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Resources Support Inspiration

Vol. 2 Number 7 • July 2015


Leadership Lessons Through Recovery: One Marine’s Story Calling All Veterans The Month Of Independence Declaration of Independence US Military Marriages San Diego Job Fair – Save The Date

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HOMELAND / July 2015

VA Home Loans for Veterans by a Veteran As a homeowner myself using my VA loan and as a multiple home investor, I understand purchasing a home is one of the biggest and most important purchases someone will make in their lifetime. Being a 10-year active duty Veteran as an Airborne Paratrooper, I know what it means to sacrifice your time away from civilian life and the abuse your body takes in the military. That’s why I’ve made it my mission as a Loan Officer to reach out to other Veterans to assist with their Home Purchases. From pre-qualification to closing, I will be there to ensure that the loan process for your home goes as smoothly as possible. You will find that I strive to keep in contact with my clients throughout the entire process and to be easily accessible. In addition to VA home loans, I also specialize in FHA and Conventional home loans. BRE# 01147747 NMLS# 9873 Top Producer 2008 through 2013

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Homeland Publisher Michael J. Miller

Contributing Writers Linda Kreter Rick Rogers CJ Machado Vicki Garcia Vesta Anderson Mark Baird Keith Angelin Scott McGaugh Justin Constantine Kevin Dunn Carol Malin Lazjee Lyles Tim Mathues Greetings and a warm welcome to HOMELAND Magazine! Please take some time to get to know the layout of our magazine. Homeland Magazine focuses on real stories from real heroes; the service member, the veteran, the wounded and the families that keep it together.

Public Relations Linda Kreter CJ Machado

Our magazine is driven by passion, vision, reflection and the future. The content is the driving force behind our magazine and the connection it makes with service members, families, veterans and civilians. Homeland is about standing your ground, resilience, adaptation, inspiration and solidarity.

Graphic Design Trevor Watson

HOMELAND is inspirational, “feel good” reading; our focus is on family, military and civilians alike. I believe HOMELAND is where the heart is, and our publication covers a wide variety of topics, and issues about real life and real stories. We are honored to share the work of so many committed and thoughtful people. They say San Diego is a military town, I find that San Diego is a HOMELAND town, where military and civilians work and live together. We appreciate your support and are so happy to have you as a reader of HOMELAND Magazine. With warmest thanks, Michael J. Miller, Publisher 4

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Homeland Magazine is published monthly. Submissions of photographs, Illustrations, drawings, and manuscripts are considered unsolicited materials and the publisher assumes no responsibility for the said items. All rights reserved. Homeland Magazine 9750 Miramar Road, Suite 315 San Diego, CA 92126

858.240.0333 Contact Homeland Magazine at: info@homelandmagazine.com

Inside This Issue

Homeland 6 70th Anniversary
Of The End Of World War II 8 A Declaration Of Independence 16 Leadership Lessons Through Recovery: One Marine’s Story


18 US Military Marriages 20 Life After The Military: Are You Ready? 22 How To Prepare For A Job Fair 24 Education Revolution


26 Calling All Veterans: The County Wants You 31 Enlisted To Entrepreneur 18

32 There is A Solution


Make July Your Month Of Independence


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The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II By Scott McGaugh

USMC Marines scale the cliffs near La Jolla during World War II, in preparation for amphibious landings in the Pacific. Photo courtesy of the San Diego History Center.


ugust 14, 1945. Young men were headed to Navy Pier to load onto transports. They were headed for the Far Pacific and likely the invasion of Japan. Horns began honking on Broadway and the news spread, the war was over! Some transport ships literally made a u-turn in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, bringing sons, brothers, and fathers safely back to San Diego. It was a landmark day in San Diego’s history, bringing to an end a landmark era in San Diego’s development. Much of what we take for granted today can be traced to the military’s influence in San Diego during World War II and even prior to that. For example, Highway 163 from downtown to Kearny Mesa was built specifically to enable defense plant workers living new newly built homes reach the bomber-manufacturing plant that is now SPAWAR. In fact, much of Kearny Mesa and


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Claremont’s housing was built during World War II. In Linda Vista, 3,000 homes were built in only 200 days. Many of the buildings in Balboa Park were refurbished in the war years and converted into training barracks, nurses, quarters, and Balboa Hospital patient over-flow. Some patients requiring hydro-therapy to recover from their wounds used what we now call the lily pond in Balboa Park. Nearly every notable structure in San Diego was used for the war. Navy recruits, most of whom did not know how to swim, jumped off the end of Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach and swam to shore as part of abandon-ship drills. Top-secret sonar experiments were conducted in Sweetwater Reservoir and off the coast near Point Loma and La Jolla. Nearby, Marines climbed the

cliffs above Black’s Beach in training for amphibious island landing in the Far Pacific. In fact, a small city was built near what is today UCSD. Camp Callan featured barracks, hospital, five post exchanges, five chapels, three theaters and even a landfill. Nearly 300,000 men were trained at Camp Callan during the war. In World War II San Diego became a mecca for Navy and Marine training and facilities were built almost overnight. Tierrasanta was first developed during the war as Camp Elliot. Thousands of Marines trained there, and it took decades to remove all the unexploded ordnance left behind on ridges and in the gullies. Overall nearly 26 percent of all land in the city was confiscated for military purposes, stripping $150 million from the tax rolls. About 30 miles away, Camp Pendleton was developed to provide advanced training for Marines www.homelandmagazine.com

destined for the Pacific Theater of Operations. San Diego’s tuna fleet disappeared for several years during the war. The tuna fleet became the “Pork Chop Express,” hauling supplies to far-away Pacific island bases. The clippers made 1,800-mile voyages. Seventeen of the 49 boats were lost to storms, accidents and the enemy, before the survivors came home at war’s end. The Navy presence expanded so fast that it was consuming 40 percent of the city’s water supply, leading to the federal government to build pipelines costing more than $7 million at the time to tap water supplies to the north. The city still relies on those pipelines today. Industrial output had increased from $161 million to $800 million in a single year. Population had more than doubled. More than 300,000 Marines and sailors had come through town for training and many returned permanently after they returned to civilian life. By the end of the war, the city would never be the same and the San Diego we know today owes much of its heritage to the influence of World War II. WWII & San Diego Editor’s Note: On Saturday, August 15, 2015, the USS Midway Museum will host a free event saluting the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. The party will honor the Greatest Generation and is a measure of just how much San Diego owes its stature to the military. For more event information, visit www.midway.org

FREE for San Diegans



70th Anniversary of the End of WWII Mayor Kevin Faulconer invites San Diegans to a celebration of a lifetime in honor of the

70th Anniversary of the End of WWII

August 15, 2015 Onboard the Flight Deck of the USS Midway

Meet World War II Veterans In Person Relive the joy that swept the city when Peace was announced 70 years ago! Watch, Thanks for the Memories: Bob Hope and His All-Star Pacific Tour, Live Musical Review An unforgettable evening featuring: Bob Hope, Judy Garland, The Andrews Sisters, Betty Grable and More! Plus dance the night away to the nostalgic sounds of SWING!

