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Vol. 1 Number 2 • April 2014

Real stories from real heroes; the soldier, the veteran, the wounded, and the families that keep it together

The Dreams I Have For My Military Children


How to Help the Spouse of a Wounded Warrior

DISCOVER SAN DIEGO The Gaslamp Quarter


Taking the Worst and Making it the BEST

HOMELAND / April 2014 1

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Have you heard of “Red Shirt Fridays”? If the Red shirt thing is new to you, read below how it went for a man while traveling to Chicago… Last week, while traveling to Chicago on business, I noticed a Marine sergeant traveling with a folded flag, but did not put two and two together. After we boarded our flight, I turned to the sergeant, who’d been invited to sit in First Class (across from me), and inquired if he was heading home. No, he responded. Heading out I asked? No. I’m escorting a soldier home. Going to pick him up? No. He is with me right now. He was killed in Iraq, I’m taking him home to his family. The realization of what he had been asked to do hit me like a punch to the gut. It was an honor for him. ! He told me that, although he didn’t know the soldier, he had delivered the news of his passing to the soldier’s family and felt as if he knew them after many conversations in so few days. I turned back to him, extended my hand, and said, Thank you. Thank you for doing what you do so my family and I can do what we do. Upon landing in Chicago the pilot stopped short of the gate and made the following announcement over the intercom. “Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to note that we have had the honor of having Sergeant Steeley of the United States Marine Corps join us on this flight. He is escorting a fallen comrade back home to his family. I ask that you please remain in your seats when we open the forward door to allow Sergeant Steeley to deplane and receive his fellow soldier. We will then turn off the seat belt sign.” Without a sound, all went as requested. I noticed the sergeant saluting the casket as it was brought off the plane, and his action made me realize that I am proud to be an American. – So here’s a public Thank You to our military Men and Women for what you do so we can live the way we do.


April 2014 / HOMELAND


Inside This Issue 7

My Homeland

22 Community Spotlight


How To Help The Spouse Of A Wounded Soldier

23 Discover San Diego The Gaslamp Quarter

10 An Unexpected Cup Of Inspiration 24 Having A Whale Of A Good Time 12 The Dreams I Have For My Military Children 14 Decorated Veteran Running for District Attorney 15 Hug A Soldier

26 Did You Know? 28 The Top 10 Greatest Upsets In Sports History 30 Community Discounts

16 Simple Pleasures 18 Front & Center with Rick Rogers 20 Taking the Worst and Making it the Best homelandmagazine.com

Contact Homeland Magazine at: info@homelandmagazine.com 858.877.3421

HOMELAND / April 2014 5

HomeLand Publisher Michael J. Miller

Production Editor Liz Standsfield Media Sales Associates Kevin Voss Chris Nielson



Greetings and a warm welcome to HOMELAND Magazine!

Contributing Writers The Wounded Warrior Project Rick Rogers Cheryl Gansner Linda Kreter Graphic Design Brian Taraz Trevor Watson

Please take some time to get to know the layout of our magazine. Homeland Magazine focuses on real stories from real heroes; the soldier, 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 soldiers, families, veterans and civilians. Homeland is about standing your ground, resilience, adaptation, inspiration and solidarity. HOMELAND is inspirational, “feel good” reading; our focus is on family, military and civilians alike. I believe HOMELAND is where the heart is, and our publication covers a wide variety of topics, and issues about real life and real stories. We are honored to share the work of so many committed and thoughtful people. They say San Diego is a military town, I find that San Diego is a HOMELAND town, where military and civilians work and live together. We appreciate your support and are so happy to have you as a reader of HOMELAND Magazine. With warmest thanks, Michael J. Miller, Publisher 6

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Homeland Magazine is published monthly. Submissions of photographs, Illustrations, drawings, and manuscripts are considered unsolicited materials and the publisher assumes no responsibility for the said items. All rights reserved. Homeland Magazine 13223 Black Mountain Road, #168 San Diego, CA 92129 858.877.3421 Contact Homeland Magazine at: info@homelandmagazine.com

my homeland By Alice Driver


y childhood is a whole flowing memory of water, of lithe bodies under the blue-green of Little Mulberry River. I know there were winters, but I only remember the summers, the days of Arkansas heat driving my cousins and me down to the creek. We lived there, us little ones, swimming as if we were born to it, reigning the kingdom of striped water snakes, beavers, and water moccasins. As babies, we sunned our fat dimpled flesh on top of our fathers as they lay in the creek on floaties, beer in hand. We knew those waters, every inch of them, the places deep enough to dive off the rope swing, where the gigantic tadpoles bred, how to haul large flat rocks from one side of the creek to the other to construct monoliths. We stacked rocks, pounded rocks, pulled up rocks in search of crawdads, threw rocks at fat golden copperheads sunning themselves on the banks of the creek. Sometimes it was boys versus girls, a game of throwing mud balls or heaving a greased watermelon through the water. I close my eyes and can feel the weight


of those waters, the way my body plied them. And the heat, the sun catching the beads of water on our bodies as we ran up from the creek, through the fields, past the rusted barn. We ran in a pack, cousins and friends since birth, our bare feet made for flying over the stones and pebbles of our homeland.

What does homeland mean to you?

Does it remind you of the country you were born in? What if you were born in a certain country but raised somewhere else, which country would you call “homeland�? Let us know what you think and we may share it with our Homeland readers. info@homelandmagazine.com

HOMELAND / April 2014 7

How to Help the Spouse of a Wounded Warrior My husband was injured by an IED in Iraq in July of 2006. Since I work with Operation Homefront’s Hearts of Valor Program, I am able to work with caregivers of wounded, ill or injured service members every day. I have been asked more times than I can count, “what can we do for the caregivers of wounded warriors?” Caregivers certainly have a lot on their plate while trying to juggle surgeries, kids, household chores and hold down jobs. We most certainly could use a helping hand.

