Homeland Magazine January 2022

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Vol. 11 Number 1 • JANUARY 2022

Homeland MAGAZINE

2021 DOD In Photos OPERATION

HONOR Transition whats next

You’re Not Alone Navigating VA Benefits

New Year

MENTAL HEALTH

SMART Goals

2022 Career

Arts & Healing For Veterans

Strategies & Expectations

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EDITOR’S

LETTER

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

Contributing Writers Holly Shaffner Veteran Advocate

RanDee McLain, LCSW A Different Lens

Jenny Lynne Stroup Real Talk: Mental Health

Vicki Garcia

Enlisted to Entrepreneur

CJ Machado

SD Vets & Homeland Photojournalist

Kelly Bagla, Esq. Legal Eagle

Tana Landau, Esq. Legally Speaking

Joe Molina

Veterans Chamber of Commerce

Eve Nasby

www.HomelandMagazine.com

What’s Next - Transitioning

Amber Robinson Arts & Healing

Eva Stimson Greetings and a warm welcome to Homeland Magazine!

Veteran Advocate

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.

Human Resources

Our magazine is driven by passion, vision, reflection and the future. The content is the driving force behind our magazine and the connection it makes with our veterans, service members, military families, and civilians. The magazine is supported by a distinguishing list of national veteran organizations, resource centers, coalitions, veteran advocates, and more. We are honored to share the work of so many committed and thoughtful people. Homeland Magazine is a veterans magazine for veterans by veterans. We appreciate your support and are so happy to have you as a reader of Homeland Magazine.

Mike Miller

Publisher/Editor mikemiller@HomelandMagazine.com 4

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Paul Falcone

Money Matters VA Lending & Personal Finance

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

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

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


JANUARY

INSIDE THIS ISSUE 6 Inside the Monthly Columns 8 You’re Not Alone: Navigating VA Benefits 10 Operation Honor 12 Support The Enlisted Project 14 Shelter To Soldier Have Common Goal 16 DOD In Photos: 2021 22 Third Squad War in Afghanistan 24 Real Talk: New Year, SMART Goals 26 Help Heal Veterans 28 Arts & Healing 2022 30 What’s Next: Your Obstacles 32 LENS - Change Your Layout 34 Treating Hearing Loss & Tinnitus 36 Veteran Creates Covid Testing Company 38 HR - Career Strategies 40 Business For Veterans - Engage 2022 42 Healthcare Careers: A Perfect Fit 44 Legal Eagle - Before Starting A Business 48 Youth Entrepreneurship 50 Legally Speaking - Health GI Benefits 56 Careers in Law Enforcement * Cover Photo - DOD (Corps Comfort) Photo By: Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla

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INSIDE THE MONTHLY COLUMNS Homeland Magazine features monthly columns & articles on topics of interest for today’s veterans, transitioning military personnel, active military, and the families that keep it together. • Real Talk: Mental Health • A Different LENS Mental Health Monthly • Arts & Healing Arts Arts for Military Veterans

Homeland Magazine

• What’s Next Transition to Civilian Life • Human Resources Transition to Business • Business for Veterans • Legal Eagle Legal Business Tips • Legally Speaking Military Family Focused Law • National Veterans Chamber of Commerce

A Different LENS

Feel free to review & bookmark our supportive & resourceful monthly columns:

A Different Lens reflects on RanDee’s personal experiences as former law enforcement, Veteran, military spouse, and clinician. A Different Lens explores all things mental health related and the struggles our veterans and their families may face.

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Real Talk: Mental Health By Outreach and Clinical experts from the Cohen Clinic at VVSD Deployment, transition, reintegration – as a veteran, service member or military family member, you’ve likely had to face all three. The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at VVSD, part of Cohen Veterans Network, provides high-quality, evidence-based mental health care to the military community. Our Mental Health Column provides advice on various topics related to these challenges.

Learn more: www.cohenveteransnetwork.org 6

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Mental Health Monthly By Randee McLain, LCSW

Connect with Randee at www.linkedin.com/in/randee-mclain-lcsw-8335a493 -------------------------------------------------------------Arts & Healing

Arts for Military Veterans By Amber Robinson Arts & Healing is a reflection of Amber’s personal experiences in healing through the arts as a disabled combat veteran as well as a reflection of our San Diego veteran artists and how they are using art to transform and heal, too.

You can read Amber’s columns at www.tinyurl.com/SDVM-Art


What’s Next

LEGAL EAGLE

Transition to Civilian Life By Eve Nasby & Kristin Hennessy

Legal tips for Military and Veteran Business Owners By Kelly Bagla, Esq.

Transitioning from the military into the civilian work world can be anxiety-producing, depressing, and demoralizing without being prepped with the right mindset and tools for success. What’s Next shares stories, insights, tips, and resources from those who have transitioned, so those in the process (or thinking of starting the process) are armed and ready to find rewarding opportunities, ace the interview, and embark on a successful career journey.

Business Formation and Asset Protection Expertise. An all-inclusive comprehensive overview, of common expensive pitfalls business owners are subjected to, that YOU need to know about. Asset protection musthaves and unparalleled guidance through the Shark infested waters of Business Formation. Kelly Bagla, Esq. is an international award-winning corporate attorney who has been in the business of turning passion projects into profits for more than two decades. Trust an Expert.

You can connect with Eve at

www.linkedin.com/in/eve-nasby-given-hiring-expert/ or eve@bandofhands.com ----------------------------------------------------------------

Contact Kelly at www.linkedin.com/in/kelly-bagla-esq Websites: www.BaglaLaw.com www.GoLegalYourself.com

Human Resources

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Transition to Business By Paul Falcone

National Veterans Chamber of Commerce By Joseph Molina

Moving from the military into the private sector isn’t going to be seamless. The transition process can be difficult, particularly because the job search, interview, and onboarding processes are relatively new territory for many veterans. The HR Column offers a unique perspective on hot topics and relevant issues in corporate leadership and management today.

The National Veterans Chamber (NVCC) helps connect Military/Veterans Community by housing organizations that serve the Veteran Community. We write about Entrepreneurship, Employment, Education, Wellness, Family and Faith.

You can connect with Paul at www.linkedin.com/in/paulfalcone1 or via his website at www.PaulFalconeHR.com ----------------------------------------------------------------

The NVCC was founded in 2017 with the simple goal of Empowering Individuals and Organizations that offer programs that will have a positive impact on the Veteran Community.

Business for Veterans

You can connect with Joe at josephmolina@nationalveterans.org or visit www.nationalveterans.org

By Barbara Eldridge

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The Business for Veterans column is by Barbara Eldridge who has built a solid reputation as a Success strategies specialist, within industry and business over the past 40 years. Her unique message, since starting Mind Masters 30 years ago for entrepreneurs and small business owners, continually stresses vision, purpose and values as the key elements of business philosophy.

Homeland Magazine Current & Past Issues are available at: https://homelandmagazine.com/archives/

Lean more at www.mindmasters.com -------------------------------------------------------------Legally Speaking Military Family Law By Tana Landau

SanLegal Experts with Humanity. For more information visit our website: www.frfamilylaw.com or call (858) 720-8250 and ask to speak with military family law attorney Tana Landau.

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You’re Not Alone in Navigating VA Benefits By Paris Moulden, Wounded Warrior Project

Filing for VA Disability, Other Benefits

Applying for veterans benefits can be a complex and confusing process for service members and veterans.

Mike Stoddard, national service director for WWP’s Benefits Service program, wants service members to know they don’t have to wait until they leave the service to start the benefits process.

The Benefits Service program at Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) can help. The WWP Benefits Team works to ensure warriors and family support members receive the benefits they have earned in a manner that honors their service. Post-9/11 wounded veterans can take advantage of the skill and knowledge WWP national service officers can provide, easing the navigation process with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). WWP is a VA-accredited veterans service organization (VSO), which means it is recognized by the VA as a reputable source to submit claims on a veteran’s behalf at no cost to the veteran. Having the assistance of a VSO like WWP can give warriors peace of mind throughout the benefits application process. While there can never be a guarantee of benefits, knowing what information is needed and the best way to present it can go a long way toward approval and avoiding the lengthy appeals process, which is something WWP can help with, as well. 8

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“The No. 1 thing I’d ask warriors to do is prepare early,” Stoddard said. For the VA to consider a disability claim, service members or veterans must show their medical issue is service connected. Stoddard said that’s why it’s important to maintain documentation early, including medical records or “buddy statements,” which is a letter from someone with firsthand/eyewitness knowledge of the disability or injury. “The biggest thing that I want our warriors to know is this is the one time in their life, where I would say be as selfish as you can be,” Stoddard said. “You’re not taking away benefits from anybody else.” Obtaining military medical records and buddy statements is the first step, but many veterans don’t know how to proceed after. The assistance of a VSO can make all the difference in not only helping veterans get the benefits they deserve but guiding warriors throughout the process.


