Homeland Magazine April 2020

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Vol. 8 Number 4 • April 2020 www.HomelandMagazine.com



talk to your kids




What Makes A Warrior Strong What’s Next Transitioning

Month of the Military Child Empowering Veterans

Art & Healing



Enlisted To Entrepreneur

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May 18-20, 2020 // Washington, D.C.

Delivering Quality Care to the Nation’s Heroes

Disclaimer: This is not an official VA event. IDGA is solely responsible for its content and neither the Department of Veterans Affairs nor any of its components (VHA, VBA) have officially sponsored or endorsed this event or IDGA.


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YES, you fill out

the census.

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

• Roads & Bridges • Hospitals

• Senior Centers • Jobs



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


• Fill out online • By phone • By mail

• Immigration • Citizenship

• Your job • Social Security number

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

• Not with your landlord • Not with anyone


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

Contributing Writers Holly Shaffner Veteran Advocate

RanDee McLain, LCSW A Different Lens

Vicki Garcia

Enlisted to Entrepreneur

CJ Machado

Homeland Photojournalist

Kelly Bagla, Esq. Legal Eagle

Joe Molina Veterans Chamber of Commerce

Eve Nasby

What’s Next - Transition

Collaborative Organizations

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

Mike Miller

Publisher/Editor mikemiller@HomelandMagazine.com 4

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

Homeland Magazine is published monthly. Submissions of photographs, Illustrations, drawings, and manuscripts are considered unsolicited materials and the publisher assumes no responsibility for the said items. All rights reserved.

Homeland Magazine

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(858) 275-4281 Contact Homeland Magazine at:


APRIL - Month Of The Military Child INSIDE THIS ISSUE 6 About COVID - 19 (CDC) 10 What Makes A Warrior Strong 14 OPERATION BIGS 15 MONTH OF THE MILITARY CHILD 16 Kids Turn - Child Perspective 20 Military Kids - Education Survey 22 The First Sealkid 26 Arts & Healing - Writing 28 A Different Lens - Stress 30 Turning To Technology 32 SHIP AHOY 34 What’s Next - Take A Ride 36 Enlisted to Entrepreneur - Surviving 38 Legal Eagle - Invention 40 Veteran Women In Business 41 Rebecca’s Story - FFWW 44 Empowering Veterans 46 Going Strong - DAV 48 Navy Hospital Ships 50 Law Enforcement

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


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

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



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

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

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



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

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





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

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

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

CS 315446-A 03/16/2020


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

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

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

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

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

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

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Host this National Memorial in your Community

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

www.RememberingOurFallen.org www.PatrioticProductions.org

Tribute Towers

Remembering Our Fallen is a national memorial unlike any other -with military & personal photos of 5,000 military Fallen since 9/11/2001 Unveiled at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 2017, it has since traveled the nation coastto-coast. This memorial also includes those who returned from war, but lost their inner battle to suicide, and those who died from non-war zone injuries while serving in their military capacity. Please contact us to add a Fallen loved one, host the memorial, or make a donation at: info@RememberingOurFallen.org Artist - Elizabeth Moug Artist - Saul Hansen 8

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

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




www.HomelandMagazine.com What’s Happening? • Community Events • Community Press Releases • Entertainment & more...


Military & Veteran Organizations • Post Your Events • Upcoming Programs • Resources - Donations - Inspirations

GET CONNECTED! A Veterans Magazine for Veterans by Veterans Visit Homeland today at: www.HomelandMagazine.com

Homeland Magazine Your best source for military - veteran news, press releases, community events, media, entertainment and more…

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What Makes a Warrior Strong? How Big Sarge Found Strength in Being There for His Daughters For Bill “Big Sarge” Hansen, being strong is about more than physical prowess. For him, strength rests on his ability to be a tender and caring dad to his four daughters. Bill, 52, competes successfully in United States Strongman, overcoming multiple spine problems, posttraumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury from his service in Iraq. He measures his physical fitness against younger men while proving his inner and outer strength. Bill has been preparing for Strongman nationals his whole life, and he’s set to compete this June. He enlisted in the Marines at 18, and his first daughter was born just 15 days before he deployed for Desert Storm. He came back, worked passionately as a sports coach, and with that same passion volunteered for the Army National Guard after 9/11. He wanted to protect those he loves at home. While serving in Iraq in 2009, an improvised explosive device (IED) caused his squad’s five-ton truck to crash into a wall at 55 mph.


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Bill was tossed back and forth inside the cab. He was cleared by medics and went on 24 more missions — doing convoy security around Iraq — before he found out the extent of the damage. His headaches and double vision were symptoms of fractured vertebrae, torn back muscles, herniated disks, and a brain bleed. He was medically retired in 2014. Upon returning home, he was prescribed painkillers that contributed to depression and caused him to gain more than 100 pounds. His family life drastically changed. He was always present for his daughters and strived to follow his father’s example. But this time, it was tough to get out of the daze of the many prescription drugs he depended on. “I didn’t like who I had become,” Bill recalled. He was sedentary, ate the wrong foods, and eventually reached 365 pounds. He knew he needed help when his daughters confronted him. They wanted to know what was wrong and asked him to get help. He sought help from a few organizations. Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) called back 18 minutes after he reached out.

He started attending WWP events and was invited to participate in Soldier Ride®. He met other warriors and heard talk about a series of endurance events called Tough Mudder. “It sounded crazy,” Bill recounted. “I said, sign me up.”

“I could have died many times in Desert Storm or in Iraq,” Bill reflected. “God spared me for a reason, and I will not waste that opportunity.”

Bill completed his first endurance obstacle course as an adventure. He didn’t know how to train for it, but he knew this would be a milestone, marking a departure from his downward spiral. “It was a fight between the guy taking medications and sitting on his couch, and the Marine I still had inside me.” “I figured out how to win the mental battle, and it changed my life,” Bill said. He developed three cycles of strength training and began coaching other veterans. Love and Respect on Wheels Coaching was not new to Bill. His dad worked as a high school and college sports coach, and Bill followed in his footsteps — particularly in between his Desert Storm and Iraq service times. “I learned love and respect from my time coaching,” Bill said. “I believe if I’m on Earth, the main thing is to figure out how to help others.” He started a mobile CrossFit gym to provide one-on-one training to injured veterans. He also became a peer mentor through WWP, serving as inspiration to other veterans. During this period of intense physical training, Bill kept his goal in mind: to be a good dad. “My kids love me enough to say, ‘Dad, you need some help.’ I love them enough to reconstruct myself and figure out how to be a motivator and a helper to them and to others.” Bill likes working with veterans because he’s been in their shoes and understands their challenges. Giving back is a source of inner strength. Mentoring and Nurturing on the Road and at Home Bill was able to build a different life for himself by combining his background as a coach with elements he learned from CrossFit and yoga — two things WWP made available to him and other injured veterans as part of WWP’s Physical Health & Wellness program.

His daughters remembered how he would send postcards weekly from overseas. Even though he was deployed, he found ways to be present in their lives despite distance and tough circumstances.

He also used WWP career counseling services to help him translate his many skills into a new career. WWP staff helped him refocus his resume, and he landed a job at Lifetime Fitness. Then he took up United States Strongman as a personal challenge.

“In my life, he was away probably a total of five years,” daughter Amanda recalled. “We tried to talk on the phone; sometimes the connection worked, other times it didn’t, but I always loved hearing his voice or just hearing what he had to say when he was away.”

Through all his changes, he kept his eyes on the prize: “I wanted more than anything to be a good dad.”

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Today, Bill’s purpose is not just being the strongest, but being there for his four daughters and one granddaughter — and continuing inspiring other veterans.

“I want to be a good example for those who are trying to get a hold of their lives as they transition out of the military,” Bill said. “Lifting and strongman competitions are just a happy byproduct; I want to show others how to be involved in your kids’ lives.” Bill enjoys being a dad as much as he enjoys working out. “Wounded Warrior Project opened the door for me to get physically fit and meet my goal of being there for my girls through dance recitals, musical theater, and watching Glee. Wounded Warrior Project staff were the first people who reached out when I needed help.” Getting physically fit was a first step for Bill in contributing to his family and his community’s well-being. “I enjoy being me again and being a good dad again. The moreI work with others, the stronger I feel.” Daughter Amanda said fitness has always been a part of Bill’s life. “My dad is devoted to bettering himself. For as long as I can remember, he’s been training for different events. Wounded Warrior Project has given him a community of people he can talk to and experience great moments with.” WWP works closely with other veteran service organizations, private companies, and government agencies to provide resources for warriors and families. To learn more and to register as a wounded warrior or family support member, please visit https://wwp.news/GetConnected. 12

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About Wounded Warrior Project Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers – helping them achieve their highest ambition. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), top rated by Charity Navigator, and holding a GuideStar Platinum rating. To get involved and learn how WWP connects, serves, and empowers, visit http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/about-us.

