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Resources Support Inspiration

Vol. 2 Number 6 • June 2015

Save The Date WWII Midway Celebration Supporting the Whole Family After a Warrior’s Injury

A Combat Veteran’s Struggle VetCaregiver Self Check-In

Military Mentoring Program “United We Stand, United We Sew”

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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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EDITOR’S

LETTER

Homeland Publisher Michael J. Miller

Contributing Writers Linda Kreter Rick Rogers CJ Machado Vicki Garcia Jessica Gercke Vesta Anderson Mark Baird Kerth Angelin Scott McGaugh Tina Rose

Greetings and a warm welcome to HOMELAND Magazine!

Public Relations Linda Kreter CJ Machado

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.

Graphic Design Trevor Watson

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. 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 Save The Date: WWII Celebration

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8 Bigs Military Mentoring Program 12 Caring for a Service Member/Veteran with PTSD 14 VetCaregiver Self Check-In 17 Enlisted To Entrepreneur

22 21

21 United We Stand, United We Sew 22 A Combat Veteran’s Struggle 24 Drugs & Alcohol: Are the “Good Times” Behind You?

26 Happy Father’s Day- 12 Traits Of A Great Father www.homelandmagazine.com

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Save the Date

WWII Celebration on August 15 By Scott McGaugh

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n less than the time it takes to read this article, America will lose another member of the Greatest Generation. Four hundred more will die by the time you finish your lunch tomorrow. Sadly, only one out of 16 men and women who served our nation in World War II are still with us today. Most are in their 90s and the Veterans Administration predicts they will no longer be with us in about 20 years. Each year the USS Midway Museum is host to a major Battle of Midway commemoration and a Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance Ceremony. We cherish each year when survivors of both can still attend. Now, on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the museum is planning a major community celebration on August 15. Plans are being developed now for weekend-long activities,

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headlined by a community celebration Saturday night, called “Thanks for the Memories.”

Here’s an insider’s look at some of the other weekend aspects the Museum is investigating:

It will feature a variety show of entertainers from the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. They will feature entertaining lookalikes, including Bob Hope, Judy Garland, The Andrews Sisters, Carmen Miranda, and possible others. They will be accompanied by a local Victory Swing Band. Dancing, dancing lessons are included and vintage attire will be encouraged.

WWII-vintage car show on Navy Pier

Even more important, every World War II veteran in San Diego that Midway can locate will be invited as a guest of the museum. For the general public, the cost will be $45 per couple, $25 for singles. Light appetizers will be included in a massive celebration and tribute to the Greatest Generation. Check www.midway.org in late June for ticket-ordering information.

Photo exhibit

Displays from Camp Pendleton and MCRD A WWII-era concert for museum guests during the day WWII-era newsreels

The USS Midway was commissioned on September 10, 1945, only a few weeks after the end of World War II. Built in only 17 months in the rush for it to enter the war as the most powerful ship the world had ever seen, instead it fell to Midway to preserve the hard-fought peace at the www.homelandmagazine.com


dawn of the Cold War. Midway became the only carrier to serve the entire length of the Cold War and beyond. Nearly every day, World War II veterans visit Midway and the museum has nearly 20 WWII vets who regularly volunteer to share their wartime experiences with the museum’s guests. They are among the most popular and inspirational aspects of visiting the USS Midway Museum. Similarly, the museum often welcomes former Midway sailors, officers, and Marines aboard who were members of the original 1945 plankowner crew. On many occasions museum staffs have heard them tell a grandchild or great grandchild “This is where I learned how to become a man.”

Where Your Accomplishments Are Valued!

It’s that legacy that the Museum staff and volunteers work to preserve. In fact, 700 volunteers aboard Midway contribute more than 225,000 hours annually, many of them inspired by the Greatest Generation and all who serve America in uniform. The legacy of the Greatest Generation has inspired all those who have worn our nation’s uniform in the ensuing 70 years. Subsequent generations of men and women—and the families who support them—have extended the legacy of service to country and community. August 15 will perhaps be one of the last opportunities to literally walk up and shake the hand of the Greatest Generation. That weekend promises to be very special and Saturday night truly will be magical. In the coming weeks, additional information will be posted at www.midway.org

The USS Midway Museum is available for military retirements, re-enlistments, changes of command, and other military events.

We’re proud to be your resource!

Contact the Military Event Manager for more information

(619) 398-8252 • www.midway.org

www.homelandmagazine.com

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Big Brothers Big Sisters Operation

Bigs – Military Mentoring Program By Tina Rose

Big Brother Jay and Little Brother Juan-Antonio

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ome friendships take years to grow, but when Little Brother JuanAntonio met his Big Brother Jay in 2012 through Big Brothers Big Sister’s Operation Big program, the pair hit it off immediately. Operation Bigs is a one-to-one mentoring program for military children ages 7-17, the first of its kind in the nation. At the time, seven-year-old Juan-Antonio was overwhelmed by the absence of his father, who was deployed oversees. Nineteen-yearold Jay was an active-duty marine, who as the youngest member of his family, and had often longed for a younger brother. He was eager to serve as a role model for a child in need of extra support.  Almost immediately, Juan-Antonio’s mother sensed that she could trust Jay. “Jay has always been very responsible and respectful,” she says. “I never have to worry about Juan-Antonio when Jay is with him.”

