__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1

Homeland

Vol. 8 Number 6 • June 2020 www.HomelandMagazine.com

M A G A Z I NE

PTSD Awareness Month Understanding PTSD:

FREEDOM

A Guide for Family and Friends

RINGS GLOBAL

Finding Peace in the Storm

Honoring Fathers of the ”Greatest Generation”

Elevating Mental Health Resources

What’s Next

Facts About COVID-19

Arts & Healing

Transitioning To Civilian Life

PTSD

Enlisted To Entrepreneur

LEGAL EAGLE

Careers In Law Enforcement

Breakthrough

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

1


I had a complete meltdown with PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder). I thought I was losing my mind. I’d never been out of control before, and it was hard to admit I needed help, but I wanted my old self back. I’ve gotten that and more. I’m strong. I’m healthy. I have tools, I have knowledge, and I have strength and courage to deal with it. I’m doing just fine. RON WHITCOMB SGT US ARMY 1968 - 1969 SQUAD LEADER, VIETNAM

PTSD TREATMENT CAN TURN YOUR LIFE AROUND. FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT WWW.PTSD.VA.GOV/ABOUTFACE

WWW.PTSD.VA.GOV

2

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020


veterans

Homeland Magazine Resources Support Inspiration

www. HomelandMagazine.com Voted 2017, 2018 & 2019 BEST resource, support media for veterans, military families & military personnel.

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

3


EDITOR’S

LETTER

Publisher Editor-In-Chief Mike Miller mikemiller@HomelandMagazine.com

Contributing Writers Holly Shaffner Veteran Advocate

RanDee McLain, LCSW A Different Lens

Vicki Garcia

Enlisted to Entrepreneur

CJ Machado

Homeland Photojournalist

Kelly Bagla, Esq. Legal Eagle

Joe Molina Veterans Chamber of Commerce

Eve Nasby

What’s Next - Transition

Eva Stimson

Veteran Advocate

Collaborative Organizations

www.HomelandMagazine.com Greetings and a warm welcome to Homeland Magazine! Please take some time to get to know the layout of our magazine. The Magazine focuses on national resources, support, community, and inspiration for our veterans and the military 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 our veterans, service members, military families, and civilians. The magazine is supported by a distinguishing list of national veteran organizations, resource centers, coalitions, veteran advocates, and more. We are honored to share the work of so many committed and thoughtful people. Homeland Magazine is a veterans magazine for veterans by veterans. We appreciate your support and are so happy to have you as a reader of Homeland Magazine.

Mike Miller

Publisher/Editor mikemiller@HomelandMagazine.com 4

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

Wounded Warrior Project Raquel Rivas Disabled American Veterans American’s Warrior Partnership Shelter To Soldier Father Joe’s Village Flying Leathernecks Give An Hour Courage To Call Operation Homefront With National Veteran Advocates & Guest Writers 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

9528 Miramar Road, Suite 41 San Diego, CA 92126

(858) 275-4281 Contact Homeland Magazine at:

info@homelandmagazine.com


FREEDOM RINGS

JUNE

INSIDE THIS ISSUE 8 FREEDOM RINGS GLOBAL 12 Honoring Fathers 14 Elevating Mental Health Resources 16 Finding Peace in the Storm (WWP) 22 Understanding PTSD Guide 28 PTSD Breakthrough (DAV) 32 Cohen Veterans Network 34 A Different Lens - PTSD 36 Understanding PTSD - Substance Abuse 38 Marijuana’s Promising Moment (DAV) 40 Veterans on a Mission to Combat PTS 44 Arts & Healing - First Steps to Healing 46 What’s Next - How to Ace the Interview 48 Enlisted to Entrepreneur - Partnerships 50 Pain Into Purpose 52 Legal Eagle - Time To Incorporate 54 The Job Market 58 Careers In Law Enforcement 64 Homeland 2020 Editorial Calendar 66 COVID-19 Facts (CDC)

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

5


Host this National Memorial in your Community

Please contact us to add a Fallen loved one, host the memorial, or make a donation at: info@RememberingOurFallen.org

www.RememberingOurFallen.org www.PatrioticProductions.org

Tribute Towers

Remembering Our Fallen is a national memorial unlike any other -with military & personal photos of 5,000 military Fallen since 9/11/2001 Unveiled at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 2017, it has since traveled the nation coastto-coast. This memorial also includes those who returned from war, but lost their inner battle to suicide, and those who died from non-war zone injuries while serving in their military capacity. Please contact us to add a Fallen loved one, host the memorial, or make a donation at: info@RememberingOurFallen.org Artist - Elizabeth Moug Artist - Saul Hansen 6

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

“If the purpose of a war memorial is to help us remember the sacrifices of the Heroes, and to help us heal from our sorrow, then your mission has been accomplished. Thank you for this tremendous gift.” - 1LT Daniel P. Riordan’s Mother

“There is a ‘disconnect’ between those we ask to serve our military objectives and our society at large. This memorial made that connection very dramatically and helped us understand the magnitude of their sacrifices. - Ed Malloy, Mayor of Fairfield, Iowa


LIVE IN NYC?

YES, you fill out

the census.

The more New Yorkers who fill out the census, the more money we get for our: • Schools • Housing

• Roads & Bridges • Hospitals

• Senior Centers • Jobs

THERE ARE NO QUESTIONS ABOUT IMMIGRATION OR CITIZENSHIP

THE CENSUS IS EASY AND SAFE

Fill it out now at My2020census.gov or call 1-844-330-2020. JUST 10 QUESTIONS:

NO QUESTIONS ABOUT:

• Fill out online • By phone • By mail

• Immigration • Citizenship

• Your job • Social Security number

BY LAW, YOUR RESPONSES CANNOT BE SHARED: • Not with ICE • Not with the police

• Not with your landlord • Not with anyone

#GetCountedNYC

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

7


FREEDOM RINGS GLOBAL Commemorating the 76th Anniversary of “Operation Overlord”

June 6th, 2020 marks the 76th anniversary of D-Day, “Operation Overlord,” the largest WWII allied operation against Nazi Germany. Most of the young men who fought to save the world have long passed and the remaining are well into their nineties. Sadly, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, we are losing over 250 WWII veterans every day. I’d like to celebrate those still with us and highlight a few of the bravest and most selfless men ever created, the “Greatest Generation.”

By, CJ Machado, photojournalist & veteran advocate

One of those brave men is Coronado resident, WWII paratrooper “Sreaming Eagle” Tom Rice (98). On D-Day, Tom served in Company C, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 101st Airborne Division. Rice commanded a 60mm mortar crew and served as platoon sergeant. The mission of his division was called “Albany.” In addition to several other tasks, its main mission was aimed at securing four causeway exits behind Utah Beach. Rice returned to Normandy for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day in June 2019, where he jumped in Carentan, Normandy in the same drop zone as he did on D-Day. At the time he was 97 years-old. His inspirational jump harbored over 20 million views worldwide by international media. 8

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

His incredible jump and war stories are documented in Libertas (Normandy Jump 2019) documentary available at - www.NormandyJump2019.com. This year Tom had been scheduled to participate in the 76th Anniversary celebration in Normandy, France, but his trip was postponed due to the COVID-19 traveling restrictions and many international events being cancelled. Since museums in Normandy are scheduled to be closed on D-Day, the Normandy Victory Museum proposed the “Les Clochers de la Liberte,” The Bells of Liberty to be rung on D-Day, June 6, 2020 at precisely 6:44pm.


Teams nationwide (WWII Airborne Demonstration Team, Round Canopy Parachuting Team, Liberty Jump Team) and the Military Freefall Association have committed to ring liberty bells in honor of their Airborne Brother Tom Rice. The Mayor of the City of Coronado Richard Bailey and San Diego City Mayor Faulconer have expressed their support. The USS Midway, San Diego Padres, San Diego Veterans Coalition, The Indiana War Memorials, Military Order of World Wars, the Greatest Generations Foundation and many worthy veteran organizations have committed to the worldwide initiative. Fellow WWII Paratroopers “Screaming Eagles” Dan McBride (96) Silver City, New Mexico, “Battle of the Bulge” Vincent J. Speranza (95) Auburn, Illinois and the last living D-Day Pathfinder pilot David Hamilton (97) Prescott, Arizona have committed to the Freedom Rings Global initiative. They will ring Liberty Bells in their cities come D-Day, June 6, 2020 at 6:44pm in their respective time zone. Prior to the ceremony, WWII veteran aircraft C-53/DC-3 D-Day Doll will fly honored guest, Tom Rice, “Team Tom Rice” and Honor Flight San Diego (HFSD) volunteers over the Coronado and San Diego skies to celebrate the liberties given on D-Day. Honor Flight San Diego will bring posters of the D-Day veterans who have gone on their Honor Flight with the organization. It will serve as a way to honor D-Day veterans who couldn’t be on D-Day Doll.

Patrick Fissot, Nicholas Belle and Emmanuel Allain created the French movement that has quickly spread throughout the cities of Normandy and France. The French have never forgotten their Liberator Tom Rice and in the spirit of democracy, the Normandy Victory Museum reached out to Rice to ring liberty bells on June 6th, 2020 at precisely 6:44 pm in his respective time zone. Naval Air Station North Island was chosen for the Freedom Rings Global Ceremony because Tom’s father served in the US Navy in aviation. Tom’s father, Marcus Stovel Rice, member of the VPT3 squadron and the pilot were killed when the amphibious aircraft crashed into 60 feet of water in Panama Bay, on May 23, 1934. Tom was 12 years-old. Tom Rice and the Commander of Navy Region Southwest, Rear Admiral Bette Bolivar will jointly ring the Liberty Bell at NAS North Island (Flag Circle) in harmony with the Liberty Bells wave around the world to remind us that Freedom Rings, Freedom Reigns!

American Legion Riders led by Post 149 will escort Tom Rice to the Landing Zone for the monumental fly over. D-Day Doll was one of 159 C-53D Skytrooper aircraft built at the Douglas factory in Santa Monica, California. She was then delivered to the Army Air Force on July 7, 1943, and arrived at RAF Aldermaston in March 1944. On June 6, 1944, 52 aircraft assigned to the 434th Troop Carrier Group launched from Royal Air Force Aldermaston Airfield, where each aircraft towed a Waco glider. D-Day Doll carried reinforcements for troops from the 101st Airborne Division who had jumped in earlier, near Utah Beach. She flew three missions on June 6 and 7.

A group of ardent Tom Rice supporters called “Team Tom Rice” and Honor Flight San Diego expanded the movement through creating a Freedom Rings Global initiative in support of our French Allies. To date, over 1,000 cities from France, Belgium and the UK will be participating in this global event. The Screaming Eagles Association and Foundation, the Pathfinder International Parachute Group, members of our Jump

Continued on page 11 >

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

9


We need your help to locate San Diego County World War II and Korea War Veterans for our upcoming 2020 trips. We want to honor them by taking them on a 3-day trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials built for their service and sacrifice. Since 2010, Honor Flight San Diego has taken over 1,400 veterans on this trip. Due to generous donors, the trip is no cost to the veteran.

“It was the best weekend of my life!� - WWII Veteran For more information, please call: (800) 655-6997 or email: info@honorflightsandiego.org www.honorflightsandiego.org

10

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020


Doll stayed in the fight after D-Day, flying in Operation Market Garden in Holland, the re-supply of Bastogne, then pushed on across the Rhine flying a variety of support missions and evacuating wounded to England.

