Homeland Veterans Magazine March 2020

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Vol. 8 Number 3 • March 2020 www.HomelandMagazine.com



My salvation came from above in the form of a drone.



HISTORY MONTH Beating the Odds as a Mother & veteran WHAT’S NEXT

Transitioning to Civilian Life

Art & Healing

HEALTH & STUDIES Enlisted To Entrepreneur



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HOMELANDMAGAZINE.COM Resources Support Inspiration

Homeland Veterans Magazine Voted 2017, 2018 & 2019 BEST resource, support media for veterans, military families & military personnel. 2

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Host this National Memorial in your Community

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

www.RememberingOurFallen.org www.PatrioticProductions.org

Tribute Towers

Remembering Our Fallen is a national memorial unlike any other -with military & personal photos of 5,000 military Fallen since 9/11/2001

“If the purpose of a war memorial is to help us remember the sacrifices of the Heroes, and to help us heal from our sorrow, then your mission has been accomplished. Thank you for this tremendous gift.”

Unveiled at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 2017, it has since traveled the nation coastto-coast.

- 1LT Daniel P. Riordan’s Mother

This memorial also includes those who returned from war, but lost their inner battle to suicide, and those who died from non-war zone injuries while serving in their military capacity.

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

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

- Ed Malloy, Mayor of Fairfield, Iowa

Artist - Elizabeth Moug Artist - Saul Hansen

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

Contributing Writers Holly Shaffner Honor Flight

RanDee McLain, LCSW A Different Lens

Vicki Garcia

Enlisted to Entrepreneur

CJ Machado

Homeland Photojournalist

Kelly Bagla, Esq. Legal Eagle

Joe Molina Veterans Chamber of Commerce

Eve Nasby

What’s Next - Transition

Scott Hermann Cybersecurity

Collaborative Organizations

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

Mike Miller

Publisher/Editor mikemiller@HomelandMagazine.com 4

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Wounded Warrior Project Disabled American Veterans American’s Warrior Partnership Shelter To Soldier Father Joe’s Village Flying Leathernecks Give An Hour Courage To Call Boot Campaign National Women’s History Operation Homefront With National Veteran Advocates & Guest Writers Homeland Magazine is published monthly. Submissions of photographs, Illustrations, drawings, and manuscripts are considered unsolicited materials and the publisher assumes no responsibility for the said items. All rights reserved.

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MARCH 2020 INSIDE THIS ISSUE 6 Beating the Odds as a Mother & Veteran 8 VA Adaptive Sports to Heal 12 Being a Trailblazer 14 Five ways to recognize womens veterans 16 Foundation for Women Warriors 18 Empowering Female Veterans 20 American Women of Flight 22 Help From Above 26 Brain Injury Awareness Month 28 “Invisible Wound” of War 30 A Different Lens - Lift each other up! 32 VA San Diego Healthcare - Research 34 HEALTH - Research Studies 36 Acupuncture - PTSD 38 DAV - A Course Change 40 What’s Next - Why Am I Here? 42 Enlisted to Entrepreneur - Networking 44 Legal Eagle - Could This Be Your Business

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Beating the Odds as a Mother, Veteran, and Adaptive Athlete Sharona Young is teaching her daughter about persistence through example. The 38-year-old Navy veteran was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) while on active duty. She manages a debilitating disease while raising her daughter, attending college classes, and practicing adaptive sports. Staying physically and mentally active is an act of empowerment for Sharona as she beats the odds every day. MS is an unpredictable disease that affects 90 out of 100,000 people in the U.S., with most cases occurring in women. Sharona was working as an executive assistant for a Navy division commander overseas when she began to feel numbness, weakness, and lack of balance. “That was a difficult period,” Sharona recalled. She gradually lost mobility and now uses a wheelchair to get around. “That’s been a struggle to come to terms with and accept. The loss of mobility was a big one for me.” At first, she didn’t think Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) was for her – because she wasn’t injured during combat. “I wasn’t on the front lines; I’m not a wounded warrior,” she thought. But then she learned that WWP serves veterans with invisible, as well as visible, wounds. WWP has been there for Sharona through milestones that have helped her move closer to independence and success. She found motivation in adaptive sports and discovered different ways to manage her new normal. Sharona has participated in WWP’s Independence Program, Soldier Ride®, and adaptive sports events. She practices wheelchair tennis weekly at USTA courts near her home in Orlando. She has also tried adaptive kayaking with a group of veterans. Sharona enjoys handcycling, and her daughter, Taylor, often joins her on bike rides around the neighborhood, usually with Sharona on a hand tricycle and Taylor on an upright bike. “Sometimes Taylor uses my hand tricycle to get a feel for an upper-body workout,” Sharona said.

A Mother-Daughter Team That playfulness in her relationship with her daughter helps make challenges more manageable and gives Sharona the motivation to push through. There were times when Taylor expressed concern about being separated from her mom because of deployments. When Sharona retired, she told her daughter that she wouldn’t be away from her anymore. “It’s going to be me and you now,” Sharona recalled saying. 6

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But when Sharona started doing adaptive sports events, sometimes she had to travel out of town. Taylor asked her mom if she could come along. “Now when I sign up for an event, I try to make sure I can take her with me,” Sharona said. Since then, Taylor has had the opportunity to see her mom play tennis in Florida and do winter sports in New York. “She gets to go with me and gets to meet people with all levels of ability,” Sharona said. “She’s comfortable being around anyone and has a caring attitude. It’s second nature to her.” Sharona and Taylor like to travel, and they find opportunities during summer and school breaks to take mother-and-daughter trips. “I want her to learn that you can still get out and do the things you like to do, even if you have medical issues,” Sharona said. “You can still do things you enjoy.” Beyond Independence Coming back stateside after a Navy career that took her to Spain, Jordan, the Persian Gulf, and England, Sharona had to reimagine her career and her personal life as she learned to manage MS. Her sister moved to Orlando from Minneapolis to provide support for both Sharona and Taylor. WWP filled in gaps by providing an independence coach who works with Sharona twice per week. Sharona relishes her independence, but she has also learned to rely on others. Sharona’s coach helps her run errands, set physical therapy goals, and plan for long days while attending college classes at the University of Central Florida. “My coach helps me set a schedule and stick to it,” Sharona said. With doctor appointments, a daughter in middle school, and college courses in graphic design, planning is key to managing the load. But it’s all part of personal goals she’s happy to have the chance to reach for. “I’ve always been interested in computer design and developing computer programs, and eventually, I want to build websites and create branding logos for clients.” Sharona believes in finding something that brings joy and pursuing it earnestly. “Be open-minded and flexible,” Sharona said -

About Wounded Warrior Project

“It’s going to be an adjustment to transition over from the structure of military life. It might even be a little scary at first, but put yourself out there – don’t be afraid to try.”

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

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Gabriel Diaz de Leon (Center)

Leading the Way: Veterans, VA Use Adaptive Sports to Heal By Mike Molina and Gary Kunich Gabriel Diaz de Leon was on a routine convoy while deployed to Honduras when the jeep he was riding in was struck by hostile gunfire. The bullet shattered the jeep’s steering column and sent the vehicle reeling out of control. As the jeep tumbled, Diaz de Leon was hurled more than 30 feet through the air. When he landed he crushed three cervical vertebrae in his neck leaving him paralyzed. It was 1984. He was 20 years old.

“It’s so easy to go in a negative direction. You think being a quad, ‘my life is over,’” Diaz de Leon said. “But I realized, whether you decide to keep going, the world keeps revolving with or without you.” Today, Diaz de Leon is one of the most successful Veterans in Paralympic history. The former Army MP has been on five U.S. Paralympic teams where he’s won six medals, including a gold medal in javelin at the 1992 Summer Paralympics in Barcelona.


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He’s been a member of five U.S. World Championship teams and won two collegiate national championships with the University of Texas’ Arlington wheelchair basketball team. “I was an athlete before I was injured and I was looking for something to stay active,” he said. “Now, it’s a lifestyle.” At home in San Antonio, Texas, and through programs available at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Audie L. Murphy Memorial Hospital, Diaz de Leon stays busy participating in multiple sports. “I’m in the gym five times a week, at the pool three,” he said. “On Monday it’s soccer. On Wednesday morning after the gym I go to bowling, and after bowling I go to table tennis practice. Saturday morning we’re playing rugby. I have to stay active.” After more than 30 years of success in adaptive sports, Diaz de Leon still returns to the National Veterans Wheelchair Games each year not so much for the competition, but to coach and serve his fellow Veterans. “The one thing I always tell my kids is you have to lead by example,” he said. “Eventually you give back what was given to you.”

“It’s easy to picture doing this stuff in your mind, but doing it is scary. - Chuck Miller

Chuck Miller describes his slow descent into blindness as “a long walk into darkness,“ something he refused to accept as his world slipped away, little by little.

with post-traumatic stress, to San Diego each year, for adaptive surfing, sailing, cycling and kayaking. Miller says he put on a brave face at that first clinic in 2015.

In 1990, the Army Veteran was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a rare, genetic disorder that gradually breaks down cells and creates scar tissue on the retinas.