Practical Ways to Help the Spouse of a Wounded Warrior 1. Did you know that many caregivers sometimes have to drive two to three hours one way to get to their local VA hospital? This requires getting up early, getting yourself, the kids and your warrior ready to get out the door very early. Sometimes appointments run behind so the caregiver is trying to entertain and feed everyone while waiting on his appointment. Trips to the VA can take an entire day. It would be useful if you know a caregiver in your community and offer to keep the kids that day or pick them up off the bus. It is exhausting to try to juggle everyone at the VA. 2. Sometimes it is extremely hard to get meals on the table after a long day of appointments or it is impossible to get to the grocery store. Offer to pick-up some takeout or make a yummy homemade meal for a family you know that is caregiving. This would lighten the load and free up some time in the caregivers schedule to complete other tasks or maybe relax for half an hour. 3. Offer to mow the yard or do some landscaping. This has been a big challenge for us. The last time Bryan tried to mow the yard the mower flew backwards off our bank and hit a tree. He ended up in a full blown flashback from the loud noise the mower made when it hit the tree. Not only is he not physically capable to spread mulch or weed eat, it caused a trigger of his PTSD. Since then we have had to hire someone to do it. This is very expensive and most wounded warrior families live on a fixed income. To alleviate the yard burden, offer to mow their yard.


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4. Be a good listener. We don’t usually need advice on how to caregive because we have been doing it for years — but it does help to have a listening, non-judgmental ear. Offer to meet up for coffee and just listen. Sometimes we don’t have many friends that will just listen to our struggles.

8. Encourage us. A lot of friends told me to leave my husband. PTSD compounded with TBI and physical injuries was a recipe for martial disaster at times. Don’t tell us to leave — but encourage us to find ways to cope, research about their injuries and stick it out.

5. Please don’t be jealous. I know that seems like an awkward thing to say but some friends get jealous of the attention that wounded warrior families receive. They may be on TV, in the newspaper or they get to meet influential people. This does not make these challenges glamorous or easy. We may be offered trips to amazing locations so our warriors can learn adaptive sports or for caregivers to get some much needed respite. This doesn’t make the injuries go away.

9. Offer a place to stay. Sometimes we may need to leave for safety reasons or we need some respite. Many live on a fixed income so they can’t just retreat to the nearest luxury resort. Having a slumber party with a dear friend can cure a lot of heartache.

6. Be patient. It may take us a week or even a month to go out to lunch or return a phone call with our friends. We may have to reschedule. We may be too stressed and overwhelmed with our daily tasks that it may be hard to give back to our friendships. Please try to understand. We may simply forget to return your call but it doesn’t mean we are bad friends. We may feel anti-social so if we reschedule that lunch date a few times please let us.

Cheryl Gansner is the wife of a wounded veteran that was injured on July 28th, 2006 in Kirkuk, Iraq. Bryan and Cheryl have been married for eight years and have one daughter. Cheryl has her bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is the Program Coordinator for Operation Homefront’s Hearts of Valor Program. Hearts of Valor (www. heartsofvalor.org) serves caregivers of wounded, ill or injured service members post 9/11. For more information on Cheryl check out her blog at www. wifeofawoundedsoldier.com. (Originally appeared on Spousebuzz.com)

7. Don’t say that you know what we are going through. Just because your brother’s friend’s cousin was deployed and got hurt doesn’t mean you know what we are dealing with. I can’t tell you how many times people have said they understand. If you don’t live with that person than you can’t possibly know what they are living through on a daily basis.

10. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. We usually like to share our stories and challenges. It is OK to ask questions.


Wounded Warrior Project’s purpose is to raise awareness and 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. Learn more or find out how you can help at woundedwarriorproject.org. , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , © 2013 Wounded Warrior Project® All Rights Reserved

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Moved by an Army medic’s account of serving in Iraq, she signed up to correspond with active-duty soldiers. One had a very familiar name... By Gina Sclafan


oday I sit in Iraq, my family and loved ones in America. But I have new friends and loved ones here who serve with me. I think of the look in that Iraqi soldier’s eyes as we helped his sick baby.... Yeah, it’s worth it.... God has a plan for me. Three A.M., a hot August night, and I couldn’t tear myself away from the computer. The article, “A Soldier’s Plea,” written by Sgt. James Martin, doing combat duty in Iraq, brought me close to tears. James, an Army medic, wrote of how difficult it was to be far from his wife and two kids, and yet, helping to save an Iraqi soldier’s infant son changed him in a way he didn’t know was possible. When the war began, he was a single parent. He could have deferred, let another medic go in his place. I couldn’t imagine making the choice he did. He’s sacrificing so much, I thought, to help protect people he doesn’t even know. To protect all of us. War stories were not my usual bedtime reading. As a single mother and writer living in New York City, my world could hardly be more different from the one James lived in. I had great respect for the military—my mom emigrated from the Philippines after U.S. troops liberated that nation from Japanese occupation during World War II—but I never thought about their sacrifice. Not really. Not like this. I was thinking only about my four-year-old, Sofia, the morning I took her to see the USS Intrepid, a famous World War II-era aircraft carrier anchored in the Hudson River on the West Side of Manhattan that now serves as a museum. Sofia was going through a shark phase— everything from her picture books and bath toys to her favorite T-shirt had to have sharks on it—and I’d heard about a fighter jet painted with shark’s teeth on the Intrepid’s flight deck. Sofia was so excited to see it. We took some photos with the jet, then headed belowdecks. A video showed