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At first, when the two met weekly, Juan-Antonio was interested in only one activity: playing Legos. “Juan-Antonio can create a whole new world in his mind,” says Jay, who admired his Little Brother’s imagination. In a room full of Bigs and Littles, the pairs’ laughter often drew smiles from those around them. As time passed, through Jay’s encouragement, Juan-Antonio became comfortable exploring new activities, including wall ball and football. “[Jay] even taught me to play basketball,” says Juan-Antonio. Jay paid special attention to teach his Little Brother about fairness and sportsmanship. Juan-Antonio’s new found confidence allowed him to reach out to other Littles in the program. Jay recalls how Juan-Antonio was especially sensitive to other children who might be feeling lonely. Juan-Antonio’s mother also noticed a change in her son: “He was smiling a lot more after he would meet with Jay,” she says. www.homelandmagazine.com


San Diego County, through Big Brothers Big Sisters traditional Community-Based program. Operation Bigs enrolls military dependents between the ages of 7- 17 at NO cost to families. Applications are taken yeararound. Youth enrolled in Big Brothers Big Sisters improve in school and in relationships with their peers and parents. The need for caring, committed mentors remains urgent. Operation Bigs is recruiting active duty, veteran, and civilian volunteers from ages 18 to 85, who have a heart for military children. In the Site-Based program, Big Sister Mary with Little Sister Hannah playing wall ball volunteers spend one hour, once a week meeting with a child at an elementary school or community center for the school year. They play sports, board games, or simply talk about life and personal issues - just as friends do. In the Community-Based program, the volunteer and child get together on their own 2-4 times a month, for a 2-4 hours, sharing in fun activities they both enjoy. You can also support the program, by joining Big Brothers Big Sisters on Sunday, June 28 for the 7th Annual Phil’s Big BBQ at the Ballpark. The event is Southern California’s largest tailgate party complete with live music, Kid Ventures Kid Zone and a beer garden sponsored by Karl Strauss and Ballast Point breweries. For $25, guests enjoy Phil’s ribs and chicken plus two sides, a CocaCola beverage, and a ticket to the 1:10 p.m. Padres game. 100% of proceeds support the Operation Bigs program. For more information on volunteering or enrolling your child, please go to www.SDBigs. org or call Milvi Chao at (858) 746 9169. For information on Phil’s Big BBQ, please go to www. SDBigs.org/PhilsBigBBQ or call Talia Katzir at (858) 536 4900 x205.

Today, Juan-Antonio remembers how those early months with Jay brightened his life. “When my dad was deployed and I had no one to hang out or play Legos with… Jay always cheered me up,” Jay too felt the positive impact of their friendship. “I look forward to every Tuesday only because I feel like I really am making a difference in his life, just like he is in mine,” says Jay. “Being Juan-Antonio’s Big Brother has been one of the best experiences of my life.” Since its inception, Operation Bigs has served more than 1,400 Navy and Marine Corps children. The program operates at eight schools in four communities around San Diego County, including Camp Pendleton, Point Loma, Coronado and Murphy Canyon. This year, it expanded service to 100 additional military children throughout www.homelandmagazine.com

Operation Bigs Little Brother Dustin enjoying Ribs at Phil’s Big BBQ at the Ballpark

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Defense Mobile Launches Wireless Service for Veterans Defense Mobile is a new 4G LTE mobile service built exclusively for Veterans, military service members and their families. Defense Mobile runs on America’s largest and most trusted networks for less. As a no contract provider, there are no long-term commitments. Defense Mobile also offers a 30 day 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied with your mobile service, they will give you your money back. Defense Mobile is  passionate about improving the lives of those who have served. Defense Mobile’s Member Care team is 100% Veteranstaffed and 10% of all Defense Mobile net profits go directly to charitable organizations that work to improve the lives of Veteran and military families in need. Defense Mobile’s phones, SIM cards and monthly plans are now available at www.defensemobile.com. Defense Mobile offers a range of premium smartphones and great discounts for the military community – including a variety of free smartphones when you buy a qualifying data plan! Or you can bring your own phone to Defense Mobile by purchasing a Defense Mobile SIM card. Look for Defense Mobile later this month at Naval Station San Diego Navy Exchange, Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Exchange and thousands of Authorized Dealers nationwide.

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AMERICA’S BEST DESERVE THE BEST. After all you’ve done to protect our country, you deserve the best. That’s why we created the Nissan Military Program—to help you get the best offer on a new Nissan. As part of this program, all active and reserve U.S. military, retired U.S. military, U.S. veterans discharged within the past year, and their spouses and partners can get the same pricing we give our Nissan friends and family. Just visit NissanUSA.com/military, grab your qualified proof of military service and your VPP Claim ID, then head to your local Nissan store1. Our best savings and most exciting innovations are waiting for you.

