Warrior Opens Path to Bright Future while Battling MS
Successful Transitioning Stories
Warrior Opens Path to Bright Future while Battling MS
Successful Transitioning Stories
Resources & Support To Civilian Life
Traumatic Brain Injury
US Navy (1987 – 1993) US Air Force (1993 – 2013)
PTSD treatment can turn your life around. For more information visit: www.ptsd.va.gov/aboutface
“I’m happier with myself. Having been in therapy, period, has helped me be in a better place now.” Rogelio “Roger” Rodriguez, Jr
Welcome to Homeland Magazine!
Homeland is a veteran-focused magazine throughout the country. It serves to assist all veterans, active military as well as their spouses and families.
It is the leading veteran magazine emphasizing resources & support and focusing on topics and issues facing today’s veteran community. Homeland focuses on resources, support, community, transition, mental health and inspiration for our veterans, & military personnel.
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 veteran organizations & members, resource centers, coalitions, veteran advocates, and more. We are honored to share the work of so many committed and thoughtful people.
Despite all the challenges, our team has upheld their focus and let not one opportunity go to provide resources and support to our veterans & military personnel.
On behalf of our team, we wanted to take this moment to say THANK YOU to the readers and the military and veteran community for supporting our magazine. With that support we aim to make a difference and continuing to make a profound impact on the quality of life for our veterans, military personnel and their families.
If you want to catch up on the current and all past issues please visit: www.homelandmagazine.com/archivesMike Miller Editor-In-Chief email@example.com
What’s Next Transition
Eve Nasby • Kristin Hennessy
Veterans in Business
Successful Transitioning Stories
Dr. Julie Ducharme
Real Talk: Mental Health
Art & Healing
Kelly Bagla, Esq.
Tana Landau, Esq.
Veterans Chamber Commerce
Wounded Warrior Project
Raquel G. Rivas, WWP
Disabled American Veterans
San Diego Veterans Coalition
Veteran Association North County Shelter to Soldier (STS)
t first, Sharona Young didn’t see herself as a wounded warrior. She had a back injury from falling down a ladder on a ship but didn’t have any other combat injuries. But while on active duty in the Navy, her hands and arms started feeling numb and tingling, and Sharona was eventually diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Facing medical retirement in her early 30s, the Navy career she had worked so hard to build seemed to slip from her fingers. But when MS pulled the rug out from under her, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) was there for Sharona and her family.
Sharona enlisted at 17 years old with the goal of having a long career in the Navy. At the time of her diagnosis, she had a young daughter to provide for and professional goals she wanted to reach. After numerous medical tests and months of wondering what could be wrong, the MS diagnosis brought even more uncertainty.
When Sharona felt the initial symptoms, she chalked it up to using crutches because of a previous surgery. She mentioned it to her doctor anyway. An MRI showed inflammation in her spinal cord and lesions at the base of her brain that indicated MS.
According to Mayo Clinic, MS is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord – the central nervous system – that can make the immune system attack nerve fibers. The nerve damage causes mobility issues. Some people lose the ability to walk independently. Others have periods of remission where they regain mobility. There’s no cure for MS, but there are treatments that help with recovery from the attacks and to manage the symptoms.
“Not knowing what was going on with my body and not knowing what was going to happen was scary,” Sharona recalled. “The nature of the disease is day to day. Some days I wake up in the morning like, ‘All right, what’s going on today?’ And some days, I can barely move – I can’t get out of bed.”
Sharona hesitated to use a wheelchair even when she experienced flare-ups and, for a while, felt like she was battling an invisible enemy alone.
“I went through a period of depression and just feeling isolated and lonely,” Sharona said. “It took a couple of years to adjust to my new normal. In fact, it took a couple of years for me to agree to even get a wheelchair. I had falls and stumbles and wasn’t able to get out of the house and do a lot because of the limited mobility.”
Sharona first heard about WWP while still going through the Navy’s medical board process in Norfolk, Virginia. She also learned about adaptive sports and started with swimming and hand cycling. Through the Navy Safe Harbor Foundation, Sharona experienced adaptive sports for the first time, and was ready to follow-up via WWP’s adaptive sports program.
“I went on a Soldier Ride, which was my first experience with Wounded Warrior Project, and I met great people, including other veterans and the staff, who made me feel comfortable. I was able to say, ‘I can get through this. It’s going to be OK,’” Sharona said.
Through WWP, Sharona’s daughter, Taylor, was also able to connect with other military kids from veteran families going through similar experiences. “That was really helpful for her, as well,” Sharona added.
Prior to her symptoms, Sharona was building a great career in the Navy. At her first duty station in Norfolk, she was on board the USS Bataan, an amphibious ship that transported U.S. Marines. She participated in Mediterranean cruises and traveled throughout Europe and the Middle East. After the diagnosis, Sharona was heartbroken to leave the military.
“I didn’t plan on retiring,” Sharona said. “I had 14½ years in, so I planned to do my full 20, if not more. I felt like I still had more to give. Even though I had the diagnosis, I felt like I could still contribute and provide support to the needs of the Navy. But I was no longer deployable. While I understood that, it was still heartbreaking. I was devastated.”
While Sharona’s first activity with WWP was
Ride®, she eventually enrolled in WWP’s Independence Program – although she was skeptical at first.
“I guess when I heard Independence Program, I thought it was for someone who was housebound or someone more severely injured than I was,” Sharona said. “I said to myself, ‘Well, I have all my limbs. I didn’t get blown up. I have a disease, not an injury.’ For the longest time, I just had a hard time even accepting that this program is for me too.”
WWP assists the most severely injured veterans – and their caregivers – through its Independence Program. The veteran’s injury or illness does not have to be combat-related or to have occurred while on active duty. These warriors live with conditions like traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injuries, as well as MS, stroke, epilepsy, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and brain tumors.
The goal of WWP’s Independence Program is to find new avenues for independence for both warrior and caregiver. By working with warriors, families, caregivers, and WWP-provided support, the Independence Program helps craft care plans and goals that fit the individual objectives of each veteran.
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The Independence Program offered Sharona support she didn’t know she needed. “Sometimes my Independence Program case manager gives me encouragement, and sometimes they help me remove physical barriers,” Sharona said. “Sometimes she thinks of things that I should be doing that I didn’t think of. And it’s been helpful having that person there to help nudge me along and give me the encouragement on the days when I’m not feeling so great or not thinking I can go on. That’s been a huge help.”
In addition to physical help, alternative therapies, and occupational therapy that improves mobility, having someone in her corner has helped Sharona feel emotionally supported. When Sharona’s mother passed away in 2022, WWP’s Independence Program stepped in to see what the family needed.
“Just looking at where I’m at now, what I’m going through, it’s just hard to imagine where my daughter and I would be if we didn’t have the support of Wounded Warrior Project and didn’t get connected with the Independence Program,” Sharona said.
Another aspect of WWP’s Independence Program is continuous care services, which has helped Sharona and Taylor navigate possibilities for the future.
really appreciative that they’re guiding me and helping me get a plan in place now for myself and for my family, so that we’re prepared for the future,” Sharona said.
“Would I be doing as much as I’m able to do now? Would I be motivated to keep trying to go on and continue to live? So sometimes, I honestly don’t think I would be where I’m at if it wasn’t for Wounded Warrior Project and just meeting the people that I’ve met. There are no words for it; no comparison for it.”
Each warrior and family’s needs are unique, and a dedicated case manager works to help each individual thrive and reach their goals at home, in their communities, and in their plans for the future.
First, Sharona was guided through a life-care plan, which recorded her wishes for long-term care. At the same time, WWP is reviewing and helping to optimize her current VA benefits. Sharona will then have the opportunity to meet with a financial planner and an estate planner. All these pieces come together to craft a plan for Sharona’s future care and create stability for her family.
“If I should get to the point where I need to have a caregiver 24 hours a day, I just want to make sure I have a solid plan in place for that,” Sharona said. I don’t want to end up in a situation where I’m in limbo and no one knows what to do with me.”
“Then, with the estate planning, I want to make sure my daughter will be taken care of and that I got those things in place and laid out clearly,” Sharona added. “That’s something that I experienced with my mom’s passing. It was an eye-opener for me. I don’t want Taylor to have to stress figuring out what to do and how to go on.”
Right now, things are looking bright for Sharona. Her daughter is growing up with a wisdom and awareness most young people don’t yet have. Sharona also has her sister, Nakesha, who moved closer to them to help out if needed. With WWP’s Independence Program in their corner, the whole family sees a bright path ahead.
“I definitely want to get out and see more of the world,” Sharona said. “I’ve also been learning graphic design and web design, so I’m even thinking about starting my own business doing web design.”
To learn more about WWP’s Independence program and other services available to injured veterans and their caregivers, contact the WWP Resource Center t 888.WWP.ALUM (888.997.2586) or firstname.lastname@example.org
About Wounded Warrior Project
If you are a post-9/11 veteran or service member with a moderate to severe brain injury, spinal cord injury, or neurological condition that causes you to struggle with day-to-day living, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) can provide the kind of high-touch services that will help you live life to the fullest and as independently as possible.