6pm Doors Open 7pm-8pm Show 8pm-10pm Dance 10pm Fireworks

Presented by North Island Credit Union

(619) 544-9600 • www.midway.org 910 N. Harbor Dr. • San Diego, CA 92101 www.homelandmagazine.com

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By Lazjee Lyles

Independence Day – the beating heart of summer. A day rife with historical and emotional significance for a nation, and a day that perfectly embodies national pride and patriotism for Americans. It is time spent with family and friends in celebration of an ideal that unites us: freedom. The broader cultural implications of Independence Day are undeniable, but the holiday is also tied to individual meanings that define what it means to strive for self-reliance– and respect. Our nation’s injured veterans, perhaps more than many, are impacted by this holiday in a particularly unique way: their personal enlistment in the military is in direct correlation to the value they place on independence. No stronger motivation exists for the kind of valor and unspeakable sacrifices veterans make in the name of keeping us protected and free. Independence Day has deeply personal meanings for our brave service members; when we honor the holiday, we honor them.


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Chris Gordon – Wounded Warrior Projects Alumni Honoring and empowering Wounded Warriors has been the mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) since 2003 in the wake of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Through 20 programs and services focused on warrior well-being and quality of life, WWP is dedicated to a lifelong commitment to this nation’s wounded veterans. The unifying thread among those life-affirming programs and services? Warrior independence. On their terms. WWP’s Independence Program offers injured veterans this very opportunity. Engaging warriors, nurturing their minds and bodies, and encouraging economic empowerment ensures that independence is the most viable outcome. Through effective readjustment techniques, the fuller lives wounded veterans imagine post-military become their new normal. By emphasizing the importance of network on warrior wellness, WWP helps bring the warrior, family, treatment team, and community-support professionals together in a long-term partnership to establish goals and develop a personal plan for each warrior. Among the array of programs WWP offers, Peer Support, Project Odyssey®, Soldier Ride®, and Warriors to Work™ are only a few with a laser-focus on peer mentorship, mental health, physical well-being, and economic empowerment, respectively. The newly created Long-Term Support Trust helps warriors, their families and caregivers look ahead to meet long-term needs so that selfreliance is lifelong. “For injured veterans, services like supported employment and life-skills coaching can open up new avenues to greater independence,” explains Steve Nardizzi, Wounded Warrior Project chief www.homelandmagazine.com

“For injured veterans, services like supported employment and life-skills coaching can open up new avenues to greater independence,” explains Steve Nardizzi, Wounded Warrior Project chief executive officer. “We have to recognize and support their search for the fullest possible lives on their terms.” executive officer. “We have to recognize and support their search for the fullest possible lives on their terms.”

Christine Schei is the mother and caregiver of Erik Schei, a former United States Army combat engineer turned gunner. During Erik’s deployment to Iraq, a sniper’s bullet resulted in grave TBI injuries that have confined him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Christine witnesses first hand each day how much

Nathan Lawson served for eight years as a United States Army cavalry scout and was deployed to Iraq from 2005-2007, and 2008-2009. It is his personal experiences during Lawson’s service that impact how he now regards Independence Day. “I think of my brothers I lost and the blood I shed,” said Lawson. “It was not only so we could remain a free nation, but to also ensure America would be free for future generations.”

Continues on next page Nathan Lawson – Wounded Warrior Projects Alumni

Securing that freedom comes with a heavy price for many combat veterans. Lawson, who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), has difficulty during the very holiday that is meant to also honor his service and sacrifice. “I spend more time hiding in the house because of the fireworks,” he said. “Some understand. Others don’t.” Despite these challenges, Lawson says he has made significant strides in achieving independence daily. He has participated in WWP’s Soldier Ride® and Soldier Ride Off-Road events, and credits his success to the engagement with fellow veterans and WWP’s 20 free programs and services. “WWP reached out to me, and they gave me something to look forward to,” said Lawson. “They took me out of my element, put me with other warriors who experienced the same things I have…and made me realize I wasn’t alone.” One of the most devastating obstacles to independence for injured service members is traumatic brain injury (TBI), which represents one of the most complex and potentially severe injuries incurred by service members deployed in Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. Severity and effects of TBI are broad in range, but extreme cases of TBI can result in lasting and persistent neurological and cognitive deficits. www.homelandmagazine.com

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Chris Wolff – Wounded Warrior Projects Alumni


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independence means to her son. The holistic benefits of art therapy have been deeply valuable. “Erik is participating in the Independence Program and loves it,” said Christine proudly. “The art therapist is also a counselor, so he can talk to her about issues that bother him or give him trouble. We have to help him, due to his limited mobility, but he gets to make decisions and choices that motivate him to work harder and get more independent so he can do more on his own.” Many warriors express doubt about being able to regain independence as they experience post-military identity shifts. “I always looked at myself as an injured vet,” admitted WWP Alumnus John Rego. “I thought there was no way I’d ever be as good as I once was. I thought because I was hurt, I couldn’t go out and get active again.” Fellow WWP Alumnus Joe Washam agrees and confessed that the role reversal was disorienting for him: “After being independent since joining the Army at age 18, all of a sudden I was completely dependent on everyone around me.” Ultimately, good old-fashioned tenacity can provide a necessary springboard for recovery says Chris Wolff, who was told by doctors he’d never walk again after a routine flu shot rendered him a quadriplegic. It was Chris’s own determination that allowed him to defy that prognosis. “There’s something to be said for being stubborn,” he said. “You look at your situation, at challenges you’re facing, and you say, ‘This isn’t me.’ When you determine in your mind [that you will] change, you get up off your mental couch and make life better.” Caregiver well-being is also a top priority in light of the new support roles they embrace out of love for their wounded family members. For Kelly Eakins, caregiver to her son Steven, WWP programs have been a lifeline. “The Independence Program allowed me to go to a caregiver’s retreat and know Steven is taken care of through respite care,” said Kelly, who finds peace of mind in the joy she gets from Steven’s accomplishments. “We don’t want Steven in an institution. That’s why the Independence Program gives us peace of mind.” As wounded service members who have come home transition into civilian life, they are ever-mindful of the daily fight for independence that many of their fellow veterans still face. Nathan Lawson’s words are simple, but his message is powerful and clear: “Don’t quit. Life will never be as it was before serving. But now you have brothers and sisters everywhere you turn. And they will always have your back. Be involved, and always talk to someone.” (Contributed to by Vesta M. Anderson)

WWP recognizes the sacrifices of those who have served in honor of this great nation. When celebrating Independence Day, please remember to keep veterans in mind when planning firework festivities on the days leading up to and after July 4th. Posting signs to alert nearby residents of combat veterans in the neighborhood, or speaking to neighbors, for example, can go a long way toward making sure service members feel at ease with a familiar part of Independence Day celebrations. For more information on the Independence Program, and all of WWP’s free programs and services, please contact the WWP Resource Center at 888.WW P.ALUM (997.2586), 904.405.1213, or resourcecenter@ woundedwarriorproject.org.