For more details, visit: NissanUSA.com/military

1

The Department of Defense does not endorse any company, sponsor or their products or services. Always wear your seat belt and please don’t drink and drive. Nissan, the Nissan Brand Symbol, Innovation That Excites, and Nissan model names are Nissan trademarks. ©2015 Nissan North America, Inc. All rights reserved.

www.homelandmagazine.com

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Caring for a Service Member/Veteran with PTSD

By Linda Kreter

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ne of the most challenging aspects of PTSD is that it may affect the entire family, from veteran to children to aging parents. It is remarkable how realistic the movie American Sniper demonstrated the effects of combat deployments and PTSD on the family – and this is a good thing, since acknowledgement is the first step toward growth. Since these injuries are invisible, for those surrounding a returning service member or veteran, behaviors may be misinterpreted, judged, and even condemned by those closest to you. Family and friends are strong social supports, and healing is helped with knowledge and compassion. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is the body’s reaction to a traumatic event. With the combat veteran, it may be the body’s response to seeing or experiencing exceedingly horrific things. The symptoms of PTSD may not come neatly wrapped and obvious, and may become more pronounced over time. Family may feel at first as though “something’s different”, and maybe

This unpredictability is one of the most difficult to deal with and explain to others, or even yourself. Secondary PTS/D may occur among family members as they live certain aspects of the condition daily. Living with such a person, even if you’re sympathetic and you love them can be hard. Who finds it easy to walk on eggshells, lacking restorative sleep, and listening to harsh remarks? Now enter the extended family and friends. What they see is only a partial picture, and it can be very, very confusing, and they can in a well-meaning way try to support you. Or not. Let’s face it: people fear what they don’t understand. They may only see the isolating sullenness, or what they perceive as a negative attitude. They may be fearful that if those harsh words they just heard are any indication, than how does he or she treat you when they’re not there? Families may truly try their best to care – but they are helped with guidance and information. By learning more about PTSD, talking about it easily and when it’s not on display can help both you and your close family and friends. “You’ve

Let’s face it: people fear what they don’t understand. They may only see the isolating sullenness, or what they perceive as a negative attitude. They may be fearful that if those harsh words they just heard are any indication, than how does he or she treat you when they’re not there? Families may truly try their best to care – but they are helped with guidance and information. it’s a period of readjustment or he or she needs some transition time after returning from deployment. The body and mind can react very strongly to a traumatic event – and so can that of those around them. Some of the symptoms a friend or family member will recognize are possibly watching them reliving the trauma during the day with flashbacks, at night with active nightmares -- or chronic insomnia with anxiety. Perhaps ‘walking point’ end to end of the house or apartment – this quickly exhausts the family. Many couples talk of difficulty with closeness, intimacy, and abrupt irritability and even increased aggressiveness. This is often what the family or a friend sees – without knowing the rest of the story.

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probably heard, Mom, that PTSD is a normal coping mechanism when a person goes through a traumatic event? Sometimes ‘Jim’ will need quiet and you may think they’re being standoffish, but that’s what helps them. Other times, you may see a hair-trigger temper outburst, but that’s not all the time.” Another problem for family members is that they may feel judged by negative comments. No one likes to be judged, especially when they are not the ones working through PTSD day in, day out. It may help to sit them down initially and share what you know about PTSD, ask them to learn more and show them where to get the information. But, when you do your best to share the www.homelandmagazine.com


Linda Kreter is the founder of WiseHealth and VeteranCaregiver.com and a subject matter expert on caregiving and military family support.

information, sometimes it just won’t register – why? Because he or she acts NORMAL most of the time. So, scared, uninformed people can make family life more difficult. It’s helpful to have a signal between you and your service member/veteran so they have a way to say “I’ve had enough, I’m out of here”. If you know noise levels escalate a situation, discuss it beforehand. If a crowd is too www.homelandmagazine.com

overwhelming, then leave and do what’s right for your family. Recognize that others will not always get it, despite your incredible patience, education, reinforcement, and reminders. Guard your home relationship, and if that means new traditions, and new ways of coping, then go with what works for you. We all know families who now live in remote places, finding peace with fewer stressors, and others who’ve adapted with some accommodation. Health and wholeness is vital to good quality of life!