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and-white footage of the ship under attack. To my right, an elderly gentleman leaned on a cane. “I was there that day,” he whispered. “I was there.” The video ended and a group gathered around the veteran. “Do you see that man?” I asked Sofia. She nodded. I explained that he had protected our family during a war many years ago. “We should thank him,” I said. Sofia walked up to the circle of adults. I’d begun to think I had made a mistake when the man finally turned to her and asked, “What can I do for you, little girl?” “Thank you for being brave on the boat,” Sofia said. “I like your boat!” Everyone went silent. The man’s eyes filled with tears. An older woman pulled me aside. “Thank you for her words,” she said. “You have no idea how much they mean to my husband. This is his last visit to the ship.” The look in the old sailor’s eyes stayed with me as I tried to sleep that night. You have no idea how much her words mean. What about our soldiers serving today? How could I let them know that I was grateful for what they did? I got out of bed, sat at my computer and did a search. After a few clicks I found something: “Adopt a U.S. Soldier.” That sounded interesting. All it required was sending one letter a week and a care package every month. Sofia and I could do it together. I signed up. But I knew nothing about what our soldiers were going through. What could I say in my letters? I did another search, this one for their stories. Among millions of results, James’s article stood out. It was so moving. I kept his words in mind as I dove into caring for my adopted soldier. I’d been assigned a staff sergeant deployed to the mountains of eastern

Afghanistan. His wife had recently given birth to their first child, a baby boy, so along with my letters I sent him a copy of the book What to Expect the First Year. I wanted to make sure he could be an active daddy even from afar. Sofia helped me pick out the candy and other treats to ship to him, and stuck stamps on the letters. By Christmas, I felt a strong urge to do more. I couldn’t adopt a second soldier—I was only one person—but I found another program, called Cup of Joe. For only two dollars, I could send a randomly selected service member a hot cup of coffee and a personal e-mail—a small taste of comfort from home. I sent twenty cups to different soldiers, along with messages of gratitude: “What I really want to give you for Christmas is the certainty that you are not forgotten. Sincerely, Gina.” One soldier immediately wrote back to me. “Gina, that was about the sweetest sentiment I have ever received,” he said. “I will copy this and save it for Christmases in the future. May this message find you with happiness, love, and always security. Warmest of regards, Jim.” I replied, telling him a funny Sofia anecdote and mentioning my work as a writer. He quickly responded. “Writing’s always been a dream of mine. In fact, I even got something published once. Check it out...” I clicked the link he sent. Today I sit in Iraq, my family and loved ones in America... Wait a minute. It was “A Soldier’s Plea,” by Sgt. James Martin. That was Jim, one deployed soldier out of thousands, who had received my random cup of coffee. Or was it random? My hands shook as I typed a response. “Jim, you have no idea how much your words meant to me...” Jim and I still keep in touch by e-mail. He’s back home, working for the VA, and I’ve started a blog, “Gina Left the Mall,” about connecting with our troops. My life has changed so much since that sleepless August night when our paths crossed. One article among millions, meant for me to find.

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“The I Have For My Military Children” 12

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e are a military family; one spouse, two beautiful daughters, and one United States Marine. Our daughters are about 10 years apart in age, and have had vastly different experiences as military children. Our oldest daughter, just shy of 13, was born only a few months before September 11th, 2001. On leave in Alabama, she had just experienced her first fishing trip with Dad and Papa when he flagged our car down on the back road as we were traveling home from the pond. We turned on the radio to hear for ourselves; our nation had been attacked. Over the next few days I would look at my daughter with tears in my eyes. Relatively new to military family life, even I knew that things would simply never be the same. Even still, I can’t imagine that anyone could have predicted that almost 13 years later we would still be in Afghanistan. As my daughter performed in a combined band concert with the 62nd Army Band here at Fort Huachuca recently, I was struck by a realization as they started to play a patriotic tune. Many of those kids (all military at this particular school) have spent nearly their entire lives as children of a military parent, during a time of war. By the time she started kindergarten, my oldest had already said goodbye to her Dad as he left for Kuwait. Seven months later she, thankfully, was able to welcome him home after his first deployment to Iraq. Due to training schedules, she had spent about one third of her life separated from her father. She had made her first PCS move. She was living a typical military kid lifestyle. Since that time she has endured two more deployments, each one harder than the last, and has been the new kid at two more duty stations. We anticipate another move this summer.

“I imagine the dreams I have for my children are not any different then parents of civilian kids.” In comparison, my youngest has only spent a few weeks apart from her Dad in her two years of life. My husband is getting close to retirement, so in a few short years we will be in our forever home location. She will probably start kindergarten in one place and get to remain in the same town until she graduates from high school. She might have to say goodbye for one deployment. She will not be a typical military kid. In fact, when she grows up, she may not even identify herself as a brat at all. It simply won’t be a significant part of her life experience. As I look at the differences in each of my daughters’ life experience, I try to figure out who I think is the lucky one. Has growing up a military kid, during over a decade of war, somehow shaped the character of my pre-teen? Has that been a positive, or a negative? Will my youngest have a better childhood as a result of her father’s impending retirement? And I struggle with the answer. All parents deal with guilt, don’t we? I think for parents of military children, we may experience it ten-fold. Certainly we can make a list of all the wonderful things our children have gained as a result of their brat status; flexibility, compassion, culture, adaptability, patriotism. But for every positive, I can list a negative that keeps me up at night. My husband can tell you what riddles him with guilt over his decision to serve, and thus forcing his children to serve as well. We focus on the positives, but the

negatives gnaw at us. It would be dishonest to say otherwise. I asked my oldest to share her thoughts about being a military kid. Her words blew me away: “Life as a military kid can be very difficult. You don’t get to have your parent with you all the time. You move a lot. You leave people and places you love and grow up with. Military kids often find it difficult to make friends because they may not stay in one area for a long enough time to make good friendships. Or, believe it or not, many kids don’t actually want to become friends with a military kid because they might get the wrong impression of us. And when you do make friends and stay in one area for a long period of time, it makes it that much harder to leave. But military life does have it’s up sides. You get to travel to many places in the world, meet different people, and experience different cultures. Though it has it’s struggles, military life also has it’s rewards.” Both of my daughters are delightful human beings, and that is a tall order when you are talking about a toddler and almost teenager. Do I think that part of who they are has been shaped

