Homeland Magazine December 2022

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MENTAL HEALTH VETERANS Resources & Support Vol. 9 • Number 12 • December 2022 Wreaths Across America Day Warrior Shares Journey to Help Other Veterans norad tracks santa Patriot Boot Camp M A G A Z I N E Homeland TOM RICE Screaming Eagle Takes Final Jump PTSD Understanding HELPFUL CAREER RESOURCES & Strategies TRANSITION

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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“I’m happier with myself. Having been in therapy, period, has helped me be in a better place now.”

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WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / DECEMBER 2022 3 www.navyfederal.org/veterans Apply today! Visit navyfederal.org/cashrewards You’ll enjoy: No annual fee3 Immediately redeemable rewards Rewards that won’t expire while your account is open We’re Spreading Cheer With $200 Bonus Cash Back1 When You Spend $2,000 PLUS, EARN UP TO 1.75% CASH BACK ON EVERY PURCHASE2 Insured
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Our Members Are the Mission


Greetings and a warm welcome to Homeland Magazine!

Please take some time to get to know the layout of our magazine. The Magazine focuses on national resources, support, community, and inspiration for our veterans and the military families that keep it together.

Our magazine is driven by passion, vision, reflection and the future. The content is the driving force behind our magazine and the connection it makes with our veterans, service members, military families, and civilians.

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

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

Homeland Magazine is a veterans magazine for veterans by veterans.

We appreciate your support and are so happy to have you as a reader of Homeland Magazine.

Mike Miller



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Publisher Editor-In-Chief Mike Miller mikemiller@HomelandMagazine.com Holly Shaffner Veteran Advocate Hope Phifer 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 Eve Nasby & Kristin Hennessy What’s Next - Transitioning Amber Robinson Arts & Healing Paul Falcone Human Resources Dr. Julie Ducharme Successful Transitioning Stories Collaborative Organizations Wounded Warrior Project Raquel Rivas Disabled American Veterans Guest Writers Include National Veteran Organizations, Military & Veteran Advocates
WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / DECEMBER 2022 5 6 Patriot Boot Camp 8 Wreaths Across America Day 10 Screaming Eagle Takes Final Jump 14 Caregiving TLC: Holidays 16 NORAD Tracks Santa 18 Beat the Holiday Blues 20 Warrior Shares Journey to Veterans 24 Road Warrior Foundation 26 iBOT: Mobility to Veterans 28 Homeland - We’ve Got You Covered 30 PTSD - A Better Understanding 32 Real Talk: Mental Health 34 What’s Next: The Gifts of People and Time 36 HR: Favorite Column 2022 38 Transitioning Stories: Favorite Column 2022 42 Business for Veterans: Favorite Column 2022 44 Franchise Frontline: Veteran is Well-Prepared 46 Risky Business: The 12 Claims of Christmas 48 Legal Eagle: Pearls of Legal Wisdom 50 Legally Speaking: Favorite Column 2022 52 Careers in Law Enforcement 54 Military to Police Office DECEMBER - INSIDE THE ISSUE Cover: DOD - Holiday Honors A service member participates in National Wreaths Across America Day at Arlington National Cemetery, Va. Photo By: Elizabeth Fraser, Army

Reborn, reunited and refueled

First DAV Patriot Boot Camp event welcomes back alumni bonded by business and service

As the co-founder and CEO of a tech startup, Air Force veteran Robert Thelen knows what it means to work long, hard days.

He’s heard no more often than yes, and while he’s had plenty of successes, he’s familiar with failure, too.

“It’s easy to get really, really low on fumes,” said Thelen, whose company, Rownd, helps businesses register and retain more users through frictionless sign-in across their websites and apps.

But for Thelen and hundreds of entrepreneurs in the military and veteran community, there’s one place they know they can always go to refuel: DAV Patriot Boot Camp.

“This is our recharge. It’s our topping off of the tank,” Thelen said during the first boot camp of its kind at DAV National Headquarters in Erlanger, Kentucky.

“You top the tank off with the fellowship, with the mentorship, with this ability to be around other entrepreneurs, to be around amazing speakers that just inspire you to get back out there and do it again.”

Founded in 2012, Patriot Boot Camp provides training, networking and mentorship for current and future business owners in the military and veteran community. More than 1,000 alumni have raised

over $150 million in venture capital and employ over 1,900 people. DAV acquired the charity in January, significantly expanding the organization’s mission to help veterans build meaningful, fulfilling lives after service.

In July, 13 alumni reunited for the first-ever DAV Patriot Boot Camp event. Over the course of two days, participants were connected with investors, subject matter experts and mentors. The boot camp ended with a pitch contest.

Some alumni, including Thelen, returned in different capacities, serving as speakers, panelists and mentors. That spirit of coming back to give back is ingrained in the program’s culture and part of its mantra: “Pitch, ask, give.” Participants are bonded by sharing their ventures, telling others in their cohort where they need help and sharing what they may be able to do to assist one another.

“What that means is that everyone embraces sharing of their network and their resources when someone else asks for help—without an expectation of something in return,” said Taylor McLemore, one of the original founders of Patriot Boot Camp and co-chair of DAV’s National Veterans Entrepreneurship Council. “And the beautiful thing that happens is that when everyone does this, what you feel that you've

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given actually doesn’t feel that big, but what you receive feels massive.

“And so the sum of the parts is significantly larger than what each individual contributed, and the community as a collective rises.”

Army veteran and alumni Shawn Shivers II brought a new business idea to the event: a crowdsourcing app that will allow truck drivers to communicate with one another ahead of picking up and dropping off deliveries. The goal is to create a safer, more efficient experience for drivers.

“I’ve met people that can help me in legal, I’ve met people who can help me in funding, and I’ve met other founders who have been in my shoes,” Shivers said. “And they’ve been able to coach me and mentor me and give me the guidance that I need to be successful.”

In the world of DAV Patriot Boot Camp, anyone can ask and anyone can give, whether it’s a participant or mentor. Entrepreneurs swap business war stories, share contacts, spread resources and figure out how they can help one another.

“Being an entrepreneur is never a straight line,” said Marilyn Jackson, a program alumni, serial entrepreneur, Air Force veteran and CEO of UnderGrid Networks. She also serves on the Entrepreneurship Council. “Reengaging on a return basis is very

Top left: Air Force veteran Emille Bryant participated in the very first Patriot Boot Camp in 2012 and again in 2021. Bryant is the founder of go:IKIGAI, a consulting firm that helps small businesses with strategy, vision and leadership.

Top right: Army veteran and alumni Shawn Shivers II brought a new business idea to DAV’s premiere event: a crowdsourcing app that will allow truck drivers to communicate with one another ahead of picking up and dropping off deliveries.

Bottom: Air Force veteran and Patriot Boot Camp alumni Robert Thelen is the CEO and co-founder of Rownd, a company that helps businesses register and retain more users through frictionless sign-in across their websites and apps.

important, because you’re never going to be where you were before.

“I’m still mentored today, because I think in every phase, there are certain things that you discover that you don’t know.”

Air Force veteran Emille Bryant participated in the very first Patriot Boot Camp in 2012 and again in 2021. Bryant, the founder of go:IKIGAI—a consulting firm that helps small businesses with strategy, vision and leadership—returned to improve his skills but also to help his fellow alumni.

“I’ll do this again. I’d do it again next year,” Bryant said. And he may not be alone. The event exceeded a 90% satisfaction score from participants.

Alumni say the keys to creating such a strong fellowship are trust and vulnerability. DAV Patriot Boot Camp is unique in that it is for and by people in the military and veteran community. Participants start with a base understanding of their peers’ experiences and values.

“You’re in a place where you’re both a founder and a veteran, and you can just let all those barriers down,” Thelen said. “It’s so critical.”

Learn More Online

Learn more at patriotbootcamp.org. n

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Gunther, Havlat, Knauss, and Wreaths Across America Day

In World War I, Private Henry Gunther was a GermanAmerican drafted in the fall of 1917; most accounts state that his final actions were motivated by Gunther’s need to demonstrate that he was “courageous and allAmerican.” A chaplain from Gunther’s unit recounted, “As 11 a.m. and the end of the war approached, Gunther suddenly rose with his rifle and ran through thick fog. His men shouted for him to stop. So did the Germans. But Gunther kept running and firing. One machine gun blast later, he was dead. His death was recorded at 10:59 a.m. In every conflict, inevitably a final service member pays the ultimate sacrifice.

In World War II, Private Charlie Havlat, the son of Czech immigrants, in the closing days of the war, found himself liberating his parents’ former homeland – word of the cease-fire reached his position minutes after he was killed.

Officially, the U.S. has never declared a final casualty in the Korean War; since the armistice was signed, nearly 100 U.S. Soldiers have been killed in combat on the Korean peninsula.

On April 29, 1975, Charles McMahon and Darwin Judge were two of a small number of Marines tasked with safeguarding the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. They had been deployed for only 11 days when they were killed by a rocket attack. The U.S. would complete the process of withdrawing from Saigon the following day.

Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss was the last of the 2,461 Service Members who died in Afghanistan; he along with 12 of his comrades was killed in a suicide attack during the withdrawal from Kabul.

In every war, there is always one that must fill the dignified but dubious role in history as being the last to give the full measure of devotion. Each year, on a cold Saturday in December, as a nation we pause, not only to honor those that have given their lives but for all those who believed so deeply in American exceptionalism that they were willing to sacrifice what they held dear to defend it.

For most people talking about war is conceptual, something learned through history books, news reports, and movies – those that have served do not have that luxury. Not only should we remember that

the principles we hold true have been defended by generations of Americans whom we honor on Wreaths Across America Day, but more importantly we should take inspiration from that sacrifice. Our country, despite all our self-imposed differences, needs to look to our Veterans and see that there are no divisions in a foxhole – there are only those who stand in defense of democracy and those who stand against it.

When the Armistice was signed in 1918 when the Japanese surrendered, and when the last flights departed Kabul and Saigon – these were not simply endings –they were new beginnings. We honor those who serve by recommitting ourselves to making the sacrifices necessary to preserve our way of life.

While we may only celebrate Wreaths Across America Day on December 17th, this year by placing a fresh balsam veterans reath, saying the interred veteran’s name aloud so that their sacrifice is never forgotten, and a few moments of silence, we have an opportunity to find our own way to serve as part of our commitment to living up to the legacy of our Veterans.

If we look hard enough, we’ll see beyond the physical memorials to our Veterans and see the true legacy of their service – that legacy lives in our spirit, our pride, and our willingness to choose discomfort when forced to choose between an easy wrong and a hard right. During last year’s Wreaths Across America annual truck convoy of wreaths called “The Escort to Arlington,” a former sentinel from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers stated, “We wanted perfection, these men not only gave their lives, but they also gave their identity.” If we are truly grateful, then each of us must strive for that same level of perfection in our own lives.