About Wounded Warrior Project The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.

John Rego – Wounded Warrior Projects Alumni www.homelandmagazine.com

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There’s no better place to set up camp in San Diego than the newly renovated Declan Suites San Diego. Featuring 264 spacious two-room suites and the new Deck 12 bar and restaurant, Declan Suites is the perfect place to celebrate any special occasion. Whether you’re planning a San Diego birthday, reunion, wedding rehearsal, business retreat or training meeting, Declan can cater any event to accommodate your individual needs. Declan Suites offers a 10% discount to all military on any meeting or event booked in 2015.

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Make July Your Month Of


By Kevin Dunn In the United Stated we have just finished celebrating the 4th of July. It’s a special time to Americans. Not only are there picnics and parades, there is an understanding that over 200 years ago people got fed up with the way things were and pledged their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” to making the changes they saw necessary for long-term success as a nation. July is also halfway through the calendar year, six months away from the hopeful exuberance of New Year’s resolutions. This makes it a perfect opportunity to make July a month to declare your personal independence from the things that are


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standing in the way of your resolutions and goals. Revisit those grand dreams and declare your independence from the tyranny holding you back – pledging with the same revolutionary fervor as the patriots did to make the changes necessary for your success.

Declare your independence from failure. How are you doing on the goals you made at the first of the year? Have you fallen so far behind that you have shoved them back into a corner, pointedly ignoring them because you feel that you have failed?

This is the tyranny of failure. It stalks along beside you, assuring you that each and every time you try something new it will not work out and you will not be successful. Often it has helpers – your friends, co-workers, possibly even those closest to you. Regardless, the largest ally of failure is the voice inside of you. Before you listen to all these voices, ask yourself these three questions:

• Have you given this goal your best effort? • If you have – what are the reasons you could not be successful? Is it a lack of resources, knowledge or skill? • How can you learn from where you are and www.homelandmagazine.com

make a plan to acquire what is missing – the resources, knowledge or skills – to allow you to be successful? The great Roman general Marcus Aurelius asked the question a different way: “Does what’s happened keep you from acting with justice, generosity, self-control, sanity, prudence, honesty, humility, straightforwardness?” In other words, does what you perceive as failure change your basic nature as a human being? If not, don’t waste time being held back by the failure. Instead use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Take that learning and growth into the future and continue on to achieve your goals.

Declare your independence from fear. Television personality Mike Rowe tells a story when he stood before the camera to begin his first night as a host on the shopping channel QVC. He had a product he knew nothing about, he had no experience in live television, and he knew that QVC was not interested in on-air personalities who could not sell products. In his story, Mike points out a key in declaring your independence from the tyranny of fear: Don’t hide your fear. Acknowledge that you are scared to yourself and to those around you. In Mike’s case, he started out his segment letting the entire television audience know that it was his first time, he didn’t know anything about what the product did, and then he asked them to get involved and help him out. The audience responded by filling the phone lines to talk about their experience with the products, encouraged by Mike’s willingness to be truthful and authentic with them. Most importantly, they were willing to purchase the products being pitched. What Mike Rowe did was eliminate the best weapon of fear, which is the uncertainty that comes with doing something that you have not done before. By openly acknowledging the fear he made it clear that he was committed to success, and was able to tap into those who were waiting for an opportunity to make that success possible.


Declare your independence from going it alone. The story that Mike Rowe tells also shows the futility of trying to go it alone. Many people set goals – whether they are related to education, fitness or career – then attempt to achieve those goals in the absence of any type of support system. The self-made man is a myth. Throughout history, leaders who have been successful have had carefully developed support systems around them. Whether they are formal advisors, technical assistants, or just sounding boards who can help in the development of ideas, a support system is invaluable in helping you reach a goal. Make yourself accountable to those who care about you. It does not have to be a formal accountability framework; something as simple as online social media can be very powerful. When I first started a fitness program, I posted each day’s run to my Facebook account. This was not so much that I wanted to be sure that my friend saw me run, rather, it was my motivation when I did not want to go run.

Declare your independence. Make this July your personal “Independence Month” – a month to recommit to the goals that you want to achieve this year. Adjust where necessary, learn from the attempts of the first half of the year, banish your fear, and re-engage with your support system. You have the second half of the year to make your goals a reality, and the experiences of the first half of the year to get you there. KevinTechExec@gmail.com LinkedIn linkedin.com/in/kevindunn Follow me on Twitter @KevinTechExec

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Winston Churchill once said, “Never, never, never give up.” I have tried to fully embrace that philosophy during my on-going recovery, and I believe that this simple mantra applies to anyone who is facing some sort of adversity.

Leadership Lessons Through Recovery:

One Marine’s Story By Justin Constantine 3-Part Series (July, August, September)


n October 18, 2006 I was shot in the back of the head by a sniper. I can no longer see out of my left eye, and I am now missing most of my teeth and the tip of my tongue. I cannot run anymore because the doctors removed several bones in my legs to use in reconstructing my upper and lower jaws. Nor can I speak perfectly clearly, and I suffer daily from Post Traumatic Stress and a Traumatic Brain Injury.

But you know what? I am the luckiest person you will ever meet. Because of the injury that caused these problems, I am far closer with my wife Dahlia than I would have thought possible, I now know that I am far stronger than I ever would have imagined, and I can put everyday obstacles into their proper perspective and focus on what is truly important to Dahlia and me. Winston Churchill once said, “Never, never, never give up.” I have tried to fully embrace that philosophy during my on-going recovery, and I believe that this simple mantra applies to anyone who is facing some sort of adversity.