Other Key Things to Know

“I think that’s one of the great things about having an advocate like Wounded Warrior Project to help is because they can actually sit down with you and look through all of that evidence and tell you, ‘Here’s what we’ve got and what we need to move forward,’” said Michael Snook, WWP regional benefits director.

• It’s important to attend all medical and examination appointments set up by the VA. “These are all things that help us with the evidence that is necessary to confirm your service connection,” Stoddard said. • Those just leaving the military are encouraged to take advantage of the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), which provides information, tools, and training to help ensure service members and their spouses are prepared for the next step in civilian life.

One of the biggest reasons to leverage a VAaccredited VSO is to have continuous support from knowledgeable experts — and it’s completely free.

• WWP-registered family members of a warrior are also eligible for assistance with claiming their entitlements.

“It’s our job, from a VSO/Wounded Warrior Project standpoint, to ensure our warriors get the benefits they’ve earned in a manner that honors their service,” Stoddard said.

• WWP’s Benefits Service program can assist warriors with other earned entitlements, including education benefits, health care benefits, and Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC). The team can also help connect them to other WWP programs in mental health, financial wellness/employment assistance, and physical wellness.

Disability Changes and Appeals One of the most common topics wounded veterans ask about is disability ratings, and how to change them. That’s often because initially evaluated, service-connected conditions could worsen over time and/or become chronic, which would necessitate a re-evaluation by the VA. WWP can help with that as well. “Because your journey continues on throughout the rest of your life, we can continue to help you with those claims as they come up,” Snook said. Sometimes veterans are denied disability benefits because of incomplete records or other issues in the application process, and not because they don’t qualify. Appealing a denial of benefits or increases is another often-confusing process the WWP Benefits Team can help warriors maneuver. “The appeals process is daunting for a lot of people, and we have experts who have 10, 15, 20 years of experience,” Snook said. “They can really break it down and simplify many of those processes.” Overall, the most important thing the WWP Benefits Service program wants warriors to know is that they don’t have to go through this process alone. “Sometimes it’s better to find somebody who can help you through the process, so don’t do it alone,” Stoddard said. “That would be my No. 1 one advice, because you’re not in this alone. You’ve got plenty of partners and advocates who are willing to help you.”

Continued on page 9 >

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

PTSD treatment can turn your life around. For more information visit: https://go.usa.gov/xe9CK

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Seek Accredited Veteran Service Organizations to File Claims If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The COVID-19 pandemic was sometimes used as an opportunity to target veterans on social media, with promises to increase disability ratings and offers of “free” evaluations. The veteran could end up paying thousands of dollars upfront or even a portion of their disability payments for an extended period — all for help they can get for free. “What they found was an opportunity to reach out to warriors and say, ‘we’ll take care of everything for you, and we’ll get you an increase in your rating,’ but it came at a cost,” Stoddard said. “And the problem is veterans are being scammed with poor-quality claims advice, locking them into harmful contracts, and, in some cases, getting access to personal information that is not needed.” Stoddard said a common predatory practice is accessing the veteran’s info through the VA website or eBenefits by using the veteran’s login information. Legally, only VA-accredited individuals and organizations can assist veterans and their family members with benefits claims. Another bad practice is using confusing tactics or ambiguous language in contracts, purposely designed to mislead the veteran. “The contract the veteran signs are long, confusing, sometimes illegal, documents that typically run over 10 pages long,” Stoddard said.

The VA provides a searchable database of accredited VSO representatives, attorneys, and agents to help veterans navigate the benefits process and avoid unscrupulous tactics. “Don’t pay for your benefits advocacy, come see an accredited agent,” Stoddard said. “It’s important that warriors know sometimes what seems like the fastest path to getting something is really a barrier to getting you what you need and costs you money that you don’t need to spend.” Keep in mind that veterans can file VA claims on their own behalf for free through the VA, but also have access to numerous veterans service organizations (VSOs), like WWP. VSOs can help warriors file claims completely free of charge — and are also accredited by the VA. While VSOs can’t guarantee a positive result, many — like WWP — have the expertise, experience, and, most importantly, the recognized right to help veterans collect the benefits they deserve in a manner that honors their service. Find out what WWP’s Benefits Service program can do for you. About Wounded Warrior Project Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more: https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org

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Support The Enlisted Project (STEP) Few other jobs, if any, require greater risk, personal sacrifice, family disruption, emotional distress, time demands, and psychological impact than the job of a Coast Guardsman, Marine, a Sailor, an Airman, or a Soldier in today’s military. In 2012, Support The Enlisted Project (STEP) started as an organization that wanted to support the most vulnerable in the military – young, junior enlisted service members who are asked to do dangerous, important jobs, with some of the lowest incomes in the country. They wanted to ensure everyone had their basic needs met in order to always be mission-ready. Since then, STEP has evolved from supporting basic, urgent needs, to include working one-on-one with families to find their own path to financial selfsufficiency. They help navigate an imminent financial crisis, ensure no basic need is lost, while simultaneously work on an individualized plan for their overall financial well-being. Founded by Veterans, STEP understands the demands of the job both on the service member, and their family. They know many getting into the military do not have financial literacy skills to navigate the low-pay and financial demands of the job: frequent moves without

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100% reimbursements, high-cost-of-living areas, lack of childcare options, low spousal employment or under employed. The program is designed to set up these families for success, even when living paycheckto-paycheck. For the service member and Veteran to succeed, they must be ready for change and willing to make the sacrifices needed to prepare for the future, even when circumstances are outside their control. In April, as the pandemic continued to shut down much of our world, a Marine family was struggling to pay rent when his wife was let go from her $15.50 hour job. Now rent was not the biggest concern but ensuring food on the table was. They came to STEP for help and a social worker, certified in financial counseling, worked with them to develop a plan they could survive on until she was able to find work again. “We were pretty good with money. There wasn’t a lot of it, so we lived month-to-month with a small savings. When my wife lost her job that all changed, and I went to STEP for help. After paying two months of our rent and getting us groceries, we were able to breath and focus on what came next. And by February 2021 we’ll be able to start saving money again, even with my wife’s new part-time job. It’s a good feeling to be back in control.” – Marco, E4


www.teamstepusa.org

STEP continued their Warehouse Distributions monthly throughout the year serving 21,373 individuals, 259,000 pounds of food and provided 120,930 diapers. They recognize challenges our military community faces, and were there to help them meet those needs with 18 distributions in San Diego, Oceanside, and Orange County. Through their partnership with the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank and community donors, STEP was able to provide families with two weeks’ worth of meals and other essentials to help offset the cost of critical needs. With STEP’s proven record, they recognized the value in sustainably expanding the EFA program to address the needs of more military and Veteran families. After careful exploration, their Board voted to pilot an expansion of services throughout the State of Washington where the local military leadership unanimously welcomes STEP as a resource for their young families. In collaboration with Joint Base Louis McCord’s out-processing program, STEP is reaching 1,000 transitioning services members every quarter. As a result of this critical expansion, STEP now serves 20% of the United States Military population, with 13% in Southern California and another 7% percent living on or near military bases in the State of Washington. Since expanding to the area, STEP has seen a steady increase in client cases in Washington, which now comprises 25% of clients served. STEP’s social workers continue to conduct remote counseling to maintain socially distanced services and the practice continues to prove successful for Washington-based clients. “What we learned this year is that STEP’s EFA program, along with the community’s support, have been able to answer the call from those families with a critical need loss and also plant the seeds of prudent financial management along the way,” shared Tony Teravainen, CEO & C0-Founder of STEP and recipient of San Diego County’s Veteran of the Year award. “I am really proud of my team as they manage our clients needs and, I am always grateful for the generosity of our community.” STEP is a privately funded, 4-Star Charity Navigator rated non-profit that serves all E1-E6 active duty and transitioning Veterans in Southern California. In January 2022 they will be formally expanding to serve the same population in Washington State. To learn how you can assist their programs through advocacy, volunteering or financial support, go to www.teamstepusa.org

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Animal Care Staff at Shelter to Soldier Share Common Goal to Help Veterans and Shelter Dogs in Need “Saving Lives, Two at a Time”

Sydeny Frye with (L to R) Paisley, Jax and Presley Shelter to Soldier (STS), a California nonprofit organization, is equally committed to animal welfare as it is to veterans’ mental health and suicide prevention. Currently, the STS psychiatric service dog training program houses, cares for and trains twentysix dog trainees, all originally from local shelters and rescue organizations throughout Southern California, and each on a 12-18 month trajectory to learn the tasks needed to one day support a post-9/11 combat veteran in need. The STS Animal Care Team includes eleven Animal Care staff members who are dedicated to around-the-clock feeding, grooming, potty breaks, stall cleaning, behavior and the overall health and wellness of every STS psychiatric service dog in training. Their ultimate goal is to provide balanced, 16