Since its humble beginning as a simple family gift to our nation’s heroes in 1992, Wreaths Across America has grown into a movement that thanks veterans every day, and takes great pride in sharing their stories of service, sacrifice, and success. While we, as Americans, may not be asked to make the same level of sacrifice, by learning from our vet’s legacies we are reminded that success is driven by focusing on what unites us and that all of us should be willing to trade a bit of personal comfort for the common good. Our Veterans can remind each of us that the spirit of American Exceptionalism lies in our collective ability to be resilient; face challenges and strive to overcome them.

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As Adlai Stevenson once stated, “Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” For over 30 years now, Wreaths Across America Day has served as a new beginning for families all over the nation and beyond honoring over 2.4 million interred veterans annually. Go forth, sponsor a wreath, volunteer, help honor the interred in your local area and find a way to serve our nation, our communities, and each other – we owe it to our Veterans.

This year, more than 3,400 locations will participate in National Wreaths Across America Day – Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022 – and more than 4,000 Sponsorship Groups are working in local communities to raise awareness and the wreath sponsorships needed to honor all local service members laid to rest with the placement of live, veterans’ wreaths. Your $15 sponsorship will ensure that a fresh balsam veterans wreath will be placed at the final resting place of an American hero.

To find a Sponsorship Group supporting a participating cemetery in your community, please go to www.wreathsacrossamerica.org

Like and follow Wreaths Across America on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, and tune in to Wreaths Across America Radio to hear from the many local Sponsorship Group volunteers throughout the country and how they are finding a way to serve in their communities.

For more information about Wreaths Across America or to volunteer and/or sponsor a wreath please visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.

Search Locations


To search locations and cemeteries, please type your search terms, click the search button and choose from the suggested options. You can also search by the location name, the city name, the zip code, or even the state name.

About Wreaths Across America

Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992. The organization’s mission – Remember, Honor, Teach – is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreathlaying ceremonies in December at Arlington, as well as at thousands of veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond.

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August 15, 1921 – November 17, 2022

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Photo Courtesy by Tom Jones with SEABORN

“Screaming Eagle” takes Final Jump at 101

Hometown Hero “Screaming Eagle” Tom Rice took his final jump on November 17, 2022 at the age of 101. Thomas Marcus Rice was born on August 15, 1921 in the Navy town of Coronado, California. He was blessed to pass in the same home his father built and that he was born in.

Tom’s father, Marcus S. Rice, built their family home while stationed at North Island as a naval aviation mechanic. In 1933 a tragic plane crash took his life while on assignment in Panama. Shortly after, Tom, his mother Katherine and sister Catherine lived with his grandmother in San Francisco before they moved back to their family home in Coronado.

During his youth, Tom loved fishing, swimming, and running. He and a group of friends founded the first lifeguard station in Coronado. Tom attended Coronado High School where he excelled at track and field. After his high school graduation in 1940, Tom attended San Diego State University until September 1942, when he saw a recruitment poster for the Airborne and enlisted in the United States Army. He identified himself as a “risk taker” and later admitted, “After the loss of my father, the experimental airborne program was a perfect fit for me.”

From September 1942 to December 1945, Tom served his country as a paratrooper, assigned to C Company, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, known as the famous “Screaming Eagles.”

Staff Sergeant (SSG) Rice was first at the door as he jumped into the flak ridden skies on D-Day over Normandy, France. He liberated the town of Carentan and the townspeople have never forgotten. Carentan’s sorrow for his recent passing is deeply felt and shared with us. To this day, Carentan celebrates Tom’s sacrifice and service with Rice’s picture displayed on lampposts and murals.

In September 1944, SSG Rice led a mortar squadron, parachuting into battle during Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands. He later fought at the Battle of the Bulge, where he was wounded. When asked about the historic battle, Tom reflecting, would rub his hands together while chattering his teeth, “I’ve never been so cold and hungry in my life.” Shortly after the capture of Berchtesgaden, Staff Sergeant Rice was

discharged from the Army, and within weeks returned to college at San Diego State University (SDSU).

At SDSU Tom prepared for a career in teaching. For over thirty years he taught Social Studies at Chula Vista and Hilltop High Schools. He also coached track and cross Country. He led by example, and pushed his students to excel by encouraging creative thinking.

He was fit and stood well over six feet tall, intimidating to say the least. Mr. Rice once accepted a push up challenge proposed by an ornery student. “One hand or two?” Coach Rice confidently asked. You can only imagine the response by the stunned student. Rice won as expected.

Decades later, as a tribute to Tom’s service to country, Hilltop High School students dedicated their 2019 homecoming game to him. From the sidelines, the “Screaming Eagles” and 101 on the backside of Tom’s football jersey stood out as he proudly cheered his alumni team, “GO! GO!! GO!!!”

In retirement Tom was an avid runner, competing in races up until his early 90’s. In addition to his passion for running, he became an inspiring lecturer, deeply motivated to encourage future generations to remember the historic importance of World War Il and the sacrifices of the men he led and fought with.

Tom was invited to share his experiences in the Second World War to students and community groups in the San Diego area and around the world.

When speaking, he would begin with a commanding voice and end with a whisper, “Never forget…never forget… never forget.”

As the words vanished from his lips, he burnt the sentiment of remembrance into our soul with a deep stare.

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Continued on next page >
Photo by Thomas Goisque

To honor his fellow warriors, Tom returned to France many times, parachuting into Normandy again for the 50th and the 75th commemorations of D-Day. He was the oldest surviving World War II paratrooper to jump again at both Normandy and the Netherlands in 2019. He continued to inspire the masses and in August 2021, he parachuted again on his 100th birthday landing onto the beaches of the Hotel del Coronado as hundreds of grateful citizens applauded. Millions of enthusiastic viewers worldwide watched the coverage. Everyone became enamored with our Airborne hero.

“Libertas” (Normandy Jump 2019)

Tom has been interviewed by hundreds of students, media outlets, and stories have been written in several local, national and international publications. In 2021, he was spotlighted in the American Veterans Center “American Valor” program in Washington D.C.. Tom is also featured in the documentary “Libertas” (Normandy Jump 2019) and highlighted in the “Into Flight Once More” film, both commemorating the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and his legendary jump.

He created such a stir, in 2020 a French watchmaker with Praesidus created “The Lost Watch of D-Day,” a replica of the prized wristwatch which Tom lost as he exited the C-47 door on D-Day.

Rice with his favored “Dolly” (D-Day Doll)

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His memory and legacy are forever embedded in the hearts of the liberated and the citizens of the Coronado community. To learn more about our Hometown Hero, a biography, “My Part in The War,” was written by a dear friend and Team Tom Member Denis Van Den Brink who is from the town of Carentan. The book can be found on Amazon in both French and English. If you live in San Diego, a nostalgic photograph of Tom, captured by, Jeff Rease with Portraits of Honor, hangs at the Coronado Island Public Library and a replica of his service uniform is displayed at the Coronado Historical Foundation.

Tom never ceased to inspire and only six weeks prior to his passing, he still was an advocate for education and remembrance, holding the patch of the liberated town of Carentan, hoping to encourage the completion of the 4 Colonels of Carentan monument honoring the sacrifices of the 101st ABN DIV and his Commanding Officer “Jumpy” Johnson whom he held in high regard.

May we live in the spirit of Tom and the “Screaming Eagles,” fearless, and confident, inspiring others to live their lives in honor of the fallen, in remembrance of their sacrifice…”Never Forget…never forget…never forget.”

Tom was preceded in death by his first wife Doris, sister Catherine and second wife Barbara. He is survived by his wife Brenda, children Jonathan, Vicki, Diane, Monica, and Patrick. A community celebration of Tom’s life will be held at the Coronado High School Theater on Saturday, December 3, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. An internment ceremony will be held at Fort Rosecrans at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, Brenda Rice requests that donations be made to Honor Flight San Diego in Tom’s memory. Please go to: www.honorflightsandiego.org.

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Photo by Jeff Rease with Portraits of Honor


Headed Home for the Holidays?

Ensuring Your Aging Loved Ones are Safe & Well Cared For!

Bags packed and headed home for the holidays this year? Many will be flying or driving the miles to visit family and friends this holiday season. But how long has it been since you’ve seen your aging loved ones? If you are visiting an aging loved one for the holidays, there are four main areas you will want to pay special attention to.

Physical Environment

Someone’s physical space or environment can tell you a lot about what’s going on in their lives.

How does home look when you get there? What does it smell like? Does it appear clean and tidy?

Are there tripping hazards present (throw rugs, electrical cords, etc.)? My mother keeps her home clean and tidy, yet she is a huge fan of throw rugs. She has small dogs and tells me the rugs are more for the dogs than they are for her. Either way, throw rugs are one of the primary causes of falls in the home. How does the exterior of the home? Is the place falling into disrepair? Our homes are typically one of our biggest investments so keeping the home in good repair – inside and out – benefits not only the person living there but the initial investment put into the home (which has likely skyrocketed in today’s housing market).

Is there adequate lighting if your loved one were to go outside after dark?

Does your loved one still possess the things you are used to seeing when you have visited previously? A family member of my client started noticing that every time they visited, more and more pieces of art were missing. Where once there was a mantle full of hand carved pieces of artwork, the number of pieces were slowly dwindling with no explanation or recollection of where they had gone or who they may have been given to.

RetirementWhat’s Next

Mental/Emotional State

Having conversations with your aging loved ones can help to uncover what may be going on for them mentally.

Has your loved one forgotten your spouse’s name or the names of your kids? I had a client tell me that he called his mother on the phone and instead of asking how each grandchild was doing, she asked him “how is your family?”. This occurred as odd to him at the time but once he started putting the pieces together, he finally realized that his mother was in the beginning stages of dementia.

Are they taking all their medication(s) as prescribed? Having a medication box is a great way to tell if someone is taking their medication as directed.

Are they showered and wearing clean clothes or is the bathroom – particularly the bathtub – being used as extra storage? When a client of mine finally let me into her home, I asked to use the bathroom and found she was using the tub/shower enclosure for storage of miscellaneous household items and clothing. There was no way she had been using the tub or shower. I now understood her lack of personal hygiene and found the right kind of help for her.

Have they given up arts, crafts, or hobbies they used to love to do? It could be a matter of physicality, or it could be more of a mental issue…or a combination. Especially during the pandemic, the focus on mental health and how damaging social isolation can be to one’s mental and physical health cannot be overlooked nor taken lightly.

Physical Abilities

While home for the holidays, keep a close eye on how your aging loved one is doing physically.

Are they having increased difficulty sitting down or standing up?