“It’s easy to picture doing this stuff in your mind, but doing it is scary. I had never sailed before in my life. You’re overwhelmed in that first year because there’s so much to take in, but from there I did a five-day sailing clinic in St. Petersburg, Florida, and they put me on a boat with a paraplegic in a wheelchair and a coach. And I’m thinking, ‘We’re screwed.’ But it’s all about exposure.”

“The only problem I was having was night vision problems and some depth perception,” Miller said. “It went on for another 15 years and wasn’t at the point I couldn’t function. I was still driving, still doing normal work. I just thought, ‘Well, I got an eye problem.’”

Miller fell in love with sailing so much he got his American Sailing Certification with a score of 95 out of 100. He sails with a sighted coach, but does the work himself — untying lines, hoisting the mast, trimming the sail to catch the wind, and steering.

By 2005, his doctor leveled with him. “You need to quit driving. You’re going to kill somebody if you don’t.” “I still didn’t listen until I T-boned somebody in my car,” Miller said.

“When I’m on the water, I feel the wind blowing, the birds, the sounds of the ocean, the sun on my face. I enjoy it in a way that a sighted person can’t experience.”

By 2009, he was blind, only seeing light but nothing else. Today, Miller, who gets care at the Gainesville VA Medical Center in Florida, is the first blind Veteran sailor certified by the American Sailing Association. He’s also served as an ambassador at the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic, where he was introduced to sailing four and a half years ago.

Diaz de Leon and Miller are among the thousands of Veterans who are active in VA’s national rehabilitation events each year. And while each Veteran’s path from injury to recovery is different, there is a universal message amongst participants of adaptive sports and activities – physical activity improves quality of life and overall health.

The National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic brings blind, amputee and paralyzed Veterans, and those living

Continued on next page >

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VA’s Office of National Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events hosts six annual rehabilitation events: National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic; National Veterans Golden Age Games; National Veterans Wheelchair Games; National Disabled Veterans Training, Exposure and Experience (TEE) Tournament; National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic and National Veterans Creative Arts Festival. VA also provides year round sports and recreational therapy opportunities at local facilities and recreation departments; and through its adaptive sports grant program, provides up to $15 million in funding to community organizations who offer adaptive sports and recreational programs to disabled Veterans and active duty servicemembers. Dr. Kenneth Lee leads the Spinal Cord Injury Center at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee. Throughout his 23-year medical career, Lee has treated thousands of Veterans and servicemembers with impaired mobility and other disabilities, and he’s seen firsthand the benefits of adaptive sports and activities for his patients.

“As humans we are born to do sports. It’s innate,” Lee said. “When someone has a drastic injury, it’s important to use that innate experience to jump start them into it.” Lee also holds a unique bond with his patients. He’s a physician and a Veteran. The retired colonel served as the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s state surgeon and has more than 27 years of military service. He says sports and arts can help Veterans beyond the physical benefits of activity. “Their mental well-being and their outlook are improved. And becoming a mentor to other Veterans is huge for them.” Learn more about VA’s national events, VA Adaptive Sports grant recipients and other adaptive sports opportunities for Veterans by visiting www.va.gov/adaptivesports. Veterans can also keep up with the latest news and information from VA Adaptive Sports’ official social media voice on @Sports4Vets on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Kathy Bruyere volunteering at Miramar National Cemetery (Nelvin C. Cepeda / San Diego Union-Tribune)

TRAILBLAZER This retired Navy Captain knows a little something about being a trailblazer

- By Holly Shaffner

The month of March is Women’s History Month and when we talk about someone who blazed the trails, one San Diegan comes to mind – Captain Kathy Bruyere, U.S. Navy retired. What she did in 1978 changed the course for today’s Navy women. This (then) Lieutenant Commander (and five other co-plaintiffs) sued the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Navy. It was a very bold move with possible serious repercussions; but what the three enlisted and three officer women did then, laid the foundation for today’s generation. Why would she risk so much? She said, “I just believe we should all have the same opportunities.” To set the stage - it all started 30 years earlier as WWII was ending, and Congress didn’t know what to do with all those women who had just served as WAVES, WAC’s, WASP’s, SPAR’s and Marines. Kathy and her team did their research before they filed the lawsuit and they learned that Admiral Nimitz and General Eisenhower had stated that we could not have won the war without the 12

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women – they were coders, pilots, Rosie’s and served in intelligence positions. She also learned that one of the most influential Congressmen of his time, Carl Vinson (the same Carl Vinson the Navy named an aircraft carrier after), wanted restrictions on what military women would be permitted to do. Born was the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act of 1948. President Truman signed it into law and gave women permanent status in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines (the USCG was part of the Dept of the Treasury then). The act also gave the service Secretaries the authority to discharge women without specified cause and restricted women from flying aircraft engaged in combat and from being assigned to ships engaged in combat. Fast forward to 1977 when the women of this class action lawsuit were being held up with advancements and promotions for doing the same jobs as their male counterparts. Kathy said that one of her fellow plaintiffs (a pilot) was told, “you can deliver supplies on the ship, just don’t land on the ship.”

In Kathy’s case, she was a well-respected officer on track for command assignments. The problem was that Navy regulations prohibited her from going to sea - but those same regulations stated an officer had to go to sea in order to command a shore unit.

assignments on 24 ships – but more importantly, gave women an opportunity for command at sea! The study led to the creation of a women’s policy office that Captain Bruyere would go on to run as well as become the Commanding Officer of the Navy Recruit Training Command in Orlando, Florida. Under her command the Navy studied integrating men and women together for boot camp training and today, the Navy has a co-ed boot camp.

In order to get the law repealed, it would have to be done through Congress. The ladies tried and could not make it work so the next step was to sue the U.S. Government. They hired a civilian attorney and a year later they WON the landmark civil rights case! The judge ruled that the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 was indeed unconstitutional. But that wasn’t the first time our local Navy Captain was a trailblazer. You see, there was the one time when she was on the cover of Time Magazine when she (and 11 other women) were named the Person of the Year! Yes, she was front and center with Billie Jean King and Betty Ford in 1976.

When asked what she is most proud about in her distinguished Naval career, she said, “to make a difference and help to open equal opportunities for all.” She enjoys looking back to see how far we’ve come and says, “there is nothing today’s women cannot do – we need them to keep charging ahead.” After being on the cover of Time Magazine and taking the Secretary of Defense to court, where do you go from there? Ironically, years later she was asked to help with a study of the status of Navy women. The study looked at career opportunities for Navy women and as a result opened 9,000 sea duty

In the 28 years of service to our county, Captain Bruyere epitomized the Navy’s core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment. We salute this trailblazer for opening the doors of tomorrow!

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Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Defense - Marine Corps Cpl. Alondra Rodriguez-Flores conducts eye-gouge drills during martial arts training at Marine Support Facility Blount, Fla., Feb. 11, 2020.

Women’s History Month 2020

Five ways to recognize womens veterans during the month of March By Lindsey Sin Deputy Secretary for Women Veterans Affairs CalVet

More than two million women nationwide have served in the U.S. Armed Forces and 228,000 are currently serving. In the month of March, designated as Women’s History Month, we often focus on the historical contributions of women as leaders, activists, and great minds in their professions. The contributions of women service members and veterans are no exception and across the nation, many states have designated days to recognize military women. Here in California, the third week of March is designated as Women’s Military History Week through a Governor’s Proclamation or commemorative message. The California Legislature may also submit a resolution in recognition of military women. In fact, over the decades, our public recognition of military women has grown substantially. While designated days of recognition are vital for raising awareness about the brave and courageous women who have served in our armed forces, we can all do more. This year, I ask you to not only seek out and recognize women veterans, but to actively support them. 14

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Here are five ways to recognize women veterans during the month of March and year-round. 1. Just look for the gal in the ball cap that says Veteran. Just kidding! Don’t dismiss their service. If you find yourself in a situation where there are lots of veterans around you, don’t ask a woman doubtfully, “Are you a veteran?” If a woman is seeking services, or when a detail of her military service comes up, just assume she has served. Women veterans don’t typically sport the post-military regalia of our military brothers. 2. Support organizations that promote and include women veterans. It’s great that more organizations, veteran-specific and non-veteran alike, are including women’s issues in their topics of interest, or using females in uniform in their images of military service. This does not, however, make them inclusive. Instead, find ways to support organizations that actively recruit, hire, and promote women veterans to leadership positions. Look at their advisory boards. Are women running these organizations or is the illusion of diversity mere window-dressing?

3. Mentor a woman veteran. All of us who served in the military had at least one senior-enlisted supervisor or officer who provided valuable guidance or support when it was needed. We need those people after the military too. Women veterans are actively building their civilian careers and as a group have higher levels of educational attainment and are more likely to be employed than their male veteran peers. They are all over our workforce, college campuses, and communities, so start connecting with them!

women-owned firms increased 295% from 2007-2012. While women-owned businesses continue to expand, they produce lower overall profits despite their start-up success. Further, for every dollar a male veteran makes in his business, a woman veteran makes just $0.70 in hers. Be mindful of where you choose to spend your money and find women veteran-owned businesses to support. Whether you are a veteran or someone who wants to support veterans, remember that there are nearly 143,000 women living in California who have served in our armed forces. They are successful, smart, and highly motivated, so please show your support this month and find ways to support them well into the future.

