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Homeland

Resources Support Inspiration

Vol. 3 Number 9 • September 2016

When War Comes Home The Forgotten Hero of the Forgotten War

CAPT E. Royce Williams Boot Campaign’s ReBOOT Program, a Comprehensive Pathway to Treating Veterans Physical and Mental Injuries

Finding The Strength to be a Champion Veteran of the Year leaves personal hardships behind to lift others from despair

Alive “I have No Fear. I Fear No Man”

Travel Tips for Service Dogs www.HomelandMagazine.com

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Research Opportunities

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

Sign up for a research study TODAY!  

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

Check out our current list of research opportunities.

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

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EDITOR’S

LETTER

Greetings and a warm welcome to HOMELAND Magazine! Please take some time to get to know the layout of our magazine. Homeland Magazine focuses on real stories from real heroes; the service member, the veteran, the wounded and the families that keep it together. Our magazine is driven by passion, vision, reflection and the future. The content is the driving force behind our magazine and the connection it makes with service members, families, veterans and civilians. Homeland is about standing your ground, resilience, adaptation, inspiration and solidarity. HOMELAND is inspirational, “feel good” reading; our focus is on veterans, military and civilians alike. I believe HOMELAND is where the heart is, and our publication covers a wide variety of topics, and issues about real life and real stories. We are honored to share the work of so many committed and thoughtful people. We appreciate your support and are so happy to have you as a reader of HOMELAND Magazine. With warmest thanks, Mike Miller, Publisher 4

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Homeland Publisher Editor-In-Chief Mike Miller Contributing Writers CJ Machado Vicki Garcia Vesta Anderson Judy Keene Morgan Luttrell Rick Collins Scott McGaugh Jenni Riley Jason Moody Vickie Starr M. Todd Hunter Leslie Griffy Janette Sutton Sara Wacker Jenni Riley Public Relations CJ Machado Thomas McBrien Linda Kreter Graphic Design Trevor Watson

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


inside this issue 6 8 12 16 22 24 31 34 37 38 40 44 46

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Honoring Those Who Sacrifice Boot Campaign’s ReBOOT Program 26 The Forgotten Hero of the Forgotten War Finding The Strength to be a Champion Collaboration at its Finest Alive “I have No Fear. I Fear No Man” When War Comes Home 46 Born In The Wake Of 9/11 Operation REBOOT Adds Veteran Enlisted To Entrepreneur Bridging the Gap Veteran Embarks on Trek with Rescued Dog Travel Tips for Service Dogs

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Finding The Strength to be a Champion

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BY: SCOTT MCGAUGH

BY NY MYKE

Honoring Those Who Sacrifice

The sculpture includes a time capsule that contains the names, stories, photos, and memorabilia of former prisoners of war. It will be opened in 2045, commemorating the centennial of the end of World War II. Along the downtown waterfront, plans are being developed to replace and enhance the existing Pearl Harbor survivors’ monument. Currently it is a pair of stones with a bronze plaque mounted on each. While worthy, it often is overlooked by the thousands of passersby along the waterfront. The vision is to install a statue of chief petty officer John Finn, the longtime resident who earned the first Medal of Honor in World War II for his bravery at Pearl Harbor. Despite 21 wounds, he manned a machine gun for two hours in the face of incoming waves of attacking aircraft. After retiring from the Navy, John was a longtime East County resident. He and his wife were foster parents to five Native American children. Recently he passed away at 100 years of age. Part of the project’s vision includes a plaque with a code that can be used by smartphones and tablets to watch an inspirational video of John Finn and ultimately the sacrifice made by more than 2,400 U.S. personnel at Pearl Harbor.

John Finn

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The monument would be located directly behind the USS Midway Museum on the Port of San Diego’s Greatest Generation Walk. The leadership of the USS Midway museum is proposing the replacement and is working with the Port District to meet its public art guidelines. The project has the support of the local Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.

Liberation statue at Miramar National Cemetary

an Diego is proud of its Navy heritage. For more than a century we have been a “military town.” More than three generations of Americans have come to San Diego to train, serve, and sometimes make the ultimate sacrifice on a faraway battlefield. It’s imperative that we preserve and honor their legacy.

Several years ago, the Midway was the driving force to permanently install “The Kiss,” the statue of the sailor and nurse kissing not too far away from the proposed Finn sculpture locatino. The Kiss is now a significant tourist destination and one Among the cemeteries and monuments around San of San Diego’s iconic photo opportunities. The John Finn memorial (the start of World War II) and The Kiss (the end of World War II) will be visible from one Diego is one relatively new landmark, and another another. that is being developed. A little-know place of honor is “The Liberation Moment,” a statue at Miramar National Cemetery that honors our nation’s former prisoners of war. The 16-foot-tall bronze statue depicts the joy of a prisoner embracing a return to freedom. It’s a powerful place of reflection, funded by the local chapter of the American Ex-Prisoners of War and created by Poway sculptor Richard Becker.

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The goal is to have the sculpture installed by the time the USS John Finn is commissioned and arrives in San Diego in early 2017. “As our military force in uniform continues to shrink as a share of the nation’s population, it’s critical that we do not allow its sacrifices to disappear from the sight of America,” said Midway president and CEO Mac McLaughlin. “Remembering and honoring the bravery and heroism at Pearl Harbor, which is emblematic of all enlisted men and women, will become increasingly important in the years ahead.” www.homelandmagazine.com


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By Lieutenant (Ret.) Morgan Luttrell, U.S. Navy Boot Campaign Director of Development and Hero Ambassador

Boot Campaign’s ReBOOT Program,

a Comprehensive Pathway to Treating Veterans Physical and Mental Injuries. In an interview back in 2008, retired American neurosurgeon and former candidate for President of the United States Ben Carson said: “When I look at the human brain I’m still in awe of it.” Like Dr. Carson, I am in awe of the brain as well, which is why I am proud to be entrusted by the national military non-profit Boot Campaign to helm their new ground-breaking veteran assistance program focusing on brain injuries and related issues. Boot Campaign’s new program is called ReBOOT and is designed to provide a comprehensive, individualized, multidisciplined approach to increasing mental and physical wellbeing for America’s military heroes. Although I graduated from Sam Houston State University with a degree in psychology and philosophy, it wasn’t until I retired from the U.S. Navy that it became a passion of mine to find better ways to treat veterans and first responders in traumatic brain injury. After more than 14 years of service, and multiple tours to Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, I’ve battled my share of injuries and seen my twin brother Marcus and many of our injured comrades do the same. While investigating treatment for my own traumatic brain injury (TBI), I discovered the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas where they worked closely with veterans.

to deal with common brain injury challenges, like thinking abstractly, synthesizing information and filtering out distractions. While I had earlier been diagnosed with multiple TBIs myself, I had found no one civilian or military medical expert who had any answers on where to go or what to do to help until I got involved with Dr. John Hart and the Center for BrainHealth. Our veterans suffer from this invisible disease and I wanted to be a part of the movement that solves this epic problem. Long story short, I decided to pursue the study of brain injuries as a profession. With my master’s degree in applied cognition and neuroscience already behind me, I am now serving as a research scientist with the Center in pursuit of a doctorate in applied cognition and neuroscience. At the same time, I’m extremely motivated to help Boot Campaign establish and fine-tune its new ReBOOT program, which brings together world class mental and physical treatment partners thorough diagnostic evaluations, so each veteran gets specific care needed to live a fulfilling life. The program includes brain treatment partners such as the Brain Treatment Center, Center For BrainHealth and Brain Performance Institute at the University of Texas at Dallas, Cooper Clinic, and University of Texas Southwestern. It also features nutrition and fitness partners Virginia High Performance and EXOS, and brain treatment coalition partners Infinite Hero Foundation, Team Never Quit, 22 Kill and Airpower Foundation.

I joined one of their clinical trials and underwent cognitive testing and received training on how to improve my ability 8

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“We believe ReBOOT is an innovative pipeline to ‘reboot’ and remove all financial barriers related to treatment and conditioning for overall mental and physical health and well-being for veterans.” According to Boot Campaign’s CEO Robyn Payne, the ReBOOT program is part of a shift in priorities for the national 501(c)(3) charitable organization that was founded in 2009 to promote patriotism for America and our military community; raise awareness of the unique challenges service members face during and postservice; and provide assistance to military personnel, past and present, and their families. “We’re proud to launch the ReBOOT program, which is a new focus for Boot Campaign that was determined through careful consideration and months researching where the donations of our many generous supporters can be best utilized,” says Payne. “We believe ReBOOT is an innovative pipeline to ‘reboot’ and remove all financial barriers related to treatment and conditioning for overall mental and physical health and well-being for veterans.” The ReBOOT protocol is a multi-discipline approach to treating veterans with TBI and other combatrelated issues. Because brain injuries are so complex and different for each person, an Omni directional approach is necessary. Unfortunately, there are no known cures for TBI, PTS and other brain disease to date, but there are a number of veteran-run institutes, centers and facilities that are moving the needle in the right direction to decrease the various issues plaguing America’s service member and give them and their families back what they lost during their service to this great nation.