Do they have stairs in the home they are afraid to navigate? My great aunt lived in an older home and at a certain stage of her aging (and moderate dementia),

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she stopped going downstairs. The big issue with this was her washer and dryer were downstairs. This meant she was no longer doing her own laundry, which explained why her bed sheets were so dirty.

Are they still using that old step stool to reach items being stored in high places? Perhaps it’s time to find alternate storage options.

Is personal hygiene becoming an issue? This will especially be noticeable if your aging loved one is becoming incontinent of bladder and/or bowel. Skin breakdown, due to prolonged contact with urine or feces, can become a very serious and life-threatening matter if left unnoticed or unattended.

Does your loved one have unexplained bruising on their body? Often the person can neither remember how or where they got the bruising, or they have been falling and are afraid to share that information.

Nutritional Status

Malnutrition in our aging adult population is on the rise. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, up to half of all adults 65 years and older are at risk for malnutrition. And malnutrition is the “leading cause of morbidity and mortality, especially among older adults”. Malnutrition in our aging population has various causes, many of which overlap with the person’s physical abilities and mental capacity.

Is your aging loved one physically and/or mentally able to plan, shop for and cook nutritious meals each day? Often, a simple look through the refrigerator or glance at what’s in the garbage can alert you to how well your loved one is eating – or not. Prepackaged and highly processed foods are often eaten by seniors because of their convenience. But the downsides to these pre-packaged and “convenient” foods are numerous and often dangerous (high levels of sodium and trans fats, contain high fructose corn syrup and/or high amounts of sugar and additives like aspartame and nitrates/nitrites).

Any foods with the words “low-fat”, “low carb” or “heart healthy” should raise a red flag; it means that fat, carbohydrates, and other real foods have been eliminated and replaced with chemicals and chemically derived additives.

Reference www.eatrightpro.org/news-center/in-practice/ dietetics-in-action/adult-and-senior-malnutrition

With a bit of observation and some meaningful conversation with your aging loved one, you can help to ensure they are aging safely. Enjoy this joyous holiday season, hug your loved ones often and remember that our senior population is a precious gift we have the privilege of knowing and learning from, if only we take

Happy Holidays to all!

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NORAD Satellites, Fighter Pilots Help Track Santa

Every December, millions of families around the world track Santa’s Yuletide journey through the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s Santa Tracker. “NORAD Tracks Santa” is a holiday tradition that started from humble origins — and as a fluke — but has now grown into a massive volunteer operation.

About 70 contributors help set up the site, apps and phone lines, while more than 500 uniformed personnel, Defense Department civilians, their families and supporters volunteer time on Christmas Eve to answer children’s questions on Santa’s whereabouts. While COVID-19 has reduced volunteers at traditional call centers, virtual call center capabilities will be able to pick up any slack.

Radar, Satellites and Fighter Jets

Since NORAD is the protector of the skies over North America during the rest of the year, it’s specially equipped for this mission.

“Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, NORAD defends North America by tracking airplanes, missiles, space launches and anything else that flies in or around the North American continent,” said Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, NORAD’s commander. “As we have since 1955, this Dec. 24th we are once again ready for our nofail mission of tracking Santa.”


answered a wrong-number call on Dec. 24, 1955, and began the tradition of NORAD tracking Santa.

Kids across the U.S. have grown accustomed to following Santa’s journey by tracking his flight path online or by making a good, ol’-fashioned phone call to find out where he is. They’re also able to play games and watch videos of his progress through the mobile “NORAD Tracks Santa” app.

They can do all this thanks to the hard-working folks at NORAD, who start the task of tracking Santa each November when www.NORADSanta.org starts getting inquiries from families.

Volunteers at the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center on Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., took time to have fun with equipping a stuffed bear with headset and playbook while answering calls and emails from children and parents across the globe tracking Santa’s movements and statistics, Dec. 24, 2013.

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Force Col. Harry Shoup, the operations officer at North American Aerospace Defense Command’s precursor organization, (Photo By: DOD) (Photo By: Master Sgt. Charles Marsh)

NORAD’s powerful radar system, called the North Warning System, has 47 installations across Alaska and northern Canada. As soon as that radar system picks up on Santa departing from the North Pole, NORAD tracks him via globally-integrated satellites using their infrared sensors. Normally, those sensors allow NORAD to see heat from launched rockets or missiles. As Santa flies around the world, satellites track his position by detecting Rudolph’s nose, which gives off an infrared signature similar to that of a missile.

NORAD also tracks Santa using U.S. Air Force F-15, F-16, F-22 and Canadian Air Force CF-18 fighter jets. On Christmas Eve, fighter pilots rendezvous with Santa off the coast of Newfoundland to welcome him to North America. They escort him safely through North American airspace until he returns to the North Pole.

Air Force Col. Harry Shoup, the operations officer at North American Aerospace Defense Command’s precursor organization, answered a wrong-number call on Dec. 24, 1955, and began the tradition of NORAD tracking Santa. (Photo By: DOD)

The role of tracking the big guy rolled over to NORAD when it was formed in 1958, and it’s been getting more popular and more technologically-savvy ever since. Aside from calling in to talk, kids can now use social media and a mobile app to follow St. Nick. Virtual assistant Amazon Alexa and vehicle navigation service OnStar are also helping to track him, and the website NORADSanta.org offers a countdown clock, games and videos that are available in several languages.

Volunteers monitor phones and computers while tracking Santa at the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., Dec. 24, 2013.

The operation has become a well-oiled machine over the years, but it wasn’t always easy. In fact, the whole thing started by accident.

How the Tradition Began

Back in 1955, the folks at the previously named Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center in Colorado were working a typical night shift when Air Force Col. Harry Shoup got a phone call from a child in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The boy had followed the directions in a department store’s newspaper advertisement that told children how to call Santa — except the number had been printed incorrectly and instead called the operations center.

Shoup could have been a Scrooge about the whole thing, but he wasn’t. He entertained the boy’s call as well as the rest of the calls that came through due to the misprinted number. Throughout the night, Shoup and his operators answered calls, kicking off a new tradition.

The tracking of Santa is a holiday tradition around the world. In 2020, www.NORADSanta.org received more than 11 million visitors from 200+ countries and territories; call center volunteers answered more than 20,000 calls; Amazon Alexa was accessed more than 12.3 million times; and OnStar received about 12,400 requests to locate Santa. The @noradsanta Facebook page currently has 1.89 million followers, more than 206,000 follow along at @noradsanta on Twitter, and about 14,400 people follow @NoradTracksSanta_Official on Instagram.

Happy tracking, everyone!

NORAD Tracks Santa at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. 2018. (Photo By: DOD)

The call center opens at 6 a.m. EST on Dec. 24. Kids can call 1-877-Hi-NORAD (446-6723) to find out where Santa is or use the above website, mobile app or social media. But officials warned that Santa only comes if children are asleep, so make sure they get into bed early so he doesn’t miss delivering to their house.

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(Photo By: Air Force Master Sgt. Chuck Marsh)

BLUES Beat The Holiday

It’s that time of year again: Festive music fills the air, fireplaces crackle, and holiday cheer abounds. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right?

Not necessarily. Many people can find themselves dealing with the holiday blues and can be sad, lonely or even depressed. There are many reasons that people might find themselves struggling with the holiday blues: Pressure to feel merry, reminders of lost loved ones, and financial hardships are just a few. Military families can add one more reason to that list: Deployment. Coping with deployments can take a toll on one’s emotional well-being, and this is only increased when a loved one’s deployment spans the holidays.

Here are a few tips to help beat the holiday blues:

1. Take it one day at a time--try to avoid looking at this time of year as the “holiday season,” instead try to break it down day by day, think of it as Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, or New Year’s Day. Often, it is easier to think “I can get through this day” rather than thinking “I can get through this season.”

2. Get in touch with family members by writing letters, visiting or making phone calls.

3. Try to avoid retail therapy--fight the temptation to spend extra money to make you feel better as this can lead to increased stress or depression when the credit card bills arrive.

4. Give yourself permission to have fun--it is normal to be sociable during the holidays, even if your loved one is not available to attend events with you.

5. Ask for help--you don’t need to be superman or superwoman; you do not need to wing it alone, depend on close family and friends to help you through this time.

6. Stay busy--avoiding unstructured time may help to minimize difficult feelings. Try to fill your calendar with fun events and give yourself something to look forward to.

It is also important to know when “the blues” are a sign of something more. Depression is common around the holidays and recognizing the symptoms is a key step in getting the help you might need. Symptoms of depression include lack of sleep or over sleeping, over eating or not eating at all, crying for no reason or any reason, and loss of interest in activities. If you are experiencing these symptoms for an extended period of time and are concerned that you may be depressed, contact your primary care provider or Patient Centered Medical Home for help.

There are many ways to beat the holiday blues, but remember it is okay to feel what you are feeling. Forcing yourself to be happy can often make it worse. Try to incorporate some of the tips above if you find yourself feeling down during the holidays, and remember: you are not the only person experiencing the holiday blues.

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holidays and best wishes for a wonderful new year.

Warrior Claude Boushey worked for a decade to get the VA benefits he deserved from his military service. WWP helped him navigate the process and receive a positive result.

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Wounded Warrior Shares VA Benefits Journey to Help Other Veterans

Army veteran Claude Boushey had chronic knee, leg, and back pain, hearing loss, and struggled with the invisible wounds of war after 25 years in the military.

Claude served proudly until his retirement in 2008. He put his physical and mental well-being on the line for the benefit of his country, so when he eventually left the service, he had every reason to expect the country he served so honorably would be willing to help him when he returned home.

Claude’s plight is not a unique one. Many post-9/11 veterans returned home after multiple deployments during 20 years of war, changed and sometimes broken.

In addition to the most severe injuries veterans can face from combat, there are also the routine aches and pains that come from excessive running, carrying heavy gear, sleeping on the ground, as well as jumping from planes and rappelling from helicopters and buildings.

There are the headaches, confusion, and inability to focus that often accompanies traumatic brain injury (TBI), which many warriors experienced from roadside bomb explosions, and military vehicle and aircraft accidents.

For many warriors returning home, there are also the invisible wounds. The nightmares, the anxiety, the social disconnect that comes from reliving trauma. Yet, they come home ready to serve their families and communities the best they can.

Claude spent his military career in aviation, working his way from helicopter mechanic to helicopter pilot. He deployed multiple times. During his first deployment to Iraq, his helicopter crashed into a swamp, injuring his spine. His back injuries from the crash required four surgeries and eight months of rehab. During his recovery, he also found out that a fellow Army pilot who had helped rescue him had died in another crash. Claude would never get to thank him.

Even after those traumas, 15 months later Claude returned to Iraq to continue the mission.

He gave everything he had to the service of the country and wanted assistance for the injuries he endured in his quarter century of service.