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healthy, fully trained psychiatric service dogs at no charge to veterans who have given a tremendous amount to our country. Shelter to Soldier Kennel Supervisor Cassie Bostrom is motivated to help the veteran community and is inspired by family members who were enlisted over the years in the military. She manages the STS Animal Care Team in the daily duties to monitor each dog at the STS facility through their training program to prepare them to be matched with a US veteran seeking help through the STS program. Cassie remarks, “I think seeing the difference from when the dogs first arrive at our facility and when they leave


adoption to the day of the service dog/veteran’s graduation. We are eagerly seeking fundraising options to help us increase the number of veterans and rescue dogs we can help.”

with their veteran match is very tangible…it’s so gratifying to see both the veterans and dogs bond together to help heal their respective hearts. This lifelong bond is a genuine testament to the power of the STS program.” Dogs in the STS program are enlisted in a rigorous and equally stimulating, interactive training schedule, which includes: weekly health assessments (along with a designated medical isolation ward for dogs recovering from medial procedures and initial isolation period of dogs following adoption); daily exercise with playtime, treadmill and walks; daily enrichment doggie treat puzzles and kongs filled with peanut butter, elk antlers and digestible chew bones. According to Nicky Moore, Shelter to Soldier Director of Training and Operations, “Animal care is truly the most important part of what we do on a day-to-day basis at STS. When we adopt dogs from local shelters and rescues, our facility becomes their home for the next 12 to 18 months, and the staff becomes their family. We do not take that responsibility lightly…the health and wellness of our dogs is our top priority, as it has a direct impact on their overall success in our program. Our team cares for each dog as if they were his or her own. In addition, we have two amazing veterinary partnerships in the community to provide the best routine veterinary care for our dogs, which are Neighborhood Veterinary Hospital and Carmel Mountain Ranch Veterinary Hospital.” According to STS Animal Care team member and Coast Guard Veteran, Cameron Kennedy, “Taking care of the STS dogs means so much to me. The dogs are a lot like me…they are away from home and when I care for them, I feel like I am giving them back a piece of their home.” Lead Animal Care Attendant, Lauren Scarbrough further elaborates on the impact of STS, “Animal care is a vital part of the STS program, and the passion of our entire Animal Care Team, as we are the sole caretakers for the dogs before they go to their forever homes with their veterans. Combined with all of their training, they receive so much love and excellent care from our Animal Care Attendants and in doing so, we form a strong, lasting bond with all of the STS dogs, and the STS mission as a whole.” Everyday, 20 US veterans on average commit suicide and approximately 1,800 dogs are euthanized. These staggering statistics inspire the entire STS team to do all they can do to support those served by the Shelter to Soldier program, both canine and human. Kyrie’ Bloem, Vice President of Shelter to Soldier explains, “Each service dog/veteran team costs our program an average of $15,000 from the time of the dog’s

Shelter to Soldier is a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that adopts dogs from local shelters and trains them to become psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or other psychological injuries. The program also places Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) with active duty military and veterans, and deploys their Shelter to Soldier Canine Ambassadors, a team of therapy dogs, to provide visits of love and comfort to active duty military, veterans and their families as well as community partners throughout Southern California. www.sheltertosoldier.org. To learn more about veteran-support services provided by STS, call 760-870-5338 for a confidential interview regarding eligibility.

Andres Orozco with STS dog-in-training Barny

Lauren Scarbrough with Myla

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DOD in Photos: 2021 This collection showcases the work of military photographers in 2021, when U.S. service members continued to conduct around-the-clock training and operations worldwide to ensure the nation’s security, even while responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Mountain Motivation Marines observe the range before training with M240B machine guns in front of Mount Fuji in Japan, July 16, 2021. The training was part of Eagle Wrath, an annual Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 exercise designed to increase proficiency in conducting contingency missions in a forward operating environment. Photo By: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Justin J. Marty 18

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“The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.”

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High Jumpers Air Force pararescuemen prepare to jump in a linked formation from an HC-130J Combat King II near Moody Air Force Base, Ga., Oct. 22, 2021. Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Melanie Bulow-Gonterm

Crucible Circle Recruits with Echo Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, begin the first day of the Crucible on Page Field at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. September 9, 2021. The Crucible is the culminating event of recruit training and tests the intestinal fortitude, physical stamina, and teamwork of every recruit before they earn their Eagle, Globe and Anchor and the title Marine. Photo By: Marine Corps Sgt. Dana Beesley

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Friendly Fist Bump An airman interacts with children during an event to present school supplies and sports equipment to students at Moi Air Base, Kenya, May 12, 2021. Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Daniel Garcia

Chit Chat Maryland National Guard members of Maryland’s Vaccine Equity Task Force support the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home Vaccination & Education event in Charlotte Hall, Md., Oct. 20, 2021. Photo By: Army National Guard Sgt. Arcadia Hammack

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Decorated Veteran World War II veteran Harold Stephens receives a lei from a student at Mokapu Elementary School at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Dec. 6, 2021, while visiting as part of an event to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Photo By: Marine Corps Cpl. Brandon Aultman 22

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Third Squad and the War in Afghanistan By David Koontz

“It is stupid easy to kill a person. I’ve killed a significant number of people. I counted 13 with my rifle, and then I stopped counting.” John Bohlinger was a young Marine, a 20-year-old lance corporal, when he shot and killed his first Taliban during the war in Afghanistan. “But with my radio, I killed a lot more people, a lot more people.” Bohlinger was a radio operator with the Third Squad from the First Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment – known simply as the 1-5. The unit deployed to Sangin, Afghanistan in April 2011. When they returned to Camp Pendleton seven months later, 17 Marines from the 1-5 had been killed in action and nearly 200 more came home wounded. A 12-part documentary podcast, “Third Squad after Afghanistan,” debuted aboard the USS Midway Museum on Veterans Day. Before a captivated audience on the 24

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museum’s hangar deck, Bohlinger and other Third Squad Marines recounted their harrowing experiences in Afghanistan and how they shaped their lives over the last 10 years. The podcast, written and produced by award-winning journalist Elliott Woods, chronicles the experiences of a dozen Marines in Third Squad. Woods was embedded with the 1-5 in summer 2011 while they were waging war with the Taliban in Sangin. For the U.S. Marine Corps, the Battle for Sangin, which lasted nearly two years, is still considered the bloodiest battleground of Afghanistan. “Being with Third Squad in Sangin was intense,” said Woods, himself an Army veteran who was deployed to Afghanistan in 2004. “They welcomed me and allowed me into their world without any reservations, but they were scared and strung out.” “I decided to participate in the podcast because I believe in the story and its intent,” said Bohlinger,


now an apprentice arborist who lives with his wife and two sons in Spearfish, South Dakota. “I believe it’s a story that needs to be told and the various perspectives are important in telling the story.” For Woods, he hopes the people who listen to the podcast will hear candid conversations between veterans about the most vexing issues related to the post-9/11 wars – how frontline troops move from the horrors of combat down the rocky road back to civilian life in a country that had already moved on from the battles that raged on the other side of the world. “I wanted to go back to the story of the Third Squad because I left Sangin in 2011 feeling like there was something profoundly important about what the Marines endured there,” said Woods, who spent more than a year on the podcast. “I felt like I wasn’t able to get the full story at the time. I also knew that the story of how the war has affected them over the last decade would be powerful and important for Americans to hear.” Woods also sees the podcast on the Third Squad as an opportunity for people to learn about the history of the Afghanistan War from the perspective of the ordinary Marine grunt who, like the Army solider, did the majority of the fighting and paid the steepest price in the fighting. He believes it’s an invitation to reckon with a difficult and contentious question – what can we learn from this tragedy in order to avoid repeating it?

“To me the podcast is about Third Squad, but our story repeats in units across Afghanistan over the course of the war. Some people can accept it at face value, but to me it’s a tragedy. No one has a clear answer to why we were there.” The man John Bohlinger who went to war in Afghanistan, is not the John Bohlinger who came back home. Ten years later, he continues to work through the long-term effects of trauma. “I spent years learning and teaching how to kill people, and then doing it,” said Bohlinger in an interview for the podcast. “In the situation, you’re fighting for your life. So I don’t feel bad about it. My personal goal now is to show other veterans they are not alone and it’s ok to be human. I want veterans to understand that by helping themselves they can help their families.” “By talking to me and opening up about their private pain, their frustrations and uncertainties, the Third Squad Marines did something that I consider exceptionally brave,” said Woods following months of interviews. “I think they did something harder than running into a gunfight – they told the truth.” The “Third Squad after Afghanistan” podcast can be found on the iHeart App or wherever podcasts are available.

John Bohlinger today 10 years after Sangin.