Through individualized case management support, Independence Program participants are provided opportunities for a meaningful personalized experience through services and activities such as:
• Home health care
• Life-skills training
• Health and wellness opportunities
• Social and recreational interests
• Volunteer work
• Meal planning
Brother- and sisterhood is emblematic for anyone who has served in the military. Marine Corps veteran Jacob Drost and his younger brother, Isaac, take this concept to another level.
The brothers grew up in northeast Ohio and joined the Marines about six months apart. They took different paths in their military careers, with Jacob becoming a machine gunner and Isaac becoming a scout sniper.
In 2004, Isaac was on a deployment with the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion in Fallujah, Iraq, when he was hit by an improvised explosive device and sustained a shrapnel injury to his leg. However, the injury was not severe enough to be medevaced out of the country, so he stayed in the area with his unit during his recovery.
A few months later, Jacob deployed with the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, to Camp Baharia, just outside of Fallujah where his brother was recovering from his injuries.
While being overseas is a challenging experience for some, the Drost brothers found moments to bond with each other during their overlapping deployments. Occasionally, Jacob’s unit would visit Camp Fallujah, allowing him to see his brother on the mend.
After completing their four years on active duty, both brothers returned home and filed disability claims for
the injuries they incurred during their military service. The duo also started working at their father’s masonry company.
In 2008, the economy took a significant downturn and jobs at the family company began to become less frequent. As a result, the brothers started to think about alternative careers.
Isaac, married and with a young child at the time, was looking for stability for his family and found a job in the
security industry. Jacob took a different path and trained to become a DAV benefits advocate, thanks to a referral from a man he met while working at a local veterans memorial.
“I didn’t have a lot of experience in an office environment when I first started. But DAV reminded me of the Marine Corps. There’s a sense of camaraderie— and we’re the best at what we do. So I hunkered down and embraced the training, because I could tell I’d need it to help the veterans we serve.”
Jacob’s training to become an accredited benefits advocate has proven invaluable to himself and the thousands of veterans he has represented in the years since, including his brother.
Isaac, like many veterans, had filed for disability compensation without professional representation. When he received his Department of Veteran Affairs disability award letter, he informed his brother about the rating he received.
Armed with knowledge of his brother’s extensive injuries from service, Jacob asked to review the claim, found an error and then re-filed on his brother’s behalf.
Months later, Isaac received an increase in his VA disability rating, along with significant backpay. These benefits were life-changing for Isaac and his family, which had grown since his initial filing. He was able to
leave the security industry, go back to the family company (which could be registered as a service disabled veteranowned business with his ownership stake) and grow the enterprise.
“It’s difficult to navigate the VA system on your own, especially when you have a family, job and other commitments,” Isaac said. “It’s nice to have someone in your corner that knows how to navigate this process, and I was fortunate that it was my brother.”
At his brother’s urging, Isaac joined DAV and has since encouraged other Marines he served with to contact Jacob when they need assistance filing VA claims. Their brotherhood now extends to all the fellow veterans they are helping with the guidance of DAV.
“Isaac’s story is a great example of the importance in having professional representation in filing a VA claim,” said DAV National Service Director Jim Marszalek. “This case is unique, but our benefits advocates treat everyone as if they are family and provide best-in-class service for anyone that needs claims assistance.”
“All of us—veterans and civilians alike—have a role to play in supporting those who bear the burden of war,” Jacob said. “I am thankful to all my peers for their service and the role I have in helping them ease that burden.” n
“It’s nice to have someone in your corner that knows how to navigate this process, and I was fortunate that it was my brother.”
—Isaac DrostJacob Drost (right), a Marine Corps veteran and supervisor at the Cleveland DAV National Service Office, helps a veteran with a VA disability claim.
(ASAP) builds communities where veterans and their families thrive through the arts. What does that look like? Veterans, service members, military spouses, family members, and caregivers can take free stand-up comedy, improv comedy, creative writing, and storytelling classes through ASAP.
In just a few years, ASAP has blossomed into the nation’s largest community arts organization serving the military community, with over 2,500 alumni stretching across the country.
If you step into one of our classrooms, it’s easy to see why.
To step into an ASAP classroom is to enter into a sacred space. It is a space where individuals from all corners of this country gather, from progressives to conservatives, first-time creators to seasoned artists, military families to Marines and everyone in between. Though our backgrounds and experiences may be different, we are united by common purpose: to develop new skills, to share our stories, to do something that likely scares the sh*t out of us. From this group of individuals materializes a collective, a community, or, as one of our alumni put it, “a damn near family.”
Veterans, military family members, and caregivers in the San Diego area can take ASAP’s Comedy Bootcamp, Storytelling Bootcamp, Operation Improv, or Creative Writing: Word Rebel classes for free.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., ASAP also offers classes to folks in D.C, Hampton Roads, VA, Indianapolis, IN, and virtually— for everyone in between.
Multi-week classes culminate in a graduation show, where participants can showcase all their craft to friends and family. For some, this show is just the beginning.
ASAP alumni put on open mics around the country, including here in San Diego. Comics can practice their set and test new jokes out on these stages.
Comedy Bootcamp graduates have gone on to perform on some of the world’s biggest stages: Caroline’s on Broadway, Gotham Comedy Club, DC Improv, Warner Theater, the National Press Club, and the White House.
ASAP classes are free and bring a wide variety of arts programming to the military population, but we might not always have what someone’s looking for.
“The sense of community ASAP gave me, it provided such a sense of identity. It reminded me of my worth, showed me what I could accomplish, and gave me a sense of being.”
– Monica Daly, US Army Veteran, Comedy Bootcamp Alumna and Instructor.
To give veterans and their families even more access to the benefits of the arts, we developed a Scholarship Fund.
Veterans and mil families can fill out our quick and simple application, and we’ll cover the cost of art education classes, workshops, seminars, intensives, retreats, or individual lessons. Anyone who has taken an ASAP class or workshop before is eligible for a scholarship.
To get a better understanding of how Comedy Bootcamp impacts our veteran participants, we conducted a mixed-methods research study.
The study determined that Comedy Bootcamp develops a healthy sense of humor — called “selfenhancing humor style” — and in turn, that improves veterans’ well-being in a variety of ways.
When using self-enhancing humor, a person regulates their emotions and copes with adversity by reframing difficult events in humorous ways. Ultimately, veterans who take Comedy Bootcamp improve their selfesteem, resilience, depression, and stress. Better yet — these benefits last over time.
“It changed how I dealt with my stress and frustration. Instead of internalizing my frustration, I was able to put it on paper, take control of my experience, turn a negative to a positive, and bring joy to others.”
“The value of knowing women’s stories is that it gives all of us—women and men, girls and boys—the power and inspiration to succeed.”
- Karen R. Price National Women’s History Alliance
Patriotism and the desire to serve one’s country in times of conflict have never been limited to men. Women have taken up the cause in one capacity or another since the Revolutionary War. And while the door to official military service may have been closed to many of them, women have always found a way to contribute. Some, such as Deborah Sampson or Cathay Williams, disguised themselves as men to fight. Others, like Molly Pitcher, served in an unofficial role, helping where they were needed.
March is Women’s History Month, and that means it’s time to celebrate important women in American history. We at the National Women’s History Alliance are, as you might expect, very busy this time of year. It is our mission to discover and share the stories of women in history and to change the dangerous perception that women in the past did not do anything worthwhile. We intend to “write women back into history.”
Many of these celebrations focus on the important “firsts,” such as the first woman to enlist as a non-nurse Naval Yeoman (Loretta Perfectus Walsh, 1917). Others celebrate the many first women to advance into higher ranks, such as the first woman promoted to Brig. General (Anna Mae Hays, 1970). Recognizing and celebrating these milestone achievements is crucial to creating a more complete understanding of American history.
Equally important, though, are the stories of the countless women whose service didn’t break down a barrier, but nonetheless contributed to the pressure for increased involvement of women. The women whose quiet dedication to country served as inspiration to countless others paved the way for more opportunities for those who came next.
In the Revolutionary Era, it is unknown how many women followed their soldier husbands and brothers, and whose work, though critical to military success, went unpaid and unrecognized. Coming after these women were the civilian nurses and spies who aided the Union during the Civil War.
And behind them were the hundreds of women serving officially in the Army Nurse Corps tending wounded and sick soldiers in the Spanish-American War.
Building on these successes were the women who enlisted during World War I, and again in World War II, serving in an increasingly wider range of duties like service pilots and maintenance workers.
When Maj. Gen. Marcelite J. Harris, was interviewed by Ebony Magazine in 1992, she spoke about being the first African-American female General in the US Air Force. “For me, being the first is just a matter of time.” She recognized the importance of acknowledging that her successes were built on the efforts of those who came before her. “They have done a tremendous job of opening doors and proving capabilities.”
If progress is a torch handed from one generation to the next, this torch has been moving forward since 1776, carried by laundresses and cooks, nurses and spies, pilots and soldiers. Each new generation of women has been inspired by the previous, adding their voices to the call for a fair chance to show their mettle. The brave women in today’s military themselves will be passing the torch to future generations, with the knowledge that the work they inherited from the generations before them will continue.