“I didn’t really think much of it,” Claude said about filing for VA disability. “There was a helicopter crash. I have all these injuries, and the scars to prove it.”

The Journey Begins

In August 2008, after retiring and still dealing with his visible and invisible wounds, Claude filed for VA disability compensation. In February 2009, he got a response.

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Continued on next page >

“I still remember the day I got my disability letter,” Claude said. “My wife actually opened it, and said, ‘You probably need to sit down for this one.’”

He was denied ratings for tinnitus and hearing loss in addition to many others. Claude did qualify for some, but in total he only received 10%. This, after sustaining significant injuries and serving for 25 years. “It was probably one of the worst days of my life,” Claude said.

Claude struggled to understand, feeling like his sacrifice wasn’t acknowledged. He saw the scars on his body every day and questioned how he could give 100% and get back 10%?

“I served 25 years. I did everything the military asked of me,” Claude said. “I deployed to Haiti. I deployed to Bosnia, and two times to Iraq. Even after my helicopter crashed, I went back to Iraq. I retired honorably. And that response from the VA really set me back for a long time.”

Claude then embarked on a decade-long odyssey to get the benefits he earned during his service by appealing his initial rating decision.

Navigating the VA Disability Process

When it comes to VA disability benefits, many factors go into a rating decision. The most important thing to know is that the injury or illness you’re seeking compensation for must be service-connected. Establishing service-connection can be difficult and is often the first hurdle.

WWP aims to help veterans navigate this confusing and sometimes daunting process.

“Our goal is not to get every veteran 100%, because each person’s experience was different, and each person’s service was different,” said WWP Regional Benefits Director Susie Thompson. “But we review their records, including military service records, service treatment records, and current medical records, to get the full picture of what’s going on. We look at their treatment history and current diagnoses and help them get service-connection for those disabilities.”

The VA-accredited representatives in WWP’s Benefits Services team can help warriors file for VA disability benefits, appeal or increase a VA decision, prepare for medical exams, and advise on additional benefits that warriors may be entitled to.

“It’s really helpful to have an advocate by your side,” Susie said. “Obviously, [the veterans] are experts on

their medical history and their service history, but we’re experts on the VA rating system and disability benefits.”

Fortunately, the VA is trying to alleviate some of the obstacles and delays Claude experienced with the appeals process. The Veteran Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act (AMA), passed in 2017, now offers three review lanes at the Board of Veterans Appeals, and two different review options at the local regional office.

WWP’s VA-accredited representatives can assist veterans in deciding which review or appeal lane is best and how to proceed. “There are many options available for review now,” Susie said. “The VA recently revamped the appeals process. It has streamlined the process and offers more choices for the veteran.”

Managing expectations, setting goals, and maintaining communication with the VA are important components of filing for disability benefits and appealing decisions. While it may be less arduous than it used to be, it can still be a burdensome task that veterans don’t have to do alone.

“Wounded Warrior Project will stay with you throughout the entire duration of your claim,” Susie said. “Our continued goal is to help veterans achieve the benefits they have earned in a manner that honors their service.”

Finding the Right Support

After receiving his initial VA decision, Claude appealed and reapplied. After nearly eight years, he increased his rating from 10% to 30% due to his leg injuries. It was a tough road to get to that point, and he was still dealing with constant back pain, hearing loss, and PTSD.

Claude eventually connected with a benefits representative from WWP who wouldn’t let him fall through the cracks.

“She came in and did her magic,” Claude said.

She helped him collect the needed evidence to move forward, including an examination with his civilian doctor, and assisted with determining a strategy to move forward with the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA). She got the ball rolling quickly, and soon, Claude attended a BVA hearing with his wife and his WWP Benefits advocate by his side.

In April 2018, he got his response from VA. He didn’t have to sit down for this one. He was rated at 70%, and his hearing loss was recognized.

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“It kind of gave me some closure,” Claude said. “It finally gave me a sense of closing the door on my military career after such a long process.”

Claude’s benefits journey was long and frustrating, but there are things he learned along the way that he wants to share with other veterans to help ease the process.

“Don’t fight alone,” Claude said. “I would definitely say get a claims representative who knows what they’re doing and who has a good reputation. Talk to people who are experts.”

Living the WWP Logo

Serving other veterans has become a big part of Claude’s life. He still works full-time, is a husband, father, grandfather, and dog lover, but he always makes time to help other veterans.

During his dark times dealing with his physical injuries, PTSD, and struggles with VA, Claude leaned on WWP’s free programs and services, as well as the support of other veterans he met through WWP.

“I’ve made a lot of friends with Wounded Warrior Project,” Claude said. “A lot of people there have kept me sane and kept me going during this quest.”

Now he’s paying it forward. He currently serves as a Peer Support Group leader, and volunteers as a driver for a VA health care facility in his community. He doesn’t hold grudges, but he also doesn’t want to see other veterans take the same frustrating path he did. The most important thing a veteran can do is to realize help is available, and they deserve it.

“If it wasn’t for somebody on my side, advocating for me, I don’t know if I could have continued this fight,” Claude said.

Call 888.WWP.ALUM or visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org/programs/wwpregistration to register for free with WWP.

Visit this page, www.woundedwarriorproject.org/ programs/benefits-services, to learn more about WWP’s Benefits Services.

About Wounded Warrior Project

Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition.


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

In 2004, on only his third day in Afghanistan, Chris suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) during Humvee rollover training. But, like many TBIs at the time, it went undiagnosed, and he was sent back to work. A few days later, Chris’ unit lost six soldiers.

After returning home, Chris’ post-traumatic stress disorder sent him into a downward spiral and he contemplated taking his own life.

He believes that Wounded Warrior Project® Warrior Care Network and the more than 170 hours of intensive mental health treatments he received saved his life.

“I am a ten times different person today because of how the program is structured. I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t gone.”

You don’t have to go it alone — find the treatments, connection, and support you need to heal at:


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Road Warrior Foundation Provides Free “Adventure Therapy” to Veterans in Need

You know that feeling when you step outside in the morning, take a deep breath and smile because the day ahead is going to be filled with something incredible? It doesn’t happen every day, but when it does, it’s pure magic because you know you will be breaking an all-toofamiliar cycle of sameness. That smile, my friends, is called optimism.

The Road Warrior Foundation specializes in providing optimism. Or in their words, “Adventure Therapy” for U.S. Military Veterans.

Founded in 2013, Road Warrior Foundation takes wounded, ill or injured U.S. Military Veterans on incredible adventures…likely on a different level than what you think when you hear that word. In fact, take what’s in your head and multiply it by a few times. Why? Because the Foundation’s title sponsor is BRP, which if you’re not familiar, makes Can-Am 3-wheel vehicles, Can-Am off-road vehicles, Sea-Doo personal watercraft, Ski-Doo snowmobiles, and more.

Whether it’s a one-day escape or a multi-day, crosscountry ride, Road Warrior Foundation takes Veterans in need out in the wild with groups of other likeminded individuals. They actively find people who share a common bond over experiences and life circumstances, who are all on a similar path, and then they disrupt that path.

The groups of riders may start out as strangers, but by the end, after being challenged in a structured environment full of camaraderie and fun, they become a unit. And that’s the point.

It’s a familiar, comfortable feeling for those who have served, all grounded in putting Veterans back in the driver’s seat and having an experience of a lifetime.

The most recent Road Warrior Foundation adventure was the organization’s marquee annual event called the Road Warrior Ride, which centers around Can-Am 3-wheel vehicles. Eight Veterans were selected by way of an application process to participate in the 1,000-mile ride that left from Orlando, went up through the beautiful Smokey Mountains – including the world famous “Tail of the Dragon” that has 318 curves in 11 miles – and ultimately ended at the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) Hall of Fame Museum in Columbus, Ohio.

Several of the Veterans in the group were new to riding, but that’s the benefit of riding a Can-Am 3-wheel vehicle – just about anybody can get on and go. Prior to the ride, Veterans with little or no riding experience are put through the acclaimed Can-Am Rider Education Program. In most cases, a couple days later they’re licensed and ready to hit the open road.

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The iBOT® PMD: Bringing Freedom of Mobility to Veterans

When Josh Keller was invited to his best friend’s wedding, he accepted the invitation knowing his friends would have to push him up a hill in his manual wheelchair to join them at the top.

Plans changed when Josh received his iBOT®. Josh was able to utilize Four-Wheel Mode to drive up the hill, unassisted. Wedding guests got to watch the iBOT®’s technology push the boundaries of what’s possible. “Getting to the top on my own and watching my friend get married was such a great feeling and it is something I am forever thankful for.”

Stories like these are not uncommon with the iBOT®. This power wheelchair is known for its ability to help bring freedom and independence to its users. Utilizing what manufacturer Mobius Mobility calls its “iBalance” technology, the iBOT® has multiple modes – 4-Wheel Mode for outdoor use, uneven terrain and curb climbing, Balance Mode for reaching up high and looking someone in the eye, Stair Mode for conquering stairs, and Standard Mode for everyday use.

Josh, 28, is a US Army Veteran who has C4 quadriplegia. Josh’s favorite activities include exploring wooded trails with his wife, woodburning and creating artwork. The iBOT® gives him the independence he needs to enjoy his hobbies. “All I have to do is put the iBOT in four-wheeldrive and go. We love exploring and now it’s easier than ever!”

The iBOT® also fulfills something Josh didn’t even know he needed. “It’s a confidence builder. In my other wheelchairs, I was always a little self-conscious about how I looked. It’s interesting being in the iBOT® and feeling so confident while using it. Now I’ve realized that people should be staring! This chair is awesome!”

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“All I have to do is put the iBOT in four-wheel-drive and go.”

The VA purchased Josh’s iBOT® in summer 2022 and partnered with Mobius Mobility to provide training at the Manchester, NH headquarters. Training for the iBOT® occurs over two days and covers all of the operating modes and features. For many veterans, training happens at their local VA hospital. When asked about his experience training at Mobius Mobility, Josh explained, “The staff made the experience easy, and they gave us all the information our family needed to succeed.”

For Jim Dehlin, the iBOT® allows him to take advantage of some of life’s most important moments. When his grandson was younger, it was difficult for Jim to spend time out in nature with him. The iBOT® now allows them to go out into the woods together to feed the deer. “I love the iBOT® and everything about it,” he said. “There are numerous features that provide freedom of mobility, and ability to go places without fear of breakdowns. I can’t say enough of what a fine machine it is.”

Jim, 72, is a service-injured Vietnam Veteran and amputee. He used a manual wheelchair for 35 years, until arthritis made it difficult for him to maneuver his chair. Jim was the first Veteran in the upper Midwest to receive the original iBOT 4000 through the Veterans Administration in 2006. Jim’s new iBOT® PMD was purchased by the VA in early 2020.