Dr. Greg Daddis, the USS Midway chair of modern U.S. military history at San Diego State University (SDSU), feels it’s critical to investigate the consequences of the United States’ 20-year war in Afghanistan. The Third Squad podcast was done in collaboration with the Center for War and Society at SDSU of which Daddis is the director. “Looking at Afghanistan, I think many Americans ask why is it that we did not learn certain lessons from the Vietnam War?” said Daddis, who also moderated the podcast announcement event on Midway. “Many of us likely have also asked what kind of mistakes did the U.S. civilian and military leaders make in Afghanistan and what the similarities were with Vietnam?” After a decade of reflection for Bohlinger, who witnessed several of his close friends and brothers-inarms perish during the intense fighting in Afghanistan, the answer is clear. “I hope we never again send Americans into harm’s way without a clear mission and objective,” said the 31-year-old Bohlinger.

Elliott Woods produced the podcast on Third Squad.

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Real Talk: Mental Health By Dr. Nikki Watkins, Clinic Director, and Jenny Lynne Stroup, Outreach Coordinator, for the Cohen Clinic at VVSD www.vvsd.net/cohenclinicsandiego

New Year, SMART Goals The start of a new year is a time to reflect on the past year, both the challenges and the successes, and identify what you will leave behind because it is no longer serving you, and what you want to carry with you into the new year. Starting the new year with a goal or resolution to improve some area of life can be beneficial for some, yet it can be a source of stress for others. Even for those of us who start out feeling positive about the new (or renewed) goal we have set for ourselves, that goal can sometimes become a source of selfjudgment if we do not meet our definition of success. This self-criticism can lead to an increase in anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem as we desperately push ourselves to accomplish the goal. Sometimes these feelings derail us completely because we believe we’ve identified yet another area of our lives where we are not meeting the mark.

• Be mindful of your self-talk. We all have an inner critic that can run rampant if we aren’t careful. • Practice self-compassion and talk to yourself as you would talk to a dear friend in a similar situation. • Practice mindfulness by accepting your current situation as it is, without judgment. Awareness and acceptance are the precursors to positive change. • Remember that each day is a new opportunity to try again. If goals and resolutions are not your thing for the new year, perhaps ask yourself where you would like to infuse more of something - like fun - into your life? Is there a hobby you’ve wanted to try? Do you like to be out in nature?

Dr. Nikki Watkins, offers the following healthy approaches to setting a New Year’s resolution:

The past few years have been challenging. As Dr. Watkins’ suggests, awareness and acceptance are two of the best tools we have to affect positive change in our own lives. Being aware that the load of the last few years has left you run down is OK. Accepting that is true is necessary for you to move to the next step-action, allowing you to implement what you need in this new year.

• Set SMART goals. In the field of mental health, setting SMART goals is widely practiced by clinicians to help set their clients up for success in therapy. This same practice can also translate to setting resolutions. To see growth in yourself, it is helpful if the goals are:

These actions do not need to be grand, sweeping gestures of change. Simple actions, like reading a book before you go to bed at night or doing a couple yoga poses first thing in the morning may give you the infusion of joy, comfort, or peace you’ve been seeking.

Specific–Measurable–Achievable–Realistic–Time bound • Curb all-or-nothing thinking by focusing on the concept of “progress…not perfection.”

Whatever goals, resolutions, or infusions you chose for yourself this year, we, at the Cohen Clinic at VVSD wish you a healthy New Year and are here to support you in your journey to get back to better.

• Choose to focus on what is going well, as opposed to what is not going well.

To learn how therapy can help with mental health challenges, visit www.vvsd.net/cohenclinicsandiego

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Back to Better: Mental Health Care for Veterans, Service Members, & their Families

Support the Cohen Clinic

Cohen Clinics provide therapy for anxiety, depression, PTSD, and transitional issues for post-9/11 veterans, service members, and military families, including National Guard / Reserves. CVN Telehealth, face-to-face video therapy available.

Your donations help provide high-quality mental health care to veterans, service members, their families.

Make a gift today: vvsd.net/cohenclinicsandiego

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JANUARY 2022

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HELP HEAL VETERANS CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF SERVICE First established in 1971, Help Heal Veterans has provided free therapeutic arts and crafts kits to active duty military and veterans for generations. Help Heal Veterans (Heal Vets), a nonprofit that provides free therapeutic arts and crafts kits to veterans and active duty military, is proudly celebrating its 50th anniversary. Much has changed since 1971 but Help Heal Veterans has remained at the forefront of using craft therapy to help veterans and active-duty military heal the invisible wounds of war. “Over the past 50 years, we have been surrounded by the absolute best people in the business,” says Joe McClain, retired Navy captain and Help Heal Veterans CEO.

“Our partners, employees and volunteers have turned our vision into reality, in more ways than we could have imagined. Even though our mission has evolved, ‘helping any veteran or military member in need,’ very much remains at the core of what we do, and we are grateful to everyone who has joined us along our journey.” In 1971, Help Heal Veterans produced one of the first craft-related therapy programs for patients from various medical centers and military hospitals. From that experience, a big idea was made possible by thousands of caring contributors wanting to express their love and appreciation to America’s heroes. Now, the organization produces and ships nearly half a million kits every year from its Winchester, California workshop. Over the past 50 years, Help Heal Veterans has shipped millions of arts & crafts kits to hundreds of facilities. Indeed, since 2017, Heal Vets has worked with partner organizations to repurpose the extraordinary amounts of potential landfill waste, including: • 300,000 pounds of leather from airplane seats. Southwest Airlines and Arise Foundation have donated leather from airplane seats since 2018. These materials are used to make wallets, footballs, and components for moccasins, such as liners and insoles. • 55,216 pounds of tanned deer skins. The Elks, a partner since 2002, donates tanned deer skins from Elks Lodge members around the country that are used to make moccasins, wheelchair gloves, dreamcatchers, pouches and more. • 454,500 pounds of upholstery. Since 2017, La Z Boy has donated upholstery fabric that Heal Vets uses in kits to make messenger bags, oven mitts, bowl cozies and more. • 112,416 pounds of cabinets. Since 2019, American Woodmark has donated cabinets, which have been repurposed for wood kits to make items like boxes and birdhouses. • 40,000 pounds of automobile seats. Since 2019, Magna has donated auto seats used to make purse kits.

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www.HealVets.org

Celebrating

50 Years

Help Heal Veterans is committed to healing and supporting veterans’ mind, body, and spirit. Studies show that crafting can provide therapeutic and rehabilitative benefits, including improving fine motor skills, cognitive functioning, memory and dexterity. It can also help alleviate feelings of anger and the severity of negative behaviors triggered by posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which are important considering the United States has suffered more than 100,000 military casualties of war since 1950 and lost more than 65,000 veterans to suicide in the last 10 years. Looking ahead, the organization plans to continue carrying out the values on which it was founded, while continuing to identify innovative ways to support veterans through their healing process.

of Healing Through Therapeutic Arts & Crafts Help Us Heal Veterans by Donating at

HealVets.org

To learn more about Heal Vets and explore an interactive map that includes 50 veteran stories over 50 years of impact across 50 U.S. states, visit www.HealVets.org/50 About Help Heal Veterans First established in 1971, Help Heal Veterans has provided free therapeutic arts and crafts kits to hospitalized and homebound veterans for generations. These craft kits help injured and recuperating veterans improve fine motor skills, cognitive functioning, manage stress and substance abuse, cope with symptoms of PTSD and TBI, while also improving their sense of self-esteem and overall physical and mental health. Most of these kits are developed, manufactured and packaged for delivery at our production center headquartered in Winchester, California. Since inception, Help Heal Veterans has delivered nearly 31 million of these arts and crafts kits to veterans and veteran facilities nationwide, along with active duty military overseas.

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JANUARY 2022

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Arts & Healing Arts for Military Veterans By Amber Robinson

What Can Your Imagination Do for You in 2022? Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Have you ever thought about the power of imagination and what makes it so important to us all? Stop to think about the things you’ve used your imagination for in your life. They are probably some of the proudest moments. They were most likely times you created something new and exciting, problems solved something big at work or stepped into a new home or work space you had envisioned first. It’s your creativity and imagination that writes those awesome college papers your teachers love, the ones where you are not only showing you understand the content you are learning, but also visualizing where you could use it or talking about where you have used it. For me, as a 44-year old college student, I’m usually writing about the latter. We use our imaginations daily when we think about how we’d like our day to go, how we are going to time out our day. It’s used constantly by us, but not usually given the credit it deserves. I mean, what do you think happens when scientists imagine possibilities outside of the box, what happens when inventors do that? The world advances! According to an article in the Harvard Business Review (https://tinyurl.com/imaginationHBR) we need imagination more now than ever. As we deal with an ongoing pandemic with rapid mutations happening constantly, it’s hard not to get down. But when the days get dark, we need our imaginations to create light in the midst of them, to create a safer, brighter future.