The value of knowing women’s stories is that it gives all of us—women and men, girls and boys—the power and inspiration to succeed. Knowing women’s history enables us to understand the past more clearly, and that will give us the power to change the future.
“Our history is our strength.”1. First all-female C-130 crew to fly a combat mission 2. Molly Pitcher depicted in 1859 engraving - 3. Maj. Gen. Marcelite J. Harris First African-American female General in the US Air Force 1. 2. 3.
The tradition of women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces is woven into the storied history of this nation. From the country’s founding, through various wars and conflicts to modern times, women steadfastly answered the call to serve, with increased participation in new roleswhenever and wherever possible.
Women have always exceeded the expectations of their military service; they now serve in more roles and in higher numbers than at any point in our history. In the next decade, we should expect to have the first woman Secretary of Defense, Chairwoman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and woman Secretary of the VA; three barriers women have yet to break through.
History makes a clear case for the military skills and abilities of women; today, you don’t have to look far to find a woman who is breaking down barriers in military service.
Women have exceeded expectations throughout our nation’s military and wartime history
Even though they served in auxiliary roles throughout most of the country’s existence, women proved their courage and capability in a wide range of roles during wartime, including serving as cooks, clerks, couriers, nurses, and spies.
According to the Military Women’s Memorial, women providing medical care and triage of wounded troops in the Spanish-American War was so highly valued that it led to the establishment of the Army Nurse Corps in 1901 and the Navy Nurse Corps in 1908.
Further proof is evident in the long list of intrepid women who contributed to military intelligence and spycraft. Women such as Underground Railroad conductor and escaped slave Harriet Tubman, who spied for the Union Army; or famous entertainer Hedy Lamar, whose World War II era invention became the foundation for classified communications equipment and cellular phone technology.
By the end of World War II, women had already proven themselves indispensable to the war effort
The Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, passed in 1948, officially established women as part of the U.S. military and entitled them to veterans’ benefits, but heavily restricted their participation by capping the total percentage of who could serve, restricting the rank they could achieve and the jobs they could perform. In the decades that followed, women took every opportunity to enlist or commission into the armed forces, all while experiencing gender-specific restrictions on their promotions and job opportunities.
During the first Gulf War, women again demonstrated their abilities during wartime, including as helicopter pilots. In 1991, Congress voted to repeal the 1948 restriction on women flying combat aircraft, though other combat restrictions remained. It should also be noted that the brave women serving in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, primarily as nurses, volunteered to serve, since women have never been included in the U.S. Military Draft.
The 2013 repeal of the ban on women in combat, which opened all military occupations to women by 2016 was yet another opportunity that women quickly seized. To date, over fifty women have graduated from the U.S. Army Ranger School, which only began admitting women in 2015. According to the Department of Defense, among all women on active duty in 2019, 16 percent graduated from a military service academy, first opened to women in 1976; thousands of women have since graduated from the Air Force Academy, the Naval Academy, and West Point.
The list of accomplishments and milestones achieved by military women over the last decade alone is significant and their numbers will continue to grow both in active duty and reserve units, and then as veterans. Throughout our history, women have demonstrated time and again their courage and dynamic abilities. We should expect nothing less than women at the helm of our military organizations in the years to come.
Contact the California Department of Veterans Affairs to learn more about state and federal veterans benefits, and to learn how we support California’s 1.6 million veterans and their families. - www.calvet.ca.gov
Women Veterans Alliance is the premier national network focused on directly impacting the quality of life of women veterans. We do this successfully through transforming the way the community networks to bring people and programs directly together through a reliable and resourceful platform.
Our vision is to CONNECT over 2 million Women Veterans (and our supporters) globally for the PURPOSE of sharing our gifts, talents, resources and experience. We are committed to creating a community that Equips, Empowers & Encourages women that have served our country with knowledge, resources, mentorship, and career opportunities to discover & fulfill their greatest potential.
We have created a community both online and off-line including local women veteran networking groups, community events and national conferences worldwide which provide opportunities to connect and grow.
• Directory of Women Veteran Owned Business to promote or connect with local and global businesses.
• Assist women that are looking to start or expand a business.
• Allies directory of networking groups, meetups, support groups, veteran service organizations, councils and advisory committees that are specifically for women veterans
• Comprehensive directory of resources for veterans
• Online event calendar of nationwide events
• Online store of items such as t-shirts, jewelry, hats, books, pins and more!
• Our annual Signature event, The Unconference September 8-10th Tropicana Resort in Las Vegas
• Wednesday Webinar Series with great information being shared each week.
Visit us www.WomenVeteransAlliance.com to get more information and to sign up for updates Stay connected follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedn, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.
Women Veterans Alliance is a woman, disabled veteran owned small business, that was founded in 2015, by Melissa A. Washington a Navy Veteran who saw a need to bring women veterans together to equip, empower and encourage each other.
After being awarded the Melissa Washington Small Business Award in 2020, Jennifer was able to invest in critical resources to help grow her business and make her dreams of being a successful entrepreneur come true!
Ways to help us help her — Donate: One Time, Monthly, Round Up, or Volunteer
In case you were wondering, military families STILL need our support.
Yes, military families are resilient – a word that has become an automatic reference when speaking about military families – as they are often faced with the need to adapt to changing circumstances. But put aside the “typical” challenges of military families, like deployments, reintegration and PCS moves, and add on the past two plus years, which have been marked by additional hurdles exacerbated by COVID-19. Yes, we are STILL talking about the “pandemic.”
A report released last year called, “Measuring Our Communities: The State of Military and Veteran Families in the United States,” analyzed the status of American military and veteran families across nine themes, including employment, housing, K–12 and postsecondary education and behavioral health. Among the challenges facing military and veteran families were educational setbacks for military children, homelessness, employment challenges, food insecurity, suicide and lack of access to mental health resources.
Our military families need us now more than ever.
Thankfully, The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics located across the nation as part of Cohen Veterans Network, have been a mainstay for this population, filling the gaps in care since 2016 when the network was formed. Not only have the Cohen Clinics provided high-quality, accessible mental health care – both in person and via CVN Telehealth, face-to-face video therapy – they have also provided case management support to veterans, service members and their families, focusing on meeting the needs of our military community to improve their quality of life with local resource connection in the following areas:
• Caregiver Support
• Child Care
• Legal Assistance
• Military Transitions
• Peer Support
• Personal Finances
• Wellness, Health, Nutrition, Exercise
• Rehabilitation, Occupation and/or Physical Therapies
The best part? The clinics are having a significant impact on military families. Clients from across the Network share their experiences:
“Our family was broken. Our marriage, relationship with kid and life. She (therapist) saved my family. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
“Amazing! I’ve been given tools that have already improved my life so much!!”
“I’ve been able to have all my sessions from the comfort of my own home – and that has been a positive for me.”
While the clinics are making a difference day in and day out, there is still much work to be done. Supporting our military families requires teamwork.
In 2021, the Cohen Clinic at VVSD, San Diego, brought together several community partners to put words of support into action to help military families. The clinic created its first “We Our Mil” drive-through family event, which was dedicated to celebrating and supporting military families. This free event was designed to give back to Southern California’s military community during April’s Month of the Military Child. Especially at a time when military families had been even more isolated from necessary resources.
As part of the event, various veteran and military focused organizations stacked hands to create a drive through maze in the parking lot of National University’s Spectrum campus in San Diego where hundreds of local military families received free giveaways and resources, including fresh produce and non-perishable food items, children’s books, and more. Participating organizations
included Feeding San Diego, United Through Reading, Veterans Village of San Diego, National University, USO San Diego, Wounded Warrior Project, San Diego Loyal, Foundation for Women Warriors, AARP California, The Phoenix and Girls onthe Run.
This year, the San Diego clinic is in its 3rd year of hosting this signature event, scheduled for Friday, April 21 and its sister Cohen Clinic in Oceanside will follow suit by hosting a similar inaugural event the following Friday, April 28 for that community, which is located close to Camp Pendleton.
What more can we do collectively to support our military families? Is there something we can do with our neighbors, with our colleagues? Let us continue to stack hands in support of those who have sacrificed so much for our country.
To learn more about the “We Our Mil” drive-through family events in Southern California, visit vvsd.net/cohenclinics
Homeland Magazine caught up with Brian Taylor, Doctor of Audiology and Senior Director of Audiology for Signia.
What are some of the health conditions that most commonly affect veterans and how might they be linked to hearing loss?
Two of the most prominent conditions affecting veterans are noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While prevalent in the general public, each is a uniquely common health problem for veterans based on the important jobs they’re asked to perform.
Also common is tinnitus, a ringing in the ears that afflicts about 10 percent of Americans but disproportionately affects veterans. By the nature of their military work, many were exposed to excessive noise—machinery, engine noise, artillery fire, more— putting them at increased risk of tinnitus. All three of these health conditions can lead to social isolation, loneliness, and depression, which are commonly associated with untreated hearing loss.
Additionally, according to a recent study of injured military personnel, hearing loss and PTSD may be linked. The study’s authors found that the risk of PTSD in veterans was about three times higher in individuals with hearing loss in both ears, in comparison to those without hearing loss. The reason, at least in part, is that hearing loss—even partial—can affect a veteran’s ability to listen and communicate, which decreases their quality of life and exacerbates mental health conditions, such as PTSD.