The original member of the Golden Knights US Army Parachute Team and a member of the International Skydiving Museum and Hall of Fame, Jerry Bourquin will be in attendance and is expected to participate in the flyover.

D-Day Doll returned to Normandy seventy-five years later to participate in the D-Day “Operation Overlord” commemoration ceremonies. Along with the D-Day Squadron, Doll dropped hundreds of parachutists dressed in WWII paratrooper uniforms in Normandy, France last June 2019.

To learn more, visit: www.FreedomRings.Global or like and follow us on Facebook and post your support: https://www.facebook.com/freedomringsglobal/ To read more about the WWII “Screaming Eagles,” Dutch Army Lt Colonel Jos Groen and prior Dutch Marine Corps documented “Three of the Last WWII Screaming Eagles”, a historical autobiographical book that highlights three other WWII paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division who jumped with Tom Rice on June 6, 1944; Dan McBride, Jim “Pee Wee” Martin and Dick Klein. The primary focus of the book is on the arduous battles these courageous men fought against the Germans in France, The Netherlands and later during the Battle of the Bulge. The revenues of the book are donated to two U.S. foundations, the Patriot Foundation and Screaming Eagle Foundation.

This year, the 76th D-Day Anniversary event and flyover to be held in San Diego and Coronado is sponsored by veteran owned AMERICA FIRST SPIRITS, a beverage company that is dedicated to supporting our veterans and worthy veteran organizations. In fact, every bottle of Vodka proudly displays the “Homes For Our Troops” label on the backside. Enthusiastic members of the WWII Airborne Demonstration Team (West Coast ADT) will be dressed in WWII period uniforms waiting for Rice at the Landing Zone. “Sweethearts of Swing,” will be performing the most authentic Andrews Sisters tribute show around. Katleen Dugas with the “Sweethearts of Swing” will be singing the French and American National anthem.

We are beyond blessed to have a few of the “Greatest Generation” still with us to celebrate one of the most significant days in history, D-Day. May we continue to honor the selfless service and sacrifice of our “Greatest Generation.” God Bless them.

Tom Rice

Normandy Jump 2019

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

11


Honoring Fathers of the ”Greatest Generation” By Robert Verl (Bob) Lewis

The Last Flight of the Banshee Father’s Day was always a big deal in my home. My dad’s birthday often fell on Father’s Day (June 15, 1917). He spoke little of his war experience, except for a few humorous anecdotes from time to time. It was not until after his passing that I was able to truly appreciate what he and many other young men from the “Greatest Generation” would risk to protect their families, present and future. My father flew the B-17 aircraft during World War II. The Boeing B-17 and its variants were the workhorses of the Allied daylight bombing campaign. 12,731 B-17 Flying Fortresses were produced between 1936 and 1945; 4,735 were lost during combat missions; less than a dozen are air-worthy today. It was Easter weekend of April 6, 1944, when my father’s B-17 was shot down, the mission for the boys of the 15th Air Force 463rd Bomber Group (the Swoosh Group) stationed in Foggia, Italy was to destroy the Zagreb Airdrome in Yugoslavia. Pilot Mike Wistock, Co-pilot Verl “Monte” Lewis (my father), Navigator Bill Ure, Bombardier Jackson Kiefer, Flight engineer/top turret gunner Bob Applebee, Radio Operator Jack Robinson, Ball turret gunner Chester Majewski, Waist gunner Bernard Cummings, Waist

gunner Roy Coble and Tail gunner Leon (Bud) Ballard were assigned to the 775th bomb squadron and to B-17G #42-31831, affectionately named: “Banshee --Deliverer of Death”. The crew’s mission was to last 7 hours and 25 minutes, at a speed of 200 miles per hour and an altitude of 25,000 ft. By 3 P.M. the boys of the Banshee were approaching their target. The B-17G presented a formidable opponent for enemy fighters, particularly when flying in tightly stacked defensive boxes. Once locked in by the Norden bombsight, the B-17G required a minimum of 20 seconds of non-deviational flight while on the bombing run. The Banshee was forced to endure constant anti-aircraft fire and harassment by the Luftwaffe while the bombing group stayed in formation and locked on target. Due to heavy cloud cover, the 775th bomb squadron was forced to go around and attempt their bombing run for a second time. The Banshee would endure flak and machine gun damage, injuring several members of the crew including my father, co-pilot Lewis, who sustained flak injury for which he eventually received a Purple Heart and a Distinguished Flying Cross.

Banshee Crew next to B-17

12

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020


After his evasion and rescue, Lewis returned to the U.S. and went on to fly B-24s and to train pilots in Florida for the rest of his active duty. He met Florence Campbell; they were married a month later. My dad retired as a Major in the United States Air Force.

Aflame, the Banshee broke formation but maintained heading and altitude in order to salvo its ordinance on target and to protect the rest of the formation should the Banshee explode. Set upon by forty Luftwaffe pilots who were flying ME 109s and FW 190s, and who also knew the soft spot on the B-17G, head on towards the plexiglass housing of the pilot’s cockpit where the machine gun coverage was at its weakest. The Banshee stayed straight and level and it’s machine guns eliminated four of the attackers. “Bombs away” came the command and the load of M41 fragmentation bombs fitted in 500 pound clusters descended towards their targets.

Mike and Monty never knew what happened to each other or the rest of their crew until 1986. Dad suffered guilt and emotional demons for

Wistock and Lewis turned the Banshee “upside down and inside out” in order to extinguish the flames but to no avail. The order to bail out came and co-pilot Lewis went through the plane to make sure the rest of the crew had jumped and then exited through the bombbay doors. Wistock aimed the Banshee north and left through the pilot hatch in the cockpit. Although none of the crew knew it for another 42 years, all had landed safely.

Pilot Wistock Official POW Photo

The Banshee, their Fortress, rolled off the Boeing assembly line in Cheyenne, Wyoming on Christmas Eve 1943 and on Good Friday 1944 was reduced to burning wreckage scattered across a hillside near Zlatar Yugoslavia.

As we commemorate Father’s Day, let’s all take a moment and remember the “Greatest Generation” and give thanks to the young men who risked everything for we owe them all that freedom has provided to us.

most of his life. The dark cloud evaporated when the boys of the Banshee reunited later that year in Tucson Arizona.

Despite the full moon, three airmen were able to elude their hunters. With the help from locals and Marshall Tito’s Partisans, Lewis and Majewski arrived at a British mission near Petrovac on the Adriatic coast. Joined by seventy five other downed airmen, they were evacuated by C-47s to Brindisi, Italy; Ballard was evacuated later when able to travel. All the rest were captured and held as prisoners of war. Wistock injured both ankles while landing and hid out under leaves for three days before being captured by the Germans at a farmhouse. He was paraded through town, stoned and spit on by the locals. He spent 14 months in Stalag Luft I in Barth, Germany, barely surviving an Allied bombing raid before being liberated by the Soviets at wars end. Captain Wistock returned to the States and married Mabel Smith in January 1946. After Mike was honorably discharged, they moved to southern California where they remained for the rest of their lives. Mike graduated from Northrup Aeronautical School and began his lifelong career with Boeing working on the space program. For his contributions, he was awarded an American Flag which had flown to the Moon and back. Verl “Monte” Lewis & Robert Verl (Bob) Lewis

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

13


Elevating Mental Health Resources for Veteran Communities By Cheree Tham, Vice President of Programs and Initiatives at America’s Warrior Partnership May was Mental Health Awareness Month, but the importance of mental health extends year-round. Unlike physical health issues that are generally acknowledged, mental health issues have a tremendous level of stigma attached to them. Consider the different ways that many of us treat physical and mental health symptoms: we may act quickly to soothe a stomachache, but we may let anxiety or another mental health symptom go untreated. Allowing our mental health to reach a point where it is unmanageable impacts everything, including how we feel, what we think, and what we do. The time to access mental health support is not when you are overwhelmed; the time to do so is when your baseline mental health begins to elevate towards distress. This is when a personal support system is invaluable. If you feel distressed, reach out and connect with your friends and loved ones. You do not necessarily have to talk in depth about what is affecting your mental health. Sometimes, the presence and non-verbal support of those closest to you can help reverse the escalation of a mental health issue. To complement personal support systems, there are a range of community resources available, many of which are tailored specifically for veterans, their families and caregivers. Critical Mental Health Resources Every veteran, military family member and caregiver should memorize this phone number and use it when an urgent crisis is happening: call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, or text 838255. This number goes to The Veteran’s Crisis Line, a resource that is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to connect callers with counselors from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These trained responders are always ready to help veterans and their families, providing immediate support for mental health crises ranging from anxiety to thoughts of suicide. Memorizing this phone number could be a life-saving resource for yourself, and it is important to remember this lifeline if you believe a friend or loved one may be struggling with a mental health crisis. 14

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

Community-Based Veteran Support Services In addition to the national Veteran’s Crisis Line, veterans should research the mental health services and programs that are accessible within their local community.


As part of this study, we are currently interviewing individuals who have either lost a loved one, friend, or acquaintance who was a veteran to suicide or a nonnatural cause of death. These interviews will enable us to examine how a veteran was engaged within their community before their death, as well as what community organizations should do to better support veterans in the future.

In addition to VA hospitals and outpatient clinics, there are many resources available from veteran-serving organizations such as Vets4Warriors, the Cohen Veterans Network, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and Team Red, White and Blue (Team RWB). Every community will be a little different in terms of the resources that are available locally, so a good place to begin finding those programs would be contacting the Veteran Service Officer office based in your state. They may be able to recommend local organizations to connect with that specialize in mental health counseling and support programs. More information on these offices is available at:

We are actively seeking participants for these interviews. If you knew a veteran who has recently died of suicide or a non-natural cause of death, please consider sharing your loved one’s story with our researchers. Your contribution could help veterans struggling in the future understand that they are not alone, and that there support services available to help them get their life back on track.

www.NVF.org/veteran-service-officers.

If you are 18 years or older and live within one of the 14 communities where Operation Deep Dive is taking place (the veteran you knew must also have lived in the same community before their death), please visit www.AmericasWarriorPartnership.org/deep-dive/ interview-participants. This page includes information on how to contact our research team.

Additionally, there are online platforms available to assist veterans with findings resources and services that may not exist within a local community. As an example, our team runs the America’s Warrior Partnership Network, which is a coordination center that connects veterans and organizations with service providers from the national level. Veterans can connect with The Network by visiting:

Even if you are not currently struggling with a mental health challenge, I encourage you to remember these resources and support these initiatives. They may provide critical assistance to one of your fellow veterans, perhaps even save their life, in the near future.

www.AmericasWarriorPartnership.org/the-network. Research to Create Stronger Programs Along with current programs and services, there are many initiatives working towards creating stronger, more effective mental health resources for veterans, their families and caregivers. I am heavily involved in one such initiative that is focused on improving veterans’ mental health by addressing one of the most critical issues facing our communities today: suicide and non-natural deaths among veterans.

About the Author Cheree Tham holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Alabama and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).

This initiative is called Operation Deep Dive, a four-year study currently being conducted by America’s Warrior Partnership and researchers from The University of Alabama with support from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. The project is examining community risk factors involved in suicide and non-natural deaths among veterans in 14 communities across the country.