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




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Little Brother Xak shared, “My favorite thing about my Big is that he does things that we like to do together and he’s a really good Big. Once, we went ice skating and at first I was really bad at it, but he helped me and then when I kept on doing it over and over again, I got really good at it.” Kevin concluded, “During our time together, Xak has grown and developed tremendously, and has skills that are clearly recognized by all he comes into contact with. His energy and enthusiasm are inexhaustible.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County’s Operation Bigs program is a one-to-one mentoring program for military children. Mentoring provides an extra layer of support to local military families, who are often presented with many challenges such as frequent relocation, school transitions, separation from extended family, increased responsibility coupled with a sense of loss when a parent deploys and the physical and psychological stress faced when a parent returns from war. The program joins children with parents in the military to volunteer “Bigs” who are in the military, retired or civilian. The program joins children with parents in the military with volunteer “Bigs” who are in the military, retired or civilian. This Month of the Military Child, Big Brothers Big Sisters is looking to the San Diego community (particularly those who live near Camp Pendleton), as there is a great need for “Bigs” in North County. “Bigs” must be 18 or older and have a social security number. Big Brother Kevin shared the following about his experience with Little Brother Xak, “Having served on active duty with the U.S. Navy for 26 years and then working for the U.S. Navy for another 21 years I am keenly aware of the challenges a life in the military exacts on all family members. The BIGS program is providing Xak a great opportunity to increase his selfesteem and explore his many interests.” 14

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In the Big Brothers Big Sisters Site-Based program, Bigs and Littles typically meet once a week to play sports & board games, or simply talk about life and personal issues – just as friends do. For more information, please visit SDBigs.org/Operation-Bigs or call (858) 746-9173. Big Brothers Big Sisters is committed to the safety and well-being of all of our Bigs, Littles, families, supporters and staff during the Covid-19 pandemic and always. Detailed information regarding operations will be updated regularly and can be found at


Homeland Magazine

APRIL 2020

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Military life from the perspective of a 12-year-old

Look around and enjoy what you see. Don’t pay attention to what you’ve lost. Pay attention to the future. You can do anything even if it seems like its hard because being a military kid will make you stronger!


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Kids’ Turn San Diego applauds Taylor and other military children for their resilience, dedication to their parents, and the sacrifices they have made. We know how difficult it is for a child to move and change schools, leave friends, and experience a parent on deployment.

In honor of April, the month of the military child, Kids’ Turn San Diego interviewed 12-year-old Taylor, the daughter of a dual-military couple to get a glimpse of the life of a military child. Q: What are some issues that you think military children specifically go through?

At Kids’ Turn San Diego, our goal is to change family relationships in positive ways so children experiencing family separations and military transitions are happier.

A: Some of the issues that military children specifically go through are moving to different schools, meeting new friends, leaving old friends, and getting rid of a lot of stuff that you’ve gotten attached to in order to fit in your new house.

In our programs, both children and their parents participate. Children learn new ways to express their feelings and parents learn communication tools, so they are able to put their children first.

Q: How do you think being a child in the military helped you?

As a Veteran, it is likely you have a family member or friend who is currently military-connected. We encourage you to read and share this article.

A: I’m able to overcome difficulties and adjust to my surroundings. I’ve moved to so many places and I’m used to the different climates and situations. It’s easier for me to make friends and leave things behind.

Talk to your kids about COVID-19

Q: What would you like the public to know about military children?

During this time of uncertainty with the Coronavirus (COVID-19), take time to talk to your children or grandchildren and check in with them. The shift of having both parents home, being out of school, not being able to see friends, and the information spread throughout media can weigh heavily on a child. While we’re all socially isolating, it’s time to connect with your children through spending time and having conversations.

A: It’s really hard on kids. They have the hardest lives because they move a lot, leave their friends and pets behind, and sometimes they have to sell things that meant something to them (to fit into base housing). There’s a lot of change. Q: How did you handle being part of a dual-military family?

1. Spending time. Deployments, pre-deployment work-ups, long work office hours, and Temporary Duty Assignments (TAD/TDY) are common military situations that keep parents away from their children. As we are home-bound during this period, take a breather from your laptop and use this time to spend quality time with your military child or grandchild! Do fun physical training (PT) exercises together such as the “See 10, Do 10” push up challenge on social media or create an obstacle course or training regimen that you can all enjoy! Play hide and seek, board or video games with your child or simply spend the time coloring and allowing your mind to relax and enjoy the time spent together. This is the time to strengthen your bond and be together as a family.

A: Mom and Dad were stationed in different places or deployed for a large part of my life. My mom went on 2 deployments and my dad went on 6 deployments. I mostly lived with my mom, but I would occasionally live with my dad for a few years. I’d bounce back and forth. I’m happy that we’re all together now! Q: How did you handle deployments? A: We would count down the days. Saying goodbye was hard because we didn’t know how long they would be deployed for. It could be longer or shorter. Q: What would you tell children now? A: Look around and enjoy what you see. Don’t pay attention to what you’ve lost. Pay attention to the future.

2. Talk to them. With COVID-19, Permanent Change of Station (PCS) are on hold until mid-May. With all the hecticness of PCS moves, this may be the first year where you can talk to your military child about how they feel during PCS seasons.

You can do anything even if it seems like its hard because being a military kid will make you stronger!

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talk to your kids about COVID-19

Ask your child how they feel when it’s PCS time. For younger children, you can have them draw a picture of the family during PCS season or provide pre-written words for them to choose from (ie: Happy, Excited, Anxious, Sad). Discuss these words with your military child and ask your child if there is anything that could support them during this transitional period. Open up lines of communication between your military child and you so that they can feel more comfortable expressing their needs in the future. Listen to your children without giving advice or trying to solve their problems. Work WITH your children to come up with a plan that would help them through future transitions. For those families that are due to PCS in 2020 and are currently on hold, it is imperative that children understand and are a part of conversations regarding the move. As sudden as the PCS hold was placed, there is a possibility that the release of that hold will be just as abrupt. Continue the conversation with your children and allow them to be informed of the situation so that when a sudden move is required, they are more prepared.

3. Close quarters. Having the entire family in the home for an extended period of time can put stressors on any family, whether military or civilian. This may cause tension between parents or with children. Communication skills are vital in this situation. Practice utilizing the “I Statement” communication technique with your family members (both adults and children) and encourage their use of the practice as well. Regular check-ins (daily or every other day) can help alleviate some tension of being constantly in the home as well. Please remember the words of Taylor,

“Look around and enjoy what you see. Don’t pay attention to what you’ve lost. Pay attention to the future. 18

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You can do anything even if it seems like it’s hard because being a military kid will make you stronger!” Kids’ Turn San Diego’s mission of “promoting, supporting and securing the well-being of children who are experiencing family separation” drives our desire to empower military-connected families to remain connected, to talk about their feelings and to honor each and every family member. Thank you all for your service!

April is designated as the Month of the Military Child, underscoring the important role military children play in the armed forces community. Sponsored by the Department of Defense Military Community and Family Policy, the Month of the Military Child is a time to applaud military families and their children for the daily sacrifices they make and the challenges they overcome. The Month of the Military Child is part of the legacy left by former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. He established the Defense Department commemoration in 1986. Homeland Magazine joins the Department of Defense and the military community in celebrating April as the Month of the Military Child. In DoDEA communities around the world, our most essential strategic imperatives are: establishing an educational system that progressively builds the college and career readiness of allDoDEA students; and establishing the organizational capacity to operate more effectivelyand efficiently as a model, unifiedschool system. We aim to challenge each student to maximize his or her potential and to excel academically, socially, emotionally and physically for life, college and career readiness. www.dodea.edu/dodeaCelebrates/Military-Child-Month

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Understanding the Educational Needs of Military Kids Today When the Military Child Education Coalition® (MCEC®) launched the Military Kids NOW Education Survey, they could not have imagined the dramatic changes happening in the education landscape as a result of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, Education Week reports some 124,000 U.S. public and private schools, and 55.1 million students have been affected by COVID-19. While the upheaval on the education system remains to be seen, military-connected students and families will undoubtedly feel the aftershocks. Throughout the Month of the Military Child, MCEC is encouraging military-connected parents, students, and educators to voice their education priorities by participating in the survey, which runs through the end of April. The purpose of the survey is to: • Accurately identify the educational needs of military-connected students, their families, and the professionals that support them. • Determine the best ways to provide tools and solutions for parents, education professionals, and military-connected children. Demographically, military-connected children comprise nearly two million military-connected students. Almost every school district in America includes military-connected children and youth whose parents serve or have served in the Active, Guard, and Reserve components of the Armed Forces. Over 80% of these students attend U.S. public schools while less than 8% attend Department of Defense schools. For more than 20 years, MCEC has dedicated itself to delivering high-quality programs, services, and professional development to meet the needs of military-connected students, parents, and professionals.


