Homeland Veterans Magazine June 2017

Page 1


Resources Support Inspiration

Vol. 4 Number 6 • June 2017


Awareness Month Patriot Nations

Honoring the Native American tradition of service

Wellness Warrior Solutions

Marine Finds New Life Father’s Day Salute

12 Traits of a Great Father

HOMELAND /June 2017 1

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HOMELAND / June 2017

The Forgotten Hero of the Forgotten War


Meet living legend CAPT E. Royce Williams Saturday June 10th 1:00 PM at American Legion Encinitas Post 416 210 W. F. Street

WE NEED YOUR HELP! Please Sign & Share the petition to recognize CAPT Williams for his Act of Valor at:


HOMELAND /June 2017 3



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. 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.

Publisher Editor-In-Chief Mike Miller Contributing Writers CJ Machado Vicki Garcia Wounded Warrior Project Vesta Anderson John Roberts R4 Alliance Jenni Riley DAV M. Todd Hunter Steven Wilson Shelter to Soldier Eva M. Stimson Boot Campaign Barry Smith USO Sharon Smith REBOOT Workshop Sara Wacker USAA Chad Storlie Operation Homefront Stephen Thomas Women Veterans Alliance VETTED Public Relations CJ Machado Thomas McBrien Entertainment Media Bob Dietrich Calvin Goetz

We are honored to share the work of so many committed and thoughtful people.

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.

We appreciate your support and are so happy to have you as a reader of HOMELAND Magazine.

Homeland Magazine 9528 Miramar Road, Suite 41 San Diego, CA 92126

With warmest thanks, Mike Miller, Publisher


HOMELAND is inspirational, “feel good” reading; our focus is on veterans, 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.

Contact Homeland Magazine at: info@homelandmagazine.com


HOMELAND / June 2017

inside this issue 06 Father’s Day Salute 10 Traits of a GREAT Father 12 Patriot Nations: Honoring the Native American tradition of service 16 Shelter to Soldier Scores Charitable Donations 20 Warrior Wellness solutions gives hope and healing 22 Marine Finds New Life with Wounded Warrior Project 34 ENLISTED TO ENTREPRENEUR It’s OK to Be Small 38 How Military Skills Demystify Corporate Culture 40 Don’t Let Student Debt Impact Retirement

28 PTSD Awareness Month

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Father’s Day Salute: Two Military Fathers Credit Their Family Tree For The Inspiration And Drive To Serve

By Barry Smith Boot Campaign

Father’s Day means many different things to many different people, especially when sons become fathers themselves. American military men share a special yet similar understanding of the holiday because they have sacrificed time away from their families to put their lives at great risk in defense of our freedom. Many also have experienced their own family members enduring the same sacrifice and risks. Two Boot Campaign Veteran Ambassadors, who entered military service as sons and grandsons of military men, are now fathers themselves and look at Father’s Day much differently than when they were growing up. Lieutenant Commander (Ret.) Christopher Auger, a U.S. Navy SEAL with nearly 28 years of service and leadership to his credit, and Corporal Brent Taylor, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, were both inspired to serve their country by strong military men from their respective family trees. Auger is a legacy Navy SEAL, following in the footsteps of his father, EMCM (Ret.) Robert Auger, along with his younger brother, Lieutenant (Ret.) Aaron Auger, also a career Navy SEAL. Chris enlisted in the Navy in 1987 and graduated Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training class 155 in 1988, at which point he says he finally realized how much his father being a SEAL impacted his life. “I didn’t particularly like the military while growing up as it took my father away for long periods of time,” remembers Auger, a native of Virginia Beach, Va., and current resident of Cumming, Ga. “I thought him being a Frogman was pretty awesome and would go to work with him on weekends when he was in town to crawl around the equipment. It was the only life I ever knew so I didn’t know anything different. I respected it but hated the time he was gone. “When I joined the Navy, it was a shocker to everyone, especially for my mother because she wanted me to finish college,” he adds. “I actually joined the Navy for the Sea College program.


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It was after a series of events in boot camp that I took and passed the SEAL entry test. After graduating Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training I realized how much my father sacrificed for his family. He and I have had several heart-to-hearts on this subject.” Auger was initially stationed at SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team TWO, Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek (Norfolk, Va.), from April 1989 to Jan. 1995, and then was assigned a tour with the Office of Navy Intelligence in Washington D.C. until Feb. 1998, a time when he also earned his bachelor’s degree in information systems from the University of Maryland. He chose re-assignment to the Navy Reserve Unit SEAL Team Four in Dec. 1998 for his family, where he was commissioned as a Naval Officer and worked his way up the ranks to lieutenant in Sept. 2003. In 2005 he was mobilized to active duty which turned into a permanent appointment. After several short trips to Iraq in 2005 and 2007 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and a 2008 deployment to the Philippines, he was promoted to lieutenant commander. In addition to his military duties Auger graduated summa cum laude in 2010 with a Master of Science degree in global leadership from the University of San Diego. His time in Naval Special Warfare took its toll on his neck and back, which prompted his retirement in March of 2015 after several major neck and back surgeries. His personal decorations include a Joint Commendation Medal, seven Navy Commendation Medals, Joint Service Achievement Medal, three Navy Achievement Medals and various unit and service awards, none of which may have been achieved had it not been for the mentorship and inspiration of his father.

Lieutenant Commander (Ret.) Christopher Auger, Daughter Alexis and Wife Sandra

Auger is a legacy Navy SEAL, following in the footsteps of his father, EMCM (Ret.) Robert Auger “I was frustrated with my father once prior to going through BUD/S training because I thought he was holding back sage wisdom,” reflects Auger, “but he sat me down and said, ‘Chris, I can only hope and pray that how I raised you and the principles I tried to instill in you get you through it. You have the physical ability and are nuts enough to make it through. If I told you to jump in a mud puddle and do push-ups, you wouldn’t blink an eye but would do it. If I told you to eat something most people would squirm at, you would chow it down. It is what’s in you and your heart that is going to get you through.’ Best conversation my father and I had ever had!” www.homelandmagazine.com

His brother Aaron’s path to the military was much different than Chris, as Aaron always wanted to be a Navy SEAL. Nevertheless, the bond that all three Augers share is without a doubt an exceptional one. “Our relationships were uniquely different as we had a bond that very few fathers and brothers share,” he adds. “Aaron and I were in the same platoon and were able to do some very unique things together.

We share a Team guy bond but it is one upped by the bond of blood. The Teams cultivate a deep desire to serve. Very special indeed!”

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For Taylor, who grew up in the small town of Clayton in the mountains of Northeast Georgia, it was the example of his grandfather who served in World War II that inspired him to enter the Marine Corps in 2004.