It seems that hearing-related health issues often tend to be overlooked. Why do you think that is?
There are several misconceptions about hearing loss, which contribute to hearing loss being misunderstood and overlooked. Hearing loss can sometimes be difficult to interpret, especially when veterans in a younger age group aren’t expecting and looking for symptoms. Although most people who decide they need hearing aids are in their 60s and 70s, about half of all military veterans are below the age of 55. In other words,
many Americans address the effects of hearing loss later in life, but veterans often grapple with symptoms, such as tinnitus, earlier.
Especially for those in a younger age group, hearing loss may go unaddressed because of the social stigma associated with it. Modern hearing technology is more efficiently combating this stigma with sleek, modern designs that are more attractive to younger users.
What are the risks of letting noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) or other hearing-related conditions go untreated?
Noise-induced hearing loss leads to difficulty discerning high-pitched sounds (other forms of hearing loss impact lower frequencies). When a veteran has problems hearing high frequencies, it impacts communication and their ability to understand voices, and can present secondary symptoms such as fatigue and difficulty concentrating.
In the case of tinnitus, because it often co-occurs with NIHL, it is associated with higher rates of PTSD. In some cases, tinnitus may also impact traumatic flashbacks. Although tinnitus is not hearing loss, research indicates that it can be a sign of hearing loss to come, and therefore requires early identification and treatment.
Generally, over time when hearing loss is unaddressed it gradually worsens. When sufferers constantly strain to hear and have trouble communicating, they may be more likely to withdraw from social situations, which adversely affects their mental health. A significant delay in treatment could have a serious impact on quality of life.
What options are available to veterans who want to manage their hearing loss and prevent any further damage?
A first step for veterans is to get a baseline hearing test to assess hearing health and hearing risks. Fortunately for veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes the heightened risk of NIHL and tinnitus from military service and covers diagnostic audiology from the moment a veteran exits the service. In fact, it’s VA policy that once a veteran is enrolled in VA health care, he or she is automatically eligible for diagnostic audiology. It is in veterans’ best interest to avail themselves of these services because hearing loss, diagnosed early, is eminently and conveniently aided through modern technology.
Being equipped with the right hearing solutions will also help greatly. Modern hearing technology can dramatically improve a veterans’ ability to hear and communicate in various settings. For example, hearing aids with split processing technology make it so NIHL sufferers can listen and socialize with ease in all environments—quiet, noisy, or normal.
Advanced hearing aids can also treat tinnitus. Specialized hearing aids made available through the VA incorporate a technology called notch therapy, which can eliminate or suppress tinnitus after being fitted to the patient.
How can new hearing health technology help veterans care for their total mental and physical wellbeing and why is it essential to take a holistic approach to hearing care?
Taking a holistic approach to hearing care will ultimately improve a veteran’s general mental and physical fitness. As discussed above, untreated hearing loss and tinnitus put veterans at increased risk of social isolation, PTSD, and other mental health struggles. Simply put, better hearing equates to better living.
Veterans should feel encouraged to bolster themselves with the solutions that will help them care for their hearing, and technology is rapidly evolving to meet veterans’ needs. Today’s hearing technology devices aren’t bulky, and they’re capable of more, bringing increased benefits to veterans.
The gap is closing between hearing aids and traditional modern wearables, and the most current hearing aid models can help veterans track their daily movement and activity, social engagement, and hearing aid wear time, to help ensure that they look after not only their hearing, but all connecting aspects of their health as well.
Brian Taylor, AuD is a Doctor of Audiology and Senior Director of Audiology for Signia. He is also the editor of Audiology Practices, a quarterly journal of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, editor-at-large for Hearing Health and Technology Matters and adjunct instructor at the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Taylor has authored several peer reviewed articles and textbooks and is a highly sought out lecturer. Brian has nearly 30 years of experience as both a clinician, business manager and university instructor.
Navigating the resources available to veterans can be confusing, but Homeland Magazine believes no veteran should have to go it alone.
At Homeland Magazine you can find Veteran organizations and private nonprofits with resources for veterans that can help ease the process of attaining earned benefits, coping with the lasting effects of service-connected injuries and finding programs and services that meet your specific needs.
The brain is approximately 3-4 pounds of soft tissue floating in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), surrounded by multiple layers of membranes that serve to protect and cover it. Beyond the membranes is the skull, the dense bony structure that protects our brains from the bumps, jolts, bangs and falls of everyday life. Brain injuries occur when we sustain an injury to the head; the severity of the injury will determine the level of brain injury sustained. Brain injuries can range from mild, such as a concussion sustained while playing in a sporting event, to moderate/severe which can result from a car accident, gunshot to the head or being near an explosion.
A brain injury occurs when a sudden jolt to the head causes the brain to hit against the inside of the skull, causing bruising of the brain tissue. Depending upon the outside forces causing the brain injury, the brain can actually rotate inside the skull causing tearing of tissues, blood vessels and nerves in addition to bruising. This severity of injury can cause what is known as a Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI. Most brain injuries are considered closed head injuries meaning the brain and supportive membranes were not exposed to the external world. An open head injury, on the other hand is when the injury is severe enough to cause the brain to be exposed to outside air and other elements.
The brain is essential to our survival. It can process up to 11 million bits of information per second. Don’t ask me to do the math for what that looks like over the course of a “normal” day but suffice to say, the brain does a lot of work, much of which we aren’t even aware. So, when the brain sustains even a minor injury, it can affect our whole being. Brain injuries result in changes to one’s physical, cognitive, and emotional/behavioral functioning and these changes can be temporary, in the case of a mild brain injury, to long-term, in the case of moderate to severe brain injury. People who have sustained a brain injury may experience a wide array of symptoms which can make diagnosing a brain injury difficult.
The Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC) has done in-depth research and study on brain and spinal cord injuries. Their website contains a plethora of information on brain injury issues such as alcohol and TBI, driving and TBI, voting tips for those with TBI, sleep and TBI plus many more. “Understanding TBI Factsheet” is a four-part series covering the following topics: What Happens During Injury & In Early Stages of Recovery, Brain Injury Impact on Individuals’ Functioning, The Recovery Process for Traumatic Brain Injury, and The Impact on Family & How They Can Help. These resources are for the patient AND the caregiver/spouse/ loved one and can help individuals and families navigate the TBI journey.
Check out www.msktc.org for more information and protect your brain - talk to your doctor if you think you have sustained a brain injury.
Combat injury often includes traumatic brain injury (TBI), which understandably can be accompanied by psychological trauma. TBI resulting from combat or crime situations is different from TBI resulting from other causes (such as sports injury). The difference: TBI as a result of combat or crime is more likely to lead to PTSD.
When you have PTSD, recurring and intrusive memories in the form of flashbacks and nightmares can haunt you, and create the sense of re-experiencing the trauma as though it’s happening ‘right now’ instead of long ago.
Sleep routine is often disrupted by both TBI and PTSD, and this can impact your energy and mood. Substance use is a common but dangerous coping strategy. With TBI, alcohol and other substances can increase impulsiveness and outbursts, and with PTSD, it can compound problems with emotional numbing and impaired judgment.
(Part 2 of 2)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and TBI connect in several ways, the first of which is the consequence of trauma, physical and psychological. TBI can range from mild to severe and doesn’t necessarily involve direct injury to the head. It can happen because of a concussion related to blasts, whiplash, or shaking of the brain that creates bruising.
Mild TBI, which might appear in the form of a concussion with minimal or no loss of consciousness, can resolve rapidly without formal treatment. But more severe TBI, such as direct injury to the head and brain followed by prolonged loss of consciousness is more challenging.
Many veterans who have TBI also develop PTSD. The symptoms overlap to some extent and can be hard to disentangle. Nearly a quarter of the injuries service members suffered during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom were to the brain, according to data from the Department of Defense. The combination of physical and psychological trauma, often from the same incident, make recovery more complex. This can be compounded by chronic pain and or substance use which may result in slowing down recovery.
When you have TBI, you may experience:
• Mental symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, memory loss and difficulty finding words
• Physical symptoms such as fatigue, headache, sleep disturbance, dizziness
• Emotional symptoms such as depression, mood swings, angry outbursts and anxiety
Getting care for TBI and PTSD takes a team of experts, from cognitive rehabilitation specialists to mental health counselors, and support from family and friends. It’s important to reach out and seek help, since delaying or ignoring symptoms can affect quality of life, relationships, and ability to take care of daily responsibilities.
Cuyler is chief clinical officer of Freespira, an FDA-cleared non-medication treatment that helps people with panic and PTSD manage their symptoms by learning how to regulate their breathing. - www.freespira.com
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder does not always allow the affected to seek help. Lend a hand and provide them with methods of help, listen and be a friend.
Homeland Magazine works with nonprofit veteran organizations that help more than one million veterans in life-changing ways each year.
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:
E S O U R C E S homelandmagazine.com/category/fighting-ptsd
Reflecting upon a hard-fought Super Bowl, we are reminded that in order to perform well in any game, you need to master both tactics and strategy. You must analyze your opponent and devise plays that will generate results. You must know when to run, pass, score and …even when to not score.