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‘The War Never Ends’

Decorated Veteran Running for District Attorney By, CJ Machado


obert Brewer’s extensive legal career and dedicated military service makes him the best choice for San Diego County’s new District Attorney. Bob Brewer supports the military, police and fire department and all those that protect our homeland. Bob was a respected prosecutor in Los Angeles for seven years. He served as a Deputy District Attorney and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney prosecuting cases, including the infamous Polish spy Marian Zacharski case, where Zacharski was indicted for espionage. This event led to one of the largest spy trades of the twentieth century, which was featured on 60 minutes in 1981. In 1982, Bob continued his legal success in San Diego specializing in civil litigation.


Dreams I Have For My Military Children”

Continued from page 13

by a military lifestyle? Absolutely. But so many other things make up who each of these wonderful individuals are. I see each of them, in their own way, coming into their own. Their interests, desires and personality traits may have been shaped by what their Dad has chosen to do with his life but truly, that is a small part of it. Sometimes I look at each child and wonder “where in the world did she get that from?!” As much as I would like to take full credit for how funny my two year old is, I simply can’t. That trait is 100% her own. Sure, our oldest is the most compassionate kid I have ever known, 14

Bob Brewer served as a U.S. Army Ranger in the Vietnam War. He was commissioned to work in Cambodia as an Advisor for the South Vietnamese Battalion, where he engaged in daily treacherous combat. Twenty seven years later, Bob was diagnosed with nonhodgkin’s lymphoma. A tumor on the back of his scalp was the remnants of the “agent orange” often used in combat. He underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment for six months, leaving him with permanent hair loss in the afflicted area. A constant reminder that the war never ends. Bob was awarded the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, two Air Medals (one for valor), the Joint Service Commendation Medal and various medals for valor. Bob is an active member of the Partnership Council of the San Diego American Cancer Society. He is also an avid supporter of our men and women in uniform. Bob unceasingly contributes his time and money to benefit our troops, including Stand Down for Homeless Veterans, Camp Pendleton YMCA, Wounded Warrior Project and Morgan Run- Good Guy Fund, where the proceeds go to wounded Marines. We would like to wish Bob Brewer much success in his candidacy for 2014 San Diego County’s District Attorney. Don’t forget to vote for Bob Brewer this June.

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but we can’t attribute that soley to her experience as a brat, or even our influence. I gladly give her all of the credit for that amazing trait. I don’t think our girls are incredible because they are military kids...but rather in spite of having the title “brat”. And that is what I dream for my military children; that they can continue to rise above the challenges of their lifestyle and become incredible adults. I imagine the dreams I have for my children are not any different then parents of civilian kids. The guilt my husband and I have about our choices is probably similar to that of any parent. Have our decisions been the right ones for our children? I truly hope that the military life has provided more rewards than struggles for our girls and for all of the amazing, delightful and brave military brats who are serving their country by adapting and thriving through a military lifestyle.

Erin Whitehead is a freelance author, vocalist and motivational speaker. Her husband, a Marine, is currently stationed at Fort Huachuca. A leader in the military spouse community, she is know for her honest and witty outlook on military life. She is currently the Digital Editor for Military Spouse Magazine (www.militaryspouse. com) where she is frequently published online and in print, and was their 2010 USMC Spouse of the Year. She is also a member of The American Military Spouses Choir, featured on Season 8 of America’s Got Talent (www.cammomusic.org). You may also read more from Erin by visiting her personal website, www.manykindregards.com




SEND US YOUR PICS! We’d love you to send us your favorite personal Hug-A-Soldier moment. Just send us your photos with a caption/name and a line or two and we will feel honored to publish them in the next issue of Homeland magazine. Write “My Photo” in the email subject heading to increase your chances of selection. Each photo you submit will need a caption. Make sure you are the copyright owner of the photo(s), and/or have permission from anyone you have photographed before sending us your pictures. In contributing to Homeland magazine “Hug-A-Soldier,” you agree to grant us a royalty-free, non-exclusive license to publish and otherwise use the material in our Hug-A-Soldier page. It’s for fun, capture your favorite moment and let San Diego smile with you. We cannot guarantee that all your photos will be used but we will do our very best. And remember a picture is worth a thousand words. Send photo to info@ homelandmagazine.com Subject heading: My Photo “Hug-A-Soldier

HOMELAND / April 2014 15

By Linda Kreter If you woke up today mentally listing all the things you needed to do, to be, and to complete, you are not alone. It seems that many if not most people are straining to shoehorn “one more thing” into an already hectic schedule. Years ago when multi-tasking was a key phrase, it seemed that instead of achieving more, it meant each task was done less well than if a focus was given to singular tasks. Not quite the outcome you were trying to achieve! Today can be more pleasurable if you accept small glimpses of joy or recognize the small gifts along the way. A fresh view can make an enormous difference in your perspective, and we can all use the peace in small moments. What are your simple pleasures? If you’re fortunate, today can provide a simple pleasure for each of your five senses. Open your mind and consider these examples:

Sight: blooming trees, tulips, bird


Taste: your favorite cookie, ice cream,

Hearing: chortling song of birds and

Touch: fresh sheets, cozy towels, your favorite T-shirt, the softness of a sweater, the swish of fringe, the coat of your pet, the walking-by-touch that shows you care, a warm hug, and the feel of your child trustingly taking your hand.

