Proud To Be An American, By Schell Hammel

Proud To Be An American

By Schell Hammel, Owner Of The Vapor Bar and MTL Vapors

In today’s tumultuous national environment, this statement is heard less and less and more importantly, it is less and less felt based on media interpretation. 

This past week I visited my grandmother in the small town in Texas that I grew up in. I grew up with my grandmother and grandfather and although I knew he was in World War II, he rarely discussed it and frankly would respond with, “I don’t talk about those things” when asked questions about it. Upon my visit, I came across some amazing documents that showed me exactly what he went through. I found out my grandfather was part of the third armored division of the first army. What does that mean? He was the unit that drove a tank into the French German war line at the Battle of The Bulge. They were the first unit to fire into the enemy lines, capture a town and release a manufacturing facility which was a part of a concentration camp where weapons were produced for the enemy. He captured a Nazi flag and armband which we will pass down to our children and their children, recalling the story we have learned now. His tank driving ended when a grenade was thrown into his tank, where he narrowly escaped but his co-driver did not. 

Why did I tell you this story? I get asked over and over again why I fight so hard for this industry and those it serves.  Many of you know that my grandfather died of lung cancer.  In the eyes of what can only be explained as those of a little girl, this grandfather who raised me was my hero, long before I knew his military story. If I could have had him in my life just 10 years more, I would have been a better person. That is what vaping could have done for him, and for me. 

Unfortunately, we forget these stories and the real reason we fight everyday. We become driven by rights, details in how the regulations are unattainable, fights on who is right and who is wrong, who we support and who we don’t and most importantly drama, rumors and competitive differences. We absorb ourselves in the drama, all the while forgetting the real drama. People are going to die if we don’t get our act together.  If my grand father, a man who barely passed the 7th grade, worked every day to provide for his family and to build a business from scratch, can drive an armored tank into the faces of Hitler’s army, why can’t we, as an industry and individual write our representative? Why can’t we pick up the phone and call? Why can’t we spend a few extra dollars per month to support those who are fighting for us? Why can’t we stop spreading rumor, hate, division, and entitlement and pick up our boots and fight together? I am so thankful that I live in this country. I am thankful I have the freedom to choose and the freedom to call, petition and represent. But what good is it if it is not practiced, taken for granted or abused? 

Don’t succumb to the negative. Hitch your business and attitude to those talking about unity, positive actions, follow through and those that represent small business. Align yourselves with other positive people around you and exercise your voice. We have a gift. We live in a country that actually cares. Why do I say that? Because when we see people die for no reason, when we see governments allow brutality, starvation, murder and rape and explain it away, when we see others turn their backs on deprivation and even support and defend the mass killings of millions of innocent lives, we hop in a tank and drive through their country and stop it. We feel sadness, grief and do our best to instill humanity. That is a country I am proud to be a part of and you should too. Just make sure you don’t take it for granted or the lives that fall under that umbrella of safety for granted. Make sure your voice is heard and that the American way is to care. If they don’t know to care about the millions of lives that can be saved due to our products, make them care. Give them a reason. You have a reason, many.  I have a million and one man who risked his life in one of the most infamous battles of all times whom you would have never known. They need to care….today. 

Gabriel Benson