4. Connect women to their military and veterans benefits. These days everyone has a network they can tap into and the veteran community is no exception. If you know a woman veteran, whether she’s your friend, family member or neighbor, please don’t miss the opportunity to remind her that she has federal AND state benefits available to her. The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) is happy to connect her with benefits and resources, including our CalVet Women Veterans Roster so that she can stay connected with us. Download the CalVet Women Veterans Outreach Toolkit for data, best practices, and ideas for reaching women veterans in your community.

Also take a look at these women veteran organizations and resources for more information: - Foundation for Women Warriors - Women Veterans On Point - Women Veterans Alliance - Women in Military Service to America Memorial - Vets-In Tech

5. Support women veteran-owned businesses. Currently women make up 15% of small business owners nationwide and are one of the fastest growing cohorts of business owners overall. The number of veteran

- Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) - California Women Veterans Leadership Council

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Women’s History is Our Story History shows us that women not only have fought for the freedoms of the United States but have also fought for their rights to serve our country. Despite being banned from enlisting and facing discrimination in the line of duty, women continued to fight for their right to serve. As the role of women in the military has evolved, today’s youth can now look to the strong leadership models of the women who faced variouschallenges by the very institution they served to protect yet continued to servehonorably despite discrimination. The stories of many of these trailblazers, however, remain untold. Women Served Before Getting the Right to Vote Women’s service in the US military began prior to ever being able to vote. And despite the limitations and restrictions, many women served in unofficial capacities throughout history. During the Revolutionary War women provided much needed battlefield medical support as both civilians and volunteers. Some women even went as far as disguising themselves as men, in order to join the military.

1948 Act: A Step In The Right Direction It wasn’t until 1948’s Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, that women were able to serve as full and permanent members. Additionally, women were finally eligible for veterans’ benefits, though many limitations remained. Women like Esther McGowin Blake (1897–1979) exemplify the courage and honor represented by women who served in the military. Blake was the first woman to serve in the US Air Force. Her motivation to join the military was deeply personal: in 1944, the B-17 her son was piloting was shot down over Europe. Her younger son also served, and Blake was widowed. Blake rushed to the recruiting center and enlisted on the first hour of the first day the Air Force allowed women to serve. Happily, at war’s end she was reunited with her two sons. After retiring, Blake served at a Veterans Regional Headquarters. Much later, in 1976 women were finally allowed to attend US Military academies.

Women Contributed in WWI and Our Beginning During the last two years of World War I, women were allowed to serve as nurses and support staff. At this time 33,000 women supported the war effort and an estimated 300 nurses died while serving. Women’s roles in the war were supported by the suffragist movement, as the suffragettes believed they could leverage women’s service to gain the right to vote. During World War I, Opha May Johnson was the first woman to enlist in the United States Marine Corps on August 13, 1918. She rose to the rank of Sergeant and remained in the Marines until the end of the war, when the branches began the disenrollment of women. At her death, Johnson was buried in an unmarked grave 37 years after she enlisted, 100 years later she received a memorial grave marker. The ceremony celebrated the centennial anniversary of women in the Marines, while looking back at how far women have come. Opha Mae Memorial


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Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody was the first woman to serve as a four-star general in both the Army and the U.S. armed forces, joining in 1974.

support to SEAL teams in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shannon’s legacy demonstrates the evolution of women’s contributions in the military.

Dunwoody summed up her service at her retirement ceremony in 2012, “Over the last 38 years I have had the opportunity to witness women soldiers jump out of airplanes, hike 10 miles, lead men and women, even under the toughest circumstances,” she said.

Even with all job restrictions lifted women still face challenges, though most come after service. Not surprisingly, as the percentage of women serving has increased the women are the fastest growing segment of the veteran population. Over two million women make up 15.5% of our veteran population--an increase of nearly 10% since the first Gulf War.

“And over the last 11 years I’ve had the honor to serve with many of the 250,000 women who have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan on battlefields where there are no clear lines, battlefields where every man and woman had to be a rifleman first. And today, women are in combat, that is just a reality. Thousands of women have been decorated for valor and 146 have given their lives. Today, what was once a band of brothers has truly become a band of brothers and sisters.”

Foundation for Women Warriors Evolves with Women’s History Following World War I, Foundation for Women Warriors was established in 1920 as the California Soldier’s Housing Association providing housing subsidies for war nurses, widows, and mothers of fallen service members. Initially, the organization provided low-cost apartments to women economically impacted by the loss of a male provider due to war.

In 2015, women made up 16.8% of the total military force and in 2016, women were finally granted the right to serve in every military occupational specialty under every branch of the military. Today, approximately 214,000 women actively serve in our armed forces. Women serve as fighter pilots, military police, air traffic controllers, intelligence analysts, and fill some of the military’s most elite roles.

As women’s roles have changed, the organization has evolved and in 2006 the name changed to Military Women In Need and served both aging widows and Iraq and Afghanistan women veterans. Today, FFWW focuses solely on the economic empowerment of women veterans and their families. FFWW program support includes professional development opportunities, financial stipends for basic needs such as rent and childcare, referrals for mental healthcare, legal and others as well as access to career mentoring.

Chief Petty Officer Shannon, M. Kent a Navy Cryptologic Technician, who deployed with special operations units to Syria, was killed in the 2019 Manbij bombing. Shannon, fluent in Arabic among others, provided critical


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Empowering Female Veterans Through Community Programs By Kaitlin Cashwell, Director of Community Integration at America’s Warrior Partnership

March is Women’s History Month, and here at America’s Warrior Partnership, we are honoring the continuing dedication of female active-duty military service members and veterans across the country. Our own team includes several women who left the service to continue supporting their fellow veterans in a civilian capacity, including Lori Noonan, a veteran of the U.S. Navy who serves as our Director of Development and Marketing; Dannielle Pope, a veteran of the U.S. Army Signal Corps who serves as our Director of Innovation; Erica Floyd, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who serves as Administrative Associate; and Krystal Garcia, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who serves as Program Associate for Operation Deep Dive. We also work with a number of community partners who are female veterans thriving in their post-military lives, such as Inann Johns, who leads our local program serving veterans of the Navajo Nation. While many of our nation’s female veterans are empowered to thrive after leaving the service, gaps still exist in supporting women across different communities. Our 2019 Community Integration Annual Survey, which asked veterans, their families, caregivers and advocates for feedback on their community’s veteranserving resources, found that women were less likely than men to feel they are able to adapt when changes occur. Moreover, women are less likely to feel they can bounce back from hardships. Strong community support programs are critical to ensuring veterans are able to adapt to life changes and bounce back from hardships, and there unfortunately is a lack of community services tailored to female veterans. This point is reflected in another finding of our 2019 Annual Survey, which found that women were more likely than men to be seeking access to resources related to recreation, relationships and spirituality. Communities can empower female veterans through outreach and engagement. Our team believes you cannot serve those you do not know, so by using our Community Integration Four-Step Model (Connect, Educate, Advocate, and Collaborate) veteran-serving organizations can take a proactive approach to serving female veterans before a crisis arises. 18

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It is not so much that services do not exist, but it is more that there is a lack of awareness of the benefits available to women (including those who did not serve in combat) and a lack of understanding of female veterans’ unique experiences. By connecting with female veterans to build a trusted relationship, educate them on available opportunities and benefits, advocate for them when they encounter obstacles, and collaborate to provide access to services, female veterans will feel more support. One example of a female veteran who was empowered by their community is the story of Ida*, a post-9/11 Army veteran who was referred to The Network by her local veteran service officer (VSO). Ida was in the midst of a financial crisis and facing eviction along with her two children. She had been to a court hearing already and was granted an extension to pay outstanding rent and utility bills. By the time Ida reached out to her local VSO, there were only 14 days to act so she and her 2 children would not become homeless.

The Network connected with three national partners who agreed to collaborate in providing support for Ida’s outstanding bills. Throughout the process, the local VSO worked with Ida and the local community advocating on her behalf. The VSO assisted in communicating with the court system and the local apartment complex as The Network coordinated with the national partners to get applications submitted and checks processed. Ida was able to avoid eviction and is now working with her local VSO to ensure she is financially stable in the future.

Communities that wish to create service programs tailored to the unique experiences of female veterans can start by connecting with national resources through platforms such as The Network, which is accessible at www.AmericasWarriorPartnership.org/The-Network.

*Ida’s name has been changed to respect her privacy. About the Author Kaitlin Cashwell directs and oversees the Community Integration program at America’s Warrior Partnership, which includes The Network, research projects, community training/consulting, Corporate Veteran Initiative and WarriorServe® client relations. She is responsible for assessing the needs of each initiative and ensuring that objectives are met. Both of Kaitlin’s grandfathers served in the military, and she has two brothers-in-law currently serving in the US Navy. Kaitlin holds a Master’s of Business Administration at Augusta, University’s Hull College of Business. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and little girl.

During the month of March and throughout the rest of the year, we encourage organizations across the country to consider how they can more effectively empower the female veterans, family members and caregivers living in their communities. Women like Ida who are supported by inclusive communities and service programs will be better positioned to adapt to changes and bounce back from hardships in their post-military lives.