The same is true of interviewing. Preparing for an interview is akin to preparing for the big game. Because it IS a big game! You must be aware of what your interviewer is expecting. What questions will you face? How can you best answer them? Do you duck, dodge, carry or spin? You must have a clear understanding of the value you can bring to the team in the role you are applying for and the skills you possess. Just as no football player would show up at a tryout and claim to be able to play every position well, you should not go into an interview with a one-size-fits-all attitude.
We were lucky enough to speak with Shaylae Dupris, an HR Professional who loves putting together great teams, and she had some wonderful advice on how to make sure you land the perfect job for you.
Shaylae has sat on both sides of the table, both as the interviewer and as the interviewee. She knows all too well how the interview process can cause both stress and anxiety for both the candidate and employer. She’s had the honor to sit across from, interview and speak with some of the best top talent and candidates this world has to offer. Although some organizations do put “profits over human capital,” they need qualified people to do the work. When looking at the final score, it’s the people who produce the profits. You are valuable!
Veterans are among the most qualified candidatesbut here’s the catch!
The reality is that most candidates, veterans included, do not know how to clearly and succinctly describe how their experience, background and skills translate into “added value” to the organization where they are applying. Shaylae notes, “Veterans are among the most qualified candidates that have ever come across my path as a HR professional. Nevertheless, the interview process can be intimidating at times and Human Resources practitioners are not trained or equipped enough to effectively interview candidates, let alone veteran candidates.”
Shaylae offers some insider tips to ensure a soaring success before, during and after the interview process.
An integral factor in making a good impression in an interview is to remind yourself that whatever job you are applying for, you have specific abilities and credentials that other applicants don’t have. Repeat to yourself “Veterans are the most qualified candidates. I am a Veteran. I am a qualified candidate!” This mindset puts you in a better place to bargain for a higher salary. Make sure to stress your talents, such as teamwork, collaboration, leadership, critical thinking, and the capability to plan strategically under intense pressure, as things that make you stand out from the other jobseekers.
It is essential to be wary of exhibiting the imposter syndrome/personality while presenting yourself to employers. Posing as an expert in all areas or a perfectionist will weaken your message and personal brand. Shaylae recalls that during interviews, she would often describe herself as a “jack of all trades”, meaning “I am capable of taking on a variety of tasks and carrying them out from start to finish.”
This kind of presentation can actually obstruct any attempts to acquire a good job. A Human Resources professional interviewing candidates isn’t seeking the perfect individual or someone who knows it all.
They want a highly competent candidate who could add the most value to the post and someone who was confident and at ease to admit errors and how they got over them. If you were interviewing to be the star quarterback, you don’t need to tout your exceptional skills as a linebacker or a mascot!
3. There are different types of interviews in the process.
Know what they are. Shaylae strongly recommends you become aware of the various kinds of interviews employers use. Her go-to interview for an interviewee is the behavioral interview. This style of questioning focuses on a candidate’s past experiences to evaluate how they have managed distinct scenarios and applied abilities applicable to the position.
The best way for an individual to pass a behavioral interview is by using the STAR method. Here, STAR stands for situation, task, action, and result. The STAR technique is a systematic way to answer a behavioral based interview question by discussing the precise situation, task, action, and result of the situation you are describing. As an experienced candidate, this is the most ideal opportunity to provide clear and organized responses concerning your qualifications and skills.
As you are reaching across the end zone, deploying the tips that we share, please reach out to share your Lombardi moments!
We want to hear from you. Reach out to Eve at email@example.com
Jim Collins in his book Good to Great, studied what causes good companies to become truly great ones. He found they were not headed by bigger than life people at the time of transition – they were people who combined humility with strong professional will. What do you think that means?
There are five keys that he found to explain that statement. Of course he was dealing with large corporations that often times changed leaders. As small business owners you are often working alone. It will take recognizing that you cannot build a business when it is focused on your ego, but rather you must be able to channel your focus solely on the company. The other four keys, give you a path to work from.
Always face the brutal facts. Good to great companies infuse “the entire decision-making process with the brutal facts of reality.” How often do you look critically at your own biases or limitations? To take effective action it calls for you to be able to turn a critical eye on your own thinking and behavior. Having systems and measurements in place, help to uncover what isn’t working. Collins calls them “red” flag mechanisms. These are areas that help weed out what constraints are affecting business growth and get the highest and best return possible for your time, money and effort.
As the business owner you are charged with having a clear understanding of what you want the business to be the best at, what drives your economic engine and what you are passionate about. When you are clear about these concepts you will have a template for judging what you will do or not do. “…the challenge becomes not opportunity creation, but opportunity selection.”
Collin’s last key deals with technology “When used right, technology becomes an accelerator of momentum, not a creator of it... You cannot make good use of technology until you know which technologies are relevant.” How can technology ignite your businesses transition from good to great? Or can it? There are so many new technology advancements, you must be
discerning and not caught up in technology that does not support your vision, mission and goals. What are some of the technologies you are considering?
All of the keys suggest that you, the business owner, take time to do some introspection. What do you need to stop doing to become great? What processes can you use to maintain focus?
The Challenge: Hammer out or review your Vision, Mission and Values, they are great templates to begin the process of going from good to great!
Barbara Eldridge has built a solid reputation as a Results strategies specialist, within industry and business over the past 40 years. Her unique message, since starting Mind Masters 30 years ago for entrepreneurs and small business owners, continually stresses vision, purpose and values as the key elements of business philosophy. www.mindmasters.com
You’ve no doubt heard of diversity, equity, and inclusion (or DEI, for short). But there are many misunderstandings about what it is and what it represents. No, it’s not “affirmative action” like we saw in the 1970s. And it’s not simply a “nice to have” because it’s “the right thing to do.” It’s very much about inclusion and belonging, making it safe for all employees to do their best work every day with peace of mind. But that’s only one aspect of DEI. There are other key factors that make this “movement” a critical factor in any organization’s long-term strategic planning. Here’s a quick overview of why DEI has become and will remain so critically important to corporate America.
Gen-Y Millennials (43 and under) and Gen-Z Zoomers (25 and under) are the most studied generational cohorts in world history. Employers know their priorities and would be wise to direct their workforce planning and cultural enrichment efforts to accommodating their desires and goals, which include:
1. Diversity of thoughts, ideas, and voices
2. Career and professional development
3. An ethical employer and a management team that cares about employees personally
4. Work-life-family balance, control, and equilibrium
5. Corporate social responsibility and environmentalism
Diversity and ethics in the workplace strive to make people of all socio-economic backgrounds feel comfortable and welcome within an organization. Ethics further promotes equality of opportunity among all employees or prospective workers to be hired and promoted based on merit—not race, gender, or creed. Ethical companies produce thoughtfully diverse and inclusive workplace communities that strengthen internal relationships with employees and external relationships with customer groups.
Multiple studies show that organizations with diverse boards, leadership teams, and workforces continue to outperform companies with more homogeneous boards and senior executive constituents. In fact, according to McKinsey & Company, the most diverse companies outperform their less diverse peers by 36% in profitability (https://mck.co/3IbWopV). While some of these and other findings have been challenged, respectable think tanks and universities continue to publish DEI success stories and support their importance.
The Baby Boom began after World War II in 1946 and ended in 1964 with the introduction of the birth control pill. 77 million babies were born over that 18-year period—some 10,000 per day. What occurred in 2011 garnered few headlines but was critical to America’s future labor supply: the first Baby Boomers turned 65, and from 2011 – 2029, 10,000 Americans per day retire. Combine this with the fact that the Baby Boom was followed by the “Baby Bust” (a.k.a. Gen X), a generation only roughly half its size, and you’ve got a formula for massive labor shortfalls. True, the Gen-Y Millennials are actually bigger than the Baby Boomers with 80 million constituents, but there will be a lag before they can fully replace aging Boomers.
COVID shone a light on talent scarcity, but a declining labor force participation rate adds significantly to the mix and will extend far beyond the pandemic. The labor force participation rate fell from 67% in 2000 to roughly 60% today and is projected to remain at that lower level through 2050.
By 2050, advanced industrial countries will be losing population at a dramatic rate, making this a global phenomenon. While the world population hit eight billion for the first time in history on November 15, 2022, the majority of those births took place in underdeveloped, agricultural societies where newborns are needed to ensure the security of the parents as they age. As George Friedman pointed out in his New York Times bestseller, The Next Hundred Years, “living with underpopulation” will remain the norm for the remainder of this century. By the 2040s, many industrialized nations will be enticing tax-paying foreign workers to enter their borders. Some, like Japan and South Korea, have already begun offering foreign workers financial incentives and fast tracks to citizenship.
Today, underrepresented ethnic groups account for 30% of the total U.S. population. By 2060, they are expected to reach 60% of the population. These groups have historically been overlooked but have a growing amount of buying power. As such, a diverse talent pool increases the range of human capital available to American companies while also better reflecting the buying habits of a more diverse consumer base. This is likely the most critical benefit of diversity hiring: it represents a concrete and reasonable way to develop internal talent pools going forward.