She is the Principal Investigator (PI) with America’s Warrior Partnership for Operation Deep Dive (OpDD). Her experience has been in program development and administration of programs with a wide range of populations, targets and services. She is responsible for planning, oversight, management, and supervision of all programs and services provided to and initiatives with military-affiliated constituencies.

By the study’s completion, we aim to develop a methodology that any community can implement to identify the unique risk factors of suicide among their local veterans, and more importantly, address those factors through a holistic support program that is inclusive of mental health resources.

Learn more about the organization at www.AmericasWarriorPartnership.org.

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

15


Finding Peace in the Storm How Telephonic Care Helped a Female Veteran Learn to Live Again By Dana Dreckman — WWP Talk Director, Wounded Warrior Project After 30 years in the Army, Tonya Oxendine retired with the highest enlisted rank as command sergeant major. It was only after she retired that her life started to unravel. She faced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety, even after securing a promising new career on the civilian side. “I was struggling with my mental health and had suicidal thoughts regularly,” Tonya said. Asking for help was not a skill Tonya was encouraged to use often, especially after ascending to a leadership position in the Army. It was difficult for her to ask for help even when she knew it was a sign of strength, not weakness. Tonya ultimately found strength in her deep sense of duty and accountability to others. “There was a time when I did not want to live,” Tonya said. “But then I realized I was accountable to my sons. I was also accountable to my mental health professionals who had been working with me.” She eventually found WWP Talk, a free mental health phone support line provided by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). The program provides wounded veterans with free emotional support and tools to help them set and achieve goals. Tonya started talking with a teammate from WWP Talk and participated in other WWP mental, physical, and financial health programs. Through WWP Talk especially, Tonya realized how important it is to take care of herself for her own sake. “The truth was, at the time, I didn’t think that I mattered.” A Good Listener Calms the Storm WWP Talk offers individualized emotional support over the phone. Each participant is paired with a WWP Talk partner who will call them at the same day and time each week. They will typically talk for 20 minutes and work through setting goals and finding solutions that fit.

16

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020


WWP Talk helps veterans like Tonya with PTSD, anxiety, and depression. It lets them know they are not alone. “When I started talking with my WWP Talk partner, I felt alone and isolated,” Tonya recalled. “But soon I came to look forward to talking with him and took notes on what to share with him in between appointments. I knew he would want to know how I was doing.”

With resolve and practice, Tonya began to feel as if the storm’s revolutions calmed down. Now, she has a list of things she can do to protect herself during tough times. “Sometimes it’s something as simple as doing a Sudoku puzzle or taking my dog for a walk,” Tonya said. “I have resources to be safe. I can get through the storm quicker, and I can be prepared for what’s ahead and what cycles I go through.”

Tonya recalled how her WWP Talk partner changed her outlook with skills she could use “to cope with day-to-day anxiety.”

Today, she’s able to talk openly with her sons, now 33 and 27 years old, about things she overcame, and things she swept under the rug. Tonya also shares her story with other veterans, and she inspires many through motivational speaking, writing, and a podcast series.

“My WWP Talk partner wasn’t pushy, he just listened,” Tonya said. “Sometimes I would just be crying and even his silent listening was comforting.” His calm silence was a contrast to the raging storm inside her and had a calming effect. In addition, he was steadfast and reliable. “He never missed a call, and he was always genuine; he wasn’t reading from a script,” Tonya said.

“Thanks to WWP Talk, my counselors, and my mental health providers, I am now able to express myself in ways that can help others, which in turn helps me,” Tonya said. Renewing Herself for the Challenges of the Future

Tonya learned to set her own goals and change them as needed to maintain focus.

Tonya is aware of the ongoing challenges veterans face. “You can be positive every day, but that doesn’t mean that every day is guaranteed to be good.”

“I’ve been doing counseling since 2012,” Tonya said. “As soon as I feel myself starting to go through that storm and start to get whipped around again, I use what I learned to refocus.”

“Thanks to WWP Talk, my counselors, and my mental health providers, I am now able to express myself in ways that can help others, which in turn helps me”

Continued on page 19 >

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

17


Wounded Warrior Project® is proud to honor the service and sacrifice of the women we serve — on and off the battlefield. Join us as we celebrate Her in Every Hero™.

“THE ABILITY TO RECONNECT WITH A SUPPORTIVE FEMALE VETERAN COMMUNITY THROUGH WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT CHANGED MY MINDSET ABOUT PERSONAL GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT.” — WOUNDED WARRIOR TANIKI RICHARD

LEARN MORE

herineveryhero.org www.herineveryhero.org

18

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020


“I really want people, especially veterans, to know it’s okay to ask for help,” Tonya said. “When we don’t ask for help, we can’t help others. It’s hard to do, but the effort is what’s needed to take that first step.” What would she tell her former self? “Don’t be so independent,” she said without hesitation. “I didn’t ask for help. I thought I could do it better by myself. “I would say to younger soldiers to reach out and ask for help. Sometimes we put ourselves in a corner. It’s okay to ask for help throughout life. That doesn’t mean you’re a burden or weak. It means you’re doing something for the team. “WWP Talk is about resilience,” Tonya added. “It helps build resilience and find ways to be happy, better, and healthy. In helping my mental health, I’m going to be able to help other people find happiness.”

WOUNDS WE CANNOT SEE Post Traumatic Stress Disorder does not always allow the affected to seek help. Lend a hand and provide them with methods of help, listen and be a friend.

About the Author

Homeland Magazine works with nonprofit veteran organizations that help more than 1 million veterans in life-changing ways each year.

Resources. Support.

Dana Dreckman is the director of WWP Talk. In this role, she is responsible for the leadership, oversight, and direction of the Talk team, as well as strategic program development. Since joining WWP in 2009, Dana has worked in donor care, family support, and community fundraising.

Inspiration. At Homeland Magazine you can visit our website for all current and past articles relating to PTSD, symptoms, resources and real stories of inspiration.

About Wounded Warrior Project Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition.

Resources & Articles available at:

www.HomelandMagazine.com

Learn more: http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/about-us.

FIGHTING PTSD

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

19


PT

You Don’t Have To Do This Alone. Resources & Articles available at:

www.HomelandMagazine.com 20

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020


SD

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

21


Understanding PTSD: A Guide for Family and Friends

22

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020


PTSD and PTSD treatment from Veterans and their loved ones - www.ptsd.va.gov/aboutface

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

23


24

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020


WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

25


26

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020


WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

27


PTSD break

28

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020


through

MDMA shows promise healing mental trauma in FDA-approved clinical trials By Matt Saintsing

W

hen it comes to treating post-traumatic stress disorder, nothing is better than trauma-focused psychotherapies, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. By centering on the memory or meaning of harrowing and often painful events, veterans can process and make sense of their most stressful experiences in war. But momentum is steadily growing to battle the symptoms of PTSD with alternative medicine, including one illicit substance that’s showing tremendous promise in recent studies. MDMA, commonly known as the street drug ecstasy or Molly, is culturally linked to the rave scene of the 1990s. First synthesized in 1912 for pharmacological purposes, the CIA experimented with the substance as a potential psychological weapon during the Cold War. Nearly all research came to a halt in 1985 when it was placed on the list of Schedule I drugs. More recently, however, it’s shown to significantly reduce PTSD symptoms when paired with psychotherapy. The research has been so promising that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted the drug “breakthrough” status and is fast-tracking final phases of clinical trials in the hopes of developing a new countermeasure to PTSD.

Army and Marine Corps veteran Jonathan Lubecky knows the challenges of living with the invisible scars of war all too well. While he was deployed to Balad Air Base, Iraq, in 2006, an enemy mortar crashed down inside the portable toilet he was using. He was left without a single physical scratch, but he would later learn he suffered a traumatic brain injury and developed severe PTSD. “I got blown up in a Port-o-John—shittiest place to get blown up,” said Lubecky. “Had I stood up, the shrapnel would have gone through me instead of in front of me.” This event marked the beginning of a life-changing and dangerous journey involving daily suicidal thoughts, which he acted on five separate times. After retiring from the Army in 2009, he began selfmedicating with alcohol and marijuana, masking the underlying problems. He also tried the medication prescribed to him by the VA, at one point taking 42 pills per day. But help seemed beyond his grasp. “Most of what I was thinking was, is this going to be my life for the rest of it? Nightmares every night?” he said. “I felt like the world would be better without me in it.” But in 2014, Lubecky signed up to take part in a study involving MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, organized and conducted by the Multidisciplinary Continued on next page >

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

29


Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), an organization working to advance the science of potentially beneficial compounds like MDMA. MAPS’ multiple clinical MDMA trials have shown to reduce PTSD dramatically. Under close observation, Lubecky ingested MDMA three times over 12 weeks in conjunction with psychotherapy sessions. He would take a green capsule containing 125 milligrams of MDMA, and after roughly 40 minutes, when the drug started to take effect, his therapy session would begin. An additional 70-milligram dose was also offered to help boost the sessions. “It worked,” said Lubecky. “Five years later, and I still don’t have PTSD, and I haven’t done MDMA since.” The results stunned him. Lubecky’s ClinicianAdministered PTSD Scale (CAPS)—a way to measure PTSD severity—was nearly cut in half. A year later, his depression had dramatically subsided. According to Dr. Michael Mithoefer, the acting medical director for MAPS and a psychiatrist who is heavily involved in the clinical trials, MDMA can break down barriers some may have with PTSD and encourage trust—a vital component of a patienttherapist relationship.

“It can be very painful to process trauma, whether you have MDMA or not. It’s just that MDMA tends to make processing more possible.” —Dr. Michael Mithoefer, psychiatrist

“The VA acknowledges that psychotherapy is the best treatment for PTSD,” he said. “But it doesn’t work for a lot of people, at least half.” Many people have extreme difficulties tolerating therapy and end up dropping out of treatment. 30

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

“Sometimes, they are just so overwhelmed by anxiety and emotions that it just doesn’t help,” Mithoefer added. Emotional numbing is another facet of PTSD, where patients may be able to talk freely about their trauma but are not necessarily meeting the goal of processing memories and emotions. According to Mithoefer, MDMA helps reverse the brain functions that can paralyze people when trauma is triggered. Brain imaging studies have shown PTSD appears to increase commotion in the amygdala, the brain’s fear center, and reduce activity in the prefrontal cortex, which regulates emotion. MDMA’s ability to overcome fear and defensiveness, increase empathy and compassion, and heighten introspection can significantly improve psychotherapy for PTSD. It also releases naturally occurring hormones, such as oxytocin and prolactin, which are associated with feelings of trust, intimacy and bonding, making patients more likely to open up during therapy. “It can be very painful to process trauma, whether you have MDMA or not,” said Mithoefer. “It’s just that MDMA tends to make processing more possible.” Of the 103 patients that had chronic, treatmentresistant PTSD who completed MAPS’ Phase 2 trials, just over half no longer met the qualification for PTSD diagnosis in the months following treatment. At the one-year mark, 68% no longer qualified. All patients suffered from chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD for an average of just under 18 years. The stunning results were published in the journal Psychopharmacology in May 2019. Phase 3 trials, the final step of research required by the Food and Drug Administration before deciding to approve a drug for treatment, are currently underway at 14 sites across the United States, Canada and Israel. Mithoefer is hopeful that, following these stages, MDMA-assisted psychotherapy could be an accepted treatment for PTSD by 2022. However, MDMA, like other psychedelics, remains illegal and can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Independent doctors and psychologists screen all patients participating in these trials. Under the current regimen, MDMA is never given as a takehome drug, and patients only receive it two or three times over several months. Additionally, two therapists


Left: Jonathan Lubecky, a veteran of the Marine Corps and Army, poses with a .50-caliber sniper rifle at Balad Air Base, Iraq, in 2006. Center: Wearing his dress blues, Lubecky is an advocate for alternative therapies, including MDMA, which he says helped to cure him of PTSD. Right: Pictured in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Lubecky, now a civilian, works to bring attention for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for veterans to U.S. lawmakers.