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Honoring Women of

Flight at the San Diego Air & Space Museum Located in the historic Ford Building in beautiful Balboa Park, the San Diego Air & Space Museum’s one-of-akind exhibit, “American Women of Flight,” honors the contributions to the world of aviation by women throughout history. Notable aviatrixes such as Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman, Jacqueline Cochran, Fran Bera, Sally Ride, and many others, are featured in the exhibit, which is conveniently located in the Museum’s Golden Age of Flight Gallery. Significant women of flight and the events of their day are featured in the exhibit, from the earliest aviators to the most recent, covering more than 100 years of the colorful history and women aviators and astronauts. The nearly 100-year-old organization of women pilots known as the 99s gets special treatment in the American Women of Flight exhibit — not just for the who’s-who list of its members, but also for the enormous good they have done promoting women of flight throughout the life of the association. Inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum in 2014, the 99s organization was created in 1929. They were noted for their achievements in aviation, inspiration to women pilots, and dedication to education and preservation of women’s aviation history. Although there are other female pilot organizations, virtually all notable women in America’s aviation history have been members. Their existence dates to the Women’s Air Derby, also known as the “Powder Puff Derby,” held in conjunction with the Cleveland Air Races. Forty women qualified to take part, and 20, including Amelia Earhart, raced in the Derby.



WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / MARCH 2020

Eighty-six of the then 117 licensed American female pilots joined together to create the organization, quickly growing to 99 members, hence their name. Amelia Earhart was elected their first President. They were essential during the World War II effort, breaking into many aspects of the aviation world, serving as test pilots, mechanics, flight controllers and instructors. They transported aircraft for the Army Air Corps, and ferried fighters, bombers, transports, cargo, and utility aircraft to England. Jacqueline Cochran, wartime president of the 99s, organized the first class of the Women’s Air Force Service Pilot (WASPs). By the 1960s, military services finally began giving women the opportunity to become pilots. By the early 1980s, the Air Force was accepting forty women annually for pilot training, with the Navy accepting about fifteen. And, in 1986, in a first in American aviation history, an all-female flight crew was in the cockpit of a commercial jetliner. A decade later, on February 3, 1995, the first American woman pilot astronaut, Eileen Collins, flew on the Space Shuttle Discovery. Today, the 99s focus on education and charity and sponsor educational programs for teachers and aviation related field trips for schools. Women are well represented in the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum, one of the most prestigious halls of its kind in the world. Amelia Earhart was inducted in the hall’s earliest days in 1967. Since then, she has been joined by a pantheon of the world’s most recognizable women aviators and astronauts, including Olive Beech, Fran Bera, Jacqueline Cochran, Bessie Coleman, Joan Sullivan Garrett, Martha King, Christa McAuliffe, The 99s, Ellen Ochoa, Dr. Sally Ride, Katherine Stinson, Louise Thaden, Patty Wagstaff, Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs) and Peggy Whitson.


Amelia Earhart

The San Diego Air & Space Museum’s newest exhibit – SPACE: Our Greatest Adventure – is an interactive and educational exploration of the past, present and future of manned space flight. The exhibit features hands-on activities, learning opportunities, selfie stations on the Moon and Mars, a Mars rover, a Space Shuttle simulator, and examples of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spacecraft, including the actual Apollo 9 Command Module “Gumdrop,” one of only eleven Apollo Command Modules on display in the world.

Peggy Whitson

Coming to the San Diego Air & Space Museum in 2020 is “Milestones of Flight,” a new exhibit chronicling the birth and evolution of flight, from the Wright Brothers first powered flight in 1903, to Charles Lindbergh’s historic solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927 in the Spirit of St. Louis, to Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier in the Bell X-1 in 1947. A stunning replica of each of the famed aircraft will represent their milestones in the exhibit. The San Diego Air & Space Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. except Thanksgiving and Christmas. For more information, visit www.sandiegoairandspace.org. Sally Ride

VISIT TODAY! in Balboa Park


WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / MARCH 2020


Help From Above – By David Daly

It has always amazed me that in our darkest hour, help often comes from unexpected places. Whether it be in the form of a stranger’s friendly smile or a surprise message from a friend you haven’t spoken with since your service days, the unexpected can heal like nothing else. My salvation came from above in the form of a drone.


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The Struggle In the summer of 2011, I left the Marine Corps as a Major and knew something was physically and mentally wrong. The physical part wasn’t a mystery. As a young Second Lieutenant, I had split a vertebra in half. The injury required a spinal fusion that didn’t take and eventually would include implanting a neurostimulator at the base of my spine. The device electronically masks the pain signal to the brain and helps to make things manageable. The mental part was a different story. During my time in the Corps, I deployed to Iraq four times and Afghanistan once. I participated in some of the heaviest fighting of the war, such as the Battle of Fallujah in 2004. Witnessing and causing death became commonplace for me. Like many veterans, I lost close friends along the way and experienced some of the very best and worst of humanity. At the time, I felt all the horrors of war did not affect me. There was a mission that needed to be accomplished, and that was it. Nothing else other than the welfare of the service members around me mattered. What I would come to understand, starting in 2011, was that the seeds of PTSD were being sown in my mind throughout my deployments. I started to notice how distant I became from everyone around me. I saw danger everywhere and spent enormous amounts of energy being hypervigilant. I felt as if I was either a half-second ahead or a halfsecond behind everyone around me. My very identity seemed in question, and I would place myself in dangerous situations to feel something other than emptiness. My journey would lead me down a dark road of addiction, homelessness, and eventual with a pistol to my head, wondering why I couldn’t pull just a little more on the trigger.

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Help From Above It was at this low point in my life that I purchased a drone. I don’t remember why I did it, but I do remember what it did for me the first time I flew. There was something about flying above the world that liberated me from my physical pain and mental suffering. The perspective of looking down from above was an especially powerful momentary escape from PTSD and chronic pain. The more I flew my drone, the more peace of mind I had. Each flight helped me to process my trauma. I started to think if a drone was helping me, perhaps other resources could as well. I had lied to myself and convinced my mind that

I was not worthy of help. Flying my drone began to chip away at this toxic idea. In the Marine Corps, I relied on a team. When I left active service, I felt I had to do everything on my own. I spent years going down the wrong paths before finding my drone and remembering I still had a team. That team was my fellow veterans. There were resources out there, and I was not alone. I decided to contact the Wounded Warrior Project. That call was the continuation of the healing that started with my drone. I would eventually benefit from the help of the VA, Wounded Warrior Project, Salute Inc., Rush University’s Road Home Program, and much more.

Crystal Lake

Help From Above

“The more I flew my drone, the more peace of mind I had”


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Everywhere I went, I took my drone. I shared my story with many veterans along the way and was surprised to hear others felt the same relief from PTSD while flying a drone. It was at that point I decide to help link drones and veterans together. The Future In 2018 I started a nonprofit with the mission of getting a drone to every veteran with PTSD. My organization, Vigilante Cares, sets up events where veterans can fly drones and raises money to purchase drones for veterans. By providing veterans with a personal drone, I hope to allow each a chance to process trauma as I have. There are many beneficial uses of drones for tasks such as conservation and search & rescue. Vigilante Cares works with our veterans to take energy dedicated to PTSD and redirect it into these more constructive outlets.

Vigilante Cares is a nonprofit whose purpose and mission are to put a drone in the hands of every veteran suffering from PTSD.

We have only just begun our efforts, but so far, things are looking very promising.

Vigilante Cares was founded by David Daly, a USMC veteran with numerous tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. After completing his service in 2011, David began to realize he was living with a high level of PTSD. Along his journey with PTSD he has faced addiction, homelessness, and came very close to taking his own life several times.

Final Thoughts My family, fellow veterans, drones, and fantastic help from incredible organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project have helped me to process my trauma in healthier ways. I still battle a high level of PTSD every day, but now I do so without addiction, homelessness, and suicidal thoughts. More importantly, I do it with hope. And it all started with a drone.

Somewhere along the way he picked up a camera drone and found relief from his symptoms while flying. The unique perspective of the world from above brought with it a sense of distance from his troubles on the ground and the darkness in his mind.

If you would like to help us bring drones and veterans together, please visit our website at www.vigilantecares.org

When sharing what he felt with fellow veterans suffering from PTSD he found others had the same experience with drones. He started Vigilante Cares to bring drones and veterans together in hopes to heal PTSD and end the tragic loss of veterans to suicide which occurs every day.

David is a former officer in the United States Marine Corps, professional writer/photographer, commercial drone pilot, and industry consultant. When not running his DAS company (www.vigilantedrones.com) he volunteers for Search & Rescue and runs a non-profit (www.vigilantecares.org) using drones to help veterans suffering from PTSD.

Together, we can lift the spirits of America’s heroes and begin to heal the wounds of war. With your help, our vision to provide vets with a therapeutic and purposing building experience can be a reality.

As a combat veteran with PTSD himself, David is very passionate about sharing his love of drones with others in need. When not working he enjoys spending time with his wife Daphne and their two bulldogs in Southern California’s beautiful Mojave Desert.