Jim encourages all Veterans to look into the iBOT®. “I believe every veteran out there that is in an electric chair, ought to be in an iBOT®. I don’t think there should be any restrictions – it’s a gamechanger!”

At a convention in Las Vegas, Trevor Baucom was able to maneuver the huge, jam-packed conference halls with ease in his iBOT®. In a manual chair, no one would be able to see him. But in the iBOT®, he was able to avoid being bumped into, and most importantly, look people in the eye.

Trevor, 42, was injured while serving in Afghanistan. He has used a manual chair, but his mobility was still limited. The iBOT’s ability to go up and down curbs proved valuable. “There’s nothing comparable to it.” Trevor was even able to build a fence, and he practices shooting, all while in his iBOT®. Trevor can get outdoors and hike on trails. “It greatly maximizes my time.”

The iBOT® delivers a new degree of independence and mobility to power wheelchair users. For all three Veterans, the iBOT has proven invaluable to their lives, freedom, and dignity.

For any Veterans interested in the iBOT®, visit our website at www.mobiusmobility.com or email us at info@mobiusmobility.com and contact your VA clinical team to see if the iBOT® would be appropriate for you. Veterans who qualify through clinical assessment can receive the iBOT® at no cost through VA FSS #36F79721D0202.

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28 WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / DECEMBER 2022 January 2022 February 2022 March 2022 April 2022 May 2022 June 2022 Veterans - Military Personnel - Military Families The Covers of 2022 Happy Holidays and best wishes for a wonderful New Year. - Homeland Magazine
WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / DECEMBER 2022 29 Current & Past Issues Available at: www.homelandmagazine.com/archives July 2022 August 2022 September 2022 October 2022 November 2022 December 2022 We’ve Got You Covered! The Covers of 2022

Take Back Control –Better Understanding Can Help Us Manage PTSD

Homeland Magazine spoke with Robert ‘Bob’ Cuyler, PhD, psychologist and trauma expert, about better managing PTSD.

2. What causes triggers that lead to PTSD episodes?

Seemingly random things can trigger someone with PTSD – a car backfiring, loud sounds from the TV, crowded areas, what you read in the news, an overturned garbage can that looks like an IED. It can be something someone says that sparks a vivid memory, or losing a friend from the service to injuries, illness or suicide. When U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan, the news was triggering for many members of the military who had served there. There’s also a sensitivity about the unfairness of something – that a buddy was killed when you survived. Or if you were injured in a mission and you question its necessity.

3. Why is PTSD disruptive for someone looking to assimilate back into civilian life?

Triggers like this can take someone back to a time when they were in extreme danger, even if that was many years ago, and put you in fight-or-flight mode. At that moment, your brain is focused on survival, but those necessary survival skills that worked in the field can backfire now.

1. How do we recognize signs and symptoms of PTSD?

It’s not always easy to recognize if you or someone close to you has PTSD. Issues around stigma, while we have made progress, can still be a barrier to acceptance. Among veterans, service-related trauma is widely recognized, but the civilian world is unfortunately full of traumatizing risks. Intense reaction to triggers and reminders and nightmares are widely recognized signs of PTSD, but irritability, emotional numbing, and isolation are also in the mix.

Living with PTSD can greatly interfere with relationships and daily life, as that irritability and isolation can affect family and work relationships. You can find yourself reliving a traumatic situation again and again, and sometimes you may not even be aware you’re doing it. It’s an automatic reaction, and the memories of these events can be as vivid as when the trauma occurred.

People often ask me, “That was years ago, why is it still affecting me?” And then they think, “I’d rather keep this under wraps than let people know I’m still struggling with it.” This adds to that sense of isolation that can disrupt functioning.

So much of what makes up PTSD are really adaptations to extreme circumstances that carry over to daily life. If you can’t react to danger, you can’t survive. But that learned adaptation becomes problematic when we’re back to civilian life. When our brain is in survival mode, a lot of the tools we can call on ordinarily like seeking support, thinking before acting, and so on, recedes to the background and we go into fight or flight mode. If you’re keyed up and constantly alert, it makes it hard to relax, enjoy life or relate to people around you.

4. What are some coping mechanisms?

Everyone resorts to different coping mechanisms and sometimes these can backfire. Take someone who avoids crowded places or is constantly scanning for danger - these are understandable responses to being embedded in the battlefield. Being on edge or on guard all the time is what the brain wants you to do, but then this hypervigilance can dominate life.

Good quality sleep is essential for our emotional and physical health, but nightmares can disrupt sleep. This can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drinking or substance use which may help in the moment to numb feelings or help you fall asleep, but the use of alcohol or drugs risks turning temporary coping methods into substance use or dependency.

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Building skills that veterans can use to cope with the surge from traumatic reminders is key to tackling PTSD. There’s good evidence that talk therapy is effective in treating PTSD, but many don’t want to revisit the trauma as a way of getting desensitized to it. Medications can also help but are slow to act and tend to moderate symptoms rather than resolve them. So the current treatment options have limitations, which is why too many veterans go untreated or are reluctant to seek treatment.

There are non-medication alternatives to consider.

Research shows that during a panic attack or PTSD episode, our breathing gets dysregulated, so learning how to regulate it consciously can help reduce hypervigilance and other symptoms. At Freespira, something we hear over and over from veterans who use this intervention is that they feel a sense of control again.

One recent example: “I was tired of living at the mercy of my episodes and now I feel like I can go back into the world again. I took my five-year-old daughter to the movies for the first time this month.”

Cuyler is chief clinical officer of Freespira, an FDAcleared non-medication treatment that helps people with panic and PTSD manage their symptoms by learning how to regulate their breathing. www.freespira.com

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5. How can veterans get a sense of self-control back?
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 life-changing ways each year. Resources. Support. Inspiration. At Homeland Magazine you can visit our website for all current and past articles relating to PTSD, symptoms, resources and real stories of inspiration. Resources & Articles available at: www.HomelandMagazine.com FIGHTING PTSD

All of us at our Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics at VVSD wish readers a happy and healthy holiday season! We encourage you to keep your mental health a priority as you enter the New Year and take steps now to make 2023 a mentally and emotionally healthy year for you and your family members. As always, our Cohen Clinics are here to support veterans, service members and their families on their paths to healing, growing, andhappiness. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ CohenClinic VVSD. We would like to share our spotlight from 2022, that you may find useful during the holiday season.

Cohen Veterans Network’s Mental Health Services to be Available to More Veterans, Active-Duty Service Members and Military Families in California

“There’s no shame in asking for help.”

– Laura, Iraq War Veteran

“My hopes for the future are very high.”

– Darcel, Army National Guard

“I am better equipped to cope.”

– Matt, Air National Guard Veteran

“I am happier.”

– Rebecca, Military Spouse and Caregiver

Cohen Veterans Network’s (CVN) mission is to help veterans, active-duty service members and their families through their unique challenges, including transitioning from active military service back to civilian life, and beyond. With high-quality, accessible care available, regardless of discharge status or role in service, CVN’s Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics provide specialized therapy for depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other challenges. They also provide relationship counseling and help with children’s behavioral issues to support the entire military family.

To meet the increasing mental health needs of the veteran and military community, CVN will open two additional clinics in California, one in Oceanside and another in Los Angeles. These will be the second and third Cohen Clinics in the state; a San Diego clinic opened in 2019.

This effort is another step toward CVN meeting the $275M commitment set forth by financier philanthropist Steven A. Cohen to help reduce veteran suicide and increase care for active-duty service members and military families throughout the country. More than 33,000 post-9/11 veterans, nearly 40,000 active-duty service members, and more than 31,000 military family members will be eligible for care at the Cohen Clinic in Oceanside. Greater than 52,000

post-9/11 veterans, 6,000 active-duty service members, and 10,000 military family members will be eligible for care at the Cohen Clinic in Los Angeles.

CVN’s partner for these clinics is Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD), which is its current partner at the Cohen Clinic in San Diego, located in Mission Valley.

VVSD has served veterans since 1981 and is dedicated to “Leave No One Behind.” Each year, VVSD provides services to more than 3,000 military veterans throughout San Diego County.

“There are many factors in play these days which are negatively impacting our mental health, including the continued challenges of COVID-19 and the possibilities of future deployments. We are here to serve veterans, active duty and families throughout the entire state of California,” said Dr. Anthony Hassan, President & CEO of CVN. “We are expanding on our proven success in San Diego and scaling up to the meet the additional need.”

In addition to providing care to those within reach of the Oceanside and Los Angeles locations, the new Cohen Clinics will also offer telehealth services statewide to more than 655,000 potential clients. CVN Telehealth is face-to-face video therapy where the client can receive treatment from the privacy and comfort of their own home.

“The ability to provide telehealth services is critical and a game changer, especially in southern California where we have seen the number of COVID-19 cases rise significantly in recent months,” said Akilah Templeton, CEO of VVSD. “Telehealth provides a great option for veterans, service members and their families who want to stay connected to a trusted provider, regardless of location.

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Our partnership with CVN has helped to expand our reach and build out VVSD’s continuum of care so that the entire military family has access to high-quality outpatient mental health services and supports for years to come.”

The Oceanside Cohen Clinic is located at: 3609 Ocean Ranch Blvd, Suite 120, while the Los Angeles location will be unveiled in the coming months.

Each location has begun hiring staff members, with open positions available.


Since its inception in April 2016, CVN has built 21 Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics across the country and has treated more than 30,000 clients.

Your generous tax-deductible donation to the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at VVSD enables our mental health clinics to make the lives of veterans and military families better.

Your support will sustain and advance our Cohen Clinics now and into the future, and as we reach additional clients in rural areas via CVN Telehealth.


Here are some examples of what your gift will allow us to do:

• Family or Couple Therapy Session: $500

• Individual Therapy Session: $250

• Local Referral Support: $100

• Youth Therapy Supplies: $50

• Providing Childcare: $25

To donate, visit www.vvsd.net/cohenclinics

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.

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Oceanside Los Angeles


Transition to Civilian Life

Embrace the Gifts of People and Time

Nicole Anderson is a Navy Master Chief with extensive military HR experience. She started planning her transition 18 months ago, yet is currently still in the throes of transition as you read this article.

Here it is - fresh from current real-life experience! Connecting seems invasive and awkwardbut it isn’t.

Nicole was advised to connect with people on LinkedIn, but reaching out can make you feel like an awkward stalker. Just do it - you’ll be surprised (not in an awkwardstalker way!)

Here’s how it goes: one connection leads to another connection, which leads to many others. Surprisingly, people are more than willing to help. Foster the relationships first. Asking for help comes after.

She ended up connecting with Phil Dana, an HR expert and a previous featured guest in this column. This led to a 45 minute in-depth discussion that proved more valuable than all of the TAP classes Nicole took.