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VetCaregiver Self Check-In By Linda Kreter So often as caregivers, we are running so hard, putting ourselves last, and not realizing we are burnt out until we fall ill. Or, we know we’re overwhelmed, but we accept it without question. What happens when the caregiver is down for the count - the wheels have a tendency to come off, don’t they? Make a promise to yourself to Check-In at least weekly. Better yet, do the same with a trusted caregiver or friend as an “accountability partner” so you don’t neglect to consider your own health. Ask these questions to start: · Am I eating well? Skipping meals, snacking too much? · Do I laugh each day? Red flag if you don’t find something amusing each day, even if you don’t laugh out loud. How many times do we text LOL, but not DO it? · Am I drinking enough water? Do I exist on coffee and soda instead? · Do I spend quiet time, reflective time, prayer, or meditation each day? · Am I sleeping well or enough? · Do I get exercise each day? · Do I interact with others each day? In-person is preferable, but at least by phone to hear a voice or online if all else fails. If you’re aware that you’re not checking in, or struggling when you do, we urge you to talk to someone professionally. Many physicians are only now realizing the strain caregivers carry and how to assist you, but it’s growing. Seek community resources such as faith-based counseling, or call Give An Hour (www.GiveAnHour.org) for costfree help. Life is so precious and perhaps you cannot change your situation, but you can change aspects of taking care of you. Caregivers are the heartbeat of the family, and make the active choice to care for you. Linda Kreter is CEO of WiseHealth Inc., and founder of VeteranCaregiver.com. Find more information, videos, and resources at www.VeteranCaregiver.com.

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Post One-day Jobs: For Your Home, Yard and Office Post Fulltime Jobs: For U.S. Military Veterans and Spouses WWW. H IRE P ATRIOTS.COM AMERICA’S #1 VETERAN JOB SOURCE

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enlisted to entrepreneur By Vicki Garcia

Veteran Entrepreneur Movement Growing When Veteran Entrepreneurs Today (V.E.T.) started 18 months ago nobody in the San Diego veterans’ community understood how entrepreneurship applied to veterans. No big surprise. Almost everyone in the business of watching out for vets in San Diego has a job or is in the public sector. Helping vets to start and grow a business was so radical an idea that it didn’t show up on anybody’s radar. Now it appears V.E.T. wasn’t the only ones with this brain storm. Several organizations in the country, and even the moribund SBA, have woken up and realized that there aren’t enough jobs to employ all the recently discharged service members. Here are the newest (and probably the only ones for now) organizations on the national scene aiming to make boss-hood a veteran option. It’s a small, but good, start. http://veteranbusinesscoalition.org/ http://www.momentumtexas.org/support-mt/ http://muster.bunkerchicago.com/ http://riata.okstate.edu/veterans/ http://www.navoba.com/default.aspx

Adaber’s Story Veteran Entrepreneurs Today (V.E.T.) currently has 14 veterans in an intensive 13 week group program focusing on building their businesses. One of them is Adaber Nazario, the CEO of Urban Pickles. That’s right. Adaber makes pickles…the delicious, spicy, salty, crunchy green things you eat. Adaber’s job in the Army was as a 92G-Food Service Specialist. She went to culinary school after the service and stayed in the restaurant industry until a couple of years ago. Cooking was her passion so she rolled up her sleeves and dove into making pickles. Family and friends couldn’t get enough. Adaber’s pickles are currently in 2 San Diego restaurants, Uptown Tavern in Hillcrest and West Coast Tavern in North Park. In the V.E.T. program she can focus on growth and goals for the future with feedback from the group. Urban Pickles makes 2 flavors, Dill and Habanero. You can visit her Facebook page for more information and upcoming restaurants, as well to sign up for the e-blasts to get your hands on some of her mouthwatering gherkins at www.facebook.com/AdahbersPickles

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V.E.T. Joins Reboot A program note worth mentioning is that Veteran Entrepreneurs Today has aligned with the San Diego based National Veterans Transition Services, the parent non-profit of Reboot, as their new fiscal agent. This is outstanding news for V.E.T. because of NVTSI’s stellar reputation, many contacts in the veteran service community, and strong leadership. If you would like to apply for the V.E.T. program, visit https://www. surveymonkey.com/s/veteran-entrepreneur www.homelandmagazine.com

For more  information,  visit   www.joinSDPDnow.com   Or  contact  a  Recruiter  at   (619)531-­COPS   For more info contact Officer Steve Markland @ (619)531-­2202 or smarkland@pd.sandiego.gov  

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Supporting the Whole Family After a Warrior’s Injury Wounded Warrior Project Builds Camaraderie for Families and Caregivers of Injured Veterans By Amanda Jekowsky

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ee Medina smiles when she describes meeting her husband, Army Corporal David Medina, nearly six years ago. They met through friends, and even from opposite ends of the country – he was stationed in Washington state and she was in Virginia – their connection was instant. “We just knew when we started talking. We built a strong foundation by communicating with each other. We knew this was what we both wanted.”