Learn More at www.vigilantecares.org

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Military Health System focuses on Brain Injury Awareness Month in March Military Health System Communications Office Every March, during Brain Injury Awareness Month, the Defense Department works to increase awareness of traumatic brain injury in the military. At work and home, whether they are deployed, training, or simply having fun off-duty, service members are at an increased risk for brain injury. According to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, a division of the Defense Health Agency, 413,858 service members received a TBI diagnosis from 2000 through the third quarter of 2019. Of those, more than 80 percent were mild TBIs, also known as concussions. What is a TBI? A TBI is a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. A medical provider should determine how severe a TBI is when the injury occurs, and classify the TBI as mild, moderate, severe, or penetrating. 26

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DID YOU KNOW? • A concussion is another word for a mild TBI and is the most common type of TBI in the military population. • More than 80 percent of all concussions in the military are mild TBI. • A concussion results from a head injury that makes you feel dazed, confused and may cause you to briefly lose consciousness. However, most concussions do not cause unconsciousness. • Common causes of concussions in the military include falls, motor vehicle crashes, being struck by an object, sports or recreation, or exposure to blasts; only about eight percent are battle injuries. • Symptoms of concussion can be physical (body), cognitive (thinking) or emotional; these symptoms often resolve within days or weeks. TBI Evaluation, Treatment DVBIC is working to standardize TBI diagnosis and treatment, whether a service member is injured while in training or deployed. The center also reviews the latest research to translate emerging science into the tools and practices to care for wounded or injured service members.

Today corpsmen, medics and other medical staff train with clinical tools such as the Military Acute Concussion Evaluation 2, developed by DVBIC in 2006. MACE 2 was updated in 2019 and helps front-line medical staff quickly screen for concussion. The diagnostic tool includes “red flags” to help providers assess if their patients need further evaluation, or urgent evacuation to a military hospital or clinic. Transitioning TBI Care Service members who transition out of the military into the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system need to know there are agencies and programs that can help. The DVBIC TBI Recovery Support Program, for example, connects service members, veterans and family members with recovery support specialists who helps track symptoms and connect patients to medical and non-medical support services.


TBI awareness is key The first step in recovery from a TBI is recognizing the causes and the symptoms, and seeking medical advice as soon as possible after a head injury.

Veteran Resources & Organizations

If you, or those you know, experience a potential head injury, seek appropriate medical care. Early detection of brain injury leads to early treatment; early treatment leads to better outcomes.

Navigating the resources available to veterans can be confusing, but Homeland Magazine believes no veteran should have to go it alone.

Common concussion symptoms include: • headaches • dizziness • sleep disturbances • vision changes • balance problems • fatigue • attention and memory problems • irritability and mood changes

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.

For more information about TBI: DVBIC – Download TBI fact sheets and other resources at https://dvbic.dcoe.mil/

Visit Homeland today at

“A Head for the Future” (presented by DVBIC) -- Watch videos of service members sharing their experiences with TBI, and download resources at http://dvbic.dcoe.mil/aheadforthefuture

www.HomelandMagazine.com Homeland Magazine A Veterans Magazine for Veterans by Veterans

Military Health System Brain Injury Awareness Month – health.mil/TBImonth

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Commander Mill Etienne (USN) Talks about the “Invisible Wound” of War A leading neurologist and naval officer who created the first-of-its-kind military epilepsy treatment center, Dr. Etienne says when it comes to Traumatic Brain Injury— speedy diagnosis and medical care is key. Mill Etienne, M.D., M.P.H., FAAN, FAES, was completing his final year of medical school at New York Medical College (NYMC) at the time of the September 11 terrorist attacks— prompting him to answer the call to duty. As a neurologist and officer of the U.S. Navy, few have better first-hand understanding of the dangers of brain-related injuries for our troops. “Soldiers who suffered from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are at a much greater risk of developing epilepsy,” explains Dr. Etienne of his decision to help create the first comprehensive epilepsy treatment center for the U.S. military soon after he began his active military service. In 2011, Dr. Etienne founded the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

The Center has become the hub for epilepsy care where anyone in the U.S. military suffering from seizures is likely to be referred to. Now an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves, he is also an associate dean for student affairs and associate professor of neurology and medicine at the NYMC School of Medicine, Dr. Etienne shares his advice to soldiers, veterans, military leaders and policy makers on how best to protect our brave troops from TBI. If soldier survival rates are rising, why are our troops still so vulnerable to TBI? Facing threats including explosive devices, roadside bombs and weaponized sound waves—traumatic brain injury is one of the leading injuries among troops deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Continuous and significant improvements to both body armor and field training, soldiers are surviving combat situations that may have been deadly in the past…so as a result, we are actually identifying more instances of TBI. You called TBI the invisible injury. Can you explain what this means? Widely underdiagnosed, TBI is typically not seen with the naked eye. The vast majority of TBIs are undetectable even with a CAT scan or MRI. This is because typically, TBI does not involve the structure of the brain; rather the damage is to the neural connections within the brain, which are destroyed. Even worse, many patients suffering from TBI may never even realize they incurred a brain injury because TBI can result without a single bump to the head. Think of Shaken Baby Syndrome (also known as Shaken Impact Syndrome) in which trauma to the brain occurs when the brain rattles against the skull. In other instances, sound or pressure waves may cause TBI. Unseen and undetected by even the TBI patient, many people “work through” the brain injury making it even worse.


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What are the implications of undiagnosed TBI? Speedy diagnosis and treatment leads to better prognosis. That is because over time, the connections that have been damaged during TBI can be rebuilt with proper rest, while putting pressure on the brain (including physical and mental exertion) makes TBI worse. Left untreated, TBI can lead to headaches, irritability, sleep disorders, memory problems, slower thinking, depression and ultimately lasting physical and mental harm. How can soldiers reduce their own risk of living with an undiagnosed TBI? If you have been in the area of an explosion, see a health care provider. If someone around you—doing the same things you have been doing—was exposed to TBI, you should get checked out as well. If you have or are displaying any TBI symptoms, get checked out. TBI symptoms include: headache, nausea, problems with balance, dizziness, sensitivity to light and/ or sound, irritability, changes in mood, difficulty concentrating and difficulty sleeping.

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

How can we remove the “invisibility” factor for TBI? Accurate TBI diagnosis relies on clinical skills of the health care provider. I commend the military doctors who swiftly diagnosed the more than 100 soldiers (as reported by the Pentagon) diagnosed with TBI following Iran’s missile attack near a U.S. military base in Iraq in January 2020. The fact that so many soldiers were rapidly diagnosed conveys that the screening was exemplary. It tells me that everyone in the vicinity was most likely required to undergo screening for TBI whether or not they self-reported a TBI risk.

Homeland Magazine works with nonprofit veteran organizations that help more than 1 million veterans in life-changing ways each year.


Any last thought for policy makers and leaders who may need more information about the risk of TBI for our troops?


As an invisible injury, soldiers, who had struggled with an undiagnosed TBI before finally finding treatment, reported pain and frustration with being treated like they were faking an injury. Undiagnosed TBI may lead patients to feel isolated and depressed, and may lead to suicidal thoughts. Additionally, many troops who have suffered TBI may also develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). By understanding these consequences, it is vital that we have the appropriate funding to support our veterans and military members with TBI. It is especially important that we give our troops appropriate funding for psychiatric and mental health services to prevent suicide and other selfinflicted injuries and also to improve their overall quality of life.

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

Resources & Articles available at:



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A Different Lens Mental Health Monthly By RanDee McLain

Women’s History Month- Lift each other up not break each other down This month is Women’s History Month. I felt this was a perfect time to talk about the amazing women in my life that lead by example and grace. These women empower and encourage me. They showed me that it is ok to fall …. it is all about how we get back up! I was never told I could not do something because of my gender. I never was taught or led to believe that there was anything could not achieve if I put my mind to it. I was always taught to go after whatever I wanted and to never settle. It was only later in life that I started to see not all women had great role models. My first woman of strength in life was my mother, Kathy. My mom became a teenage mom who was brought up in a dysfunctional home. She saw more before she was 18 years old than any child should endure. Despite the challenges my mom faced as a teen mom she was committed to raising her family in a healthy home. My mom was able to raise three healthy children in a stable environment and it was only later in life we realized all the struggles she endured. Many say my workaholic- I mean work ethic is directly from my mom. I married young (24 years old) and I like to think I got a two for one in that deal. My amazing mother in law, Martha, is the model of overcoming adversity and being a strong woman leader. She served in the US Army for over 24 years. She was a single mom at a very young age and suffered the loss of her daughter who was only 4 years old at the time. When I deployed for the first time- Martha was my voice of reason. The struggles I faced as a young female deployed in a war zone-she was able to talk me through unlike anyone else in my life. She showed me how to be strong and stand up for what I believe in. Several years later, when I was going through a rough patch in my marriage she was encouraging and supportive and taught me grace through adversity. 30

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It wasn’t until I joined the military that I realized not all women are supportive of each other. In fact, many women in the military seem to be harder on their female counterparts. I say that but I had an amazing Chief who happened to be female. First and foremost, she was a remarkable Chief that led by example. She was supportive and understanding. When we messed up as junior sailors (which was bound to happen) she was able to course correct in a way that made us want to do right and learn from her. When I think of heroes in my life I think of Chief Webster. Unfortunately, my time in service was cut short. I had to figure out what was next for me. I ended up getting my first ‘real’ civilian job 6 years ago. Very quickly, I was introduced to an MFT named Delrena. Delrena, was one of my first Vice Presidents and my new boss. Our first year felt more like therapy than supervision. I believe I was quoted as saying “don’t therapize me”. Fast forward 6 years and 4 programs later she has been the most influential person in my post-military career. She has taught me to see the grey…. life doesn’t have to be all black and white. That was hard for me coming from a military and law enforcement background. She taught me balance. More importantly she modeled healthy work-life balance and boundaries. She once told me working harder isn’t always smarter. It seemed like common sense, but it has taken years to find my way in the civilian work force and Delrena has been there along the journey leading by example and always encouraging even in the struggles. A few years back my life experiences reared its ugly head and I had to get some additional treatment at the VA. Delrena was supportive and encouraged me to take care of myself. If I had not done that and received the help I needed - I may not be where I am today. I could list at least 10 other amazing, rock star women that have influenced my life. I was blessed but what I take from this is I want to be that for the next generation of women leaders. I strive to be supportive, encouraging and led by example for future female leaders that come behind me. I would not be who I am today without the amazing women that make each day Women’s History Day in my life. Look back at your life and be thankful for the amazing women leaders in your life.