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Here’s how we’ve set up the program. The ReBOOT protocol brings forward the best TBI facilities in the country that offer a veteran-based treatment program and strategically aligns them with the veteran’s needs. The program begins with a pre-cognitive assessment that includes a comprehensive blood paneling and functional brain scans so the candidate has a baseline to build on. The candidate will visit the appropriate center for valuable treatment and training protocols for their particular issues. Additionally, the candidates will have the opportunity to visit a high performance institutes to balance out their nutrition and get their bodies back into physical shape.

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The last stop in the pipeline is to conduct a post-cognitive assessment in order to measure how far the candidate has come. The amazing part about this concept is the science and treatment is there, the ReBOOT program is connecting the dots. What’s most exciting to me is that the pipeline is a living, breathing, ever-changing design that ebbs and flows with the times. If one particular treatment is not working any longer, we replace it with the latest and greatest cutting-edge science. ReBOOT is all about the veterans and bringing them back. The program is not designed only for veterans who have suffered obvious brain injuries caused by the tragic circumstances of military service either. In fact, one of our key demographics for ReBOOT will be to find veterans we can help who have brain injuries that have never been properly diagnosed because their injuries weren’t so apparent. Lieutenant (Ret.) Morgan Luttrell, U.S. Navy

I was aboard an Army Black Hawk helicopter during a training exercise in Virginia Beach when it crashed into a combat support ship, ending one life and injuring eight of us. I can remember falling out of the helicopter and hitting the top deck of the ship, and then falling down onto another deck when the helicopter exploded. So, I’ve suffered through injuries and trauma that could easily make me an “obvious” candidate for the ReBOOT treatment program. However, there are many other warriors out there who are living with TBIs that have never been diagnosed because there were not involved in any particularly violent incident, even though repeated exposure to nearby explosive blasts could have easily taken their toll. Ty, a U.S. Navy SEAL, is a perfect example of service member who can benefit tremendously from ReBOOT even though he wouldn’t even consider himself a candidate.

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“Three months ago I was in the darkest place in my life,” reveals Ty. “I moved to Houston 18 months ago to retire, and the reason I was going to retire was because I knew something was wrong. did my duty, and I wanted to go out peacefully. I became a recluse. It turns out I have had over 1000 explosive breaches in training and combat, but I never really

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thought about a breach having an effect on my brain. When you are 21 and hear that blast, you better be through that door.” Ty was referred to me after a friend recognizing his troubling behavior could be brain-injury related. I followed up with him at length over the telephone and realized his symptoms needed to be checked out. It turned out those instincts were right on the mark. “After talking to Morgan, I was doing cognitive testing within three days and he got me into the pipeline,” says Ty. “They drew my blood and took a saliva test, and after about a week I was validated in my feelings that my body wasn’t doing what it was supposed to. “Not only did they identify that I had a chemical imbalance issue or that my thyroid is no longer working properly because of three viruses that I’ve had for years,” he continues, “but they discovered that I have suffered severe brain trauma over the 19 years of my Navy SEAL career, and it was so severe that it contributed to my gross chemical imbalances. It felt like someone had taken a huge weight off my shoulders, and knowing is half the battle. Greatest feeling in the world. The Navy tested my blood many times over the past five years and never did identify any of these issues or all the other organs that were literally failing.”

Approximately 22 percent of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom combat wounds are brain injuries, and Boot Campaign believes financial concerns should NOT be the barrier between a warrior and necessary treatment.

Thankfully, Ty was able to find significant help through the tremendously dedicated brain specialists in the Dallas area, plus the nutrition and fitness specialists of Virginia High Performance that are now a part of Boot Campaign’s ReBOOT program. There are so many more just like Ty who could benefit, too, and they can get that specialized help they so desperately need with public and private support. Donations in support of ReBOOT go to veteran grants for everything they need to regain positive mental health, including treatment at an innovative brain treatment center, travel costs, living expenses and lost income replacement. Approximately 22 percent of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom combat wounds are brain injuries, and Boot Campaign believes financial concerns should NOT be the barrier between a warrior and necessary treatment. The average cost for a veteran to receive individual health and wellness care can run from up to $100,000. “I just hope everyone realizes how much of an impact this is going to have once ReBOOT gets a full head of steam,” concludes Ty. “If you ask my kids right now, they’ll confirm this is the happiest and best mood I’ve been in for five years.”

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For more information on Boot Campaign’s ReBOOT assistance program, please visit the website at: http://www.bootcampaign.org/reboot/

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The Forgotten Hero of The Forgotten War

CAPT E. Royce Williams, USN, Retired,

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e are coming upon the decade of extinction of the greatest men that ever lived. During World War II, “The Greatest Generation” gave their lives in service to our country without hesitation at a time where tyranny was plaguing the world and our nation’s fate was uncertain. Many of these young men were barely the legal age of drinking and some were still in their teens. They stood on principles of integrity, courage and their love of country.

What we have at present are their fading memories and their stories that few can bear to tell. It is our responsibility as the “Next Generation” to recognize and honor the sacrifices and accomplishments of the generations before us. If we want a nation that values integrity, courage and our founding principles, then we must stand next to our brothers and sisters who have fought and continue to fight for our great nation. We must raise our voices of gratitude, to re-assure them, that we, the reminisce of the “Greatest Generation,” will continue to preserve what they fought so hard to protect. We must honor them today, before they are gone tomorrow. What seems to be lost as a nation is not lost forever… America, as in the people can regain their conscience. We have the opportunity to honor the last of our Living Legends and our Forgotten Heroes. CAPT E. Royce Williams, USN, Retired is one of the remaining “Forgotten Heroes of the Forgotten War.” He was only 16 when he joined the service in February, 1942. Williams served our country for over 30 12

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years and retired in 1980. He has flown over 220 missions, mainly in Korea and Vietnam, but one aerial engagement during the Korean War stands above them all. On November 18th, 1952, CAPT E. Royce Williams, USN Retired, then Lieutenant (Lt.), during the height of the “Korean conflict,” singlehandedly engaged in a fierce aerial combat that no other American aviator has accomplished either in the Korean War, Vietnam War or since then. Up against freezing temperatures, 400’ ceiling, snow clouds and 40 knot winds, Williams fought 7 MiG-15s while protecting Task Force 77 in his inferior F9F-5 Panther. His superb piloting skills and gunnery accounted for three known MiG-15s downed and a fourth (the flight leader) confirmed some years later. With Lt. Williams having fired all of his ammo and suffering a 37 mm hit in his right wing stub by a closely pursuing Mig-15 that caused total loss of rudder and flaps, Williams dove for cloud cover. He was left with only elevator control and a little aileron control and still, Lt. Williams www.homelandmagazine.com


skillfully jinked and porpoised until he was safely in the snow clouds. Williams was preparing for a straight in approach towards the USS Oriskany, when he momentarily was forced to avoid friendly fire. Lt. Williams dropped his tailhook and gravity dropped his landing gear. The damage made the aircraft uncontrollable below 170 knots, critically above the normal 105 knots, with 40 knots of wind across the deck, yet, Lt. Williams demonstrated masterful airmanship in landing safely aboard, barely catching the #3 wire. Examination of his F9F-5 Panther aircraft revealed 263 bullet holes. The

During a private one on one meeting with Vice Admiral (VADM) Briscoe, Commander Naval Forces, FarEast, Briscoe disclosed that there was a “secret” intelligence agency in place, called the National Security Agency (NSA) and that they were on their first mission when the Nov. 18th event took place. The NSA confirmed 3 MiG-15 kills that day with Signal Intelligence, “real time” voice intercepts. VADM Briscoe ordered Lt. Williams “not to tell anyone” about the engagement. Williams didn’t, not his squadron Commanding Officer (CO), not his Commander Air Group (CAG), not the CO of

CAPT Williams is 91 years old and he humbly resides in Escondido. He is our “Hometown Hero” and we have the opportunity to honor this great man before he leaves on his final mission. Artist Richard W. DeRosset, Seven Mice and a Panther, www.DeRossetPaintings.com