68 percent of veteran caregivers who were previously employed either retired early or stopped working; 62 percent of those who continued working had to cut back on regular work hours. Despite these adjustments, most caregivers of injured veterans view their role as one of service, not sacrifice. David struggled with nightmares, loud noises, and the lingering effects of his injuries, and Lee left her full-time job to become his caregiver. When a neighbor told her about Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP), she reached out in the hopes that David might have an opportunity to connect with other warriors and get out of the house. She could never have imagined,

That foundation was rattled when David was seriously injured after his Stryker ran over an improvised explosive device (IED) in Iraq in November of 2009. He sustained serious injuries from the blast, including a back injury and a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as a result of his experience. David was honorably discharged and returned to Lee and their three “Soldiers are trained to go into battle, but caregivers children, but Lee knew something was different. aren’t trained for this, and it’s horrible when the “When he came home, it was obvious that the civilian world doesn’t understand what it’s like,” says life we were going to live was not going to be the same,” says Lee. “The world is different. Life Lee. “But you sit down with other caregivers, and you changes drastically. I didn’t know where to go talk, and they get you. They know what it’s like and or what to do. But what does a soldier do when they share tips to make it better. We don’t feel like another is injured? What do you think I’m going to outcasts anymore; we feel understood.” do as a spouse? I’m going to carry you.” Due to improvements in military medicine and technology, many service members are surviving combat injuries that would have previously been fatal. Often times, family members are those taking up arms for the battle back home, stepping into their new role as caregiver to their injured service member. In its 2010 study, “Caregivers of Veterans – Serving on the Homefront,” United Health Foundation revealed 70 percent of caregivers reported their veteran had experienced depression or anxiety, and 60 percent reported PTSD. In addition, the study revealed TBI (28 percent) and paralysis or spinal cord injury (20 percent) were other leading conditions of veterans who required caregiver assistance. The lives of caregivers are tremendously impacted by their caregiving role. As shown in the United Health Foundation study, caring for an injured veteran can become a full-time job, which in turn can play a detrimental role in the caregiver’s own health, employment, and financial stability. Accordingly,

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she says, the level of support, understanding, and camaraderie that her entire family would receive. The Medinas joined Family Support, a component of WWP’s Alumni program, which helps injured veterans, family members, and caregivers learn about WWP and network, heal, and engage with one another. “WWP recognizes the integral role that family members and caregivers play in a warrior’s successful transition and reintegration into www.homelandmagazine.com


civilian life, and we are here to support the entire family with the full range of the programs and services we offer,” says Ryan Kules, national alumni director at WWP. “When warriors serve their country, their whole family serves with them. When their warrior returns home injured, they deserve that same level of support. They deserve to know they are not alone.” Family Support, which now serves over 11,000 caregivers and family members of injured service members, provides education on WWP programs and services, engagement and networking opportunities with peers, and respite opportunities to help alleviate the tremendous stress that a warrior’s injury places on the entire family. “Soldiers are trained to go into battle, but caregivers aren’t trained for this, and it’s horrible when the civilian world doesn’t understand what it’s like,” says Lee. “But you sit down with other caregivers, and you talk, and they get you. They know what it’s like and they share tips to make it better. We don’t feel like outcasts anymore; we feel understood.” Lee says that David and her family love the activities in which the whole family can participate together because the camaraderie that David experiences with other injured veterans is shared with the family members and caregivers as well. “It brings the David that I knew back out…to see him smile, that’s the guy I fell in love with, and he’s still in there.” (Contributed to by Vesta M. Anderson) If you or someone you know suffered an injury in connection with military service, please contact the WWP Resource Center at resourcecenter@woundedwarriorproject. org or 888.WWP.ALUM (997.2586). To learn more about Wounded Warrior Project’s Alumni Program and Family Support, visit 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 www.homelandmagazine.com

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“UNITED WE STAND, UNITED WE SEW” POC Thomas Mc Brien IV, Spokesperson UWS/UWS Cell: 215-435-5091 Email: tmcbrien22@gmail.com

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mmersed in patriotic memorabilia, the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center (VMMC) in Balboa Park proudly displays the “United We Sew” 9/11 Memorial Flag, “Operation Never Forget.”

“United We Stand, United We Sew” is a community project inspired by Tom Mc Brien. Tom Mc Brien is the Curator of the “United We Sew” Flag and has not left its side since its creation 13 plus years ago.

New York Mike led the HOG Harley Pack in honoring the “United We Sew” 9/11 Memorial Flag’s Final West Coast Tour. The San Diego Harley-Davidson HOG (Harley Owners Group) and the American Legion Riders were amongst the many Biker groups that gathered in support. Together with the San Diego Police Department, they escorted the “United we Sew” 9/11 Memorial Flag to the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center. The VMMC safeguarded the Flag for public display and in preparation for the Inaugural San Diego Ride for Vets. A four-stop motorcycle ride highlighting veteran organizations and historical landmarks.

Volunteers from Bucks County, PA and Hunterdon County, NJ came together to sew a Memorial Flag for the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States of America. This patchwork quilt flag is 22’ x 32’ and has over 2983 miniature 4” x 6” American Flags representing each victim from the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and flight #93, which have been sewn into one Huge Memorial Flag. The project also contains flags representing the service organizations that participated in the recovery and rescue efforts, and national flags from all the countries that also lost citizens. In the center of the Memorial Flag are “The Praying Hands” as a message of hope and salvation to all. Members of the communities participating in this project included senior citizens, students, scouts, churches and volunteers... the flag took over 5 months to complete.