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I joined the Marine Corps in 1997 during my second year of law school. After I graduated from law school I went directly into the Active Duty Marine Corps Judge Advocate (JAG officer.) But when I deployed to Iraq in 2006, it wasn’t in the relatively comfortable and safe role of a JAG officer. In the Marine Corps, every officer is a Marine first and learns the basics of numerous jobs, so I volunteered to be a Civil Affairs Team Leader. I had the honor of leading a close-knit team of eight Marines attached the Third Battalion, Second Marines infantry battalion. Our unit’s area of operation was in al-Anbar Province near the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi. As a Civil Affairs officer, I was expected to develop and manage US-funded contracts with the local population to help rebuild the basic infrastructure needed for any city, including clean running water, www.homelandmagazine.com

functioning electricity and well-needed schools. Unfortunately, the Fall of 2006 was an extremely volatile time for the United States forces in Iraq, particularly the Marines in al-Anbar, with the insurgency operating at its most powerful level. Also, convincing the local Iraqis to work with my team to rebuild their cities was virtually impossible – they would be visited at night by members of the insurgency with death threats for any indication of cooperation with US personnel. That being said, I will always look back on the time I spent in Iraq as the highlight of my career – not too many other lawyers get to lead Marines in a combat environment. Moreover, I learned a lot about myself, my fellow Marines and effective leadership while I was there. Because I worked closely with the Battalion Commander, he put me on his “jump team”, which was comprised of about a dozen Marines who went out “across the wire” together 4 or 5 times each week. On October 18, 2006, we were on a regular combat patrol, and we eventually came into an area that was known for enemy sniper fire. In fact, three Marines had already been killed by snipers in this particular area. Despite this known danger, we were Marines with a mission and we proceeded into the hot zone. Because of my injuries I do not remember the events that took place after I was shot. However, I have been able to reconstruct the events from gathering facts from my fellow Marines and from a reporter who was attached to our unit that day. I do remember that earlier in the day we had stopped at an Iraqi police station that had been shot up the night before by the insurgents – our mission there was to show the Iraqi police how to better defend their position. We had also stopped at one of our forward operating bases to check on other Marines. It was there that I noticed that the reporter was standing around and not continually moving to avoid being an easy target for a sniper. I addressed this concern with him at our next stop. Based on my advice he took a big step forward and a split second later a round came in right where his head had been and hit the wall behind us. Unfortunately, the sniper hit his second target: me. The bullet entered right behind my left ear and exited

out my mouth, causing catastrophic damage along the way. The injury was so devastating that the Marines in the immediate area thought that I had been killed, and told the Corpsman who was running to my aid, “Don’t worry about the Major – he’s dead.” But Navy Corpsman George Grant is an amazing young man, and even though blood was pouring out of my head and what was left of my face, and even though the sniper was still trying to pick off my fellow Marines, he proceeded to save my life. As torn up as my face was, George performed rescue breathing on me, followed by an emergency tracheotomy, so that I wouldn’t drown on my own blood. In the face of overwhelming adversity, and with complete disregard for his own life, George was able to focus solely on me and keeping me alive. George continued to work on me despite the sniper who was still actively firing at other Marines, the fact that this wasn’t a pristine hospital room but the edge of a dirty battlefield, his 65 pounds of protective armor, and his own sweat on that typical 100+ degree day. In fact, George did such a wonderful job on my tracheotomy that my plastic surgeon at the military hospital thought another surgeon had performed it. This is even more amazing when one considers that George had never performed that kind of surgery on a human before – he had only done it once on a pig during a controlled training environment for Navy Corpsmen at Camp Pendleton, California. I don’t know what that says about me, but the pig survived and so did I! So, one incident has caused huge change in my life. That bullet could have barely missed me, like it did the reporter. Or it could have been like what happened to the Marine behind me that day, who was also shot by the sniper in the head. The sniper actually shot him in the forehead, but his plastic goggles somehow blocked that bullet and caused it to ricochet to the side. But that’s not what happened. Change happened, and despite my egregious injuries I have accepted the change, and grown with it, and tried to use it to better my life and the lives of those around me. As I mentioned, I am a lucky man and perspective matters. I lived – others have not. And over the last eight years I have learned some important lessons that all relate to dealing with change and have helped me to cope with a truly life- altering situation. And while I know what happened to me physically is probably on the extreme end of the spectrum, I believe what I have learned from this experience applies to anyone. Just as I have faced challenges in my personal and professional life, I am sure you have as well. I hope these three lessons help you with whatever obstacles you may be facing.

Continues on page 30


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US Military Marriages Every time we are able to assist a US veteran or one of their family members in any of the multiple ways that Patriotic Hearts does, it is lifts our spirits and puts wind beneath our wings, enabling us to help the next and then next. Receiving the thanks from serving military and transitioned veterans for being able to earn enough to pay for essential bills through our One Day job board; helping veterans to secure the right job; getting the entrepreneurial started in business; counseling with veterans and their families, one-onone; producing home comings, job fairs, concerts, community programs, job training, even being on TV and in the media, advocating and educating for their behalf; as wonderful as each is, nothing compares to seeing the hardness, hate and anger in a loving couple melt away and reveal their true and heart felt love, respect, need and affection. The basis of all intimacy is trust. Love cannot exist without it. And the foundation of both is honesty. Oh the joy of being able to be known and to truly know another! This is what binds a couple together and that turns them into one, indivisible vine. Then the fruit of the affection becomes a blessing to many others.


have been serving US veterans and their families since 1970, at the height of the Vietnam War. Perhaps the most precious program of the non-profit my wife and I created, Patriotic Hearts, is for reconnecting military marriages. We have been holding small, peer group, three day marriage retreats in San Diego since 2007. US military members and veterans have always suffered the highest rate of divorce. Of the myriad of sacrifices each them makes in service to our country, this is another. During the years 2004 to 2010 our enlisted, combat veterans had a 90% divorce rate! Think of how many people suffered because of each of these marriages that could not stay connected: children, family, friends… Helping these couples and families to feel the deep love that connects them and to forgive, understand, trust and embrace again is the one of the greatest blessings we can give them.

US military members and veterans have always suffered the highest rate of divorce. Of the myriad of sacrifices each them makes in service to our country, this is another. During the years 2004 to 2010 our enlisted, combat veterans had a 90% divorce rate! Think of how many people suffered because of each of these marriages that could not stay connected: children, family, friends…

This is a common experience at every retreat: On the first afternoon, when we greet the couples as they sign-in and get the keys to their luxury suite, some of the wives will be bursting with stuffed inside feelings and begin sharing with us right out of the gate: “He never spends time with me anymore. He used to be my best friend. Now, he is either angry at me or ignoring me. He spends all of the time with his military buddies, instead of with me and the kids.” -- Often their husbands just stand there without any reaction, cold as ice. This is a key to our retreats: It is not what Tori or I say; it is what the attending couples feel. And the best way for humans to feel is by touch. So we create situations for them to do so unconsciously and naturally. The response is like releasing the gates of a dam. Both of them let go of their hurt and defenses: Tears, smiles, hugs and happiness envelope them, instead.


HOMELAND / July 2015

Military wives endure a tremendously heavy load. It is a hard calling. Falling in love with someone in the US military is both a blessing and a curse. But once two people fall in love they will persevere and stick together despite any hardship, suffering and separation. Divorce is never an option where true love thrives. The worries, wounds and wants of life lead us away from what is real and everlasting. They choke us, blind us, deceive us, entangle us, and suffocate us. We get lost in the deceit of their importance. They turn us aside from the straight and narrow road of happiness. These infinite cares are not what really matters. This is the undying truth of human existence: Being truly in love and for an entire life time and beyond; to be completely committed to going deeper and growing older and growing together, forever!