1952. Also present were Secretary of Defense Wilson, General (Gen) Mark Clark, Gen Omar Bradley, Gen Ridgeway, Admiral (ADM) Radford, Vice Admiral (VADM) Jocko Clark (CTF-77), and Eisenhower’s son, John Eisenhower. Due to political concerns in Washington regarding the newly established secret intelligence (NSA), the recording of the aerial engagement could not be revealed. At the time, Russia insisted they were neutral during the Korean conflict and the MiG-15s were indeed flown by Russian pilots. These two major factors invoked a “Top Secret” lid on the event to avoid the “conflict” to escalate into another World War. Although, Williams was awarded the Silver Star for one confirmed kill, the crucial NSA information was not available to the USS Oriskany nor the drafters of the Silver Star awarded. His amazing feat was kept “Top Secret” for over fifty years. The challenge has been obtaining accurate records, which has been very difficult since a “phony” report was submitted to appease Washington’s request on the day of the event. Although Russia has confirmed the names of the four downed pilots, the death certificates of the Russian pilots have not yet been attained. CAPT Williams is 91 years old and he humbly resides in Escondido. He is our “Hometown Hero” and we have the opportunity to honor this great man before he leaves on his final mission. We are asking for your help. We are gathering signatures to demand a rereview for recognition on CAPT Williams behalf. You can help honor our “Forgotten Hero,” by signing and sharing the petition at www.HomelandMagazine.com. We need 100,000 in less than 30 days for Congress to consider a re-review for recognition.

damage was so severe they could not repair the plane and it had to be pushed overboard. He fought entirely over water, halfway between the USS Oriskany and Vladivostok. Lt. Williams’ courage above and beyond the call of duty against overwhelming odds, stopped the MiG-15s’ attack in its tracks. www.homelandmagazine.com

the USS Oriskany, not Carrier Task Force 77 (CTF-77), not even his wife. Shortly after the confirmation, at President elect Eisenhower’s personal request, Lt. Williams was honored and toasted in a meeting in Seoul, Korea mid-December,

We are working with Congressman Hunter and Peters office to help with the cause and efforts have been made in support of the “Petition for Recognition.” 95 year old, Rear Admiral Shelton, who is a fellow Golden Eagle to Williams, started the initial request for re-review for recognition through Congressman Hunter’s office in 2014. This year, American Legion, Combat Veteran Association and many other Rider groups joined the May SD Ride for Vets to support HOMELAND / September 2016 13


the cause. San Diego Harley-Davidson owner and veteran advocate, NY Myke, assisted Homeland Magazine’s representative with the nationwide campaign to gather signatures and to meet with the Rolling Thunder in DC. Our local newscaster, Matt Rascon, excellently covered the exclusive on Channel 8 to help promote awareness amongst San Diego residents. San Diego Mayor Faulconer, Escondido Mayor Abed and Chula Vista Mayor Salas deemed and set forth proclamations that on Nov. 18th, “CAPT Williams Day” will be honored in recognition for his act of valor given in service to our country during the Korean War.

August 29th – September 30th

Despite all of our effort, we were not able to obtain all of the signatures needed on our first attempt, which impelled this September’s ROUND 2! “Petition for Recognition.” The most recent effort in support of “The Petition for Recognition” was organized by Patriot guard and American Legion Rider, Bill “Doc” Reid and Sweetwater HarleyDavidson. The event was held on August 20th, where Artist Richard W. DeRosset presented CAPT Williams with a commemorative painting of the remarkable aerial engagement that took place over 63 years ago. The painting is called, “Seven Mice and a Panther” and it is the most accurate depiction of the event to date. Part of the mission for CAPT Williams “Petition for Recognition” is to revive what has been forgotten and to restore what has been taken; Our love and respect for our country and each other. Please join us in honoring our Forgotten Hero, CAPT E. Royce Williams, USN, Retired, by signing the petition at www.HomelandMagazine.com

Written by, CJ Machado, photo journalist and veteran advocate 14

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BY M. TODD HUNTER

Bobby Body

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Finding the strength to be a champion Veteran of the Year leaves personal hardships behind to lift others from despair

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hat’s past is prologue. Or is it? Talk to DAV’s 2016 Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year, Bobby Body, and he’ll likely scoff at that notion.

“All I can do is look at the past and laugh,” said Body, a single-leg amputee. “But I laugh at the adversity and the fact that I overcame the odds and proved people wrong.” His mother walked out on him when he was 5 years old. Now 42, he hasn’t seen her since. His dad was sent to prison just five years later, leaving Body to live in an orphanage until he graduated from high school. But despite the hardships these events presented, Body felt called to serve his fellow citizens as a police officer. To that end, he went to college immediately out of high school and earned a degree in criminal justice. At 22, Body joined the Marine Corps and became an infantryman. A knee injury, however, forced him to be medically discharged before his enlistment was complete, in spite of his efforts to be retained. 18

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Not one to rest on his laurels, Body began working for a security firm in southern California. Then 9/11 happened. “I couldn’t just sit at my cushy job and do nothing,” Body explained. “I kept trying to re-enlist in the Marines, but they wouldn’t let me because of my injury. But an Army prior service recruiter overheard one of the telephone conversations I was having and said he could get me in, so I went.” He knew where he would most likely be going when he re-enlisted.

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After completing infantry training and Airborne School, Body deployed with his unit to Habbaniyah, Iraq, in the summer of 2005. There, he participated in dismounted patrols and improvised explosive device (IED) clearing missions. He also pulled sniper security and volunteered to help an armored unit, where he learned how to drive and load an M1A1 Abrams tank. In February 2006, while en route to search for a high-ranking insurgent, an IED blew the door of the Humvee he was riding in into his left side, injuring his arm and leg and resulting in his evacuation back to the States. He was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) shortly after the first procedure on his arm and put on medications to help with depression and sleep. After a year of rehab, Body was ordered to change his military occupation in order to

stay in the Army, so he became a tank mechanic. However, in 2007, the injury to his leg began to progress rapidly. After his first leg surgery, he was sent to the Army’s Warriors Transition Unit where he endured four additional procedures on the injured limb. He was medically retired in 2009. Though not the outcome he was hoping for, Body saw the setback as another opportunity to serve. He enrolled at Michigan State University to pursue his master’s degree in social work with the ultimate goal of helping veterans with PTSD. All the while, though, his leg injury continued to progress. After four additional years of various leg surgeries and out of options for a full recovery, surgeons at the Ann Arbor VA told Body he could either keep his leg until it gave out completely or have it amputated above the knee. He opted for the amputation in September 2013. While recovering at the amputee rehab clinic, Body learned that most of the other recovering amputees had already been there for months—some with no clear end in sight. With a wife and four children at home, he didn’t want to be an absent father and husband. True to form, Body found another opportunity in hardship.

While recovering at the amputee rehab clinic, Body learned that most of the other recovering amputees had already been there for months—some with no clear end in sight. With a wife and four children at home, he didn’t want to be an absent father and husband. True to form, Body found another opportunity in hardship. www.homelandmagazine.com

“It was extremely painful and brought tears to my eyes, but I told the doctors that I wanted to be up and walking three times a day,” he said. “I had to bear the pain and I had to walk, because I didn’t want to be there Monday through Friday learning how to walk again and having to wait and wait and wait before I got my permanent leg.” HOMELAND / September 2016 19


While most people can take anywhere from three to five months to walk away with a new leg, Body did it in less than seven weeks— surprising his family a day before Thanksgiving.

DAV Department of Michigan. “He’s going up against able-bodied athletes who’ve been competing for years—and more often than not, he’s beating them.”

“I was just determined to prove the doctors and physical therapists wrong,” he said.

In May, Body attended another iteration of the APF/WPC U.S. Nationals. This time, he brought home two gold medals—one in his age division and another in an open-age division. He even broke a national record in his age group by using his 5-foot-8-inch, 178-pound frame to lift 424.39 pounds.

Those same doctors and therapists took notice. A few weeks after being discharged, officials at the Ann Arbor VA contacted Body to ask him to come back and talk to veterans who recently either had amputations or PTSD, or both in some cases. For Body, it was a no-brainer. “I look at it like this … I served my country and came home, and people helped me,” Body said, “so therefore I  need to help other people.” After becoming certified as a peer support specialist by the State of Michigan, Body began conducting group PTSD and amputee counseling. His central message: overcoming the odds. “I tell them it’s power of the mind,” Body explained. “It’s overcoming and adapting.” All the while, though, Body had been going to his local gym, which happened to be owned by a couple of powerlifting competitors who kept trying to convince him to get involved with the sport. Initially hesitant, Body found powerlifting to be a source that could help him deal with the psychological and physiological effects that often spiral individuals to hit rock bottom. Since that wasn’t an option for him, Body propelled himself into the world of powerlifting. It didn’t take long for him to succeed in that endeavor, either.