Trust that each day will provide gifts of simple pleasure, if you take the time to notice. Today is a gift; enjoy it!

nests, crazy squirrels, flags whipping in the breeze, smiles given and received, someone who lets you into the merging lane first, the gorgeous view you drive by seen with different eyes, a shared grin.

scurry through the underbrush, sound of children playing, the laugh of a loved one, a compliment given or received, the gift of music, silence, or city bustle, or crashing waves or a meandering creek.


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clean, line-dried laundry, a great meal cookie, or the waft of the scent of coffee, chocolate, bacon, hyacinths, the sea, perfume that evokes a fond memory, baby shampoo, Grandad’s pipe, or an outdoor fire pit.

fruit, childhood Rice Krispies treats, s’mores, tall glass of sweet tea, the tart of a lemon twist, the zing of sea salt in caramel, comfort food, burgers on the grill, popcorn, barbeque, savory and sweet.


HOMELAND / April 2014 17


VA Prescription for Disaster FRONT & CENTER


n early red flag that prescription painkillers were ravaging U.S. veterans came in 2011 when researchers found vets dying of narcotic overdoses at more than twice the national average. That same year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named painkiller abuse a national epidemic, and the White House launched a campaign to reverse a trend that saw prescription abuse become America’s fastest-growing drug problem. Meanwhile at Department of Veterans Affairs, prescriptions for widely used and highly addictive painkillers, or opioids, surged a staggering 270 percent while its patient pool had increased just 41 percent in the preceding war-weary decade. Ominously, there’s growing belief that prescription opiates are a gateway drug that’s spurring resurgence in heroin -- another opioid drug -- use from coast to coast. “You know, we make the decisions we make as a nation, but let’s not deny that when we approved FDA approved drugs like OxyContin, and then we passed them out with great exuberance,” Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin told public radio last January, “we are setting folks up to become addicted to opiates.” While painkiller abuse and addiction aren’t confined to veterans, as a group they are particularly vulnerable to dependency and misuse. More than half the veterans the VA treats complain of pain, and vets also suffering Post Traumatic Stress or depression are not only more likely to be prescribed narcotic painkillers then their peers, but are also more prone to over-medicate with other drugs. Often former service members enter the VA healthcare system with the baggage of prescription drug abuse. A 2011 Army report concluded that at least 25 to 35 percent of the troops being treated at medical units were addicted to drugs, over-medicated, abused prescription medication, self medicated, and/or abused illegal drugs, according to medical providers interviewed. Those numbers are believed to fairly represent the general trend in the other military branches as well. It’s a trend VA medical centers nationwide are now struggling to curb, including the San Diego Veterans Affairs Healthcare System. James Michelsen is a primary care doctor at the San Diego VA. Every day he fights to treat pain in veterans while also trying to reduce painkiller prescriptions and their risks. Michelsen has his work cut out for him. Roughly 13,000 of the 76,000 veterans treated at the San Diego VA were prescribed opioid painkillers in the past three months, according to the healthcare system, with nearly 5,000 veterans filling recurring prescriptions. Michelsen uses the word “challenging” to describe convincing these veterans that non-drug alternatives will better control their pain in the long run. Complicating this is a medical culture that long endorsed opioids before finally questioning their efficacy in recent years.



April 2014 / HOMELAND

“If you look back 10 to 15 years, pain experts really believed that we were under-treating pain and that patients were being left in pain and that opiates weren’t being used enough and they really encouraged their use,” Michelsen said. “With 10 years of experience of using more and more opiates, the pain world has been able to look back and collect data,” Michelsen said. “And what they’ve really found is the use of higher-dose opiates many times causes more harm than good.” Armed with this information, San Diego and other VA medical centers are attempting to counter the perception that painkillers are magic-bullet cures. “The misconception is opiates cure pain. They don’t. For most they will take the edge off of pain, but they are not a cure to pain,” said Melissa Christopher, a doctor of pharmacy at the San Diego VA, where she’s runs the VA’s Opiate Safety Initiative for California, Nevada and Hawaii. The initiative educates doctors and patients about the painkillers. “When opiates are used, they are not as effective as physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and exercise for specific pain conditions,” Christopher said. “We want our veterans to live life in high definition and not be fogged by opiates. We want them to maintain control over their pain and transition to a better quality of life. That’s the new message we’re delivering to our veterans.” That message might be slowly taking hold. “We are starting to turn the tide,” Michelsen said. “This year for the first time we’ve seen a downturn in the number of opiate prescriptions.” He said that painkiller prescriptions at the San Diego VA have dropped a modest 1 percent -- from 18.2 to 17.2 percent -- in the last year. “And that is telling,” added Christopher, “considering that we are seeing more patients then ever. There is hope that we can turn this around.


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HOMELAND / April 2014 19

Taking the Worst and Making it the BEST


Wounded Warrior Couple Get and Give Hope with the Help of the Transition Training Academy


eanine had no interest in dating when her roommate introduced her to their friend Army Sergeant Joseph Coward. The two started as pen pals and then began to date just before Joe deployed to Afghanistan with the 82 Airborne out of Ft. Bragg. It was 2008 and Jeanine couldn’t have known that one day Joe would suffer life-altering combat injuries that would change everything. For years Joe had tried to join the Army and once that happened, his positive attitude and desire to serve made his progression rapid. “Joe absolutely loved the Army,” said Jeanine. “He couldn’t imagine any other place he wanted to be.” During his deployment their relationship grew serious and although they were half a world away from each other they were inseparable. Then, less than a month before the end of his deployment, Joe was injured in another series of mortar attacks, sustaining serious injury to his spine as well as a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Joe also returned with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), silently worrying that his Army career may be over. Despite his injuries, Jeanine and Joe were married. “The injuries didn’t matter,” said Jeanine. “We both knew we loved each other. I knew what I was getting into.” Jeanine gave up her successful career as a finance director to become Joe’s caregiver. The effects of his TBI and two back surgeries made it impossible to continue his Army career. The frustration of being dependent on Jeanine and not providing for his family made his PTSD worse. The couple seemed to be losing everything. Knowing he was at the end of his rope, Joe sought the support of his command. He was literally ordered to get involved with various veterans’ service organizations at the Warrior Transition Unit, including Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). Jeanine remembers it was only days later when they both learned about WWP’s Transition Training Academy