“Five years later, and I still don’t have PTSD, and I haven’t done MDMA since.” —Jonathan Lubecky, Army and Marine Corps veteran

are present during the therapy sessions, and breaks are taken to help “integrate” the experiences. Despite the success of these trials, MDMA remains a Schedule I substance, which marks the drug as having no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. “By no means should we communicate these compounds are risk-free,” said Dr. Roland Griffiths, professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research. “They’re not.” But because some psychedelic drugs left the laboratory in the 1960s and began flooding antiestablishment and anti-war movements, they were “promoted in an unwise fashion,” said Griffiths. The federal reaction that followed mostly stripped scientists from being able to research any potential benefits to psychedelic compounds, including MDMA and psilocybin, the active compound in

so-called “magic mushrooms.” The move, according to some advocates, criminalized legitimate science. Scientists in recent years began picking up such research, thanks in large part to private donations to organizations such as MAPS. “It wasn’t until we got permission to give a high dose of psilocybin to psychedelic-naive individuals in 2000 that this work began to be reinitiated,” added Griffiths. “We published our study in 2006, and over the course of the last 14 years, increasingly, other academic centers are coming online.” “DAV is supportive of continued research on nontraditional therapies, complementary and alternative medicine, and expanded treatment options for veterans,” said Deputy National Legislative Director Adrian Atizado. “Anything that can safely help our veterans heal from the lasting psychological impacts of war, particularly for those who tried treatment before without success, is worth studying further, which these trials are attempting to do.” n WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

31


“We are here to help” By Holly Shaffner June is National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) month. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there will be about 5 million post-9/11 veterans by 2021. Why is that important? Because the National Center for PTSD reports that (each year) approximately 11-20% of post-9/11 military veterans have PTSD - that is between 550,000 to 1 million military men and women who may have PTSD. The Cohen Veterans Network is making a big impact in military communities throughout the country to treat our veterans and their families suffering from this disorder. We are fortunate to have a clinic here in San Diego. The name of our local clinic is The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Veterans Village of San Diego. At nine months old, this clinic is relatively new but has already helped hundreds of veterans and military families. The clinic has seen over 260 clients since they opened their doors and it is staffed by clinicians, case managers, and a clinic director. Pre-COVID 19, their model was primarily face-to-face appointments; but they were also leading the way in telehealth. The clinic had already started video appointments before the coronavirus outbreak and about 28% of their appointments were via telehealth. Now, in a social distancing environment, the appointments are 100% telehealth. The vast majority of their clientele are post- 9/11 era; however, if a veteran from another era requests services, the clinic will assess their needs and ability to serve that veteran. 32

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

Photo by Melissa Jacobs

So why would a military-connected member reach out for services? Clinic Director Shari Finney-Houser said the top reasons are for general anxiety, PTSD, and depression. There are a variety of other issues that trained clinicians are ready to address as well: adjustment issues, anger, grief and loss, family issues, transition challenges, relationship problems, children’s behavioral problems, and other concerns. The Cohen Veterans Network is rooted in their treatment through evidence-based treatments such as Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing, Problem Solving Therapy (PST), couples therapy, and Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PET). Houser said that the longer you sit with the symptoms, the harder it will be on the brain. Prevention is much easier and there are many ways to treat PTSD. Houser wants people to know there is help for symptoms… you just have to make that call.


While she had several success stories to tell, her favorite is about a veteran who was unsheltered. She helped him get therapy for his condition, find a place to live, get into school and helped him find a job. Today he is a motivational speaker who talks about that transformation. That is how you help your brothers and sisters.

Veterans and military families have a variety of options when it comes to mental health care.

“We really need to get the word out that we are here, and we are ready to help”

When I asked Houser what her greatest need was, she said “We really need to get the word out that we are here, and we are ready to help.” So please share this story and this resource with your networks. If you know a military-connected member who wants confidential mental health care at the San Diego clinic, they should call (619) 345-4611 or email: info@cohenvvsd.org.

The Cohen Veterans Network is a not-for-profit philanthropic organization and there is no cost for care if the client does not have insurance.

“What makes us different from other services is accessibility,” said Houser. The clinic is easy to access and open to veterans, their families including spouse or partner, children, parents, siblings, caregivers, and others. The Cohen Clinics provide mental health services to active duty service members as part of couples or family therapy but not individually.

There are 15 operating clinics nationwide with more being developed. To find a clinic near you, go to: www.cohenveteransnetwork.org/clinics

Another important item that makes this clinic standout is their service for women veterans. Of the 145,000 women veterans living in the state of California, approximately 7,700 are in San Diego County. Having dedicated mental health services in a safe environment, that is staffed by women, just makes sense. Ashley Tatum is a case manager and Navy veteran. She leapt at the opportunity to put her post-military education to work in order to serve her fellow brothers and sisters. Every day, Ashley sets her clients up for success by connecting them to the appropriate resources in our community.

Shari and Marla

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

33


A Different Lens Mental Health Monthly By RanDee McLain, LCSW

What are known treatments? There are several Evidence Based Treatment (EBTs) for PTSD but the top 3 are generally listed as Cognitive Processing Therapy; Prolonged Exposure (P.E.) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

June is PTSD awareness month….but for the millions of veterans in our country suffering from PTSD everyday they are aware. They are aware of the ways PTSD has forever changed their lives. They are aware of how little things have new meanings. They are aware of how their symptoms, if left unmanaged, can cause chaos in their lives. We do not cure PTSD but rather learn how to manage our symptoms. Now, before we go to far into what PTSD is and how to manage it ….let’s first dispel some myths. All veterans have PTSD or all ‘combat’ veterans have PTSD. False, roughly 11-20% of all Post 9/11 Veterans suffer from PTSD. Only “boots on ground” veterans experience PTSD. False, trauma can happen anywhere at any time. I.E car accident; natural disasters; combat; assault...ect. These are just a few of the myths that have been thrown around for years. effects a smaller part of the population both in the military and civilians. Though the numbers overall are not huge in comparison to the number of individuals that serve- PTSD can have long lasting effects. What is PTSD? A disorder that develops after an individual is exposed to a traumatic event or has witnessed a life-threatening event. This can include exposure to death, threat of death, actual or threatened actual serious injury or sexual violence. Individuals who are diagnosed with PTSD deal with repetitive re-experiencing of an event (flashbacks); avoidance of stimuli associated with trauma and/ or increased arousal. 34

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

CBT is a cognitive intervention to change the way a traumatized individual think. This type of treatment is generally done over 12 weeks and adheres to a structured, manualized protocol. More sessions can be added as needed. CBT includes homework that clients bring home and work on between sessions. CBT can be done in groups or individual sessions and works to identify stuck points; examines thoughts and beliefs and challenges them. CBT is considered an effective treatment for PTSD and complex trauma. Another treatment used on individuals diagnosed with PTSD is Prolonged Exposure. PE is an evidence based behavioral intervention that repeatedly exposes the clients to distressing stimuli to decrease their anxiety in response to those stimuli. PE is based on 10 weekly sessions with more sessions as needed to address new issues that may arise. PE starts with in vivo exposure to places that may increase anxiety i.e public places. The second part of PE involves writing and dictating a trauma narrative focusing on one traumatic experience.


The client listens to the narrative (recording) over and over eventually decreasing the anxiety associated with the trauma event. Prolonged Exposure is a great modality of treatment for individuals that have PTSD. A newer modality is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Though the modality has been around for awhile it has recently become a more popular form of treatment amongst veterans and others dealing with trauma. This type of treatment has the client focus on distressing images as well as the following: • state a belief that goes with it • notices associated feelings • identifies body sensations

HOMELAND

The therapist will use auditory and tactile alternatives to eye movements using bilateral stimulation. This is a complex treatment that should only be performed by a trained clinician or doctor.

Veteran Resources & Organizations

More information can be found at https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand_tx/emdr.asp Many veterans can find relief of symptoms through other nontraditional way including Art therapy; Equine Therapy; Water Therapy; Yoga; Mindfulness or Prayer.

Navigating the resources available to veterans can be confusing, but Homeland Magazine believes no veteran should have to go it alone.

Social interaction is important to dealing with the symptoms of PTSD. There are support groups or prosocial groups in the community they get you outdoors and doing physical activities. Exercise is an important for health and helps clear your mind.

At Homeland Magazine you can find Veteran organizations and private nonprofits with resources for veterans that can help ease the process of attaining earned benefits, coping with the lasting effects of service-connected injuries and finding programs and services that meet your specific needs.

Treatment is individual to each person and no treatment is perfect for everyone. Do your research and seek help when needed. PTSD is a serious condition that many of our service members and veterans face but with treatment we can and do regain control of our lives and find our true path to a happy life. Know the signs and symptoms of PTSD and where to go if needed.

Visit Homeland today at

www.HomelandMagazine.com For additional resources and support visit Courage to Call. Courage to Call is a local non-profit serving Active Duty, Veterans, Guard, Reservist, and their families in San Diego County www.courage2call.org

Homeland Magazine A Veterans Magazine for Veterans by Veterans

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

35


A D V A N C I N G S C I E N C E A N D P R O M O T I N G U N D E R S T A N D I N G O F T R A U M A T I C S T R E S S

For Veterans and Families:

UNDERSTANDING PTSD AND SUBSTANCE USE for Veterans, General Public, Family and Friends

How common is co-occurring PTSD and Substance Use Disorder? Almost 1/3 of Veterans seeking treatment for SUD also have PTSD and more than a quarter of Veterans with PTSD also have SUD. VA has made it easier to get help. It is important to know that treatment can help and you are not alone. What treatments are available for co-occurring PTSD and Substance Use Disorder? Evidence shows that in general people have improved PTSD and SUD symptoms when they are provided treatment that addresses both conditions. This can involve: individual or group Cognitive Behavioral Treatments; specific psychological treatments for PTSD such as Cognitive Processing Therapy or Prolonged Exposure; Behavioral Couples Therapy with your spouse or significant other; and/or medications that may help you manage the PTSD or SUD symptoms. Treatment for specific symptoms such 36

enter treatment. I was so close to hitting bottom. I wasn’t sure I’d last. But I’d learned to tough it out, and that was helpful.” STEVE, OEF VETERAN

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can occur after someone goes through combat, physical or sexual assault, terrorist attack, serious accident or natural disaster. Symptoms of PTSD can include feeling keyed up, having flashbacks of the event, or feeling numb to things you used to enjoy. What is Substance Use Disorder (SUD)? Some people try to cope with their PTSD by drinking heavily, using drugs, or smoking too much. Eventually, the overuse of these substances can develop into Substance Use Disorder (SUD), and treatment should be given for both PTSD and SUD to lead to successful recovery. The good news is that treatment of co-occurring (happening at the same time) PTSD and SUD works.