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As we move from the crisis, reactionary phase of the pandemic, we’ll all need to envision something new. The Harvard article states, “renewal and adaptive strategies [will] give way to classical planningbased strategies and then to visionary and shaping strategies, which require imagination.” In the same ways our world’s great “imaginers’ will help us move from crisis phase to a new way of thriving post-pandemic, you can create a brighter future for yourself. In an article by Forbes magazine (https://tinyurl.com/Globokar-forbes) writer Lidija Globokar shares the way athletes have always used visualization as an example of how it can be used to reach any life goal. Famous athletes like Muhammed Ali, Kobe Bryant and Arnold Schwarzenegger all used visualization and imagination to achieve the things they are now famous for. But the article says it has also been used successfully in police training and with new medical surgeons. Those who went through visualization training prior to their first times under job stress not only executed better on the job, but did so with reduced anxiety. So, in 2022, I challenge us all to be mindful of our imaginations. I posit we give our imagination the credit it deserves and become conscious of its use. With that said, what will you visualize for yourself this year? In what ways will your imagination lead the way to a life that thrives?

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” - Albert Einstein

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

Your Obstacles are Your Stepping Stones The transition to civilian life is often overwhelming, stressful and can trigger feelings of inadequacy. Why? Because it’s a change. Suddenly that feeling of belonging turns to feeling alone. Executing on planned missions is now a stumble through a maze in the dark. But, when you entered into the military, did you know everything going into it? Nope. But you figured it out, right? Yup.

When you encounter an obstacle, you have a couple options. Throw up your hands in defeat, or figure out a way through. Floyd decided to teach himself how to swim through months of nonstop and intense training. His preparation and dedication worked, as he was able to pass the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) Physical Screening Test. Quitting isn’t Failing if it’s a Recharge Is that where the fairytale ends? You guessed right. Nope. After suffering an injury that resulted in him losing both 30 lbs along with the will to continue, he quit during his first attempt of Hell Week. The decision to quit served him in the moment, but 15 months later, he realized that being a positive representation for his friends, family and fellow Americans was more important to him. He followed his gut.

Can’t Swim? Get in the Water When Floyd McLendon enlisted into the United States Naval Reserve in the summer of 1992, he didn’t enter as an expert in the field. After 14 months of Active Duty service, he chose the path Electronics Technician (ET) “A” School to become a radar and Floyd graduated with BUD/S Class 254, officially satellite communication’s expert. And an expert he becoming a U.S. Navy SEAL. He spent the next 13 years was. Did he stop there? Indeed not. After 6www.bandofhands.com years, he at four different Naval Special Warfare commands. He thought of his family, friends and fellow Americans deployed 5 times, with presence in 24 countries over as he decided his next goal. He then decided to 5 continents, including two combat tours to Iraq and undertake the most grueling and difficult challenge Afghanistan. of his life: becoming a U.S. Navy SEAL. There was just one problem: Floyd didn’t know how to swim. It’s no surprise that Floyd’s first line of advice for those

in transition is Think Big, Dream Big. If you’re facing the challenges that come with transition, consider Floyd’s words of wisdom to help you cope and rise up to the challenge: 1. Your profession in the military does not define your future in the civilian sector. Everything you’ve become good at was learned. Just because you start off cleaning barnacles off of a ship doesn’t mean you’ll be doing that in 10 years. Similarly, everything you’ve learned and done in the military is incredibly valuable and transferable in the civilian work world. 2. Understand your wealth. You bring unmatched knowledge and experience to the table. Think of all your experiences leading teams, executing on projects and missions, and how you were a team player. This is far more valuable than straight skills.

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People graduating from college with no real-world experiences cannot and do not bring the same level of value as you. Remember that, live that, and lead with that. 3. Preparation before, during, and after your transition will determine the timeline of your success. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. If you fail to plan, you fail to plan. Being methodical about your timeline and what needs to happen at each stage leading up to transition and beyond will ensure that you’re ready for any obstacles that come along the way. Leverage your network, ask for help, and refine your plan as you go. 4. There is no substitute or replacement for the brotherhood. Accept it. Appreciate the camaraderie you had, but get over the fact that you may not have those same relationships as you enter into the civilian workforce. But fear not. Find a company that has employer resource groups (ERGs) to start rebuilding that camaraderie. Many companies have veteran groups (in addition to others) to help foster a positive and supportive work environment. 5. Humility, Kindness, and Love will elevate you to unseen, remarkable opportunities. What you put in will play out. This one speaks for itself. Those who live by these values are always the ones who are happiest. When you’re happy, you can achieve anything. And one more note. You might fail, but that’s okay. Use it to your advantage. It’s not uncommon to be out of your first job in 18 months. That’s not a failure. It’s a learning experience, a stepping stone, and an uncovering of what didn’t work. If you desperately need a job and take the first one available, you may hate it. You may not have camaraderie at first, but that’s okay. You course correct and continue the mission with more knowledge and self-awareness. Remember Floyd burned out and quit during Hell Week before returning to achieve great things. He sharpened his leadership skills in life and death situations, and dedicated his life in service to our great country, defending us from enemies, and continues his commitment to accountability and service minded leadership as a future Texas Congressman.

Need help with your resume or interviewing skills? Reach out to Eve at: eve@bandofhands.com www.linkedin.com/in/eve-nasby-given-hiring-expert

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

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A Different Lens Mental Health Monthly By RanDee McLain, LCSW

Changing Your Layout The only true way to build an inescapable maze is for the maze to always change its layout.

A part of the big shift came when employees no longer felt there was growth for them in position, skills, or knowledge in their current role. Employees are more engaged when they believe their employer supports growth of employees and provides a career path to reach individual goals. Organizations that can help develop a career development path can have an overall positive impact on the organization and supports retention. A clear career path provides employees with ways to grow in knowledge and skills and not just promotions. A traditional career ladder is no longer the only option for career progression. Many employees and employers are looking at a more integrated approach. The long-standing thought was if you work hard eventually you get more responsibility and pay increases. This is one approach, but it is not the only one. This approach is very structured and leaves very little variance for individual goals and needs.

Last year, in this column we discussed transition and how the pandemic has changed our lives. We discussed how many people have taken this time to reflect on their priorities and where they are focusing their energies. Many people took this as an opportunity to change jobs and in some cases careers. Many of those that changed jobs spoke about no longer finding that their jobs were meeting their needs and goals. 34

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A concept called the lattice approach is more tailored to each individual’s career goals. This approach has various career options including: Vertical - Increasing responsibility within the organization (traditional career ladder)


Lateral – Change of jobs outside the organization, but no change in pay, status, or level of responsibility. Change of jobs within the organization, but no change in pay, status, or level of responsibility. Enrichment - Develop in place; grow with in the existing job. Realignment - Take a step back from existing role to pursue different career options. A career lattice approach is a flexible plan which supports employee development, upskilling and recognition in multiple areas and directions. I have seen peers take each of these different approaches over the last year. In full transparency, I took several of these to include leaving an organization I had been at for over 7 years. There comes a time where you must evaluate where you are and where you want to be. You have to list your priorities and determine if the actions you are taking are moving towards those goals or away. At my previous place of employment, I took multiple lateral moves to advance my knowledge and skills over the years. This included taking more clinical roles to further that skill set. I also focused on ‘enrichment’ and developed skills in place through comprehensive trainings. After multiple enrichments and lateral moves, I felt I no longer had a path forward that included me serving my fellow vets- which is where my heart is. Eventually, the best thing for my career trajectory and over all mental health was to take a lateral move to another Veteran serving organization. I wanted to be a part of an organization whose sole mission is to serve those who have served. It was also important to be in a place where I felt there were growth opportunities. Change is hard. It was not an easy thing. In many ways, you are starting over and once again proving yourself but for me it was well worth it. I miss the comfort of being a long-term employee, I miss some of my peers and the clients we serve but overall, I had to do what was best for me and my career. If you are debating a big life change, take time, make lists, and consult with people you trust and who know you well.

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

Homeland Veteran Resources & Organizations available at:

www.MiramarPostalPlus.com

www.HomelandMagazine.com

Homeland Magazine

Take time and do what is best for you and your loved ones.