Your network is your net worth.

Sorry there’s no new magic pill here, but networking is the key to your success. Find someone who’s had experience and is successful in the area(s) that interest you and express your interest and appreciation of learning more about their experience. You’ll learn more firsthand than any independent research.

Yes, currently still in the throes. (See? You’re not alone!)

It seemed simple! She’s experienced in HR and loves it, so it seemed a natural progression to continue in that field.

To aid in her decision, Nicole was fortunate that her command allowed her the opportunity to attend a SkillBridge program. She was afforded tools and networking opportunities that have been invaluable to aid in a decision as her retirement approaches.

Nicole loves solving problems, helping people and doing data analysis. In her military role, she’s done everything from helping people get hired and retire. Throughout SkillBridge, she’s learned there are even more complexities of HR in the civilian world. “The choices are overwhelming. I want to be in HR, but do I want to be tied to labor laws?”

As Nicole reflects on her transition process to date, she shares invaluable advice for others in her situation.

Be vulnerable and intentional with your networking conversations.

Take time and really think about what you are going to talk about with your connections. Be open with your worries and concerns and ask honest questions that get you the answers you need. You don’t know what you don’t know, so don’t be afraid to ask. Your vulnerability is key to understanding what you really want to do with your next chapter of life.

Take time to truly think about what you want to do. Is there a name for it? Or a description? Narrow it down. Without a specific focus, it becomes overwhelming. You may have multiple areas of interest - just speak to experts in each area to learn, and then narrow down to one or two.

Nicole knows that after doing a thousand things in the military, it’s hard to narrow down exactly what she wants. She stresses the importance of taking advantage of the many resources you’re afforded but may not use.

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Don’t discount the tools provided, because you never know what could come from these conversations.

Start building your resume now. Look at it as a recap of your military evaluations. You have a minimal amount of lines to explain what you did last year to impact advancement selection boards. Your resume is similar. You have one page to get someone’s attention. Make it impactful, start early, refine it and perfect it - and adjust it as you go if needed.

Get a mentor on the outside. Spoiler alert: there’s no one perfect resume. Give it to three people, and you’ll probably get three widely different opinions. It’s like evals. So, connect with someone outside of the military to review your resume who will be open and frank. Finesse it until it conveys what you need it to convey.

Take care of your health and benefits sooner than later.

If you’re running in circles to finish VA, medical and benefits appointments WHILE interviewing for jobs, you will struggle. Take the time to get this stuff right and do it early. Otherwise, it will all compound. You’ll find that your health appointments are only at one set time, and they can be lengthy. It’s natural to put work ahead of these appointments, but put your health first. Until you’re in this position, you won’t realize the magnitude and importance of doing so.

Give yourself enough uninterrupted time to plan. With 14-18 months to start the process, Nicole thought she was giving herself enough time. But with a full-time job, she can’t solely focus on her transition.

“You are scrambling and those who have not yet retired don’t understand what you are doing on the other side. You feel guilty about trying to both work your current job and look for another one.”

Know your military family WILL support you.

Nicole has an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the people and organizations that support veterans. She’s thankful, grateful, and reassured knowing she has a solid and supportive military network as well as outside connections who are always willing to help. This gives hope, and she intends to keep paying it forward.


Need help with your transition? Have questions?

Link up with Eve on Linked In today www.linkedin.com/in/eve-nasby-given-hiring-expert eve@bandofhands.com



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Women-in-Leadership Employee Resource Groups

March is National Women’s History Month, which gives us a special opportunity to highlight Women in Leadership employee resource groups (ERG). ERGs are voluntary, employee-led groups that typically share a common characteristic and that form to foster a more diverse and inclusive workplace aligned with their members’ values. For example, ERGs may form around veterans in the workplace, working or single parents, ethnicity, religious or faith-based affiliations, and people with disabilities, among others. There is often no better way to lobby for your interests—whether they be corporate social responsibility, environmental sustainability, military-to-veteran transition, or a more diverse workplace—than in partnership with friends and peers. All it takes is some dedication and time on your part to form and lead such a group, although you’ll typically want to gain senior management’s buy in (often with the help of the organization’s human resources department). The results can be amazing and exceptionally self-fulfilling. Companies that sponsor ERGs demonstrate exceptional emotional intelligence and benefit from competitive advantage for being in tune with the times; those that don’t currently offer ERGs will likely adopt the idea if someone sponsors and shepherds the program for a particular cohort or cause.

The Challenges

The women-in-leadership ERG is especially promising. Here are some significant facts:

• There are more women than men in medical school and law school today.

• Women are running for office and getting elected in unprecedented numbers.

• Nearly 40% of U.S. businesses are started by women.

Yet, despite real and substantial progress gained over recent decades, the dreaded “80% rule” continues to hold tight and resist change:

• 80% of CEOs are men.

• Corporate boards are more than 80% male.

• Women earn about $.80 for every dollar that a man makes.

Further, while women may start 40% of U.S. businesses, women-owned businesses typically get only around 2% of venture capital, with the remaining 98% going to male-led enterprises. What can a women-inleadership ERG do to strengthen female influence and create equality of opportunity in terms of career and professional development?

The Opportunities

First, it’s important to acknowledge what we all intuitively know: unfairness shows itself in different ways. Women tend to experience a harder time getting hired and promoted. They suffer from lower pay and a more cynical review of their work. (For example, male Supreme Court justices interrupt female justices three times more often than they interrupt other male justices). And needless to say, the effects of micro and macro aggressions at work, from interruptions, talking over female coworkers, or appearing to steal their ideas to outright bullying, harassment, and discrimination wear on women’s sense of self-esteem and belonging. Recognizing these challenges is a first step in furthering change.

Second, women naturally place tremendous pressure on themselves to outperform and master what lies within their areas of responsibility. Case in point: Males tend to apply for jobs and promotions when they believe they possess 60% of the qualifications required for the role; women tend to apply for jobs and promotions when they believe they possess greater than 90% of the qualifications required. Add to the mix that males tend to get promoted based on their “potential,” while females tend to get evaluated based on their “performance,” and you can see why an

36 WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / DECEMBER 2022
Happy Holidays, Everyone! It’s been quite an honor writing my HR column for you over this past year, and my favorite article—hands down—was the March issue about women in leadership. All of us—women and men alike—are responsible for carrying this flag forward of supporting women to reach higher levels of career success. Gender pay parity still remains a challenge, and the glass ceiling is real. But let’s make it our New Year’s resolution to support any and all efforts to create opportunities for career growth and professional development for female leaders. Therein lies America’s “secret superpower” in continuing our quest for greater creativity and innovation. Enjoy the season!
HUMAN RESOURCES - Favorite Column OF 2022

accumulation of disadvantage can manifest itself over time: a slightly lower starting salary and a slower promotion rate can create significant disparities over the decades. Add to this the fact the resistance to change is baked into our psyches, and you can quickly see why change may appear to be slow and frustrating.

A Way Forward

But fret not. Organic change is happening before our very eyes. The fact that female doctors and lawyers are graduating at a more rapid clip will realign our society quite naturally. But we don’t necessarily want to wait for organic evolution to fix these challenges for us: it sometimes helps to “push the river” and be the driver of healthy change yourself. Women in leadership ERGs often raise awareness about female negotiation strategies, developing a stronger collaboration mindset by expanding the winners’ pool (“It’s all about we”), and avoiding administrative chores that may be appreciated but do little to advance careers. Learning how to say no, politely but forcefully, is an important skill that can be developed in the safe environment of a women-in-leadership ERG. And most of all, professional networking can thrive and help to cancel out the guilt that so many female leaders place upon themselves when trying to balance career and personal lives (especially if they are mothers).

Looking at this on a larger scale, women are still relatively new to the workplace. When actress Betty White was born on January 17, 1922, women had only gotten the right to vote 18 months earlier. (The 19th Amendment was passed on August 18, 1920.) The U.S. remains the innovation capital of the world, and the labor participation rate of its female population is one of the prime reasons why. Yet resistance to change and inertia constantly hold us back as a society: Once the challenge is recognized and embraced, each woman can then customize a solution—individually and collectively—to strengthen her positioning and pay it forward in a spirit of selfless leadership. Considering joining or starting an ERG is a healthy first step; making yourself part of the real and sustainable progress, hard won by generations of pioneering women who preceded you, is a constructive way forward that enhances both genders in the workplace and our society as a whole.

You can connect with Paul on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/paulfalcone1

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

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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.

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 dogsb 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.

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Successful Transitioning Stories - Favorite Column OF 2022

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

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


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


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40 WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / DECEMBER 2022 Become a certified IT professional in 15 weeks with no prior experience necessary! Talk to our friendly veterans admissions counselor today! • GI Bill & MyCAA Approved • Flexible Schedule • Online & In-person Hybrid Classes • Small Class Size • Hands-on Training • Lifelong Job Placement and Career Counseling • Technical Support Specialist • IT Support Technician • Network Administrator • Network Analyst • Systems Administrator Why ICOHS College? Career Outcomes: The median IT job salary in the US was about $88,000 last year. READY TO TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR CAREER? admissions@icohs.edu (858)581-9460 www.icohs.edu
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It’s Time to Celebrate: Steps to Sustain Success

As the year winds down are you excited for what is ahead for next year? Research has proven over and over that the more you consciously acknowledge your achievements, accomplishments, victories and completions the more of a foundation you have for ongoing success. Just like workers creating the foundation for a new building site by laying out cinder blocks, they must then place cement between them before they can proceed to add others to build up to another level. We too need build on our successes, achievements and things we have learned in order to lay a foundation for on-going success. Jack Canfield says “the more you acknowledge your past successes, the more confident you become in taking on and successfully accomplishing new ones”

Too often we go straight from the finish line to the starting line without pausing to acknowledge what actually happened and what we learned from it. Yes it is a busy time, working to finish the year on top of the goals you set, while enjoying all the holiday celebrations. This is your time to stop and reflect because it is so easy to under appreciate the things that have been accomplished. Yet many can only recall all the mistakes and failures that occurred.

This is especially important now, with so much chatter about what’s good and bad in the economy. If you only remember what hasn’t been accomplished, then the foundation to take on new risks will be shaky indeed.

Confidence and expectations in your abilities comes with building on the images of success. It isn’t enough to just think about what you have accomplished, it is important to write down your accomplishments.

When reading some one’s’ resume it is amazing how little they remember about the results and accomplishments they brought to a company. They list out job descriptions, rather than the outcomes of their work. The same is true for you, as a business owner you must keep your mind focused and filled with images of your achievements, which only happens when you take the time to write them down.

One of the best sources of encouragement is to record your achievements. Reviewing them as you plan each month helps to maintain a high level of motivation and an ever-increasing keenness for achievement. Consider all areas of your life, they add to your belief in your potential and your motivation to achieve even more.