We can expect to see a growing focus on “talent development” and “talent management” as a result. External “talent acquisition” will remain in demand, but wise organizations will look to “grow their own” by focusing their energies and dollars on developing talent rather than simply assuming that posting a job ad or even calling a headhunter will guarantee them superior results. There’s no doubt about it: tapping into underrepresented and diverse talent pools will likely be America’s lifeline moving forward into the 21st century. Wise employers will capture the opportunity by getting ahead of the game and developing a talent bench that reflects their customer base.
You can connect with Paul on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/paulfalcone1
Paul Falcone (www.PaulFalconeHR.com) is a management trainer, executive coach, and bestselling author on hiring, performance management, and leadership development.
During his 23-year career in the Army, Oak McCulloch held numerous leadership positions in the Infantry and Armor branches. He assisted in disaster relief operations for Hurricane HUGO in Charleston, SC and Hurricane ANDREW in south Florida. LTC McCulloch retired from the Army in September 2009 and joined the staff at the Bay Area Food Bank as the Associate Director. He was also the Vice Chair for Military Affairs on the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Mobile Rotary International Club.
LTC McCulloch left the food bank in December 2010 to become the Senior Military Science Instructor and recruiter for the Army ROTC program at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. He received thirtyone military service awards including the Bronze Star, eight Meritorious Service Medals and the Humanitarian Service Medal. He is also an author and public speaker.
What was it like when you transitioned out after 23 years?
Anybody who transitions after 23 years in the military, I don’t care who you are, it’s scary! And you are trying to figure out, do the skills I have gained in the military transfer to the civilian world? And I will tell you, they absolutely do! You may have to adjust a few things in what you do and say, but the skills and values absolutely transfer.
What do veterans bring to the civilian job?
Not only skills training but we get a lot of leadership training and self-discipline, values, and how to manage time. I think one of the things people often forget most, soldiers learn how to deal with people because it is a people-oriented profession, you learn how to read people and interact with people. People often think that the military is an authoritarian leadership style and there is some of that but the majority of the military today is not as authoritarian as people think, people, get to make their own decisions, and they get to do things the way they want to, and if you’re a good leader you’re going to encourage that.
You have a new book out, let’s talk about it!
The book is titled Your Leadership Legacy: Becoming the Leader You Were Meant to Be. In the book, I share common sense principles that every current and aspiring leader can use. Throughout the book, I speak about my experiences from childhood and adult careers framed the leadership legacy that I have personally passed down to countless others.
It’s so important for people to be able to tell their stories and our veterans have tremendous stories to tell. But the writing process for a book is not easy. Some days I would sit down to write, and I could not get anything done and other days I would write for hours. But I encourage you if you have something
to share take that leap and write that book. One of the reasons I wrote the book is to help guide our up-and-coming youth on leadership. Because our generation must do a better job of training our youth, we are not doing a good job of that right now. Here is a good example, I always tell people, if you tell me you’re a leader and I ask you whom you are mentoring and you tell me nobody, I am going to argue that you are not a leader because leaders mentor people. We have to coach, train, and develop the next generation.
One of my favorite quotes that I can’t take credit for is from Master Sergeant Major Powell. One day we were talking about the importance of what we were doing in creating the next generation of leaders and he said, “Great leadership handed down from generation to generation is what creates great nations.” And what I love about that quote is you can substitute the word nations for any business or organization.
What my book focuses on is our responsibility to coach, mentor and train the next generation. Often people will say to me you know how to lead in the military, but you don’t know how to lead in the civilian world and I say that is crazy, leadership is leadership, and its adaptable to all situations.
What are some tips for our transitioning veterans?
First, you need to get out of the fear of getting out. In the military, we train you how not to be fearless but how to overcome your fear and move forward.
The second thing is, be yourself. I think a lot of veterans are afraid to be the leader the military has trained them to be. Show them your confidence, show them your skills in communication, and interpersonal relationships and they will see the value you bring to the organization.
To get the book and or bring him in for speaking to our group check out his link below. https://www.ltcoakmcculloch.com
Finding a job in the civilian world may seem easy at first. After all, you have learned skills, practiced leadership and demonstrated initiative that will make you successful wherever you go.
The reality, though, is that it can be difficult. In fact, it can be downright depressing, demotivating and you may feel totally disillusioned.
Veterans In Transition is dedicated to you and to helping you succeed in your transition.
For editorial & monthly columns regarding transitioning to business, career advice, tips, workshops, transition to education, entrepreneurship, straight-forward legal tips for Military and Veteran Business Owners and more visit Veterans In Transition at www.tinyurl.com/Veterans-In-Transition
To see how we help and support veterans transitioning out of the military check out our school www.synergylearninginstitute.org
As a Navigator on active duty in the United States Air Force, Chris St. Peter was expected to find the calm in the chaos. After recently retiring from his 20-year career, St. Peter has found himself in the middle of more chaos, home! That’s because the 38-year-old St. Peter and his wife Giulia are parents to nine children. Said with a big smile, “our house is a little bit busy.” Even though the couple may have their hands full on the home front, St. Peter has launched a new career for which he couldn’t be better suited: as owner of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®, serving the entire Oklahoma City metropolitan area.
“I reached 20 years in the Air Force and decided it was time to retire,” St. Peter explained. “I wanted to do something that would allow me to dictate my own schedule while doing something interesting. I didn’t like the idea of going to another government job or the corporate sector where I’m basically making someone else money. I felt that going into business for myself was the best way to go and I really got into the idea of buying a franchise.
I looked at Entrepreneur’s list of best franchises for veterans, and Pillar to Post was at the top. I was really attracted to home inspection as a career. It’s a necessary service versus discretionary items or services (like luxury travel) that may be hit by a downturn in the economy. I also found the idea of home construction a bit fascinating, so this was right up that alley.
I think many things from my past career will help as I launch my new career,” St. Peter said, “such as the leadership, discipline, diligence, and ability to quickly adapt are the biggest assets I bring with me that will help me be successful in this field.
With my military career,” continued St. Peters, “there was a lot of training on attention to detail as well as following checklists. Something familiar if you come from a military background. This made the decision to join Pillar to Post fit like a glove.
I like the idea of being in business for myself in a vocation where you can still make a good living without having to spend a crazy amount of money on a degree that might not even get you an interview nowadays…. I like the idea also of working for my own bottom line, not someone else’s, something I hope my kids will pick up on.”
Launching operations in December, St. Peter is a perfect example of why so many military veterans make a perfect fit for owning a franchise. Veterans represent 14 percent of franchisees, and they prove a good fit for the franchise model because veterans possess strong leadership skills and a thorough understanding of being part of a team.
Franchises also operate on proven systems and defined procedures and the military training that veterans go through allows them to easily adapt to a system and find success in franchising. Over 40% of Pillar To Post’s new franchisees in 2022 are veterans.
Another of the many reasons St. Peter chose Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the innovative technologies the company introduced during the pandemic. Stateof-the-Art advanced technologies that have recently won a prestigious award as “best consumer service tools”. Concluded St. Peter, “Recent years have shown just how crazy the housing market can get and where homes are being sold, someone needs an inspection. That and the fact that people are looking for inspections for their rental properties too, so there will be plenty of business to go around for years to come.
As an added bonus, ours is a job that’s difficult for technology to replicate, so it’s a pretty stable place to be for the next few decades.”
For more information about Pillar To Post Home Inspectors® visit www.pillartopostfranchise.com
Finding a job in the civilian world may seem easy at first. After all, you have learned skills, practiced leadership and demonstrated initiative that will make you successful wherever you go.
The reality, though, is that it can be difficult. In fact, it can be downright depressing, demotivating and you may feel totally disillusioned.
Veterans In Transition is dedicated to you and to helping you succeed in your transition.
For editorial & monthly columns regarding transitioning to business, career advice, tips, workshops, transition to education, entrepreneurship, straight-forward legal tips for Military and Veteran Business Owners and more visit Veterans In Transition at www.tinyurl.com/Veterans-In-Transition
Rhonda Sanderson is a franchise PR expert specializing in traditional, social media and crisis PR in the franchise space since 1986. Her column features profiles of veterans who have delved into franchising and transitioned into career independence through this popular business model. Tips, reference materials and resources will also be part of this advice feature.
Sometimes, the sense of division between life in the military and life as a civilian feels like a vast chasm. In fact, for military families, this sense of division joins a long list of challenges that specifically impact the men and women who sacrifice so much for the country. These challenges couldn’t be more apparent than when it comes to finding a post-military career or one that is flexible enough to align with military spouses’ unique needs—a career that checks all the right boxes: satisfaction, security, and stability.
Finding industries and employers that understand the skills of veterans and their families can seem like an uphill climb at times, and it shows. For example, the unemployment rate for veterans rose to 6.5% in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Reasons for this vary, but one contributing factor could be that lessons learned under the harsh conditions of combat don’t always translate to private-sector jobs. And for military spouses—60% of which say they’re looking for full- or part-time work—finding a profession that’s both portable and in-demand is increasingly difficult.
However, there is hope and there are opportunities. First, it’s important to consider key reasons why a career in healthcare—the fastest-growing sector in the U.S. economy according to BLS data—might just be what bridges that expansive gap between military and civilian life.