A Veterans Magazine for Veterans by Veterans

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JANUARY 2022

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Treating Hearing Loss & Tinnitus Can Ease Transition to Civilian Life Don’t let hearing conditions hold you back. Solutions are readily available and can make all the difference for veterans in transition. By Hope Lanter, Au.D., lead audiologist, www.hear.com

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Millions of veterans suffer from hearing loss and tinnitus, which often create serious disruption and torment that impacts daily life. Given the constant service-related exposure to hazardous noise levels from loud machinery, gunfire, explosions, etc., it’s no wonder that over 1.3 million vets receive VA disability compensation for hearing loss and another 2.3 million for tinnitus, a condition that causes ringing, buzzing, hissing, whistling or clicking in the ears. But considering that more half of U.S. soldiers have hearing loss, it’s likely the number of veterans with hearing conditions far exceeds those who seek treatment and compensation. Even beyond the military, hearing loss impacts over 37 million Americans and tinnitus another 50 million more. While some veterans may feel embarrassed or ashamed by the thought of wearing a hearing aid, others who deal with significant disabilities, PTSD, etc. may see their hearing issues as a much lower priority—after all, it’s not a life-threatening condition. But hearing issues can create substantial stress, anxiety, depression and social withdrawal, all of which can compound PTSD and interfere with healing. Not to mention, left untreated, hearing problems can worsen over time, especially tinnitus, and there can be a point of diminishing returns: if you wait too long, treatment may be less effective.

Veterans face a number of obstacles in transitioning to civilian life. From adjusting to life with less structure to finding a new career, or even managing issues like PTSD, substance use disorder, injuries or disabilities, it can be a lot to handle. But if you’re also struggling to hear in normal conversations or avoiding quality time with friends or social situations because you can’t hear, or you’re tortured by a constant ringing or buzzing sound in your ears, it can only compound transition challenges, making it even more difficult to settle into a life you love. 36

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If you’re a veteran who’s suffering with hearing loss or tinnitus, you should know there are ample solutions available to help, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed or wait to seek treatment. Hearing issues could be a “low hanging fruit”—a situation that’s easily resolved so that you can concentrate on getting back to a life you love. For hearing loss, hearing aids are the obvious solution, and the technology has improved drastically from what you may remember. These are not your grandfather’s hearing aids. Modern options now include on-demand adjustability for different settings, Bluetooth connectivity that turns them into sleek earbuds, and even high-performance dirt- and sweatresistant models built for active individuals.


Not Just A Smaller Hearing Aid,

BUT A SMARTER ONE. While tinnitus is a bit more complex, hearing aids can also help. These work by amplifying sounds to correctly stimulate damaged nerves, or by simply masking the sound with white noise or a pitch that counteracts the tinnitus. In addition, relaxation, meditation and sound therapies can help you better cope with tinnitus to minimize its impact on your life. And, while there are some over-the-counter (OTC) remedies that claim to work miracles, many of these are “snake oil” treatments that do nothing more than waste your money. Unfortunately, nothing OTC is FDA approved yet.

5 REASONS WHY

PEOPLE ARE IN LOVE WITH THESE HEARING AIDS TINY DESIGN, BIG PERFORMANCE The most inconspicuous hearing aid ever, Horizon offers effortless hearing without anyone knowing you’re wearing them.

Fortunately, the VA offers ample resources and hearing loss benefits, including free hearing aids to those who qualify. And despite some skepticism, the hearing aids provided by the VA are premium technology, so certainly, you should start there in seeking treatment for service-related hearing loss and tinnitus. If you find you don’t qualify through the VA, visit an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist or audiologist for an evaluation. Many providers offer veterans’ discounts that can reduce the out-of-pocket cost for hearing loss treatment.

CLEARER, BETTER CONVERSATIONS Horizon hearing aids are the first to offer an innovative Speech Focus to help you hear every word clearly.

NOTHING BUT, NATURAL SOUND Horizon ensures you’ll hear the most natural 360-degree sound from the dinner table to the trails.

PERSONALIZED HEARING EXPERIENCE Our top, handpicked hearing experts will program your hearing aid settings to your individual hearing needs and preferences.

GET YOUR GROOVE BACK — OR ALL OF YOUR MONEY

The bottom line is that, for many veterans, hearing loss and tinnitus could be quite easily treated, so there’s no reason to suffer in silence. Resolving hearing-related issues could be an important piece of easing your transition to civilian life, and improving your career prospects, family life and overall physical and mental wellbeing.

If you and your ears aren’t happy, we’ll refund all of your money back — no questions asked. There’s absolutely nothing to lose, and everything to gain!

Here's how you can get started:

To find out more about how treating hearing loss can improve quality of life and the benefits available to U.S. service veterans, visit www.hear.com or call 786-520-2456 for a FREE consultation and to find a provider near you.

Visit: hear.com/veterans Call: (844) 4-HEARCOM or (844) 443-2726 www.hear.com/veterans

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JANUARY 2022

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How This Veteran Created A COVID Testing Company That Saved The Entertainment Industry In 2020 Homeland Magazine had a chance to sit down with entrepreneur Alex Ostebo

When the pandemic hit, I pivoted to create a company that could offer a solution to the challenges Hollywood would face to produce content safely during a pandemic. I’m not going to sugar coat it, finding a balance was difficult, especially when I was serving as a company commander, which is a full time position itself. However, I did gather a few pieces of wisdom during this time that helped me succeed. In a world where you are being told from both ends that things need to happen “right now,” prioritization is a must. Additionally, it is critical to learn how to set boundaries and delegate as much as you can in both your civilian and military careers. Lastly, and most importantly, go easy on yourself–you are doing your best, so let the small things slide. Homeland Magazine: What kind of difficulties did you experience transitioning to civilian life and how did you overcome those difficulties?

Alex Ostebo comes from a long line of veterans, having herself served as a Captain and Company Commander in the Army Reserves for eight and a half years. Simultaneously, she embarked on her entrepreneurial journey, building two successful businesses, Creative Picnic, a production and artist management company for photographers, and most recently, Kameo, which has since become the leading provider of COVID testing and management services for the entertainment production industry. Homeland Magazine: Tell us about your career and how you were able to balance work with your military commitment? Alex Ostebo: When I was first commissioned in the Army Reserves, I was stationed at the 55th Sustainment Brigade at Fort Belvoir. Simultaneously, I started my civilian career in marketing, which is when I realized my love for entrepreneurship and decided to start my own company for artist marketing and production.

Alex Ostebo: I was very lucky because I had a civilian career during the course of my military service, and as I had two demanding businesses taking up my time, the transition was pretty seamless. I was surprised, however, that my insurance stopped before my last date of commission, which left me without insurance for a period of time and scrambling to find alternative coverage. Homeland Magazine: What lessons or skills did you learn in the military that helped you start Kameo? Alex Ostebo: Many of the skills I learned in the Army, including how to be a good leader, translated perfectly to those needed to become an entrepreneur. The military instilled in me a resilience that continues to help me fight through the fear of the unknown, especially when creating a company during something as uncertain as a pandemic. When COVID hit, the entertainment industry grinded to a halt. My military experience gave me the confidence and discipline needed to think through complex logistics and be one of the firsts to establish an effective way to mitigate risk on Hollywood sets. Homeland Magazine: What advice do you have for veterans who are looking to get into entrepreneurship and the production industry specifically? “The Caretaker”

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Alex Ostebo: For veterans excited to start their own business, my advice is the following: • Go with what you know - Finding something you are passionate about is important, and your foundational knowledge of the industry will help propel you to success. • Look for the problems around you - The businesses that are most likely to succeed are those that solve problems you care about. • Build the right team - Bringing on the right people early on will help you grow efficiently and be successful.

“Remembrance of Chris”

• Use your resources & network - Reach out to your family, friends, neighbors, local businesses, etc., to gather information and get feedback. Small businesses love supporting other small businesses especially if the relationship is mutually beneficial.

www.HomelandMagazine.com

Transitioning out of the Military into the Civilian Workforce?

For veterans specifically looking to get into film and TV production, I have great news. Not only is the production industry conducive to the strengths and needs of former military vets but there are also fast tracks to get involved:

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.

• Join the Union - The unions have a direct commission option for veterans, where veterans can join for free. • Specialty Jobs for Veterans - As we learned from the tragedy on the “Rust” set, there is a huge shortage of trained armorers, which is a huge opportunity for military vets trained in this field. There are also other specialty positions that allow for a seamless transfer of experience including jobs in transportation, medics, stunts and pilotry. • You Already Have What It Takes - Productions not only wants military vets, they NEED them. Our work ethic, reliability and professional nature is exactly what makes for a strong crew member.

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

• A Sense of Community - Productions have a community and camaraderie feel that is very similar to the military. For more about Kameo, visit www.kameo.co.

VETERANS IN TRANSITION

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HUMAN RESOURCES Transition to Business By Paul Falcone

Career Management Strategies in the Private Sector Each new year brings new opportunity, and if you’re considering transitioning into the private sector, now would be a good time to gain an understanding of how career transition and career growth strategies work on the corporate side. Private sector recruiters and headhunters (contingency or retained search executives) tend to view candidates through a specific lens and evaluate both their history and potential using several criteria. Let’s take a behind-the-scenes look at what’s important to them and how you might want to focus your interviews and job search strategies in light of their playbook. • Longevity The first criterion that captures recruiters’ eyes is longevity. If you’re in the military, chances are you have at least two to four years of experience with the same “employer,” which is a great place to start.