Just remembering the mistakes and failures won’t prepare you to take risks that will lead to your ongoing success. Build yourself-esteem by recalling ALL the ways you have succeeded and your brain will be filled with images of you making your achievements happen again and again.

Then surround yourself with reminders of your success. Put up pictures, articles, trophies, awards, and other pieces that bring attention to your success. Make your environment speak to you about your achievements. Be proud of them!

People like to be around those who have a healthy selfesteem and who are achieving their goals. Commit to acknowledging your achievements and your brain will begin to tell you the truth...that you can do ANYTHING!

Barbara Eldridge has built a solid reputation as a Results 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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Happy Holidays All Our Fellow Entrepreneurs! As we get to the end of the year I would like to share with you one of my favorite articles to get you ready to take on new and exciting goals and results for the year to come. Arthur Ashe said “One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” Preparation begins with acknowledging your Achievements, Accomplishments, Victories, Completions, as they are the building blocks for your future success.
BUSINESS FOR VETERANS - Favorite Column OF 2022
WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / DECEMBER 2022 43 Helping today's heroes achieve success by making it easier to run a small business. We handle it all for only $10/week per employee. Talent Acquisition www.bandofhands.com Contact Eve Nasby, Band of Hands president and passionate military supporter to get started today. eve@bandofhands.com Hiring & Onboarding Filling shifts Payroll HR Policies Compliance with Employment Laws Unemployment Claims Workers Comp Claims Hand over the burdens of: HR Services Employer of Record Onboarding & Compliance Payroll & Tax Services Job Board & Automated Recruiting Time & Attendance HAPPY HOLIDAYS! A Veteran Owned Business proudly supporting Veterans, Military Spouses and active duty Military looking for work and employers needing great workers We provide business owners with the gift of employment-burden relief and employees with a better way to work.

Franchise Frontline

Successful Stories & Resources

After Two-Decade Air Force Career, Veteran is Well-Prepared For New Life as Owner of Floor Coverings International of Middle Georgia

Steven Guillen already has plenty of experience for his new career. He just has to pare down operations, which shouldn’t be much of an issue, since the 45-year-old is accustomed to operating on a large scale… and that’s no exaggeration.

Guillen is the owner of Floor Coverings International of Middle Georgia.

Guillen spent 21 years in the U.S. Air Force before retiring, which included combat tours in Afghanistan, Iraq, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, while also living in Europe. He also worked for the U.S. government in foreign military sales, selling billions of dollars in military aircraft, weapons, boats, and military training to other countries.

Veterans such as Guillen represent 14 percent of U.S. franchisees, and they prove a good fit for the franchise model because veterans possess strong leadership skills and a thorough understanding of being part of a team. Franchises also operate on proven systems and defined procedures and the military training that veterans go through allows them to easily adapt to a system and find success in franchising.

“I decided I wanted a different pace. I wanted to be my own boss and establish my own culture and management style within a business… and treat people how I wanted to be treated,” Guillen said. “I want to be the boss that folks want to work hard for. I liked the Floor Coverings International business model. I did my research and Floor Coverings International was the most supportive and offered the best training.”

Norcross, GA-based Floor Coverings International has ranked consistently as the No. 1 Mobile Flooring Franchise in North America by Entrepreneur Magazine.

The 181 franchisees and their Design Associates offer a unique in-home experience with a mobile showroom

that comes directly to the client’s door. More than 3,000 flooring choices are available to view in the home with and alongside the existing lighting, paint, and furniture.

In Floor Coverings International, Guillen found a company that has tripled in size since 2005 by putting a laser focus on consumer buying habits and expressed desires, its impressive operating model, growth ability, marketing, advertising, and merchandising. Floor Coverings International further separates itself from the competition through its customer experience, made up of several simple and integrated steps that exceed customers’ expectations. For this, Floor Coverings International was given the Innovation Award for Customer Response from Franchise Update Media in 2020, and the same award again in 2021 for Best Use of Technology. Franchise Update is the benchmark publication and conference entity that is the Gold Standard of Franchising.

With the home improvement industry booming, the flooring market is also keeping pace. The global flooring market was estimated to reach $409 billion in 2021, according to Grand View Research. The market is expected to grow at an annual rate of more than six percent through 2028, reaching overall sales of $621 billion.

“I am very pleased with the support I have received from the franchisor,” said Guillen “and the launch in my market they assisted in. I never thought flooring would excite me but when I look at what we have available I think ‘wow’ who knew there were so many beautiful and durable flooring options available now?”

The company will open several more locations throughout the U.S. and Canada through franchise expansion for the next several years. For franchise information, please visit www.flooring-franchise.com

Rhonda Sanderson is a franchise PR expert specializing in traditional, social media and crisis PR in the franchise space since 1986. Her new column for Homeland will feature profiles of veterans who have delved into franchising and transitioned into career independence through this popular business model. Tips, reference materials and resources will also be part of this new advice feature.

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WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / DECEMBER 2022 45 ENROLL NOW AT WFW.ORG Workshops for Warriors is a nonprofit school that provides veterans and transitioning service members with hands-on training and nationallyrecognized credentials in CNC machining, CAD/CAM programming, and welding. Our students earn credentials that open doors to jobs anywhere in the U.S. Call us at (619) 550-1620. CAD/CAM Programming CNC Machining Welding DoD SkillBridge Organization BEFORE SERVED HONORABLY. AFTER EARNED A CAREER IN JUST 4 MONTHS.


Insurance Info & Risk Management Tips

The 12 Claims of Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.... or is it? December is full of excitement and festivities but often this can lead to excess, forgetfulness, mishaps and misfortune.

Forget about Lords-a-Leaping and Turtle Doves, here are some REAL holiday headaches!

• Tipsy Charlie drives home from the business holiday party and runs into a parked car. Luckily the company has an event policy that covers liquor liability and damage.

• Candice leaves the candles burning and sets off the office sprinklers. It damages the office and the neighboring tenant’s stuff. Thankfully they have the BPP coverage to cover the contents damage and GL to cover damage to the neighbor’s stuff.

• Steven dances through the Xmas tree and knocks it over on Lola. Lola is Ok but if she wasn’t, they have General Liability to cover this Bodily Injury.

• Tomas sends Holiday cards out using another company’s trademarked slogan. A huge mistake but his General Liability coverage can cover this under the policy Advertising Limits.

• Janice spills the punch and Marcel slips in it. It might be work comp if the company party was on company hours, otherwise it is General Liability that will cover this.

• Sandra misses the shipping deadline for a client’s big order. Depending on the type of business it could be either a General Liability or Professional Liability claim. Thankfully they have both coverages included on their policy.

• Jonny doesn’t secure the server and it is hacked into. Thankfully they have Cyber Liability coverage to cover this data breech.

• Peter gets a little touchy-feely at the office X-mas Party. Eileen files a claim for harassment and thankfully it is covered by the EPLI policy the company has.

• Sandra brings her dog to work, and it bites a client. The General Liability policy covers this, and Sandra changes her rules and regulations.

• The Boss gives out bonuses, but poor Betty doesn’t get one. She claims discrimination and files a claim. Thankfully their EPLI coverage will consider this.

• Ezra fails to send the collected and promised donations to the non-profit org. The fiduciary coverage and D & O would kick in to protect the business and Directors.

• The new drone taking the overhead office Christmas party picture falls and crashes on top of an unsuspecting bystander. Thankfully the company has an Un-Manned Aviation policy to cover this injury.

Anyone can file a claim against you and/or your company, regardless of your culpability.

Whether your insurance carrier considers the claim depends on the circumstances but primarily if it is a covered cause of loss in the policy. There is no such thing as total and full coverage on a policy.

Read through your Policies and discuss the coverages AND exclusions to your policy with your Broker.

Document any Claim with pictures, video and witness accounts and make sure to contact your Agent/Broker right away with details.

For more information about me and my company, please visit www.hlinwood-insurance.com

Wishing you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and a safe and Claim-free, festive holiday season!

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WHAT’S NEXT? BECOME A CRANE OPERATOR Discover an exciting new career opportunity after serving your country. Heavy Equipment Colleges of America proudly supports and honors the brave women and men who fight for our country. • VA education benefits and Career Skills Program (CSP) • Job placement help and hands-on, classroom interaction • Get certified in as little as three weeks TRAIN TO BECOME A CRANE OPERATOR TODAY. Visit: www.heavyequipmentcollege.com Veteran Only Locations Joint Base Lewis McChord in Lakewood, WA | Ft. Irwin, CA (active duty, too) Phone: 760-383-1030 | Email: ftirwin@hecofa.com Skillbridge Approved No Official US Government or DOD endorsement is implied

legal Eagle

Pearls of Legal Wisdom

As we enter the holiday season I am filled with overwhelming thankfulness. This has been an incredible year as the Legal Eagle for San Diego Veterans Magazine/ Homeland Magazine. It has been a privilege to be a part of such an important publication that serves, inspires and informs military personnel, veterans and their families through these challenging times. I want to thank the incredible team behind the pages of the magazine for giving me this opportunity to provide legal tips to military and veteran business owners. Even more, I want to thank my readers for your ongoing support and feedback. You are the reason I do what I do.

If you have followed my column for any time, you’ve discovered that I am an immigrant who has discovered first-hand the “Land of Opportunity!” I fell in love with this country and successfully pursued my own American Dream. I believe that there are still opportunities for American entrepreneurs, especially in challenging times! My passion is to help other business owners see and seize the opportunities to start, run and grow their own successful businesses. I have a special place in my heart for Military and Veteran business owners – who have kept this country free for all of us to pursue our American Dreams.

This is the why I wrote my new book, “Legal Pearls –Pearls of Wisdom for Avoiding Business Litigation.” I want to help entrepreneurs avoid costly lawsuits and protect their personal assets. All the best ideas, products and marketing strategies will not help you if you haven’t legally protected your company. This quick-read is a must-read for all entrepreneurs. You need to know ahead of time what legal risks could lie ahead in order to take the necessary steps to avoid these pitfalls.

This is a compilation of my 20 years of business law experience, shining light on the most common and detrimental mistakes I’ve seen business owners make (including myself!). I believe it takes a business owner to understand another business owner.

I’ve written this book as a business attorney and an entrepreneur, giving me both the legal expertise and business perspective needed to be a reliable source you can trust.

I hope you’re thinking of the entrepreneurs on your shopping list for the holidays. This would not only make a great gift for them, but a gift you should give yourself. It will truly be the gift that keeps on giving – as it helps you protect your assets for years to come!