April 2014 / HOMELAND

“When Joe was hurt he lost his dream and had no idea where to go. After he started TTA, I remember actually seeing him smile again,” said Jeanine. “I think TTA may have saved his life. He has hope again.” (TTA), a hands-on program that helps warriors and caregivers explore the information-technology (IT) field as a possible career choice. TTA instruction is a high-touch blended learning program where instructors engage personally with each student with “learn-by-doing” teaching techniques. TTA curriculum was written especially for warriors who suffer from TBIs and PTSD. All TTA courses and class materials are provided free of charge.


Joe and Jeanine signed up for TTA and before long realized they each had a knack for IT. “Because the program was developed around TBIs and PTSD Joe was able to learn. Many programs take learning down to grade school levels that feels demeaning to warriors,” said Jeanine. “TTA not only teaches IT, it helped Joe’s brain relearn some basics. It’s education and TBI therapy rolled into one.” “When Joe was hurt he lost his dream and had no idea where to go. After he started TTA, I remember actually seeing him smile again,” said Jeanine. “I think TTA may have saved his life. He has hope again.” Things have come full circle for Jeanine. Upon completion of the program she became a TTA instructor and her perspective gives her a greater level of understanding. The first day of each session she shares her and Joe’s story. Warriors trust her because she understands each challenge they face. Jeanine loves giving warriors the tools and support they need to move into a positive direction. “At first, me getting hurt was the worst thing I though could ever happen, but now I realize it was the best,” said Joe. “Without having gone through this we wouldn’t have the chance to help other people. I went from being totally checked out, disheartened and on the verge of giving up to now embracing, appreciating and helping other people.” There are two success stories in their home. Joe is in the final interview stages for several IT positions. Joe and Jeanine will celebrate their six-year anniversary on April 14, 2014. Wounded Warrior Project’s® Transition Training Academy™ operates at 10 military facility locations throughout the country, including the Naval Medical Center (Balboa) San Diego (NMCSD). For additional information visit the TTA information link on the WWP website.


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n the next two issues, we are going to discuss an overview of breast enlargement and your various options for breast enhancement, including breast implants and natural fat transfer. Today, we truly have options that can be individualized for each person. Breast augmentation has come full circle in the last 120 years. The first documented surgical case was by Dr. Czerny in 1895, and he used a patient’s own fatty tumor, to fill a patient’s breast defect. Since then, many materials have been used unsuccessfully to augment breast tissue, including paraffin, various sponge materials, silicone oils, etc. The first successfully used breast prosthesis was developed by Drs. Cronin and Gerow in the US utilizing Dow Corning’s silicone rubbers, with the shell using a highly cross-linked (tough and rubbery) silicone, filled with silicone gel (only partially cross-linked). Their story was made into a very interesting full length movie called “Breast Men” in 1997, and a link is on my website under “In the Media” and “Homeland Mag”. With silicone rubber as a brand new, elastic and inert biomaterial, the field exploded. The first saline implant came a year latter using basically the same vulcanized outer shell filled with saline. It had advantages of lower cost, smaller incision because it could be inflated after insertion, and some size adjustability at implantation. However, time would show that saline implants had a higher deflation rate, partly because of something call “crease-fold wear” where the implant would essentially sand a hole in itself by touching edges where it would fold. Over-inflation could partly prevent this, but gave a very hard feel and under-inflation promoted this leakage. Saline also didn’t have the natural “feel” of a gel-filled implant. After a generation of use, breast implants still continued their popularity, but encapsulation (tissue growing around the implant and contracting) causing distortion and hardness, was common and resistant to treatment other than removal and replacement. Bristol Myers had an implant that was urethane foam covered, and I developed a porous covered silicone implant and both were shown to greatly reduced this implant contracture. Then the Connie Chung show “Face to Face” in December, 1990 changed the face of breast implants forever, leading to withdrawal of all gel-filled implants and law suits in the billions of dollars. Subsequently, the definitive studies were done, and silicone was found to be safe and effective and not related to autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. See excerpts from “Safety of Silicone Breast Implants” on my website. Next month we will discuss the newer silicone breast implants and autologous fat transfer (AFG) as a natural alternative for breast augmentation. For more information, visit my website at www.cliniquelipo/afgbreasts

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COMMUNITY 2014 SPOTLIGHT Spotlighting The San Diego Community Send your suggestions to: info@homelandmagazine.com

San Diego Zoo Play Days 2014 It’s playtime! For three fun-filled days, the San Diego Zoo becomes one big playground - for visitors and animals alike! San Diego Zoo Play Days offers up-close encounters with our animal ambassadors, special activities and presentations at animal exhibits all around the Zoo, keeper talks, opportunities to see animals enjoying enrichment and munching on their favorite food treats, the Camp Critters live animal show, a digital Easter egg hunt around the Zoo using your smartphone, and even visits with the Easter Bunny himself. Take photos of your family having fun and enter them in our Instagram contest by tagging them with #sdzplaydays to win great prizes. Mark your calendar and make your play date with the animals! March 29 - April 20, 2014 • 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM • Free with Zoo admission

Courtesy Chevrolet, serving our military personnel and their families for over 52 years. We a t C o u r t e s y Chevrolet proudly and actively support “Red Shirt Fridays”. Every Friday we wear our red shirts, to honor our troops both past and present. We know that you have high expectations, and as a car dealer we enjoy the challenge of meeting and exceeding those standards each and every time. With special thanks to the military we offer The Chevrolet Military Discount to more military divisions than any other brand. Active Duty members, Reserves, Veterans within one year of discharge date and Retirees of the U.S. Military — including their spouses — have an exclusive way to save on an eligible new Chevrolet. Thank you for everything you do so we can live the way we do. Courtesy Chevrolet San Diego 22