To provide a romantic location and hotel; to prepare their rooms with romantic enticements, to provide professional marriage speakers and counselors, books, workbooks, photos, fine meals and fun activities, plus special gifts for keeping their 3 day experience alive costs $10,000 for a dozen couples. – Do these couples deserve any less? If you care about saving the marriages and the families of those that volunteer to defend us, our lives, freedoms and prosperity from unimaginable evil; if you want to do something significant for them that really matters, then please make it possible.

Visit PatrioticHearts.org. Thank you, Mark & Tori Baird People Magazine’s “Heroes among Us”


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HOMELAND / July 2015 19


Returning to civilian life presents new opportunities—and challenges—for Veterans. Many Veterans look forward to life after the military because they can spend more time with family and friends and no longer have to worry about military structure or deployment. At the same time, transitioning out of the military may raise a lot of questions. You may wonder what you are going to do with this new phase of your life, or whether you will be able to find a job. You may think about going back to school, but not know where to start. Or you may miss the order and discipline of military life (compared with civilian life) and wonder if you will be able to adjust.


impression, so you want to be sure it’s a good one. Through your interviews, you’ll likely discover a number of marketable skills and characteristics that make you an ideal candidate for a civilian career.

Build your professional network. Chances are you have many more military contacts in your network than civilian ones. If that’s the case and you have an eye on a civilian career, then you should actively build a more diverse network while you’re still in the military. Creating a professional profile online using a site like LinkedIn is a good place to start. Continuing to build your network will better prepare you for a career as a civilian.


REEL IN CIVILIAN EMPLOYERS WITH YOUR MILITARY EXPERIENCE One of the challenges of switching from a military to a civilian career is finding a way to relate your military experience to the civilian workplace. Military occupational specialties are very different compared to what you’ll find in corporate occupations, which means you may need to think differently about your skills and experience. For example, you may be accustomed to a military lingo that involves jargon, acronyms and terms a civilian employer would not understand. Of course, the same is true in civilian workplaces, so you may need to learn new ways of communicating.

While there may be some uncertainty when you separate from the military and enter the civilian workforce, there is a lot you can do before that happens. The following tips can help you make a smoother transition. Get started early. Begin to think about your civilian career one to two years before your expected separation date. You’ll need that time to assess your skills and interests, so you can research and align yourself with a civilian career that will be a good fit. You may want to further your education after you separate from the military. Talk with an ESO on your base to get more information.

If you’re not sure how your military experience might translate into a civilian career, consider conducting informational interviews. While you can gather a great deal of information about a career by researching online or reading brochures and books, you’ll gain far greater insight by communicating firsthand with someone with direct experience in the occupation you seek.

Do your research. Your research involves more than gathering information about potential civilian career paths. It also involves tapping into what personally resonates with your passion and interests. Think about the elements of your military experience that sparked an internal fire, and then consider how that might be translated to a civilian career. Rather than focus on job titles, focus on the skills you want to use and the careers that will let that happen. If you are considering going back to school, look for universities that offer transfer credit for past military service or training, military benefits, scholarships or grants, and research the school’s reputation in the military community.

Always treat informational interviews as you would a job interview. You may not be actively in the running for a position, but you are making a professional

Assess your skill gaps. If you’ve given yourself enough lead time, you’ll have a better idea of the civilian career path you want to take, which gives you


HOMELAND / July 2015


time to fill any skill gaps that may come up. When possible, seek additional military training and experience that might help you with your civilian job search. This may involve doing more than expected, but that extra effort can pay off when it’s time to launch your civilian career. Dust off your resume. Depending on your circumstances, you may never have created a resume. Whether you have a resume or not, it’s important to know that your military experience may not easily translate into a civilian career. For this reason, consider creating a functional resume that focuses on specific skills that will be of interest to a civilian employer, rather than a chronological resume that lists military job titles a civilian employer will not recognize or understand. Many universities have career services departments that can help you create a resume. If you decide to go back to school, take advantage of this perk and consult a specialist for help building your resume. Work Ethic. Many military service members and veterans apply the structure and commitment from their training to the workplace. Leadership. “Nearly all veterans have served in a leadership role in some capacity during their time in the military, so whether they are leading from the front or motivating others to achieve collaborative goals, veterans usually perform exceedingly well in a supervisory or managerial capacity. Timeliness. Arriving on time is a key component of the military lifestyle, so being a veteran usually gives civilian employers confidence in your ability to be reliable. Teamwork. The nature of military service often means goals are achieved through the collaboration of people. There are no lone rangers. This makes veterans excellent team players who demonstrate a sense of loyalty that civilian employers appreciate.


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Technological Skills. Veterans tend to have a broad range of technical skills, or the ability to quickly pick up new technology. In the fast-paced civilian workplace, this kind of adaptability and innovation goes a long way. In the months to follow Homeland magazine will feature a career/education section dedicated to transitioning military personnel, active service members, veterans, and military spouses that are looking for advice, resources, jobs, scholarships, degree & certificate programs & opportunities.

Job Fair – Save The Date: 09/11/15 The annual Hire Patriots 9/11 Job Fair is being held at Military Event Center, across from MCAS Miramar: 9323 Activity Rd, San Diego, CA 92126.

September 11, 2015 11:00am – 3pm For more information contact Mike Miller mikemiller @homelandmagazine.com

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How to Prepare for a Job Fair & Business Opportunity Expo Tips for Finding the Right Fit


irePatriots has hosted many job fairs and business opportunity expos. Our purpose is to accelerate the time it takes for finding the right job or business for you. We bring together one hundred or more companies that have open positions in a variety of fields. And we invite a select number of franchises too. (Veterans


HOMELAND / July 2015

own 30% of all US businesses.) – If you are serious about getting a job or starting a business there are a few things you should do to make the best of your time and effort. Keep an open mind: Some will advise you to know exactly what companies that you want to work for before attending. Yes, you should research the most businesses with open positions in your field. Go to their job boards and read about the jobs that apply to you. But there may be companies, jobs and opportunities that you would enjoy, which you have not considered.