Corporal Brent Taylor, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran with Wife Heather, Daughter Amelia Grace Taylor and Burton

Grandmother Eula Dodd Kinney & Grandfather U.S. Marine Raymond M. Kinney “Raymond Kinney, my grandfather on my mother’s side, was the toughest man I’ve ever known,” admits Taylor. “Everything about him was tough, stoic, and quiet. He was like a Kodiak grizzly. He was also a devout Christian and was very active in men’s ministry. I think that’s what inspired me most about my grandfather. He was this tough as nails leathery Marine but his heart was bigger than a mountain. He is the kind of man that you grow up wanting to be like.”To be like grandfather, Taylor enlisted in the Marines at age 19. “The Battle of Fallujah was all over the news during my first semester of college and that’s when I really felt that call to serve,” Taylor remembers. “I had always known that if I decided to serve that it would be the Marine Corps because of my grandfather.” Taylor’s “Pawpaw” is what he calls an Iwo Jima Marine. 8

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Raymond M. Kinney’s service in the U.S. \Marine Corps included deployment with the first wave into Iwo Jima. I just wanted to be like the great men I knew growing up. I wanted to be tough and strong. I want my family to know how much I love them. I want the people in my life to know that things are better because I exist and I want to serve them.” Taylor served for just under five years on active duty where he was stationed in Okinawa, Japan and later in Las Pulgas in the center of Camp Pendleton, Calif. He also was deployed to Al Asad Airbase in western Iraq, the second largest U.S. military airbase in Iraq, as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he recalls “we were scared at times, bored most of the time, cold, hot, and almost always dirty.” During his military career, he says he was lucky enough to be a part of many temporary assignments including working at a Marksmanship Training Unit, where his passion for firearms began.

Since leaving active duty, he has worked in the firearms industry for the past eight years and counting. “Being a part of the gun industry is great and I can’t say there’s just one thing that drives my passion to be a part of the gun world,” says Taylor. “I carry daily and do my best to stay proficient and train at least once a month. Training and shooting are a lot of fun for me, but there is also the element of personal responsibility and that goes with the tecnical knowledge. “There’s something very satisfying about being able to accurately hit a target the size of a small trash can 1000 yards away on the first shot,” he adds, “but you have to understand how to control your excitement and be diligent about staying on top of things. Shooting proficiently is a perishable skill.”

While both Taylor and Auger have no sons, they are both fathers to daughters and say they would be proud to inspire their children and future grandchildren if they were ever to become interested in a future of service to their country. “I’m new to this fatherhood thing, and 2017 is my first Father’s Day as a father,” confides Taylor, who now resides in Barrow County, Ga., with my wife and new daughter Amelia Grace, where he volunteers with his youth church group to help with student ministry and also serves as a Veteran Ambassador with Boot Campaign. “I know that I see the world differently now that I have a kid. I would tell my daughter that no matter what path she chooses in life that if she chooses to put others before herself she will always find happiness. The Marine Corps opened a whole world of opportunity for me and I am extremely grateful for my time in service.” Although he is retired from the military, Auger continues to serve as a Boot Campaign Veteran Ambassador and is completing his doctorate in Regent University’s School of Business Leadership, in order to continue his passion to coach and developing leaders in the private sector through the use of emotional intelligence and servant leadership.


While he also is expected to walk his adult daughter Alexis down the aisle this September, Auger says he would be happy to recommend a career of service to his daughter or grandkids should the subject ever come up. “I would absolutely encourage them to pursue the military,” says Auger. “I would dig a little deeper and ask them why and encourage them to go to college first. Having that degree presents many more options down the road, and is much easier than later when you have a full-time job, family and must do it at night when you would rather be with your family. Father’s Day to me, when I was growing up, was not very significant because Dad was usually gone,” he concludes. “Today my Christian faith, having a family of my own, the relationship my father and I enjoy today and having served with other fathers in the Teams has created a much greater and significant understanding of Father’s Day. The importance for fathers to be present and active in their kids’ lives with the time that life affords them is critical and even more so priceless.” Thanks to their selfless sacrifices to protect our country’s freedom, sometimes fathers return home needing help to be that father that their family wants and needs, and that’s where Boot Campaign comes in. The military non-profit is revolutionizing how veterans receive recovery assistance through its ReBOOT treatment program, medically based and 100-percent customized to specifically fit each veteran’s exact needs. ReBOOT treats vets from the inside out, top to bottom, restoring them to who they were meant to be, giving back the quality of life they deserve. To find out more, visit www.bootcampaign.org/reboot

HOMELAND /June 2017 9

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.

12 Traits of a GREAT Father

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.


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“Anyone can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a daddy.”

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 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. 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. 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.

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. 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. 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. 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.

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


This Father’s Day, show your dad you appreciate what a great man he is, and take the time to make yourself just as grand.

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HOMELAND / June 2017

Patriot Nations Honoring the Native American tradition of service By Charity Edgar


eginning with the Revolutionary War and including every major U.S. military conflict since, Native Americans have served in the armed forces in higher numbers per capita than any other ethnic group. In 1994, Congress passed a bill authorizing the creation of a memorial honoring Native American veterans. Twenty-three years later, that vision is well on its way to becoming a reality. “This is a tremendously important effort to recognize Native Americans’ service to this nation. We have so much to celebrate. Like so many others, I was compelled to serve to honor the warrior tradition that is inherent to most Native American societies—the pillars of strength, honor, pride, devotion and wisdom,” said former U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a Northern Cheyenne veteran of the Korean War, in American Indian, the membership magazine for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). To honor the indigenous people who served and sacrificed, the museum is hosting the yearlong exhibition “Patriot Nations: Native Americans in

Eagle-feather war bonnets adorn U.S. military uniform jackets at a Ton-Kon-Gah (Black Leggings Society) ceremonial, held annually near Anadarko, Okla., to honor Kiowa tribal veterans. (Courtesy of the National Museum of the American Indian)

Our Nation’s Armed Forces.” The exhibition outlines the history of Native American military service and explains why the creation of a National Native American Veterans Memorial is important to not only native people but also all Americans. “Tens of thousands of Native Americans joined the U.S. armed forces during World Wars I and II,” said Herman J. Viola, curator of the exhibition. “Forty-four thousand Native Americans served in World War II; the entire population of Native Americans was less than 350,000 at the time.” With the contentious history between the U.S. government and Native American nations, many might find the high rates of service for indigenous people surprising, according to NMAI Director Kevin Gover. The exhibition has personal meaning for Gover, who is Pawnee. His grandfather, Phillip Gover, was a code talker in the Second World War, serving in the famed Thunderbirds, part of the Oklahoma Army National Guard. He lost an arm during the Battle of Monte Continued on page 12