“It was a big deal for me to

“I entered treatment in 2009, after maybe 2 really bad years of PTSD and alcoholism. The VA staff was amazing. It’s a whole new day for me.” JOE, IRAQ VETERAN

27% of Veterans in VA care diagnosed with PTSD also have Substance Use Disorder (SUD) as pain, anger, or sleep disturbance should also be discussed with your provider. What else should I know about treatment? There are many levels and types of treatment options available. The first step is to talk to a VA health professional and ask for more information. There are successful treatments for co-occurring PTSD and SUD. Recovery is achievable. You can have a life without your symptoms. Your VA provider can help you get started. When should a person get evaluated for co-occurring PTSD and SUD? If you continue to be troubled or distracted by your experiences for more than three months or have questions about your drinking or drug use, learn more about the options. Life can be better! Talk to a VA professional to discuss choices for getting started.

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

VA Medical Centers and Treatment The VA wants you to have the best possible care for co-occurring PTSD and SUD. Each VA medical center has SUD-PTSD Specialists trained in treating both conditions in order to promote the best health outcomes. If there are signals you are at risk for both disorders, you will be ecouraged to talk to a provider about how best to support your recovery. There are treatment resources at every VA medical center.

W W W. P T S D. VA . G O V


A Veteran-led program serving our military-connected community‌including Active Duty, Veterans, National Guard, Reservists and their family members.

24/7 Access to Resources and Peer Support

Call 877-698-7838 or dial 2-1-1 Courage2Call

Visit our website at

www.Courage2Call.org

@CourageToCall @CourageToCall

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

37


Marijuana’s Promising Moment By Matt Saintsing DAV Iraq veteran finds cannabis helpful as Washington debates how to move forward Like many veterans, service took a toll on Ryan Rasnick.

It’s a far cry from where he once stood. Less than a week after coming home from Iraq, Rasnick began self-medicating with alcohol. In less than six years, he’d racked up two drunken driving arrests. “Drinking would trigger my hyperawareness and chaos would ensue,” he said. “But I wanted to stop being destructive, so I got my drinking in check.” In 2017, he met with a psychiatrist at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Cleveland. “Within 15 minutes, I was prescribed lithium,” said Rasnick, a member of DAV Chapter 62 in Norwalk, Ohio. “It scared me and made me feel distrusted.” He later decided to stay away from prescription pills to deal with his wounds of war and committed to finding alternative treatments. Now, he is a daily medical cannabis user and says he also uses it at times to help him sleep.

Though he had not previously tried marijuana, Ryan Rasnick gave it a shot when he returned from Iraq carrying the physical and mental wounds of war. “I didn’t feel so intense anymore,” said Rasnick. “I wasn’t as hyperaware.”

While he was driving in western Anbar Province in Iraq in 2009, an RKG-3—a Russian-made anti-tank hand grenade—was hurled directly in front of his vehicle. Rasnick quickly slammed on the brakes. And while the maneuver likely saved his and other lives, it violently jostled his neck causing longterm damage. “My neck clicks every single day,” said Rasnick. “It’s something I’ll have to deal with probably forever.” Though he had never tried marijuana, he gave it a shot when he came back from Iraq. The results, he said, were immediate, helping with both physical pain and invisible scars. “I didn’t feel so intense anymore; I wasn’t as hyperaware,” said Rasnick. Today, he’s a disabled veteran, card-carrying medical cannabis patient and advocate for alternative medicine. Marijuana laws are rapidly changing across America as states experiment with varying degrees of cannabis legalization. To date, 33 states and the District of Columbia have a medical marijuana program, of which veterans like Rasnick are increasingly taking advantage. 38

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

And he certainly isn’t alone. According to a study published this May in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 80% of veterans surveyed reported using medical cannabis to treat both physical and mental health symptoms. More than 60% of respondents said they used it as a substitute for other substances, alcohol in particular, and half indicated they use it in place of prescription medications. According to the study’s authors, their research “confirms the findings of previous studies that have documented a trend in substitution behavior, where cannabis is substituted for other drugs.” While some states are looking to launch or expand a medical cannabis program for veterans, VA health care providers are not able to legally recommend or prescribe it for patients since marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration. However, veterans who use cannabis or its byproducts in a state-sanctioned medical program are not at risk of losing their VA benefits and are encouraged to discuss usage with their VA physicians to help inform their overall treatment plan.

Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., agree that cannabis may be a promising alternative medicine for veterans. “I believe cannabis must be objectively researched,” Rep. Mark Takano of California, chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said in a hearing in June.


Several bills exist that would encourage and direct the VA to look into the issue more seriously. One is the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act, which would direct the secretary of veterans affairs to carry out a clinical trial to determine if veterans suffering from chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder could benefit from medical cannabis. And the Veterans Equal Access Act would allow VA physicians to complete necessary paperwork for veterans to enroll in medical cannabis programs in their state. DAV supports VA research into the medical efficacy of cannabis for service-connected disabled veterans, which was reaffirmed at the organization’s 98th annual convention in Orlando, Fla., in August. However, Larry Mole, chief consultant for population health at the VA, told House Veterans’ Affairs Committee members in May that the VA is currently unable to support such legislation, as its health providers could be subject to criminal prosecution by the Justice Department for prescribing medical cannabis or referring veterans to state-run programs.

WOUNDS WE CANNOT SEE Post Traumatic Stress Disorder does not always allow the affected to seek help. Lend a hand and provide them with methods of help, listen and be a friend. Homeland Magazine works with nonprofit veteran organizations that help more than 1 million veterans in life-changing ways each year.

Still, the VA is currently funding research at the University of California San Diego to study if veterans with PTSD benefit from having cannabidiol as part of their care treatment plan. Other VA researchers funded by outside sources are also studying the issue, and according to Mole, one key part of the research process is having input from veterans service organizations.

Resources.

“VSOs have to be at the table when we’re having conversations about a research plan and what a full research portfolio would look like,” said Mole. “There needs to be engagement.

Support. Inspiration.

We need to educate each other on what each other’s expectations are and define what those expectations would look like for that research plan.”

At Homneland Magazine you can visit our website for all current and past articles relating to PTSD, symptoms, resources and real stories of inspiration.

Veteran Bill Ferguson, co-founder of the Veterans Cannabis Coalition, echoes the need for more research based on success that he’s seen.

Resources & Articles available at: www.HomelandMagazine.com

“Sleep, pain, anxiety—we see marijuana help all of these and more,” said Ferguson. “I haven’t seen anything better when dealing with hypervigilance. Still, it’s not a cure-all for everything, which is exactly why we need the research.”

FIGHTING PTSD

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

39


HVGC On A Mission to Combat PTS, Opioid and Suicide Epidemic Helmand Valley Growers Company is a cannabis brand that was founded by three United States Special Operations Marine Raiders -- Andy Miears, Bryan Buckley and Matt Curran-- that served following 9-11.

Envisioned in the theater of battle in Helmand Valley, Afghanistan and realized in San Diego, California, this band of Marine Raiders is doing something no other cannabis brand has tried – developing medical cannabis based solutions to address symptoms of PTS, the opioid and suicide epidemic that plague our veterans and society as a whole. HVGC is aiming to prove to the Veterans Affairs that medical dosing and appropriate use of cannabis is an effective means for abating symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress and other medical conditions in veterans. Since its formation, HVGC has been working with some of the cannabis industry’s top researchers and has developed a veteran-based protocol to effectively prove the benefits of medical cannabis.

and over half will develop a dependency or addiction. This has caused far too many veterans to lose control of their lives, and in an ever-increasing pandemic, leads them to ideations and acts of self harm and suicide.

The United States is facing a wide-scale opioid epidemic that has taken countless lives; not excluded from this crisis, the veteran community has been critically impacted. Roughly 60 percent of those deployed will be prescribed opioids upon return to the United States,

Over time, and through HVGC presentations and seminars, the founders of the company set a goal to help fund medical cannabis research for veterans through donations and revenue generated from its recreational brand.

40

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

As stated by HVGC’s President and Founder Bryan Buckley, “We’re on a mission to help save our Nation’s Heroes by exploring the benefits of medical cannabis and elevate awareness to combat PTS, the opioid and suicide epidemics plaguing our communities. We want to be known as a brand with a soul and purpose while delivering top notch products to the cannabis community.”


However, in order for physicians and politicians to view cannabis as a legitimate treatment alternative to the symptoms of PTS, it needed United States medical data from studies performed with U.S. veterans and by U.S. physicians/medical entities acting or serving as the private or public Institutional Review Board (IRB). Today, 100 percent of HVGC’s profits go to Niamedic and towards medical cannabis research.

“We knew right then that our cause was worthy; and that our mission was defined,” said Buckley. “Our next step moved us into researching medical cannabis and speaking with the top experts in the field. As our research progressed, the answer to this crisis became clear: develop alternate medical solutions for those suffering with pain, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, sleep disorders, and most critically, are at significant risk of suicide. We care about those who suffer and believe that medical cannabis is the way of the future to help those in need.”

NiaMedic is a medical data company offering healthcare, research and consultation services. Using its innovative medical and research protocols, data collection and analysis process, NiaMedic generates high quality clinical data of medical cannabis and provides research-based medical protocols integrating conventional medicine with propriety medical cannabis treatments. HVGC has already received a complete study design and protocol from NiaMedic for its first prospective study consisting of 60 U.S. veterans in Southern California. The goal of the first study is to prove that medical cannabis can abate or lessen the symptoms of PTS in U.S. veterans. Within 9-12 months of the completion of the prospective study, HVGC is planning to follow up this study with a much larger retrospective study.

For more information, please visit www.hvgcompany.com or call (833) 961-0007. About HVGC: HVGC was founded by three United States Special Operations Veterans (Marine Raiders). Since its inception, HVGC has been in discussions with some of the cannabis industry’s top researchers and has developed a veteran based protocol to effectively prove the benefits of medical cannabis. HVGC is developing medical cannabisbased solutions to address symptoms of PTS, the opioid and suicide epidemic that plague U.S. veterans and society as a whole. In coordination with Battle Brothers Foundation, 100% of HVGC’s profits goes toward medical cannabis research.

In coordination with NiaMedic and The Battle Brothers Foundation, founded by Buckey in 2016, HVGC aims to develop plant-based solutions that specifically address PTS-related symptoms. The Battle Brothers Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit charitable organization that empowers veterans through community-based personal development, economic upward mobility, and progressive medical treatments to better their lives and the lives of their families. It provides guidance to veterans transitioning back to civilian life and focuses on personal development, physical and mental wellbeing, and economic stability to set each veteran on a path to success. “The consumer product good side of the business will be used to assist in accomplishing our ultimate mission of serving as a non-profit center for HVGC,” said Bryan Buckely. As a service disabled veteran owned business, HVGC is intimately aware of the daily challenges that their fellow veteran brothers and sisters face as a result of their time spent on the battlefield. This inspired the HVGC team to take action by funding medical cannabis research and helping find cannabis based solutions that can abate medical conditions and wounds of veterans that aren’t visible to the naked eye. After forming the HVGC team, they began outreach into the veteran community by observing first-hand and listening to the suffering of veterans.