But ask Body and he will tell you that his biggest accomplishment is serving his fellow veterans. He enjoys it so much that he’s in the midst of becoming a DAV Service Officer. “Anything they want me to do,” he said, referring to DAV in his community. “As long as I’m able to get out there and talk to veterans to help them get where they need to be, I’ll do anything if I can just help one person.” “Bobby Body is a shining example of everything that is good about our nation and its veterans,” said National Adjutant Marc Burgess. “Through his positive attitude and dedication to hard work, he has truly shown those around him that a disability can be transformed into an ability.” “I can’t look at life and think, ‘Well I had a rough upbringing, so I’m just going to be this kind of person,’” Body explained. “That’s an excuse I’m not going to use.” It’s that very outlook that proves no weight is too heavy for Bobby Body. “I don’t let my past determine who I’m supposed to be.”

Body won a gold medal in his weight class in his first appearance at the U.S. Nationals for the American Powerlifting Federation (APF), an affiliate of the World Powerlifting Congress (WPC). From there he was invited to the World Powerlifting Championships in Florida. With the support of DAV’s Department of Michigan, Body attended and placed fifth in his weight class. “We were shocked at how humble he was and how he was using his participation in sports to bring more awareness to the needs of veterans,” said Rolly Lee, Treasurer and Judge Advocate for

About DAV DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; providing employment resources to veterans and their families and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a nonprofit organization with 1.3 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U. S. Congress in 1932. Learn more at www.dav.org 20

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Visit NissanUSA.com/military *Eligibility requirements apply: Eligible individuals include U.S. Active and Reserve Military, U.S. Military Veterans within 12 months of separation from Active or Reserve duty, U.S. Military Retirees that have completed at least 20 years of Active or Reserve duty required. Military cash certificate available towards the lease or purchase of a qualifying new Nissan vehicle from dealer stock. Excludes Nissan Versa Sedan S Trim, Maxima, Murano, Murano Cross Cabriolet, 370Z, Quest, Pathfinder, Armada, Titan, GT-R and NV. Military cash certificate amount varies by qualifying model. Offer valid from 3/1/16 through 3/1/2017. Limit up to 2 vehicle leases or purchases per calendar year per qualified participant for personal use only. Offer not valid for fleet or business use. Down payment may be required. Available on lease or purchase. Must take delivery from new dealer stock. Subject to residency restrictions. Other restriction s apply. See dealer for details. Offer is subject to change at any time. Always wear your seat belt and please don’t drink and drive. Nissan, the Nissan Brand Symbol, Innovation That Excites, and Nissan model names are Nissan trademarks. ©2016 Nissan North America, Inc. All rights reserved.

Visit www.ChooseNissan.com.

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Collaboration at its finest Early November 2015 Veterans 360 is contacted by a distraught parent “I think I might lose my son if he doesn’t get some help”.

4. The connection was made to Psych Armor’s on-line courses for care givers of those struggling with PTS.

Dave Mewes heard about Veterans 360 and Carry the Challenge after Founder & Executive Director Rick Collins was a guest on a national radio show.

5. Rob Croom—local VA peer support counselor, Vietnam combat vet, counselor for 3 years connected with Drew and they hit it off.

“Rick, my son Drew is an Iraq (Mosul) infantry vet and he is really struggling. At Last count, 6 of his fellow team members have committed suicide. We are in need of ways to help him. We live in Cleveland, Ohio and supporting him is draining on our family. He went through 6 jobs because his PTS(D) is not understood nor cared about. When he has an “episode” the employers get rid of him. We are going through it again. Thank You, Dave Mewes (father of a 29-year-old Vet in crisis).”

6. Jason Grenfell—local VA Rep with hands on connections to the VA and local VSO’s offers to help Drew clean up his benefit status.

Rick immediately replies and the next day Rick and Dave speak at length until Dave feels that he has a friend he can trust and is comfortable enough to ask his son Drew to call Rick. Drew calls Rick, they chat for an hour or so and end the call with a plan to move forward. Vets 360 begins the process to reach out to the Vets 360 network and immediately receives numerous responses from people in the Cleveland Ohio area who are willing to engage Drew in PERSON. Within 48 hours after the families first contact with Vets 360, Vets 360 was able to connect the Mewes family to an amazing group of people who stood tall and reached out: 1. Col. Todd Desgrosseilliers USMC and Sgt. Ty Carter (MOH) US Army immediately called Drew to let him know “he is not alone” and that he can call them if he needs to talk to fellow combat veterans. 2. Vets 360 and Todd Desgrosseilliers invited Drew to attend the next Semper Fi Odyssey event and Dan Pultz invited Drew to take part in a world class TBI research study. 3. Karen Francis— a local connection with Courage Beyond for PTS specific counselling reaches out to Drew and the family. 22

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7. John Flood—the local Army AW2 coordinator who provides Army centric support and connections. Drew and John are close friends today. Since then, Drew has invited a young son into his life. He has engaged with us and his fire team when issues get a little out of control. Last year he would have gone it alone and struggled and who knows what the end result would have been. Would Drew have taken his own life like so many of those he directly served with (another one took his own life this month) I guess we will never know. But today Drew is now a Carry the Challenge First Responder who is ready and willing to help his fellow veterans. So why is this important? First, we are not the heroes here — Drew and his dad are because they asked for support. Second, we (Vets 360) are but the lead component. It is the folks on the front line who are providing the most effective support because they have the local knowledge. Third, when we have the system and the boots on the ground we can manage this sort of process for thousands of “Drew’s”. When we manage our national outreach campaign we must have the system in place that will enable us to replicate this process and to immediately swing into action. If we are in a position to give them a message of hope people like David and Drew will not be forced to go it alone. For more information on our Carry the Challenge – First Responder (CTC-FR) program please visit

www.CarrytheChallenge.org/Registration BY Rick Collins —Founder and Executive Director of Veterans 360. www.homelandmagazine.com


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BY: VESTA M. ANDERSON

ALIVE

“I have no fear. I fear no man.” – Shane Parsons, U.S. Army injured combat veteran, Operation Iraqi Freedom

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David Camacho

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Few people in this world know their real self – their true character, true fears. They are those who faced death, memorized its facial features, felt small in the shadows of its towering frame, walked in stride with it, and managed to come out the other side of Quit with a deeper understanding about the true grit of life. Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, many veterans sacrificed their lives so that others could live. Now, more than ever, veterans are surviving that sacrifice. That survival serves as a marker in the timeline of their lives. A day when they overpowered death. A day they lost others and lost themselves. A day they were given a second chance. A day they will never forget, but sometimes wish they could.

A day they refer to as their Alive Day. To Remember, Not to Relive “Anybody can say they have an Alive Day,” said U.S. Army wounded warrior David Guzman. “Plenty of people face death and make it back. But what is important is your perspective on life when you do make it back. To live your life with no regrets, face your fears daily, and always strive to accomplish the impossible.” On September 17, 2004, David’s reconnaissance convoy was traveling from village to village in Iraq when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in the path of his vehicle. “Everything seemed to move in slow motion,” said David. “The blast ruptured my eardrum and shrapnel ripped through my cheek, cutting my tongue.” He tried talking, but all that came out was blood. Shrapnel also tore through his leg. As a medic rushed to his side and insurgents continued to advance their attack, David lost consciousness. David Guzman

“I cherish my Alive Day,” said David, who is nearing his 16-year marker. “I reflect on the years my Alive Day has given me and always ask myself ‘What have I done for someone else recently?’ Because other people got me and my family to this point.” “I got a second chance to keep making my family happy. They are the ones who stay fresh in my mind to continue and never feel sorry for myself or guilty. Putting a smile on their faces helps me get through my hardships. It takes my mind away from the pain and helps put that horrific day behind me. I remember my Alive Day, and it hurts, but I refuse to relive it. I want to make sure that I pay back what I got. That’s how I cope with it.”

Tested and True “It’s hard to explain,” said Shane Parsons, U.S. Army wounded warrior. “A lot of us guys joined right out of high school. I knew what I was getting into, and I was ready to die for my country – but I survived. When my injury occurred, yeah, it was bad -- but I picked myself up.” Shane deployed to Iraq in 2005, shortly after finishing high school. On September 30, 2006, an IED detonated near his Humvee, causing Shane catastrophic injuries – including a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), above-the-knee bilateral amputations, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “The last thing I remember was being on the ground and the next thing I know I am waking up at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. My mom was there, and I looked up at her and said, ‘Hey, where you been?’” What Shane didn’t know was that his mother had been by his side for an entire month while he was in a coma. Today, Shane’s mother, Cindy, cares for him full-time. “Me, as an amputee, I try and make the best of it,” said Shane. “I don’t really dwell on the negative; I focus on the positive. You come out of everything, and you remember that you have a second chance to do good. My second chance included recently marrying my wife.” He is living a fearless life. “My Alive Day is a sacred thing. My heart stopped,” said Shane. “I was tested. I was judged. It’s hard to describe – I was ready to go. I was ready to fulfill my oath. Now I reflect on the good times and let go of the bad. I’m grateful I’m alive and doing the things I am, like coaching sports for kids and being an inspirational mentor for them. This year, on my Alive Day – I don’t know – I’m gonna smile and drink a beer. A toast to me. I got the last shot.”

