enjoying the flavors and the clouds. After spending much time away over the past years, I get to be with my family, and I love it!
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156 Ft. Collier Road, Suite 6
Winchester, VA 22603