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Cassino. Even more devastating, he lost his brother, He said that, while Native Americans did serve who served alongside him in the 45th Infantry Division. in the military, some veterans may still be distrusting Grant Gover was killed in action in France. of the government and therefore less likely to seek “Native veterans were willing to fight and die for the out the benefits earned through service. land that was taken from them, despite the U.S. actively “It is extremely important for me to bridge that deconstructing American Indian nations,” explained Gover. “The treatment Native DAV life member Tyson Bahe served in the U.S. Army, deploying to Americans received in Afghanistan twice. the past didn’t impact their “The Native American culture is one pride in their land and the of warriors,” said Bahe, who is Navajo. “The elders pass down stories of warrior commitment to protect it. ancestors, and it is viewed as an honor That is why there is such a to serve.” Jeff Eller, Assistant legacy of service from the Bahe followed in the footsteps of Supervisor, Muskogee his mother, father and grandfather by tribal community.” National Service Office joining the military. “Serving in the Army was important gap between the elders and the government and let to me because of both my family and tribal legacy of service. We have a long history of standing up to protect the veterans know there are benefits they have access to,” said Eller. “We have to break down that barrier our land,” said Bahe, who is a member of DAV Chapter so that they feel comfortable and trusting of us to 21 in Gallup, N.M. represent them.” Serving those who served A recent change in the Code of Federal Regulations Unique challenges face Native American veterans allows eligible tribal organizations to become accredited following military service. to provide representation for claims and appeals Jeff Eller is an assistant supervisor in the Muskogee before the Department of Veterans Affairs. The tribal National Service Office, and he also plays an important representation will have to meet the same stringent role as a liaison to area Native American veterans for requirements facing DAV and other veterans service the DAV Department of Oklahoma. organizations. “There are many Native American tribes headEller, along with other Oklahoma service officers, has quartered within our state, and we saw an unmet conducted training at Cherokee, Chocktaw and other need—too many veterans did not have access to the area native nations and helped with the benefits process. benefits they earned through service,” explained DAV DAV assists veterans with nearly 300,000 benefit Department Adjutant Danny Oliver. “We established claims annually, and in 2016, DAV attained more than a Native American Veteran Outreach Program, which $4 billion in new and retroactive benefits to care for Jeff serves as the director of, and we now have service veterans, their families and survivors. officers located in tribal veteran centers. This pro“DAV’s history of helping veterans speaks for itself,” gram enables us to better serve our Native American said Eller. “Benefits assistance is a learned experience, brothers- and sisters-in-arms.” and we want to take that to all veterans, including A combat-disabled Army veteran, Eller is a member Native Americans who might be more difficult to reach of the Cherokee Nation; his wife is Creek. due to cultural or logistical barriers. “The treatment Native Americans received in the “There is so much pride in their tribe and in the past didn’t impact their pride in their land and the nation,” he added. “There is honor in what Native commitment to protect it. That is why there is such a American veterans have done and what they have legacy of service from the tribal community,” said Eller. endured.”


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“We are warriors with a history of service.” —Tyson Bahe, Army veteran, DAV life member, Chapter 21 in Gallup, N.M.

“Native American veterans served a country whose government did not always keep its promises to them,” said DAV Washington Headquarters Executive Director Garry Augustine. “DAV honors these men and women who served, including the 140,000 living Native American veterans. ‘Patriot Nations’ and the forthcoming National Native American Veterans Memorial recognizes these veterans who went above and beyond in answering the call of duty.”

DAV life member Tyson Bahe, Cherokee, followed his family’s long history of military service when he joined the Army as a cavalry scout in 2008. He served for five years and deployed to Afghanistan twice. (Courtesy of Tyson Bahe)

Honoring the patriot nations

Jerletta Halford-Pandos is the assistant adjutant of the DAV Department of Oklahoma and of both Cherokee and Chocktaw descent. She said she looks forward to the creation of the National Native American Veterans Memorial, which is slated for a Veterans Day 2020 dedication. The call for design proposals will soon be underway. “Land was taken from my ancestors, but they still vowed to protect it. That’s a part of my history, and I’m proud to be a veteran who has continued this Native American legacy of service,” said Halford-Pandos, a 22-year Army veteran who also serves as adjutant for Chapter 9 in Sapulpa. While the exhibition and museum will be educational for anyone, regardless of their heritage or military service, it holds special meaning for Native American veterans.

“There is a strong sense of camaraderie within the native community. It wasn’t often, but when I did see another Indian on deployment, especially Navajos, we immediately had a unique bond. Seeing fellow natives provided a sense of home during a time of war,” said Bahe. He added that the memorial will honor this bond between native veterans and their land, and it will show American citizens how long indigenous people have been fighting for them. “We are warriors with a history of service,” he said. Q

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian reveals the remarkable history of Native American veterans through art, photography and essays in a 16-panel exhibition documenting 250 years of native peoples’ contributions in U.S. military history. The exhibition will remain on view until January 2018 in the museum’s Sealaska Gallery in Washington, D.C. A companion traveling exhibition can be seen across the country, with the following stops: • Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, Pembroke, N.C., April–July 2017 • Mid-America All-Indian Center, Wichita, Kan., May–September 2017 • Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center, Shawnee, Okla., June 2017–January 2018 • United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., October–November 2017


See “Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces”

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Shelter to Soldier Scores Charitable Donations with Petco-San Diego Padre Homerun Program by Eva M. Stimson Petco has selected Shelter to Soldier as the charity recipient for the #PetcoPorch Homerun Program for the 2017 San Diego Padre season. For each homerun that is hit by a San Diego Padre into the Petco Porch in the right field corner of Petco Park during a home game, $1,000 will be donated to Shelter to Soldier. Petco and the San Diego Padres organized a launch celebration at Petco Park to announce the partnership on May 21st. The home game included a military salute for U.S. Coast Guard Appreciation Day and the San Diego Padres played and won against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The ceremony took place on the field at home plate before the ballgame and included a check presentation from the Petco Foundation for $2000.00 to Shelter to Soldier, for two homeruns that have already been completed during the 2017 season. 14 members of the Shelter to Soldier team including veteran recipients and Petco Foundation-sponsored service dog “Moose”, along with staff from the San Diego Padres, Petco and the Petco Foundation gathered together to celebrate the partnership.

All proceeds raised from this Homerun Program will benefit Shelter to Soldier (STS), a San Diego-based non-profit organization that adopts dogs from rescues and trains them to be psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and other injuries associated with traumatic service experences. Susan Kogut, Executive Director of the Petco Foundation remarks, “Petco and the Petco Foundation partnered to select Shelter to Soldier as the recipient of the #PetcoPorch 2017 Homerun Program due to their incredible dedication not only to the animal community but also to our military men and women in need. This is truly a story of who rescued whom. The dogs are adopted and trained to, in turn, rescue these men and women who have served our nation both at home and abroad. We are honored to be able to call Shelter to Soldier our partners and are looking forward to this year’s #PetcoPorch program.” The San Diego Padre 2017 season is in full swing and continues through September 30th. Every home game that falls on a Sunday is military appreciation day, so all members of the community are encouraged to purchase tickets to attend as many games as possible, particularly on Sunday’s, to cheer on all members of the Padre baseball team to hit homeruns into the Petco Porch (on the right hand side of the baseball diamond over the Petco.com red banner) to benefit Shelter to Soldier. According to Shelter to Soldier Founder Graham Bloem, “We’re incredibly honored and grateful to be the recipient of this wonderful Petco program, and what a great way to celebrate our military community, veterans and rescue dogs!

Susan Kogut (Executive Director, Petco Foundation), Graham and Kyrie’ Bloem (STS Founder and Co-Founder respectively), Vic Martin (STS Veteran Advocate and Recipient), Leo Casiple (Army Veteran Recipient) with Moose (STS Service Dog) 16

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There’s nothing more American than baseball, and a day at Petco Park is not only a very patriotic experience during the opening ceremonies when the National Anthem is sung, but it’s also good old-fashioned fun.

After the ceremony at home plate, our team stayed on to watch the game and it was exhilarating when home run balls almost landed in the Petco Porch!” A full schedule of upcoming Padres games, times and ticket options can be located at the official site of the San Diego Padres, www.padres.com.

Kyrie’ Bloem, Co-Founder of Shelter to Soldier comments, “We were fortunate to be the recipient of a very generous grant from the Petco Foundation in partnership with Natural Balance last year, which enabled us to adopt “Moose” a one-year-old Pit Bull Mix with a spunky but sweet personality, and a very keen desire to help his handler.

With more than 50 years of service to pet parents, Petco is a leading pet specialty retailer that focuses on nurturing powerful relationships between people and pets. They provide products, services, advice and experiences that keep pets physically fit, mentally alert, socially engaged and emotionally happy.