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think that I almost didn’t make it. But then I look around and see all the beauty I am able to enjoy: my family, friends, and a Caribbean beach.” Seeing the positive is a choice, says David. “My Alive Day for me is everything. I am happy to be alive. Grateful. I am happy to have my family with me. I am happy because I had support from family and friends when it was needed most - at the time of my injury. I am happy that I can keep going and continue with my life.” David says he sees life differently and tries to live day by day. “I celebrate my Alive Day every day when I am around my friends and family. I celebrate by living life,” said David.

Surviving the War Inside “Deep within the warrior is the spirit of a survivor,” said Jim Mylott, U.S. Army wounded warrior. “I survived.” In July 2003, while at a checkpoint in Iraq, a large truck rigged with explosives came barreling toward Jim’s convoy. One of his soldiers threw him into the cab of a nearby Humvee – saving Jim’s life, but fully absorbing the full impact of the trucks collision.

Shane Parsons

Strength Revealed in Choice “I’m not a superhero,” said David Camacho, U.S. Army wounded warrior. David’s Alive Day is December 21st – the day a suicide bomber entered the mess tent at Forward Operating Base Marez in Iraq. The detonation killed 22 people and wounded 75, making it the deadliest single attack since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. “Shrapnel was in my head, arms, legs, neck, and stomach,” said David whose only thoughts were about his wife and kids. “I just wanted a second chance. I wanted a chance to finish my life’s mission with them.” After more than 22 wounds were treated at the Brooke Army Medical Center (BMAC) in San Antonio, Texas, David got that second chance…but it did not come easy. Along with his visible injuries, David also suffered from PTSD. “Experiences of death and suffering get replayed and magnified when you have PTSD. They can bug you for life if you let them,” he said.

“He died. But sadly not fast enough,” said Jim who carries with him the loss of one of his own. “I woke up in the hospital with most of my memory gone, but I still l had survivor’s guilt. In my mind, his is the last face I see before falling asleep and the first one I see when waking up. It tormented me.” Jim spent the next two years in the hospital defying the doctor’s diagnosis that he would never get out of his wheelchair. He not only did that, but is also walking fully unsupported. Still, he was losing the battle within. “It’s hard to admit you’re having thoughts about suicide. It came to a day where I wasn’t planning on seeing the next sunrise. It took me awhile to get in a good place.” Jim now helps other warriors suffering in silence. “I always tell the guys I’ve been in their shoes,” said Jim. “I’ve stood on that edge and dangled my toes off it. But if you look hard enough you can always find something good with the bad. You have to find the positive because it’s what gives you the hope to move forward. I don’t consider my Alive Day the worst day of my life because if it never happened, I wouldn’t have my wife who I met while I was in the hospital. I wouldn’t have my daughter.” The strength of survival comes from the depths of an Alive Day. “Deep down inside – even if it’s so deep you haven’t seen it in years – everyone has that ember,” said Jim. “It’s survival. It’s the instinct to exist. Alive Days are a testament to it. It’s a day of reflection. It’s something we honor.”

David has since put his Alive Day behind him and now resides in Puerto Rico with his family. “Sometimes I can’t help but www.homelandmagazine.com

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HOMELAND / September 2016

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Jim Mylott

Remember & Never Forget Since the inception of the military campaign against global terrorism, a study published in March 2015 by Physicians for Social Responsibility revealed that at least 1.3 million people have lost their lives as a result of the war. Those numbers include American first responders, civilians, and service members who died as a direct result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. With advancements in battlefield medicine and technology, an unprecedented number of service members survive combat injuries and return home to face their own battles in recovery. To date, more than 52,000 service members have been physically wounded in the current conflicts and it is estimated that as many as 400,000 service members live with the invisible wounds of war, including: combat stress, traumatic brain injury (TBI), depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). David Guzman, Shane Parsons, David Camacho, and Jim Mylott are a few of many injured veterans who endured combat injuries and returned home to face an even more critical battle – their recovery. They found the help they needed through the programs and services offered by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).

WWP was founded in 2003 by a family and a group of friends who purchased comfort items for the wounded, packed them into backpacks, and hand delivered them to patient’s bedsides at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. To warriors, those backpacks became a symbol that they were not forgotten in their time of need. What started as a gesture bloomed to into a movement – a promise. Fifteen years later from the devastating 9/11 terrorist attacks, the landscape has changed, but the story remains. Terrorism continues to claim the lives of American heroes. It becomes imperative to stand united as a country, supporting those who serve against this fight. Honoring those who have fallen. Empowering those who survive. WWP salutes all the men and women who lost their lives since that devastating day 15 years ago, and stands ready to help warriors, their families, and caregivers with comprehensive support in the areas of mental and physical health, continuing education and employment assistance, and warrior outreach and reintegration into local communities. Thanks to the generous donors who stand with us in our mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors, these programs and services are offered free of charge. We believe our warriors already paid their dues on the battlefield.

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

HOMELAND / September 2016 29


A DOCUMENTARY BY EMMY AWARD-WINNING FILMMAKER MICHAEL KING ®

THEIR WAR NEVER ENDS TALLWOOD PRESENTS

A FILM BY

MICHAEL KING “WHEN WAR COMES HOME” FEATURING GENERAL PETER CHIARELLI (RET.), SPENCER AND SARAH MILO, WES AND ANDREA CARLILE, AND EMMANUEL BERNADIN DIRECTOR OF EXECUTIVE CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS DEBRA C. HYDE AND JENNIFER G. HARRIS PRODUCERS DUNCAN NIEDERAUER AND ED FOUCHÈ PHOTOGRAPHY JASON OLDAK ORIGINAL MUSIC WRITTEN PRODUCED AND EDITOR GEORGE ARTOPE SCORE BY JEFF BEAL SUPERVISOR AJ SORBELLO BY ANTHONY E. VALLETTA DIRECTED BY MICHAEL KING

WWW.WHEN WAR COMESHOME.ORG

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BY JENNI RILEY

F

lag Day in Seattle helped shed a spotlight on one of the most common struggles of our returning veterans with a screening of Emmy Award-Winning Filmmaker Michael King’s When War Comes Home. Four Star General Peter Chiarelli, US Army (retired) and CEO of One Mind is featured for his crusading efforts to find better solutions for treating posttraumatic stress and traumatic brain injury with an ongoing challenge to provide the help our Veterans need. Two of the film’s featured veterans and spouses, Spencer Milo and Andrea Carlile, were also in attendance to talk about the film and some of the more personal moments that the film revealed regarding their struggles. Awareness for these struggles is taking on a much broader reach on October 24th with a screening and reception aboard The Intrepid aircraft carrier in New York City. The featured veterans and spouses, Michael King, General Chiarelli and Executive Producers Debby Hyde and Jennifer Harris will all be in attendance to discuss the film after the screening at a private reception on board. TALLWOOD and R4 Alliance will once again be joining forces to promote the screening. R4 Alliance recognized the importance of the film after the first viewing and knew they had to help get it out to the public where Our Military Families could benefit most from it. It is a powerful and moving movie that will hit home for many of our veterans and families of those veterans “Three Iraq/ Afghanistan War Veterans return home to discover their PostTraumatic Stress affects not only their own lives, but the lives of their wives, children and friends. Witnessing these powerful stories and many others, retired Four Star General Peter Chiarelli leads the search for better treatment for these invisible wounds of war.” Deep in the heartland of Indiana, Wes Carlile, a former U.S. Army Chaplin’s Assistant during the Iraq War, was overwhelmed by

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the death of friends and fellow soldiers. Returning home, Wes discovers his post-traumatic stress endangers his wife Andrea and their two daughters.  Seeking help for his survivor’s guilt through his church and the local VA Hospital, Wes attempts to seek redemption from his violent behavior.  Meanwhile, as affected family members, Andrea and the girls seek relief from their secondary trauma affect caused by Wes’s return. Andrea is the author of “The War that Came Home” which also inspired the name of the movie. Florida resident, Emmanuel Bernandin served as both a Naval Technician in Afghanistan and in a naval detainee camp in

“Three Iraq/Afghanistan War Veterans return home to discover their Post-Traumatic Stress affects not only their own lives, but the lives of their wives, children and friends.