April 2014 / HOMELAND

NTC at Liberty Station Chow: Feeding a Navy In April 2014 NTC at Liberty Station will be opening Chow: Feeding a Navy, a new exhibition that explores the food that fed our sailor’s and how mess management fed a Navy. Hungry for Navy History NTC was the first training school for Mess Management and the third largest Food Service Division in the US Navy, NTC operated three galleys averaging 6,445,000 meals per year. Graduates of NTC’s Commissary Schools went on to prepare “chow” for thousands of sailors, officers on board ships or shore facilities, and some even baked at the White House. See original recipes, sample menus and learn why NTC was recognized for Outstanding Large Ashore Mess. This is a part of a much larger exhibition. P r e s i d i o t o P a c i f i c Powerhouse: How the Military Shaped San Diego at the San Diego History Center. The exhibition is a 10-museum collaboration documenting the profound impact of the U.S. Military on the growth and development of our region, past, present and future. See this exhibition at NTC at Liberty Station, Building 201, located at 2820 Roosevelt Road, San Diego. With over 50 galleries, museums and artist studios, NTC is San Diego’s new destination for Arts and Culture. .



Special thanks to www.sandiego.org

DISCOVER san diego

This months featured spotlight – The Gaslamp Quarter

What to Love • Hands down, the variety of restaurants offering vast menu options. • Sipping on a cold drink at an outdoor patio table on a warm day. • Walking the streets and admiring the historic buildings. Views of downtown, San Diego Bay and the Coronado Bridge from one of the rooftop bars.

The Heart of San Diego’s Nightlife


ising from the 16 square-blocks are Victorian-era buildings and modern skyscrapers that stand side by side, housing more than 100 of the city’s finest restaurants, pubs, nightclubs and retails shops, as well as offices and residential/work lofts. Downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter is a veritable playground, rich with cultural offerings that include theatres, art galleries, symphony halls, concert venues and museums. You can spend an entire day in the Gaslamp Quarter, shopping at one of the many trendy boutiques or in the multi-level outdoor mall, Horton Plaza. Dining options are plenty with options for al fresco on the sidewalks of this dynamic and cosmopolitan district, sky high at a rooftop lounge, or in an intimate and ornately designed restaurant. Baseball fans rejoice at Petco Park, where you can enjoy the game in sophisticated style in the Western Metal Building lounges, or take in the innings from the Park ball field with your kids. Fun with the family continues as you explore the whimsical and educational exhibitions at the New Children’s Museum, climb aboard the U.S.S. Midway Museum, visit the candy store in Seaport Village or catch the Trolley for a quick ride to Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo.

• The interactive exhibits at the New Children’s Museum.

What to Know • Some of the restaurants in the Gaslamp are 21+ only. • Parking can be a challenge, consider public transportation. • 3 hours of free parking is available at the Horton Plaza mall with validation. • Taxis and pedicabs can easily be found throughout the Gaslamp Quarter.

Under the sparkling night sky on a cool California evening, the Gaslamp Quarter transforms into a sophisticated cosmopolitan playground as thousands come out in style for a night of fine dining, craft cocktails, live theatre, music and dancing. Make a reservation at any of the high-profile restaurants featuring celebrity chefs, enjoy a signature cocktail by a crafty mixologist at a rooftop bar, or groove and sizzle on the dance floor at any of the happening nightclubs.

HOMELAND / April 2014 23

Having a W Good Time i


ach year beginning in December and running through April, over 20,000 gray whales make a 10,000 mile round-trip journey from Alaska to the lagoons of Baja California, where the females give birth to their calves. They typically spend several months in the warm Baja California waters, time for their young to grow strong enough to make the journey home, before making their way back north again in the Spring. It is the longest known distance any mammal migrates on an annual basis and is truly an extraordinary spectacle to observe. With 70 miles of coastline directly in the migration path, San Diego is an ideal destination to see this impressive parade of gentle giants. According to the Birch Aquarium in San Diego, gray whales generally travel alone or in pods of two or three but more may be seen traveling together during peak migration season. These giants are roughly the width of a basketball court and cruise at an average speed of five knots (about six miles per hour). Blue whales, the largest creatures on earth and thought to be among the most endangered of the great whales, may be found in San Diego mid-June through September. In fact, the largest group of blue whales in the world, 2,000 to 3,000, feed off the California coast during the summer months. These magnificent mammals give away their location by spouting a 30 foot column of water in the air that can be seen from miles away Blue whales have also been observed acting more like dolphins than whales, rolling over on their to look up at spectators. Less is known about the migratory patterns of blue whales but they have been tracked from the Antarctic to California to Costa Rica. Changes in ocean temperatures and the abundance of krill over the past

24 24

April April2014 2014//HOMELAND HOMELAND

Whale of a in San Diego

few years have attracted far more blue whales to San Diego’s coast than in the past. Blue whales tend to be found further out to sea than their grey whale cousins so it’s recommend to book one of sightseeing excursions specializing in whales sightings in order to catch a glimpse of a blue whale.