We first met Moose at the San Diego Department of Animal Services Bonita Shelter and found the perfect fit for him with veteran Leo Casiple.” The two have bonded during their twelve-month-long training experience and graduation, pairing them for life.

They employ more than 25,000 partners and operate more than 1,500 Petco locations across the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico, including more than 85 Unleashed by Petco locations, a smaller format neighborhood shop. Petco also offers prescription services and pet supplies from the leading veterinary-operated pet product supplier, Drs. Foster & Smith; digitally-delivered pet health advice through PetCoach and petco.com. The Petco Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization, has invested more than $185 million since it was created in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. In conjunction with the Foundation, they work with and support thousands of local animal welfare groups across the country and, through in-store adoption events, help find homes for more than 400,000 animals every year. www.petcofoundation.org.

Kyrie’ elaborates, “The mission of the Petco Foundation is to raise the quality of life for pets and people who love and need them. As one of the nation’s largest funders of animal welfare causes, the Petco Foundation feels that they have a responsibility and obligation to invest funds wisely in organizations that achieve their mission and vision, like Shelter to Soldier, and we are very proud to have their support!” Shelter to Soldier is hosting their 4th annual fundraising gala scheduled for September 16, 2017. Exciting plans are in the works for this festive celebration and for those who are interested in supporting the fundraising effort, the organization is now accepting silent and live auction items and event sponsorships. To contribute, contact Shelter to Soldier Co-Founder, Kyrie’ Bloem at Kyrie@sheltertosoldier.org.

STS Team Photo Back Row: Stephen Snyder, Alec Bloem, Shan Foster, Vic Martin Front Row: Mariah McIntyre, Nicky Moore, Kyrie’ and Graham Bloem with Moose, Army veteran Leo Casiple with family members Cecile, Lance and Brandon Casiple

HOMELAND /June 2017 17

communities built to support those who serve.

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HOMELAND / June 2017

Shelter to Soldier Monthly Giving Campaign Help us “Save Lives, Two at a Time” by starting your monthly contribution today.

You can give your gift at www.sheltertosoldier.org by clicking on the DONATE NOW link and checking the monthly recurring donation option on your donation form. Every day, 3200 dogs are euthanized nationwide, and every day 20 veterans and one active duty military personnel lose their lives to suicide – that’s one life lost every 69 minutes.

Donations large and small make a difference by allowing us to adopt, care for, house, train and place these highly trained companions with veterans in need.

Shelter to Soldier adopts dogs from local shelters and rescue organizations and trains them over the course of 12-18 months to become psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and other injuries associated with traumatic service experiences.

Your contribution will help us provide safe housing, medical care, vaccines, supplements, food, bedding, grooming, and training equipment for the service dogs in training while they reside in our training program as well as service dog and graduation materials to each veteran/service dog team when they graduate as a pair.

For as little as $10 a month, you can make a direct impact on these two populations that need our help. www.homelandmagazine.com


HOMELAND /June 2017 19


If you ask Cpl. Michael Politowicz, he’ll tell you he was born to be a United States Marine. His path to achieving that goal was anything but smooth and staying on track hasn’t exactly been a cake walk, either. A Detroit native, Politowicz is the grandson of the late Edward Politowicz Sr., a World War II USMC veteran and survivor of four amphibious assaults, including two on Iwo Jima. With his grandfather as his role model, Michael Politowicz enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 18, but he didn’t make it very far. “Halfway through boot camp, I was attacked by fire ants and went into anaphylactic shock,” he said. “The Navy medical board deemed me unfit to continue with training.” Politowicz returned to Detroit and worked on auto assembly lines and other factories for ten years. His goal was to de-sensitize his allergic reaction to fire ants and then re-enlist. But the Marine Corps told the six-foot-three-inch-tall Politowicz he was 50 pounds overweight. Two months later, he came in 20 pounds overweight. The third time he tried, they told him he still had 8 pounds to lose, so he left the recruiter’s office, put on a wet suit and garbage bags, worked out and lost the weight in two hours.


HOMELAND / June 2017

R4 Alliance

Member Highlight

By Lisa Curry & Elijah Sacra Finally, Politowicz was a Marine again. He was older than his drill sergeant, but he successfully completed boot camp and became a combat engineer. Two years later, he was on foot patrol in Afghanistan when he stepped on a trip wire and an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated only three feet from him. Politowicz was blown up and landed with a forearm shattered by shrapnel and a traumatic brain injury. That’s how he wound up in the USMC Wounded Warrior Battalion East at Camp Lejeune, N.C., a Purple Heart recipient suffering PTSD and nightmares, back up to 50 pounds overweight and taking 15 prescription medications. “I was a shut-in. I couldn’t deal with large crowds and had a hard time socially with new people,” he said. “I couldn’t walk my dog or even walk from my house to my car.” The average person might have given up right there. Then again, the average person facing all the adversity he’d faced probably would have given up on the Marine Corps years before that. But not Politowicz. He was determined to return to active duty.

Politowicz’s wife Suzi reached out to Warrior Wellness Solutions’ founder Elijah Sacra, a USMC veteran and Exercise Physiologist and co-founder Clarissa Kussin, a professional chef and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Together, Sacra and Kussin taught Politowicz and his wife the foundations of the Warrior Wellness Solutions Program. The Warrior Wellness program encompasses Functional Medicine Health Coaching, Integrative Nutrition, Rehabilitative and Adaptive Exercise, Mindfulness, and Post Traumatic Growth Training. Within three months of working with Warrior Wellness Solutions, Politowicz had reduced his prescription medications from 15 to one. In addition, he had lost so much weight that his company commander at Wounded Warrior Battalion East demanded to know what he’d been doing.

Politowicz told his commanding officer, Antony Andrious, about Warrior Wellness Solutions and said, “You should bring them here.” His improvement continued by leaps and bounds until finally Andrious called Sacra and invited them to present a workshop to Wounded Warrior Battalion-East at Camp Lejeune. Politowicz continued to enhance his performance and became a rugby player, competitive cyclist, and powerlifter. He ran the Marine Corps Marathon, a half Ironman Triathlon and won bronze medals in shot put, discus, and cycling while competing in Warrior Games. Additionally, he rode with President George W. Bush on a 100K Bike Ride. Politowicz is part of the 1 percent of Marines who has left the Wounded Warrior Battalion and returned to active duty, just as he set out to do years before. He now works at Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) as a Sergeant, supporting Marines who are in special operations training. The Marine Corps awarded Politowicz with a personal award for Outstanding Volunteer Service for his continued service with Warrior Wellness Solutions. He is currently attending the Institute for Integrative Nutrition on scholarship where he is training to become a health coach. His story and painting is featured in President George W. Bush’s book Portraits of Courage. He plans to be a High School Principle when he retires from the Marine Corps. He currently lives in Jacksonville, NC with his wife Suzi, his two children, and two American Bulldogs. For a smaller relatively unfunded organization like Warrior Wellness Solutions, R4 Alliance has played an essential role in establishing a framework for support, referrals, and peer to peer education. The R4 Alliance membership has been essential in providing Warrior Wellness Solutions the opportunity for partnerships between other Programs of Excellence and Support services. With their support, Warrior Wellness Solutions continues to transform the lives of Wounded, Ill, and Injured Warriors and their Families.



Empowering the Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Health of Our Nation’s Warriors and their Families

HOMELAND /June 2017 21

Marine Finds New Life with Wounded Warrior Project

Once he re-established himself as a warrior with a will to live, he discovered he had a lot to offer to fellow service members in need.