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Exciting Research Conducted at the VA San Diego Healthcare System Center for Pain and Headache Research (CPHR)

Chronic pain and/or headaches are some of the most common debilitating symptoms affecting over 90% of the Veterans. The VA San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS) Anesthesia Pain Service provides multidisciplinary multimodal pain management for all Veterans in the region. The Center for Pain and Headache Research (CPHR) is dedicated to conducting innovative research involving pain and headaches. The research facility is located at Building 23, which is just outside the west entrance of the main hospital at the VASDHS. The Center can accommodate multiple ongoing research studies with access to both assessment and treatment rooms, several magnetic stimulator units with interchanging coils, brain imaging based neuronavigation software and computer network access through the surrounding institutions and universities. The research lab is associated with nearby military healthcare facilities including Naval Medical Center San Diego and Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton and collaborated with a variety of experts in the fields of pain management, neuroimaging, data analysis and neuropsychology.


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Currently the Center is leading several VA and DOD funded multicenter studies for headaches related to traumatic brain injury and chronic pain conditions related to Gulf War Illnesses. The Center is founded and directed by Dr. Albert Leung, who is a board-certified anesthesiologist specializing in pain management. Dr. Leung has served the VASDHS for over two decades. He is a Professor of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine and a Research Scientist affiliated with the Veterans Medical Research Foundation. His research focuses on the mechanisms and effectiveness of non-invasive brain and peripheral stimulation for nerve function restoration and headache/pain relief. He founded the first Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) clinical unit for pain and headachetreatment in VASDHS a decade ago. He now directs the Center for TMS at the VASDHS, which has the capability to provide up to 3000 TMS treatment sessions per year for the Veterans.

For pain treatment, several international expert review panels have recently determined conclusively that the treatment has definitive pain relief benefit for several neuropathic pain conditions and mild traumatic brain injury related headaches while more studies should be conducted to fully assess its longterm efficacy in various pain or headache conditions.

TMS non-invasively stimulates the brain by utilizing electromagnetic principles to produce small focal electrical currents in the cortex. The device usually consists of an insulated electric coil, which with the passing of electrical current generates a dynamic magnetic field through the scalp and skull, and into the first few millimeters of the cortex without attenuation. A figure-of-eight coil is commonly used because it gives a precise localization. Studies in animals demonstrate that TMS can alter neural plasticity by affecting the amount of beta-adrenergic receptor in rat cortex consistent with the response to all clinically effective antidepressants and electroconvulsive shock.

Veterans who are interested in learning more about participating in our studies, please contact the study coordinator at 858-210-8908. For clinical treatment, patients can have their primary care providers submit a TMS consult to the Anesthesia TMS Consult.

Other published studies concur that TMS influences neuron-transmitters, receptors and associated second messenger systems, which are important in pain and mood regulation. TMS also has the ability to increase gene activity in neural and supportive elements which are important for conditions such as pain and depression. Repetitive TMS (rTMS) is currently FDA approved for treating major depression and single pulse TMS is approved for treating migraine headaches.

If you would like to learn more about TMS, check out our YouTube video titled “Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Overview� at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ttfgMYU96k

To learn more about our research, check out our Facebook Page: The Center for Pain and Headache Research or see our interview with 10 News: https://tinyurl.com/rh9n9an



Do you suffer from chronic headache, muscle, and joint pain?

Do you have headaches due your traumatic brain injury?

The Center for Pain and Headache Research at the VA San Diego is recruiting for studies using a non-invasive treatment, transcranial magnetic stimulation, to relieve different types of pain. If interested in participating or learning more about either study, please contact the study coordinator at

(858) 210-8908

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HEALTH Research & Studies - Fibromyalgia By Artemis Research Fibromyalgia is a common cause of chronic pain and the most common cause of generalized, musculoskeletal pain in women between the ages of 20 and 55. Despite its prevalence, fibromyalgia may be under-recognized and under-diagnosed in clinical practice. Research from the National Fibromyalgia Association shows that it takes an average of three to five years for the condition to be diagnosed. Dr. Purvi Mehra, the Chief Medical Officer at Artemis Institute for Clinical Research explains, “People often visit multiple healthcare specialists before getting a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Major roadblocks include ruling out other conditions with similar symptoms and an overall lack of objective diagnostic lab tests confirming fibromyalgia”. Fibromyalgia, which means “painful tissues”, manifests itself by tenderness and pain in numerous locations around the body including the neck, shoulders, lower back, beneath the buttocks, knees, and elbows. While it is not fully understood what causes fibromyalgia,


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according to Dr. Mehra, “It has been seen to come about following a traumatic event, such as surgery, physical injury, infections, or even psychological stress. Fibromyalgia appears to be linked to changes in how the brain and spinal cord process pain signals, though the true cause is still unknown.” Fibromyalgia is frustrating for patients and physicians alike. With little that doctors can do apart from treating the pain and depression, frustrated patients often embark on a personal healing journey in search of understanding, validation, relief from the ever-present pain and ultimately a cure. Artemis Institute for Clinical Research conducts clinical trials for investigational medications for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Participation in research contributes to the advancement of treatments for all. If you are interested in volunteering for a study, or know someone suffering from fibromyalgia who may be interested, please reach out and call us toll-free at 855-367-8834 or find us online at www.artemis-research.com.

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

Delivering Quality Care to the Nation’s Heroes

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

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

Is Acupuncture a Good Option for PTSD?

The Veterans Chamber of Commerce (VCC-National) in our efforts to help our fellow Veterans, we are taking on this issue to the Experts and see what they have to say and advice on the many options currently available and that could bring some possible solutions that will help our veterans. We (The VCC-National) set up a series of Interviews with “Local” professionals who can bring some clarity and help our veteran community identify systems, prevention methods and resources available. In our first Interview series we contacted Joe Voss from the ™ to tell us, from his perspective, what PTSD is and how he helps Veterans deal with its effects. Joe Voss provided the following information:

These symptoms can include but are not limited to headaches, blurred vision, dizziness,

Studies published by the Evidence Based Acupuncture research organization also show that acupuncture is recognized as a therapeutic treatment for anxiety and depression. memory issues, and emotional imbalances often manifested as anxiety. Any of these issues on their own can be detrimental to functioning at a comfortable, productive level in society. While western medicine is phenomenal at treating trauma, it is limited in options for treating pain and initiating healing in the body and spirit. The result is that many veterans suffering with PTSD continue to experience symptoms, especially anxiety, for many years after the initial injury. However, in my 22 years of practicing acupuncture and Chinese medicine, I have seen a large percentage of my patients experience relief from many PTSD symptoms and reduce their reliance on medications. My experiences in effectively treating PTSD with acupuncture goes beyond the anecdotal because, as evidence-based studies show, acupuncture increases the release of endorphins, known as the “feel good” hormones. Continued on next page >


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Studies published by the Evidence Based Acupuncture research organization also show that acupuncture is recognized as a therapeutic treatment for anxiety and depression. Much of acupunctures positive effect is based on its ability to improve Heart Rate Variability (HRV). An important way our bodies deal with stress is by regulating our heart rates in response to our environment. In other words, our heart rates vary as needed to cope with what our bodies and brains interpret as stressful or non-stressful situations. Individuals with a higher (HRV) tend to have healthier responses to their environmental and emotional stressors.

When combined with traditional medicine to treat TBI, concussions and emotional trauma, acupuncture is an effective treatment method that stimulates the body’s physical and emotional healing processes. Another observation that I have had is that emotional pain has the effect of increasing physical pain. Whether I am treating a veteran for emotional or physical pain, both conditions are positively affected by the acupuncture treatments. Over many years I have seen many veterans decrease the use of and often stop their use of opioid and other medications. I firmly believe that acupuncture can play a very important role in solving the current opioid crisis in our country as a whole and especially in our veteran community.

Studies have also shown that acupuncture improves HRV by regulating the brain’s hypothalamus into releasing the proper neurochemicals when stress is perceived, and the heart rate is then able to adjust appropriately. The result is that a higher HRV helps regulate the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. It is through these pathways and mechanisms that acupuncture is able to help improve HRV, and the body is better able to cope with life’s stressors.