By Land or By Sea

There are a number of different ways to experience whale watching in San Diego. A couple of great spots to view the grey whale migration from shore include the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, theCabrillo National Monument and Torrey Pines State Reserve where the hiking trails offer expansive views of the Pacific. If you’re interested in a closer look at these majestic creatures, a host of sightseeing and tour operators in San Diego offer a variety of whale watching excursions. This is also the best way to see a blue whale as they tend to stay farther out to sea. A whale watching trip is also a great way to experience the ocean and see San Diego’s beautiful skyline from a different point of view. Many of the tour operators have extensive knowledge of the whales and their migration habits and will happily share this information during the tour. This is definitely a recommended activity for all ages and a great addition to your San Diego itinerary during the winter/early spring and summer seasons. Special thanks to sandiego.org HOMELAND / April 2014 HOMELAND / April 2014 25

Just For Fun

2014 DID YOU



Coronado Did you know the first person to drive across the Coronado bridge was Ronald Reagan in 1969, when it opened. Did you know the Hotel also showed the world the first electric-lighted outdoor Christmas tree in 1904. Did you know the Hotel Del Coronado has seen visits from 10 presidents and hosted the first state dinner outside the White House in 1970.

Julian Did you know “Some Like It Hot” with Marilyn Monroe was shot at the Hotel Del Coronado. Did you know the Rocket Chemical Company of San Diego, California invented WD-40.

San Diego Did you know the world’s oldest seaworthy tall sailing ship, the Star of India, calls San Diego Bay it’s home port. It has circumnavigated the world 21 times. Did you know San Diego was known as the Tuna Capital of the world. Did you know Prohibition makes Tijuana a boom town as thousands of Americans cross the border to drink and gamble at the race tracks. Did you know San Diego, California was home of the first European settlement on the West Coast. Did you know San Diego County has the largest number of farms, over 7,000, 26

April 2014 / HOMELAND

in the United States. Did you know UCSD’s Geisel Library owns the worlds largest collection of original Dr. Seuss manuscripts. Dr. Seuss (Ted Geisel) was a resident of La Jolla. Did you know San Diego County also produces the most avocados of any region in the U.S. Did you know San Diego imports 168 million gallons of water a day. If placed into gallon bottles, they would encircle the earth more than one and a quarter times. Did you know the Old Globe and the La Jolla Playhouse of San Diego have sent more shows to Broadway than any other U.S. city. Did you know the San Diego Padres are formed when Bill Lane brings the Hollywood Stars to play baseball in San Diego. Did you know the San Diego Zoo is famously featured in the opening to the classic sitcom Three’s Company. Did you know the population of San Diego County in 1850 was 798.

Did you know Julian was a gold mining town that failed, but residents stayed to grow apples. Did you know the population of San Diego County in 2011 was 3.14 million. Did you know none of the lakes in San Diego allow swimming. Did you know Alonzo Horton sold Horton Plaza Park for $100 dollars a month until his death. In 1903, Horton cashed the last check for a total of $16,000. Fact Check We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, contact us! (info@homelandmagazine.com)


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HOMELAND / April 2014 27


Greatest Upse

10. Buster Douglas KO’s Mike Tyson - Feb. 11, 1990

A 42-1 underdog against unbeaten ‘’Iron Mike,” Douglas scored a knockout and the undisputed heavyweight title.

8. Curse It Goodbye: Red Sox Are World Series Champs.

The Red Sox were down 3, when they came back to claim the next 4 and steal the series. First win in 80 plus years. The Red Sox, a franchise that specialized in breaking hearts like none other, did something that few folks in New England thought they would ever live to see. More than eight decades of heartache, frustration, anguish and dysfunction ended, After the miracle comeback victory the Red Sox swept the Cardinals and made it look easy…Goodbye Bambino

9. Villanova 66, Georgetown 64 - 1985 championship game

In the upset of all upsets, No. 8-seeded Villanova shot an astonishing 78.6 percent for the game to shock the topseeded Hoyas and end Georgetown’s hopes of a repeat.

7. Chaminade knocks off No. 1 Virginia – 1982

Tiny Chaminade (enrollment: 800) pulled off what’s considered the most stunning upset in college basketball history with a 77-72 victory over Ralph Sampson’s topranked Virginia team in the Maui Invitational on Dec. 23, 1982. 28

April 2014 / HOMELAND

ets In Sports History 4. PiratesYankees 1960 World Series

The Yankees outscored the Pirates 55-27 in the 1960 World Series but lost on Bill Mazeroski’s one-out homer off Ralph Terry in the ninth inning of Game 7 at Forbes Field.

3. U.S. soccer team defeats England - 1950 World Cup

6. NY Giants 17, New England 14 - Super Bowl XLII (2008)

One of the biggest underdogs in Super Bowl history, the New York Giants made some history of their own in Super Bowl 42, upsetting the previously undefeated New England Patriots with a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the clincher with 35 seconds left in the game. The victory capped an improbable run of 11 straight road victories by the Giants, including four straight in the playoffs.

5. New York Jets 16, Baltimore Colts 7 - Super Bowl III (1969)

It was the first game to officially carry the ‘’Super Bowl’’ moniker, but it will forever be remembered for ‘’The Guarantee’’ as Joe Namath, QB of the heavy underdog Jets said, ‘’We’re gonna win the game. I guarantee it.’’

The United States’ improbable 1-0 victory over England -- thanks to Joe Gaetjens’ 37th-minute header -- has become known as the “Miracle on Grass.” That may be an understatement, considering the English were considered the “Kings of Football” and the Americans had lost their previous seven international matches by the combined score of 45-2.

2. Man o’ War suffers only loss 1919

Man o’ War started 21 races in his illustrious career but lost just once -- to 100-to-1 long shot Upset in the Sanford Memorial at Saratoga.

1. U.S. hockey team defeats USSR 1980 Winter Olympics In the Miracle on Ice, a scrappy bunch of U.S. amateur and collegiate players knocked off the favored Soviets 4-3 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

HOMELAND / April 2014 29


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April 2014 / HOMELAND


Homeland April 2014  

Real stories from real heroes; service members, veterans, the wounded and the families that keep it together.

Homeland April 2014  

Real stories from real heroes; service members, veterans, the wounded and the families that keep it together.

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