Iraq. He was inflicted with PTS, from the guilt of surviving his fourteen fellow brother-in-arms in a massive suicide bombing in Afghanistan. After returning home, the affliction leads him down a path of attempted suicide and commitments to mental institutions. He finds himself a burden on both his family and his girlfriend, Amanda, only finding solace with his dog, Bronze. Emmanuel’s struggle is to must break this cycle of despair in order to survive and lead the normal life he craves.

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The film puts a “spotlight” on how secondary trauma inflicts the Veteran’s families and children. As such the film provides insight to how post-traumatic stress affects our nation as a whole. The United States’ Department of Defense (DOD) has approved and offered their official support to When War Comes Home. The DOD understands the importance of the issue of PTS and TBI, and it realizes the significant effect this film can have on increased public awareness and support and, ultimately, on the lives and conditions of veterans. You can learn more about the movie at www.whenwarcomeshome.org

R4 Alliance Co-Chairman Bill Potter & Chip Fisher with General Peter Chiarelli (ret)

Living in the mountains of Colorado, Spencer Milo was once a Sergeant in the US Army until an injury from a suicide bomber medically retired him. He now attempts to adjust to civilian life with his wife Sarah, his daughter, and the help of a service dog named, Nemo.  Spencer has crippling anxiety and is grossly over medication from doctors who are still struggling to understand the nature of his illness. Damaged both physically and mentally, Spencer hopes that a path of helping other veterans can help him cope with his trauma.

R4 Alliance hopes to raise awareness with more screenings across the country in the future and will include one at their Annual Membership conference in The Villages at the Old Mill Theater on October 19th. To find out how to get tickets for either of these events, please email events@r4alliance.org. To learn more about R4 Alliance please visit www.R4Alliance.org. R4 Alliance and When War Comes Home are either registered trademarks or trademarks of R4 Alliance or TALLWOOD in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Acclaimed Director Michael King, Executive Producers Debby Hyde and Jennifer Harris, When War Comes Home, is a documentary feature film focusing on the lives of these three soldiers returning from combat. They search for the courage to overcome their demons and painful memories of war. The crusading efforts of Seattle’s retired Four Star General Peter Chiarelli to find better solutions for treating post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury is an ongoing challenge to provide the help our Veterans need.

Spencer Milo, Michael King, Andrea Carlile

For more information on “When War Comes Home” www.whenwarcomeshome.org For more information on R4 Alliance www.R4Alliance.org 32

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“WHEN WAR COMES HOME” 2016 R4 ALLIANCE MEMBERSHIP CONFERENCE Join us in The Villages, Florida October 19-21,2016 Special Screening of “When War Comes Home” October 19th at The Old Mill Theater followed by a dinner at the City Fire Restaurant. For info email jenni@r4alliance.org

· Educational Seminars · Grant Writing · Social Media Strategies · Volunteer Training · Fundraising · Writing Press Releases · Software Demos for your Organization to use. · Introduction to a National · Coordinated Care Network · Dragon Boat Races

RESEARCH | RECRUIT | RESOURCE | REINTEGRATE

REGISTER TODAY | r4alliance.org www.homelandmagazine.com

HOMELAND / September 2016 33


BY JASON MOODY AND VICKIE STARR

Born In The Wake Of 9/11 Operation Homefront is Still Assisting Military Families

O

peration Homefront is a national nonprofit dedicated to building strong, stable, and secure military families so they can thrive – not simply get by – in the communities they have worked so hard to protect. Formed in February of 2002 to support the families of deployed service members in the wake of 9/11, Operation Homefront is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, and provides services to military families in all 50 states through 17 field offices. One of Operation Homefront’s signature programs awards mortgage free homes to veterans and their families. The Homes

on the Homefront program is open to veterans of any era and helps service members to obtain the American dream of home ownership when they may not be able to do so on their own. Many of the veterans and military families Operation Homefront serves joined the military because of 9/11. One of our home recipients, Jonathon Crespo, joined the Army in 2010 because he wanted to serve his country after witnessing the 9/11 attacks. As a cargo specialist, Jonathon deployed to Iraq in 2010 and afterwards was honorably discharged in 2012. He later enlisted in the Army National Guard and completed his term last year. Jonathan and his family of four live in Orlando, Florida. Since moving to Orlando, his family moved a total of five times – from apartment to apartment dealing with expensive rent. When Jonathan heard about Operation Homefront’s Homes on the Homefront program, he immediately applied for a home. Through Operation Homefront’s Homes on the Homefront program, Jonathan and his family now live in a mortgage-free home in Orlando. Having a home of his own allows Jonathan to better plan for his future. “Without the worries of rent, I can save money and make plans to retire from the Army,” said Jonathon. “I can look forward to spending more quality time with my family and seeing them grow up in our home.” Andrew Friedlander, a Navy veteran also looks forward to building memories with his family in their home and completing a degree in computer science.

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Andrew joined the military to follow in the footsteps of his older brother—both were influenced by the attacks of 9/11. In 2008, three years after graduating high school, Andrew joined the Navy as a fire control man. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 for one year. In 2014, Andrew was honorably discharged and suffers from post-traumatic stress. During his transition to civilian life, Andrew and his family of four moved three times. Moving so much was unpleasant and unstable for Andrew and his family, but thanks to the Homes on the Homefront

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program, Andrew and his wife now have a stable environment to raise their children in Bethlehem, Georgia. “Receiving this home will help me and my family accomplish our goals in life—including our dream of home ownership, said Andrew.” Since 2012, Operation Homefront has awarded over 550 homes to military service members who lives were forever impacted by the events of 9/11. This is just one of the ways that Operation Homefront helps military families overcome the ever changing challenges inherent in military life.

“Receiving this home will help me and my family accomplish our goals in life—including our dream of home ownership, said Andrew.”

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Mentorship for children in military families who deserve our thanks and support. Enroll a child or become a Big Brother or Big Sister. Call (858) 746.9173 SDBigs.org/OperationBigs

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Operation REBOOT Adds Veteran Workforce Development Training to its Arsenal BY SARA WACKER

Not all veteran wounds are visible and the road to healing can be especially difficult when jumping head first into the stresses of the civilian workforce. That’s why National Veterans Transition Services, Inc. (NVTSI), also known as REBOOT, is launching OPERATION REBOOT to advance the careers of veterans, boost the economy and mend wounds invisible to the average eye.

S

ince 2010, NVTSI, a San Diegobased 501(c)(3), has been dedicated to assisting veterans in adjusting to civilian life and securing meaningful employment by combining evidence-based, best-practice performance techniques. Their REBOOT WorkshopsTM help veterans achieve their full potential and goals in the transition domains of employment and career, education, living situation, personal effectiveness/well-being and community life functioning. Its workshops have helped thousands of veterans make the challenging switch back to civilian life that build upon military training and experience, while preparing for life after the military. OPERATION REBOOT takes the program one step further by providing veterans with job skill training in critical sectors and matching them with more than 500 area businesses. This employer-driven initiative reboots the lives and careers of local transitioning service members and veterans by promoting employment in key priority industries. The programs key focus is to reintegrate veterans www.homelandmagazine.com

into the workplace by creating a talent pipeline from military service to priority sector employment. How do they accomplish this? By partnering with educational institutions and training partners, while offering jobs –attainment programs tailored to the skills and needs of veteran job seekers. Of these tailored programs, includes the REBOOT WorkshopTM that combines cognitive behavioral education with real-world career training. Jennie Black, a Navy veteran of 20 years and five deployments, looked to REBOOT to facilitate her transition into the workforce in June 2016. “I love it, because you don’t realize how much the military has changed your life and this class helped me refocus back on me,” she said. This bold new approach to veteran job training has created a turning point in military-to-civilian transition and has served over 1,500 military veterans to date.

Moreover, REBOOT has already seen a 97% success and 93% retention rate since its inception. Of these success stories is Jennie, who is now a Security Instructor at ManTech. While still growing, the goal of the OPERATION REBOOT program is to ultimately serve 2,000 to 2,400 Southern California veterans annually, while strengthening local workforces. By matching veterans with jobs in high job growth industry sectors, coordinating personalized job training and introducing them to local businesses on demand, OPERATION REBOOT alleviates financial insecurities for veterans and their families. For more information, visit www.operationreboot.vet. HOMELAND / September 2016 37


ENLISTED TO ENTREPRENEUR By Vicki Garcia

Debunking Entrepreneurial Myths Like many things, there are a number of misconceptions floating around about business ownership. Often this is the kind of things your mother says to discourage you from taking the leap to financial independence. Or, they are the little worries that rattle around in your head and stop you from pursuing your destiny as an entrepreneur. Let’s blow up some of those myths and reference reality instead.