We would like to thank Joe Voss from North County Acupuncture™ https://northcountyacu.com/ for his participation and contribution to this very important issue for us Veterans.

“Acupuncture has become more widely accepted in Western Medicine with MDs referring their patients to acupuncturists for treatment.”

Which comes first—treating the mind or the body? Our bodies, through feelings and emotions send certain frequencies and neurotransmitters to the brain which triggers the brain to release a cascade of hormones and neurotransmitters into the body. This causes changes in how all of our organs and systems function. But it has also been shown that there are more nerve pathways leading from the heart to the brain than there are leading from the brain to the heart. Promising research, in which HRV is just one part, is exploring how our heart is transmitting to our brain how “to think and feel,” instead of the other way around as we have believed for many years. If the heart and brain rhythms are out of sync then our health suffers, and one of the symptoms of this imbalance is anxiety.

Harold Koenig M.D. Vice Admiral (USN – Retired) Surgeon General of the United States Navy If you would like additional information, please contact us at: veteransccsd@gmail.com

So while according to the most up to date evidence that acupuncture is an effective treatment for anxiety, I believe it is reasonable to extrapolate that acupuncture also has beneficial effects in treating other painful emotional conditions by treating organs such as the heart. Anecdotally, I have experienced this to be the case numerous times with my patients in my acupuncture practice.However, the empirical evidence also shows that acupuncture is not an “alternative medicine” to be used as a last resort for treating PTSD symptoms like anxiety.

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / MARCH 2020



A course change

Army veteran, amputee traces life’s path back to ‘Alive Day’ in Vietnam By Matt Saintsing

Top: Army veteran Bill Caywood takes a break from combat west of Chu Lai, Vietnam, in 1969, months before losing part of his right leg from an enemy booby-trap. Above: Caywood at the 2019 National Disabled Veterans TEE Tournament in Iowa, where he became the event’s first-ever recipient of the DAV Freedom Award.



ill Caywood vividly remembers stepping out of a rice paddy in Vietnam when an explosion tore through his leg. While walking as point man—the most forward and exposed position of a combat patrol—he triggered a booby trap, sending a volley of ignited fragments into him and the soldier behind. Fifteen minutes later, a second explosion causes further injuries. On Dec. 9, 1969, just 13 days after his 21st birthday, his right leg was amputated below the knee. The events leading up to that day laid before him a path he otherwise would not have traveled. The Indiana native’s draft number had come up while he was considering enlisting in the Navy, but at the in-processing site, the room was divvied up by service—half became Marines, while Caywood’s side of the room ended up in the Army. Following the attack, he was treated at Valley Forge Military Hospital in Pennsylvania, where he was first introduced to DAV. He was offered assistance with his VA claims, and local DAV chapters also took patients on off-site trips. When Caywood left Valley Forge, he began his new life as an amputee, but his involvement with DAV was just beginning. After earning a college degree and spending a few years in the restaurant and hotel industry, Caywood, prompted by his VA vocational rehabilitation counselor, began working at DAV in the early 1980s at the Indianapolis regional office. For 15 years, Caywood helped his fellow veterans access the benefits they earned in service. During that time, he met his wife, Cindy. Her mother worked in the same building as Caywood. One day, while meeting her mom for lunch, Cindy was introduced to the Army veteran. They started dating shortly after. “He liked to do really fun things, like hike and go to the circus,” she said. Caywood’s injuries clearly didn’t stop him from living life to the fullest, but he hid the fact that he was an amputee from Cindy, afraid of what she might think. “After about a month or so I found out, and of course it had no impact on me whatsoever or our relationship,” said Cindy. Since retiring from full-time benefits advocacy, Caywood has remained an active participant with DAV. He attends several DAV-sponsored events each year, and in addition to mentoring veterans at national events, he has helped put on adaptive sporting events through DAV in his home state. Caywood was recently honored with the National Disabled Veterans TEE Tournament’s inaugural DAV Freedom Award for embodying the event’s rehabilitative spirit. While Caywood doesn’t go as far as to celebrate his Alive Day, he views the tragedy of losing a leg as a springboard for some of his proudest life achievements. “It changed my direction, of course,” added Caywood. “But that direction doesn’t need to be a negative one.” ■

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / MARCH 2020




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WHAT’S NEXT Transition to Civilian Life By Eve Nasby

WHY AM I HERE? Trembling, her hand outstretched with her resume rippling in her hand, she stood across from me at my booth at the women’s veteran career fair. Behind that civilian attire was a well accomplished military professional who served this nation well and who was about to embark on her transition.

I was stunned. She had comprehensive experience in her various administrative roles in the Navy. She progressed well, was articulate, put together on the outside and yet so very broken inside. No one had affirmed her. No one had spoken a word of encouragement to her. No one had ever told her she was “amazing”. Sound familiar? WHO AM I? Men and women are different. Yet many qualities are the same. Insecurity runs between both sexes and can just as easily debilitate one as the other. Maurice Wilson and his team at ReBoot have just celebrated their 10th anniversary of the creation of a three week class designed to help men and women thrive after transition. We caught up with him to talk about the unique challenges women face during and after their transition from the military. Maurice notes that after 10 years of helping veterans transition, the number one challenge is identity. “When women join the military they need to jettison their femininity. They wear men’s fatigues, play a man’s game and run around in the mud. As time goes on they lose their self identity to become part of the crew or the team. It really takes a whole lot from them as language and lifestyle take getting used to.”, he said. Unfortunately, after years of this programming, returning to a role of femininity in the civilian life is a challenge.

I examined her resume as she nervously looked on. Impressed with her skills and accomplishments and the quality of her resume, I wasted no time in telling her that she was “Amazing!”. Her response shocked me. This well traveled, successful young woman looked down and then back at me as the tears rolled down her cheeks. “What’s wrong?”, I quickly asked. Quietly she replied, “No one has ever said that to me before.” 40

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / MARCH 2020

Billiekai Boughton, Army Veteran and President, San Diego Women Veterans Network adds to Maruice’s thoughts. “ We are women who behaved like men and now we need to transition into a world who expects us to behave like women.” She goes on to say that women veterans are “expected to wear pink, do our hair, wear make up and perfume. Many veteran women don’t want to do that and feel separated from civilian women and corporate America in general. “ She adds, “ Going to corporate America is a challenge as we, for example, often have an over developed sense of urgency. It is considered socially acceptable for men to be pushy but when women get pushy, it creates a problem. “ She believes that a sexist barrier exists outside of the military in which women are not supposed to be in charge or assertive. Dave Grundies

“Women are supposed to be the extra social people who know when everyone’s birthday is and plan office parties around them. Maybe that is not her interest. Maybe her interest is taking a business meeting to the golf course. What then?”, she said.

They invite veteran women to get together once a week for 8 weeks to build friendship. She has also built San Diego Women Veterans Network to give women a place to connect, collaborate and grow. www.Sdwvn.org She notes that these forums facilitate learning what no one else is teaching. She will show female veterans to successfully navigate the civilian world. She gives us this tidbit from one of her coaching sessions:

STOLEN IDENTITY Billiekai relates that some female veterans are told by their male counterparts that if they didn’t serve in combat or they didn’t serve four years or more that they are not really veterans. So, being a woman veteran in transition can not only bring obstacles from civilian business people, but also fellow veterans.

“In the military, if you would have asked me for something and I was swamped, without thinking I would have said, ‘No. What, are your arms broken?’. Translate that into civilian speak: “I’d love to help you, but my plate is full. I think Martha may have time to help you though. Can I call her for you? “ .

When one couples that challenge with a high number of transitioning female veterans who transition as a single Mom with multiple children, life gets hard. It understandably becomes difficult to find schools, coordinate child care to go to interviews and then juggle childcare as they begin to work. These and other stressors, like no child care at the VA for medical appointments, gives opportunity for health and financial poverty to set in.

She helps female veterans understand that the civilian work language is more courteous, compassionate and slow. I AM NOT A VICTIM Billiekai wraps up her thoughts as she says, “ I’m tired of media talking about women veterans as victims. We have a lot of skills and characteristics that are exceptional. We are so much more than the way we are portrayed on TV or in movies. We are resilient and creative, amazing neighbors and phenomenal citizens. We are not to be stuffed in a little box labeled, “Broken”. That little box is much too small to fit the phenomenal source of women coming out of the military. “

GETTING IN BALANCE Maurice Wilson continues, “Being in the military takes something away from you whether you are male or female. Why do we have veteran homelessness and suicide? An unintended consequence of being in the military is that it takes something away from you and puts it out of order. Once you are a civilian you steam ahead like an unbalanced, listing ship never quite figuring out how to restore the order and balance and move forward successfully.

As you peel back the layers of your life and you come to the core of , “Why am I here?”, know that programs like ReBoot and WoVen and Womens Veterans Network can help you unpack that question and help you discover the true you.

There are a few notable programs out there that can help female veterans rediscover themselves and reconnect with the sisterhood of their fellow female veterans. Maurice and Billiekai highlight some here. Maurice notes that the Women’s ReBoot three week class tackles these challenges in three parts. Week 1: Finding your Identity. What do you stand for? What do you really believe and why do you believe it? You will understand how and why you think the way you do. Week 2: Sense of Purpose: Why are you here? Reconnect with your true sense of purpose.