Most who enter the military are looking for fulfilling work—an opportunity to make a difference. A real difference. But few civilian careers allow veterans to make as much of a difference as those found in healthcare. That’s because working in this particular field, regardless of the role, provides the opportunity to impact peoples’ lives in profound ways. From mending wounds and healing minds to saving lives, the difference healthcare workers make is undeniable.
There’s a reason healthcare is an overwhelmingly popular career choice for veterans and their spouses: it’s an industry in which military-specific skills are undeniably relevant. Creative problem solving, adaptability, and effective communication—they’re all valuable skills that healthcare organizations can’t ignore if they want to provide the best possible service and care to their patients. And they’re all skills that veterans and their spouses already possess.
People need healthcare. In turn, the industry needs people willing to step up to the proverbial plate.
Economic and labor experts believe we need to hire 2.3 million new healthcare workers by 2025 if we’re going to keep pace with the needs of our aging population. But a persistent shortage of skilled workers with exceptional knowledge and training means hundreds of thousands of positions will remain unfilled. Home health aides, medical assistants, lab technicians, and more are all in high demand.
For a working military spouse, it can be difficult to cultivate a strong professional network, and when the time comes to pack up and move to a new city, the wrong vocation can leave even the most talented pro scrambling to start over. That’s why job portability is so important. Healthcare training provides the skills and certifications that employers are looking for in highgrowth, high-demand fields in virtually every city in the entire world.
These days, there are multiple training options for learners to pave their road to success. These organizations often have hiring network relationships, so it’s important to keep in contact and inform them when certification is achieved. It’s especially important for members of the healthcare sector to be fully qualified and properly trained. An early step is to start by choosing a specific discipline and then find a provider that can help learners develop the concrete job skills employers are looking for.
The good news is that there’s a significant amount of trusted providers who specialize in transforming entrylevel learners into high-performing, certified healthcare professionals. And they all do this with expansive catalogs of fully online career training programs that are fast, portable, and eligible for military education grants—often covering up to 100% of the cost.
Finding the right fit takes a little time and it is important to explore the possibilities. Doing the research is crucial as it can improve the learning experience—and potentially lead to faster employment. Deciding to pursue a career in healthcare is a fulfilling and viable option for veterans and their spouses.
About the Author:
Stephanie Lee served in the Air Force for 11 years as a Munitions Systems Craftsman. She now serves as an Enrollment Manager for CareerStep, (www.careerstep.com/military/), the Allied Health training division of Carrus. (www.carruslearn.com)
March Madness, St. Patrick’s Day, The Oscars...what do all these have in common? Parties! And what do parties have? Risks! It’s a risky month – especially for driving. Let’s talk about Auto Insurance.
Auto coverage, whether it’s a personal or a commercial auto coverage has insurance options - Liability Only or Liability with Comp & Collision. If you have a 1983 old beater car that you own outright and don’t care if anyone steals or damages, you may just opt for Liability Only coverage – which will save you money on the premium but leave you hanging if something happens to your vehicle.
Liability Only coverage will come into play should you cause bodily injury or property damage to another person. I recommend a minimum of $500,000 in Liability to cover driving exposures. This may sound like a lot but if you hit a car with 4 people in it, their medical costs could well exceed 100K per person. Plus, the vehicle damage (what if it’s a 100K plus car?) and the attorney fees!
Comprehensive and Collision coverage covers your vehicle should it be stollen (up to the amount insured on the policy), damaged in a collision (an accident that you cause) or damaged by weather, vandalism, tree falls, golf ball to the window, etc. I most always recommend paying a bit more and having this coverage – no one wants to be the victim of something beyond their control and then having to buy another vehicle out of pocket.
You may have the option to purchase Combined Single Limits (CSL) or Split Limits (SL) coverage for your policy. If you purchase CSL coverage, you are able to use that limit however you may need to use it. Example: If you have 500K in CSL coverage and you accidently drive though the window of a business and damage that business, but no one was injured, you can use up to 500K to pay for the damages. If you had split limits, you would only be able to use the property damage
coverage limit to pay for the property damage. I always recommend having CSL coverage.
Uninsured/Under-insured Motorist Coverage is something I always recommend to my clients. Sadly, there are many people on the road that do not follow the law and do not have auto insurance (or have the state minimums which can be shocking low – California has 15/30/5 limits which equates to 15K medical per person, 30K medical total for all people and 5K for property damage). If they were to hit you and cause bodily injury to you and property damage to your vehicle, and they do not have auto coverage (or have just the minimum limits), you could be out all the money for your medical payments and fixing or replacing your vehicle! I recommend having 500K in Uninsured Motorist coverage.
Hired/Non Owned Coverage – if you have employees that drive their own vehicles during the course of the business day (not to and from work) on an incidental basis – like picking up documents from a client or running an errand, you will want to have this coverage. This coverage acts as an extra layer of protection for your business. If your employee were to get into an accident during the course of a business duty, and they had low limits on their own personal policy, the company could be exposed to the excess liability that damage caused.
TIPS: (1) Always check your new employees MVR records (don’t just rely on their word) if they will be listed on your commercial policy as a driver. If they have DMV points against them, your premium will likely go up (and you may not want them driving anyway) (2) Talk with your Broker/Agent about your policy and make sure you understand your coverage, risks and exposures.
I hope you will find the information relevant and helpful, and I am always open to questions and welcome feedback.
For more information about me and my company, please visit www.hlinwood-insurance.com
Entrepreneurs face a multitude of legal issues as they create, launch, and build a new venture, and the failure to anticipate and understand these issues can often mean the demise of a new venture. Here are 5 most consequential issues founders face in starting a new business:
One of the first issues a founder must decide is how they want to structure their business, will it be a corporation, a limited liability company (LLC), a partnership, or a nonprofit. Each of these entity types has its own legal and business implications and can impact a founder’s legal and tax liability in a company.
At the very earliest stage, founders should be considering which entity type will give them the best protection and the best tax advantages. If founders do not consider these issues, or if they opt not to set up a legal entity or do not file the proper legal documents with the state, their company may default to an entity they did not intend, potentially putting them at a higher legal and financial risk.
It is important to create a founder’s agreement at the earliest stages of the business, and to put the agreement in writing. Often, a business idea is developed among friends, and they might not think it is necessary to establish a formal agreement until the business takes off, or maybe they find it awkward to discuss negative scenarios that could happen down the road. But it is crucial to discuss these important issues at the very outset of an endeavor, which allows for all founders to take responsibilities of what they bring to the table, what percentage of the company they will own, and to be on the same page from the beginning. It is always best to put the deal in writing, as time goes on, memories fade, and even hones people with good intentions may have different recollections of what was agreed upon.
As an intangible asset, intellectual property is often overlooked but can be extremely valuable for both
large and small companies. Founders should make sure that they own the intellectual property that their business is based on and that the intellectual property is protected. The protection might be in the form of a patent, or patent rights, such as a license to use or sell a product. Additionally, it is important to startups to consider their brand and associated trademarks. Founders do not want to go down a road where they have invested thousands of dollars just to find out that someone else had rights to the intellectual property. It is more costly to later change the name, the branding, and miss financing opportunities because the founders did not do their due diligence on the intellectual property before investing hundreds and thousands of dollars.
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs fail to grasp the magnitude of the expenses they will incur in launching their business, because everything costs money, and usually more than expected. Although entrepreneurs can find different sources for capital and there is more than one pathway to success, entrepreneurs should carefully consider each round of capital and the investors and potential consequences when deciding how to finance a business. Whether they choose to take out a loan, use a convertible instrument, crowdsource, and/or secure a venture capital round of funding, founders should consider how each of these investments could impact the structure and course of their business.
When it comes to hiring workers and building a team, a new venture can make a lot of costly mistakes if it does not pay close attention to the law. By understanding some of the rules surrounding worker classification
(employee vs. independent contractor), an entrepreneur is much better positioned to make good decisions and comply with important requirements. Additionally, an entrepreneur should be thoughtful about when and how they leave their employer to start a new venture. If not careful, they run the risk of violating a non-compete agreement, or worse, losing ownership of intellectual property.
For an entrepreneur, there are countless considerations when starting a new business, and legal issues are not always top of mind. But an entrepreneur who understands what these issues are and how they arise is much more likely to address these issues before they become major problems. Staying on top of these issues and knowing when to involve a lawyer can play a significant role in the ultimate success of the business.
Becoming a business owner, you control your own destiny, choose the people you work with, reap big rewards, challenge yourself, give back to the community, and you get to follow your passion. Knowing what you’re getting into is smart business because the responsibility of protecting your business falls on you.
For more information on how to legally start and grow your business please visit my website at www.BaglaLaw.com
Disclaimer: This information is made available by Bagla Law Firm, APC for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, and not to provide specific legal advice. This information should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state
Onboarding Guide for HR Professionals
Onboarding is a critical process for any company that wants to ensure its veteran employees are properly integrated into the organization and its culture. This is especially important for veteran employees who bring a unique set of skills, experiences, and perspectives to the workplace. Implementing an effective onboarding program for veteran employees can help maximize your company’s success by retaining valuable veteran employees and reducing turnover rates.