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The Military Kids Now Education Survey is available online at http://bit.ly/MCECeducationsurvey. Findings will be made available on the MCEC® website later this year.

Sustaining a commitment to ensure military children are successful in their academic journey, MCEC President and CEO, Dr. Rebecca Porter, sought to take a fresh look at the challenges facing military families to understand how MCEC might best respond to those challenges. “We want to know what is working, and if it’s not working, we want to know why. MCEC wants to invest in programs that make an impact and recalibrate initiatives to help better serve our community. The survey is a way to do that—to listen intently to our military families and children, as well as those who educate them,” said Porter. The survey is a first for MCEC. Although MCEC works to keep its ears to the ground and listen to military families and professionals, they’ve not attempted a survey of this magnitude before. MCEC not only wants to collect valuable data, opening up meaningful conversations is equally vital to understanding the educational priorities of MCEC constituents. “We’re hoping this survey will be a way for militaryconnected families and the professionals who support them to have their voices heard and to focus on helping military-connected students not just survive but thrive on their educational journey. Ultimately, MCEC is interested in determining the best ways to provide tools and solutions through innovation and ingenuity,” said Helen Mowers, MCEC instructional systems design manager. The target audience for the survey is: • Military-connected students (age 13 and up) • Military-connected parents with school-aged children • Professionals who support military-connected students and their families For those that fit into more than one category, we are encouraging people to take it more than once if they wear multiple hats (i.e., military parent and professional). The survey takes about 8 minutes and responses are anonymous. The Military Kids Now Education Survey is available online at http://bit.ly/MCECeducationsurvey. Findings will be made available on the MCEC website later this year.

For more information, contact Helen Mowers: Helen.Mowers@militarychild.org

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outside of her own immediate family, who were invested in her success. “It made me feel not as alone,” Megan said, “and more a part of the SEAL Community.” Megan is now an educator in her community, teaching special education for 2nd through 5th graders. She uses her personal experience with a learning disability to help other students overcome their learning barriers. “The resources that SEALKIDS provided helped me better understand the challenges that I had been dealing with for a long time. That experience has helped me recognize how I can help the students I teach who are facing similar challenges.” Megan, like many children in the Naval Special Warfare community, needed a little help to achieve her full academic potential. SEALKIDS was there to offer it.

Megan Foster was the first student SEALKIDS served. Megan, the daughter of an active duty Navy SEAL, found herself struggling in school. Though she was earning decent grades in class, Megan was having trouble focusing on her work. She struggled to pay attention and had difficulty staying organized. Teachers and other adults in her life felt she was not performing to her full abilities. Megan felt frustrated when her best efforts did not live up to expectations. SEALKIDS stepped in to help. Megan was connected to SEALKIDS through the Founder, Suzanne Vogel. Suzanne, whose own children had struggled with learning disabilities, recognized the challenge Megan was facing. Suzanne suggested to Megan’s father to send Megan for an evaluation to determine if she might have an undiagnosed learning challenge. Megan underwent a psychological evaluation that measured intelligence and attentiveness. The tests determined that Megan’s challenges were due to undiagnosed ADHD. SEALKIDS funded the cost of the testing as the organization’s first grant. As a senior in high school, this news came as a huge relief for Megan. She could now understand and explain the root cause of her struggles. Megan explained the impact of this intervention, “SEALKIDS gave me the tools I needed to identify why I was struggling and also showed me my strengths so that I could build from them.” She also felt relieved to know that there were individuals within the Naval Special Warfare community, 22

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“It’s been really great to see how much SEALKIDS has grown since I received their help. The one to one relationships that they have built with kids nationwide are amazing and I am so proud to have been the first SEALKID.” How SEALKIDS Started Alexandra and Hunter Vogel, two of Suzanne’s five children, were only six and nine years old in the summer of 2011. They wanted to honor the courage and sacrifice they witnessed every day in the Navy SEAL community. Alexandra and Hunter decided to focus on a cause near to their hearts, educational assistance and tutoring for children in the Navy SEAL community who were struggling in school. They combined their piggy banks and started SEALKIDS with determined spirits and just under $200. They stood in grocery store parking lots for hours, raising money and telling people about their desire to honor and serve. What began as a small fundraising effort by Hunter and Alexandra became a national nonprofit organization with the help of their mother. Suzanne, who now acts as SEALKIDS’ Program Director, worked to formalize her children’s efforts. SEALKIDS was incorporated in 2012 and granted 501(c)(3) status in 2013. SEALKIDS has grown exponentially since its founding, and Suzanne has been heavily involved throughout the organization’s history. Bringing her own personal experience as a mother of five children in the NSW community, Suzanne is a steadfast steward of the organization’s mission and a champion of SEALKIDS’ organizational values of honor, commitment, courage, excellence, and empathy.

Since 2012, SEALKIDS has provided more than 2,000 life changing grants to students like Megan.

How SEALKIDS Works SEALKIDS, through its programs, supports the children of Naval Special Warfare—everyday kids living in extraordinary circumstances. As one of our country’s most elite military units, Navy SEALs are courageous and strong, and so are their families. However, even our bravest and strongest individuals need support, and it can be difficult to ask for that help.

When a child in the NSW community needs SEALKIDS’ help, their parents can apply by visiting www.sealkids.org and filling out a short form. Those applications are then directed to a SEALKIDS Family Advocate based on their geographic location. The Family Advocate then works with each family to create a plan to identify and address the root cause of each student’s unique challenges.

SEALKIDS has a deep and personal understanding of life in the NSW community and can help families to navigate both stated and unspoken barriers to a child’s success. Families in the Naval Special Warfare community, whether retired or active duty, have made great sacrifices for our country. SEALKIDS seeks to lessen the burden of their service by helping to ensure long term academic success for their children.

Since 2012, SEALKIDS has provided more than 2,000 life changing grants to students like Megan. This month and every month, SEALKIDS is grateful for the bravery of military families and will continue to work to lighten the burden of their service.

SEALKIDS’ assistance is available to NSW children across the country. In 2019, the organization served 303 children, providing more than 70,000 hours of services, including academic testing, tutoring, therapy, advocacy, and enrichment. SEALKIDS fosters the success and wellbeing of each child, critically reducing family stress and ultimately keeping today’s Navy SEAL in the fight.


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ARTS & HEALING By Amber Robinson

The power of writing through tough times As we, as a veteran community, work to stay informed, healthy and safe during the onslaught of the COVID-19 Pandemic...some of us may be struggling to stay completely sane. Our world’s state of affairs is not an easy one to digest for many, and can easily bear upon those of us who may already be struggling with anxiety or depression. As therapy groups dry up and individual therapy visits move to phone calls or skype sessions, veterans may be looking for new ways to help themselves cope.