Here are excerpts from the book:


“The global pandemic took over our lives in ways that have literally changed the world as we knew it. Now more than ever, people are exploring new avenues when it comes to working opportunities. In fact, there are individuals who have taken the leap to becoming their own boss during this time, and in turn, they have created the security to work for themselves. They have the liberty to work on their own terms and conditions and have the flexibility to work from anywhere.

Being a business owner myself, I know firsthand the hard work that goes into setting up and running a new business. This book, based on my own experience as a business owner and coupled with my legal knowledge, is an imperative guide for all those who wish to start and run their own business while following legalities that can help avoid expensive lawsuits.

When setting up a business, there are numerous laws and documents one must comply with, which can become overwhelming for most people since they have very little knowledge about the nitty-gritty of the legal process. Moreover, due to the high cost of hiring a lawyer to help them through, most people make mistakes and misinterpret the laws.

It is better to be legally armed with knowledge than to tackle something in the dark. That’s exactly what this legal guide aims to do is to arm you with a working knowledge of how to start and run a business and at the same time how to avoid expensive legal pitfalls so you can avoid business litigation.

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Protect Your Goodwill

If you were asked to list the most important assets of your business, what are the first things you would think of? Your products or services? Your staff? Or perhaps your company stock? One asset you should never overlook, or underestimate, is your goodwill.

Without a doubt, the good name you worked so hard to earn is one of your most valuable business assets. Goodwill is what brings you repeat customers and new business. When you say, “It has taken years to build up my business,” you probably mean, “It has taken years to build up my goodwill.” Goodwill is generally embodied in a name, and it is vital for every business to protect their ability to use that name. Protecting your name is crucial if you want to preserve your business goodwill.

The following business assets, which are usually overlooked, are part of what creates your business goodwill:

1) Tradename - is the name you use to carry on your business.

2) Trademarks - are words, logos, symbols, pictures, colors, designs or packaging, used by your business to distinguish the goods or services you provide so your customers will know your products.

3) Copyright - is protection of the promotional literature, advertising materials, or instruction manuals your business uses to reach customers.

If you are like many small business owners, you realize your company’s goodwill is vitally important, but you may not know how to protect it. There are steps you can take to safeguard your goodwill in the marketplace…

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Award-winning attorney, Kelly Bagla shows you how to avoid legal pitfalls FROM DAY ONE! Legal Pearls! - The quick and easy guide for avoiding business litigation. Award-winning Attorney Kelly Bagla distills the legal information every business owner needs to know to avoid costly lawsuits and protect personal assets. Now every entrepreneur can apply the same legal steps and strategies used by top attorneys.

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Legal Pearls! PEARLS
Avoiding Business Litigation

Happy Holidays everyone! I would like to share with you one of my favorite articles of the year that you may find useful during the holiday season, whether its coordinating schedules, deciding on Christmas gifts, or navigating a two-household holiday, these co-parenting apps can help you focus on your children and keep a healthy coparenting relationship through the holidays. I hope everyone enjoys their time with family and friends. May your holidays be filled with love, laughter, and blessings!

Coparenting Apps as a Valuable Tool

One of the biggest challenges parents often face is learning how to communicate effectively after a divorce. There are a variety of coparenting apps available that can help aid in communication so that you can focus on the kids rather than creating more conflict through miscommunications. Here are some of the coparenting apps that could assist you and your ex in sharing information and establishing a healthier coparenting relationship.


This app was designed by a former Judge and family law educator. It has all the features most coparenting apps have including a shared calendar, documented messaging, expense tracking and reimbursements, sharing documents, and check-in records. However, it seeks to be more comprehensive than other apps and is unique in its capabilities.

• coParenter has a team of licensed professionals on hand, ready to provide conflict resolution help in real-time. These professionals include typically family law attorneys, therapists, social workers or other retired bench officers with strong conflict resolution backgrounds. You can utilize it for co-parenting coaching with any issues and tips on effective co-parenting communication.

• coParenter also offers a “solo mode” where you can use the app even if the other co-parent refuses to do the same.

• It will flag curse words, inflammatory phrases and offensive names to keep a heated conversation from escalating. The app will pop up a warning message that asks the parent if they’re sure they want to use that term, allowing them time to pause and think.

• Additional features which include a journal, creating and sharing agreements, and the ability to add multiple coparents.

• A monthly subscription is $12.99 per month or $119.99 per year. Both parents can subscribe for $199.99 per year.

Our Family Wizard

This is app is one of the first coparenting apps. It is often recommended by family law attorneys or utilized by parties per court order, particularly in high conflict parenting cases.

• It has a calendar which can be color coded, expense tracker, personal journal for notes, and message board.

• It saves messages between coparents and allows you to add on an unlimited number of people including attorneys and mediators.

• It allows for easy tracking of communications which can be printed and utilized if necessary, to display which parent is properly coparenting if you end up in Court.

• It also has an optional innovative “tone meter” feature that assists in keeping communications civil by pointing out emotional charged phrases.

• It costs $12-17/month. Kids accounts are free. They also offer discounts for military families and low-income families.

Talking Parents

Talking Parents, like Our Family Wizard is designed to track communications between parents to increase accountability. It is another app often used during divorce and custody cases particularly where there is high conflict.

• Similar to Our Family Wizard, it creates a system-ofrecord for your communications if you need to supply proof of correspondence to the courts. It has a shared calendar and personal journal.

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Favorite Column 2022

• It hosts all your information in the cloud, so nothing gets lost or altered no matter what happens to your phone.

• There is a free online website version but the app costs $9.99 per month or $24.99 per month for premium features including accountable calling, transcripts, and recordings. The paid app also has features like file storage and unlimited downloads for conversations and journal records. This feature may be useful if need records for court appearances or mediation with your attorney.

Custody X Change

This app is designed for both parents and legal professionals. Some of its features include communication tools, expense tracking, a time stamped log of journal entries, and the ability to print reports and invoices.

• Unique in that it offers custody plan templates.

• It can be a useful tool for legal professional as it can track each parent’s actual time with the children, perform advanced calculations, and create court ready reports.

• It also provides legal professionals with an easy way to visually show clients multiple custody plan options and print clear and concise calendars for both parties.

• You can try the app for free. There are two levels of membership for parents, Silver ($17/month or $97/year) and Gold ($27/month or $147/year) which provides additional features. For legal professionals, there is a Pro Silver ($47/month or $297/year) or Pro Gold membership ($67/month or $297/year).


This is the only completely free coparenting app mentioned herein. There are no monthly charges or subscription fees. It has several of the typical features such as a shared calendar, the ability to send requests, expense tracker, documented messaging, and shared documents. AppClose does have a unique feature, “ipayou”, which is a built-in payment platform with an integrated expense tracker. You can also create different “circles” which is the way you connect to groups of people in the app including coparents, children, third parties or your attorney. Another exclusive feature is AppClose Solo which allows you to send requests or events to non-connected co-parents, third parties, or other family members via text, email, or social media.

For more information about co-parenting 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.

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / DECEMBER 2022 51 Legal Experts with Humanity Time for a Fresh Start. Call 858-720-8250 or visit www.frfamilylaw.com to schedule a free consultation. Flat fee law packages available. Military Divorce and Retirement, 20/20/20 Spouse, Survivor Benefit Plans, Support Orders, and more. No nonsense. No hidden fees. Discounts for service members. Move forward without breaking the bank. Our military expert family law attorneys are ready to push your case to the finish line.

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.

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.

As a military service member or veteran making the transition to a new career path, law enforcement can feel like a natural fit.
WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / DECEMBER 2022 53 You’ve served your country, now serve your community! Opportunities
Law Enforcement

From Military to Police Officer

Why choose a law enforcement career?

Transition and career changes can be difficult at any point in life, so why not take out some of the unknowns? In the military, you have camaraderie between your brothers and sisters, there’s a mission to accomplish every day, the work can be challenging and exciting, plus you get to serve your country.

Much of the military work and values parallel to law enforcement work as well. This month, we interviewed San Diego Police Officer Bob Thatcher about his transition from military service to police service, and why it was an ideal fit for him.

Officer Thatcher served on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps and today as a Gunnery Sergeant, he continues to serve as a drilling reservist. He is in the infantry field and has deployed on several overseas tours to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Japan. At the 10-year mark, he had to decide about re-enlisting or releasing from active duty. For him, the decision was guided primarily on one thing – continuing to serve others and work for a greater good.

“I have always been big into service of others,” said Officer Thatcher. “I wanted to give back to my country, my community, and those who sacrificed for me.”

For Officer Thatcher, his transition was from military fatigues to police uniform. He had done his research and met the requirements and deadlines to be selected for the police academy as soon as he left active duty.

Police departments often actively recruit for people leaving the military. San Diego Police Department Sergeant Jason Tsui said that in addition to important qualities such as work ethic, dedication, and integrity, military personnel also possess valuable life skills too. A good law enforcement candidate would be able to work in changing/fast-paced situations, in stressful conditions, can easily be part of a team, and be selfless. These are all attributes that most military men and women possess and learn during their military service.

When asked what the favorite part of his job was, Officer Thatcher said, “I like that my job is diverse. I am in the community every day, get to problem solve from call to call, and every day is different.”

• First, go on at least one ride along with law enforcement to see the different kind of calls and responses. Talk to the officers and ask questions.

• Be open and honest in your application and interviews.

• Keep at the process even if it takes a while to move along.

• Work hard each and every day to earn that spot.

• Go “all in” in everything you do.

• Academically, make the time to study.

• Physically, be able to run 5-6 miles at about an 8 minute/mile pace and do cross-fit exercise to build stamina.

Some of the benefits of working for the San Diego Police Department include:

A four-day work week, 11 paid holidays/year, 13-21 days of paid annual leave/year (depending on length of service), yearly uniform allowance, flexible benefits plan (Health, Dental, Vision), excellent retirement program, 401K/Deferred Compensation Plans, tuition reimbursement, and 30 days paid military leave/year.

For more information about applying to SDPD, go to: www.sandiego.gov/police or email: sdpdrecruiting@pd.sandiego.gov

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Officer Thatcher’s advice to men and women looking to get into law enforcement: San Diego Police Officer Bob Thatcher
WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / DECEMBER 2022 55 www.joinSDPDnow.com SDPDrecruiting@pd.sandiego.gov
56 WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / DECEMBER 2022 www.rva.gov/police/personnel www.JOIUNCDCR.com
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60 WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / DECEMBER 2022 www.c6securityacademy.com
WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / DECEMBER 2022 61 Veterans! Join Our Team CHANGE Be the SFPD Salary $103,116 - $147,628 TEXT “JoinSFPD” to (415) 704-3688 www.SFPDcareers.com
Homeland Magazine www.HomelandMagazine.com Voted 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021 BEST resource, support media for veterans, military families & military personnel. Resources Support Transition HEALTH INSPIRATION A Veterans Magazine by Veterans for Veterans
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