Love Amazingly Productions and Homeland Magazine sponsored the SD Ride for Vets to support many veteran organizations including the “United We Sew” 9/11 Memorial Flag West Coast Tour, the Flying Leathernecks Historical Foundation, ‘Arts for Veterans’ program, Veterans Village of San Diego and Triple Threat Support Group for combat veterans suffering from PTSD, to name only a few. The SD Ride for Vets third stop highlighted the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center. Two fire trucks proudly displayed the “United We Sew” 9/11 Memorial Flag as the patriotic Bikers rode underneath. A statement of solidarity and unity that the Biker community often display. www.homelandmagazine.com

The Memorial Flag was presented to NYC at a ceremony on the USS Intrepid on March 11, 2002. Since that time over 6 million people have viewed the Flag as it has traveled to over 100 locations from the east coast to the west coast, Canada and overseas. The Flag finished its long journey in San Diego, our nations “Finest city”, where it was proudly displayed outside Mayor Faulconer’s office. Mayor Faulconer and dignitaries signed the flag before its proposed permanent placement in the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City. The purpose of this flag is to Never Forget our Veterans, to support our troops in the war against terrorism and to show the victim’s families that “WE care and we will Never Forget!” God Bless Our Troops at home and abroad and may God Bless America.

By CJ Machado

HOMELAND / June 2015 21


A Combat Veteran’s Struggle “Greg, you are going to die soon. Your liver is destroyed. I am going to have the Sheriff release you. Go and get a bottle and then have your last drink. You probably won’t live through the week.”

By Mark Baird

I

met this tall and imperious US combat veteran at Saddleback Church: The mega- church created by Rick Warren, the author of the best seller A Purpose Filled Life. I began attending the church’s veterans meetings. The veteran who took me there was Greg Essliar, a three tour Vietnam War Army veteran. He was well over six feet tall and had a prophet’s beard. Greg had lived in trash dumpsters since his honorable discharge in 1973. He lived for just one reason when he returned ‘home’ to the States: to stay drunk. The police knew Greg well. As a courtesy, every Christmas they would arrest Greg so that he could get medical attention and a good meal in the county jail. But in 1990 Greg had a life changing experience. On Christmas day 1990, Greg Essliar, decorated Vietnam War veteran, was arrested by the Tustin Police Department. They knew that he was harmless. Sometimes he broke into abandoned buildings, urinated in parks or fell asleep on bus benches.

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But he always showed the police respect and never caused any trouble when they took him into custody. They took Greg to the Orange County Jail. Greg was grateful. He always looked forward to this annual Christmas arrest. He got to see a doctor, dentist, get a shower, a cot, blankets and a warm meal. The jail doctor knew Greg from frequent visits over the years. The doctor had been monitoring Greg’s liver. This year he gave Greg the news that the doctor had known was inevitable. Greg told me that this is what he was told: “Greg, you are going to die soon. Your liver is destroyed. I am going to have the Sheriff release you. Go and get a bottle and then have your last drink. You probably won’t live through the week.” Later that day, Greg found an abandoned gas station and broke a window to get inside. He had panhandled for enough money to buy a fifth of vodka. www.homelandmagazine.com


Greg was also the founder and leader of the Saddleback Church veterans group. Every year he found enough funding to take Vietnam veterans like himself, who were having difficulty reintegrating to civilian life after the trauma of Vietnam, back to the bases at which they were stationed ‘in country.’ This was amazingly therapeutic for them. One of the Vietnam veterans that went on these trips had been blown up on his third day in Vietnam. Both of his legs and an arm were blown off and he lost an eye. He was 18 years old when it happened, but he was 40 when Greg took this US veteran back to the outskirts of the village where this had occurred. Of course, for the last 22 years this Army veteran had lived in a motorized wheelchair. When they showed up at the remote village the sight of this elaborate wheelchair attracted a lot of attention. An elderly woman came up and began asking questions. Then she went to her hooch and returned with a US Army helmet. It had that veteran’s name still visible on it. She had recovered it after the explosion that ripped his truck apart and used it as a flower planter in her home since that fateful day. That veteran and this former enemy hugged and cried. They were both sincerely sorry for the suffering each had caused to the other and their loved ones. Greg was not a public speaker. He could talk forever with veterans, alcoholics and substance abusers one by one. But Greg was nervous when he had to get on stage. I had been a preacher for many years, so I was comfortable speaking in front of groups. Greg and I formed a bond. We traveled together from here to there sharing Greg’s testimony and my calls to repentance and a new life. The Assembly of God Church sponsored Greg as a speaker and sent him across America to their churches and rallies. They even gave Greg a scholarship to earn a Master’s degree in Theology at Vanguard University, their college in Southern California. Greg and I were as close as any brothers have ever been. In 2004, two Vietnamese young adults who were members of a church Greg planted outside Saigon invited him to be the Master of Ceremonies at their Christian wedding. It was a secret event, because belief in Christ is punishable by imprisonment in that country. And so this celebration was held in the midst of a jungle to protect those who attended from prosecution. Unexpectedly, as Greg was ministering on the temporary stage a thimble of alcohol was offered to him, as part of the traditional Vietnamese ceremony. He paused for a moment. He had not tasted any alcohol for more than a decade. But he decided not to interrupt the wedding and drank the very small amount. But as he sat on the floor, opened the metal cap and lifted the alcohol to his lips, Greg had a vision. He told me that he suddenly saw Jesus Christ appear in the dilapidated station with him. Jesus held out an arm. “Take my hand. I will save your life and use you to save the lives of many others.” Greg never drank that bottle. And so when I first met Greg, he was not the person I have just described. He was a supernova! His countenance was brilliant. He was the embodiment of God’s love and joy. Greg was a transformed person. He had been completely sober ever since Jesus appeared to him. He now was an elder in a local recovery church and a regular preacher at the county Rescue Mission. www.homelandmagazine.com