Put Your Best Foot Forward: Be calm, self-

assured and confident when meeting prospective employers. Never seem worn out or desperate. Your hair should be groomed and your attire clean and pressed. Stand straight. Introduce yourself and begin using the names of the people at the booth ASAP. Elevator Speech: This refers to the time it would take you to tell someone pertinent info about yourself and your aspirations in the length of time it takes to ride an elevator. This should be shorter than 15 seconds. Practice writing and saying this. It is your verbal calling card. Pick up the Phone: Set yourself apart. Show initiative. Find out who is in charge of hiring for www.homelandmagazine.com

the company or for the department that is the right fit for you. Give them a call at work. Let them know that you have researched the company and will be talking to their recruiters at the job fair. Ask if they have anytime for you to take them to coffee in order to find out more about the job and to make sure that you are the right fit. Ask for a few minutes of their advice. Most people will say yes. Resume: I suggest a combo letter that begins with your elevator speech and then lists the best parts of your work experience and qualifications that put you in the best light. This is critical: Many companies use a computer to scan resumes before being read. The computer is looking for the same keywords as were highlighted in the job posting. Match as many words as you can in your resume to get over that first hurdle. LinkedIn: This is perhaps the best resource for finding out about a company’s core values, veteran programs, and much more. You can also read about and connect with executives that work in the company. Let the appropriate department heads know that you will be attending. Biz Ops: One sure way to always be employed is to own a business. There is great satisfaction in


website. It is where all of the attending companies will be looking for prospects. And search the jobs they have posted on the Careers job board.

employing others; a sense of accomplishment in building success; and if you are willing to devote yourself, a tremendous amount of money to be made.

Mark Baird HirePatriots.com

HirePatriots.com: Post your resume on this

HOMELAND / July 2015 23

Education Revolution at Computer Training Academy By Carol Malin


It is reported that Information Technology (IT) careers are recession proof and since 1991 have stayed in the top 10 of occupations with a 37 to 53 percent growth. More stats to whet your appetite... according to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, IT is one of the fastest growing fields, accounting for one of every four new jobs created between the year 2000 and (projected) 2018. The average annual wage of an IT professional in the U.S. with one certification is $60,000 (California lists $80,300) and 74 percent report getting a raise the first year and another 37 percent landing a promotion.

ver since entrepreneurs Bill Gates and Steve Jobs opened up the computer world to users across the globe, there has been a dramatic increase in the need for those with the technical skills to code, design, link, network, repair, and more. If you are thinking of a sustainable job for your future, there’s a whole world open to those with the right training in Information Technology (IT). Shouldn’t you be a part of it? A Certified Trainer working with a student.

The school is now in its 15th successful year in Riverside. The Temecula satellite campus opened in 2008 and last year CTA expanded to a new location on Enterprise Circle North. In the fall of 2015, CTA plans to open another campus in the Vista–San Marcos area.

Because the CTA program is nationally accredited, military veterans may use their approved GI Bill benefits. The Computer Training Academy is also a certified VA Work-study Site. CTA is an Eligible Training Provider for EDD and the WIA Benefits Program. They can help you uncomplicate these government assistance programs to learn what is available to you. The school also has affordable payment options that can be deferred for the first 15 months. Every student gets a laptop with a CTA program. There are many different options to cover nearly everyone’s needs including Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA). With CTA programs you can also earn College Credit through the American Council on Education (ACE) service.

Mike Bostock, M.S., the academy’s director, explains that CTA’s accredited programs make it possible for working adults to achieve their goals through online classes and, as their schedules allow, to work with instructors during hands-on labs.

For those thinking to go into computer repair work, you may be interested to learn that CTA student interns, under the direction of CTA staff, benefit from hands-on training at Doc’s Computer Service in suite 205, next door to the school.

Bostock says, “Due to the flexibility of our program students can live or work anywhere in Riverside, San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino Counties, or throughout the US for that matter due to the hybrid nature of distance learning.”

The academy provides career services to all students who complete their program. CTA regularly invites career placement speakers to the school to help students find jobs…most are working before they finish the program. CTA Career Counselors are available Monday through Saturday.

If your answer is yes, you will be interested to know that the Computer Training Academy (CTA) in Temecula is a nationally accredited school with 16 certified instructors and Microsoft Certified trainers with plenty of industry experience. CTA is a Pearson VUE, Prometric and Certiport Authorized Testing Center.

According to Bostock, Career Level Certifications are part of the CTA curriculum and are attained as students go through the program. Candidates with Certifications specializing in Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA, Linux, Network Security and Novell are who employers are looking for today.


HOMELAND / July 2015

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Winning the Financial Battle @ Home


ur brave men and women fight wars on many battle fronts, both oversees and at home. The last thing a warrior needs on his or her mind while in the heat of battle is to be worrying about family finances. However, financial issues are the #1 reason for divorce, bankruptcy, spousal abuse, and health issues in America. Many families are not only faced with missing loved ones while on deployment but when they return, too often, they find themselves shackled by their limited income and increasing debt.

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If time and money were not an issue, where would you go, what would want, and what would you need? Overwhelmingly, 98% of the people surveyed said that they wanted more income and would love to travel more often. But how do we do this with ALL the obligations that we are saddled with daily? You don’t do this by getting another job and adding more hours to an already impacted day; you do it by impacting your day with more money making hours.

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By Tim Mathues


Calling All Veterans – The County Wants You!

an Diego County’s commitment to the local veterans community, one of the largest in the nation, continues to grow. Recognizing the opportunity to capture the talents and resources of this group, the County’s Human Resources Department launched the Veterans Outreach Program and has already seen results.

“We are serious about hiring veterans,” said Tim Mathues, the County’s veterans outreach coordinator. Having served in Vietnam himself, Mathues walks the walk and talks the talks to those who have worn the uniform.

“I’ve been there and I know it’s not an easy task to transition from military life to civilian life,” he said. Mathues has spoken to more than 8,100 veterans and their spouses about employment opportunities with the County since the launch of the program in March 2014. The reality is that more than 500 military men and women transition out of service into their civilian life each month from the largest bases in the area. Mathues focuses on reaching out to the local military community to provide veterans and soon to be veterans with the resources and tools necessary to apply for jobs with the County. He has attended more than 100 veteran-related events including career fairs, employer panels and veteran networking events.


HOMELAND / July 2015

The program has established relationships with the seven major military bases throughout the County, and Mathues has spoken at sessions for the Marines’ Transition Readiness Seminar and the Navy’s Transition GPS, formerly called Transition Assistance Program. When the program started, the County began tracking how many new hires were veterans. In the first three quarters, the number moved from 12 percent to 13 percent. The upward trend is a clear sign that the outreach program is working to find the best candidates. “Veterans have valuable skills and training acquired in service that often naturally fit positions and career paths within the County,” said Susan www.homelandmagazine.com

Brazeau, the County’s director of human resources. In addition to the veterans outreach efforts, Civil Service rules give applicants preferential credits for military service. The credit points are applied to successful candidates’ final job application scores. Mathues said the purpose is to further assist qualified applicants in transitioning from military to civilian careers with the County. This benefit is also given to former service members with service-connected disabilities and their spouses. Karen Wells, a human resources analyst, benefited from the veterans preference points offered by the County. Wells, a retired U.S. Navy chief petty officer, was one of 86,789 job applicants last year. She joined the County as a human resources assistant in March 2014 and brought with her 22 years of experience as a career counselor in the Navy.

of the County Address in February. Horn said San Diego County is home to over 1 million veterans, active duty and their families – nearly one-third of the population. “As a county and as a community we have a responsibility to take care of our veterans,” Horn, a Vietnam veteran, said in his speech. Horn is looking to expand services available to local veterans. He cited the opening of a Military & Veterans Resource Center at the North Inland Live Well Center in Escondido this summer as the next big step. He hopes the center serves as a “one-stop shop for veteran services.”