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

41


42

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020


WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

43


Arts & Healing Arts for Military Veterans By Amber Robinson

Let it out and let it in; how to manage those first steps to healing June is PTSD awareness month, which is fitting to have right after Memorial Day. Many of you may still be trying to put the memories that arise on that day back into their box for the next year. Living with the memories of war or any other trauma isn’t easy. There is always that tendency to want to box up those parts of your past and keep them hidden away. When I first left the service I remember thinking PTSD was just for the infantry, or those who had gone through severe IED blasts, seen buddies die or had to fight for their lives daily on those small, rural combatoutposts. Journalists like me didn’t have to deal with hose things routinely, we don’t get PTSD. The first time I ever had a major anxiety attack due to PTSD was in theVA pharmacy waiting room, of all places. I happened to be sitting next to an old Vietnam veteran who had come up from Tijuana to the ER of our VA Healthcare Center in La Jolla.. He was telling me in detail about his ailments when I began to feel the walls closing in. I clutched my purse tight against my chest and shrank into myself as the man’s voice waxed and waned between piercing and faint. I turned to him in desperation trying to explain that I’m usually more talkative but I thought I was having a panic attack. He just nodded his head and asked where and when I served. I told him Afghanistan for three tours. He nodded knowingly, again. It turns out he was an 100% disabled veteran for PTSD. As I cried and rocked, trying to regain my balance, he said to me, “You don’t look like an angry sort of person, do you have any way of letting any of this out? You have to learn how to let it out.”

44

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

“Letting it out” is the first step in facing the trauma. Before I even took my first steps into the Vet Center in Chula Vista, or before I ever sat in a group of fellow women veterans sharing my trauma, I wrote a poem. I decided the old Vietnam veteran was right, I had to find a way to let it out. I chose a moment that was especially traumatic for me, and I began to turn it into prose. Just writing the poem made me very emotional. I would write a few lines, walk away, cry and pace, and then come back to it to write some more. It took me days to chronicle the event in my own way.


But when I was finished, I felt better. I could look at that poem and see the pain now, I was facing it for the first time.

“let it out and take a moment to appreciate how awesome you are. Yeah, you.”

My next step, I decided, was to “let it out” even more. I decided I wouldread it to a friend, and have her help me edit it. My next step was to go further, and to read this very vulnerable, traumatic poem to an audience at an open mic night.

When I did, my hands shook, my voice shook, my knees shook. But I did it, and the more I read that poem at different times and venues, the easier it got. Soon after I began regular group sessions with other female veterans and shared even more of my trauma. I have a friend I met during a Military Sexual Trauma workshop a few years back, who said to me once that, “each time you are brave enough to speak your darkness, it lets a little bit of it out, and makes more room for the light.” No matter how you speak it, what is important is the “letting it out” part. For me, it was easiest through poetry at first. For you, it may be easiest to start with group sessions, then try art or journaling. Each person must find their own way of releasing the traumatic event. But, I also encourage you to “heal creatively”. That’s not to say don’t use art or do use art. That simply means don’t be afraid to create your own path to healing. You are the artist of that path, and it’s complexity or simplicity is completely up to you.

Healing through art offers a myriad of possibilities. You can let out your pain through paint, poetry, drawings, dance...the ways to say “I hurt”, without words can go on forever in the art world.

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

45


WHAT’S NEXT Transition to Civilian Life By Eve Nasby

How to Ace the Interview Palms sweating you rise to shake the hand of the one who has just interviewed you. As you leave the interview your mind races as it recalls the questions and your answers. Your thoughts turn against you as you wonder, “Did I ramble?” “Did I even answer the question?” Sadly, your fears are confirmed when the “Thanks but no thanks” letter arrives from the company. What if someone had slipped you the questions and the answers a week before the interview? Would you memorize and rehearse your answers? You bet you would, and land the job! This month we have the answers you’ve been looking for to the questions you most likely will be asked in your next interview. By the way, we will tell you at the end of the article where you can find 92 additional answers to the questions you may be asked. Paul Falcone (www.PaulFalconeHR.com) is a nationally recognized Human Resources expert and prolific Author and has spent decades interviewing thousands of people. One of his best-selling books highlights ideal questions for interviewers to ask you. He also highlights theright answers to expect in a good candidate. Interested? What if you knew not only what questions were going to be asked in your next interview, but you also knew the right answers? Is it like cheating? Well, we think of it as being resourceful. There are numerous books on job-finding and interviewing available, but Paul Falcone’s 96 Great

Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire

(HarperCollins Leadership and AMACOM Books, 3rd edition, 2018) has been a go-to resource for corporate recruiters, headhunters, and operational leaders for over twenty years. We have Paul’s overview below and we think you will enjoy the perspective from the ‘other side of the desk.

What is the trick to the book’s success? Make candidates feel comfortable making themselves vulnerable, transparent, and open to the employer’s career guidance. After all, interviewing works two ways—the match between individual personality and corporate culture is critical for long-term hiring success. The same goes for candidates, especially those transitioning from the military to the private sector: be honest and true to yourself because people tend to hire in their own image. In short, if they like you and can relate to you, you’ll gain a big leg up in the hiring process. It all typically begins with a telephone screen. The most important question to be prepared for is, “What are you looking for at this point in your career as you transition into the private sector, and what’s important to you?” The question is so broad that it can be difficult to master on the spot, but it’s important that you practice this one in the mirror. For example, you might want to respond as follows:

“At this point, I’m doing my best to learn about what’s available, what advantages I might have in certain fields or roles, and how I can make the biggest impact. I know that the three ‘biggies’ are role, company, and industry, but I’ve come to realize that industry is in many ways the most critical because the strongest industries will create the most opportunity. I researched the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook (www.bls.gov/ooh) to identify the dominant and fastest growing positions by industry between 2018 and 2028, and it really opened my eyes as to the growth prospects out there. Dave Grundies

46

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020


That’s what got me excited about this opportunity— healthcare and biotech (in this example) seem to have the strongest need for someone with my cybersecurity background, which is why getting into this field is my primary focus.”

But he’ll also say that I’m probably a bit too serious at times and maybe that I need to lighten up a bit. It’s not that I don’t have a good sense of humor or enjoy a good solid laugh with everyone else. . . It’s just that I sometimes worry about things that are a bit too far down the road.

Wow—Your 30-second answer just told the employer a lot about you: your key goal, your method of researching a solution, and your level of ambition. Not bad for an initial opener!

I’m always thinking about things in three- to fiveyear increments, and he’d say that I need to enjoy the moment a bit more and not be too concerned about things too far down the road. I’ve always thought it a strength, but he taught me that a strength taken too far to the extreme can actually become a weakness. But he was a great mentor and coach, and I hope we’ll always stay connected.”

Assuming you get invited to an in-person or Zoom interview, let’s move on to another challenging question that may likely come your way: “What makes you stand out as a rarity among your peers?” Many job applicants shy away from this one by sitting back in their seats, collapsing their shoulders, and looking down. My best recommendation: smile, sit up at the front of your chair, and acknowledge the interviewer, possibly with a bit of humor:

This is a wise answer because it’s real, sincere, and humble. Whatever your response to a question like this, make it your own. No employer is looking to hire a perfect candidate—there’s no such thing. And there’s no such thing as a perfect job, either. But in this example, for instance, you spoke about a three- to five-year plan, which helps the interviewer understand the timeframe you’ll likely be committed to in terms or remaining with the company.

Well, that’s hard to answer because there’s just so much to choose from! It’s actually a really good question, and I would humbly offer that I was always extremely focused on my career while in the military. I think my superiors would say I was an excellent and selfless team player, and I consistently put the good of the unit above everything else. I’d like to think that these very same traits will serve me well as I transition into my first full-time job in the private sector.

Okay, here’s a bonus question: “What do you know about our organization, and why do you feel you might want to work here?” Make sure you’ve researched the organization’s web page, LinkedIn page, Glassdoor, and Google to ensure you can answer the basics, which include:

Again, an excellent answer that lends itself well to encouraging the interviewer to ask you some type of “behavioral interview” follow-up question that might sound something like this: “That’s a great answer, Paul. Can you give me an example of a time when you demonstrated that kind of selfless leadership in putting the team’s needs above your own? Also, what is it about you that makes you value teamwork and selflessness so much?”

- Date established / founded - Revenue (in millions or billions) - # of Employees (local vs. international) - Primary Product Line - Key Competitors - Publicly traded vs. privately held With those basics in hand, you’ll be all set-in terms of asking smart questions when invited to do so toward the end of the interview. Well prepared is well armed. Now just have fun, smile a lot, and be yourself. Putting your best foot forward during the interview may be easier than you think!

You can likewise expect a follow-up question that sounds something like this: “Paul, I don’t like asking candidates what their greatest weaknesses are, but it’s an important issue in terms of self-awareness. I’ll ask it this way: What would your most respected superior/ critic say that you need to work on, especially when transitioning into the private sector for your first full-time role?” A wise answer might sound like this:

Would you like to see more common interview questions and ideas for crafting your own great answers? You can find a copy of Paul’s book here: https://amzn.to/3fI8pnL

“My favorite boss is someone who I admire immensely, and I have an annual review from him that I’d be happy to share with you when the timing’s right. I think he’d say that I’m focused, driven, and committed to what I do.

Happy reading and as always, if you need help with your career transition, connect with Eve on LinkedIn. www.linkedin.com/in/eve-nasby-given-0050452/

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

47


ENLISTED TO ENTREPRENEUR By Vicki Garcia

The Truth About Partnerships

So, you and your really good friend have a great idea for a business. You look at each other and say, “let’s do it together!” And, off you go...blissfully unaware that up to 70% of all business partnerships fail. It makes perfect sense to want to be in partnership with someone else. Starting up a business on your own can be lonely and intimidating. Having a partner can seem like you’re part of a team with synergy to work together. Plus, it would be great if your partner has funds to invest in the business. And, that’s how you can run straight into the mistakes that will send you down the white rabbit hole called how-did-this-go-wrong. I can tell you, from first-hand experience, that a partnership breakup is brutal. It’s nearly as bad, and in some cases worse, than a divorce. All your dreams and hard work go up in smoke, and that may not be the worst of it. It’s not unusual for a former partner goes on the warpath deploying nuclear, radioactive options. Ask around in any business networking group and you will hear scores of partner breakup horror stories. 48

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

A Business Partnership Is Like a Marriage Without the Good Stuff A business partnership is like a marriage, without the good parts that keep you married, like kids and sex. Think about it...50% of marriages break up, and those people love each other. Entrepreneurs get into partnerships for a variety of reasons – • Labor –If you have a business partner you can get a lot more work done without worrying about paying a highpriced employee. • Splitting Up Tasks – One of the best things about having a business partner is that you can divide tasks and not worry about other aspects of your business. And, each partner will be able to specialize on certain tasks, which will make each more efficient. • Money – One partner can fund the startup and keep it going. The other partner typically has no money but has expertise.


• Sharing the Ups & Downs – Sometimes things will be going great and other times they won’t. By having a partner, you can motivate each other to stay on top of things.

• Communication wasn’t clear and honest. Just like in a marriage, it is important to work things out and talk frankly frequently. Trust is critical to a successful partnership.

• Brainstorming – when you think of something cool and want to bounce it off someone, what better person to do so with then your business partner?

If you enter into a partnership, you must make a commitment to the other partner, much like a marriage. Not only must that person and their interests coincide with yours, but you must always give them the loyalty and concern that is due to a partner. You form a unit, and protecting that unit is paramount.