The Benefits of Onboarding for Veteran employees:
• Improving Retention Rates
• Enhancing Productivity and Performance
• Building a Strong Company Culture
• Fostering Employee Engagement and Satisfaction
Improving Retention Rates:
Onboarding helps veteran employees feel valued and appreciated, which in turn increases their job satisfaction and commitment to the organization. This is particularly important for veteran employees, who may have faced challenges in their transition from military to civilian life. By providing them with a supportive and inclusive onboarding experience, you can help improve their retention rates and reduce turnover.
Enhancing Productivity and Performance:
Onboarding also plays a crucial role in helping veteran employees develop the skills and knowledge necessary to perform their jobs effectively. By providing training and resources that are tailored to their unique needs and backgrounds, you can help them quickly become productive and contributing members of your team.
Building a Strong Company Culture:
Onboarding is also an opportunity to communicate your company’s values, mission, and culture to veteran employees. This helps to foster a sense of belonging and helps veteran employees understand what is expected of them. By integrating veteran employees into your company’s culture from the start, you can help build a strong and cohesive team that is dedicated to your organization’s success.
Fostering Employee Engagement and Satisfaction: Onboarding is not just about getting new veteran employees up to speed, it’s also about creating a supportive and inclusive work environment. By providing veteran employees with the resources and support they need to succeed, you can help foster their engagement and satisfaction with their jobs. This in turn will help improve their overall performance and contribute to your company’s success.
An effective onboarding program for veteran employees is essential for any company that wants to maximize its success. By providing veteran employees with the resources, support, and training they need to perform their jobs effectively, you can help retain valuable veteran employees and reduce turnover rates. Additionally, by fostering a supportive and inclusive work environment, you can help build a strong company culture and improve employee engagement and satisfaction. Want to learn more about onboarding Veterans in your company? The NVCC will be happy to support Veteran Hiring Employers. Send us an email with your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nominate a Hero: The National Veterans Chamber Radio Show
• Would you like to Nominate a Hero? Let us know, and we will announce it on the show.
• Would you like to share your story? Be our guest on the show – Here is the REQUEST FORM. (https://www.vccsd.org/radioshow.html)
• If you have any ideas or a project that you would like to Develop in collaboration with the National Veterans Chamber, send your ideas to: email@example.com
Public policy in the state of California favors identifying 2 (or sometimes more) legal parents for every child living in the state. In California, if two parents are married when a child is born, the law assumes that the husband is the father, and the wife is the mother. Similarly, both parents are assumed to be legally responsible for the child if both parents are registered domestic partners. In these cases, marriage (or domestic partnership) establishes paternity.
But what happens if you aren’t married? If a child’s parents aren’t married, the child doesn’t have a legal father until the parents formally establish parentage. Even if a father proves via genetic testing that the child is his, he doesn’t legally have any responsibilities or rights for the child until the courts establish parentage.
If you are the father of the child, establishing parentage is important because without doing so, you cannot have legal parental rights without being recognized as the child’s legal parent. Therefore, you are not entitled to any custody or visitation with the child. If you are the child’s mother, without establishing parentage, the child’s father cannot be held responsible by the courts for upholding their legally required duties as a parent, such as their duty to provide financial support for the child.
There are many important reasons for establishing legal parentage, but the primary one is that it is beneficial to the child. When both of a child’s parents are legally recognized, the child can enjoy greater stability and support that they otherwise would not have had access to. In California, parents are legally required to support their children. However, a parent cannot be held lawfully responsible unless their parentage is established with the courts.
It is necessary to establish paternity in order for a court to make orders as to the following:
• Child Support
• Physical and Legal Custody of The Child
• Health Insurance for the Child
• Payment of Reasonable Expenses for Pregnancy and Birth
• Payment of Either Party’s Reasonable Attorney’s Fees
Establishing parentage can also increase a child’s access to not only financial support, but other resources such as life insurance, rightful inheritances, social security benefits, and veteran benefits.
Voluntary Declaration of Paternity: The simplest way to establish paternity is to sign a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity. Both parents of a child must agree to sign this form, usually when an unmarried woman gives birth. By signing the form, both parents acknowledge they are the legal parents of the child. The father can then add his name to the child’s birth certificate. In California, signing a voluntary declaration of paternity is the only way that an unmarried father’s name can be listed on a child’s birth certificate.
Paternity Action in Court: Another way to establish parentage is by obtaining a Court order. Under California law, the child’s mother, a man who believes he’s the father of a child, a local child support agency, an adoption agency, or the child him or herself if over the age of 12, can ask the court for an order on paternity.
The court has the authority to order genetic testing to determine the biological father of a child in cases of contested paternity. Assisted reproduction technology and same-sex marriages and domestic relationships can also give rise to complicated legal questions relating to a particular child’s parentage, requiring a Court order to determine parentage.
Presumed Parentage: In some cases, the Court will determine someone is legally a child’s parent, even if they are not biologically related. The courts can find that a man is the legal father of a child even if he’s not the child’s biological father based on the concept of “parentage by estoppel.”
If the man has lived with a child and mother and demonstrated a commitment to the child, the courts will presume the man is the child’s father regardless of the results of a paternity test. This means the father has expressed a willingness to take care of the child emotionally, financially, and otherwise.
This typically occurs when a child develops a parental attachment to a parent due to being raised as if the child were the biological child of the parent, and the parent has “held the child out” as his own. A father the court determines is a presumed parents receives all legal rights and responsibilities for the child. In these cases, a mother also would not need a genetic paternity test to make the man responsible for child support.
Under most circumstances, the answer is no. Unless your child is the subject of an adoption, and another parent is willing and able to step into your place as a legal parent to your child, you cannot sign away your parental rights. You can relinquish custody to another parent or a legal guardian -- but you are still legally responsible for that child in many important respects, such as the payment of child support.
If you are considering whether you can waive your parental rights, relinquish custody of your child, or need to establish paternity you should meet with an experienced family law attorney.
For more information about co-parenting in your military divorce, check out our website: www.frfamilylaw.com or call (858) 720-8250 and ask to speak with military family law attorney Tana Landau.
This article is intended only for informational purposes and should not be taken as legal advice.
Military and law enforcement have had a longstanding relationship with overlaps in training exercises, equipment, and, most important, personnel.
It is not uncommon for a service member to make the jump from the military to law enforcement as both professions look for the same characteristics; leadership, fidelity, chain of command, and teamwork are all common themes in both professions.
Quite understandably, many American military veterans often gravitate to a career in law enforcement when the time comes to rejoin the civilian workforce.
The two professions have many fundamental similarities; from the uniforms they wear with pride, to the firm command structure they serve under, to great personal risk they endure while protecting those who cannot protect themselves.
The following agencies are actively hiring & proudly support our veterans, active military and the families that keep together.
As a military service member or veteran making the transition to a new career path, law enforcement can feel like a natural fit.
Transition and career changes can be difficult at any point in life, so why not take out some of the unknowns? In the military, you have camaraderie between your brothers and sisters, there’s a mission to accomplish every day, the work can be challenging and exciting, plus you get to serve your country.
Much of the military work and values parallel to law enforcement work as well. This month, we interviewed San Diego Police Officer Bob Thatcher about his transition from military service to police service, and why it was an ideal fit for him.
Officer Thatcher served on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps and today as a Gunnery Sergeant, he continues to serve as a drilling reservist. He is in the infantry field and has deployed on several overseas tours to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Japan. At the 10-year mark, he had to decide about re-enlisting or releasing from active duty. For him, the decision was guided primarily on one thing – continuing to serve others and work for a greater good.
“I have always been big into service of others,” said Officer Thatcher. “I wanted to give back to my country, my community, and those who sacrificed for me.” For Officer Thatcher, his transition was from military fatigues to police uniform. He had done his research and met the requirements and deadlines to be selected for the police academy as soon as he left active duty.
Police departments often actively recruit for people leaving the military. San Diego Police Department
Sergeant Jason Tsui said that in addition to important qualities such as work ethic, dedication, and integrity, military personnel also possess valuable life skills too. A good law enforcement candidate would be able to work in changing/fast-paced situations, in stressful conditions, can easily be part of a team, and be selfless. These are all attributes that most military men and women possess and learn during their military service.
When asked what the favorite part of his job was, Officer Thatcher said, “I like that my job is diverse. I am in the community every day, get to problem solve from call to call, and every day is different.”
Officer Thatcher’s advice to men and women looking to get into law enforcement:
• First, go on at least one ride along with law enforcement to see the different kind of calls and responses. Talk to the officers and ask questions.
• Be open and honest in your application and interviews.
• Keep at the process even if it takes a while to move along.
• Work hard each and every day to earn that spot.
• Go “all in” in everything you do.
• Academically, make the time to study.
• Physically, be able to run 5-6 miles at about an 8 minute/mile pace and do cross-fit exercise to build stamina.
Some of the benefits of working for the San Diego Police Department include:
A four-day work week, 11 paid holidays/year, 13-21 days of paid annual leave/year (depending on length of service), yearly uniform allowance, flexible benefits plan (Health, Dental, Vision), excellent retirement program, 401K/Deferred Compensation Plans, tuition reimbursement, and 30 days paid military leave/year.
For more information about applying to SDPD, go to: www.sandiego.gov/police or email: firstname.lastname@example.org