“In celebration of women in uniform, and to welcome you as you begin your journey as veterans, Maurice and his team at Reboot invite you tojoin them at the graduation of NVTSI’S All-Women REBOOT Workshop - Class 115 on Friday, March 27, 2020 at 1200 at California Institute of Art and Technology (CIAT) located at 401 Mile of Cars Way in National City. Meet the graduates and learn how you can be a part of the next class.” For more details visit www.rebootworkshop.vet We have never met. We may never meet. But I will tell you this, female veteran, “YOU ARE AMAZING.” Reach out to these great resources and if you need additional help with your transition, connect with Eve!

Week 3: Branding: After you find who you are and why you exist, you will learn to brand the new civilian you. Uncover what value you bring to an organization and learn to articulate it well.

Eve@infused.work or connect with her at LinkedIn and she will help you.

Billiekai Boughton is a strong promoter of WoVeN, a network of veteran women who come together for community. www.wovenwomenvets.org


WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / MARCH 2020



13 Networking Rules You Won’t Find Anywhere Else Every once in a while, it’s advisable to go back to the basics. You only have two things to work with: Your money and your time. So, you had better make good use of both.

The more you network, the better you get at it. It’s not as simple as all that, however. Follow these simple rules, overcome your reserve, and turn networking into an almost free form of marketing.

Success at networking rests on a couple of concepts. One is that visibility builds credibility. The more you’re seen, the more credible you become. Credible equates to trustworthiness, reliability, sincerity, believability, and the ability to become convincing. Without these attributes its difficult to sell anything.

Rule #1 – Be Shy and Die. Everybody is a bit shy when they start networking. Some never really conquer it completely, they just learn to relax with practice. It helps to know that most everyone feels a bit awkward and selfconscious. Remind yourself that everyone is there for the same reason...to meet someone new. Most people are grateful you started up a conversation.

Secondly, people tend to want to buy from and do business with people they know and like. So, the sheer act of dependably showing up at networking opportunities translates to being predictable, which is a valuable trait. Prospects are predisposed to doing business with individuals (not companies) they like because we trust people we like.

Rule #2 – Come Prepared. It’s always ridiculous to be fumbling around looking for your business cards when you make a new contact. Where did you think you were going... a pool party? Wear a jacket with two pockets. Keep your cards in the left pocket, and the cards of new contacts in your right pocket.

Networking Rules 42

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Rule #3 – Keep Notes on Who You Meet. Trust me, it is easy to instantly forget who you met and what you said. Before you put that new card in your pocket, make a note on the card to follow up, call for lunch, remember the lady with the red hair...whatever helps to bring it back to your mind.

Rule #10 – Make Yourself Memorable. The best networkers know that the crowd is a blur. I’ve seen oversized reading glasses, a rose always in the lapel, always wearing a hat, a white suit, and other visuals that individuals have worn to stand out. Get creative. Rule #11 – Network in the Food Line. For some reason, people relax and get more approachable in the refreshment line or at the bar. It also offers oddball reasons to start a conversation. “Thank goodness there’s no broccoli!” will make the person next to you smile and open up.

Rule #4 – Never, Ever, Ever Sell at a Networking Event. There’s a name for people who start selling you something the minute they meet you. The technical term is shmuck. People will learn to avoid you. Networking is for meeting prospects, not looking like a hungry bear rifling through a dumpster.

Rule #12 – Don’t Stick to the Table You’re Assigned to. The worst events to network at are where companies buy tables. Usually all the attendees are getting a ticket as a reward, and are not very influential (with exceptions, of course). When that happens, DO NOT sit there like you’re glued to your seat. Get up and move around and introduce yourself. (see Rule #12). If you don’t know your tablemates, introduce yourself and keep the conversation going.

Rule #5 – Get to Know the Decision Makers. When you run an organization you quickly get to know who the givers and the takers are. Many people get loads of benefit from membership in a networking group but never contribute to running it. Dumb. The Decision Makers in every association have clout and know where the opportunities lie. They will not make introductions, referrals, or feature you as a speaker if you just take, take, take and then disappear.

Rule #13 – Don’t Join Until You Know It’s Right for You. Most organizations are hungry for members and you will feel pressure to commit. You should be able to visit a couple of times before you pay up. After that be consistent. You can’t meet everyone at one meeting. Stay in it for the long game.Many seasoned business owners will tell you there is nothing as affordable and productive as networking. You may think social media is great, but it’s hard to really make sincere, lasting, meaningful business relationships on line (I expect some push-back on that).

Rule #6 – The Real Payoff Comes from the Podium. Speakers get business leads from an association when they speak because it is an implied endorsement. Plus, speakers seem larger than life, smarter than everyone else, and successful. So, once you know the decision makers, you will know when they have a hole in their schedule and need a presenter. How about you? Don’t want to speak? Become the Chair of some committee that makes monthly reports. At least you’ll have a microphone in your hand every so often. Rule #7 – Be Helpful. Start every conversation hoping to learn, “How can I help?” Everybody, including you, are there for a self-serving purpose. If you have something to offer and are willing to support others, you will build a reputation for it. Remember, people do business with people they like.

On the other hand, face-to-face introductions and repetitious interactions lead to consequential friendships and productive affiliations. Just yesterday I hired a longterm business friend I started networking with over 30 years ago. Ok, that took a long time, but when I needed a dependable sub-contractor, I turned to someone I could trust.

Rule #8 – Focus on the Person You’re Talking to. It’s the height of rudeness to be talking to someone and have wondering eyes, like looking over their head to see who else is in the room. I won’t name the politician who does this regularly, and he’s out of office anyhow now.

Vicki Garcia is the Co-Founder of Operation Vetrepreneur & President of Marketing Impressions, a 30+ -year- old marketing consulting firm.

Rule #9 – Follow Up. Ask a new contact you would like to get to know the best ways to follow up. Email, Linkedin, FaceBook, phone call...there are many options. Whatever you do, do it quickly or you will be forgotten. Get together for coffee, send them leads, etc. You will find that many of the same people will turn up at different networking events, which will make you feel like you’re part of the community.

Apply to join Operation Vetrepreneur’s FREE Think Tank Groups or one-on-one mentoring at www.veteransinbiz.com Tell us about yourself at www.veteransinbiz.com, sign up for a workshop or mentoring at www.meetup.com/Operation-Vetrepreneur-San-Diego/

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / MARCH 2020


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

COULD THIS BE YOUR BUSINESS? Margaret Thatcher once famously said,

“If you want anything said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.” The number of female founders and owners of businesses has increased dramatically in recent years, and the impact of businesses with women at the helm is significant in terms of revenues and hiring. A 2018 report by the SCORE Association, showed women-owned enterprises increased 45% - five times faster than the national average from 2007 to 2016, comprising 39% of America’s 28 million small businesses, employing nearly 9 million people and generating more than $1.6 trillion in revenue. This article is dedicated to all the women who have thought of owning their own business but have yet to take the first step. Every successful woman started just like you – taking the first step. Below are some successful women who redefined power by building their own businesses against all odds. SARA BLAKELY, FOUNDER SPANX At 29 Blakely invested her entire life savings, $5,000, trying to come up with something flattering to wear under her white slacks. Six months later the onetime Disney World ride greeter and door to door fax machine salesperson found her new line of shaping underwear. Since then Blakely has taken Spanx from a one product wonder sold out of her apartment to a powerhouse with $250 million in annual revenues. CAROL BARTZ, CEO YAHOO! Carol Bartz is not an ivy league woman with an MBA, but she is a woman with an attitude and an aptitude for business and people. From humble beginnings, she overcame tremendous personal hardships and disadvantages to become one of the most valuable CEO’s in the nation. 44

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DEBBIE FIELDS, FOUNDER MRS. FIELDS COOKIES In 1977, Fields founded Mrs. Fields Bakeries, now one of the largest retailers of fresh cookies in the USA. Fields started be giving away fresh baked cookies on a busy street corner. Now, the company has expanded into 11 different countries and is worth about $65 million. J.K. ROWLING, AUTHOR AND CREATOR OF HARRY POTTER BOOKS J.K. Rolling is the creator of the ‘Harry Potter’ fantasy series, one of the most popular book and film franchises in history. Rowling was a struggling single mom on welfare barely getting by before her first book was published in 1997. MYRA BRADWELL, FOUNDER THE CHICAGO LEGAL NEWS In 1869, Myra Bradwell applied to the state bar, who rejected her. In 1870, she filed a lawsuit that went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. The justices ruled against her, upholding Illinois’ right to ban women from the state bar. In 1868, Bradwell stated the “Chicago Legal News.” In her weekly newspaper, she wrote about Illinois state court decisions and legal reforms. Bradwell’s paper was a huge success and became the most widely read legal newspaper in the country. Everyone knows who Oprah Winfrey is and the most powerful advice she can give anyone who wants to start their own business is: • Go with your gut instinct • Focus on helping others • Money should not be your priority • Learn how to turn negatives to positives • Nothing worth having comes easy • Surround yourself with those you wish to be like • It starts with the belief • Be proud to be yourself

Kelly Bagla, Esq.

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