• Networking – you can never have a big enough network. With a business partner you can double your network Exciting, huh? We’re going to work together in common cause and make lots of money. Yea!! STOP!!!

Unraveling a partnership can be a daunting, miserable experience. If the partnership has been in existence for a period of time, there may be complex financial issues.

For starters, a partnership is a legal entity. According to Free Advice: Legal “Partnership liability can depend on the type of partnership, as well as your position in the partnership.

Each partner may have assets and intellectual or material interests at stake. From my experience, there are almost always thorny emotional disputes behind a partnership dissolution.

It can also depend on the laws of the state in which you do business. In a general partnership, each partner has unlimited personal liability. This means you are financially responsible for whatever your partner does.

Happily, there are other options. One is to start your business as a sole proprietor and enter into joint ventures with other sole proprietorships. Each joint venture is a separate agreement. You get all the benefits, without the liabilities, while preserving your independence.

Partnership rules usually dictate that whatever debts are incurred by the business, it is the legal responsibility of all partners to pay them off. This is true even if one partner enters into a bad contract, or rear-ends another car while working.

If it doesn’t work out, go your separate ways. Doesn’t that sound like a better alternative?

All partners are responsible for paying the debts.” (at this point, I’m going to state, unequivocally, that this is not legal advice. Operation Vetrepreneur is proud to support Esteemed Movers growth and success.

Seek the advice of an attorney, and do your homework.

Partnerships Fail for a Lot of Reasons

The City of San Diego grant has paid for Operation Vetrepreneur under National Veterans Transition Services, Inc to help launch and support veteran (Military & Spouse) startups and growing businesses. Working with highly experienced entrepreneurs, and using a unique brainstorming high-touch model, you get mentoring and info while in the company of other like-minded veterans.

Considering that partnerships are usually launched with such great optimism, what could go wrong? • The partners didn’t adequately define their vision and reason for existence beyond simply being a vehicle to make money. People often join partnerships for financial reasons but leave because of values, career or life goal misalignment.

Tell us about yourself and any needs you have at www.veteransinbiz.com, sign up for a workshop at www.meetup.com/Operation-Vetrepreneur-San-Diego/

• Expectations weren’t clearly set from the get-go. Who does what and when are they supposed to do it. What you don’t want is one partner working their butt off, while the other is kicking back, enjoying the fruits of the other’s labor.

Vicki Garcia is the Co-Founder of Operation Vetrepreneur & President of Marketing Impressions, a 30+ -year- old marketing consulting firm.

• You don’t share common values and ethics. This is a subtle and yet extremely important element for a successful partnership. Egos can be easily bruised. Animosity builds up. Honesty and integrity may be more important to one partner than the other.

Apply to join Operation Vetrepreneur’s FREE Think Tank Groups or one-on-one mentoring at www.veteransinbiz.com

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

49


Turning Pain into Purpose:

Veteran Jordan Webster Uses War’s Wounds for Good By: Erin. L Branham

Although Jordan has accepted that his personal battle may always rage on, he has turned pain into purpose by raising awareness within the construction community about the importance of mental health and suicide prevention. It would take exposure to a potentially fatal yet highly preventable construction accident to set his destiny in motion.

In a sudden, violent burst, shrapnel ricochets through the air like fireworks, slamming combat medic Jordan Webster to the ground. Before the cloud of dust and smoke clears, Jordan spots a crumpled silhouette on the ground only a few feet away. It is his brotherin-arms, who just a few minutes prior, switched places with Jordan while en route to attend to other wounded soldiers. As he watches blood stain the dry dirt of southwest Baghdad, Jordan knows that for this brave solider, there will be no wounds to pack and no tourniquets to tighten. Like thousands of Americans who gave all in the name of freedom, Jordan’s friend will leave this war-torn land with fifty stars and thirteen stripes bearing eternal witness to his sacrifice. Fifteen years later, Jordan can still recall every detail of that deadly IED explosion down to the oppressiveness of the desert air, thick with the scent of hot lead and diesel fuel. It is Jordan’s first combat mission in Iraq—a day of days that would define and divide his life much in the same way history is separated by B.C. and A.D. There is only before, only after. Although Jordan would go on to execute many missions during the year in which he was deployed with the Scout Sniper Unit as part of the U.S. Army 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Division, in many ways time ground to a halt on December 27, 2005. With fingers curled around the cold metal of an M4 carbine rifle and medic bag slung over his shoulder, Jordan learns to measure the distance between life and death in inches and seconds. It is a lesson that will prepare him well for a future career in construction safety.

U.S. Army and Iraq War veteran Jordan Webster shares how he honors the fallen through a career in construction safety.

But when Jordan returned home to his next duty station in San Antonio, Texas, building a career outside the military wasn’t on his immediate radar. Neither was seeking support for his invisible wounds that would later be diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and survivor syndrome.

Stationed halfway around the world managing an emergency medical clinic at Camp Stanley in South Korea, Jordan was accustomed to triaging almost every type of illness and injury. But when a construction worker was rushed in, having suffered electrical shock when his boom lift contacted an energized power line, Jordan felt overwhelming emotional exhaustion. “The compassion was there,” Jordan recalls, “but I didn’t have any more capacity for exposure to horrific injuries.”

Many nights, Jordan would wake to images of bulletriddled buildings and mouths gasping for their last breaths, his heart racing in rhythm with the crack of sniper fire. “It’s like looking at the sun,” Jordan compares, “the images are burned into you.” Other nights, sleep would elude him entirely. Hailing from a long line of soldiers who shared stories of heroism in war but never its horrors, Jordan did not seek help for nearly two years.

A career change was in order, but what, Jordan pondered? He enjoyed working with his hands, and growing up, had visited construction sites with his grandfather who owned a door subcontracting company. Dynamic, challenging and demanding complex problemsolving skills, construction checked all of Jordan’s boxes, and he enrolled in Texas A&M University’s construction science program.

50

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020


The stars further aligned when Jordan interviewed for an internship with Balfour Beatty on The New Parkland Hospital. When asked if he would consider working with the safety team due to his medical experience, Jordan responded “I’ll do anything you want,” hiding his skepticism.

“If I’m a worker, and you give me a six-foot ladder when I really need an eight-foot ladder and tell me to go do this task, I’m probably going to do it.” For Jordan, that’s where psychological safety comes into play. By showing workers that he cares about their safety and wellbeing, mindsets shift, and they become more comfortable voicing needs and concerns.

It wasn’t long before Jordan realized he had not only found the perfect career track, but also a home and another ‘band of brothers’ at Balfour Beatty. When he woke up late one morning, he feared reprimand or even the termination of his internship—despite disclosing his PTSD diagnosis. Instead, he was met with compassion and a reminder that Balfour Beatty puts people and their health first in every situation. “Balfour saw in me a skillset no was else was looking for and created a safe, supportive environment where I could contribute,” praises Jordan.

Jordan Webster’s unlikely journey to become a construction safety leader began in a different continent and under tragic circumstances. A few inches spared his life on December 27, 2005, while it claimed the life of a brother-in-arms and a friend. Real heroes rarely boast about their acts of valor. They sign up and stand up, never counting the cost. And if we aren’t careful, we can miss the ones like Jordan walking quietly among us, continuing the mission with a servant’s heart and a soldier’s unwavering duty.

And he’s been a key member of Balfour Beatty’s Texas Buildings team ever since, creating a safety culture for teammates and trade partners grounded in three principles: production, safety and quality. For Jordan, these facets of project performance are inextricably linked. “I’ve heard people say, ‘Production is our problem. Safety is our problem.’ No, it’s one team, one fight.”

Balfour Beatty is committed to creating an inclusive workplace that recognizes the unique value, skills and experiences that veterans offer. Looking to build your career alongside veterans like Safety, Health & Environment (SHE) Director Jordan Webster?

Jordan’s experiences in Iraq give him a unique lens into the mindsets of Balfour Beatty’s trade partners, many of whom are immigrants trying to provide for their families.

Visit www.balfourbeattyus.com/work-with-us/ to explore our current opportunities.

Jordan Webster Balfour Beatty Safety,Health & Environment (SHE) Director

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

51


legal Eagle Straight-forward legal tips for Military and Veteran Business Owners By Kelly Bagla, Esq.

WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME TO INCORPORATE? Have you been thinking about starting a business or incorporating a business or an existing sole proprietorship? If so, you might be wondering what’s the best time to incorporate. Should you try to squeeze it in before the end of the year or wait until next year?

Any tax benefits you might receive from incorporating begin on the date you incorporate. This means you’ll typically have to file two business income tax returns for the year, the first for the months that you operated as a sole proprietor, and the other tax filing for the months after you incorporated.

Below are three tips for determining when is the best time to incorporate your business:

INCORPORATE JANUARY 1ST:

LIABILITY CONCERNS: If your business is involved in an industry or activities with a lot of liability, then you should incorporate as soon as possible in order to separate your personal finances from your business. In this case, there’s no reason to wait and expose yourself to anymore liability than you need to. TAX BENEFITS: If your tax advisor has told you that you can significantly lower your taxes by incorporating, you will want to get your incorporation paperwork in as quickly as possible. Of course, bear in mind that your corporation’s start date is not retroactive.

52

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

For small business owners that don’t have significant liability concerns, January 1 is the most logical start date since it eases the paperwork burden. You can start fresh in the new year as a corporation. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about reporting taxes as two different entities during the year.


Because of this, January is the busiest time of the year for processing incorporation applications at many Secretary of State offices. In some cases, it can take up to 40 to 60 days to bring a corporation into existence after you submit your filing documents with the state office.

READY . SET . GO LEGAL YOURSELF!® www.golegalyourself.com

Filing your paperwork with the help of an attorney, usually the attorney can get your paperwork back faster than if you file by yourself. Remember: if you have a pressing need to incorporate due to liability concerns or you want to take advantage of significant tax benefits, then you should incorporate your business as soon as possible.

I’m the CEO of GoLegalYourself.com where we provide legal tools for savvy entrepreneurs and I’m proud to provide a limited time offer of 15% discount on our Startup Essentials Package. Please use the code Startup15 at checkout.

From Start-up to Successful — Everything your company needs to protect its assets

For more information on how to legally protect your business please buy a copy of my bestselling book: ‘Go Legal Yourself’ on Amazon or visit my website at www.golegalyourself.com

SEE HOW WE COMPARE:

The GO LEGAL YOURSELF® STARTUP ESSENTIALS PACKAGE contains ALL of the specialized legal contracts at an outstanding value.

ONLY GO LEGAL YOURSELF® OFFERS:

Disclaimer: This information is made available by Bagla Law Firm, APC for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, and not to provide specific legal advice. This information should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Traditional Law Firm

Legal Zoom®

Online Legal Document Services

• Articles of Incorporation

• Bylaws

• State Incorporation Resolution

• Organizational Meeting Minutes

• Founder’s Stock Purchase Agreement

• Form SS-4 Employer Identification

• Promissory Note

• Service Agreement/Client Agreement

• Independent Contractor Agreement

• Website Terms of Use

• Website Privacy Policy

• Website Disclaimer

• One-hour Legal Strategy Session

FOR ONLY $5,000

$20,000

$369

$299

Attorney-drafted, client-approved, ready-to-go legal documents you can trust. GO LEGAL YOURSELF!® Legal Documents are backed by BAGLA LAW FIRM, APC, a trusted name in law.