In AA it is taught that alcoholism is a ‘progressive disease.’ So although Greg had not tasted any alcohol for years, that simple thimble released a generation of unsatisfied desire. That night, after the Christian wedding, Greg went into Saigon. He bought alcohol. Then he purchased drugs. Then he purchased prostitutes. Greg died a few months later from a massive overdose. There was no way I could stop him. The Vietnam War finally caught up and killed him.

(Mark Baird is the founder of HirePatriots.com. He has created a non-profit with multiple innovative programs for US veterans. He is a US veteran advocate and a Christian, as well as a writer, speaker, marketer, recruiter, business builder and mentor. He provides a popular job board: HirePatriots.com. He also works with US veteran entrepreneurs and has created an entire marketing plan for them that is detailed in his book The Patriotic Business Plan: Strategies for Sensational Success.

HOMELAND / June 2015 23


Drugs & Alcohol:

Are the “Good Times” Behind You? By Keith Angelin

A

ll too often when people telephone to ask me about counseling, they tell me they’re calling because they are an “alcoholic” or an “addict”. When I ask them why they think so, they say things like; “I drink too much”, “All my friends say I am”, or “I love to party.” I also work with servicemen who return to their home town on leave postdeployment, make the mistake of celebrating too much, and end up losing their driving privileges. Usually they feel angry and ashamed at being unfairly labeled as an alcoholic or an addict when their only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You might be surprised to learn that none of these things defines the disease we now term Substance Use Disorder. You certainly wouldn’t walk into a dangerous situation unprepared, would you? So before someone slaps a label on you - or you label yourself - you should know a thing or two about what defines and “addict”. It is important information. Being able to recognize when the good times are over may save your life.

What Defines Addiction? Alcoholism was officially recognized as a disease by the medical community as far back as 1956. Just like other diseases, Substance Use Disorder: Never goes away, will continue to get worse, has well defined symptoms, is predictable and is often fatal. According to the American Psychiatric Association, addiction is characterized by the following eleven traits. As you read, check off those that apply to you:

• Much time/activity to obtain, use, recover. Have you spent excessive amounts of time planning to use, obtaining, using, concealing and recovering from drugs and alcohol? Do you daydream about getting drunk or high? Have you spent time scheming of ways to avoid getting caught? • Craving. Do you experience an overwhelming desire or urge to use? • Failure to fulfill major role obligations. Has substance use interfered with your responsibilities at work, school or home? Do you blow off events, or call in sick in order to use or recover? • Use despite recurrent social or interpersonal problems. Have you continued to use chemicals even though it interferes with your ability to interact with others? • Isolation. Has substance use caused you to withdraw from participating in social, occupational or recreational activities? • Use in physically hazardous situations. Have you continued to drink or use even though it places you in physically dangerous situations? Have you gotten a DUI? • Use despite recurrent physical or psychological problems. Do you continue to use even though you have a physical or psychological ailment that is likely to have been caused or worsened by the substance?

• Compulsion. Do you sometimes use more or for a longer time than you would like? Do you sometimes drink to get drunk? Do you stop after a few, or does one lead to more?

• Tolerance. Do you continue to need more of the substance to get the same high?

• Persistent desire to quit, or unsuccessful efforts to quit or control substance use. Have you been wanting to quit? Have you tried and failed to quit or cut down?

• Withdrawal. When you stop using, do experience physical or emotional withdrawal, including: irritability, anxiety, shakes, sweats, nausea, or vomiting?

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When it’s Over, IT’S OVER! To meet the medical definition of an addict or alcoholic, you need answer yes to only three (3) of these questions. If you did, I want you to stop for a moment and think about how that makes you feel. Before today you may have gone quite a long time abusing drugs and alcohol. In fact you might not even remember just how long other than knowing they have always been there for you. All the while you suffered under the misconception that it was under control, The truth is, if you have a substance use disorder then you probably waved adios to the good times long ago. Guess what… they are not coming back no matter how much you try. Take it from me. I tried so hard to keep the party going that I lost my job, career, house, marriage, health, friends and finances.