One of the simplest ways to cope, is through writing. According to www.PositivePsycology.com, the benefits of writing include boosted mood, better self-awareness, enhanced feelings of well-being and even helps to organize and sharpen cognitive abilities. It doesn’t take a large vocabulary, a writing degree or even a passion for writing to enjoy the benefits of how it can help. The most common form of writing geared towards mental health is journaling. All one needs is pen, paper and 20 to 30 quiet minutes a day for mindful writing to reap the benefits listed above and so many more. Journaling can work as a way to address past trauma or just as a way to become more self-aware by giving us the means to detect negative behavior patterns. For those who use journaling as trauma therapy, it provides a way for survivors to create a clear narrative of their traumatic experience, thus helping them better face it. It’s suggested by www.PostitivePsycology.com to write daily as a discipline to ensure it “works”. They also suggest writing in a quiet location, with no distractions and keeping the journal completely private, for only your eyes. If you know someone will view it, you may not be as honest in your writing. A more abstract form of writing for mental health is the creative craft of poetry. Writing poetry has many of the same positive effects as journaling, such as enhanced 26

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sense of self awareness and a way to capture significant life events. Poetry can also be highly validating as a writer finds and learns to activate their “poetic voice”. The abstract characteristics of poetry allow a writer to not only capture significant life events, but reframe them, opening windows to different viewpoints along the way. No matter what form of writing you choose to take up, there is no better time than now. Grab a pen, paper and a quiet spot and write out some of the things that you are feeling and thinking. If it sounds like a poem, why not make it a poem? The choice is all yours. If you would like inspiration, or would like to share your writing with others who write, there are a few online ways you can do just that. We are lucky to have a thriving writer’s scene in San Diego with writers who have created some online venues in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic. On Instagram you can find two online poetry readings that are hosted weekly. You can just listen or get brave and read your own work via video. The first is @poets_ underground hosted Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 PM by local poet, writer and personality, Sunny Rey. Also available is a new account, @viral_poetry_series hosted at 7 PM on Wednesdays by Adam Greenfield. You will be given a time limit to share and can share poetry, short stories and more. For an infinite amount of inspiration, also check out www.PoetryArchive.org.

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A Different Lens


Mental Health Monthly By Mike Miller


OK, this month I’m feeling overwhelmed by stress,

and I know I’m not alone; it’s practically a fact of life that everyone has to deal with stress. Someone asked me if it was good stress or bad stress. That made me think, how can stress be good? So let’s look at this through a different lens, and maybe I can find some good stress. Stress... it’s a word we’ve been taught to steer clear of since birth, but through the course of life and human experience, we find out that it’s totally unavoidable. But here’s the interesting thing... stress is actually necessary, so I’ve put together some tips on how you can decipher the good from the bad and manage the inevitable. Contrary to popular belief, we all need some stress in our lives to move and function, which is why stress management is more important then stress elimination. In fact, finding the right balance between too much and too little stress is an essential part of your overall wellbeing. GOOD stress vs. BAD stress and balancing the right amount So, how much stress should you allow in your life before it becomes too much and what can you do to manage it all? Well, you must first understand that determining the right amount of stress can be tricky because it varies from person to person and is rooted in perception. For instance, riding on a roller coaster might be delightfully fun for one person, but terrifying for another; or having many demands on you at one time may make you feel energized, but may overwhelm someone else.




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There are signs you can look for to help determine a stress level that’s right for you and you can start by learning the difference between the good and the bad: Good Stress: Makes you feel motivated, inspired and focused on doing your best. Gives you energy, ambition and enthusiasm. Strengthens your immune system. Bad Stress: Harms your health and well-being, causing symptoms such as headaches, stomach discomfort or insomnia. Makes you feel frazzled, frustrated, upset, out of control or overwhelmed. Makes even simple tasks become difficult or impossible to accomplish. At the end of the day, stress, in the form of good and bad challenges, helps us to flourish and grow. Do your best to take life one day at a time and you’ll find yourself living healthier and happier in no time. Managing stress is all about taking charge of what you can control and learning to become flexible regarding the things you have no ability to influence or change. To manage stress when the demands stack up, be sure to identify the triggers that cause you stress and resolve to make realistic, healthy changes. To be successful in this, it’s important that you: Get the right amount of sleep. Schedule time for relaxation each day. Eat a balanced, nutritious diet and exercise regularly. Cultivate supportive relationships. Have fun and try to laugh more. Laughter is a great stress reducer and has the added benefit of increasing social support.

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Turning to Technology to Stay Connected Practicing social distancing from other people is not difficult for Army veteran Joey Pierstorff these days. He lives in a quiet town along Route 66, just more than an hour from the edge of the Grand Canyon. But the steps he is taking with his family do not require the wide-open space of the Arizona desert. “We try to limit our time outside but also want to enjoy the weather while it is nice out, so we have been taking the dogs to the park,” Joey said. “Just trying to control what we can and avoid being out in public.” Joey and his family are also using technology to help — for homeschooling their children, entertainment, and connecting with others. Last year, Joey worked with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) to build a custom gaming computer. “We have been doing a lot of gaming. Different games for different age groups. My 7-year-old daughter likes playing Fortnite with me; my son likes Call of Duty.” Joey first connected with WWP following advice from a friend. That connection led to others, starting with veterans at a golf tournament. “What it did was show me I wasn’t the only person that had transitional concerns.”

“I had a Talk representative; I like to call him my coach. We had a connection from the moment I spoke to him. I felt like we were connected, and he made me feel super comfortable. I told him stuff I hadn’t told anyone ever in years.” The program is much more than just talking. “He would hold me accountable for the things I said without judging me.” The program starts with a WWP staff member getting to know the warrior or family member. Through the first few calls, the pair find a comfort level. “Later on, they start holding you accountable with SMART goals. You will set goals that help you get better.” Those SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Goals are set, and plans are developed to achieve each goal. For Joey, that meant an education and getting back into the workforce, all with the help of his coach. “He made sure I kept my goals realistic. He’d say, ‘That’s great you are going to get your bachelor’s degree, but what are you going to do beyond that? This is the beginning of your goal.’” Joey achieved his first degree, then set a new goal to continue his education. Last December, he earned his master’s degree in management through a program he did entirely online.

Then with other veterans at other events.

“I kept a 4.0 GPA until my dissertation, but I still ended with a 3.98.”

“They’ve all seen, heard, been, or done something you have done, and they can relate with you in some way. There is something in common with everybody.”

While he finished in December, new guidelines about gatherings have his graduation on hold.

WWP Talk is one of the ways Joey found help in his transition to civilian life. Joey joined the Army less than a year after watching the attacks on Sept. 11. His career in service was cut short by injuries and two knee surgeries. Joey learned about how WWP Talk works. A weekly phone call with a WWP staff member helped in many ways, from lending an ear to empowering him to improve his situation. “I called because I’m always looking to find new resources, new ways to help. You never know what’s going to work for you.” Through that first phone call, Joey had a new supporter. 30

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“I was supposed to walk in May; now it is scheduled for July.” Those guidelines have also sidelined his son’s baseball season. The high school freshman pitcher was recently called up to the varsity team. Now, it is uncertain when he will be able to return to the mound. That challenge has created a new opportunity for bonding. “My son and I have been throwing the baseball a lot. We are keeping him ready for when play resumes.” Goals for his son, and more goals for Joey, who has his sights set on starting a business in his community. A business with ties to baseball.

“I’m in the process of opening an indoor baseball training facility. It will have batting cages, pitching mounds, and other training areas.”

I learned to just accept the changes that have been made in my life and new ways to cope and new tools for my toolbox and resources.”

WWP Talk helped keep Joey on target with his goals but has also changed his mindset.

That has helped Joey during these uncertain and stressful times. “It causes extra anxieties for me, like so many other people, but I have a lot of tools to help me get through it.”

“Knowing there is someone there that wants you to succeed; they’re not holding you accountable to be mean about it. They’re there to hold you accountable to be a better person. They want you to be a better person by doing the things you want to do.

Serving Warriors Virtually WWP has turned to technology as well. This helps the veterans charity as it continues to provide lifesaving programs and services, while still following guidelines of social distancing. The organization’s physical health and wellness events are using teleconferencing to show warriors and family members how to stay in shape at home, make healthy nutrition choices, and be mindful in stressful times.

“They are not recommending ‘Here is what we want you to do,’ it’s ‘Find out what you want to do. What do you want to do? We are going to help you reach those goals.’”

This change also means Peer Support Groups meet via video instead of in person. Warriors can still support one another, while staying a safe distance.

The Talk program helps warriors and family members get on track, but it is also designed to stay with the individual even after the weekly calls end.

WWP Talk offers weekly phone calls to warriors and family members who have signed up. This provides emotional support as warriors develop goals and plans to meet or exceed those targets.

“It’s really teaching you to hold yourself accountable, finding what you want to do. Once you get your goals in, you are going to figure out a plan. Not just ‘What am I going to do for these six months — what am I going to do to be better to start setting my own SMART goals?’”

And WWP’s career counseling helps with resumes, interview coaching, and job searching — without leaving home.

Most importantly, WWP empowered Joey to take his recovery into his own hands. It “helped to empower me to be a better me.

Learn more about WWP’s virtual offerings: www.woundedwarriorproject.org/ready-to-serve.