Looking forward, however, many recruiters know that recent transitions from the military to the private sector need to “kiss a few frogs before they find their prince,” meaning they’ll likely be concerned that you won’t last that long in a first or even second position in the private sector. Convince them otherwise by sharing your career values. State openly that you’re looking to make a two-to-three-year commitment to your first employer so that you can not only contribute to the organization but also establish longevity in your private sector career. Share what two or three criteria are most important to you now that you’re preparing for career transition, emphasizing that you pride yourself on longevity and stability. In other words, address their core concerns without their even having to ask: you’ll be well ahead of the game. • Progression Through the Ranks Hiring managers and recruiters often look for candidates that demonstrate a healthy sense of career progression. For example, in the human resources realm, career progression might look like this: HR coordinator > specialist > supervisor > manager > director > vice president.

Career Management Strategies • Longevity • Progression Through the Ranks • Technical Skills

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Of course, it could take years to progress through your career to the vice-presidential level. The point is that while remaining in the same role your entire career has many merits as an “individual contributor,” it likewise helps to demonstrate career progression from job to job as you grow into your career. If you’re applying for a “stretch” position (i.e., a higher title and promotion), be sure to articulate why you’re ready for that new level of responsibility and how your past experiences will qualify you for the heightened role. • Technical Skills Depending on the position you’re applying for and the field you’re in, professional licenses and certifications may be required to progress from one position to the next. Even when that’s not the case, look to expand your technical skills, whether in terms of software, leadership and professional development, or industry knowledge. Include any relevant classes you’ve taken on your resume and LinkedIn profile. (And yes—you’ll likely want to create a LinkedIn profile to establish an online presence and build your professional network.) Better yet. . . LinkedIn Learning offers hundreds of online courses that address your professional development needs, and all completed courses and certificates can automatically be displayed on your LinkedIn profile. That’s especially helpful when you’re between positions so that you can demonstrate a healthy sense of career and professional ambition and dedication. Building your resume and career strategies around longevity, progression, and technical skills is a great place to start when launching your private sector job search. Hiring managers and recruiters will likely be impressed with your natural insights into their domain and neck of the woods.

You can connect with Paul on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/paulfalcone1 Paul Falcone (www.PaulFalconeHR.com) is a human resources executive and bestselling author on hiring, performance management, and leadership development.

www.HarperCollinsLeadership.com

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BUSINESS FOR VETERANS By Barbara Eldridge www.mindmasters.com

Engage the 2022 Adventure At the beginning of each New Year the need to prepare for and anticipate growth for your business is essential. The planning process is time consuming, but necessary. Napoleon Hill in his classic work Think and Grow Rich stresses the absolute necessity of having a definite plan for the accomplishment of one’s goals. But goes on to describe the need for “power” to accomplish those goals. Power refers to organized effort, sufficient to enable you to produce the results you want. As you begin to look toward 2022 you will have to choose what position you will take to plan your business. You might start by asking some tough questions. Do you recognize the need for change? Some business owners are researching new directions for their businesses, a whole new model, as some markets are disappearing. - Are you prepared to look reality in the face? - Are you willing to change the way you do business – and change yourself? - Will you turn the plan into action? - Do you have the guts to take your business in new directions? Here is a road map that will get you to view your business through a lens that eliminates the distortions of everyday business. Let me warn you, you may not like what you see. But if you are going to meet the year head on it is a necessary process. Let’s look at what a strategic plan could do for you. 1. Develop a statement of purpose. Why does your business exist? Sometimes why we started the business is not the same as why we continue to work it. Some people over the years have added staff, so that now there is room to travel more. There are those that started in business to support their family, and now are looking in new directions.

2. Conduct a SWOT analysis. This will help you evaluate your businesses internal strengths and weaknesses, along with the opportunities and threats you face in the market place. It will give you a basis for developing a plan. 3. Crystallize your thinking – Determine what specific long range goals you want for your business. It is never enough to just want more money. They should cover all aspects of the business. Perhaps even selling it. 4. Create benchmarks, with specific results for meeting those goals. It is easier to make adjustments along the way without losing sight of the long range goals. 5. Brainstorm strategies for reaching each of the results. There is more than one way to achieve a result, ask others for ideas. 6. Develop a Plan of Action. Plan the progressive steps, along with who will do what when. Nothing ever happens without action, but there is a world of difference between mere action and constructive action. 7. Be confident in yourself and your own abilities. Be determined to follow through on your plan, because without organized effort the plan will deteriorate. The 8th step is to track your progress. Write out your numbers (yes write), know your sales number, gross profit, cost of goods/time. It is a sure way of staying focused. You have the ability to choose your experience. Take the steps.

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

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

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

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

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

Healthcare Training For Your Next Phase of Life Our online training programs are approved for military education funding—all designed to help military members and their spouses build skills and thrive in careers that are portable,

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

in-demand, and rewarding. Start training today so you can be prepared for meaningful work tomorrow.

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

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

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JANUARY 2022

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

BEFORE STARTING A BUSINESS Thinking about starting a business? If you are – Brilliant! Congratulations on taking control of your life and being part of the 31.7 million small businesses in the USA. Before jumping in with both feet, it’s important to research your industry, find competitors, understand risk and map out your finances before starting your business. Starting a business can be stressful, but having the independence of being able to provide for your family is beyond security. Starting a business does come with work, often feeling like there are a thousand things to work on all at the same time. There’s no avoiding this reality for new small business owners, but with planning, it’s possible to manage expectations and take actions with a sense of purpose toward building your business. Many people who have started businesses usually take these steps: DO YOUR RESEARCH. You should understand the industry you’ll be involved in so you can dominate it. No matter how unique you might think your business idea is, you should be aware of what your competitors are doing. What’s worked for them and what’s not so you can avoid their mistakes. DETERMINE YOUR AUDIENCE. Spend time considering who your target demographic will be. This audience will be the driving force in each decision you make. Understanding who needs your product or service can help fine tune your offerings and ensure your marketing and sales strategies are reaching the right people. Part of this decision us understanding if you are a business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-tobusiness (B2B) enterprise. Within those parameters are multiple categories, including but certainly not limited to age, gender, income and profession. You cannot earn a profit without your customers, so understand who they are and make them your priority.

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HAVE A STRONG MISSION. Standing out is no easy task and no one magic formula guarantees results. However, knowing your business’s purpose is central to guiding these decisions. By spending time on what’s important to you, what your business’s strengths will be, what differences you want to bring to your target market, and what purpose will those differences serve, you can create a strong mission statement that will reflect your business beliefs. Staying true to yourself will show your audience that your business will be consistent, and your customers can rely on you for the same professional quality of goods and service. It’s only appropriate to mention that one of my favorite quotes is “Why Blend In

When You Were Born To Stand Out.”

MAP YOUR FINANCES. Starting a business requires money that you likely won’t have right away. This is why you need to seek out ways to acquire capital. Most entrepreneurs start a business with a very limited amount of capital. However, there are plenty of options available to an inspiring business owner. The first and most common place to seek capital is from friends and family. If that is not enough, expand the search to angel investors and then venture capitalists. Should these options not provide the amount needed, then apply for business loans through banks and small business associations (SBA). UNDERSTAND THE RISK. Of course, there will always be a level of risk involved with launching a new business venture, but calculating, understanding, and planning for risk is an important step to take before you start working on your business. This means assessing your industry’s risks before moving forward with a business plan. Risks can come in many forms, as mentioned, industry risks, financial risks, loss of customer interest, and most importantly, being sued and loosing everything. Planning and preparing as much as you can for business related risks could save your business from going under and save you thousands in hard earned money.


HAVE A BUSINESS PLAN. Business plans come in many forms, for example, business plans to raise money, business plans to expand operations, and business plans to start a business. The latter one is the type of business plan you want to start with. Keep in mind a business plan is a live document that will change when your business needs change or expand. It can be tedious drafting a business plan but its essential to keep your business on track. Start the business plan by first outlining the steps you need to take for a successful launch and continued growth. Include the following: your mission statement, a description of your business, a list of your products or services, an analysis of the current market and opportunity, a list of decision makers in the company, along with their bios, and finally your financial plan outlining how and when the money will be used.

Go Legal Yourself ® Know Your Business Legal Lifecycle

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Becoming a business owner, you control your own destiny, choose the people you work with, reap big rewards, challenge yourself, give back to the community, and you get to follow your passion. Knowing what you’re getting into is smart business because the responsibility of protecting your family and yourself falls on you.

