Homeland Magazine August 2021

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Vol. 10 Number 8 • August 2021



What You Need To Know

Paws For Purple Hearts

Dog Days of Summer Tribute to Working - Service Dogs


Turning Military Skills into Business Acumen

Veteran Gives Wings

Careers In Law Enforcement

to Aspiring Pilots Battling the

Social Awkwardness Post COVID


PCS Penalty

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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.

Search “PTSD Coach”


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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

Jenny Lynne Stroup Real Talk: Mental Health

Vicki Garcia

Enlisted to Entrepreneur

CJ Machado

SD Vets & Homeland Photojournalist

Kelly Bagla, Esq. Legal Eagle

Tana Landau, Esq. Legally Speaking

Joe Molina

Veterans Chamber of Commerce

Eve Nasby


What’s Next - Transitioning

Amber Robinson Arts & Healing

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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Eva Stimson Veteran Advocate

Paul Falcone

Human Resources

Money Matters VA Lending & Personal Finance

Collaborative Organizations Wounded Warrior Project Rachel Bolles Disabled American Veterans American’s Warrior Partnership * Including National Veteran Organizations, Advocates & Guest Writers

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

(858) 275-4281 Contact Homeland Magazine at: info@homelandmagazine.com


INSIDE THIS ISSUE 6 Veteran Gives Wings to Aspiring Pilots 10 Dog Days of Summer 11 History of Service Dogs 12 Shelter to Soldier Veteran-Graduate 14 Helping Paws 18 Paws for Purple Hearts 20 Service Dogs - What You Need To Know 22 Real Talk: Permanent Change of Station 24 LENS: Social Awkwardness Post COVID 26 Battling the “PCS Penalty” 30 Military Skills into Business Acumen 32 What’s Next: Trust HOPE 34 HR - EQ Leaders Excel 36 Enlisted to Entrepreneur: The Power of Focus 38 The 8 Second Resume 40 Healthcare Careers - A Perfect Fit 42 Pet Custody Agreements 44 Arts & Healing - Artist Spotlight 46 Veterans Chamber - The Military Mom 52 Opportunities in Law Enforcement

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Veteran Gives Wings to Aspiring Pilots, Charts New Mission By Raquel Rivas

Jake Norotsky can get real with students in his aviation program because he’s been there. While still a senior in high school, he balanced schoolwork, a full-time job, and National Guard weekend drills five hours away. If any of Jake’s students show hesitation in achieving their dreams of flying high, Jake shares his own journey from disadvantaged student to flight instructor on Army Blackhawk helicopters. His passion and skills — including more than 2,000 flight hours — have been tested through hard work and perseverance. More recently, Jake’s lifelong focus on serving others turned his teaching into a calling. “When I communicate with students, I can empathize without pity,” Jake said. “When I speak to them, there’s credibility because I was a student with big dreams and only $3 in my pocket.”

“We were playing at departure events for other soldiers. I saw the look in their eyes and thought, man, I need to go.” When his time was up with the National Guard, Jake reenlisted in active-duty Army and worked hard to pursue his childhood dream of flying. His first Army job was helicopter mechanic. He learned everything there was to know about taking apart an engine and putting it back together – and he did it in the harsh Iraqi desert. He got noticed and was selected to be part of a Blackhawk helicopter crew, eventually flying missions and serving as an instructor. Jake came from an abusive home and took refuge with his brother and his sister-in-law his last year of high school. They helped provide stability and guidance. “I learned about family, found strength, and figured out who I was,” Jake recalled. “If it weren’t for my brother, Chris, and my sister-in-law, Lisa, I don’t know where I’d be.” Jake signed on with the Pennsylvania National Guard as a trumpet player while still in school. In between schoolwork and drills, he played trumpet in the Army National Guard Band. Over the next few years, he also played taps at many funerals. This experience helped him develop a strong sense of responsibility to serve - Suzanne Martinez his country. He realized he wanted to contribute more. 6

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While deployed to Iraq, Jake saw his share of fighting and medical evacuations. For years after leaving active duty, he wore a bracelet in remembrance of a fellow soldier who fought alongside him and died in his helicopter while being transported to a military hospital. The difficult experiences did not diminish his determination to serve.

“If I don’t go, somebody else has to,” Jake would tell himself. “Even when I came back from deployments and after I got out of the military, seeing others go off to war was difficult because I felt I should be there too.”

After Action

Jake used this opportunity to create a new aviation curriculum and incorporated drone flying into the lesson plans. In addition, he successfully pulled a group of highly motivated students into a drone demonstration team. Soon, they were choreographing drone shows and sharing their flight skills with the community.

After 14 years of active duty, Jake moved to Alabama to attend Auburn University and used his GI Bill benefits to continue pursuing his love of flying. Jakes’s military time made him comfortable in the cockpit of a small plane and he excelled at his flight training. He started teaching. He built a family life. But he knew there were things he was holding on to.

Flying in New Directions

“It wasn’t until I went to a Project Odyssey workshop with Wounded Warrior Project that I was able to start letting go — I had to let go of the soldier who passed in the helicopter, with the new understanding that letting go doesn’t mean forgetting,” Jake said. When Jake removed the memorial bracelet, a Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) teammate replaced it with a black WWP bracelet with the word “Service” inscribed in it. It was fitting. “My life has always been about service.” Soon after completing college courses, Jake achieved his instrument flying rating, accrued more flying hours toward his commercial rating, and found a new path to service. He was offered a job teaching young people aviation concepts, flight simulation, and drone flying at a private school near Auburn, Alabama.

Jake’s Army-tested perseverance and his ability to think outside the box inspired students to try something that had never been done before. Soon, Jake was tapped to teach more students around the region. Students in Jake’s “Intro to Drones” course had the chance to fly drones and learn most of the private pilot certification requirements. They organized into a 10-person team and manually flew the drones to background music. They were invited to headline a nighttime airshow in Florida. “I’m humbled to be able to help young people accelerate in their path to flight,” Jake said. “In most cases, students just need a little guidance figuring out how to reach their goals.”

“I’m humbled to be able to help young people accelerate in their path to flight.”

Continued on page 8 >

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“Managing PTSD is a lifelong process. I needed another outpouring of water to refill my cup. I learned 10 times more than I did the first time, and that helped move me to a place where I can help others.”

Jake prepares them to attain their pilot licenses and have that under their belts when they get to college. “I learned that I’m a teacher – that’s who I am as a person,” Jake said. To expand his teaching portfolio, Jake started consulting for other organizations and eventually decided to form his own business. He spent the summer offering one-day aviation camps and going into YMCAs in the region to teach young people the basics of aviation. He generously advises and shares his passion for aviation with students from all walks of life. “If anyone has questions about careers in the aviation industry, I try to help them find a pathway to do what they want to do,” Jake said. He also volunteers his time to help students and fellow veterans. “I think about the pathways that brought me here, and Wounded Warrior Project is such an integral part of that,” Jake said. “How could I not want to give back and share with others?” “Wounded Warrior Project helped me to see that there’s still a brotherhood out there — with men and women who served — that continues after the military. There is still a mission. ”In this phase of his life, Jake is tapping into new technologies while keeping his original purpose of serving others. “Through this new venture, I hope to continue answering the call to help others,” Jake said. “I love the challenge of continuously reinventing myself as the aviation industry changes. I also understand it’s important to stay energized.” To replenish his energy, Jake attended a second Project Odyssey — this time with a new perspective. “Managing PTSD is a lifelong process. I needed another outpouring of water to refill my cup. I learned 10 times more than I did the first time, and that helped move me to a place where I can help others.”

Learn more about WWP’s Project Odyssey and other WWP mental health programs to assist warriors on their journeys to successful transitions. 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. Learn more at https://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org 8

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“When I was first injured, Wounded Warrior Project promised they’d always be there for me and my family. And they always have been.” — WOUNDED WARRIOR BRYAN WAGNER

Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is commited to serving the post-9/11 generation of injured service members, ensuring they get the care, attention, and support they deserve. Our services in mental health, physical health, peer connection, career counseling, and financial wellness change lives — and warriors never pay a penny for these services.



Learn more at www.woundedwarriorproject.org


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Dog Days

of Summer “Everyone Why is this timethinks of year,they have the best dog. And none forty of them approximately daysare fromwrong.” early July to early September, referred to as the ‘Dog Days’ of Summer?

Many people believe the phrase “dog days of summer” stems from the fact that dogs tend to be a bit on the lazy side during the hottest days of summer. Of course, who can blame them? With that much fur, dogs that exercise during the hot days of summer can overheat easily. We have all heard the myths about Dog Days, most of which focus around our canine friends, which is why the old folks say this time of year is called Dog Days. Some of the myths are: Hunting dogs will not hunt, dogs go mad and foam at the mouth for no apparent reason, snakes go blind and strike at anything that comes near them, (dogs in particular), no use in going fishing because the fish will not bite, wounds and sores will not heal, if it rains on the first day of Dog Days, it will rain every day for the next 40 days, or the opposite-if it does not rain on the first day of Dog Days then it will not rain for 40 days, and the list of myths goes on. 10

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Sometimes myths are just myths. Handed down from generation to generation, but the real origination of this time of year being dubbed Dog Days, is based on a partial myth also. The term Dog Days was coined in ancient Rome, and was named after the star Sirius, the Dog Star, which is the brightest star besides the sun. It was thought that due to the rising and setting of Sirius at around the same time of the sun each day this time of year, that Sirius added its heat to the sun’s heat, thereby making the days hotter. Hence the term Dogs Days. Our modern day usage of the term has little to do with Sirius or his alleged wrath. We use the term Dog Days to refer to anything that is slow, lazy or languishing. I think the best way to appease the wrath of Sirius is to gather up my canine friends and find a hilltop breeze or go stagnate on the couch in front of the air-conditioning or maybe hit the beach and enjoy the cool ocean breeze.

THE HISTORY OF SERVICE DOGS Have you ever wondered about the first service dogs? Who trained them and what types of tasks did they perform? Were dogs considered “family members” as they are today? Or were they nothing more than tools? We thought it would be interesting to take a quick look at the history of service dogs and how their roles evolved over time.

As time went on, dogs became companions for autistic children and soldiers suffering PTSD. Today, a service dog can be trained for all manner of tasks.

DOGS AS COMPANIONS Nobody knows exactly when dogs and humans first forged their inseparable bonds. The oldest dog ever found was a perfectly preserved puppy found frozen in the permafrost in the Far East. Scientists estimate its age to be about 12000 years old.

• Recognizing the onset of seizures. • Notification of blood sugar issues. • Stability and many others. But, the role of the modern service dog wasn’t really defined until the American with Disabilities Act of 1990. That particular law was written to prohibit discrimination based on disabilities, but it also defined the rights of service dogs.

We know that Ancient Egyptians kept both cats and dogs and valued them enough to take them along into the afterlife. Dog mummies have been found from as early as the sixth century B.C. and in Peru, a burial place dating back to 900 A.D. holds individual plots for both dogs and their owners.

The ADA defines service dogs (or animals) as being TRAINED to perform tasks for a person with disabilities. They are not just companions, though they also fill that role. Service dogs are caregivers, nurses, and assistants.

The evidence is strong that dogs have played an important role in men’s lives for a very long time.

SERVICE DOG LAWS Today, the role of “service dog” has broadened to the point that new laws are required. Whereas it was once understood, that a service dog was trained to execute a specific task, people will now try to take untrained animals into public access areas. These dogs are often for emotional support as opposed to being trained to perform physical tasks.

EVIDENCE OF DOGS AS SERVICE ANIMALS When, though, did dogs first begin to help those with disabilities? One of the first known references to service dogs is found in Ancient Rome. Frescoes depict blind men being led by dogs and Ancient Chinese scrolls talk of the same.

For those who have invested time and money in their trained? service dogs, this can present a source of frustration.

In America, one of the first well-known seeing eye dogs made history in 1928. Buddy and his blind owner, Morris Frank, publicly demonstrated how his dog could guide the visually impaired by having him navigate a busy New York intersection. Since then, guide dogs have been publicly accepted and sought for those with vision problems.

HOW TO LEARN MORE ABOUT TRAINED SERVICE DOGS For anyone wanting more information on how to acquire a trained service dog or how you can train your own dog to become one, please feel free to contact us.

THE MODERN SERVICE DOG It wasn’t until the 1960’s that service dogs for those other than the blind began to be trained and recognized. For the hearing impaired, dogs could signal a crying baby, a telephone, or the sound of sirens.

White Mountain College for Pets (603) 536-4219 www.collegeforpets.com office@collegeforpets.com

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Shelter to Soldier Veteran-Graduate Dustin Potash Appointed Veteran Advocate and Case Manager By Eva M. Stimson In his newly appointed position as Shelter to Soldier (STS) Veteran Advocate and Case Manager, Dustin A. Potash (US Army), values how important it is to navigate through the application process for donated service dogs offered by the STS program to post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The challenges experienced by our veteran applicants are all too familiar for Dustin, and he utilizes his passion, understanding and desire to help other veterans continue to forge ahead, as he has done. Dustin welcomes this as an opportunity to help his fellow comrades, as he personally sought a solution through STS. Dustin is particularly qualified for his new position at Shelter to Soldier, having experienced the extensive training he went through during the process himself. He successfully graduated through the STS curriculum and was paired with his compassionate service dog, Nigel.

According to Dustin, “I joined the Army in 2002 and was training as an Artilleryman at Fort Sill, OK. My first duty station was at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. In 2003 I was deployed to Iraq during the first invasion. My job was to follow the infantry and shoot artillery rounds into enemy defenses so that the infantry could continue to move forward. Once we moved forward, we would drive through the destruction and saw firsthand the damage we caused. I did this for the entire year I was in Iraq. No one should be subject to the sights and events I witnessed while in war Later in my career, I would escort fallen soldiers to their hometowns as well as notify next of kin of their loved one’s death. During my twelve-year career, I always knew that something was off in me, but I could never talk about it or admit there was something wrong. I was taught in the military never to complain and learned very quickly how to hide and suppress my emotions. There was no outlet for me to talk about what was going on. All I knew was to put the left foot in front of the right and keep moving forward. Everyone has a breaking point and mine occurred in 2013. My mind and body just couldn’t take any more pain so I decided to leave the Military in 2014.

“If it weren’t for STS, I don’t know if I’d still be around… they are like an extended family for me”

Photo by: © Allison Shamrell Pet Photography www.AllisonShamrell.com San Diego, CA


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In 2013, I was diagnosed with PTSD with Major Depressive Disorder. During my last year in the military I started to see a therapist to address my symptoms. I was having panic attacks, nightmares, night terrors, hypervigilence, anxiety, and I was isolating from friends and family. It was very difficult for me to talk to someone who did not share the same experiences as I did. Finally, in 2014, I was honorably discharged from the Army and was now on my own to deal with my PTSD.

I was constantly on the tipping point of rage at everyone and everything that reminded me of the accident and my friend’s death. I started to have night terrors where I would wake up screaming two -to-three times per night. STS paired me with Riddler and it’s no exaggeration to say that he has made everything better. He literally watches my back for me when I can’t stand with my back against a wall. “

Now out of the military and away from any support, I had my first suicidal thoughts. I remember sitting in my car deciding if I was going to end my life to stop the emotional pain I was in. As I was sitting in my car contemplating suicide, I saw someone walking a dog and for a split second, it took my mind off my suicidal thoughts. As I followed them I noticed that they were walking into a shelter and I had a thought that maybe I needed a dog to be in my life. That’s when STS came to my rescue.”

Witnessing the hands-on affect that rescued, trained service dogs have on the lives of military veterans has motivated Shelter to Soldier executives, staff and board members to advance their mission of Saving Lives, Two at a Time™. Graham Bloem, Shelter to Soldier President explains, “What started as an idea has, thanks to our dedicated team, blossomed into a highly impactful program that is forever changing the lives of deserving shelter dogs and veterans who need our support. We are so proud of all that Shelter to Soldier has accomplished, from the small victories we see in training sessions, to the big life moments our veterans and service dogs experience together. This program is a small expression of gratitude that we can provide to these brave men and women who have sacrificed so much to protect our country.”

Dustin elaborates, “If it weren’t for STS, I don’t know if I’d still be around…they are like an extended family for me. I have had suicidal thoughts since 2013, but they helped me overcome these thoughts by pairing me with my wonderful therapeutic companion (STS service dog), Nigel. STS has been nothing but a positive resource in my life. I am extraordinarily grateful to my sponsor UNITE Hair and Shelter to Soldier for providing me with a new positive outlook on life. I think one of the most impressive characteristics of STS is that they initially contacted me within 24 hours of my inquiry…without a doubt, they are highly dedicated to helping veterans like me in desperate, immediate need. It is no exaggeration to say that they helped save my life.”

About Shelter to Soldier Shelter to Soldier is a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that adopts dogs from local shelters and trains them to become psychiatric service dogs for post9/11 combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or other psychological injuries.

Additional veterans have benefitted from transformative experiences through the STS program. Chris MeyerOntiveros, US Army and service dog Jade, “I have been diagnosed with severe and chronic depression, PTSD, and multiple traumatic brain injuries while in service. I had tremendous issues getting out of the house where the walls felt like they were closing in on me, including lots of anxiety, depression, night terrors every night and issues in social situations. Jade has had a tremendous impact on my life. I do not know if I would still be around today if it was not for her.”

Shelter to Soldier Co Founder, Graham Bloem is the recipient of the American Red Cross Real Heroes Award, 10News Leadership Award, CBS8 News Change It Up Award, Honeywell Life Safety Award, and the 2016 Waggy Award. Additionally, Shelter to Soldier is accredited by the Patriot’s Initiative.

Teri McConnell, USN (Ret.) elaborates on her STS journey with her service dog Riddler, “After returning home from deployment, things took a very downward turn for me. I lost a close friend onboard our ship while I was on watch during a collision.

www.sheltertosoldier.org To learn more about veteran-support services provided by STS, call 760-870-5338 for a confidential interview regarding eligibility.

Testimonial Video (Adam & Bash) - www.youtube.com/watch?v=ab0pjnPVtv8

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Canine Assisted Warrior Therapy Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy®is a unique therapeutic intervention. This Program focuses on creating opportunities for positive meaningful interaction with our service dogs in-training. Guided by our highly experienced Program Instructors, in partnership with professional therapists, Warriors get the chance to reinforce commands and behaviors that are vital for a service-dog-in-training. Paws for Purple Hearts improves the lives of America’s Warriors (Veterans and active-duty service members) facing mobility challenges and trauma-related conditions such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) by providing the highest quality assistance dogs and canine-assisted therapeutic programs; and by building public awareness about the important role dogs play in helping Warriors along the road to recovery.

They regain a sense of purpose in accomplishing a critical mission - training a life-long service companion for another comrade. Through this program, each dog will positively impact the lives of 40 – 60 Warriors.

At Paws for Purple Hearts, we train and place three different types of assistance dogs. Facility dogs can be found in a VA, DOD, or similar office visiting Veterans to bring joy throughout a facility. Specialist therapy dogs work with a clinician to improve the patients’ treatment. Finally, service dogs are trained specifically for a Warrior in-need. Service Dogs Our service dogs learn over 100 commands making them more than capable of serving the most demanding category of mobility impaired Warrior, a quadriplegiclevel patient. This provides the Military Caregiver dramatic respite and logistical relief because our dogs can carry out many routine, repetitive and physically demanding tasks that would otherwise have to be accomplished by the caregiver, including picking up dropped objects, retrieving items, opening refrigerator doors, assisting with undressing, switching lights and other devices on and off, opening and closing doors, providing assistance moving to and from wheelchairs, etc. We provide our dogs to Warrior recipients and their families, free of charge. This provides immediate and significant financial relief to the Warrior and to their Military Caregivers, as they are not burdened with bearing the cost of our service dogs in order to benefit from the services and companionship gained. This is a significant benefit given that it takes about $35,000 to raise a top-tier service dog. Our service dogs are also involved in programs throughout their training that help more Veterans other than the ones they are being placed with.


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Social Therapy Social Therapy uses the unique skills of our service dogs in-training to bring comfort and joy while reducing stress in the lives of America’s heroes. Versions of these programs are developed for both Veterans and active-duty service members. Our trainers and dogs will travel directly to our Warriors for this therapy or we host it directly at our sites. This interaction is also very imperative to our dog’s training, as this helps them learn positive interactions and gets them comfortable with meeting new people.

Meet one of our Warriors In January 2020, our San Diego site placed Ralph as a facility dog at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Clinic in San Jose, California. His handler, Lori, has enjoyed watching him excel in his environment where he improves the lives of Veterans through therapy and counseling sessions. Shortly after being placed, the pandemic hit so this affected the way that Ralph was able to interact and make contact with Veterans, but it was actually much more impactful than imagined. The pandemic was incredibly difficult on healthcare workers, so the staff began spending more time interacting with Ralph during their morning huddles and breaks. His loving and friendly nature gave them a dose of comfort and emotional encouragement while they were busy being healthcare heroes. “From the minute I walk into the clinic, people are asking to meet with him,” says Lori. We love to follow the success of our graduated dogs and hear the touching stories of all the lives that they impact. Watching Ralph has brought us overwhelming amounts of joy. Community Involvement In just three years, the San Diego team has hosted over 1,000 hours of Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy® for 147 Veterans and Service Members. What started as a small service dog training program from the home of two instructors has since evolved into a 10,000+ square foot facility providing therapy programs and assistance dogs for wounded Veterans. The San Diego team looks forward to continuing to improve the lives of America’s Warriors thanks to the generous support of our community. “It’s amazing to see how much we have grown and accomplished,” says Selah M., Senior Program Instructor. “I forget that just a few years ago, we were training service dogs from our homes and now we are in this huge facility with dozens of dogs, volunteers, and Veterans coming through our doors every week.” The dedication and loyalty of our community and supporters keeps Paws for Purple Hearts growing in the right direction. You can find out how to get involved by volunteering or donating on our website, www.pawsforpurplehearts.org Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @paws4ph or Text purplepaws to 707070 to donate today!

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FREE ASSISTANCE DOGS FOR VETERANS Our assistance dogs master more than 40 commands to assist veterans with disabilities with daily tasks. DONATE. APPLY. VOLUNTEER. cci.org/veterans info@cci.org 800.572.BARK


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Service dogs for: PTSD MST TBI For veterans from all wartime and peacetime eras

Next Step Service Dogs To donate or apply, please contact us at www.nextstepservicedogs.org carynn@nextstepservicedogs.org Office: (760) 607-9964

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Helping Paws

Helping Vets by Saving Pets No pet should cross the Rainbow Bridge too soon; especially because of money. That was imperative in Kal-El Prestel’s case because his dog dad is deployed to Africa. The Chocolate Lab is one of many pets Helping Paws has worked diligently to save the past two weeks. Since 2013, we have helped 2,668 dogs and cats and are proud to say all but a handful had a happy ending. This was the first time we were dealing with a superhero.

Just before that mournful decision, he found Helping Paws. His sister rushed Kal-El to Mohnacky Animal Hospital of Vista, which is a participating animal hospital. We immediately covered the cost of intensive treatment. Staff cradled his drooping head all day and closely monitored him. In what seemed like a miracle, Dr. Caitlin Sacco stabilized his heart rate, turned his vitals around and brought him back from the brink of death. “That is seriously so amazing, and it helps tremendously,” SPC. Prestel said. “I’ve been speechless with the support.” Kal-El was transferred to a clinic with overnight care, and we connected Prestel with additional resources. The pup proved true to his name and regained strength.

“Kal-El [is] the birth name of the coolest superhero ever, Superman, aka Clark Kent,” SFC Joshua Prestel explained. Helping Paws helps keep service members like Prestel united with their pets by providing low and no-cost veterinary care for troops and veterans in need. Without our 501(c)(3), a lot of military families would face the heartbreaking decision of premature relinquishment, or worse, economic euthanasia. Prestel is among our nation’s bravest as an elite Army Special Operations Civil Affairs soldier. In July, the people watching Kal-El could no longer care for him. Prestel paid to send him from the east coast to his sister in San Diego. What happened was harrowing. “After a nightmare experience with a pet shipping company by car, Kal had to be rushed to the emergency vet and was in critical condition,” he explained. Doctors suspect Kal-El was lacking food and water for days and likely suffered a heat stroke. He was bleeding out of both ends as organ failure sank its clutches in. One look at his desolate eyes, and death seemed imminent. “The medical expenses racked up extremely quickly,” he explained via email. “Into the 10s of thousands of dollars. I simply cannot keep him [in] the hospital any longer.” Euthanasia seemed inevitable, but losing his best bud without saying goodbye would be unbearable. Prestel & Kal-El 18

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He was standing and eating on his own, and his eyes beamed with life again. “He [seems to] be getting much, much better,” a hopeful Prestel reported. “I am hoping tomorrow night my family can take him home and start giving him love.” Doctors continued treatment. “[He] hasn’t kicked the pneumonia yet, but that is his only issue at this time thankfully,” Prestel explained.

ABOUT US Craig J. Mohnacky, DVM, started Helping Paws to give back to our veterans. We operate out of three animal hospitals in a county that’s home to the world’s largest military population. Many vets are plagued by post-war battles. Pets are a source of comfort for vets with Post Traumatic Stress, depression and anxiety. They have a way of unlocking the mental shackles of war. Some vets have said they would have ended their life without our help.

During the same time period, we helped save four gravely ill and injured pets whose families could not afford treatment. All veterans had been discussing euthanasia as the only option.


Prestel is also an Air Force veteran. He currently works with leaders to dismantle violent extremist organizations. They utilize negotiating skills, cultural awareness and foreign languages to help people. As the type of soldier who wears civilian clothes, Prestel knows a thing or two about a secret identity. He fights evil to protect vulnerable people caught in crisis zones, which we think seems reminiscent of a certain superhero.

”Hannah Jaime was so helpful with our case and made sure we got help for our fur baby. You really did save my fur baby's life, and we appreciate you so much.” -Nova’s Mom “Our family is so thankful for Helping Paws. If your pet is in need, and you're looking for your last chance this is it. We are so happy to have our baby home with us.” -Gunner’s Dad “I feel very fortunate, and the help couldn't have come at a better time. You and Helping Paws have saved the day.” - Arnee’s Dad

Kal-El’s super strength was no match for the pneumonia that infiltrated his lungs. Prestel recorded a voice message telling his four-legged son he loves him.


We accept cases like this knowing we might not be able to fundraise to recoup funds because our efforts are unwavering. Part of what makes us unique is that we do not turn animals away when the outlook is not good.

Interact with us on mediamedia Interact with ussocial on social Donate at www.facebook.com/helpingpawssandiego Give in-kind donations Give donations Be ain-kind corporate sponsor Be a corporate sponsor on AmazonSmile Give 0.5% of purchases Give 0.5% of purchases on AmazonSmile Leave your legacy by including us in your will Leave your legacy by including us in your will Join our Board of Directors Join our Board of Directors

Sadly, Kal-El is one of the pets we helped who crossed the Rainbow Bridge, but not because of money. This Winter, Prestel will return to a quiet home, but we helped give his boy his best shot at survival when he was rendered helpless. Until then, Prestel’s selfless Superman-esque mission of “Truth, Justice and the American way” continues despite his heartache.

The average case costs around $1,000. We rely on community support. Visit us at www.helpingpawssandiego.org

It is a life chock-full of sacrifice. Kal-El may have been Prestel’s hero, but Prestel is ours, and we will always fight to serve those who serve our country. Visit us at www.helpingpawssandiego.org Donate at www.facebook.com/helpingpawssandiego

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / August 2021


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

Service Dogs

And What You Need To Know Many people with disabilities use a service animal in order to fully participate in everyday life. Dogs can be trained to perform many important tasks to assist people with disabilities, such as providing stability for a person who has difficulty walking, picking up items, preventing a child with autism from wandering away, or altering a person who has hearing loss when someone is approaching from behind. The Department of Justice continues to receive many questions about how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to service animals. The ADA requires State and local government agencies, businesses, and non-profit organizations (“covered entities”) that provide goods or services to the public to make “reasonable modifications” in their policies, practices, or procedures when necessary to accommodate people with disabilities. The ADA defines a service animal as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability. Here are some frequently asked questions pertaining to service dogs: Q: Does the ADA require service animals to be professionally trained? A: No. People with disabilities have the right to train the dog themselves and are not required to use a professional service dog training program. Q: What questions can a covered entity ask to determine if a dog is a service animal? A: In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, staff may ask only two specific questions: 20

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1) Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? 2) What work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability. Q: Do service animals have to wear a vest or patch or special harness identifying them as service animals? A: No. The ADA does not require service animals to wear a vest, ID tag, or specific harness. Q: Does the ADA require that service animals be certified as service animals? A: No. Covered entities may not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal, as a condition for entry. Q: Can service animals be any breed of dog? A: Yes. The ADA does not restrict the type of dog breeds that can be service animals. Q: Can individuals with disabilities be refused access to a facility based solely on the breed of their service animal? A: No. A Service animal may not be excluded based on assumptions or stereotypes about the animal’s breed or how the animal might behave. However, if a particular service animal behaves in a way that poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, has a history of such behavior, or is not under the control of the handler, that animal may be excluded. Q: Can a person bring a service animal with them as they go through a salad bar or other self-service food lines? A: Yes. Service animals must be allowed to accompany their handlers to and through self-service food lines. Similarly, service animals may not be prohibited from communal food preparation areas, such as are commonly found in shelters or dormitories.

Q: Can hotels assign designated rooms for guests with service animals, out of consideration for other guests?

Go Legal Yourself ®

A: No. A guest with a disability who uses a service animal must be provided the same opportunity to reserve any available room at the hotel as other guests without disabilities. They may not be restricted to pet friendly rooms.

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Q: Can hotels charge a cleaning fee for guests who have service dogs? A: No. Hotels are not permitted to charge guests for cleaning the hair or dander shed by a service animal. However, if a guest’s service animal causes damages to a guest room, a hotel is permitted to charge the same fee for damages as charged to other guests. Q: When can service animals be excluded? A: The ADA does not require covered entities to modify policies, practices, or procedures if it would “fundamentally alter” the nature of the goods, services, programs, or activities provided to the public. Nor does it overrule legitimate safety requirements. If someone believes that they have been illegally denied access or service because they use service animals, they may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice. Individuals also have the right to file a private lawsuit in Federal court charging the entity with discrimination under the ADA.

Award-winning attorney, Kelly Bagla shows you how to avoid legal pitfalls FROM DAY ONE! The last thing an entrepreneur wants is to spend valuable time and resources on legal issues, which is why they often drop to the bottom of the pile. But this can be a COSTLY MISTAKE—and Go Legal Yourself is here to make sure it’s one you avoid. • • • •

For more information on how to legally start and grow your business please visit my website at www.BaglaLaw.com

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

Gather the right documentation Protect your brand Avoid expensive legal pitfalls Plan and manage growth competatively

Rest assured that no nasty legal surprises will stand between you and your success.


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Real Talk: Mental Health By Jenny Lynne Stroup, Outreach Coordinator for the Cohen Clinic at VVSD

Permanent Change of Station As summer draws to a close, so does the height of PCS (Permanent Change of Station) season. This summer, my family PCS’d for the first time in five years. What started as a ten-month assignment ended up spanning three commands and five years. For me, this PCS meant going back home - to the place where I was born and raised. I was and am excited about being back here. Yet, there was a lot I left behind - friends, community, my favorite spots to grab coffee, and the support systems I relied on to handle the stressors that come with military life, to name a few.

It’s easy, in the midst of the packing and the driving and the planning and the rush of the “new,” to forget that the weight of this change will come crashing in about the same time I finally find my good dishes, and that all of the things I left are the very things that helped me navigate the other changes and challenges that life often brings. About two weeks after most of the boxes are unpacked and we’ve settled into our new residence, I realize I’ve spent the majority of those nights on the couch with a pint of ice cream staring blankly at whatever show is on Netflix.

Taking Charge of Your Mental Health During PCS Season


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After several moves, I’ve learned that when I look up and realize I’ve spent most nights in a sugar coma that I am grieving the loss of what I had at our last duty station and it’s time for me to put into practice the things that ease the pain of what was and begin to fully live here. Some of those things and practices include: • Routine - Creating a plan for the day helps me settle into my new place. I often get so caught up in the boxes and finding a place for everything that I forget that I function best with a regular routine. • Rituals - My morning ritual includes reading and writing, exercising, and a cup of coffee after breakfast. At night, I wash my face, brush my teeth, then read for 30 minutes before turning out the light. • Going outside - Whether it’s taking a break from unboxing to enjoy the new neighborhood pool or to tend to my little container garden, being outside in the sunshine always helps me not get stuck in the fog loss. • Get involved - I find I am at my best when I am with others, when I feel that I belong. Joining a local church, finding a summer camp for my children, and joining a gym are some of the places I go to plug into community. • Ask for help - Before I left our last duty station, I asked my support system - my therapist, my doctor, my friends - if they had any recommendations for similar services at my new duty station. Though PCS means a permanent change of station this “permanent” change is only temporary and the next one will be on the horizon before we know it and I can once again take charge of my mental health by using the practices above.

Jenny Lynne Stroup serves as the Outreach Coordinator for the ​Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Veterans Village of San Diego​. www.vvsd.net/cohenclinicsandiego The Cohen Clinic at VVSD is one of 19 mental health clinics nationwide under nonprofit Cohen Veterans Network​(CVN) which focuses on providing targeted treatments​for a variety of mental health challenges facing post-9/11 veterans and military families, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, transition challenges, and more. To learn how therapy can help with mental health challenges, visit www.vvsd.net/cohenclinicsandiego

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A Different Lens Mental Health Monthly By RanDee McLain

Social Awkwardness Post COVID What was that first interaction with someone outside your immediate family like after COVID? Did you go in for that awkward fist bump/ hug/handshake/ elbow tap? What do we do, what is the other person ok with? I am a hugger by nature but also want to be cautious as well as respectful of others. I have seen people just go right in for big hugs and not care and others who still are reserved understandably. I remember my first real hug outside of my family. It was an in-person board meeting and we had all been vaccinated and taken safety precautions. I must say that first real hug was amazing. I forgot how much that physical interaction was missing from my life. It is not only that first physical interaction that has been weird. It is social awkwardness in professional settings. Recently, we were booking a venue for an upcoming venue and the staff member of the venue was acting like he had never worked around other professionals in his life. You would have thought we were talking in some dark bar…….his language was very colorful. I am a sailor and that is saying something. He was trying to secure a deal, yet every other word was a F bomb. I thought to myself -has this man talked to another human in the last 15 months?

When I see things like this I jokingly say- oh that’s COVID brain. Covid brain to me is when we forget all the social norms and revert to these awkward social interactions. Believe me there are some social norms we can all agree can go away forever – but that is a different column for a different day. Another odd social event I saw recently was on a plane. Pre- COVID, I traveled about 2-3 times a month for work and pleasure. Anyone who travels knows the social etiquette of deplaning an aircraft. Recently, I was flying cross country and the plane landed at our destination. The second the aircraft touched down at least 20 people from the back of the plane pushed forward to the front. I was concerned at first not understanding what was going on…. but it literally was just a group of entitled/ impatient people that felt they needed to get in front of everyone. It was bizarre. Did we forget how to interact with others and show common decency? The last 15-18 months have been difficult on everyone. Some more than others but it something that has forever changed our lives. These awkward social interactions are small things, but we are all figuring out how to live in this post COVID world. We are figuring it out together. A Couple Tips: • Physical interactions - ask! If you want to hug someone, ask if they are ok with it. If not -respect that! (ummm….we should have always done this!). • Language - Be polite and courteous, use language appropriate for setting and audience. • Dress - ok PJs in the house all day is one thing; if you are going to an office……leave the PJs at home. Lastly, I reiterate this has been a hard time for everyone. Be kind, be patient and understanding of each other. We have made it through a lot and deserve a little grace with each other as we figure it all out. Recently, we talked about change and how difficult it may be for some of us. Stay tuned- I have a big announcement next month and look forward to sharing with all of you! Stay healthy and happy!


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Battling the

‘PCS Penalty’ Permanent changes of station make unemployment among military spouses too common By Bryan Lett


oday, more than 605,000 active-duty military spouses face unique challenges while trying to find and build their own careers. The frequency of military moves can create significant gaps in their resume, limit their professional networks and limit the geography of their job search. A 2019 Defense Department study found that 22% of military spouses were unemployed. In contrast, this past March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an unemployment rate of 6% for all other Americans. This challenging professional environment for military spouses requires flexible thinking and unique solutions. “When someone on active duty is relocated to a new duty station, it is often for career advancement,” said DAV National Employment Director Jeff Hall. “For their spouse, that means uprooting their career and possibly needing to go through a new state’s license or certification requirements. They need all the help they can get.” Colette Stein, an active-duty spouse, knows all too well the impact a change in her husband’s career


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plan can ultimately have on her own. She met her husband while attending the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, but before she could graduate, he joined the Army. He would soon be stationed across the country in North Carolina. “We did the long distance thing for a while,” Stein said. “But when I graduated in 2018, I decided to make the move to North Carolina.” While fending off her own feelings of frustration during her career search, Stein worked as a server for a period of time before doing some freelance work to keep her professional skills sharp. Then, she attended a virtual DAV career fair in November 2020. “I saw an opportunity in Winston-Salem for a journalist and I went for it,” said Stein. She was hired in February by NBC affiliate WXII Channel 12 as a multimedia journalist and hasn’t looked back. “There are opportunities out there,” Stein said. “Don’t be afraid to attend these events. We should be

According to

aggressive and put ourselves out there. I was impressed that it was offering career jobs. We have to use all of the resources available to us, and these career fairs are one of them. It got me a job in television.” According to a 2017 report from Hiring Our Heroes, “Military Spouses in the Workplace,” nearly every military move forces an average of four to six months of unemployment for the spouse. Some people, including Maj. Paul Kearney, have started using the term “PCS penalty” to refer to the lost wages caused by permanent changes of station. Kearney is an active-duty Army Strategist and Wargaming Strategist at the Center for Army Analysis. In an article for Army War College’s War Room Journal, Kearney noted that taking just a month off work can result in the forfeiture of over four times the amount of lost salary, factoring in the value of employee benefits, savings or investments, and decreased future earning power. “Like many American families, military families want or need two incomes,” said Hall. “It can impact the quality of life for children, complicate a service

a 2017 report from Hiring Our Heroes, “Military Spouses in the Workplace,” nearly every military move forces an average of four

Colette Stein attended a DAV virtual career fair and landed a job as a multimedia journalist in North Carolina, where her husband is stationed.

to six months of unemployment for the spouse.

member’s transition out of the military, and can impact a spouse’s overall feelings of fulfillment and satisfaction with their personal ambitions and accomplishments.” Abbey Ehn has been an active-duty military spouse for more than a decade. Eight moves in nine years resulted in the pursuit of five different career paths before she found her calling. She is a co-founder of MilSpo Academy, an eight-week program designed to train military spouses in recruiting, business development, digital marketing and customer success.

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Do’s and Don’ts for Displaying Old Glory BY SUSAN H. LAWSON


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


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




Support. Inspiration.


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

Resources & Articles available at:


The colors of gratitude


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“Work needs to be portable. Spouses want flexible, remote positions. ... Just like anyone else, they want something they can maintain.” —Abby Ehn, co-founder of MilSpo Academy

“Work needs to be portable,” Ehn said. “Spouses want flexible, remote positions. We need to make sure that our training gives them what they need to find an entry-level position where advancement is possible so they don’t have to keep finding new jobs every time they move. Just like anyone else, they want something they can maintain.”

becoming creators, innovators and entrepreneurs. DAV has partnered with PBC on events to support business owners. “I think most military spouses get to the point that I call ‘the intersection,’” Pilcher said. “It’s when they realize many jobs just aren’t conducive to their lifestyle and they are staring down different roads while trying to decide their next move. I think this is when many decide to try Military Spouse Unemployment something different.” Pilcher and the military spouse 2019 national unemployment, community also see an opportunity U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics where many businesses struggled to adapt over the last 18 months: unemployed in 2019 working remotely. “What we have seen at PBC is a lot of the spouses who had started their average time spent own business out of their home were searching for a job the best prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic,” Pilcher said. “They were used to not being able to plan too far Jen Pilcher, a military spouse, has a master’s degree out, and most were already working in remote settings in speech-language pathology. It’s one of many areas of with remote employees.” expertise that require a state license in order to practice While the coronavirus may have inadvertently legally and earn a living. helped military spouses by forcing companies to “I moved three times in five years and needed a new think differently about how they staff their teams, license each time,” said Pilcher. “It becomes expensive one thing that remains true is the continued need to and time-consuming to pursue. It would take three to study, track and promote employment resources for six months to even get the license to start looking for the military spouse. n work. By the time I would get the state license, it was Learn More Online time to move again.” To learn more about the resources available Pilcher ultimately decided that entrepreneurship through Patriot Boot Camp and MilSpo Academy, was her path forward. She is now the CEO of Patriot visit patriotbootcamp.org and careerdash.com/ Boot Camp (PBC), whose mission is to amass milspoacademy. A complete listing of DAV career an inclusive community that advances military fairs is available at jobs.dav.org. members, veterans and military spouses toward



20 weeks


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Veteran Entrepreneurship Forum | Turning Military Skills into Business Acumen By Joshua Wilson, Corporate Relationship Manager, America’s Warrior Partnership Selecting a civilian career can be a daunting task for service members as they prepare to transition to post-military life. The business world offers a plethora of opportunities for veterans to turn their military and leadership skills towards founding and managing a company. The challenge is understanding how to get started. Thankfully, there are many successful veteran-owned businesses that today’s service members can look to for inspiration and guidance. Take Charlynda Scales, the founder of Mutt’s Sauce, which makes multi-purpose specialty condiments for every meal. Ms. Scales served in the Air Force, following in the footsteps of her beloved grandfather, Charlie “Mutt” Ferrell, Jr. In addition to sharing a legacy of military service, Ms. Scales learned her grandfather’s special recipe for making a sauce that was the highlight of every party he hosted for friends and family. After finishing her service in the Air Force, Ms. Scales decided to bottle her grandfather’s sauce and share it with others. Thus, Mutt’s Sauce was founded and has grown into a successful veteranowned business. Ms. Scales will share her story and advice for fellow entrepreneurial veterans during her keynote speech at the Veteran Entrepreneurship Forum on Thursday, August 19, 2021, from 2:30 – 5:30 p.m. EST. Hosted by Fiserv and America’s Warrior Partnership, this free-to-attend virtual event will focus on issues, needs, and potential collaborative solutions to empowering veteran-owned small businesses. The goal is to enable attendees to leverage their military skills and tap into their relationships to run strong, successful companies. America’s Warrior Partnership and Fiserv share a desire to empower entrepreneurial veterans by providing useful resources, meaningful connections, and lasting business solutions.


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Meg Hendricks, Senior Director, Head of Military and Veterans Affairs for Fiserv states, “We know the great value veterans bring to the workforce and believe that helping them grow their businesses isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s also good business.” In addition to Ms. Scales’s keynote presentation, the Veteran Entrepreneurship Forum will feature two panel sessions focused on the topics of “Empowering Veteran Entrepreneurs” and “What I Wish I Knew When I Started My Business.” Speakers will include representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans & Military Families (IVMF), as well as founders and CEOs of successful veteran-owned businesses, including Dog Tag Bakery, Bunker Labs, Applied Leadership Partners, Norie Shoes, and Equal Footwear, Semper Sanitize, Objective Area Solutions, and Ms. Jo’s Petite Sweets. These business experts represent a wide breadth of potential industries where veterans can find success, from the culinary arts and apparel to manufacturing and leadership training. The event will also feature a breakout session for attendees to participate in round table discussions with business experts, connecting veteran business owners, entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, nonprofit advocates, and government resources. Visit www.americaswarriorpartnership.org/cviforum for FREE, virtual event information and to register.

Entering the civilian workforce may seem overwhelming, but just as service members rely on their brothers- and sisters-in-arms in the military, veterans can also learn from fellow entrepreneurs who have started successful businesses.


About the Author

About America’s Warrior Partnership America’s Warrior Partnership (AWP) is committed to empowering communities to empower veterans.

Joshua Wilson is the Corporate Relationship Manager for America’s Warrior Partnership. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, where he served as an Aviation Ordnance Team Leader in Iraq, Africa, and various locations in the United States. Joshua collaborates with corporate partners to ensure that veterans in the workplace are educated and have access to the benefits they deserve.

AWP fills the gaps between veteran service organizations by helping nonprofits connect with veterans, their families, and caregivers. Our programs bolster nonprofit efficacy, improving their results and empowering their initiatives. www.americaswarriorpartnership.org | @ AWPartnership | #awpartnership

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WHAT’S NEXT Transition to Civilian Life By Eve Nasby & Kristin Hennessy

Trust HOPE and Manifest your Mindset “I got this,” he said as he pushed himself back from his desk feeling a mixture of hope and frustration. “I did it then, and I can do it now. It can’t be any tougher than what I’ve already gone through.” He remembered having just graduated high school at 18. Many were preparing for the next phase of college life. But, his Mom didn’t have any money for him to attend college. He felt his only option was to enlist, so he did. Two years later, at age 20, he met his bride. By 26, he had 3 kids. The next 25 years were spent traveling the world, taking orders, executing missions and proving himself. He and his family were used to living on the government’s dime. But, then the time came where he had to do something seemingly harder than all of that. Look for a job. You Know More than You Think You Do He’d spent more than half of his life in the military, and realized that the military culture and processes were all he knew. He was overcome with feeling a loss of purpose, an unclear mission, and a lack of vision and insecurity. The idea of his next phase of life was starting to haunt him. He felt so valued in the military, and now he didn’t know his value. This is familiar when transitioning. Change is unfamiliar. There are some tried and true tips that have helped those in transition do so successfully. Much like any mission, there are phases, mindsets and steps to follow. Let’s keep this one simple with an acronym: HOPE. Following the simple HOPE method will keep you focused. 1. Help from your network. Oftentimes we think of a network as something that is already formed. Other people seem to have one, and it seems too late to start now. It’s overwhelming to think all of a sudden you have to attend events to get a network, or start randomly connecting with people on LinkedIn. Then it’s supposed to happen? 32

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The truth is you have a very strong network already. Hundreds of thousands have gone before you in this transition phase, and many of those are in your immediate network. You also have connections with those who have transitioned out within the last few years. Begin there, along with your immediate friends and family. Break it down. Each relative and friend has a job, and an opinion about their job and workplace. Ask them about their work! Try to take interest in their company and ask questions. “What’s the culture like? What kind of roles do they have?” Look on their careers page and see if there is a role that you may be interested in. If so, apply. Then, ask your friend or relative who works there to send in a recommendation for you. If you’re interested in the company but don’t see a relevant role open, still have them make the soft introduction. From there, you can follow that up with a request to the Hiring Manager or HR Contact person for an ‘informational interview’. This is how you start to build your network. If you’re not granted an interview, simply ask them who else they know that may be looking to fill a role with your skills. No one is a stranger in the networking business. As you keep asking around and telling people you are looking for work and have just transitioned out, you’ll be surprised how many people want to help you succeed. 2. Own your shortcomings. These are shortcomings that are normal. You are not a professional resume writer. But it’s easier than you think to find someone to help you write your resume for free. Look for free military resources, or even a friend who’s skilled in that area. You are not a professional interviewer. You weren’t handed a rifle to fire without training, so you also wouldn’t be expected to know the interview tips and tricks without training. There is a tried and true formula to keep you on track and outperform your competition. We have many previous articles on the STAR Format. In short, it means to answer questions in the format of 1) Explain the Situation you were in. 2) Tell what Task you needed to perform. 3) State what Actions you took to perform the task and 4) State what the Results were.

3. Plan ahead. This means, prepare all aspects of life! Get your house in order before you transition. Work on a budget. Expect not to land a job right after you get out. Financial stress on families after transition is real and pretty common. Start researching the geographical area you want to ultimately live in with your family and identify great companies that you may want to work with. Think of your kids and transitioning them out of school. Think of your family network to support you in your transition, and plan accordingly. 4. Expect great things to happen. This may sound cliche, but it’s not. A good friend and mentor, Richard Marks, is an Army veteran turned Facilitator, Keynote Speaker, Performance Coach & Author of “The Empowerment Series Volume I & II. Richard will teach you that you must tell yourself to “Expect great things to happen.” When you put yourself in this mindset, you’re manifesting it. Richard even gives out bracelets with this message stamped on it so the message can’t be overlooked. He speaks it, lives it and believes it. And you can, too. Your attitude will determine your altitude. Whether or not you think you can or can’t, you are right. Learn what you Love, Learn what you don’t. Your new mission is to find a job that will support your family and allow you to grow as a professional. Train yourself as you were trained in the service. If you are a reader, read books or articles on business or an industry that interests you. If you prefer watching videos, search for those types of videos on YouTube videos. Allow yourself to become a student of your search, and seek out mentors to help you along the way. They will. Should you or someone you know feel overwhelmed by the transition, reach out for help. The veterans crisis hotline is available 24/7. www.veteranscrisisline.net

Need help with your resume or interviewing skills? Reach out to Eve at: eve@bandofhands.com



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HUMAN RESOURCES Transition to Business By Paul Falcone

EQ Leaders Excel Because of Their Heightened Self-Awareness Emotional intelligence is discussed heavily in the private sector. It rests upon a foundation of trust and empathy for others. Business leaders known for having high “EQs”—emotional quotients—do more than listen; they care. They hear with their eyes in addition to their ears and walk in others’ shoes readily and without judgment, thereby making more thoughtful and deliberate decisions. They’re known as excellent communicators and leaders who overcome challenges and defuse conflict. EQ leaders recognize that social skills are as, if not more, important than raw intelligence because effective leadership requires getting things done through others—not despite them. Simply stated, emotional intelligence permits leaders to embrace nuances of human emotion in the workplace and can have pragmatic benefits, such as better collaboration among teams, greater creativity and innovation, and a happier, lighter culture. EQ can be taught and improved, which is why emotional intelligence represents one of the hottest trends in leadership development strategy today. Leaders known for possessing high levels of EQ are self-aware and often have a reputation for creating friendly and inclusive work environments, recognizing and sharing their own shortcomings and limitations, making themselves vulnerable (in a healthy sense) in an effort to build trust, letting go of mistakes and forgiving easily, neutralizing toxic personalities, and being good judges of character. What might this look like in practical terms? EQ leaders pride themselves on being coaches and mentors to their team members, they believe in establishing goals and celebrating successes, and they constantly look to make room for staffers on their schedules to listen empathically and share wisdom.


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They recognize that motivation is internal, and while they can’t motivate others directly, they can create a work environment in which others can motivate themselves. in short, they come from gratitude and selflessness and embrace and inspire others by paying it forward.

President John Quincy Adams famously stated, “If your actions inspire people to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, than you are a leader.” Commit to growing people and developing their talents. Enforce a performance culture that provides realistic developmental feedback to help others increase their self-awareness and prepare for their next move in career progression—whether at your organization or elsewhere. Help others codify their achievements and identify meaningful opportunities for growth. Hold others accountable to the highest standards of performance and conduct—not just for the sake of the organization but for their own professional development. Most important, have others’ backs. You’re the first domino. You need to demonstrate role model leadership so that others can emulate your example and respond in kind. Teach what you choose to learn. When in doubt, err on the side of compassion. Put others’ needs ahead of your own and expect them to respond in kind. Self-reflect on questions like these: Would you want to work for you? If the whole company followed your lead, would you be happy with where you took it? Whatever you want for yourself, give to another. The business world doesn’t need to be a shark tank. Create your own reality as you wish to live your life and experience your career. Authenticity, respect, and inclusion are your goals, tools, and opportunities. Use them to enrich people’s lives and build stronger, better organizations. You’ll likely find that others will gladly follow your lead and pass along your gifts to future generations.

IQ + EQ = Success You can connect with Paul on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/paulfalcone1

Paul Falcone (www.PaulFalconeHR.com) is a human resources executive and bestselling author on hiring, performance management, and leadership development.


WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / August 2021



The Power of Focus Everyone wants to be successful in life. Whether it’s a business, pursuing your passion, your career, or building a family. Without the desire for success, humans cannot exist and thrive. While success is not an uncommon term to many, only a few people have really benefited from the sweet taste of a career or building a business. What’s their secret? The ability to focus.

It’s quite frustrating, right? You meticulously wrote down these tasks, knowing that each step brings you closer to your success. But if you can’t finish a single task, how long before you reach your success? Or will you even reach it if you are stuck on the same task and stagnant for years? This is one of the main reasons why people settle for less and give up on their ambitions.

According to a 2000 study conducted by Microsoft, an average individual has an attention span of 12 seconds. It was supported by a study by the Technical University of Denmark, suggesting that short attention span is caused by information overload.

It’s time to take control of your life and get what you want. No matter how ambitious it is, you can get anything you want with the power of focus.

The more we are surrounded by information, the more we feel overwhelmed. As a result, none of the tasks we wrote on our to-do list get accomplished.

The ability to focus is a thinking skill that must be developed to avoid procrastination and keep your attention and efforts applied to a certain task until it is completed.

To improve your focus, there are elements that you need to master first. But before that, let’s get to know the different sources of distractions in our lives. According to Daniel Goleman in his book Focus: The Hidden Power of Excellence, there are two sources of distractions that can disrupt your focus. The first is the sensory distractions that come from things that are happening around you. The second is more abstract…the emotional distractions… which come from your inner voice, the thoughts about the circumstances that are happening in your life, your fears, and your self-talk.

The Power of


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5 Key Elements to Keeping Focused


1. Create a Focus Driven Environment The environment you are working with plays a huge role in how you are able to focus on one task without getting distracted. If you sit in a cluttered room and decide to work on something, chances are, you’ll end up getting distracted by the things inside the room.


2. Stop Multi-Tasking Your brain goes a little haywired when you multitask. There is no clear direction of what you are supposed to do. Sure, it’s fun. But then you’re exhausted. Hence, it’s crucial to practice single-tasking. It can help to pin down your focus, concentrate on what you are doing, and improve your work performance. 3. Limit Who Has Access to You This includes the kids if you work at home and the cat who is walking on your keyboard. Stop checking your email obsessively. Turn off the phone. Put a sign on your door saying “Stay Out - Focus in Process.” In time it will become a habit.


Transitioning out of the Military into the Civilian Workforce?

4. Take a Real Break Being focused doesn’t mean depriving yourself of a much-needed break. You need to take multiple breaks in a day so you won’t strain your eyes and get stuck on something because you’re feeling overwhelmed. Scrolling your Facebook feed or checking out how many likes your recent tweet got is not a real break. You need to stand up, drink water, stretch, or maybe take a walk outside.

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

5. Control Your Technology Most people blame their lack of focus on technology. The rise of smartphones, emails, news, and 24/7 access to information has shortened our attention spans. Instead of making our lives easier, technology has destroyed so many opportunities because people let themselves be distracted by it.

Veterans In Transition is dedicated to you and to helping you succeed in your transition.

Speaking of technology, there are many online apps that can help. I use evernote.com. which has recently added the ability to list tasks. I find checking off tasks done very rewarding. But then, that’s just me.

For editorial & monthly columns regarding transitioning to business, career advice, tips, workshops, transition to education, entrepreneurship, straight-forward legal tips for military and veteran business owners and more, Visit our website at: www.tinyurl.com/Veterans-In-Transition

Vicki Garcia is the Co-Founder of Operation Vetrepreneur & the owner of a marketing firm for over 30 plus years.


She is the author of Focus Power, which can be found on Amazon.com at https://tinyurl.com/yxr74vc5t along with several other of her books for entrepreneurs.


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8 Second Resume

By, Janis Whitaker, VetCTAP Executive Director

Job seekers spend multiple hours creating the “perfect resume”. Ever wonder how important that resume is in catching the eye of a company or hiring manager? In our workshop series, our facilitators and coaches emphasize the following tips. Will your resume make it to the “yes pile” or the “no pile”? Recruiters spend an average of 8 - 10 seconds looking at each resume initially! And, most of that time may be on the top portion of your first page. They will skim the pages looking for key information (particular skills, degrees, certifications, and experience) and if these key words or important information doesn’t catch their attention, they will move to the next resume without a second thought. Oops, your resume goes into the “no pile”. Imagine, eight seconds! If you do capture their interest, they will then spend an additional 1-2 minutes looking for other important aspects about your job history such as significant accomplishments and career progression. If you make it that far, you have passed the 8 second resume test! Hurray, the “yes pile”. Most Human Resources professionals, hiring managers, and recruiters will not read a resume over two pages long, no matter how good it looks at first glance. They just don’t have time to read all that information. Instantly, it goes into the “no pile”. These experts have hundreds of resumes to review and limited time to do so. Resume screeners love bullet points and short phrases describing what you have achieved in your professional positions. Spend a lot of time developing this area and highlight significant accomplishments in your positions, not just the tasks you performed.