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‘ship ahoy’

An unexpected assignment creates a unique opportunity

By Doug Kelly Michael Kennedy suddenly found himself in a quandary that was not of his own making. A 15-year veteran of the United States Navy, Kennedy had been deployed for overseas duty five times prior. For the most part, his previous deployments’ timing coincided nicely with a second passion of his, football officiating. He has worked with and trained new officials in the greater Hampton Roads-Tidewater area of Virginia. Yet his sixth deployment, one that would come on short notice, which at the time bothered him considerably due to its timing, came in December 2018. Assigned to the USS Kearsarge Amphibious Readiness Group, Kennedy soon found he would serve in the Middle East from the end of last year until this past July. He presently is the Current Operations Officer [COPS] at Commander, Amphibious Squadron SIX since September ‘18 This unexpected assignment meant Kennedy would have to forego his spring officials’ training classes. “We always started in early May of each year, and went until August, when the [high school and college] scrimmages began,” he said. Thus, he figured, there would be no spring football for him in 2019 and he would not be able to train new officials until he returned. Or did it? 32

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Kennedy, who enlisted in the Navy in 2004, set sail in December, as scheduled, but quickly developed a rapport with several sailors who’d be serving with him. “I like training other people. Like it’s been said, in learning you will teach and in teaching you will learn.” Kennedy said. Just to be safe and to pass the time, Kennedy took his rule book, old game and instructional films, and whatever else he thought he would need aboard ship to keep his mind engaged in regards to football. “Early on, I talked to a lot of the guys, and I found most of them liked football. More than a few said, ‘I’d like to learn how to be an official. It might be something I can do when my service commitment is up.’” So Kennedy ran two introductory presentations on football officiating, using the ‘Battlefields 2 Ballfields’ training program. This past April “Twenty-one sailors and marines came out for the classes.” Meetings were held on Saturday mornings in the ship’s classroom from 10 am to noon. There was a reason for the timing. Naval ships generally observe Sunday mornings as ‘Holiday Routine’ that allows for church services, personal time, etc.

“But in 5th Fleet,” Kennedy says, “the work week is Sunday through Thursday as ‘the weekend’ in most Middle Eastern countries is Friday and Saturday.

Kennedy’s ‘ship ahoy’ class lasted eight weeks and 17 aspirants completed all eight. “When we pulled into Jordan, we set up a flag tournament for all the Sailors and Marines on board,” he continued. “Our class got to work flag ball. When they started out, some were a bit timid about the rules and having to officiate in front of their peers.

“So the ship moved our ‘Holiday Routine’ to Saturday mornings until noon. This way, most ship activities were already kept to a minimum and prevented other required ship events from conflicting with our classes.

“These were the same people that they ate, slept and worked with for the last seven months. But, by the end of the tournament, they really were managing the game and the players and coaches really respected the role they held as football officials. It was really great to see them grow on the field as officials.

“We broke the classes up into different phases of the game. We started everyone off with game administration, then covered the pre-snap phase, then the run play phase, pass play phase, kicking game phase, and covered all the mechanics and rules that were associated with each phase.

“A week later, guys were ready to sign up for another flag football tournament, so we ran a second event. Everyone had a blast. The tournament was a success. “Each of the seventeen also did well in the testing part, when it came to the rules. Guys would test each other, emailing questions back and forth from the weekly tests from the material we reviewed the week before.

“Game film was the last hour each Saturday morning. The biggest thing I tried to get across as they watched the tape was how officials positioned themselves, how they moved. Now, we obviously weren’t able to get out on a field, but seeing the video at least gave them a feel for what goes on out there and how to apply the mechanics we were reviewing in the presentations.”

What is he most proud of, now that his faraway-lands training has ‘recruited’ some up-and-coming officials? “Just the fact that the majority of the guys stuck it out, and it’s beginning to pay off for them. Some of them have now started the preseason with a lot of high school teams.

Since 2016, Kennedy has been a college game official in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference [MEAC]. The MEAC and Southwestern Athletic Conference [SWAC] both feature colleges from the historically black colleges and universities. The champions of each meet every December in the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, televised nationally by ABC.

“Seeing some of the excitement they have after walking off the field at the end of a scrimmage is awesome for me. They’ll continue to improve working scrimmages and attending our training meetings and they’ll be ready by September. People don’t realize that July and August are not just training for the players. It’s for officials, too, and I think we are going to see some good ones down the road just from this class alone.”

His current responsibility is as a Back Judge, though he has officiated all over the field during his career. He’s also the Training Coordinator for the Southeastern Football Officials Association [SEFOA], the local association that officiates high school football in the Hampton Roads area.

Photos by MCC Michael Dimestico/ US Navy

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WHAT’S NEXT Transition to Civilian Life By Eve Nasby

Let’s Go For Ride

Resume Review Now is an ideal time to socialize your resume to friends, family members and colleagues to review. They have time. Contact HR professionals who will, for free, analyze your resume and make suggestions. Refresh and renew your resume for each role you are applying for. Experiment with different formats. Take an honest look at it and make changes.

Interview Practice h


e bS


Looking for a fun game to play with your kids? Write down these frequently asked interview questions on a 3x5 cards and hand them to your kids. 1. What is the greatest asset you will bring to our company? 2. What makes you stand out amongst your peers? 3. Give me an example of how you overcame a challenge without losing your initiative. 4. How did you save your previous company time or money?

Going a little stir crazy? Trying to find work in these tumultuous times? Now more than ever you have time to look for work, but you are just not seeing results. To make matters worse, the nation has a soaring un employment rate, complicating your job search further.

Have them sit across the table from you as if you were in a panel interview. Answer the questions in the STAR format. It’s great practice and fun to get the kids involved in your career search. Plus, when you are in a real interview and the client asks you one of those, it may bring a smile to your face to remember a young jelly smeared face asking you the same question.

Don’t despair. As in all things, this too shall pass and things will turn around for the better.

Don’t have kids or ones that would find this fun? FaceTime or Zoom friends to do the same. Sans the jelly.

As you wait for things to normalize, how can you intelligently and productively continue in your job search? What real steps forward can you take as the world lies in limbo?

Develop Yourself

In addition to home projects, crafts, and homeschooling the kids, make time to work on your future. Feel stuck inside? Unproductive? Go for a R.I.D.E. with these four simple exercises.

Make time to take online courses. There are free resources available to learn a new skill. https://www.edx.org/ offers 2500+ online courses from 140 institutions like Harvard, Berkley and MIT for free. The opportunities are limitless. Set aside an hour a day to teach yourself something new and useful. Invest in YOU. Dave Grundies


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Starting a Business as a Veteran?

Expand your Network I recently spoke with a representative from LinkedIn who noted that its activity has exploded since the virus has quarantined our nation. Now is the time to expand your network. People are connecting now more than ever via social media channels and now is your time to take advantage of it. Dig around on your profile and network and invite people to connect who have a role that you are interested in. Initiate a conversation with them about what they like and don’t like about their role. Investigate for yourself if this is a role you would truly like. Connect with Human Resources professionals and people in leadership roles at companies that you want to work for. Find out what they like about the company. Find out what roles they know are coming up and uncover what they believe the successful candidate would need to possess in order to be hired.

The transition from military service to civilian life can be a difficult one, especially when it comes to your career. That’s why a growing number of veterans choose to forge their own path and become entrepreneurs after leaving the Armed Forces.

Then work on those skills. One of our favorite contributors, Rachelle Snook, Global Talent Director at WD40 Company, suggests to also to, “take a step back and analyze the needs of our nation right now. See what the employment need is and fill that need. Don’t be afraid to take a role that may not be exactly what you are looking for, but may give you experience in something new.

While starting a business comes with numerous challenges, former service members do have one distinct advantage: the veteran community. “The strength and power of veteran entrepreneurs comes from other veteran entrepreneurs” Unlike most highly competitive entrepreneurial environments, veteran entrepreneurs share information much more easily.

You don’t have to stick with it forever, just give it a try.” She also suggests volunteering. It’s a great way to get experience in areas you may not otherwise have opportunity to.

If you or someone you know is a veteran looking to start a business, please feel free to contact Vicki Garcia.

This is not ‘The end of the world as we know it’ but just the beginning of something new.

Vicki is the Co-Founder of Operation Vetrepreneur & President of Marketing Impressions, a 33+ -year- old marketing consulting firm. If you want support for starting up a business, email her at vicki@veteransinbiz.com.

Embrace the change and leverage your time now to be successful in the future. Need free help with your resume?