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Entrepreneurs are following their dreams. Sometimes, but frequently not. Often the impulse to start a business comes from the inability to find a job. If you’ve been looking for a job for more than six months, I say dump that ordeal and start your own enterprise.

You need a lot of money to start a business. Of course, it depends on the type of business, but if you’re serious, you’ll find the money. And, you may not need that much.

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Remember, Spike Lee started his first movie on credit cards. I started my business on a $2000 severance check 30 years ago. Today there are on line options like nerdwallet. com, snapcap.com, Kabbage.com, and prosper.com. Google “equity crowdfunding,” also referred to as crowd investing, investment crowdfunding, or crowd equity, that enables broad groups of investors to fund startup companies and small businesses in return for equity.

It’s lonely at the top. Hardly. There are zillions of networking groups, Meetups, classes, and coaches just itching to support you. What you don’t want to do is suffer under the delusion that you can succeed by sitting behind your computer. Get out there and mix it up with other entrepreneurs. Become part of the small business owner community. You’ll be amazed at how many friends and mentors you will find.

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You have to be smart to succeed as a business owner. If this were true there would be no SEO consultants or plumbers. Just kidding. Plumbers are plenty smart. It doesn’t take brains. It takes confidence, commitment, and persistence. Good instincts help. Good decision making skills are critical. Here’s my motto, that has worked for me for many years: “Do not back up, severe tire damage will occur.” In other words, just keep moving forward.

It only takes a few months to see success. Well, maybe. It depends on how you define success. If you think you’re going to be Donald Trump in six months, think again. It could take a couple of years. If you define success as learning a lot, getting focused, and starting to feel some traction, then that could happen.

There’s too much competition. Wrong. There’s enough business for everyone, unless you’re a big baby and want an empty play pen. In fact, no competition should be a red flag. Maybe nobody wants what you’re selling? Studying your competition and figuring out how to do it better is one of the best tickets to success.

Build it and they will come. Not. Just because you thought it up, and created a website, they will not necessarily beat a path to your door. Take a couple of marketing courses and learn the ropes. Don’t think you can accomplish all your marketing through social media either.

I have to wait until the time is right. This is the procrastinator’s mantra. The time is never perfect. Many successful entrepreneurs started their businesses before they were discharged from the military, or while they still had a job. So long as you show up to your wedding or the birth of your baby, the time is now. I don’t have enough time to start and run a business. Yes, you do. Treat your business like you would a job where you have to arrive early and leave late. If you love what you’re doing, the time will fly by. Self-discipline in business ownership is very important. The people who think they can just work a few hours a day and succeed have been watching too much TV, where everything can be accomplished in 30 minutes.

I’ll have lots of free time. Not if you’re doing it right. Free time will come after you’ve worked many years and have figured it all out.

I can hire someone to sell for me. Big mistake. Sales are the life’s blood of every business. If you hand that over to someone else, you could get a nasty surprise when they leave.

I need a partner. OMG! Do not take on a partner unless you can’t hire what that person brings to the table. A partnership is like a marriage, without the good parts, which I don’t need to explain. You are liable for everything your partner does, which includes if they run over a kid during a business trip. Eighty percent (80%) of partnerships fail. Worst of all, when partnerships go bad, it

destroys everything you’ve worked for. You heard it here first: when partnerships crash it can get really nasty and painful. So, don’t do it unless absolutely necessary. •

I don’t need a plan. Think again. A plan can save you wasted money and time. Since you’re not a big corporation, your plan can be just for the next 12 months. Keep it flexible. Do your homework when the pressure isn’t on. And, write it down. A plan in your head is no plan at all.

I’ll be able to write everything off. That kind of thinking can get you audited. Deductible expenses can include your computer and any business operating and account management software, rent, employee salaries, money paid to independent contractors, advertising costs, and your business phone bills. Your car payments and gas maybe. Check out https://www.entrepreneur. com/topic/taxes on Entrepreneur Magazine’s website. Get advice from a pro.

I will be able to get a government grant to start my business. Ha! Afraid not. There is no such program that lends or gives directly to any business. In fact, the government wants your money in the form of a business license, taxes, and other onerous fees.

You’ll never get rich working for someone else. This is an entrepreneurial world. Small business is the backbone of our economy. Be smart and you will succeed.

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

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HOMELAND / September 2016 39


BRIDGING THE GAP

irving foster knows that coming home can be hard He’s one of the nearly 800 homeless veterans in Santa Clara County.  Lack of employment combined with the lack of affordable housing has exasperated problem.  To change this disturbing statistic, Hunger at Home is working in partnership with Martha’s Kitchen and Salvation Army. 40

HOMELAND / September 2016

“I tell all of the vets to get all of the help that they can,” Irving said, noting that veterans face special challenges when they come home.  “I try to live off my own means, but I also need to take advantage of what’s out there.”  

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BY LESLIE GRIFFY

It’s not an uncommon story. The trauma of war can often lead to addiction and homelessness. The 2013 Santa Clara County Homeless Census cited the loss of a job (38 percent), followed by alcohol or drug use (19 percent) as the largest percentages of homeless veterans.   When asked what might have prevented their homelessness, 39 percent of respondents reported employment assistance, followed by rent or mortgage assistance (28 percent) and mental health services (24 percent).  When asked Irving what would make a difference he responded “the first three things they need is, yeah everybody want houses but if you cannot tackle substance abuse and the mental illness and you give these people housing, I’m not saying don’t give nobody housing but if you give these people housing it’s like five months, three months they are back on the streets again.”   Luckily for Irving and veterans like him, services and programs are available to help.  Martha’s Kitchen, a soup kitchen that serves meals no questions asked, provides a meal when Irving needs a hot meal.  Salvation Army provides shelter, case management, employment as well as mental health services when needed.   These services continue to play an instrumental part in helping Irving transition into permanent housing.  Hunger at Home helps these organizations in the mission to end homelessness and hunger by building relationships between local hospitality and local nonprofits.    Hunger at Home takes surplus food and many other items from conferences, restaurants, sporting venues and hotels throughout Silicon Valley and distributes it to nonprofit partners, which in part include Martha’s Kitchen and the Salvation Army.   These extra meals and surplus goods would have otherwise gone into the trash.  As of this writing, Hunger at Home has redirected 2 million meals from being put into the landfill.  Now these meals are in the bellies of those in need.  This has freed up dollars previously used on meals and now these dollars are used on case management. “Hunger at Home has been a godsend to Martha›s Kitchen,” said executive director Edita Cruz. 

The 61-year-old joined the Navy in 1973 – 1974.  He served 14 years and served in Vietnam.  Irving thrived with the structure of the Navy, but it wasn’t easy to come home.   “I decided to get out, got married and you know, things just don’t work out.  I was kind of wandering, trying to find yourself,” Irving said. And soon he found himself into substance abuse, which lead to living on the streets.  

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“This is about people helping people,” Sterner said. “There is so much we in the community can do to lift others up.”

HOMELAND / September 2016 41


“We have a very strong relationship with Hunger at Home that will get even stronger in years to come,” Cruz said. “Together we will become more effective in serving the community. “ The program is the brainchild of Ewell Sterner. Resulting from his many years in hospitality, Sterner started Hunger at Home when he worked as Hilton Hotels area Director of food and beverage in San Diego. He and his son volunteered at the food bank and then-8-year-old Casidy asked if there wasn’t more they could do to help.   Hunger at Home was born. “This is about people helping people,” Sterner said. “There is so much we in the community can do to lift others up.”   Upon moving up to Silicon Valley to become the general manager of Team San Jose Convention, Sterner reignited the program..  Team San Jose’s leadership was quick to embrace the idea and understands the good it brings to the community.  The organization’s early support and commitment helped to create an even bigger and stronger network.

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San Jose McEnery Convention Center turns over surplus food from all sorts of events, and Hunger at Home helps connect this surplus to nonprofits in need. Local Hotels such as Hilton and Marriott as well as event centers such as Levi’s Stadium, the San Francisco 49ers’ quickly joined the initiative.   It’s an idea that doesn’t stop at food. In addition to surplus food, the program takes in extra supplies from hotels, including televisions, soaps, bed linens, gym equipment and more.    “With money saved from the more than 956,000 meals Salvation Army Silicon Valley, the outreach group was able to provide more shelter, sleeping bags, warm clothes and rehabilitations services”, said Major David Yardley the Santa Clara County coordinator.   “We are very grateful to be part of this collaborative effort that works so effectively to reduce waste, increase the nutritional value of meals served to the hungry and the homeless, and eliminating the gnawing feeling of an empty stomach,” Yardley said.