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

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

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

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

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

www.GoLegalYourself.com

Get your copy at amazon today! WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JANUARY 2022

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Promoting Youth Entrepreneurship in Military Communities By: Joseph Molina National Veterans Chamber of Commerce veteransccsd@gmail.com Overview It has been my experience that today’s youth and especially those coming from a military environment tend to start businesses in areas of personal interest including types of businesses that represent a rewarding aspect of their lives, which result in businesses that are full of innovation, out of the box ideas that hit a home run! I find it amazing that many of the students who have participated in business programs through their schools have little or no interest in limitation, but a huge interest in helping the world be a better place. They want to create products that help the elderly, people in pain and many other socially focused products. What drives them? Money is not the motivating factor but the social impact their ideas will have on society it is. I had the pleasure of experiencing one the most remarkable business plan presentations from a group of Jr. High School students on “The process of starting a business” it was clear to me that these young students were prepared with the knowledge and passion needed to be an entrepreneur. “Promote an Entrepreneurial Environment”: In order to promote entrepreneurship, the birth of new ideas, we need to have an “Entrepreneurial Mind-Set” – a way of thinking that perceives entrepreneurship as a “New Opportunity”, a way to find and create new solutions to old problems or new solutions to new problems. Having the right mind-set will encourage the right environment that welcomes entrepreneurs and their entrepreneurial ideas. • Allow kids to try: With the understanding that mistakes and or failures are just part of a business cycle. They are nothing more than opportunities to try something in a different way. • Provide resources: Be ready to invest time and money in a few tools, resources and or training. • Create a platform of business opportunities: Connect with businesses and organizations in the community to bring potential opportunities to the youth encouraging them to learn as well as contributing to a business. This creates a work ethic and encourages selfesteem. These opportunities could include: creating a website for a local church or soccer club, selling items on amazon.com, or designing a flyer about the local Farmer’s Market. 48

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• Make kids be accountable and responsible for money earned: It is important that they learn how to manage money. This becomes a crucial skill as the business grows. “Encourage and Coordinate Presentations to Potential Customers: Coordinate and schedule presentations with potential buyers such as local store owners, the local flower shop, the local coffee shop, etc. Selling is a skill that when provided that will greatly benefit our young business owners. • Be a mentor or a business coach: Mentors are key to the success of these young entrepreneurs. Mentors/ business coaches are essential to the development of business ideas and business concepts. Mentors/ business coaches help by guiding and directing the business process, brainstorming ideas and identify solutions to potential obstacles. “Establish a Youth Entrepreneurship Program”: Creating a Youth entrepreneurship program is easy. Youth programs can be located at a local school or at a city organization. It only needs to have one coordinator a group of passionate teachers, parents and/or volunteers who will be committed to developing programs and projects that will help students “test drive” their ideas. Here are some ideas of projects that are fun to organize and very effective in helping students discover their entrepreneurial potential: 1. “Business Idea Pitch It Competition”: This project allows for students to present their business idea in front of a panel of judges providing constructive feedback. 2. “Take it to the Market”: This gives a group of students the experience and skills to create and implement a sales strategy for a product or service as well as identify its market potential. 3. “Marketing Plan Competition”: The business community submits a “Project” for a group of students to work on. These are real life scenarios/issues that students help identify solutions to solve the problem. 4. Invention and Innovation: Students submit “a prototype” of an idea or product that currently does NOT exist, but could be created and possibly developed. Students showcase their prototype in front of a panel of judges. In Summary, the youth of today have an amazing entrepreneurial and philanthropic spirit, an unlimited source of ideas and a potential for greatness. Let’s come together and see that we create “opportunities” that can be presented to our next generation of Entrepreneurs to encourage their greatness.


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

DIVORCE: HEALTH INSURANCE AND GI BENEFITS

eligible veteran. If you are covered under TRICARE, once Judgment of Dissolution is entered, your former spouse will no longer be eligible for TRICARE, with the exception of two scenarios. Scenario 1: 20/20/20 Rule- Your former spouse will be eligible as their own sponsor under their own Social Security Number if: - You had at least 20 years of creditable service towards determining retirement pay. - You and your former spouse were married for at least 20 years - All 20 years of marriage overlap the 20 years of creditable service which counted towards your retirement.

If you are going through a divorce it may be natural to think about property division, support, and custody and visitation issues. What you may forget to consider are the ramifications a divorce has on items such as health insurance policies or your GI Bill.

Scenario 2: 20/20/15 Rule- If you are divorcing, your former spouse will be eligible for one year of TRICARE from the date of dissolution if: - You had at least 20 years of creditable service towards determining retirement pay.

What Happens Once a Divorce Proceeding is Filed?

- You and your former spouse were married for at least 20 years

There are immediate automatic temporary restraining orders that issue which affect both parties’ abilities to cancel coverage or change the beneficiaries of any insurance policies, including health insurance policies. This means that if your spouse is covered on your health insurance, you are precluded from removing them and vice versa. They have the legal right to remain on your TRICARE policy while your divorce is pending. If you remove your spouse, they can seek a remedy in Court. What Happens to Health Insurance Once the Divorce is Final? After your divorce is finalized by the Court, an exspouse is no longer a “family member” in the eyes of the law. This means the spouse will not qualify to exist on the other spouse’s health insurance benefits. A spouse’s VA health care benefits through CHAMPVA terminate upon the dissolution of the marriage to the 50

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- 15 years of marriage overlap the 20 years of creditable service which counted towards your retirement. If your former spouse is not eligible under either scenario and they are concerned they will suffer a gap in insurance, they may temporarily retain coverage through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) for a limited period of time. This can give your former spouse enough time to secure their own plan separate from yours without suffering a gap. If they qualify based on income, the Affordable Care Act also specifies that a person who has divorced becomes eligible to buy health insurance coverage on the state exchange even if he or she is outside of the normal enrollment period. Another way to retain health insurance is to opt for filing for legal separation rather than for dissolution of marriage. Although this may not be an option depending on your position on ending the marriage.


What About Coverage for Our Children? Health insurance must be obtained for a child by either or both parents if the insurance is available either at no cost or at a reasonable cost to the parent. The automatic temporary restraining orders do prevent a party from removing the children from their health insurance coverage while the divorce is pending. Once the divorce is final, children of the marriage remain family custody agreements, so children’s health insurance coverage will stay unaffected unless the spouse with the insurance benefits loses all parental rights. Are GI Benefits Marital Property? A growing topic of discussion in a divorce has been the servicemember’s education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This is because the GI Bill can cover all in-state tuition and fees at public degree-granting schools. It also provides for a housing stipend and book allowance while in school. Since the benefits may be used up to 15 years after the servicemember’s discharge from active duty, it is increasingly becoming a topic of negotiation in marital or legal separation agreements. Pursuant to 38 U.S.C. § 3020(f)(3), Post9/11 GI Bill benefits may not be treated as marital property and are not subject to division in a divorce action. However, parties may mutually agree to transfer the benefit as part of their marital settlement agreement. You may consider doing so to negotiate a reduction in spousal support in exchange for the transfer of the benefit or you may simply mutually agree to transfer the benefits for the benefit of your children.

Time for a Fresh Start.

Move forward without breaking the bank. Our military expert family law attorneys are ready to push your case to the finish line.

Military Divorce and Retirement, 20/20/20 Spouse, Survivor Benefit Plans, Support Orders, and more. No nonsense. No hidden fees. Discounts for service members.

If you and your former spouse agree to a transfer of Post-9/11 GI bill benefits you should be aware that you must do so before the divorce is finalized. A transfer may be made only to a spouse not a former spouse. Also, an active duty service member may revoke the transfer at any time. Therefore, counsel for your former spouse will want to ensure that any agreement includes a provision prohibiting you from revoking the transfer and protecting your former spouse in the event you violate that provision.

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

For more information insurance in your military divorce, check out our website: www.frfamilylaw.com or call (858) 720-8250 and ask to speak with military family law attorney Tana Landau.

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

Legal Experts with Humanity

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / JANUARY 2022

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READY TO TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR CAREER? Talk to our friendly veterans admissions counselor today! admissions@icohs.edu (858)581-9460 www.icohs.edu Become a certified IT professional in 15 weeks with no prior experience necessary!

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BEFORE SERVED HONORABLY.

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.

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AFTER EARNED A CAREER IN JUST 4 MONTHS. ENROLL NOW AT WFW.ORG CAD/CAM Programming CNC Machining Welding DoD SkillBridge Organization


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TRAIN TO BECOME A CRANE OPERATOR TODAY. Visit: www.heavyequipmentcollege.com No Official US Government or DOD endorsement is implied

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

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

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


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

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www.rva.gov/police/personnel

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WE DON’T JUST THANK

VETERANS,

WE HIRE

THEM.

PGHJOBS.NET CITY OF PITTSBURGH - E/O/E 60

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Resources Support Transition HEALTH INSPIRATION

Homeland Magazine www.HomelandMagazine.com

Voted 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020 BEST resource, support media for veterans, military families & military personnel. 64

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