For advice, tips and programs you can read Vicki’s monthly column at Homeland Magazine or visit www.HomelandMagazine.com and

Want to run through a mock interview? Connect with Eve at…..

click on the banner:

Eve@infused.work or connect with her at LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/eve-nasby-given-0050452


WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / APRIL 2020



Surviving the Pandemic

Unknown Zone

CASH IS KING Admittedly I’m writing this from the small, microentrepreneurial perspective. Most of these enterprises don’t have much in the way of reserves. Call it selfish. Call it immoral. Call it self-interested. I don’t care what you call it. The driving principle is that if you go under, no matter your well-meaning impulses, nobody will benefit. So… 1. Conserve Your Cash. Spend money only on what is absolutely critical to surviving. Make a list of your priorities. This could last a lot longer than you expect and you need to be a pinchpenny. You can always rebuild your credit later, catch up on payments to vendors and rehire employees.

OK, this is the strangest, most shocking, mind-blowing experience in recent history. The last person who could remember a plague like the Coronavirus was my grandmother and she’s been deceased for 50 years. File this under “Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures.” That phrase, probably originating in Latin as “extremis malis extrema remedia,” appeared in print as early as 1596. You can always trust the Romans for good advice. You Need a Strategy Look at it this way. This pandemic is like a forest fire. Lots of weak competitors have been siphoning off small or even large numbers of your customers in the marketplace. This is going to be a test of your ability to hunker down and survive until it blows over when you can pop back up and thrive. The ONLY thing that counts is survival. You may want to take care of your employees. You probably have debts you would like to pay. You had plans to grow. A brand you’ve laboriously built over time needs protection. Sales were in the pipeline. You were proud of your great credit score. Now, all that has come to a screeching halt. Like Rod Serling used to say, you’re entering the Twilight Zone, or for our purposes the Unknown Zone. (cue creepy music) All the above needs to be temporarily stopped until we can figure out where this is going. If you want to survive, which should be your only priority, you probably will need to compromise some of your values. Owning a business means making hard decisions. A strategic retreat means you live to fight another day. 36

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2. Get Really Clear on Need vs Want. Yes, you like that magazine, but do you need it right now? When was the last time you used your newspaper subscription? Think back to when you started your business and had to determine what was critical as opposed to what you could do without. Bring back that thinking. 3. Kill the Ants That are Nibbling You to Death. Go through your P&L and dig down in your expenses. You’re not going to discover anyone big thing you can stop spending precious cash on. You’re more likely to discover 10 little things you can kill off. We all pick up little (frequently monthly) expenditures that sneak through unnoticed, but they add up. A short call to www.GoDaddy.com showed me how my spending with them had gotten out of control. It all sounded critical at the time I took it on, but now some difficult decisions to jettison certain services, domains and emails had to be made. I can always pick them back up later when things are better. COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE Things are happening so quickly that it is difficult to say exactly what will be happening by the time you read this. The important thing is to keep in communication with customers, creditors and employees you had to let go. Be sure to let customers know you will be back or you’re there to help them FOR FREE if they need you. This is a prime opportunity to build customer loyalty. Send out a press release on how you’re helping…the media is hungry for that kind of info.


( I love Simplebooklet, and you can look at one of mine called Selling for People Who Don’t Like Selling at https://simplebooklet.com

1. Call Your Mortgage Lender and Ask for a Suspension. Fortune says “Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both have ordered lenders to be more flexible with borrowers, reducing or suspending payments for up to 12 months. A better bet is to request a mortgage modification. This enables you to skip payments for a set period, then pay them back in a variety of different ways. Foreclosure sales and evictions have been halted and delinquent payments will not be reported to credit bureau.” If you rent space, call your landlord and negotiate with her/him. Be nice. This person may also be cash strapped.

7. Look for an Appropriate Loan. I really don’t like this idea because it means taking on a debt load that may cripple you once you get back on your feet. Explore Fintech disruptive business models that include peer to peer lending and small ticket loans. Fintech is the term used to refer to innovations in the financial and technology crossover space, and typically refers to services that use technology to provide financial services to businesses. Go here for more info www.boardofinnovation.com

2. Get in Touch with Your Tax Advisor. See if you qualify for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) The Earned Income Tax Credit, EITC or EIC, is a benefit for working people, including small business owners, with low to moderate income. Go to the IRS website for a surprisingly easy to understand explanation at

8. Take a Temporary Job. A zillion places are hiring. Amazon, Walmart, all the grocery and drug stores are looking for people. Nothing to be ashamed of. You can do both…be an entrepreneur and employee at the same time. There are many websites cranking up right now to give you direction, suggestions and support. Everyone is thinking up ways to help. Hang on and don’t give up.


3. Get on The Phone and Call Your Creditors. Many of them understand the circumstances and have emergency policies available. Can you get a forbearance on that loan? Negotiate a lower interest rate? Would you rather feed the kids or pay your credit cards? My bet is that dings to your credit score will be forgivable once the storm passes. 4. Go After Any Receivables. We all hate doing this, but some small businesses have thousands of dollars outstanding because they have avoided this task. Offer any customer, client or patient who pays up NOW a sweet deal. And, I mean an offer they can’t refuse. Something they would be stupid to turn down. If they don’t pay now, you will be back and go after the full amount. 5. Look for Random, Popup “Private” Responses to Help Small Businesses. Facebook is offering $100M cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries. They are meant to 1. Keep your workforce going. 2. Help with the rent 3. Connect with Customers, 4. Cover operational costs. Eligibility is currently undetermined but you should go to www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants and sign up for updates.

A City of San Diego grant has paid for Operation Vetrepreneur to help launch and support veteran (Military & Spouse) startups and growing businesses. Working with highly experienced entrepreneurs, and using a unique brainstorming high-touch model, you get mentoring and info while in the company of other like-minded veterans. Tell us about yourself at www. veteransinbiz.com, sign up for a workshop or mentoring at www.meetup.com/Operation-Vetrepreneur-San-Diego/

6. Get Creative. This might be the time to move to more online sales or communication tools. You could offer workshops on Zoom.com, open an Etsy store, or write informative booklets on https://tinyurl.com/wexqf25.

Vicki Garcia is the Co-Founder of Operation Vetrepreneur & President of Marketing Impressions, a 30+ -year- old marketing consulting firm. Apply to join Operation Vetrepreneur’s FREE Think Tank Groups or one-on-one mentoring at www.veteransinbiz.com.

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

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR INVENTION As an inventor, one of the best ways to make money is to license your invention to other companies that will manufacture and sell the invention. By shopping your invention around, however, you may be putting your rights to that invention in jeopardy. The move you reveal about your invention, the more likely it is that it will be stolen or copied. So, what’s the best way to protect your invention? Provisional patent applications and nondisclosure agreements are two important strategies for safeguarding your rights.

On March 16, 2013, the U.S. adopted a first-to-file system. Under this system, the first to file an application usually gets the patent. A PPA essentially provides a one-year extension as to the filing of a nonprovisional patent application. In doing so, a PPA provides an applicant with an additional year to experiment, perfect an invention, find investment money, and find interested parties for licensing. Here are some facts you need to know about PPAs: • A PPA expires after one year • You cannot extent a PPA • You cannot renew a PPA • APPA will never become a patent • You cannot file a PPA for a design • You can use the term “patent pending” If your invention potentially qualifies for a patent, it may be worth your while to file a PPA and obtain “patent pending” status. This will allow you to establish an effective date for your invention. Most often, filing a PPA will deter others from copying your invention and provides an advantage in protecting your legal rights. USING NONDISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS If you determine that your invention is not patentable, the most effective way to protect your invention is to have prospective licensees sign a nondisclosure agreement before you share your invention. This document is sometimes called an “NDA” or a “Confidentiality Agreement.” This agreement must be signed before you disclose any secrets to a third party. If someone signs a nondisclosure agreement and later uses your secret without authorization, you can sue for damages.

FILING A PROVISIONAL PATENT APPLICATION A provisional patent application (PPA) is a patent application that can be used to secure a filing date. Additionally, if a nonprovisional application is filed within one year from the filing date of the PPA, the nonprovisional application may claim the benefit of the filing date of the PPA. Why are filing dates important? 38

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The nondisclosure agreements should contain the following important elements: • A definition of what is and what is not confidential information; • Obligation of the party receiving confidential information; and • Applicable time periods.

DISCLOSING WITHOUT AN AGREEMENT It is always safe to get a prospective licensee to sign a nondisclosure agreement, but you may not always be able to convince the person or company to do so. When that happens, you are left in a somewhat vulnerable position. If you disclose crucial information without the agreement, you risk losing your rights to the invention, as well as the ability to file a patent if it is considered a “public disclosure” under the firstto-file rules. If you don’t disclose it, you risk losing a business opportunity. In these situations, you can still protect your invention by presenting your secret in a way that does not allow for the disclosure of your trade secrets. Be brief and general. The most important factor to consider is the reputation of the person or the company you’re dealing with. If the company has a poor reputation, the dangers or losing your secrets outweigh the business opportunity.


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

VETERAN WOMEN IN BUSINESS Just as the number of women who serve in the military year by year has increased, so did the number of female veterans in business. More than 11.6 million firms are owned by women, employing nearly 9 million people, and generating $1.7 trillion in sales as of 2017 according to NAWBO. In addition, according to a report published by the National Women Business Council - There were over 383,302 women in businesses in the US, by 2012 a jump from 97000 just a few years back in 2007. Year by year, the number has continued to increase as more veterans come out of service and move into the business world. Statistics have shown that female veterans are surpassing other females when it comes to starting new businesses. When in the military, you tend to learn how to work together as a team, how to survive in difficult situations, how to see and think differently and many more skills. These skills are very important in the military and can also be very helpful when starting a business. New Entrepreneurs who learn “How To” use these skills are more likely to overcome business challenges. A set of skills needed in the private sector: Networking, Leadership and Communication. Networking: In the military one is trained to be clear, concise and to the point, address the issue and move on. Networking in the business world is Not like that, business owners do not network to educate others, or to sell a product, but to develop relationships. Establish bonds and create resources networks. Networking to sell, has the opposite result. Leadership: Entrepreneurs must learn to Lead employees and customers. Provide a clear vision and have the ability to get a “buy-in” from employees and customers. Communication: Communication in business is crucial. Having the ability to present an idea to potential investors or bankers; present the benefits of the product or service to consumers; and the ability to negotiate contracts, etc. These are all communication components critical to the success of every business. 40

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The Census Bureau Statistics after far-reaching research in 2015 concludes that out of the total veteran-owned businesses, Women Veteran-owned Businesses (WVOBs) make up 15.2%. 97% of of non-employer businesses (those that do not have employees). Female VeteranOwned Business have a positive success record. Below are some famous female veteran-own companies: Phyllis Newhouse After a 22year career in the military, Phyllis Newhouse started Xtreme Solutions a successful company. Based in Atlanta, named one of 50 fastest growing woman-owned companies. Louisa Long Jaffe Following a 28year career with the U.S. Army, She is the cofounder of Technical and Project Engineering, providing solutions for government agencies. The company has received a number of awards and recognitions, for example the company received the Smart CEO’s “Future 50 Award” and the CRN “Top 500 Solutions Provider” to name a few. Dawn Halfaker A Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient founded Halfaker and Associates, started a professional service company exploding with revenue from the start. The company grossed 30000 during their first year in operation. This female veteran has received multiple awards and recognitions and she is true testament to the value of a veteran serving as a true inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs. Female veterans continue to make contributions to every industry and will continue to serve as major influencers serving as a true inspiration to many. It is an honor to be able to recognize and bring some spotlight to female veterans who are leading the charge and have decided to move forward in search of their dream!!! The Veterans Chamber of commerce would like to recognize every female veteran entrepreneur and to offer any support and guidance needed to new female entrepreneurs. The Veterans Chamber Entrepreneurship Academy is committed to supporting our fellow veterans with Support, Guidance, Coaching Scholarships to help you get started.

Rebecca’s Story

About Foundation for Women Warriors

If it weren’t for this amazing Foundation, I wouldn’t be a college graduate today.

Foundation for Women Warriors is a 501 (c3) nonprofit, honoring the service and empowering women veterans.

While in my final semester of my bachelor’s degree at Cal State, I was working and taking a full load of classes while raising my son by myself. I had trouble paying for my child’s extended daycare hours, and with weeks left to complete my degree, Foundation for Women Warriors covered the cost of care.

FFWW programs help women successfully navigate transitioning from military careers to civilian life. The only organization of its kind, FFWW assists more than 1,100 women and children annually with life-changing services, enhancing personal and fiscal well-being, and enabling them to reach their full potential. Learn more: https://foundationforwomenwarriors.org/

I used to be afraid to ask for help, but Foundation for Women Warriors didn’t make me feel ashamed for asking for assistance when my child and I needed it most. As a Veteran, many of us get lost transitioning to the civilian world. Often, we don’t have mentors to turn to while navigating higher education. We’ve usually taken a less traveled route of serving our country first, then attending college. FFWW reassured me that I have a support team, encouraging me to accomplish my education goals. I have mentors in this foundation I can call on day or night. They’ve also helped me meet other women veterans and assisted me in finding employment. I found like-minded women that have been through similar life events: deployment, relocating, and answering the call to serve their country. I feel a great deal of pride calling FFWW my family. They’ve mentored me, fed me, and treated my son as their own. I’ve made invaluable life connections with women that lift me up and encourage me. - Rebecca, USMC veteran

Foundation for Women Warriors is committed to the safety and well-being of our warriors, families, supporters and staff during the Covid-19 pandemic and always. Detailed information regarding resources are available at:


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Empowering Veterans in Both Urban and Rural Communities By Jim Lorraine, President and CEO of America’s Warrior Partnership Veterans, their families and caregivers all face unique challenges based on their individual situations. Yet regardless of where a veteran lives, the best support they can receive often starts with a local leader who knows the community and understands how to access the most appropriate resources and services. This focus on local leaders is part of the foundation of our Community Integration service model, which empowers communities with the tools and partnerships to design a program that proactively and holistically serves their local veterans. The goal is to ensure any community can connect veterans with available resources and opportunities, whether that community is in a dense urban city or a remote rural town. One of our newest programs is an example of how service providers in remote communities can empower veterans. That program is the Diné Naazbaa’ Partnership, one of the first community-based initiatives dedicated to empowering the Navajo Nation’s military veterans, their families and caregivers. Led by our own Inann Johns, the program is currently conducting proactive outreach to the estimated 15,000 veterans living in the Navajo Nation. The team is educating these veterans on the opportunities that exist locally in Apache County, Arizona, while also connecting them with available support services. Inann serves as the “boots on the ground” for the Diné Naazbaa’ Partnership, which means she is physically in the community serving as a valuable resource for both veterans and veteran-serving organizations. With a clear understanding of the programs that serve Apache County, Inann ensures that veterans know where they can go for assistance with anything from applying for benefits to housing assistance. For local organizations seeking resources for a veteran that they cannot provide in-house, Inann connects those organizations with national programs through the America’s Warrior Partnership Network (The Network) to fill the gaps in local services. In the short span that the program has been active, Inann and the team have already connected with more than 100 veterans of the Navajo Nation to educate them on available resources. 44

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This model of empowering a local program with the tools and resources to holistically serve veterans has also proven effective in heavily urban areas. Our affiliate in Atlanta, The Warrior Alliance, doubled its goal of engaging 500 veterans by serving 1,000 local veterans in their first year implementing the Community Integration program by connecting these veterans with resources to maximize their quality of life. On the opposite side of the country, we work with the Goodwill of Orange County in California to support the Tierney Center for Veteran Services, which hosts representatives from a wide range of local organizations to assist Orange County veterans with a variety of issues under the same roof. Local veteran-serving organizations seeking access to veteran resources beyond their community can access The Network, a coordination center that assists communities with obtaining access to national resources when local programs either do not exist or are exhausted. The Network is staffed by a diligent team of social workers committed to addressing every individual case they receive with dedicated care and attention, no matter where in the country that a veteran may live. Community groups interested in joining The Network or making a referral can visit AmericasWarriorPartnership.org/The-Network.

HOMELAND Veteran Resources & Organizations

Veterans of the Navajo Nation who wish to connect with the Diné Naazbaa’ Partnership can call (928) 910-4225. Information about our affiliates in Atlanta (TheWarriorAlliance.org) and Orange County (OCGoodwill.org/Tierney-Center) are also available online.

Navigating the resources available to veterans can be confusing, but Homeland Magazine believes no veteran should have to go it alone. At Homeland Magazine you can find Veteran organizations and private nonprofits with resources for veterans that can help ease the process of attaining earned benefits, coping with the lasting effects of service-connected injuries and finding programs and services that meet your specific needs.

Seeking the right resources does not have to be a challenge, and by coming together as a community to bridge the gaps between local programs and national programs, we can empower veterans to build the postmilitary lives they have earned through their service.