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

53


Veterans Chamber of Commerce By Joseph Molina www.vccsd.org

The Job Market

How can we improve our chances of securing a job? 1. To secure jobs during this lockdown period, one needs to be computer literate, comfortable working from home and have the basic skills with handling network and social media tools. 2. Resume-Video This is a great way to impress potential employers and to let them see what you have to offer, hear your message and your employment goals. The Job-Board is sponsored and managed by the Veterans Chamber of Commerce – The service is provided free to Veterans and Military Families and supported by Corporate Sponsors.

No one would have predicted our current events under the COVID 19. We didn’t choose this but it’s here now and has become a dire situation for many in one way or another. Job security remains the question for many. A world of possibilities It is true that a lot of doors and possibilities have been closed due to current situation, at the same time many different doors have been opened. While we may not be able to do things as we used to, we may be able to do those things in a different way or to do entirely new things and or create New Opportunities. Hiring is not going to be the same, since pandemic broke out and the physical distancing took effect, many interviews were rescheduled or completely cancelled. Despite current turn of events, positions will keep opening up and hiring employees will continue. So, what can we do to make sure we stand out? What do we need to do to make sure we show our skill set? And what other skills should we showcase in order to qualify for these jobs?

54

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

3. Update your resume and improve LinkedIn profile. This is essential in improving your chances of getting an interview. It is a great idea to clean up your social media and remove anything that is likely to sabotage your chances of getting employed, anything you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see. 4. Research potential employers in social media: Become acquainted with their style, work type, and priorities. Connect via social media with some employees to become familiar of the organizational culture and hiring process. 5. Industry In-demand: The truth is that not every company has been affected directly by the pandemic, delivery workers, online customer service and warehouse workers, accountants and health care workers are still very much in demand. If you find yourself job hunting, you may want to consider those fields that are currently in demand. Video Interview tips: While the traditional face to face interviews may not be possible due to social distancing guidelines, a well-executed video interview will present an excellent alternative to meeting in person. However, during your virtual interview, try to keep these few tips in mind.


Resume-Video This is a new way to impress potential employers, let them see what you have to offer, hear your message what your goals are. The Job-Board is sponsored and managed by the Veterans Chamber of Commerce – The service is provided free to Veterans and Military families paid for Corporate Sponsors.

TRANSITIONING

Be human be conversational. Use a conversational style when talking about your goals and objectives, instead of jumping straight to what you want, you can start by stating Why you are interested in the job. Secondly, like the conventional interview, dress properly and find a quiet setting to record your video. Practice. Practice multiple times before you decide on uploading your final video. Take your time, get some feedback from friends or family on how you appear from their perspective. Prepare some of the things you may want to say about your own experiences this will help people connect with your story.

Transitioning out of the Military into the Civilian Workforce?

Be ingenious. “Business, as usual, isn’t anymore,” said Jana Seijts, a lecturer in management communication at the Ivey Business School. “Those who can adapt and seek out possibilities will thrive.” The need to learn new skills or to enroll for online certificate programs may be essential, keep learning. Take a look at some Online Courses, many of these courses are free.

Finding a job in the civilian world may seem easy at first. After all, you have learned skills, practiced leadership and demonstrated initiative that will make you successful wherever you go. The reality, though, is that it can be difficult. In fact, it can be down right depressing, demotivating and you may feel totally disillusioned. This column is dedicated to you and to helping you succeed in your transition.

These are opportunities for you to keep investing in yourself. The relationship between staying valuable in today’s market and investing in yourself cannot be overemphasized.

Eve is a seasoned recruiting executive and business owner. She is driven to help people find the right job for and to help companies find the right talent.

You may want to learn new skills that pertain to the current situation like technical skills required to set up video conferencing that enable both individual and organizations stay connected or learning new diets or exercises that can help people stay fit and healthy, then make conscious effort to better yourself in those areas. In any case, respond to those areas that truly resonate with your needs and engage your energies creatively.

She is especially passionate about helping military professionals transition into the civilian workforce. If you need help with your career transition, connect with her on LinkedIn. www.linkedin.com/in/eve-nasby-given-0050452/

The Veterans Chamber would like to provide as much support as possible to those seeking employment by helping you connect with employers. The Veterans Chamber Resume-Video may give you the advantage you need to land an interview.

For advice, tips and programs you can read Eve’s monthly column at Homeland Magazine or visit www.HomelandMagazine.com and click the What’s Next Web Banner.

WhAT’s NEXT

We will continue to be committed to supporting our fellow veterans with Support, Guidance and Coaching.

Transition to Civilian Life

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

55


You deserve a vision plan that focuses on you.

Your service goes above and beyond. We see it every day!

Get the most out of your plan, including: • Stylish frames from names like Warby Parker — online and in stores. • Savings on contacts, glasses and vision correction surgery. • Extra coverage for kids from the Children’s Eye Care Program. Take a look at fedvip.myuhcvision.com.

UnitedHealthcare Vision® coverage provided by or through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company, located in Hartford, Connecticut, or its affiliates. Administrative services provided by Spectera, Inc., United HealthCare Services, Inc. or their affiliates. This policy has exclusions, limitations and terms under which the policy may be continued in force or discontinued. For costs and complete details of the coverage contact UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company. B2C 9619956.0 9/19 ©2019 United HealthCare Services, Inc. 19-12880-C

Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program

OPERATION:

Join and Get More We were founded with one simple purpose—to meet the financial needs of servicemembers and their families. How? We invest in our members by providing better rates, lower fees and exceptional service.

Join today at navyfederal.org or visit a branch near you.

Insured by NCUA.

Image used for representational purposes only; does not imply government endorsement. © 2019 Navy Federal NFCU 13698-B (10-19)

56

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

13698-B_Membership_Sept_Acquisition_BasePaper_PrintAd_7.75x4.95_1019.indd 1

10/8/19 2:32 PM


WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

57


JOBS FOR VETS

Careers In Law Enforcement Visit Today For Law Enforcement Profiles & Job Openings

HomelandMagazine.com JOBS FOR VETS LAW ENFORCEMENT 58

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020


WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

59


WE DON’T JUST THANK

VETERANS,

WE HIRE

THEM.

PGHJOBS.NET CITY OF PITTSBURGH - E/O/E 60

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020


Sworn to Serve Live to Protect Be FLPD FORT LAUDERDALE POLICE DEPARTMENT

Military Preference Given The task ahead of you is never as great as the Power behind you

ANNUAL SALARY NON-CERTIFIED $55,536 - $85,675 CERTIFIED $58,344 - $85,675 Contact us to learn how you can become part of the Premier law enforcement agency in South Florida

(719) 444-7437 cspd.coloradosprings.gov

WWW.FLPDJobs.com recruiter@fortlauderdale.gov Recruiting@ci.colospgs.co.us 954-828-FLPD (3573)

Facebook: Colorado Springs Police THE CITY OF FORT LAUDERDALE IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER twitter@cspd.pio

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

61


62

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020


WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

63


www.HomelandMagazine.com

INSIDE THE ISSUES * Editorial Content EACH MONTH Includes the following: • Monthly Featured Editorial Support, resources, inspiration and human interest articles from contributing veteran organizations throughout the country.

Join Us in 2020 Homeland Magazine Voted 2017, 2018 & 2019 Best resource, support magazine for veterans, transitioning military personnel, active military, military families & veteran organizations

GET CONNECTED! A Veterans Magazine for Veterans by Veterans 4 64 HOMELAND / January 2018 WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

• Veterans In Transition Educational Opportunities, Recruiting Civilian Jobs, Articles, Jobs for Vets, Careers in Law Enforcement & Veteran Entrepreneurship • HEALTHCARE Fighting PTSD, Healthcare , Research, Studies & more • Monthly Calendar Information Military & National Holidays, Including Events ( Airshow, Military/Veteran Film Festivals, Feet Week, City Job Fairs, EDU Seminars,Workshops etc...) • Homeland Columns Transition, Financial, Legal, Health, Veteran Life, Arts, & more... • Community Endorsements Supporting businesses, organizations, educational institutions, community services and promotions for veterans, military personnel & military families.


2020 Editorial Calendar & Themes

Publishing Date – The 1st of each month. Space Reservation Deadline – Mid Month (Drop deadlines vary with confirmation and month (Call for monthly details) * Please note themes & features are added closer to issue publication date

• AUGUST - Summer Issue - “Dog Days of Summer” Tribute To Service Dogs - Purple Heart Day

• JANUARY - Veterans Life 2020 - Transition 2020 - Health 2020 • FEBRUARY - Adapative Sports - Transition - Education

• SEPTEMBER - “Never Forget” 9/11 - Gold Star Mother’s Day - GI Film Festival - National Suicide Prevention Month

• MARCH - Women’s History Month - Brain Injury Awareness Month - Month of the Military Caregiver

• OCTOBER - Veterans In Transition - Breast Cancer Awareness Month

• APRIL - Month of the Military Child - Transition - Health - Service

• NOVEMBER - Veterans Day Issue - *San Diego Fleet Week

• MAY - Memorial Day Issue - National Military Appreciation Month

• DECEMBER - Holiday Issue - BEST of 2020 - Pearl Harbor Remembrance - Wreaths Across America

• JUNE - PTSD Awareness Month • JULY - Independence Day - Disabled Veterans

VOTED 2019 BEST RESOURCE SUPPORT MAGAZINE FOR VETERANS

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com 20202018 65 5 HOMELAND/ JUNE / January


SHARE FACTS ABOUT COVID-19 Know the facts about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and help stop the spread of rumors. FACT

1

Diseases can make anyone sick regardless of their race or ethnicity.

Fear and anxiety about COVID-19 can cause people to avoid or reject others even though they are not at risk for spreading the virus.

FACT

2

For most people, the immediate risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low.

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.

There are simple things you can do to help keep yourself and others healthy.

FACT

4

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. • Stay home when you are sick. • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

You can help stop COVID-19 by knowing the signs and symptoms:

FACT

5

FACT

3

Someone who has completed quarantine or has been released from isolation does not pose a risk of infection to other people.

For up-to-date information, visit CDC’s coronavirus disease 2019 web page.

• Fever • Cough • Shortness of breath Seek medical advice if you • Develop symptoms AND • Have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.

CS 315446-A 03/16/2020

66

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

cdc.gov/COVID-19


STOP THE SPREAD OF GERMS

Help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19.

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

cdc.gov/COVID19 314915-A March 16, 2020 1:02 PM

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

67


Colonel Robert Thacker

68

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020


www.homelandmagazine.com

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

69


PTSD COACH PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. More than half of individuals experience at least one trauma in their lives. The National Center for PTSD offers FREE, confidential mobile apps that provide help, education, and support related to mental health.

Download PTSD Coach to:

Learn about PTSD and available treatments Track your PTSD symptoms over time Practice relaxation, mindfulness, and other stress-management exercises Grow your support network Access crisis resources

bit.ly/PTSDTreatmentWorksHomeland

PTSD Coach is not meant to replace professional care.

Search “PTSD Coach�

70

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JUNE 2020

Profile for HOMELAND MAGAZINE

Homeland Veterans Magazine June 2020 PTSD  

Military Veterans Publication - Resources, Support, PTSD, Transition, Veterans, Active Military, Military Families

Homeland Veterans Magazine June 2020 PTSD  

Military Veterans Publication - Resources, Support, PTSD, Transition, Veterans, Active Military, Military Families

Profile for adminhlm

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded