Homeland Magazine August 2022

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Vol. 9 Number 8 • AUGUST 2022


TRibute to service working dogs



Successful Transitioning Stories



Army Veteran Wears Purple Heart with Pride and Passion

Careers In Law Enforcement


Strategies & Expectations

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“I’m happier with myself. Having been in therapy, period, has helped me be in a better place now.” Rogelio “Roger” Rodriguez, Jr US Navy (1987 – 1993) US Air Force (1993 – 2013)

PTSD treatment can turn your life around. For more information visit: www.ptsd.va.gov/aboutface


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

Holly Shaffner Veteran Advocate

RanDee McLain, LCSW A Different Lens

Jenny Lynne Stroup Real Talk: Mental Health

Barbara Eldridge Business For Veterans

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

www.HomelandMagazine.com Greetings and a warm welcome to Homeland Magazine!

Paul Falcone Human Resources

Dr. Julie Ducharme Successful Transitioning Stories

Collaborative Organizations

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.

Wounded Warrior Project Raquel Rivas

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.

Guest Writers Include National Veteran Organizations, Military & Veteran Advocates

The magazine is supported by a distinguishing list of national veteran organizations, resource centers, coalitions, veteran advocates, and more.

Homeland Magazine

We are honored to share the work of so many committed and thoughtful people.

(858) 275-4281

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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Disabled American Veterans

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


INSIDE THIS ISSUE 8 A Legacy of Service 12 Head Strong Action 14 A few Good Men 16 Wolf Connection 20 Helping Paws 22 Guide Dogs of America 24 Flashback: Assistance in Action 27 4 Paws for Ability 28 Canine Support Teams 30 Caregiving TLC: Courage and Service 31 History of Service Dogs 32 Real Talk: The Power of Pets 36 Military Transition Support 38 What’s Next: Your Transition 40 HR: Authentic Leadership 42 Successful Transitioning Stories 44 Business for Veterans 46 Vets Starting a Handyman Business 48 Legal Eagle: Corporate Compliance 50 Legally Speaking: Pet Custody Agreements 57 Careers in Law Enforcement WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / AUGUST 2022


www.Courage2Call.org Career Resources Available Now Hiring Management and Direct Service Positions - www.mhsinc.org/career-resources 6

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JOIN US H SATURDAY, AUGUST 20 H AT NTC PARK AT LIBERTY STATION FOR THE CARRY FORWARD® 5K SAN DIEGO EVENT This is a one-of-a-kind, family-friendly fundraising event that puts the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) mission in motion to honor and empower wounded warriors. CHECK-IN BEGINS 7 AM


REGISTER TODAY AT WWPCarryForward.org/SanDiego WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / AUGUST 2022


Army Veteran Wears Purple Heart with Pride and Passion By Raquel Rivas, Wounded Warrior Project At Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP), we acknowledge the price servicemen and women have paid for our freedoms. We serve veterans who left pieces of themselves on the battlefield and survived. Many of them received a recognition they did not seek: a Purple Heart award. David Guzman is one of those veterans. He has a long family history of military service and, for better or worse, a long history with the Purple Heart. His uncle, Francisco Guzman, a World War II veteran, earned a Purple Heart for his service in France. David only knew that his uncle had a disability of mysterious origin. After David was injured, his uncle let him in on the story. “The day I got home from Iraq, a month after my injury, my uncle was there at the airport along with other relatives,” David recalled. “He just leaned over and whispered in my ear, ‘You’ve become a blood brother whether you like it or not. Wear it with pride.’” A year later, Francisco visited David, and they talked until 4 a.m. Francisco related the trials he lived through in France during the last days of WWII. How he survived the fighting and the cold during the Battle of the Bulge, how people from the countryside helped him recover and walk again, and how the experience haunted him. “My uncle seemed to have tunnel vision as he told me his story,” David said. “We were sitting in my backyard, but he brought me there – I felt like I went to France with him.” “My uncle walked me through the steps of this unique brotherhood of Purple Heart recipients,” David said. “I was always pushing to be in the military because I looked up to my dad, my uncle, and my older siblings.” Heritage That Hurts David was born in Utah and raised in Texas. After high school, he went to technical school and learned about trucks and engine repair, so he felt comfortable working as a truck driver when he joined the Army in 1989. 8

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David rose through the ranks to become a sergeant and had several duty stations. He was deployed to Iraq in 2004 at age 38. He had been in the country for four months when he was wounded in September 2004. Normally, David would lead a truck convoy that traveled at night. But this time, he was assigned to a daytime trip out of Camp Taji, north of Baghdad. At the time, the 5-ton trucks used by Army personnel did not always have armor, but this vehicle had a steel plate welded to the bed of the truck – and open windows. David was in the front passenger side, and he remembers passing a small white truck – from which someone detonated multiple improvised explosive devices under, and around, his U.S. Army vehicle. David blacked out and was pulled out by unit members. “The shrapnel from the blasts went through my door and through me,” David said. A shrapnel fragment went through David’s face, knocked out a molar, and pierced his tongue. The gunner in the back also suffered facial wounds from shrapnel. David believes they survived because of the steel plate welded to the bottom of the truck. The explosion was on a Friday, and David woke up on a Sunday. He remembers the pain, the dirt in his eyes and ears, a gauze in his mouth, and stitches on his tongue and face. In addition to the shrapnel that tore through his face and mouth, he had a ruptured eardrum, and rods in his wrist and right leg. A larger shrapnel piece went in and out of his leg, severely damaging his calf muscle and tendons. After five days in Baghdad, David expected to be medically evacuated, but that didn’t happen. He was sent back to his unit despite his injuries. It would be another 25 days before a doctor saw him and prompted his command to get him evacuated. This delay was detrimental to his physical health and deeply affected his mental health. He was finally sent home on a regular flight, with his swollen leg. He could tell his leg wounds were infected. He was sent to Texas first, where he received medical attention in the ICU at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. The swelling turned out to be gangrene.

He lost his Achilles tendon because of the lack of treatment and his right foot dropped. Longterm treatment of the infected leg saved the limb, although doctors discussed amputation at one point. David continued to recover and received physical therapy and speech therapy while still on active duty. He was reassigned to a motor pool at Fort Lewis, Washington, but he felt isolated in his new unit and knew he needed to reach out for help. He connected to WWP for psychological support and connection to other veterans. In April 2005, David received a Purple Heart award. He asked the sergeant who held his IV the day he was injured and who later helped him get connected to the right resources to pin the medal on him. Although he barely remembered the details of that fateful day in September 2004, he remembered her kindness. David separated from the military in October 2005 and had trouble finding a new mission in the civilian world. He still managed PTSD and would sometimes be up at 3 a.m. doing a “perimeter check” while his family slept. Looking for purpose, he attended WWP events and enrolled in school again to complete the degree he always wanted. He felt fortunate to have lived to see his wife and children again. He wanted to make the most of his time despite any physical or emotional pain. Healing Through Sharing Stories and Food David went on to complete three college degrees, including a bachelor’s in Agricultural Science. He also earned three chef certificates from the Culinary Institute of America through WWP.

Going back to school as an older student with visible injuries, he recalls he would “walk in with my backpack and my cane.”

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He received an unexpected lesson in humbly sharing his experiences in an English class. His English teacher challenged him to write from his heart. He accepted the challenge and wrote a moving paper that ended with, “I will strive to complete my bachelor’s degree with great expectations, for love of my country, my family, and myself: a first-generation college student, a combat-wounded veteran, and, most of all, an American.” Since then, David has continued to tell his story through speaking to veteran groups, WWP events, and through the art of cooking. Sharing stories over a good meal is something he says he absorbed by virtue of growing up in a Mexican American family. “My mom and dad always cooked,” David recalled. “My dad was a cook in the Air Force.” David received an invitation from WWP to attend a week-long training in San Antonio and New York at the Culinary Institute of America. Sharing nourishing foods through volunteer cooking, David has traveled to Denver with a Purple Heart organization and cooked locally in the Austin-San Antonio areas for veterans at VFW chapters. He also volunteers at Veterans Day events. He once went to Montana to cook for a group that included actor and comedian George Lopez, who requested enchiladas. “Food brings everyone together,” David said. “I would like to make it a better experience. You plate it and make it look nice and they eat with their eyes. People open up, and you gain trust through simple conversations. I call these ‘magic moments:’ when I can help bring out the best in people and help other veterans forget the nightmares.” “I’ve been blessed with Wounded Warrior Project connecting me and facilitating the cooking classes and the opportunity to use those skills,” David said. Receiving a Purple Heart and being able to give back through volunteerism has “opened a lot of doors – it has been a humbling experience,” David said. David feels motivated to talk with other veterans about going back to college. “Even if you don’t think you need a degree, or letters after your name, when you walk across the stage with your diploma, no one will ever take that away from you,” David said. He adds that nothing compared to the feeling of seeing his mom standing with his mentoring chef at graduation. 10

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Giving Back Turns Pain into Joy “More than anything else, receiving a Purple Heart means everything to me,” David said. He remembers his uncle’s words to “wear it with pride.” And at the same time, he challenges himself with “what have you done with it, and what legacy do you want to leave?” These days David is thankful for every single day. He considers himself a survivor twice, having come back from war in Iraq and a recent bout with kidney cancer. Life has taught David that “you only need two ingredients: love and passion, y ya con eso tienes.” And that is all you need, indeed. This Purple Heart recipient is cherishing second chances and keeping busy helping other veterans.

Through WWP’s emotional support programs, adventure-based workshops, clinical care, and connection opportunities, warriors and their families can build resilience to overcome physical and mental health challenges.

About Wounded Warrior Project Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them a chieve their highest ambition. https://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org

Warrior Care Network® has helped countless veterans take back their lives.

Learn how other Purple Heart recipients are helping their communities here: homelandmagazine.com/purple-hearts-are-giving-hearts


WITHOUT GOING THROUGH WARRIOR CARE NETWORK, I DON’T THINK I WOULD BE THIS WAY TODAY.” After years of suppressing the feelings of guilt, shame, anger, and other emotions brought on by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and survivor’s guilt, Richard Dorr barely recognized himself. His emotional and mental health had declined to the point that he and his family realized they needed help. That’s when he reached out to Wounded Warrior Project® and the Warrior Care Network. Since completing the Warrior Care Network program, Richard feels more alive today than ever before. In partnership with four world-renowned academic medical centers, Warrior Care Network provides first-class treatment tailored specifically for veterans living with the invisible wounds of war. The program features unique and specialized treatments and offerings tailored to help participants manage the difficulties with their injuries.

Find the treatments, connection, and support you need to heal.


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Headstrong Action 2022 DAV Disabled Veteran of the Year awarded to Army veteran for promoting DAV on the airwaves

By Matt Saintsing

Adam Alexander in Afghanistan.


rmy veteran Adam Alexander was on the phone with his superior officer when enemy bullets began to rain down on his remote firebase in Afghanistan. “Adam said, ‘Hey sir, I got to go, we’re getting attacked; got to head out,’” recalled retired Lt. Col. Mike Hert. “I said, you know, ‘Keep your head down. Be safe.’” The enemy had other plans. Getting attacked was nothing new, but this was different both in size and intensity. 12

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With enemy forces attempting to surround, storm and overrun the outpost, Alexander engaged targets with his M4 carbine. While he attempted to clear a mechanical jam of an automatic grenade launcher, a sniper bullet ripped through the center of his forehead before exiting the right side of his Kevlar helmet. “One of the medics just kind of wrapped me up with bandages and gauze, kind of like a turban around my head as best they could,” said Alexander. “The firefight was so

intense, they actually ordered the medevac [helicopter] not to land.” But the pilot never received that directive—perhaps Alexander’s only stroke of luck that day—as the aircraft’s radio was mistakenly programmed. “I like to joke that it’s the first time that the incompetence of an officer ever saved somebody,” he said. His quip today belies the violence he experienced more than 10 years ago. It was Nov. 10, 2011—a day before Veterans Day. He woke up six days later at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Maryland. Since then, Alexander has shown superhuman strength and resiliency. He’s DAV’s 2022 Disabled American Veteran of the Year—an award presented to veterans who, despite their wounds, have had a substantial impact in serving their brothers- and sisters-in-arms. Alexander and Hert parted ways after serving together in the 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion, but a serendipitous encounter brought them back together. In a mass email about a local Veterans Treatment Court, Hert noticed a familiar name in the distribution. It was Alexander’s. “I almost fell over,” added Hert. “The guy lives in the same town as I do.” They met for coffee the next day. Alexander credits Hert for bringing him into DAV, but he said the camaraderie of his fellow veterans is what attracts him to the organization. “The military was done with me far sooner than I was done with it,” said Alexander, voicing a common sentiment among veterans who saw their careers unexpectedly cut short due to illness or injury. Nowadays, Hert and Alexander—both DAV life members of Chapter 17 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin—have traded their uniforms for cameras and microphones. Together, they host “The Outpost,” a half-hour public-access television program launched in June 2021 that raises awareness about DAV and gives a platform for local veterans. “I had been involved with cable access in the past for different things, and I knew how it worked. And DAV has such a great story,” said Hert. “When you look at first, this show gives a great opportunity for the local chapter to get its message out.” Keeping the show hyperlocal, one guest was Alexander’s next-door neighbor, Chuck DeMunk—an Army Green Beret and three-time-wounded Vietnam veteran. “They devoted the episode to me and my work with the Montagnard tribes when I was over in Vietnam and that whole experience,” said DeMunk, assistant sergeant-at-arms for DAV Chapter 17. In addition to his show, Alexander has provided testimony to the Wisconsin State Legislature for a bill that would expand eligibility for property tax credits for other disabled veterans.

DAV members Mike Hert (left) and 2022 Disabled American Veteran of the Year Adam Alexander (right) host their public access TV program, "The Outpost." The show highlights DAV and provides local veterans a platform to share their stories.

“He was one of the most impactful people testifying,” said DAV Department of Wisconsin Adjutant Matt Kempainen. “He just has a presence about him that, when he talks, you lean in, and you want to hear what he has to say because he’s speaking from the heart.” While Alexander can be seen on Oshkosh Media’s Life TV and YouTube, his recovery from the extreme traumatic brain injury was indeed a herculean task. There was extensive damage to his right frontal lobe—the section of the brain responsible for initiation—and the loss of his right eye. With an initiation deficit, Alexander had every intention of performing simple tasks but didn’t know where or how to start. “They had to kind of teach me how to get myself going and make up for my shortcomings,” he said. “My short-term memory is just—excuse the pun but—shot.” During his 10-month rehabilitation, he received nearly every type of therapy the Minneapolis VA Medical Center had to offer: physical, occupational, speech and recreational, in addition to addressing his mental health. His mother, Mary Kay Alexander, was by his side for nearly all of his recovery. From being at Walter Reed for the entirety of his stay to driving between her home in Wisconsin and Minneapolis, she witnessed firsthand how resolute her son is. “They would take him to the Mall of America and challenge him to get from point A to point B,” she said. “One of their therapy sessions, they went to Ikea, and he had to try to figure out how to buy a certain thing, how to navigate the store and operate within a budget, because he needed to relearn all of that.” “Adam’s story is not one of struggle, but triumph,” said DAV National Commander Andy Marshall. “His lights may have gone out across the world during a battle for his life, but they unquestionably came back. And now he’s putting them, and the cameras, into action.” n WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / AUGUST 2022


A FEW BAD MEN Homeland Magazine recently had the opportunity to visit with Major Fred Galvin USMC (retired), author of A Few Bad Men. Major Galvin’s Fox Company was involved in an incident in Afghanistan in which their Marine Special Operation Task Force was ambushed by the Taliban using a suicide car bomb and waves of Taliban fighters. Galvin’s men shot their way to safety and back to base. Before they even got back, the Taliban fed BBC journalists lies about out-of-control Marines killing civilians. Without even a preliminary interview with Galvin, the company was expelled from the country and Marine, Army, and DOD officials publicly condemned the Company and criminally prosecuted them in the longest war crimes tribunal in Marine Corps history. Even after the Marines were cleared of wrongdoing, it took another eight years for Galvin to fully exonerate himself and his men. Homeland: Why did the military leadership so quickly take the word of the Taliban, our enemy, and not even get your side of the story before making the decision to ship you out of Afghanistan? Galvin: To be honest, it was an unlucky mix of bad leadership, a turf war, a war in which those in charge were more interested in scoring PR points than winning. So, when the Taliban accused us of war crimes, it checked all of their boxes in terms of putting down the “gung ho” Marines, endearing themselves with the media and the international community. The notion of justice, due process, and protecting your own would have interfered with their agenda. Homeland: Please describe how things got off the rails to allow the sabotage of the first Marine Special Operations Task Force. Galvin: During our training, every week for eleven months I asked the Commanding General of the Marine Special Operations Command, Major General Dennis Hejlik, what our mission would be, who we would be supporting, or where we would be employed. I never received any of this information. This led to significant resource shortfalls and left us unable to properly conduct our mission. Those in charge not only withheld vital support but also undermined and portrayed the Task Force as incompetent and operating as outlaws. 14

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As Lieutenant Colonel Steve Morgan, a member of the Court of Inquiry stated in the Department of the Navy record, “it was the perfect storm of toxic leaders.” Homeland: How did you prepare the first Marine Special Operations Task Force knowing that your command was in direct opposition to the success of your unit? Galvin: The day I met my Battalion Commander he mentioned to me, “Fred your job is easy, all you have to do is train your Marines.” He then immediately convened his battalion staff and ordered them not to provide any support whatsoever to our unit. I had faced enemies before, but they didn’t wear Marine uniforms. Homeland: What were your assigned missions in Afghanistan? Galvin: We were directed to conduct special reconnaissance in the Tora Bora Mountains with the requirement of having an immediate Quick Reaction Force (QRF). This mission required aviation assets to immediately reinforce our unit if contact with the enemy was encountered in the mountains. The problem quickly and continuously became that Colonel Haas’s staff stiff-armed not only the required aviation support to insert our recon teams but also any logistical support required to sustain our Marines including food, fresh water, fuel, and funds to operate. Meanwhile, his Army Green Berets on the same base enjoyed pallets of supplies including body building supplements, a camp with a pool, lifeguard tower, and all the fuel and logistical support necessary to conduct operations. The irony is that, despite all their support, they focused on an aggressive physical fitness program instead of collecting intelligence and operations to identify and disrupt the Taliban. Homeland: The 2008 Court of Inquiry must have been mentally exhausting, please describe the impacts on you and your Marines. Galvin: The prosecution interrogated the Marines in our Task Force with extreme prejudice which immediately led to one Marine being diagnosed with cancer, another diabetes, another having his body completely stop producing testosterone, several Marines developing severe PTSD, many encountered financial hardships associated with legal fees for defense attorneys in the capital offense case, and most of our marriages quickly were ruined. One interrogation from the prosecution led to threatening a Marine who legally immigrated and was naturalized to having his mother threatened to be deported unless he signed a manufactured statement that the prosecution coerced him into signing.

These tactics, led to the psychological torment from the government prosecutors which no military members in America should ever be exposed to. Homeland: How did you defend yourself and your team against these tactics? Galvin: I prayed daily and through my faith in God, I realized that each of the previous missions in Iraq as well Afghanistan was proof that this legal battle would end in success. Homeland: You went on to serve seven more years in the Marine Corps, why did you return to Afghanistan and then after retirement fight to clear your Marines’ names? Galvin: Immediately following the Convening Authority’s dismissal of my case in December 2008, I requested to be assigned to Okinawa, Japan to serve and eventually deployed as the Operations Officer for 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion in Afghanistan. Believe it or not, this case becomes even more outrageous during this subsequent deployment to Afghanistan. Additionally, upon my military retirement the media continued their attacks against me in the press including the day I retired and repeatedly that same year until in 2015, seven years to the day after our attack in Afghanistan, our side of the story was finally told in the press through a five-part long-form story which eventually won the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation’s Journalism Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense. Maj. Fred Galvin (USMC, Retired) tells the entire story in his new book A Few Bad Men: The True Story of U.S.

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


Marines Ambushed in Afghanistan and Betrayed in America. He lives in Hawaii.


A FEW GOOD MEN Available at Amazon www.tinyurl.com/A-Few-Good-Men

Inspiration. At Homneland 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: www.HomelandMagazine.com

FIGHTING PTSD WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / AUGUST 2022



C o n n e c t i o n

Situated on 165 beautiful acres in the mountains of the Angeles National Forest, the Wolf Connection is home to over 30 rescued wolves and wolf-dogs.

Teo Alfero is the founder of the Wolf Connection sanctuary and creator of Wolf Therapy®, a program that empowers individuals dealing with psychological and emotional pain, addiction, and trauma using the human-wolf bond. Homeland Magazine had the chance to chat with Teo and his team about the revolutionary therapy they offer and the remarkable work this charity is doing with female Veterans.

Teo Alfero & Raven


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Homeland: What inspired you to begin Wolf Connection? Teo: I embarked onto my journey with the wolves through a combination of both types of initiations – I was both prepared and ambushed. One of the most unexpected and most beautiful events, which changed the course of my life, came in the form of a wolfdog pup named Tala, which is Sioux for “wolf.” She and I met in December 2007 when she was six weeks old. I was a busy man, coaching and doing interventions for teens and their families in Los Angeles and also helping to lead Tensegrity workshops around the world. I was teaching in the Safe School Ambassadors program, a violenceprevention and anti-bullying curriculum for students at schools all across the United States. I didn’t feel like I had time to give her but she had other ideas.

She was eight weeks old when I brought her home and suddenly I was a single dad to a destructive chewing -at wolf intensity- peeing machine pup. Beautiful white and gray Tala rode in the passenger seat of the car and went with me everywhere. Everyone from the teller at the bank to the cashier at the grocery store knew her. She became a central part of my youth coaching work, and all my clients wanted to spend time with her. Homeland: When did you open Wolf Connection? Teo: In 2009, I was looking for a new direction to my youth coaching and empowerment program. I had been mentoring young men through outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, and rock climbing and wanted a more powerful way to engage young people from all backgrounds, to get them to open up, find their own voice, and to trust and reconnect with who they are. I was also looking for a playmate for Tala. Not only did I find a partner for Tala, a handsome, year-old, gray and brown wolfdog named Wyoh, I met 16 wolves and wolfdogs. The pack had been rescued by Tia Torres, star of the TV show “Pit Bulls and Parolees,” and she was caring for them at Villalobos Rescue Center, a refuge and adoption operation, she had founded.

Teo & Tala

My heart opened fully when I met this pack. I could not leave them. I began volunteering and visiting them twice a week to brush, leash-train, walk and run with them. I was in heaven. After three months of volunteering, I was chatting with Tia, when I said, “You know, all my life, I’ve wanted to start a wolf sanctuary”. To this day, I don’t know where that came from, starting a wolf sanctuary was never in my mind, but I was sincere, and those words felt true. I realized I would take care of these 16 wolves for the rest of their lives and Tia said, “Okay, I’ll help you.” And she did. I was clueless. Tia helped me understand dogs and wolves and taught me the ropes of animal rescue. She offered fundraising ideas. At her suggestion, I launched the first “Full Moon Hike with Wolves.” The plan was people would come to the sanctuary during the evening, bringing food to share potluck style. We’d give a presentation followed by a hike with the animals under the moonlight. 70 people showed up for the first full moon hike. We raised our first few dollars and found the first volunteers who stepped up to help take care of the pack. I didn’t have a website, a team, a plan, or even a name, but I was never alone caring for the animals again. On Tala’s terms, Wolf Connection was born.

Neo Continued on next page >

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Homeland: How do the wolves come to you? Teo: We provide sanctuary for wolves and wolfdogs in captivity whose lives are threatened by illegal ownership, abandonment, and abuse. Since they are illegal to own, wolves who escape or end up at a shelter are euthanized within days if unable to be rescued by a sanctuary. Some of our wolves come from fur farms that have been shut down. At Wolf Connection, we offer an enriching space for each member of our wolf pack to be seen and supported in a way that is consistent with their unique presence. In turn, the wolves have the opportunity to form trusting bonds with other wolves and humans, giving life a second chance. The Wolf Connection is a 100% rescue organization and we hold true and steadfast to the highest integrity with respect to our programming, safety, and animal care.

a powerful doorway into the development of strong individuals and productive societies. The WolfConnection® Ranch in Acton, CA is where our signature Wolf Therapy® programs offer healing and recovery. We offer programs via Wolf Therapy® to at-risk youth including those in foster care and the probation system. We also work with veterans, formerly incarcerated adults, and others seeking traumainformed healing. Homeland: You recently did a program for female Veterans. How did that evolve?

Homeland: Can you talk about the programs you offer at Wolf Connection?

Teo: Wolf Connection participated in a program called Transforming LA, funded by Community Partners and with the Department of Mental Health. We used a portion of the funding to partner with Military and Veteran Affairs to offer a cutting edge 8 Session Resiliency Program specifically designed for Women Veterans where they learned self-regulation and resiliency strategies.

WC Team: Wolf Connection successfully integrates the teachings of the wolves with therapeutic, evidencebased practice. We believe that the deep understanding of our relationship with animals and the environment is

The program was run by Dr. Amanda Beer and was incredibly powerful for the women, who used the opportunity to connect and heal. We are seeking additional funding to continue this critical work..

Veterans Visit Wolf Connection


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Homeland: You are having an expansion program. How will that change Wolf Connection? Teo: Wolf Heart Ranch is a sanctuary for both humans and animals that are seeking healing and hope. The new development being built will follow the wild life preserve model more than the traditional animal rescue model and will provide more space for the wolves and program participants as well as allowing us to rescue more wolves. This includes multiple runs that emulate their natural habitat ranging from 1-7 acres. The design minimizes the presence of the chain link fence and gives an open plan experience for all. We also have plans for a state-of-the-art veterinary facility, which will provide care for our wolf pack residents on-site. This is a $1.5 million dollar project and we have raised one third. Homeland: What is next for Wolf Connection? Teo: Wolf Connection currently serves around 2500 individuals per year via our programs and immersive experiences at Wolf Heart Ranch. In 2022, we are launching the Wolf Connection Academy, a global platform making the magic of Wolf Therapy available far beyond the ranch, allowing us to serve over 30,000 participants in the next three years. For more information visit: https://wolfconnection.org For more information about Teo Alfero visit: teoalfero.com

Annie WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / AUGUST 2022


A Marine’s Best Friend


By Hannah Jaime


Sgt. Terrance O’Neil (Ret.) knew he would have to say goodbye to his 16-year-old best friend some day, but he was not prepared to do so a few months ago.

All too often, troops who are willing to pay the ultimate price cannot afford unexpected veterinary bills.We help keep military families united with their pets by providing low and no-cost veterinary care for service members and veterans in need. Without us, a lot of southern California vets would face the heartbreaking decision of premature relinquishment, or worse yet, economic euthanasia. Since 2013, our 501(c) (3) has helped more than 2,680 military pets. Fundraising is an ongoing battle because veterinary bills add up fast. WE’VE WAITED TWO YEARS FOR THIS:

His marriage was in disrepair, but Patrick provided solace during the divorce. Then, a heartsick O’Neil learned he could lose his service dog too. Cancer threatened to rip Patrick away if a mammary tumor was not removed immediately. “He’s my best friend and has been with me through all the ups and downs,” the Marine Corps veteran explained. He has withstood a lot. O’Neil holds his head high, but his heart, body and mind are riddled with the lingering horrors of war. The brave Marine dauntlessly invaded Iraq in 2004 and later survived an IED blast. It was one of three combat tours he endured in Iraq and Afghanistan. The courageous warrior also completed 1,261 sea service days. He was forced to medically separate in 2011, and his loyal dog has been his shadow ever since. “He alerts me to the onset of extreme migraines, among other tasks,” he explained. “I would do anything for him.” Being unable to help Patrick was gut-wrenching. Disabilities prevent O’Neil from working, so he could not afford the $2,800 procedure. The once unstoppable Marine felt helpless because he could not save his best friend, so he turned to Helping Paws. We are a small nonprofit with a staff of one, and it was a large amount for us to take on. 20

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COVID-19 took a toll on our charity. We lost key supporters, and our annual fundraiser was canceled. After a two-year wait, we can come together in person aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Helping Paws’ 7th Annual Fundraiser will be September 10, 2022 at San Onofre’s Historic Beach Club. The oceanfront ballroom offers stunning views of the Pacific. Guests will enjoy dinner, drinks and a live auction. Please join us! Foundation information availble at the following links: www.sandiegogives.org/Helpingpawsfoundation https://paybee.io/hybrid-event/helpingpaws/1 SAN DIEGO GIVES: Two days prior is another reason to celebrate. Helping Paws is among 327 local nonprofits taking part in an effort to #givelocal. On Sept. 8, our community will unite for the second annual San Diego Gives. The 24 hours of philanthropy will shine a light on the tremendous work local nonprofits are doing. We are proud to be one of the 14 organizations behind this effort to strengthen San Diego. Unity can be a powerful tool in our county’s arsenal. Together, we can deploy compassion in a way that makes a difference for military families in need. When you donate to Helping Paws, you are helping veterans and animals; that’s 1 donation supporting 2 causes! THE NEED: San Diego is home to the world’s largest military population. While pets are part of the family, the military does not cover veterinary care.

Many vets are plagued by post-war battles. Some say 22 veterans a day take their own lives. More recent studies say 16.8 or 20, but one is too many. Some vets have told me they would have become a statistic without our help. THE IMPACT: Pets are a source of comfort for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress, depression and anxiety. A dog’s unconditional love can have a profound impact. Patrick helped quiet a harrowing storm in O’Neil’s heart more than once. “He’s like a calming, soothing teddy bear,” he explained. ”Like Lionel with his blanket; he’s just been there for me.”

Terrance & “Patrick”

Despite the big bill, Helping Paws stepped in to keep that bond intact. We did a Facebook fundraiser, and our selfless supporters contributed. Dr. Bulliard of Mohnacky Animal Hospitals gave a generous discount, and Antech Diagnostics donated the biopsy and urinalysis. Together, we kept Patrick from crossing the rainbow bridge before his time. “It means the world to me,” O’Neil said. He might not fully shake the iron-clad clutches of war, but he is grateful to be moving forward with his battle buddy at this side. As an army of one, I rely on community support. Thanks to all who helped me save Patrick, and other military pets. I could not do this without you. You can contact me at hannahjaimehelpingpawssandiego.org WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / AUGUST 2022


Because of Proxie… By Messina I received Proxie one month ago, and she has impacted almost every aspect of my life. For starters, I improved my self-care habits for the first time since my injuries. Having Proxie encourages me to work towards a healthy morning and evening routine. These new routines dramatically improve my ability to get out of bed in the morning and sleep peacefully at night. Proxie helps me with many chores when I am struggling physically. Her presence motivates me to keep trying until I complete the task at hand. She helps me bring in the groceries, change the laundry, and take out the trash. When I take out the trash, she pushes open the heavy door to the backyard that I previously struggled with. Proxie helps me avoid pain by picking up the things I drop and also


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retrieving items like my phone, the remote, and my bag; this means I do not have to stand back up when I need to rest my legs longer. toitems like my phone, the remote, and my bag; this means I do not have to stand back up when I need to rest my legs longer. rest my legs longer. When I am in too much pain, feel nervous in social situations, or become stressed, she performs comforting deep pressure therapy. During my infusion therapy treatments, Proxie helped manage my pain and stress by doing her “snuggle,” “focus,” and “between” commands. She’s also fantastic at interrupting before I even recognize that I am feeling socially anxious or pain is building to the point that I need to take medication. She does this by nudging me when I start shaking my legs. Because of Proxie, I now do much more physical therapy at home because I make it a game with her. Furthermore, our walks help

me to do vestibular physical therapy more regularly because of the head-turning that occurs while walking. Last summer, I suffered my most severe neurological attack ever, which caused significant muscle atrophy. Having Proxie has helped me regain all of the muscle in my legs that I lost. With Proxie, this past month, I participated in life at a higher level than I ever have since becoming this ill. I regained interest in past hobbies. I traveled independently (accompanied by Proxie) on public transportation for the first time in years. We visited family out of town, went on many walks outside, and I discontinued multiple medications. She also helps me interact with others when we are in public by waving and bowing; this is a great way for me to have short, positive interactions with strangers. Because of her, I have begun to socialize with my family and neighbors more. Because of Proxie, I feel a wider range of emotions than I was capable of before. I feel my detachment lessening and my capacity for normal emotions increasing. Because of Proxie, I am starting to feel joy again.

RAISE A PUPPY... CHANGE A LIFE! Open your home and your heart, to a future service dog in-training

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED Text “PUPPY” to 51555 Guide Dogs of America Messina & Proxie


Or Call: (818) 362-5834 www.guidedogsofamerica.org WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / AUGUST 2022



Assistant Care Members of the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing and 108th Wing, pet Cole, a therapy dog at the Vineland Veterans Memorial Home in Vinewood, N.J., May 22, 2020. Cole is deployed to the home to assist staff in caring for the residents during the COVID-19 crisis. Courtesy of DOD - Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Cristina J. Allen, New Jersey Air National Guard 24

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Dozing Dog Marine Corps Cpl. Carlos Deleonsantiago rests with his military working dog, Fero, at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., Feb. 16, 2020, during Marine AirGround Task Force Warfighting Exercise. The exercise focuses on the tactical application of combined-arms maneuver, offensive and defensive operations during combat. Photo By: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Cedar Barnes

Canine Cuddle Air Force Airman 1st Class Ashland Busman spends time with Benji, a therapy dog, during a visit to a COVID-19 testing center manned by the Illinois National Guard in East St. Louis, Ill., May 19, 2020. Photo By: Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Ken Stephens

Therapy Dog


Army Spc. John Ward, a behavioral health technician assigned to the 405th Field Hospital, introduces a service member to Mila, a therapy dog used as a stress reliever for service members at the Javits New York Medical Station in New York City, April 17, 2020. In support of the Defense Department’s COVID-19 response, U.S. Northern Command, through Army North, is supporting the Federal Emergency Managemen Agency to help communities in need. Photo By: Navy Chief Petty Officer Barry Riley WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / AUGUST 2022


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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4 Paws for Ability It takes a village

Air Force Master Sergeant Ian Williams brings with him a set of life experiences that are not uncommon in the military community. Ian is a veteran of the United States Air Force, serving 21 years active duty and finally retiring in September of 2012. Like too many veterans, Ian returned from service changed. With persistent pushing from his wife, Tanya, he finally decided to go seek help. Ian turned to the Dayton VA where they interviewed him and decided that he needed to be seen at the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic. From there Ian underwent counseling for over a year and a half. Tanya still noticed that he wasn’t getting any better from the stressful counseling sessions. Ian and Tanya talked about getting Ian a new friend; he grew up with dogs and needed a buddy. From there the search began, and 4 Paws for Ability was found. An email and phone call later Ian submitted his application and was accepted. Ian was matched with his new buddy, Windsor in July 2015. The connection was instant.

Sadly, Windsor passed away from cancer after serving Ian for five years, and 4 Paws immediately began training a replacement. Ian met Q (given name Cumin) in January 2021. Q had big “paws” to fill but has settled in well. Q was trained to help Ian with his conditions of PTSD, mobility support, and retrieval. Ian has overwhelming anxiety in crowded, public places, and while driving. During these situations Q can identify his growing anxiety and perform specific tasks to help him cope with that anxiety. Q will paw at Ian and rub up against him to get his attention, sometimes even laying over Ian and nuzzling him with his nose. This gains Ian’s attention to pay attention to him and not the environment and things going around him. To honor the many service men and women like Master Sergeant Williams, who are still suffering from the conflicts of war, 4 Paws for Ability is making service dogs available to help them lead more independent lives. The program is provided for veterans at no cost, and we need your help! If you would like to support our mission to place service dogs with veterans and children with disabilities please visit our website to donate today by visiting this link www.4pawsforability.org/donate-to-4-paws If you or someone you care about is a veteran and is interested in this program through 4 Paws, apply online at: www.4pawsforability.org/veterans-assistance-dog

Ian & “Q”

Windsor went everywhere with Ian: shopping, sporting events, and to work with Ian at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Windsor was such an inspiration that the family bought a house near 4 Paws and named it Windsor’s Place. It is a nightly or extended stay fully furnished home with 3/4 bedrooms consisting of 3000 sq ft. Many 4 Paws clients have stayed there during their training at 4 Paws and have raved about their experience. WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / AUGUST 2022


For the first 18 months of the dog’s life, CST’s volunteer Puppy Raisers socialize the puppy with as many outings and experiences as possible (e.g., restaurants, stores, and shopping centers, using public transportation, processing through TSA security). The exposure and experiences are critical in helping potential service dogs become confident, calm, and focused amid distractions while “on the job” with their future clients. Puppies also complete basic obedience classes under the direction of our trainers, receiving American Kennel Club Star Puppy and American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen certificates.

For military veterans suffering from physical and psychological disabilities, recovery and healing can be challenging, particularly as it relates to their access to quality jobs, education, and other social functions. Yet, relief and assistance can be found in an unlikely place— the unwavering bond between human and animal. In 2012, Canine Support Teams, Inc. (CST) launched the Providing Assistance Dogs to the Brave Men and Women (PAWZ) program. PAWZ was established to address the increasing number of men and women who, after serving our country in the United States military, require a service dog. This program directly connects expertly trained service dogs with disabled veterans throughout the U.S. to support their personal, social, and occupational independence. Since its founding in 1989, CST has served more than 300 veteran families in gratitude for their service to our country. At no cost to the recipients, CST trains service dogs to support disabled veterans who are seeking enhanced mobility, independence, and companionship. The CST staff and volunteers work hard to ensure that the average wait time to match a dog and client is only 12-18 months, as compared to the industry standard of three to five years. Whether their disability is obvious or invisible, CST is committed to helping veterans reclaim their independence. The Service Dog Journey Volunteer Puppy Raisers and professional CST Trainers spend two years raising, providing medical care, and expertly training dogs to assist qualified veterans with disabilities in their everyday lives. 28

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Dogs then enter CST’s unique Prison Pup Program for Advanced Training, the longest-standing prisonbased service dog training program in the nation. In partnership with California Institute for Men and California Institute for Women in Chino, CA, CST Trainers work with carefully vetted Inmate Trainers on a weekly basis. Using Operant Conditioning, which places emphasis on recognizing and working with the dog’s temperament to motivate it to perform a given task, dogs learn the specific service dog tasks needed to support their veteran client (e.g., walking with and beside a wheelchair or walker, retrieving dropped items, turning lights on and off, opening and closing doors, pressing elevator buttons, pulling off socks and sweaters, and barking to alert for help in emergencies). Upon completing Advanced Training, the dog is matched with their veteran-handler and intensive Team Training takes place at the CST facility in Murrieta, CA, over a ten-day period. The training covers obedience, public access, and task training, including Basic Service Dog and Public Access Laws (e.g., the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and associated regulations), as well as the veteran’s rights with regards to their service dog and how to respond when questioned or denied access to accommodations, employment, housing and the like. Additionally, there are workshops on dog behavior, training philosophies and techniques; First Aid and health care for dogs; having a service dog in home and work environments; and integrating the service dog into the client’s daily life and his/her family life. Upon completion of the training, the dog and veteran will have passed the Assistance Dogs International (ADI) standardized Public Access Certification Test (PACT). Throughout Team Training, CST staff (several of whom are veterans themselves) are sensitive to the physical and mental challenges the veteran clients face. Each trainer is patient, kind, encouraging, and supportive to ensure the best experience for each veteran client.

A Lifelong Connection The placement of a dog with a veteran is just the beginning of their journey. CST is honored to offer veterans complete access to CST’s expert training staff for the “working life” of their partner-dog. In the early is paramount to help acclimate the dog to their new environment and relieve any stress felt by the veteran, their family, and/or the dog. Michael & If there are ever any issues or concerns, CST Charlie trainers schedule a time for an in-person individualized training to get them on track. The CST staff often forms lasting relationships with their veteran clients and are thrilled to receive pictures and videos of the wonderful experiences the veterans are having with their service dog.

Michael &


Client Spotlight Michael Mileham was born in London in 1947. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1953 and would eventually serve in the Vietnam Michael & War. For his service and sacrifice, Michael was PJ Nurse Dog presented with three Purple Hearts, and is the only British subject to receive this solemn distinction. Upon return to civilian life, and thanks to the GI Bill, Michael enrolled in the LACC Film Program. He eventually started a production company that made documentaries, industrial films, and music videos. Michael has had a very successful, award-winning career working with artist like Dolly Parton, The Beatles, Elliott Gould, Michelle Pfeiffer, and the Monty Pythons, to name a few. Michael became a member of the CST family in the early 2000s, and recently received his third service dog, Angel, through CST’s PAWZ program. “Michael is grateful to Canine Support Teams for providing him with three beautiful service dogs. Each dog who has supported him have truly enriched his life,” says his wife Marilyn Mileham. Now retired in in Joshua Tree, California, Michael, his wife, and Angel enjoy visiting art museums, photography, traveling, and getting out into nature. Angel has helped Michael to not only navigate each of his favorite activities, but also to enjoy the constant companionship his service dog provides.

“We take great pride in every dog that we are able to partner with a veteran in need,” says Carol Roquemore, Founder and CEO. “We are able to do this because of our generous donors, caring Puppy Raisers, and our hardworking staff and prison trainers.” To learn how you can assist Canine Support Teams through advocacy, volunteering, or financial support, visit www.caninesupportteams.org. If you are or know a veteran who may benefit from a service dog, please email cstmain@caninesupportteams.org. WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / AUGUST 2022


CAREGIVING TLC By Kie Copenhaver CSA, RHIA, SHSS, RCFE www.agingwellpartners.com

Courage and Service Chips, a German Shepard mix, is the only animal to receive the Purple Heart Medal. Man’s best friend for sure, Chips helped his squadron capture 10 Italians during World War II leading to his receiving the Purple Heart for this courageous and heroic deed. The Purple Heart Medal is the oldest military decoration on record, originating in 1780 as the Fidelity Medallion by the Continental Congress. In 1782, President George Washington created the Badge of Military Merit, which later became known as the Purple Heart, stating its purpose as:

“to cherish a virtuous ambition in his soldiers, as well as to foster and encourage every species of Military Merit…whenever any singularly meritorious action is performed, the author of it shall be permitted to wear…over his left breast, the figure of a heart in purple cloth…Not only instances of unusual gallantry but also of extraordinary fidelity and essential service…shall be met with a due award.” After Chips, the German Shepard mix, received his Purple Heart Medal, it was never awarded to another animal according to multiple news sources. Animals are recognized for their heroic actions while serving with military men and women by the nonprofit organization, American Humane, based in Washington, D.C.

Chips 30

Sergeant Stubby

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In addition to awarding well-deserved medals to the animals assisting our active service men and women, this and many other organizations nationwide offer a service dog program to those military personnel needing additional assistance. As our veterans transition back to civilian life, a specially trained service animal can assist them with things like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), anxiety reduction, seizure detection, as well as many other medical conditions. These service animals are trained in everything from maneuvering obstacles and tricky terrains, detecting and protecting those with seizure disorders, and interrupting PTSD-related night terrors to working within military healthcare facilities, visiting patients to provide comfort, emotional support, and to enhance the healing process. So, hats off to all our service members – past and present – with a special thank you to those men and women who received the Purple Heart Medal for courageously and unselfishly putting themselves in harm’s way to ensure our freedoms endure today. A special thanks goes out to our four-legged service members who stand next to our military men and women, ready and willing to serve their country, regardless of the dangers they may face - Chips, Sergeant Stubby (bull terrier mutt, WWI ), Rags (mixed breed terrier, WWI), and Staff Sergeant Reckless (war horse, Korean War) serve as honorable examples. And last but certainly not least, a salute to the countless other service animals who assist our veterans through service and companionship.


Staff Sergeant Reckless

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

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. • 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. 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. 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. For those who have invested time and money in their trained? service dogs, this can present a source of frustration. 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 WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / AUGUST 2022


Real Talk: Mental Health By Akina Goodson, Case Manager and Outreach Coordinator for the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at VVSD www.vvsd.net/cohenclinics

The Power of Pets: How Animals Can Improve Mental Wellness

I am a military spouse and mom of four boys. With one of those boys diagnosed with High-functioning Autism, absence seizures, mitral valve regurgitation, gastrointestinal issues, tics, and chronic childhood migraines, I spent many days and nights in the hospital, or traveling to distant cities to see doctors and specialists, so much that it became routine. With my husband either deployed or on TAD (Temporary Additional Duty), I held down the fort and slept very little. In fact, I would jump up out of my sleep and run into my son’s room to check on him often, because of all the past instances we had gone through with him medically. I was scared to sleep for too long, for fear I might miss something. What if he needed me and I was not there for him! I could never forgive myself. Every phone call from the school would physically make me sick to my stomach before I even answered the phone in fear that something had happened. There is nothing like a mother seeing their child in pain it creates a feeling of helplessness. Even though I knew I was doing everything I could, I still felt helpless. It broke my heart seeing my child playing alone at the park or at school during recess and not interact socially with other children, and not be able to read social and emotional ques. He had his family, but he was alone, and that bothered me more than it bothered him. I felt so helpless. I often considered the benefits and what life would be like if we were to get a service dog for my son. However, I also felt that it would be selfish of me to take away from someone whose different abilities I thought were greater than my son’s. One day, I was at the Camp Pendleton commissary after having a long stressful day and just wanting to get home. A lady walked in with a service dog in training. I stopped her and asked if I could pet him. She gave him a command “go visit” and he walked up to me, turned around and sat right in front of my feet. As people 32

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walked by, he did not budge, he had his eyes on his trainer and did not break focus as I kneeled and stroked his back. It was so calming and soothing! She gave him a command to put his chin on my knee and I was able to stroke his head as he just stared at me as if to say, “don’t worry momma I got you.” I learned that day that having a service dog is not about how significant one’s disability is compared to the next, but what a service dog can do for you specifically. So, we got Ione, our service dog.

Having Ione as a companion for my son helped get him through his melt downs and he was quietly there for him for however long it took. Ione provided that body pressure when my son needed it, especially since he is not a fan of human touch. When he would get home from school, he was able to relax and release the tics that he held in all day and go through the physical motions it brings with it. And Ione would be sitting at the door every day waiting on his buddy, so he could be right by his side providing comfort and support. Having a service dog changed my son’s life! My son defied the odds and graduated from high school this year and will be going to college in the fall studying electrical engineering and competing in track and field. I look at my son and see how far he has come and all that he has accomplished, despite what he went through and what we were told. He has worked so hard to get to where he is today and while he still struggles in areas, he refuses to give up and I am so proud of him.

Goodson says the following are some reasons why having a pet helped her family, which could help other military families:

“The need to walk a dog or complete a routine for a pet can give a person a sense of purpose that they have been struggling to find themselves.”

• Helped to calm her son when he was under high stress due to stressful situations at school.

“Additionally, I have personally noticed during telehealth sessions, when some clients have the ability to hold or pet their animals in session, they are able to ground or regulate themselves in difficult conversations or topics,” she added. “Furthermore, clients who bring in their service animals to sessions at our Cohen Clinic, can use their pets as additional support when discussing difficult topics or when processing trauma.”

• Taught her son responsibility. For example, he brushed him, cleaned up after him on walks, brushed his teeth and cleaned his face, paws and ears. • Provided social connection and interaction with others in the community whereas before he was closed off and struggled with social interactions and communication. • By teaching the service dog commands, it enabled her son to learn how to advocate on behalf of his needs as well as how to recognize what que best fit those needs in that moment. This also transpired into his school setting, and he began to speak up in the classroom with both his teachers and peers.

According to Kelly Williams, LMFT, Associate Director of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at VVSD in San Diego, there are other ways pets can benefit mental wellness. “When experiencing depressive thoughts or behaviors, such as difficulty getting up or completing basic tasks for oneself, some clients report their pets as the reason for pushing themselves,” Williams said.

Therapy for Veterans, Service Members, and their Families Cohen Clinics provide therapy to post-9/11 veterans, service members, and their families, including National Guard / Reserves. CVN Telehealth, face-to-face video therapy available statewide.

LEARN MORE vvsd.net/cohenclinics

OUR LOCATIONS San Diego 8885 Rio San Diego Dr. Suite 301 Oceanside 3609 Ocean Ranch Blvd. Suite 120 Los Angeles Coming Soon WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / AUGUST 2022




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For nearly 70 years, Father Joe’s Villages has been taking care of the immediate needs of homeless Veterans, while also helping end their homelessness for good. Call 1-619-HOMELESS or visit NEIGHBOR.ORG to learn more.

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Change is hard. Your transition to civilian life doesn’t have to be. At zero8hundred our goal is to ease the transition from military to civilian life. We are here to connect you to the resources specifically suited to your goals for joining the Southern California civilian workforce and community.

Resource Specialists work together with TSMs to map out a plan for re-entry, checking in regularly and providing referrals to our network of partnering organizations as needed to ensure they are, connected with resources to achieve their goals. When participants graduate from the program, we place them into our Veteran Alumni Network where we continue to track their outcomes and help keep them connected with community resources relevant to each stage of their Veteran Lifecycle. We also provide the same services to military spouses, who often face career challenges due to the frequent relocations and other demands of military family life.

This free individualized support is available up to a full year prior to military separation through a full year post-military separation. The zero8hundred team are trained Resource Specialists, with lived military experience, who are committed to working alongside transitioning service members to help them design and execute the post-military journey they want. OUR MISSION The mission of Zero8Hundred is to proactively link military service members, recent veterans, Reservists, National Guard, and spouses (including Gold Star spouses) to the broad range of resources and opportunities in their local community dedicated to helping them transition to civilian life. Zero8Hundred derives its name from the daily military ritual of raising the American flag at 0800 hours (8:00 a.m.) to signal that a new day of work has begun. We provide transitioning service members (TSMs) with personalized 1:1 counseling and wraparound support from clinically trained Master Social Workers (MSW) for up to one year before and two years after their separation from military service. Each TSM is matched with a Zero8Hundred Resource Specialist (MSW), who immediately begins a clinical assessment to address any critical needs and connects with clients to develop their transition plan. Needs may range from basic needs such as food and housing to employment support, continuing education, mental health support, financial advice, legal support, and/or health and wellness resources.

Our Resources The tools for transition, right at your fingertips. www.zero8hundred.org/our-resources


Your Contribution Matters www.zero8hundred.org/donate

ENROLL TODAY ON OUR WEBSITE www.zero8hundred.org

Contact Us

www.zero8hundred.org/contact 36

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MILITARY TRANSITION SUPPORT OUR FIVE PILLARS: Jobs & Employment - Education - Basic Needs - Health & Wellness - Community Connections

What is Zero8Hundred?

How does it work?

The mission of Zero8Hundred is to proactively link military service members, recent veterans, Reservists, National Guard and spouses (including Gold Star spouses) to the broad range of resources and opportunities in their local community dedicated to helping them transition to civilian life.

Zero8Hundred uses a Veterans Wellness Model to create & ensure a better system to ease the transition into the civilian community before, during and after leaving the armed forces.

Zero8Hundred derives its name from the daily military ritual of raising the American flag at 0800 hours (8:00 a.m.) to signal that a new day of work has begun.

Through a unique partnership with community partners and the military, Zero8Hundred provides a one-stop approach to support transitioning service-members, veterans and their families.

ENROLL TODAY ON OUR WEBSITE: www.zero8hundred.org Tax ID: 83-1268486

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

Your Transition Needs a Guide Eric Flynn spent 25 years in the Navy. Like most who transitioned out, he wasn’t entirely sure what he wanted to do next. His journey led him to Beacon Leadership, where he coaches people to achieve success in their next chapter of life. He’s proud to share his experiences and learnings to help those transitioning out reach their full potential. Be Aware of Your TENDENCIES First! A retired marine gunnery sergeant was hired by a manufacturing company to bring discipline to the team and increase their production. After 6 months in the role, he came to Eric Flynn with a problem. During his first performance evaluation, he learned that his highly directive style was offending people on his team. This deflating news came as a surprise. He wasn’t aware that this was how he was being perceived. After doing self assessments and coaching with Eric, he became more self aware of how his natural tendencies were proving a disservice in his job. He was taught to view his role from the perspective of others. Once he did that, he could understand what each person needed before he gave direction.

• Tendencies influence the actions you take. Those actions have consequences, and over time, those consequences shape your reality. • To improve your reality, start by knowing yourself and intentionally changing the actions you take. You never graduate from the school of self-awareness! Use your Halftime and Design your life After 20 years of service, a Naval aviator was certain that she wanted to become a civilian airline pilot upon transitioning out. Her Navy colleagues did that, so it made sense. She didn’t even consider other options. Upon working with a Beacon coach, she did some self-reflection on her time as an athlete at the Naval Academy - and remembered the importance of HALFTIME in a game. This is when you can reflect on what did and didn’t work in the first half, and create a plan for the second half. She realized this strategy worked for her career decision, too. She realized that what excited her most about the next state of life as a civilian was the opportunity to teach. And, was able to conclude that flying commercially wouldn’t be as energizing, plus it would take valuable time away from being with her family. Ultimately, teaching aeronautical engineering at a university gave her the energy and drive she craved, and positively the next generation of pilots. Key Takeaways:

This worked! The team felt VALUED, and actually came to welcome his input rather than fear it. Even better, the team increased productivity by 75% that year.

• Transitioning out of the military is YOUR halftime! Use it to pause and reflect on where you are and what you would like to do differently in the next chapter.

Key Takeaways: You have to know yourself to lead yourself, and lead others.

• Use the 70-30 rule! Consider your natural strengths and what energizes you – those activities should comprise at least 70% of your time. The remaining 30% should be activities that are challenging, tend to drain your energy, or require you to develop new skills.

• Your tendencies are a result of your nature, nurture, and choice. 38

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Achieve YOUR Balance of the 4: Passion – Mission – Profession – Vocation The optimal goal is to balance out all four of these in your next career stage. If you’re not feeling balanced, use these as a guide to see where you need to get more aligned to reach your potential. • Love what you do, and others have a strong need for it? You have a MISSION. • Do people need what you do and are willing to pay for it? That’s your VOCATION. • Are you good and what you do, and others are willing to pay for it? You now know your PROFESSION. • Love what you do and are good at it too? That’s your PASSION. How Do You Do This? With a Great Coach! Your skills and experiences from the military are invaluable, but further training and reflection is necessary to achieve a successful career as a civilian. A coach, like Eric Flynn, will help you see your opportunities in aunique way and allow you to see yourself in a way that you may not appreciate on your own. Need help finding a coach? Reach out to us. We want to help you succeed in the next chapter of your life.

Jim Gruny

Check out Beacon’s 5 Voices Assessment to help you better know yourself and others . https://www.giant.tv/5voices/beacon Plan your next chapter best at https://www.beaconleadership.us/

Reach out to Eve at: eve@bandofhands.com www.linkedin.com/in/eve-nasby-given-hiring-expert

www.bandofhands.com WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / AUGUST 2022


HUMAN RESOURCES Transition to Business By Paul Falcone

Authentic Leadership and Quiet Self-Confidence: Hallmarks of Truly Successful Careers

This issue is dedicated to the “Dog Days of Summer” and the service dogs that keep our nation safe. But let’s look at the origin of the expression: the term “Dog Days of Summer” refers to the period between early July and early September when the hot, sweltering, and often stifling summer weather in the norther hemisphere makes things so uncomfortable that even dogs just lay around, panting from the heat. As such, the expression typically implies a period of stagnation or inactivity. We may find ourselves in the midst of the dog days in this issue calendar-wise, but “stagnation” and “inactivity” have no place in your leadership toolkit if you’re planning on launching a career shift or job change. Here’s why: from the quiet of the dog days comes the energy outburst of the fall, so you’ll want to use this time wisely to build momentum and launch your private sector career campaign accordingly. • Authentic Leadership First, know that mastering the concept of “authentic leadership” is totally within your control, whether you’re in a management position or an individual contributor role. Leaders aren’t limited to those in management: great leaders can often be identified in the early grades of grammar school—the student who volunteers to assist the teacher, the peer who helps another in need,


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the child who seems to care more and be more aware of his or her surroundings and the feelings of others. Put another way, the fastest way to career success is to help others become successful. Authentic leadership states that the greatest leaders aren’t the ones with the most followers: they’re the ones who create the greatest numbers of leaders in turn. And the best part of this news is simply: unlike cognitive intelligence, which is relatively fixed from birth, emotional intelligence can grow exponentially over time, much like a well-honed muscle. Simply focusing on developing and raising your Emotional Quotient (EQ) is typically enough to set the wheels in motion in expanding your level of empathy and otherness, which typically bodes well for leaders in the corporate workplace who are trying to build strong teams, invoke a sense of trust and respect in their peers and subordinates, and reach high levels of performance achievement, both individually and collectively. • Quiet Self-Confidence It’s said that we rise and fall by our self-image. If we have a low opinion of ourselves and expect to fail, our subconscious often tries to deliver that result. Conversely, if we see our success in advance, the universe tends to deliver what our self-image projects.

Bragging, arrogance, and micro-management (i.e., an excessive amount of control over others’ work) are never needed. After all, if you’re a micro-manager, not only will your employees resent working for you; you’ll also never be able to scale. In other words, overmanaging the work of four people on your team will leave you feeling exhausted and leave them feeling like they’re being treated like children. Moreover, how can you ever increase your “span of control” (i.e., the direct and extended reports whom you supervise) to 40, 400, or 4000 if you’re trying to control each player’s actions? Instead, practice quiet self-confidence. Praise in public, censure in private. State your values clearly to your team so they know what guiding principles motivate you and where the red flags and land mines lie. Work hard to make others succeed and make their success your success. Assume good intentions (until proven otherwise), and program your mind for the outcome you desire. This isn’t “fake-it-till-you-make-it” self-talk. It’s affirmation-based language and sounds like this: “I can handle this.” “I made a mistake but will learn from it and do better the next time.” Above all, assume responsibility for things gone wrong: “I made a mistake and I’m sorry” are not signs of weakness; they’re statements of confidence and an acknowledgment that you’re human. Simply admit the mistake, correct it, and learn from it: “Mess up, fess up, and dress up” is a simple adage that goes a long way in building personal character and engendering a strong sense of trust and respect among your team members.


The dog days of summer may be upon us, but now’s the ideal time to take all the necessary actions to help build your self-confidence, practice selfless leadership, and strengthen your self-image.

Simply change your sponsoring thought about who you are and who you choose to be. Your message to yourself and to the universe will boomerang back to you before you know it! You can connect with Paul on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/paulfalcone1 Paul Falcone (www.PaulFalconeHR.com) is a leadership consultant, trainer, and bestselling author on hiring, performance management, and leadership development.


WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / AUGUST 2022


Successful Transitioning Stories By Dr. Julie Ducharme www.synergylearninginstitute.org

Little Angles Dog Training Since this month is service dog theme, I was very excited to highlight Little Angles Dog Training. I have known the founder of this program for 20 years before she even started the facility, Katie Gonzales. Katie always had a love for animals and training them. Whenever I was at Katie’s house she always had dogs, and I would say wow you are like a dog whisperer, she could train them in minutes and watch how well they would respond. It only made sense with such great skills with animals that she would create Little Angels Service Dog company, a full-fledged training facility and school that serviced not just people in San Diego her home base but soon all over the world. She currently has a facility in San Diego, one in New Hampshire, and a long waiting list of people in need. Even more poetic Katie got married to a Navy man and became a mil-spouse and started to learn firsthand how our military men and women often needed a support animal when they transitioned out. And today they have helped countless people in need of service animals. In this article I’ll be focusing on the veteran side of their business but please know they serve so many in need and please check out their website. Katie’s programs even extend to autism assistant, hearing assistant, mobility, psychiatric, seizure, diabetic and even a prison program in helping prisoner reform. I can’t say enough about Katie and what she and her teams do to better the lives of so many people in need. Katie how did you start Little Angels? I started out training pet dogs for people and the money I made from that I would then use to train service dogs for free for people who were disabled and the first one I did was for a boy who could not walk on his own and was made fun of at school by the kids. When he got this dog, he went from being made of fun to being the most popular kid in school. Dogs can create this amazing social bridge. 42

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What differentiates your training from others? We are 1 of 2 accredited organizations in the world that will train psychiatric service dogs for a civilian mostly this is for veterans dealing with things like PTSD. We are also the only accredited organization in the world that will train a psychiatric dog for a child. Can I get set up with a dog right away? We have over 200 people on our waiting list from Israel, Ireland, England, Canada, and all over the US. I wish we could say yes, this is quick and easy but the need for service dogs is a big one, especially for our veterans You mention that your dogs can even sense seizures, how are you able to train them for this? So many people have seizures and epilepsy is much more common than people realize and when you have a family member, child or adult who have seizures one of the most common ways they die is in bed. And if you have someone in your life like this you get no sleep. The way we train the dogs is like a game, we put a box with a treat in it as well with a gauze that has saliva from a person who has had a seizure. The dogs not only responded to this but started to alert the seizure patients ahead of time before it happened because they wanted to get the treat. This is changing peoples’ lives as the dogs can alert them minutes in advance even up to an hour in advance of a seizure. How specifically have you helped veterans coming back from war? We have had some great success with our dogs and vets, when someone comes back from war they can’t just go to Target and just walk around an isle and then hear a sudden commotion where maybe something gets knocked over but to them it sounds like something in their past and it triggers them. Having one of our dogs the dog can smell the anxiety coming on and they will start to paw at their owner to calm them down. They also provide deep pressure therapy which is like a weighted vest. Which also helps calm anxiety.

It’s so tough for our veterans to come back with a disability that people can’t see. They assume they are fine and have no idea what they are dealing with but the dog can sense it and can provide support for our veterans dealing with anxiety, depression, PTSD, mobility issues, and seizures. And our dogs also provide great companionship as well. Being a mil-spouse, I have firsthand accounts with my husband dealing with PTSD and this service is so important for our veterans and I am thankful I can use my passion to help them. If in need of any of services of Littles Angels Dog Service, please visit her website. https://littleangelsservicedogs.org Hear Katie speak on her passion and how she trains dogs to know when a seizure is coming www.tinyurl.com/Katie-Gonzales

“Remembrance of Chris”


Transitioning out of the Military into the Civilian Workforce? 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. Veterans In Transition is dedicated to you and to helping you succeed in your transition. 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 Veterans In Transition at www.tinyurl.com/Veterans-In-Transition

For more help on active duty transition, education, and more click the link below www.synergylearninginstitute.org


WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / AUGUST 2022


BUSINESS FOR VETERANS By Barbara Eldridge www.mindmasters.com

Practice, Practice, Practice

It Keeps You Sharp To maintain and grow a business, ongoing relationships with clients/customers requires consistent processes that deliver value and meaningful actions. If you are not working at strengthening those relationships, you are making it easier for your competitors to insert themselves into your marketplace. Every activity in your business needs to be consistent. Athletes do it, musicians do it, mechanics do it, writers do it, do you the business owner, do it? The idea that we can become proficient (well advanced in an art, occupation, or branch of knowledge) in our chosen field is often overlooked in small business. As solo-preneurs there is little time to spend practicing, when you wear all the hats - bookkeeper, marketer, sales rep, manager, and producer. Practice is a learning method, a method done by repetition; when you perform or work repeatedly at something, it is so you become proficient. If you have ever observed the activities of a young child, you know that their learning process is based on the principle of spaced repetition. They learn new words, begin to grasp their meaning, use the words whenever they can, until the words become a part of their vocabulary. Spaced repetition is one of the most effective forms of learning. There is a professional basketball player on U-Tube who questions whether practicing has anything to do with playing the game. Hopefully you agree, he might not have been in professional ball if he hadn’t “practiced, practiced, practiced” his game. So as business owners what should we be practicing? Asking questions: Take the time to create a list of relevant and meaningful questions. Having a list of insightful questions will serve you well time and time again. Your questions will support you in your quest to differentiate yourself and establish credibility and trust. They will open up new opportunities. 44

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Listening: Perhaps your most important skill; learning what a person’s needs and wants are, help to reveal if you can truly work together. Sales Process: Every step along the sales path, from prospecting to closing the sale is an opportunity to tweak your technique. Once you find the right combination of words that bring the best results, you then practice them that over and over again. • Establishing rapport & trust • Identifying needs accurately • Your presentation • Answering objections effectively • Closing the sale, asking for the order • Getting re-sales and asking for referrals If you have ever been to the batting cages, or were made to practice the piano, or remember learning the multiplication tables, you know that practice is the foundation for any skill. What skill in your toolbox needs sharpening? If you haven’t checked yourself out lately you may be surprised that you are leaving something important out or have made a change that has caused you to be less effective. Take time to review each business encounter this week; ask yourself, what worked, what didn’t, how could you improve it, then

Practice, Practice, Practice! Barbara Eldridge has built a solid reputation as a Success strategies specialist, within industry and business over the past 40 years. Her unique message, since starting Mind Masters 30 years ago for entrepreneurs and small business owners, continually stresses vision, purpose and values as the key elements of business philosophy. www.mindmasters.com


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Vets Starting a HandymAn Business tin ar St

By: Joseph Molina National Veterans Chamber of Commerce veteransccsd@gmail.com



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s es

As you work to nail down details of your business plan and ways to market yourself, you’ll want to consider investing in cost estimating software that can help you to make bids quickly, so you’ll stand out against the competition. By using a service, the software can help you to send estimates directly from the job site, send out automated email reminders for bid approvals, estimate labor expenses and material costs, and include a payment schedule for customers. They’ll not only save you time but also help you to stay organized.

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Hammering out the Details


As you begin to formulate your business plan with this information, consider how you’ll brand yourself. Pick your specialty areas and search for an online logo maker service to design an appealing logo that will identify your new business to customers. You’ll have many fonts and color options when it comes to creating your logo which will be displayed on your website, vehicles, and communications with customers.

an m dy an

Getting your handyman service up and running will go smoothly if you take it one step at a time. Start by contacting your state’s small business agency to find out what you’ll need to do in regard to forming an LLC. You’ll also want to know about permitting and licensing rules in your county and state. Paying attention to these legal steps in the beginning, like getting liability insurance, proper vehicle, and tool coverage, will help you succeed long term.


Getting Started


As a veteran thinking about starting your own business, it’s likely that you’ve given some thought to how to obtain the American dream. While starting a new business can be both exciting and overwhelming, your military background will put you in a great position to succeed. From following local and federal requirements and regulations to getting the word out about your services to potential customers, you’ll be on your way to building a business you’re proud of if you follow these tips. Adding Benefits and Support

As a veteran, you’ll want to use resources out there specific to you. As a thank you for your service, you’ll find discounts at local and chain hardware stores. In addition to applying for accounts at the contractor’s rate, be sure to ask about veteran benefits that will help you keep costs down; this is something you can pass on to your customers that they’ll appreciate. Also, consider looking into grants specific to veterans through your state. You might be surprised what kind of start-up funding you can get for new tools or vehicles to help you succeed. Living the Dream Whether you plan to open your business in Los Angeles or somewhere else in the United States, taking advantage of the software, social media platforms, listing services, and current real estate market will help make your plan work as you build your handyman business. Still not sure where to start or how to find the right plan? Check out the National Veterans Chamber for ways they can help make your dreams come true. The National Veterans Chamber brings together Individuals and Organizations to collaborate and develop programs & projects that will result in a Positive impact in our Veteran/Military community. If you have any questions, please email veteransccsd@gmail.com.


WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / AUGUST 2022


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

CORPORATE COMPLIANCE Corporate compliance should be an essential part of your business operations, regardless of industry. How does your business manage compliance and mitigate risk? Taking preventative measures can feel like a hassle upfront, but it can save your organization an absorbent amount of costs in the long run.

After all, employees can’t be held responsible for rules and regulations they don’t know exists. HOW TO CREATE A SUCCESSFUL CORPORATE COMPLIANCE PROGRAM Here are a few steps to establish your corporate compliance program:


1) Compliance Starts With Leadership

In the corporate world, corporate compliance is the process of making sure your company and employees follow all laws, regulations, standards, and ethical practices that apply to your organization and industry. Corporate governance covers both internal policies and procedures, as well as federal and state laws. Enforcing compliance helps your company prevent and detect violations of rules, which protects your organization from fines and lawsuits. The compliance process should be ongoing.

Leaders should encourage ethical behavior and openly talk about the importance of compliance.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A CORPORATE COMPLIANCE PROGRAM? The purpose is to protect your business. It’s as simple as that. But the return on investment could be significant, helping you avoid waste. Fraud, abuse, discrimination, and other practices that disrupt operations and put your company at risk. An effective program improves communication between leadership and staff. It should include a process for creating, updating, distributing, and tracking compliance policies.


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2) Conduct Risk Assessments Corporate compliance is about managing risk. To build an effective program, you need to know what compliance areas pose the highest risks to your organization. Federal and state regulations, as well as industry standards, are constantly evolving. To avoid risk of noncompliance, its’ important to conduct regular assessments, such as assessing recent litigation, complaints, employee claims, and industry enforcement trends. 3) Establish And Maintain Your Code Of Conduct, Policies, And Standards Your corporate compliance program needs a well defined code of conduct because it can help define your program’s purpose and set expectations for behavior. The code of conduct should explain

who is responsible for managing the program, how employees should report misconduct, and what disciplinary measures are put into place for violating the codes of conduct.

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4) Properly Train All Employees After establishing the policies and procedures for your corporate compliance program, you need to disseminate them to every member of your staff. All employees and relevant vendors should be trained on laws, regulations, corporate policies, and prohibited conduct. Corporate compliance violations can result in fines, penalties, lawsuits, loss or reputation, and more. Keep your business from learning the lesson the hard way. Start developing a compliance program today. Becoming a business owner, you control your own destiny, choose the people you work with, reap big rewards, challenge yourself, give back to the community, and you get to follow your passion. Knowing what you’re getting into is smart business because the responsibility of protecting your family and yourself falls on you. 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.

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. • • • •

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

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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. 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.

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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. - 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. - 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. 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.

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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 WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / AUGUST 2022



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As a military service member or veteran making the transition to a new career path, law enforcement can feel like a natural fit.

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.

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Homeland Magazine A Veterans Magazine by Veterans for Veterans

www.HomelandMagazine.com Voted 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021 BEST resource, support media for veterans, military families & military personnel. 64

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