“My best advice is to start your job search early, be patient and don’t take no for an answer,” she said. “Ask questions, find out what you are missing, keep an open mind and apply to a variety of positions you feel qualified for.”

Wells admits that applying for a job after a career in the military can be tough. She said that just getting a resume together that the County or a civilian company would understand can be a challenge. She urged veterans to take advantage of programs offered by the military, Veterans Affairs and other service providers such as the County’s Office of Military and Veterans Affairs.

Additionally, the County’s Military and Veteran Affairs office provides professional services and counseling for military veterans and their dependents and survivors who are entitled to benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the State of California, and other agencies. This service is open to employees and all County residents. The office provides assistance with filing requests for military records, disability claims, education benefits, and benefits counseling.

“My best advice is to start your job search early, be patient and don’t take no for an answer,” she said. “Ask questions, find out what you are missing, keep an open mind and apply to a variety of positions you feel qualified for.”

For a complete list of job openings with the County, visit Human Resources at www.sandiegocounty.gov

The commitment to service members got another boost when County Chairman Bill Horn declared 2015 the “Year of the Veteran” during his State


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Army Veteran Fires Up Entrepreneurial Success with Bar-B-Clean


ore than one million veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will enter the workforce in the next five years. Rather than attempt to elbow their way into the tight job market, some veterans are pursuing franchising because it mimics the rule-based system they grew accustomed to in the military. One such veteran is Matthew Sprague, a U.S. Army veteran who has found success in owning four Bar-B-Clean franchises in California’s Los Angeles area. Before joining the Bar-B-Clean team, Sprague spent nearly five years in the U.S. Army, earning the rank of field artillery sergeant during his service that included one combat tour in Iraq from 2010 until 2011. In 2013, he was honorably discharged and moved to Pasadena, California with his wife, Linda, and two small children. But like most veterans these days, he had a difficult time finding a job that would support his family.

With four Bar-B-Clean territories under his belt – serving Pasadena, South San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley and the Burbank/Glendale area – Sprague has cleaned more than 600 grills in the past 12 months, nearly half of which he has cleaned since the beginning of this year alone. He is in the process of purchasing a fifth territory in West Los Angeles.

It was then that Sprague began exploring his options in franchising. Shortly after starting his search for a homebased, low-investment franchise opportunity, Sprague came across Bar-B-Clean, the only barbecue cleaning franchise in the country. He recognized the tremendous opportunity in a niche market with little or no competition and purchased his first Bar-B-Clean territory in April 2014. He bought three more territories later that year.

“Veterans bring a lot of great things to the table,” says Bar-B-Clean founder and CEO Bryan Weinstein, who offers veterans a 30 percent discount off Bar-B-Clean’s $19,500 franchise fee. “Their leadership, teamwork and problem-solving skills are second-to-none in my experience and Matthew is no exception. I anxiously look forward to his future success.”

Today, Sprague’s Bar-B-Clean franchises offer residential and commercial customers a convenient, low cost grill cleaning solution.

For other veterans considering the Bar-BClean franchise opportunity, Sprague says he expects they’ll get from it what they put into it. “It’s definitely an up-and-coming business. For someone who wants to work for themselves, it’s a great way to go. Think about it. Everybody that owns a backyard barbecue is a potential client!”

“It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. I want to be that somebody,” says Sprague, noting that nearly 90 percent of all U.S. households own a grill or smoker and more than 60 percent of those owners use their grills year round making a periodic cleaning necessary. “Everyone knows grills get extremely greasy and dirty, but they really hate to clean them. Until now, grill owners haven’t had many places they could turn to have their grills professionally cleaned. Bar-B-Clean fulfills that customer demand.”

For more information about Bar-B-Clean and its franchise opportunity, visit www.bar-b-cleanfranchise.com. bryan@bar-b-clean.com

START AN EXCITING NEW CAREER WITH THIS REMARKABLE FRANCHISE Top Five Reasons to Start a Bar-B-Clean Franchise: 1. Low Initial Investment and Low Overhead – Bar-B-Clean is a home based business, so no office space or office related expenses are necessary.

The idea of being in business BY yourself is scary. Being in business FOR yourself, but not by yourself is the dream… and it’s within reach. Bar-B-Clean is pioneering a brand new industry with endless opportunities. Now is the time to join the Bar-BClean Team!!!

Bar-B-Clean proudly offers a 30% Veteran’s discount off the franchise fee. Thank you for your service!”

2. Turnkey business – When you buy a Bar-B- Clean franchise, you buy a system. Our systems are designed to improve the overall productivity and increase sales. 3. Huge Growth Potential – Now is the time! With little to no competition, the opportunities are endless. 4. The Barbecue Industry is “on fire” – 86% of households own a grill and 99% of them use their grill throughout the year making a periodic cleaning necessary. 5. Niche Market – Bar-B-Clean is a company with a limited number of organized competitors.

www.Bar-B-CleanFranchise.com www.homelandmagazine.com

HOMELAND / July 2015 29

Lessons Learned Continued From Page 17

Lesson # 1: It is Okay To Ask For Help and Lean on Others for Support I certainly know a little bit about this. I am only here today because of those wonderfully humble people to my left and right who saved my life eight years ago. When I was first injured I felt like I failed not only my men but my mission (something holy to those who wear the uniform.) I was terribly embarrassed. I did not want my friends to visit me in the hospital, nor did I want to accept what had happened. However, after time I learned that I had the wrong attitude. And although I certainly did not want to ask for help or feel comfortable doing so in the early stages of my recovery, I do so now without hesitation when it is warranted. I have probably received some sort of assistance from at least 10 different veterans organizations, and Dahlia has become the backbone of my support system. She is my constant, my solid foundation when I hurt for those who we lost or when I can’t escape from the images running through my head like an intrusive movie.. In

fact, when Dahlia and I identified that I had Post Traumatic Stress, it was difficult at first for me to wrap my head around my new reality and ask for help. But I figured I could handle this in one of two ways: I could either go see a professional who had an objective view on my condition, who had researched these topics and worked with other warriors before, and who could help explain why my mind and body were reacting this way. Or, in the alternative, I could push those feelings deep down inside pretend I was not hurting and just roll the dice.