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Did you know there are “pet peeves” in the hiring industry? Here are a few that are on the top of the list. One or more of these could land your resume in the “no pile”. • A resume that is generic (customize each resume precisely for the job you are seeking), • Spelling or grammar errors (double check and/or have someone else review it), • Military jargon that is not explained (best to leave military jargon out and use equivalent corporate language), • Inconsistent formatting (keep headers, indenting, bullets, and sub-headings consistent), • Font size too small (12 pt. type minimum) • Work dates that don’t make sense (chronological resumes should show dates in order with no gapsmost recent first), • Not enough ‘white space’ on the page (margins and spacing make a resume easier to read). Recruiters spend much of their day looking at resumes whether it is on the computer or on paper. Make your 8-second resume stand out by developing a document that is easy to scan, simple to read, and includes bullets to highlight your significant accomplishments. Good luck and we hope to see you in the “yes pile”. Find out more about our Veteran Career Transition Workshop Series at www.vetctap.org


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WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / August 2021


Healthcare Careers: A Perfect Fit for Military and Civilian Life By Stephanie Lee, Air Force Veteran & Enrollment Manager, CareerStep Sometimes, the sense of division between life in the military and life as a civilian feels like a vast chasm. In fact, for military families, this sense of division joins a long list of challenges that specifically impact the men and women who sacrifice so much for the country. These challenges couldn’t be more apparent than when it comes to finding a post-military career or one that is flexible enough to align with military spouses’ unique needs—a career that checks all the right boxes: satisfaction, security, and stability. Finding industries and employers that understand the skills of veterans and their families can seem like an uphill climb at times, and it shows. For example, the unemployment rate for veterans rose to 6.5% in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Reasons for this vary, but one contributing factor could be that lessons learned under the harsh conditions of combat don’t always translate to private-sector jobs. And for military spouses—60% of which say they’re looking for full- or part-time work—finding a profession that’s both portable and in-demand is increasingly difficult.

However, there is hope and there are opportunities. First, it’s important to consider key reasons why a career in healthcare—the fastest-growing sector in the U.S. economy according to BLS data—might just be what bridges that expansive gap between military and civilian life. 1. Meaningful Work Most who enter the military are looking for fulfilling work—an opportunity to make a difference. A real difference. But few civilian careers allow veterans to make as much of a difference as those found in healthcare. That’s because working in this particular field, regardless of the role, provides the opportunity to impact peoples’ lives in profound ways. From mending wounds and healing minds to saving lives, the difference healthcare workers make is undeniable. 2. Transferable Skills There’s a reason healthcare is an overwhelmingly popular career choice for veterans and their spouses: it’s an industry in which military-specific skills are undeniably relevant. Creative problem solving, adaptability, and effective communication—they’re all valuable skills that healthcare organizations can’t ignore if they want to provide the best possible service and care to their patients. And they’re all skills that veterans and their spouses already possess. 3. In-Demand Careers People need healthcare. In turn, the industry needs people willing to step up to the proverbial plate.


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Healthcare Training For Your Next Phase of Life

Economic and labor experts believe we need to hire 2.3 million new healthcare workers by 2025 if we’re going to keep pace with the needs of our aging population. But a persistent shortage of skilled workers with exceptional knowledge and training means hundreds of thousands of positions will remain unfilled. Home health aides, medical assistants, lab technicians, and more are all in high demand. 4. Portable Jobs For a working military spouse, it can be difficult to cultivate a strong professional network, and when the time comes to pack up and move to a new city, the wrong vocation can leave even the most talented pro scrambling to start over. That’s why job portability is so important. Healthcare training provides the skills and certifications that employers are looking for in highgrowth, high-demand fields in virtually every city in the entire world. Supportive Training for Success These days, there are multiple training options for learners to pave their road to success. These organizations often have hiring network relationships, so it’s important to keep in contact and inform them when certification is achieved. It’s especially important for members of the healthcare sector to be fully qualified and properly trained. An early step is to start by choosing a specific discipline and then find a provider that can help learners develop the concrete job skills employers are looking for.

Our online training programs are approved for military education funding—all designed to help military members and their spouses build skills and thrive in careers that are portable, in-demand, and rewarding.

The good news is that there’s a significant amount of trusted providers who specialize in transforming entrylevel learners into high-performing, certified healthcare professionals. And they all do this with expansive catalogs of fully online career training programs that are fast, portable, and eligible for military education grants—often covering up to 100% of the cost.

Start training today so you can be prepared for meaningful work tomorrow.

Finding the right fit takes a little time and it is important to explore the possibilities. Doing the research is crucial as it can improve the learning experience—and potentially lead to faster employment. Deciding to pursue a career in healthcare is a fulfilling and viable option for veterans and their spouses. About the Author: Stephanie Lee served in the Air Force for 11 years as a Munitions Systems Craftsman. She now serves as an Enrollment Manager for CareerStep, (www.careerstep.com/military/), the Allied Health training division of Carrus. (www.carruslearn.com)

For more information, call (877) 201-3470 or visit www.careerstep.com/military

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / August 2021


Legally Speaking Military Focused Family Law Facts By Tana Landau, Esq.

Pet Custody Agreements Most people consider their pets to be part of the family - they are more than just a piece of property. Since January 1, 2019, judges in California may now award sole or joint custody of a pet to either party going through a divorce based on the best interest of the pet. This means that pet owners can now also have legally enforceable stipulations, orders, or judgments issued regarding the care of their pets. Since divorce is stressful enough, particularly where children are involved, you may not want to add the stress of litigating the care of your beloved animal. Consider working out an agreement with your former spouse when you both are wanting to keep your pet. You may be asking yourself, but what does a pet custody agreement look like? Pet custody agreements can be structured very similar to a child custody agreement. What to Include in a Pet Custody Agreement Your pet custody agreement should delineate whether you or your spouse will have sole or joint ownership of your pet. If you are going to share in the physical custody and care of your pet, the agreement should specify a visitation schedule that sets forth when your pet will be in your care and your former spouse’s care.


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Pet custody agreements also should address any costs that you agree to share for your pet, whether it be veterinary expenses, training classes, etc. They should have specific provisions regarding the rights of each party to make medical decisions, whether independent or consulting first with the other party, the ability to obtain records and consult professionals, and decisions regarding housing the animal. Many shared custody pet agreements will also delineate that either party can obtain emergency medical treatment of the pet and each party shall be listed as an emergency contact with the treating veterinarian. Another provision you could see in pet custody agreements is the duty to notify the other party in writing of an intent to give up ownership/custody rights of the pet to a third party. With this provision there could be included the right for the other party to take sole ownership before any third parties do. You may also consider adding a provision regarding whether you or your former spouse are required to give notification before moving to a new home with the pet if a long distance move is a concern for you. Other provisions that you may find in a pet custody agreement include a duty to notify the other party of the name and

address of any veterinarian who treats the pet, a duty to keep the other party informed about the health, welfare, and safety of the pet, and the duty to confer in good faith and share in responsibility for the pet.

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You can include any additional specific provisions that you or your former spouse agree upon. Some people want very specific provisions in their agreements protecting the animal such as the pet must be housed inside overnight and if a party is unable to do so, then the other party can take the animal for the night. It is up to you and your former spouse as to how detailed you would like to get when structuring a shared pet custody agreement. What Pet Visitation Schedules Look Like If you and your former spouse are willing to work together to reach an agreement, you can structure it as you like. However, there are some visitation schedules commonly utilized in child custody and visitation matters that you may want to consider when structuring a shared pet custody agreement. These schedules may make particular sense if you also have children and would like the pet to go back and forth with the minor child. The different schedules include the following: - 2,2,3 schedule: The pet is with Party A for two days, then with Party B for two days, and then back to Party A for three days. The next week, it reverses. The pet would be with Party B for two days, then Party A for two days, and back to Party B for three days.

Military Divorce and Retirement, 20/20/20 Spouse, Survivor Benefit Plans, Support Orders, and more.

- 2,2,5,5 schedule: This is very similar to a 2,2,3 schedule and is really just a modified version of it. One party will have the pet from Monday morning until Wednesday morning every week. The other party will have the pet from Wednesday morning until Friday morning every week. The parties will alternate weekends from Friday morning until Monday morning.

No nonsense. No hidden fees. Discounts for service members.

- Week On/Week Off: The parties share custody of their pet on a weekly basis. The exchanges would occur on a particular day, at a particular time every week. For example, you would exchange the pet every Sunday at 7 p.m. with the pet staying with one party for the entire week before being exchanged the following Sunday to the care of the other party.

Call 858-720-8250 or visit www.frfamilylaw.com to schedule a free consultation. Flat-fee law packages available.

If you are worried about how your divorce may impact your pet and are willing to share in their care, mediating the issue with your former spouse may be the best way to ensure the outcome you desire. For more information about pets in your military divorce, check out our website: www.frfamilylaw.com or call (858) 720-8250 and ask to speak with military family law attorney Tana Landau.

This article is intended only for informational purposes and should not be taken as legal advice.