The partnership between Hunger at Home, the Salvation Army and Martha’s Kitchen isn’t just a pipeline of surplus and need.  Hunger at Home works to build relationships to form a unified coalition of nonprofits backed by hospitality with the goal of maximizing resources.   Because Hunger at Home is spearheaded by hospitality-industry leaders, it is able to drastically reduce the costs of holding a black-tie gala.  The Gala will benefit Salvation Army Silicon Valley, Martha’s Kitchen, the Bill Wilson Center (works with homeless under the age of 18), and Hunger at Home.  We would like for you to support us in our joint mission of eradicating hunger and homelessness by joining us in our Annual Gala.   The event will be held on Friday, November 18, 2016 at the San Jose – McEnery Convention Center.  The Gala includes an extravaganza of appetizers, entertainment and sit down dinner, as well as a live and silent auction. Tickets are available now. Reserve your seats now by going to:  www.hungerathometeam.org

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By Eva M. Stimson

Distinguished Military Veteran Embarks on Trek with Rescued Dog to Honor Military Heroes and Raise funds for Shelter to Soldier

Jennifer with Falcor (L), and Rosie (R)

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L

T Jennifer McCollough (USN) served on active duty as a naval aviator following graduation from the United States Naval Academy in 2001. Jennifer primarily flew the MH-60S helicopter, completing three deployments to the Middle East on various ships and with the U.S. Marine Corps in Fallujah, Iraq. When she learned of the opportunity to win the trip of a lifetime through corporate entity Pet Supplies Plus, she jumped at the chance to tell the story of rescuing a pup named “Rosie” from a highway in Texas, and charted a course to hike from the War Dog Memorial in Holmdel, New Jersey, to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., with a stop at the Pennsylvania War Dog Memorial in Bristol, PA. Jennifer, Rosie, and family dog Falcor will begin their adventure on September 3, 2016, concurrently raising funds for Shelter to Soldier, a veteranrelated non-profit organization.

Photo: Jessica Jones, Love Jones Photography

During Jennifer’s deployment to Iraq, she volunteered for missions outside the wire assisting in the Iraqi Women’s Engagement Program supporting Iraqi women in rebuilding their communities and spent seven collective years as the command legal officer. During her last tour, Jennifer was a part-time law student at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, CA, where she graduated with honors in 2013. Jennifer is currently serving as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware and will be joining the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. as part of the Attorney General’s Honors Program. She also serves as an advocate for Circle Star K9

Along with two other recipients, Jennifer’s winning application was chosen from 2,800 entries as part of the “Path to Adventure” contest sponsored by Pet Supplies Plus in coordination with the launch of their Redford Naturals dog food brand and in partnership with The Sheppard, LLC. The prize package includes a six-month supply of dog food and a GoProÒ Hero4 Session camera with FetchTM Mount, along with a stipend to underwrite trip costs. #RedfordNaturals #GOWILD. In honor of all fallen heroes, canine and human, the trio will conclude their trip at Arlington National Cemetery on September 11, 2016. Along the way, they will raise funds for the San Diego-based non-profit, Shelter to Soldier, a 501(c)(3) entity that adopts dogs from shelters and trains them to be psychiatric service dogs for veterans suffering from PTS and TBI at no cost to qualifying veterans (http://www. sheltertosoldier.org).

Jennifer remarks, “I was seeking an Having rescued one dog from the street accredited  charity that helps both dogs get out of and two dogs from families who no longer the shelters and veterans who need help moving wanted them, I learned how important, forward to lead fulfilling lives.  As a former helicopter yet expensive it is to properly train a pilot who returned from three deployments and experienced the loss of multiple friends, I know family dog. That’s why I selected Shelter to how meaningful it is to have a dog relying on you Soldier as my charity of choice for this very to come home, absorb your tears during times meaningful civilian mission.” of sorrow, and nudge your hand when you need encouragement.  Having rescued one dog from the street and two dogs from families Rescue, a Texas non-profit organization that who no longer wanted them, I learned how important, yet expensive it is to properly rescues dogs from an otherwise uncertain train a family dog. That’s why I selected Shelter to Soldier as my charity of choice for future. this very meaningful civilian mission.”

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HOMELAND / September 2016 45


IMPORTANT TRAVEL TIPS FOR SERVICE DOGS By Judy Keene, Next Step Service Dogs

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Trained to be incredibly adaptable and calm, service dogs are trained to go everywhere possible with their owner/ client. Many clients of Next Step Service Dogs can now rejoin the world -- hike, camp, attend events, fly, and go places with a sense of safety that their PTSD/TBI service dog provides. Here are tips about traveling with a service dog to make each new adventure as easy as Sunday morning.

GETTING AIRPLANE TICKETS & NOTIFYING THE AIRLINE Schedule your trip on flights that are not full. It is best to book late night and midnight flights where you can have an empty seat between you and another passenger. Your dog MUST NOT sit on any seat but the extra space gives good stretching and easy sleeping in the footwells.

with an expensive bill to go with it. If you travel to another country, research the additional requirements. For example, flights to Australia and England only allow ADI-member accredited service dogs on their flights; some countries allow no dogs. At least one or two weeks before your flight, confirm that your dog is registered and approved in the airline’s database and is expecting your dog. United Airlines issues a service dog pass; other airlines may start doing them also.

PREPARATION BEFORE THE FLIGHT Do a few trial runs visiting the airport the weeks before your flight, make sure that your dog and you are comfortable with escalators, elevators, crowds with baggage, little children, and little dogs, and all the sounds there. Groom/clean your dog within a couple of days prior to the flight.

Service dog Billy enjoying a moment in a USS Midway helicopter

Service Dog Question: Be prepared to answer the question: “ What tasks does your service dog perform to help with your disability?” When you book your tickets, find out what they require from you. Each airline has a slightly different protocol; some require documentation, others do not, but all require notification ahead of time. A service dog does not automatically get onto a flight. All airlines have a limited number of service animals per flight so you must confirm that your service dog can board. Traveling to Hawaii: Plan at least 6 months prior to any trip to Hawaii with a service dog – you must submit paperwork proving that your dog has two rounds of rabies vaccine and is a certified service dog – this can take 3 months or more. If you do not have the proper authorization when you land, the dog will be quarantined for 180 days

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Get a health check by a veterinarian especially for your dog’s ears, a few days before your flight. If your dog has even a small ear infection, it could cause pain and extensive howling and whining during the flight – worth avoiding! If your dog (or your dog’s breed) has a delicate stomach under stress, gets car sick or sea sick with movement, check with your veterinarian on how to best keep your dog calm before and during the flight.

Bring: A copy of all your dog’s medical records with you in case you need to visit a veterinarian during your visit. Plenty of wipes and poop bags. HOMELAND / September 2016 47


A portable water bowl, food, and high value snacks for your dog to have ready when you land. Have a bully stick for your dog to chew just before the dog’s first airplane ride taking off, to pop his ears as the plane gains altitude. This is usually only needed for the first time; once the newness wears off, the dogs naturally relax and will yawn to pop their ears on later flights.

THE AIRPLANE FLIGHT NO FOOD OR WATER at least for 6 hours before the flight (longer if there is a delicate stomach), so that you can fully toilet your dog shortly before boarding. DO NOT ALLOW your dog to sit on a seat. He must be in the footwell at all times no matter how squished you both might feel. It is do-able! Be aware of small dogs and other service dogs on the flight. Your dog must not react to other dogs by barking, whining, lunging, or any disruptive behavior. Just control your dog at all times, and quietly distract him when needed.

flight attendant to move your seat. If you are on an aisle seat with your service dog, use your feet as a barrier between the dog and the aisle. It is critical that the dog is kept separate from any pathways or passengers. His tail, feet, and body must not slip onto the aisle or into the space of another passenger. NO food or water to your dog during the flight. As soon as the plane lands, IMMEDIATELY TOILET your dog outside or at a dog toilet area PRIOR to getting your luggage. It is no fun to have a poop pile in the luggage area. Based in San Diego County, Next Step Service Dogs is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that trains and certifies amazing service dogs for active military, veterans, and first responders with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), at no cost to the client.

www.nextstepservicedogs.org

VERY IMPORTANT: When you locate your seat, check with neighboring passengers. If any of them dislike dogs or are allergic to dogs, ask the

Bo relaxes at the feet of his veteran 48

HOMELAND / September 2016

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