By John Roberts

Carl Quaney has never shied away from jobs that require toughness. As a Marine, he patrolled hostile combat zones in Iraq, where his life was compromised daily.


hen he went back to the civilian world, he dealt with the heightened risk associated with being a police officer. Carl even worked his way up to federal agent status and patrolled the border between Mexico and the United States. While his fortitude was tested time and again, it was not until the invisible wounds of war began to surface that he found himself in the battle of his life – a battle he nearly lost one lonely Christmas Eve. Realizing he was in need of help, Carl resisted the stigma of tough guys asking for assistance and reached out to Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). Once he re-established himself as a warrior with a will to live, he discovered he had a lot to offer to fellow service members in need.

“My unit was performing routine maintenance when we received the call from the company first sergeant for all staff to report to the commons area,” he said. “It was there we watched the second plane strike the twin towers and their eventual collapse. We were told we were probably going to be mobilized to go to war.” “Clear My Browser History” Before their C-130 reached its destination from Kuwait to Ramadi, Iraq, Carl and his unit got a taste of what they were in for. “We had to do an evasive maneuver in the aircraft, and we kept hearing a bunch of pings,” he said. “We didn’t really understand what was going on, then one of my buddies was like ‘Is that people shooting at us?’ – that provided us with some nervous humor.” At their forward operating base, the Marines adjusted to accept rocket attacks and mortar fire as a new normal. Danger was at every turn, and unit morale eventually morphed into a grim mass resignation.

Today, he provides the assistance he received to others as a WWP staff member.

“We knew that more than likely we were going to die there,” Carl said. “We would talk about it. Not like in the movies where they sit around going ‘Take this letter to my wife.’

All-American Boy “My story starts the same as many teenage boys in America,” Carl said. “In high school in El Paso, I played football, ran track, and even ran for homecoming king at some point.

It was more along the lines of ‘Make sure they don’t find my body in a crazy position. And clear my browser history.’ We made jokes about it, but I did accept the fact that I probably wasn’t coming back home.”

My decision to join the military was pretty easy. My dad served in the Army in Vietnam. My brother joined the Army, so it just sort of ran in the family.”

The group’s morbid realization became an odd source of courage.

He enlisted in the Marine Corps in July of 2000. Carl loved his job, but it was not until 9/11, he said, that he finally realized what it really meant to be a Marine.

“Once we grasped that concept, I think it made us all a little bit stronger,” Carl said. “We were no longer afraid of death. It allowed us to push through and be a little bit braver.”


HOMELAND / June 2017

On Sept. 15, 2005, Carl learned acceptance of his own fate did not equip him with the ability to accept that of a brother in arms. It was on that day that Lance Cpl. Shane Swanberg – a Marine he had never met before – fell victim to an enemy mortar attack. Carl found the gravely wounded man, and it was in his arms that Shane took his last breath. Life Goes On After he returned to the U.S., Carl remained on active duty for a few months, eventually joining the Marine Reserves. Once again attracted to the lure of family legacy, he soon became a police officer. Carl suffered regular nightmares about the final moments of the Marine he never knew. His post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) heightened when he took on his new role as a federal border patrol agent “Some of the drug mules we would apprehend carried AK-47s, and they would fire on us,” he said. “It wasn’t exactly like being back in the war, but it was a hostile situation.” As the triggers popped up that reminded him of his time overseas, Carl’s survivor’s guilt became worse. Knowing he could come home when those like Shane could not ate away at an already precarious sense of well-being. He began to self-medicate with alcohol. He likened the situation to a ticking time bomb. Silent Night On Christmas Eve of 2009, Carl came home to an empty house after a long shift of law enforcement duty. As an overwhelming sense of loneliness took hold, he began reaching out. Nobody answered the phone.

Four months after Christmas Eve, a bad car accident ended his border patrol career as he recovered from a broken back. After healing and feeling he had reached a dead end, C arl heeded the advice of his sister and left for a new start in Jacksonville – where his sister worked for WWP. Finding Friends in the Fight “I had seen the Wounded Warrior Project logo, but I still didn’t know much about it,” Carl said. “I thought the organization was just for veterans with severe physical wounds. My sister was the one who opened my eyes about it serving warriors with invisible wounds, too.” He signed up to attend his first WWP event in 2014 – a Jacksonville Jaguars game, which provided a comfortable environment for warriors to connect with one another. Eventually, he was hooked on being part of an organization that united him with veterans who have experienced similar situations and fought the same internal battles. “I learned how to scuba dive, and I learned how to surf,” Carl said. “Through Wounded Warrior Project’s career counseling, I got a promising job as a site supervisor with a security company.” Through attending WWP connection events, he realized he was progressing on his journey to recovery, and he was his best self when interacting with and helping his fellow warriors.

The grief and guilt became palpable. Maybe people weren’t there for him when he needed it most, but whiskey was. Carl drank heavily into the night, and with each sip, the fate of Shane began to seem more and more appealing. By the time his phone rang, he was holding a near-empty bottle in one hand and a loaded handgun in the other. “My brother called me – probably the only person I didn’t try to call that night,” Carl said. “When I answered the phone, he told me Merry Christmas, and that he loved and missed me and wished I was there. It hit me like a ton of bricks, and I started crying hysterically. Within an hour and a half, he was on the road coming to pick me up.” Still, Carl’s struggles with alcohol and PTSD lingered.


HOMELAND /June 2017 23

Honoring and Empowering “Finally, I just asked if Wounded Warrior Project was hiring,” Carl said. “I knew it would be a very fulfilling career for me.” He started his job with WWP in February of 2016. Carl loves his job at the Resource Center, helping people calling in who are sometimes at the lowest points of their lives. Borrowing from his own experiences, Carl tells veterans he has been where they are and how WWP’s programs and services assisted in his recovery. He is also able to pass on an important lesson he learned. “They’re not alone, and as much as they want to be strong and believe that help is a weakness, it’s not,” he said. “When you’re in a combat zone and you’re pinned down, do you call for air support and reinforcements, or do you sit there and say ‘I can do this on my own?’ Wounded Warrior Project can offer that assistance, and everyone in the organization is willing to go above and beyond for you.” Carl feels like his work is the best way to honor the Marine who died in his arms – and all the others who made the ultimate sacrifice.


HOMELAND / June 2017

“They wouldn’t want me to give up,” he said. “None of us should be at the point where we feel like we can’t go on. Every veteran and civilian needs to live their lives for those who can’t. That’s what they would want for all of us. That’s what they fought for.”

As PTSD Awareness Month, June provides the opportunity to bring mental wellness to the forefront of the conversation, calling attention to the telltale signs of warriors suffering in silence – an isolation that all too often leads to a tragic loss of life. The invisible wounds of war do not have to be a lifelong sentence. They can be treated and managed. Life can get better.


Here are 10 tips for helping warriors who are coping with PTSD:

1. Let veterans determine what they are comfortable talking about, and don’t push. 2. Bring veterans to a quiet place or suggest some deep breathing exercises when the stress seems overwhelming. 3. Encourage creative outlets like writing to help veterans clarify what is bothering them and help them think of solutions. 4. Avoid unhealthy habits as ways to solve problems. Alcohol and drug use make things worse in the long run. 5. Stay aware of your surroundings. Crowds, trash on the side of the road, fireworks, and certain smells can be difficult for veterans coping with PTSD. 6. Be a good listener and don’t say things like “that’s just like when I…” or “I know how you felt.” Everyone’s feelings are unique. 7. Learn about more mental health support resources that ease symptoms of combat stress. www.restorewarriors.org is a website where warriors and their families can find tools on how to work through combat stress and PTSD. www.homelandmagazine.com

8. Remind warriors they are not alone and many others have personal stories they can share about their readjustment. Talking to other warriors can help them cope. 9. Allow and encourage warriors and their family members to express their feelings and thoughts to those who care about them. 10. Let veterans know that acknowledging they may have PTSD shows they’re strong – not weak.

About Wounded Warrior Project

We Connect, Serve, and Empower The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP connects wounded warriors and their families to valuable resources and one another, serves them through a variety of free programs and services, and empowers them to live life on their own terms. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. WWP is an accredited charity with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), is top rated by Charity Navigator, and holds a GuideStar Platinum rating. To get involved and learn more, visit www. woundedwarriorproject.org

HOMELAND /June 2017 25

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) PTSD is a severe and on-going emotional reaction resulting from

exposure to extreme stress or trauma. It can be caused by childhood or adult emotional, verbal, physical, or sexual abuse; prolonged or extreme neglect; witnessing abuse or a serious accident; sexual assault or rape; incarceration; being involved in natural disasters or witnessing a traumatic event. Veterans with PTSD usually have witnessed people being injured or dying, or had experienced physical harm themselves or participated in events where they felt as if their lives or the lives of others were in danger or they had no control over what was happening, and not having proper support after the event.

Signs and Symptoms of PTSD


hose suffering from PTSD are more likely to suffer from anxiety, and are more likely to being depressed. One study of military sexual trauma survivors found nearly 46% of female and more than 28% of male survivors suffered from depression; they also have trouble with anxiety, and memory problems. Others emotional symptoms including feeling emotionally cut off from others, constantly on guard, irritated, or having angry outbursts. They have sleeping difficulties, nightmares, vivid memories or flashbacks of the event that make them feel like it’s happening all over again. They are also at higher risk of committing suicide. Physical symptoms include stomach or bowel problems, headaches, backache, chronic body aches and being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, heart palpitations. Sleep disorders are very common. Survivors of sexual trauma may also see changes in their sexual responses such as lack of desire, painful intercourse, or lack of orgasm. Sexual experiences may be interrupted by angry reactions, anxiety, fear, or unexpected memories of the incident. 28

HOMELAND / June 2017

They are most likely to having trouble sleeping: trouble falling or staying asleep; bad dreams or nightmares and eating disorders, having problems in relationships: feeling alone or not connecting to others, and staying in abusive relationships, having problems with alcohol: drinking to excess or getting drunk to cope with memories or unpleasant feelings; drinking to fall asleep. Veterans with PTSD may think it is a kind of spiritual punishment; some may lose their trust and faith completely. Not having trust faith only compounds the inability to respond to stressors and aggravating emotional and physical conditions. Sometimes these symptoms don’t surface for months or even years after the event occurred or after returning from deployment. They may also come and go.

Military Sexual Trauma – MST as A Cause for PTSD As per former Congresswoman Jane Harman, “Women serving in the US military are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq. In the case of sexual assault and rape, the enemy eats across the table at the mess hall, shares a vehicle on patrol, and bandages wounds inflicted on the battlefield.” The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released an indepen¬dent study in 2010 that reports an estimated 23% of Veterans describe having experienced sexual trauma while on active service.

Being penalized for reporting incidents while the offenders go unpunished, having nowhere to turn, not wanting to lose their job or rank, most of these men and women suffer in silence, many go AWOL out of a sense of desperation, abuse drug and alcohol to mitigate their pain, and many become homeless. Veterans returning home from a war often have PTSD, and when this is compounded with MST, the effects of these traumas are substantial.

That is double the rate for civilians, which is one in six, according to the US Department of Justice. These figures are only a fraction of the reality since sexual assaults are notoriously under-reported both within the military, and amongst civilians. Victims of MST often have the perception that no serious action will be taken on their behalf; are more likely to be ridiculed and ostracized by fellow soldiers; being called a liar, whore, or slut, accused of being gay, and sometimes demoted, or dishonorably discharged under false pretenses.

MST as A Cause for PTSD

HOMELAND /June 2017 29

Treatment Approaches

PTSD is a severe and on-going

emotional reaction resulting from exposure to extreme stress or trauma.

Each case of PTSD is unique therefore treatment needs to be tailored for each patient. Even Veterans who did not realize that they had PTSD years after they have been home can benefit. Veterans themselves, who feel like a failure if they acknowledge that they have PTSD because of shame, not wanting to appear weak, can hinder unfortunately receiving treatment. Some are also plagued with survivor’s guilt. Treatments include prescribed medication, behavioral and psychotherapy modalities. Patients may need to work with their doctors or counselors and try different types of treatment before finding the one that’s best for dealing with their PTSD symptoms. Veterans since the Vietnam War have used marijuana to help deal with their PTSD. But this has not been without controversy since marijuana is considered an illegal substance by the Federal government. But with time it was noted that it has helped them deal with their PTSD symptoms as well with their anxiety disorders and chronic pain, reducing the use of stronger prescription drugs with their side effects as well as saving taxpayers money. On July 22, 2010, the Department of Veterans Affairs released a directive allowing Veterans to use medical marijuana while participating in VHA substance abuse programs, pain control programs, or other clinical programs, as long as they live in a state where medical marijuana is legal. But VA providers are prohibited from completing forms giving recommendations but it could be obtained from an outside source. As of last year, a patient can even discuss the use of medical marijuana with their VA doctors without fear of repercussion. Congress and the Senate are presently considering bills on the subject.


HOMELAND / June 2017

What Should Loved Ones Do? PTSD can also change family life making them feeling scared, frustrated and angry about what is happening wondering if things will ever go back the way they were. Ways to help loved ones with PTSD include: • Learn as much as you can about PTSD. • Offer to participate in their care such as going to doctor visits with them, help them keep track of medicine and therapy • Be there for them when they want someone to talk to or just be there when they don’t feel like talking. • Involve them in family activities as often as possible. • Getting help yourself from family members, support groups, etc.

VA Resource for Veterans with PTSD 1. Moving Forward is a free online course designed for Veterans and service members who are facing challenges such as managing stress, balancing school and family, relationship problems, adjustment issues, coping with physical injuries and financial difficulties. A free mobile app is available for users of iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) and can be downloaded from the App store. 2. The Veterans Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and helps Veterans in crisis and their families and friends anonymously connect with qualified, caring VA responders. • Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 • Send a text message to 838255 • Chat online 3. Understanding PTSD Treatment Booklet www.ptsd.va.gov/public/understanding_TX/booklet.pdf 4. National Center for PTSD This website provides information, resources, and practical advice for Veterans, their family and friends, and the public. www.ptsd.va.gov/public/index.asp 5. VA’s PTSD Program Locator Explore eligibility for health care using VA’s Health Benefits Explorer tool and find out about available treatment options. www.va.gov/directory/guide/PTSD.asp 6. Vet Center Comb t Veterans can bring their DD214 to their local Vet Center and speak with a counselor or therapist — many of whom are Veterans themselves — for free, without an appointment, and regardless of enrollment status with VA. In addition, any Veterans who was sexually traumatized while serving in the military is eligible to receive counseling regardless of gender or era of service. www2.va.gov/directory/guide/vetcenter_flsh.asp

Research into ways to prevent PTSD is ongoing. In the meantime, since we cannot presently prevent what is happening – especially when it comes to the casualties of war, stricter rules, education, and accountability for those who commit “friendly fire” crimes need to be set in place. When someone experiences a trauma, it takes a toll on the entire family. It prevents the individual from living their life fully, and being a productive citizen; at a high cost to society as a whole. San Diego County has the highest rate of homeless Veterans in the nation. We can increase the chance of a good outcome for those who are presently in the forces as well as our Veterans with an early diagnosis, prompt treatment, and the development of strong social support inside and outside of the forces. Hopefully our wounded warriors will not become just another statistic.

HOMELAND /June 2017 31


HOMELAND / June 2017

Patrick Hughes


HOMELAND /June 2017 33


It’s OK to Be Small

When you enter the small business world, you

should be aware of a developing trend, pushing newbies toward fast growth. The expectation from learning institutions, government sponsored small business support programs, investors, and many non-profits in the veteran entrepreneur field, is that the next disruptive innovator or stunning technology causing cultural change is waiting to be revealed by a veteran founder. In short, we have become spoiled into believing that only groundbreaking, fast, trailblazing companies are worthy of recognition. Hooey. Start by defining success for the average small business owner. Is it one who grows and expands his or her operations quickly? A recent report by Emergent Research and Infusionsoft found that “becoming a big business” doesn’t equal success for most small business owners. “The vast majority of people ... believe that most small businesses want to grow and become big businesses,” Steve King, a partner at Emergent Research, wrote in a blog post about the report. “This belief is driven mostly by the vast amount of media coverage high growth small businesses and their owners get.”


HOMELAND / June 2017

Publications like Foundr, Fast Growth, and Inc., among others, stoke the fire with feature stories about outlandish successes by unicorn startups... as if anyone can and should join the party. Based on the responses of 400 small business owners, the Emergent Research and Infusionsoft report revealed that the majority (88 percent) are neither inspired nor driven to build large empires, and don’t want to simply grow for growth’s sake. “Many small business owners tell us they consider themselves an outlier because they aren’t interested in growing into a big business. They often are surprised when we tell them this attitude is common,” wrote King. Here’s a shocker. According to the report, non-financial goals are just as, if not more, important than financial ones. Survey respondents stated that doing work they enjoy; being their own boss; work flexibility, freedom and control; and having a positive impact on their employees, customers and community make them feel successful.

Take challenges one step at a time The common misconception is small business owners define success by financial rewards. This is not the case. Micro businesses, mom and pop shops, and small operators are the backbone of the American economy.

People still need landscaping, a plumber, a great sandwich, a hair color job, and childcare. Some businesses are impervious to rapid growth. They just like it manageable and small. Entrepreneurs certainly face many challenges, even if they are a one-man-band (or one-woman let us not forget). Emergent Research and Infusionsoft’ s report offered some recommendations for small business owners who want to achieve success on a small scale. Define success on your own terms. “In most cases, the growth goal is modest and the financial targets are important, but secondary to other objectives,” wrote King. Growth objectives for a small business owner should be created in a way that supports your broader life goals, and only the business owner can define that. So, get real and start by managing your own expectations. Take challenges one step at a time. Your key business challenges will change as your business moves through different stages of growth. The changes in business challenges may require a change in the way the business is managed, so it’s important to be adaptable.

Flexibility often makes the difference between not only success, but survival. Plan, but not too far out. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Be where you are. Ask for help. Many entrepreneurs fail because they 1) don’t want to pay for help, or 2) think they know everything. Seek coaching, mentoring, education and training not only for you, but for your employees as well. Watch out for the trap of listening to too many voices, which can cause confusion. Find someone you trust and stick with them. Don’t be afraid of technology. Technology can help you interact more effectively with employees, customers and prospects, save time and improve efficiency by automating processes, and improve business performance through analytics. But, don’t overdo it with technology either. It’s easy to be enticed by seductive sales pitches on how every new shiny thing is going to make business life a breeze. It won’t. Automation can be a siren’s call, encouraging you to think you the old values of strong customer service, integrity, and personal communication don’t count in this technology driven world.

Vicki Garcia is the Co-Founder of Veteran Entrepreneurs Today & President of Marketing Impressions. Look for trusted advisors, or apply to be a B2B vendor for veteran entrepreneurs at www.veteranentrepreneurstoday.org www.homelandmagazine.com

HOMELAND /June 2017 35

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• Educational incentives- 6% for Intermediate POST Certificates, 12% for Advanced POST Certificates • Uniform allowance • Additional bilingual pay • Court standby pay • Longevity pay • Sick leave buy back incentive

TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP TOWARD A REWARDING CAREER In addition to Patrol, our core service, the Department offers a wide range of special assignments: • Crime Impact Team • Criminal Investigations Section • Crisis Negotiations Team • Downtown Bicycle Unit • Field Training Officer Unit • Gang Unit • Homeless Liaison Unit • K-9 Unit • Mounted Patrol Unit • Neighborhood Resource Officer Unit • Personnel and Training Unit • School Resource Officer Unit • Special Weapons and Tactics Team • Traffic/Motor Unit • Vice/Narcotics Unit

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Research Opportunities

VETERANS: WE NEED YOU VA San Diego Healthcare System and Veterans Medical Research Foundation are looking for participants for human subject research studies on Veterans health issues. Findings will help provide better treatments for Veterans and the general population. • We are one of the largest VA research programs in the nation • We employ the most advanced research technologies • We employ some of the best, talented and world renowned researchers in the country • We conduct approximately 400 human subject studies annually

Sign up for a research study TODAY!

Some studies provide medical care and/or reimbursement for participation.

Check out our current list of research opportunities.

Visit: www.sandiego.va.gov/studies.asp and www.vmrf.org/studies.html 38

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City of Pittsburgh Police: Protecting and Serving America’s Most Liveable City

www.pghjobs.net You have served the USA, Come Serve The City of Pittsburgh

Equal Opportuntiy Employer

All applicants must visit www.pghjobs.net to apply

HOMELAND /June 2017 39

How Military Skills Demystify Corporate Culture By Chad Storlie USAA Corporate culture is the spoken and unspoken; direct and indirect; internal and external; methods that a company uses to deliver products to their customers, returns to their owners, leadership to their employees, and results to their communities. Corporate culture is different in every company, usually different in distinct geographic areas, and is also influenced by the company’s history, financial position, and employee base. Corporate culture is the soul or the essence of the company when they perform their work. Corporate culture can be good or bad both in total and in part. Military Culture vs. Corporate Culture. Corporate culture or company culture is one of the most difficult concepts for military veterans to understand. This is due to a number of factors. First, military veterans started their very first day in the military learning, understanding, and fiercely embodying their new culture. For military veterans from any service and any time, dedication to their military service, their comrades, and the wellbeing of the country were the norms, not an exception. 40

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Second, specific military units, aircraft carriers, ships, infantry, and special operations units all had their own unique reinforcement of the military culture. From 1974 to the current US Army Ranger School class, the Ranger Creed beginning with, “Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of the Rangers.” Just the first sentence of the Ranger Creed makes clear and plain what is expected of Rangers. Third, when I was an Infantry Officer with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), it was expected that everyone in the Division was an Infantryman regardless of Military Occupation Specialty (MOS). This part of the 101st culture came from its long combat history in World War II, Vietnam, and Desert Storm where the 101st was forced to fight surrounded and everyone became an Infantryman. Despite the differences between military culture and corporate culture, there are several military skills that help define and understand corporate culture. Military Veteran Tips to Understand Corporate Culture #1 – Observe, Observe, Observe. Observation, not discussion, is absolutely the best way to understand the culture of a company. Use basic military reconnaissance skills to observe when do people arrive and depart to work, do people leave to run errands during the day, and what do people wear to work?

In addition, observe meetings – do they begin on time? Does everyone share in the discussion? Is there an agenda that is followed or not followed? Are people free to offer suggestions and recommendations or do only a few people do the speaking?

As a general rule, only a few people within the company can discuss how the company is performing, what needs to be fixed, and how to fix it. The best rule is to leave Social Media and blogging for personal interests only and stay well away from any comments about the company on Social Media.

Finally, look at outside the office behaviors. Are people expected to respond to emails at all hours? Do people use all of their vacation? Do they eat lunch at their desks or outside the office? Pure observation is the best way to get a quick understanding of corporate culture.

Military Veteran Tips to Understand Corporate Culture #4 – Don’t Make Any Comparisons to Your Last Military Unit & Hold Off on Recommendations. In the military, it was a common practice during an After Action Review (AAR) or a Debrief to list ideas and problems that were solved in your last military unit or deployment.

Military Veteran Tips to Understand Corporate Culture #2 – Silently Emphasize Individual Workplace Performance Characteristics.

At this point, just collect, develop, and hold your ideas to improve the company. Once your fellow employees understand your background and how you solved problems in the military, they will be much more likely to be open and accept your suggestions. Get established in the company culture and THEN offer suggestions.

Demonstrating individual workplace characteristics such as being to work on time, haircut, professional appearance, note taking, and following up with assignments with your boss are all very good methods to use individual military workplace performance characteristics to stand out even before you have the culture all figured out. Leadership by example is always in style and it is a continuous and well respected method to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position. Military Veteran Tips to Understand Corporate Culture #3 – Say Nothing About Your Company in Social Media & Blogs. In the military, it was expected the military personnel of all levels would write in blogs, Social Media, and other avenues to give ideas, suggestions, and recommendations how to improve problems. www.homelandmagazine.com

Military Veteran Tips to Understand Corporate Culture #5 – Talk to Other Military Veterans How They Navigate Corporate Culture. Talk and network with other military veterans about how they came to understand, learn, and take advantage of the company’s corporate culture. Talking to other military veterans who can help translate from the military culture to the corporate culture is invaluable. Corporate culture is the soul or the essence of the company when they perform their work. Despite the differences between military culture and corporate culture, there are several military skills that help define and understand corporate culture.

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Don’t Let Student Debt Impact Retirement The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CSFB) just released a sobering new statistic surrounding college debt. Most of us believe we know what it is already. Let me take a guess, “The Millennial generation is once again selecting colleges and universities that are too expensive and financing their education choices with student debt.” Am I right? I am NOT right. The CSFB reports that it is parent and grandparents that are the fastest growing segment of those taking on new and higher amounts of college debt. A high level of student debt in the high-income earning years and on a fixed income during retirement are not secrets to a happy retirement.

By Chad Storlie USAA

Parents and Grandparents are starting to be seen as another go to group like banks, college financial aid offices, and scholarships to finance student higher education studies.

A basic step that often goes unappreciated and underappreciated is making sure that the child, grandchild, or you (if you are considering going to or back to college) is ready to complete college.

What is so disturbing about this trend is that where a traditional college student has 30-40 years to payback a loan before retirement, a parent or a grandparent may only have 5 to 10 years to pay off a student loan in addition to existing financial commitments (mortgage, car, etc.) and higher health care expenses.

This has to be an open and considerate discussion because young people often feel a pressure to go to college even if they do not feel a strong desire or an interest in going to college right now. The best financial fact is that college students with college debt, but no college degree are actually worse off financially than high school graduates are.

There is no financial calculator available that makes it a good decision for Parents and Grandparents to take on student loan debt when they are close or in retirement.

College is a great step in almost any career, but only if you complete college and if you complete college with a low level of debt. Talking through the prospective student’s career goals, history of completing academic commitments, and their ideas of what a successful work environment looks like for them.

Here are a selection of ways how Parents and Grandparents can help enable their child or a grandchild to have a successful college experience. 1. Help In College Planning for Parents & Grandparents - Is College Good For You Right Now?


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If they cannot clearly articulate the answers to these ideas then the discussion may need to turn to joining the military, starting work in a trade or craft that does not require education, or some other path such as government service to find a career of interest.

2. Help In College Planning for Parents & Grandparents Discuss Why You Are Going To A Specific College. If a student is interested in going to college, they usually have an idea in mind that it MUST be a specific college that IS THE ONLY ONE that will work for their career or college choice. Many times, this college is one they have either grown up around, have a large number of friends that are planning to attend, or have heard about frequently in the news. The point of this discussion is to discover why they want to go to a specific school and to get them to begin to open their mind to the possibility of other school locations. This is critical because higher education institutions have wide ranges of outcomes and college admissions is so competitive that a student must have multiple options in order to gain admissions to one of their top schools. 3. Help In College Planning for Parents & Grandparents Help Select a School With Strong Career Outcomes. Most students can state what they want to achieve from a college outcome. Most will want little student debt, a strong likelihood of graduation, reasonable tuition, and a high post-graduation income. This is a great way to start the discussion of which colleges with the end in mind. When you start a college discussion with I want to graduate with less than $10K in debt from a school with an 80% graduation rate located in Ohio or Kentucky, this is a list that becomes very manageable to observe the results. Once you start looking at colleges and universities from the perspective of the outcomes produced rather than your belief in the brand value of the school, then you start to quickly see which schools produce good results for students.

Helping students see a college from the career value the college produces is a great step towards making an informed college choice. 4. Help In College Planning for Parents & Grandparents Offer Limited, Direct Financial Support In Form of a Gift. Parents and grandparents want to help a student succeed in college. That is great and they should want to help. The best way to help is to offer limited financial support in the form of a gift. Agreeing to buy books for a semester, buy a student their meal card for a semester, or help with a flight home for Christmas are all meaningful, have a financial impact, and financially limited ways to help. The vast majority of these can be accomplished without taking on college debt, which is the key. These ideas provide definite assistance to a college student and do not put you in a long-term financial commitment that will negatively impact retirement. 5. Help In College Planning for Parents & Grandparents Apply This Advice to Yourself If Considering How To Advance Your Career. Frequently, we can get overexcited ourselves when going back to school for an undergraduate degree or a graduate degree. Looking at the cost of an education, how much your salary will increase with the degree, looking at education financing options, and looking at the total length of time to complete a degree can be personally sobering calculations when determining if returning to school is the right choice. It is not unheard of to have a degree take a decade or longer to pay back. When you consider going back to school to help your own career, a certification or a training class in a new computer skill might payback faster than a new degree. Helping a child or a grandchild determine what their best path in higher education will be is a rewarding task. That reward comes from helping determine if they can complete college. Finding a college with a great career outcome at a reasonable cost, and offering limited financial support that will not endanger your retirement. Finally, apply this advice to yourself when considering a degree before returning to school. Higher education must be completed successfully in a timely manner with limited debt in order to help a career succeed.


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