Grant focused on me when I needed it the most, and worked with them to figure out a solution to their issue or problem. Well, that’s the kind of reception you will receive when you seek help from a good friend or coworker whom you trust. There is no reason for any of us to walk around fighting battles by ourselves when help is only a conversation away.

*Lesson 2 (Homeland August Issue) *Lesson 3 (Homeland September Issue)

Not only has asking for help on this issue helped with my own recovery, it has allowed me to reach out to other organizations, such as the Veterans Administration, the Marine Corps, the Wounded Warrior Project, and other groups to talk publicly about Post Traumatic Stress in an effort to help the next generation of those who are trying to battle their demons alone. Nothing has been more satisfying in my recovering then helping other veterans. I would have never been in a place to help if I did not first seek help for myself. And take a moment to think about it – don’t you like helping other people? When friends of yours have turned to you with a serious issue, what have you done? You probably stopped whatever it was you were doing, focused on them, just like George

Save the date 9/11/15

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enlisted to entrepreneur By Vicki Garcia

Thinking of Buying a Franchise? The Good, The Bad, The Ugly A franchise is a system where the supplier franchisor allows a franchisee, to use the trademark and distribute the supplier’s goods. Many people like buying a franchise because it seems less risky than independent business ownership. Stewart Payne, a Veteran Entrepreneurs Today (V.E.T.) program participant, has a youth sports franchise, PDQ Fitness & Sports, since 2009. PDQ is a provider of sports programs, equipment, and education for all athlete levels from youth to adult. “Every franchise is different and provides different levels of support and services to its franchisees,” says Payne. “The key is finding the right franchise for your particular situation and the franchise territory.” The Good Many franchises have a low barrier to entry, systems already in place, and financing. Good franchises offer a proven proprietary management system and training with specific marketing programs and materials. The franchise industry early tuned in to veterans looking for opportunities. Here’s a list of 75 franchises helping veterans - http:// www.entrepreneur.com/article/229366 The Bad Royalty fees and other fees can be a burden. The success of a franchise is consistency, so the franchisor develops a one size fits all mentality that does not consider geographic or demographic differences. Your franchisor doesn’t want you getting creative. The biggest complaint is a lack of support from the franchisor. The Ugly A Burger King fan? Burger King franchisees have been in rebellion for years over the franchisor’s policies. Franchisee/franchisor conflicts are common. Google “Are SUBWAY Franchise Owners Happy?” to get an earful.


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Questionable practices, such as buying back a failing franchise to boost success rates abound. There are a number of franchise organizations, most of which are cheer leaders for the industry, so don’t drink their Kool-Aid. It is strongly recommended you engage a franchise attorney before signing an agreement. AAFD (https://www.aafd.org), in San Diego, can help you. Read AAFD founder Robert Purvin’s book The Franchise Fraud, available on their website. If you want to buy a franchise, be careful. Be skeptical. Do your homework. And, like all entrepreneurial enterprises, prepare to work hard to reach success. Vicki Garcia is the Co-Founder of V.E.T. and the CEO of the marketing firm, Marketing Impressions. She has spent 30 years helping small business owners succeed. You can learn about V.E.T. at http://veteranentrepreneurstoday.org.


HOMELAND / July 2015 31

There is a Solution It wasn’t until the advent of Alcoholics Anonymous, in the 1930’s, that alcoholism was thought of in terms of a disease rather than a lack of willpower. AA was the first to view alcoholism as having two components. First, a mental obsession guarantees we keep drinking and using drugs, even when we don’t want to. Second, an allergy to these chemicals dooms us to death, insanity or jail. And if you think I’m being overly dramatic, forget that. No addict or alcoholic resumes “controlled using.” If you don’t choose recovery, you better have a Last Will and Testament stuck to your refrigerator door where it can be easily found after you keel over for good. The allergy and obsession are explained in great detail in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Initially the book was used by alcoholics and addicts both. As Alcoholics Anonymous grew in popularity, Narcotics Anonymous was formed and published Narcotics Anonymous. Now you can find Cocaine Anonymous and Marijuana Anonymous, too. The wisdom in all these books are identical.


t has been nearly seven years now since I said farewell to drugs and alcohol. Actually it was less like “good bye”, and more like “oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God.” If someone back then had told me that I would still be sober all these years later, I would have laughed myself into convulsions. There was just no way! But I was wrong. Not only am I sober, but I’m happy. I am no different then you are. So let me tell you exactly how I did it, you can do it, too. For ten straight years, I indulged my darkest desires. My body became a receptacle for all the drugs and alcohol I could lay my hands on. Like Robert Louis Stevenson’s character Dr. Jekyll, the more I chemicals I crammed down my throat, the darker I became. Of course, Stevenson’s fictional tale is well known. A kindly and respected Dr. Jekyll ingests a chemical concoction that transforms him into horrible Mr. Hyde. The more the good doctor indulges his addiction and escapes into Hyde, the more powerful Hyde becomes. Inevitably the elixir stops working altogether, and he is Hyde for good. Isolated, paranoid, miserable... he ends his life in the same way many addicts and alcoholics die each year: some intentionally, some unintentionally, all unnecessary. Addiction can be defined as the continued repetition of a behavior, despite adverse consequences. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was published in 1886, but timeless are the concepts of addiction which it illustrates. If only Dr. Jekyll had been introduced to Alcoholics Anonymous.

A friend handed me a copy of the Alcoholics Anonymous text many years before I finally got sober. On the inside front cover he inscribed: “To my dear friend Keith. Read this book. You will find wisdom and freedom.” In one, sweet swing of my arm, I deep-sixed that book at the bottom of my closet. I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t want it. I certainly didn’t believe I needed it! That book lay undisturbed for so many years it practically sprouted roots. Unfortunately, ignoring my addiction didn’t get me sober. Eventually, I was Mr. Hyde (i.e. high) all the time. Isolated, paranoid, miserable, and with nothing left to lose, I rummaged through the closet and lifted that damn book out into the sunlight. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. I had stumbled upon a step-by-step instruction manual for being happy: no chemicals necessary. Believe me when I say that I gobbled my way through each page like Pac Man on steroids. Chapter Two of the AA Big Book is entitled: “There is a Solution”. Could it have been any more obvious?! Though it gathered dust for nearly a decade, I thank God I remembered that book. Over time, the Twelve Steps became the solution to ALL my problems. Are you also a good person with a bad disease? If so, it’s never too late. Twelve Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous saved my life and are still the solution to all my problems and yours. Start by visiting www.aa.org to find a meeting near you.

For ten straight years, I indulged my darkest desires. My body became a receptacle for all the drugs and alcohol I could lay my hands on. Like Robert Louis Stevenson’s character Dr. Jekyll, the more I chemicals I crammed down my throat, the darker I became. 32

HOMELAND / July 2015


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