Legal Experts with Humanity

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Arts & Healing Arts for Military Veterans By Amber Robinson

Veteran Artist Spotlight: Luz Helena Stacey Thompson

This month I wanted to continue our Veteran Artist Spotlight series with Marine veteran, artist, surfer, poet and vet advocate Luz Helena Stacey Thompson. Thompson lives in Oceanside as a single mother of three (four if you count her chocolate lab service dog, Reef) who has used the power of art and the ocean to help her heal from wounds she sustained while in service. Thompson joined the service in 1998 at the age of 17 as part of Traffic Management Operations. Originally shooting to join the Army, a Marine recruiter challenged her, asking “What? You don’t think you can be a Marine?”. Thompson decided to prove that she could step up to that challenge and signed herself over to the United States Marine Corps. After her basic training and individual schooling for her job, Thompson was stationed in Okinawa, Japan in 1999. She says she remembers the day she got there because she showed up to base in a skirt and pink tank top and felt proud to be a woman Marine when she arrived. “I was very proud to know I was a STRONG woman, I was a MARINE, yet know I was still feminine,” said Thompson. She soon found out what it could mean to be a woman in the Marines. As soon as she arrived to her unit, she started to face sexual harassment, where the ratio was one woman to 60 men. “I was blindsided,” said Thompson. The harassment progressed and Thompson eventually became the victim of Military Sexual Trauma. Although not one to usually go out, she made the decision to take a chance one night and have a little fun. That night she was drugged by her immediate supervisor and assaulted. Thompson tried to report the assault, but experienced a common occurrence after sexual assault is reported in the service, retaliation from her command and peers. “I reported it,” said Thompson. “But the more I pushed for things to be done, the more repercussions came to me professionally and personally. I was basically blacklisted.” 44

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Unfortunately, her perpetrator never had to stand trial. He was released from service and was able to return to the United States with no mark on his personal record of his crime. Thompson then called a Congressman to seek further justice. She received dramatic retaliation for that by being removed from service with an Other Than Honorable Discharge, which barred her from receiving any veterans’ benefits once separated from the Marines. Sixteen years later, after years of litigation with the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs, Thompson finally received 100% service-connected disability and can receive care from the VA and other veterans benefits. As part of her healing, Thompson has since poured herself into her art, creating pieces for herself, art buyers and her community. “I spent 16 years in silence about what happened to me in Okinawa,” said Thompson. “Art allowed me to go into the dark places of my mind and heal from the inside out without having to say a word.” Thompson started her art journey in 2011 after her grandmother died. My artwork began in 2011 after the passing of my grandmother, Irene, who was also an artist,” she said. “I could not express the depth of pain it caused losing her and I turned to artwork as a way to ease the pain and feel connected to her.”

Then Thompson created with paint, charcoal and graphite. Now her work has become more industrial. She is now a glass mosaic artist and specializes in large scale mosaics. She is also a muralist and has painted a number of community murals in Southern California. She also does smaller scale work. “I also paint with acrylics and watercolor and I make coastal themed jewelry,” said Thompson. “I have lately fallen in love with woodworking and building custom tables for my mosaic artwork. Thompson credits art with being a major part of her healing, but also credits her love of surfing, her children and her service dog, Reef. “My service dog Reef, or “Reefer”, helps me stay balanced and stable throughout the day,” said Thompson. “He is so in tune with me and my emotional state that oftentimes he knows what I need before I do!” As a single mom, her kids keep her on her toes and each have their own creative or athletic outlets inspired by Mom. Her son, also her oldest, plays guitar; her teenage daughter is a wrestler and surfs as often her mom and her smallest loves to work in the studio with her, learning about glass mosaic and more. Although surfing, she says, is the main thing that keeps her balanced and motivated. She surfs 4 to 5 times a week and has even been linking up with and working with other women veterans who are interested in surfing. Thompson’s life now is much better than the years she suffered in silence after her malicious discharge from service. Now, she says she seeks to be “salt and light” to everyone that she meets, crediting the energy of art and creativity as one of her biggest self-building blocks.

“(My trauma) affected every avenue of my life for over a decade,” said Thompson. “Art (writing and visual) has been a way for me to learn to trust myself again and my instincts. It taught me how to love myself for the courage it takes to confront that which is difficult, extremely intimate and private and use my story of recovery to help others.” Thompson is also co-founder of Veterans Recovery Project, a program that helps survivors of Military Sexual Trauma. To learn more go to www.VeteransRecoveryProject.org. To check out Thompson’s art, go to www.ImageryArtworks.com

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THE MILITARY MOM “From a Mom’s Perspective”

Presented from the perspective and point of view of a Military Mom By Joseph Molina www.vccsd.org

Many military moms recall how surprising it was

when their child told them about their decision to get enlisted in the military. Some couldn’t believe it; others couldn’t hold back their emotions of joy. Watching a son or daughter leave for college alone can bring tears to a mother but seeing them off to Basic Training is on a whole new level. Although it’s not easy to watch a son or a daughter transform into a soldier, military moms take pride in the fact that their son or daughter will soon be returning from their training as strong, independent, self- sufficient, and confident individuals. However, it is pertinent to note that being a military mom is not a fun ride. When a son or daughter embarks on that journey, so do you. The Moment of Pride The most difficult moment as a mom happened when he was sworn in and left for Boot Camp. I was there with his wife, and it was time for the dreaded hug. “Don’t cry, mom,” he said. I held it in, knowing that calls would be few since he was only allowed one call, and it would go first to his wife. I knew that my son was a natural leader; he was smart, strong, and prepared. But the mom in me worried. I binged on any movie or song about a soldier. I volunteered with the USO and the American Red Cross. I would do anything to keep him present. To this day, I cannot sing the “National Anthem” and look at the flag without shedding a tear as I remember my first and only son. When I see anyone in uniform, my heart skips a beat. Despite the mom challenging emotions, two additional feelings emerged. These included that of feeling inspired and proud. Adapting to Change I try to honor my son by volunteering as an Ambassador for Blue Star Families. I also serve as the FL Delegate of The National Veteran Chamber of Commerce and as the VA Certifying School Official at the University. Moms are the son’s and daughter’s protectors and letting go might trigger lots of emotions. 46

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Hearing your child’s daring stories of how they train, fight, and carry out their daily activities could get you worked up. This could make facing reality difficult for military moms. It’s ok to seek help and advice from experienced military moms or military serving organizations. Feeling Disconnected Moms may feel disconnected as parenting has shifted to someone else taking care of their son or daughter. This is one of the challenges a military mom faces as they try to adjust to a new normal. It doesn’t get any easier Some probably think that moms get used to seeing their child deployed, but it doesn’t work that way. No matter how many times their son or daughter gets deployed. After a while and many transitions or deployments, military moms learn what to expect, but still affects the way they feel. My Advice as a Military Mom My advice to other military moms is to find other military moms’ support groups. Volunteer, keep a journal where you write about your feelings, be active in military events as much as possible. Being a civilian mom entails many of the same feelings as you watch your child grow up. However, as a military mom, knowing that there exist uncertainties and situations beyond your child’s control requires lots of prayers. One learns to savor every moment and appreciate the little things in life. I salute all military moms, the invisible heart warriors full of unconditional love. You are also our hero. Article written by Joseph Molina and co-authored by a very special Military Mom, Lori Huertas The Veterans Chamber of Commerce Radio Show • Share your story with our Veteran Community? Be our guest on the show REQUEST FORM. www.vccsd.org/radioshow.html • If you have any ideas or a project that you would like to develop in collaboration with the National Veterans Chamber send us your idea to: veteransccsd@gmail.com




Veteran-Friendly Directory

Licensed Agents and Lenders working with local Community Groups, Military Bases and Non-Profit Organizations to help Military Families achieve the American Dreamof Homeownership.

Jim Sagona, Realtor Military/ Veteran- Friendly Agent DRE #01921622 (619) 665.6938 JamesRSagona@gmail.com Platinum California Realty DRE #02112380

These Veteran-Friendly Agents and Lenders have a strong passion for supporting our Military/Veteran Families

Deborah Kemp (310) 903-7877 deborahkemp1@gmail.com Military-Veteran Friendly Agent DRE#00988086

Dan Leonard (562) 762-7511 www.endeavormtgteam.com Veteran-Friendly Lender Orange County - Inland Empire

Barry University College Credit for Military Service, visit:

www.vccsd.org/barry To join the Veteran-Friendly Network visit: www.vccsd.org/veteran-friendly-agents.html

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / August 2021


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Opportunities in Law Enforcement You’ve served your country, now serve your community!

Military and law enforcement have had a longstanding relationship with overlaps in training exercises, equipment, and, most important, personnel. It is not uncommon for a service member to make the jump from the military to law enforcement as both professions look for the same characteristics; leadership, fidelity, chain of command, and teamwork are all common themes in both professions. Quite understandably, many American military veterans often gravitate to a career in law enforcement when the time comes to rejoin the civilian workforce.


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The two professions have many fundamental similarities; from the uniforms they wear with pride, to the firm command structure they serve under, to great personal risk they endure while protecting those who cannot protect themselves. The following agencies are actively hiring & proudly support our veterans, active military and the families that keep together.

Military service can be a perfect entrance into a law enforcement career.

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Choose a Medicare plan that serves those who served You deserve a Medicare plan that always has your back. That’s why UnitedHealthcare® has a wide range of Medicare Advantage plans designed to complement the health benefits you already receive for your service. The UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage Patriot plan includes the freedom to visit doctors and hospitals in our large network for a $0 monthly premium.

It’s time to take advantage.

Learn more about Medicare Advantage plans designed to complement your VA or TRICARE For Life benefits.

1-855-322-1158, TTY 711 UHCPatriotPlan.com You do not have to be a veteran to be eligible for this plan. Plans are insured through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or one of its affiliated companies, a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in the plan depends on the plan’s contract renewal with Medicare. Benefits, features and/or devices vary by plan/area. Limitations and exclusions apply. Network size varies by market. ©2020 United HealthCare Services, Inc. All rights reserved. Y0066_200911_104349_M SRPJ59083


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Resources Support Transition HEALTH INSPIRATION

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Voted 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020 BEST resource, support media for veterans, military families & military personnel. 60

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / August 2021