About the Author Jim Lorraine is President and CEO of America’s Warrior Partnership, a national nonprofit that empowers communities to empower veterans. The organization’s mission starts with connecting community groups with local veterans to understand their unique situations. With this knowledge in mind, America’s Warrior Partnership connects local groups with the appropriate resources to proactively and holistically support veterans at every stage of their lives.

Visit Homeland today at

www.HomelandMagazine.com Homeland Magazine

Learn more about the organization at www.AmericasWarriorPartnership.org

A Veterans Magazine for Veterans by Veterans

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STRONG At 100 years old, DAV member continues serving fellow veterans

By Ashleigh Byrnes


n 2017, Ohio veteran Harlan Plummer was awarded DAV’s George H. Seal Memorial Trophy, which honors the best of thousands of remarkable men and women who serve in the Department of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service (VAVS) Program. In December 2019, Plummer—who is a veteran of World War II, as well as the wars in Korea and Vietnam—turned 100, and he is still racking up volunteer hours with DAV. At last count, he had accumulated more than 11,000 lifetime hours, 500 of which he logged since receiving the award in 2017. Plummer has volunteered through the VAVS Program for three decades in various capacities, including serving as a volunteer driver at the VA medical center in Chillicothe, Ohio, helping ensure veterans are able to access the health care they have earned. And while his devotion to veterans is clearly linked to his time in service, his volunteer spirit also seems to stem from his own experiences in childhood. “When I was 13 years old, I got hurt on a railroad track. I was in the children’s hospital for 13 months, and the doctors said I’d never walk and that I’d be in a wheelchair the rest of my life,” said Plummer.


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Army Air Corps and Air Force veteran Harlan Plummer holds a Congressional Record acknowledging his more than 11,000 hours and 30-plus years as a DAV volunteer.

“But I started walking. I went through three wars and two mothers-in-law,” he joked. “It just means an awful lot to me, to help and see people get back on their feet.” As DAV enters 2020 and looks to celebrate its centennial anniversary, it’s members like Plummer—a veteran of the Army Air Corps and Air Force who belongs to DAV Chapter 71 in West Union, Ohio—who are helping to define the legacy of the organization and set the bar for its future. “We can’t thank Harlan enough for his time and generosity over more than 30 years with DAV,” said DAV National Voluntary Services Director John Kleindienst. “His story should really inspire us all to dig a little deeper and see if there’s more we can be doing for the veterans in our communities.” While Plummer has boxes of plaques, awards and certificates he’s amassed over time, his efforts are all for the veterans. “That’s what keeps me going,” Plummer said, “these guys that really need help.” “Harlan has overcome health and family obstacles over the years, but always comes back to the mission he loves,” said DAV National Commander Butch Whitehead. “Volunteers like Harlan are truly the heart of DAV” ■

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

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

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Navy Hospital Ships Have History of Answering Nation’s Call By Andre B. Sobocinski Bureau of Medicine & Surgery The Navy hospital ships USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort are deploying to New York and Los Angeles to serve as referral centers for non-COVID-19 patients during the global pandemic. As the longest-serving hospital ships in continuous operation in U.S. history, the Mercy and the Comfort have long captured the public’s imagination due to their vast medical capabilities as floating hospitals. But in the storied history of the Navy’s hospital ships, stateside deployments during global pandemics remain uncharted waters. The USS Comfort serves as an ambulance ship, around 1918.

During the great influenza pandemic of 1918, the Comfort and the Mercy were each briefly stationed in New York, where they took care of overflow patients from the 3rd Naval District before returning to the fleet and sailing across the Atlantic Ocean. Along with the USS Solace, these ships ferried thousands of wounded and sick — including some with virulent cases of the flu — back to stateside facilities. Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, a host of Navy ships was sent around the country to serve as “station hospitals” for burgeoning naval bases. From the 1850s until the early 1860s, the supply ships USS Warren and USS Independence operated at Mare Island, California, until shore facilities were constructed. Decades later, the Navy employed the former gunboat USS Nipsic at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Washington, to serve as a predecessor to Naval Hospital Bremerton (Puget Sound). And from 1953 until 1957, the hospital ship USS Haven served as a station hospital at Long Beach, California, supporting medical activities in the 11th Naval District. Humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations have long been the clarion call for hospital ships. In March 1933 — following the devastating earthquake that hit Long Beach — the USS Relief sent teams of physicians and hospital corpsmen ashore to help treat casualties. Following the Loma Prieta earthquake in October 1989, the USNS Mercy — then moored in Oakland, California — provided food and shelter for hundreds of disaster victims.

Hospital ships have played pivotal roles in naval operations since the early days of the republic. During the Barbary Wars, Commodore Edward Preble ordered that the USS Intrepid be used as a hospital ship. The reconfiguration of this former bomb-ketch — a type of wooden ship that carried mortars as its primary armament — in 1803 marks the standard for almost all hospital ships used thereafter. To date, only the USS Relief was built from the keel up to serve as a hospital ship. All other ships — including the Mercy and the Comfort — were converted from other uses, whether as super tankers, troop transports or passenger liners. Whether it was the USS Red Rover transporting patients up the Mississippi to Mound Island, Missouri, during the Civil War or the USS Solace taking wounded Marines from Iwo Jima to a Guam hospital, ships have long served in the capacity of ambulance ships. 48

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Since 2001, USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy have taken part in some 19 humanitarian assistance and disaster response missions — such as U.S. Southern Command’s Continuing Promise medical exercise series and Operation Unified Assistance, the military response

Sailors prepare surgical equipment to be sterilized aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy, March 25, 2020.

to a 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean — and treated more than 550,000 patients. But of these missions, only two were stateside deployments. The Comfort was sent to New York City following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it deployed to the Gulf Coast, where it treated 1,258 patients at Pascagoula, Mississippi and New Orleans. Originally envisioned as a floating trauma hospital for the victims of the twin towers’ collapse after the 9/11 attacks, the ship’s mission changed when it became clear there were not the large numbers of injured expected. Vice Adm. (Dr.) Michael Cowan, Navy surgeon general in 2001, recalled that New York’s Emergency Management Office stated the city was being overwhelmed by the needs of the displaced and relief workers. “The island didn’t have facilities to support the firemen and rescuers and police digging through the rubble and sleeping on the hood of their engines,” Cowan said. “They were becoming dirty, going without water as they worked in harsh environments.” The city requested that the Comfort provide humanitarian services while docked close to the site. From Sept. 14 to Oct. 1, the Comfort provided hot meals, showers, beds and clean clothes to about 1,000 relief workers a day from its temporary home at Pier 92 in Manhattan. When commissioned on Dec. 28, 1920, the USS Relief could boast the same amenities as the most modern hospitals at the time: large corridors and elevators for transporting patients and fully equipped surgical operating rooms, wards, galleys, pantries, wash rooms, laboratories and dispensaries, as well as a sterilizing/disinfecting room, all with tiled flooring. The Mercy and the Comfort are no different in this regard and are comparable to some of the largest trauma hospitals in the United States. Each ship has 12 fully equipped operating rooms, a bed capacity of 1,000, and digital radiological services, medical laboratories, full-serve pharmacies, blood banks, medical equipment repair shops, prosthetics and physical therapy. Each emblazoned with nine red crosses and stretching 894 feet in length — the size of three football fields — the Mercy and Comfort remain powerful symbols of medical care and hope during the darkest times.

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For the first time in 70 years,

active duty can file medical malpractice claims

against the US Military

Until recently, active duty service members who were the victim of medical errors at military hospitals and other facilities did not share the same rights as their civilian counterparts to seek compensation for their losses due to medical malpractice. Signed into law on December 20, 2019, active duty military personnel and their next of kin can now file claims with the Department of Defense for death or personal injury caused by military medical providers. There is a strict time limit within which these claims must be filed or you will lose your right to seek compensation.

In return for honorably serving your county, you deserve quality care from VA medical providers. If, instead, you are treated negligently, the Federal Tort Claims Act allows you to recover damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, medical expenses and other damages.



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BIRTH INJURIES • DELAYED DIAGNOSIS OF CANCER • SURGICAL ERRORS ANESTHESIA ERRORS • MEDICATION ERRORS • SUICIDE Our team of attorneys will listen to your story and walk you through the process with compassionate and committed representation and advocacy. We are here to protect your family and find answers to your questions about what went wrong.



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You deserve a vision plan that focuses on you.

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

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

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

Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program


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

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

Insured by NCUA.

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

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

Download PTSD Coach to:

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


PTSD Coach is not meant to replace professional care.

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