Don’t let ego get in your way. Accept reality. Gather the courage and speak up now. See a counselor. Attend a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Read the books. I am a recovering addict and alcoholic who found real fulfillment after drugs and alcohol. If I can do it, so can you. Keith Angelin, MBA, CADC-II, CNDAI, is a Masters level, board-certified alcohol & drug counselor and nationally certified intervention specialist. Prior to entering the field of substance abuse counseling he spent two-decades as a leading marketing executive in the health and nutrition industry where he worked with numerous professional athletes and celebrities including Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Clint Eastwood and the Dallas Cowboys. A ten year battle with drugs and alcohol included dying three times. His recovery compelled him to re-evaluate his life and share the miracle with others. He can be reached at (949) 939-9222 or Keith4Counseling@gmail. com.

When it’s Over, IT’S OVER! The truth is, if you have a substance use disorder then you probably waved adios to the good times long ago. Guess what… they are not coming back no matter how much you try. Take it from me. I tried so hard to keep the party going that I lost my job, career, house, marriage, health, friends and finances.

www.homelandmagazine.com

HOMELAND / June 2015 25


Happy Father’s Day

12 Traits Of A Great Father By Julian Marcus

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“Anyone can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a daddy.” A good father makes all the difference in a child’s life. He’s a pillar of strength, support and discipline. His work is endless and, oftentimes, thankless. But in the end, it shows in the sound, well-adjusted children he raises. On Father’s Day, much of the world will take the time to appreciate the work of good fathers. While you show your admiration for your own dad, take the time to see if you yourself have what it takes to be a great father, whether you have children or plan to. 1- He’s a good disciplinarian
 A good father loves his children, but he doesn’t let them get away with murder. He strongly disapproves of his children’s misdeeds, using tough love to prove a point. He does this through the power of his words, not his fists. Likewise, a father doesn’t reward his children for actions that are expected of them, such as helping with house chores or performing well in school. If his child drops out of school, the father demands that he provide for himself, considering the child no longer wants to invest in his own future. 2- He allows his kids to make some mistakes 
A good father realizes that his children are human, and that making mistakes is part of growing up. Spending money recklessly, getting into minor car accidents, getting drunk and sick for the first time, even dating questionable women are rites of passage, and a good father recognizes this. However, he makes it clear that repeated irresponsibility won’t be tolerated. 3- He’s open-minded
 A good father understands that times, people and tastes change over the years, and doesn’t try to maintain some gold standard of his own time. For instance, he realizes that body piercings are more commonplace than before, that more couples have premarital sex, and that people talk more candidly about personal issues. In other words, he allows his children to be citizens of their day and age. 4- He teaches his children to appreciate things A good father never lets his children take what they have for granted. From the food on the table to the good education he’s paying for, a good father will make his children see the value in everything they have. He’ll ask his child to get www.homelandmagazine.com

face setbacks and resolve conflicts on their own. Or it could be a task, such as building something for the house.

a job to help pay for a part of his first car, and take the time to illustrate how important a good education is. He doesn’t let his kids treat him like an ATM.

10- He teaches his children lessons
 A father figure is the prime source of knowledge in the ways of men, and teaches his kids accordingly. From shaving to being courageous, a father molds his kids into well-rounded members of society. He especially instructs them in proper etiquette, on being honest and keeping their word, and on being thankful. A great father knows he must sacrifice his own comfort for his fatherly duties. For instance, if he comes home from a hard day at work and catches his kids looking at porn on the Net, he’ll take the time to address an awkward situation even though he’s tired.

5- He accepts that his kids aren’t exactly like him Everyone is different and a father knows this well. He won’t expect his kids to live the same kind of life he does, and do the same kind of work. He also respects their values and opinions, as long as they don’t harm the family or anyone else. 6- He spends quality time with his children
 A dad knows how to have fun with his kids too, taking them out to games, movies, and supporting their sports teams by attending their matches. He takes the time to listen to his kids and have a good, easy chat with them. He also makes time to help them with their homework, every night if necessary.

11- He protects his family at all costs
 As the main provider of security and necessities, a father will do whatever he can for his family. He’ll take a second job to provide for them, and he’ll put his own safety on the line to keep them out of harm’s way. This is how a father instills in his children the importance of personal sacrifice.

7- He leads by example 
A good father is above the old “do as I say, not as I do” credo. He will not smoke if he doesn’t want his kids to do it, and definitely won’t drink heavily. He teaches them to deal with conflict with a family member and with others by being firm but reasonable at the same time.

12- He shows unconditional love
 This is the greatest quality of a good father. Even though he gets upset at his children’s faults and may lament that they did not attain what he hoped for them, a father loves his children no less for it.

8- He’s supportive & loyal Although he may be a football fanatic, if his son doesn’t share his love for the game, he accepts it. He may be loyal to his alma mater and dream of having his kid follow his legacy, but if his son prefers to study abroad, he’ll support his decision to take a different path.

Give Props To Dad In these days of polarized sexual politics, the value of a great father is often overlooked. But there are few things as valuable as a father who will do everything he can, and provide all the tools he has so that his children can become better than him.

9- He challenges his kids
 A father wants his children to be the best they can be, and gives them challenges that help them grow as human beings. This means giving them some liberty to

HOMELAND / June 2015 27


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