Homeland Magazine May 2024

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A Time For Heroes

Month of the Military Caregiver




Career Strategies & Resources

Vol. 11 • Number 5 • MAY 2024Homeland M A G A Z I N E

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

Rogelio “Roger” Rodriguez, Jr US Navy (1987 – 1993) US Air Force (1993 – 2013)

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

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WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 3 Celebrating Those Who Go Above and Beyond Learn more at navyfederal.org/celebrate MAY 1–MAY 31 Insured by NCUA. Image used for representational purposes only; does not imply government endorsement. © 2024 Navy Federal NFCU 14396 (3-24) ENCINITAS 1441 Encinitas Blvd., #110 • 760-944-1534 ESCONDIDO 1066 W. Valley Pkwy • 760-741-0441 SAN DIEGO SUPERSTORE 1231 Camino Del Rio South • 619-298-9571 DEL MAR (AcrossfromtheFairgrounds) 15555 Jimmy Durante Blvd • 858-794-9676 WE TAKE TRADES! LARGEST SELECTION OF PRE-OWNED EQUIPMENT IN SAN DIEGO! THE ONLY STORE IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY THAT OFFERS A 90-DAY GUARANTEE VISIT US ONLINE WORLDWIDEGOLFSHOPS.COM 90 DAY RETURN POLICY CLUB FITTING SPECIALISTS CLUB REPAIR SPECIALISTS STATE-OF-THE-ART LAUNCH MONITORS TOP BRANDS AT THE LOWEST PRICES

www.HomelandMagazine.com EDITOR’S LETTER

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’s the leading veterans 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/archives


mikemiller@homelandmagazine.com www.homelandmagazine.com



Mike Miller

Monthly Columns

What’s Next Transition

Eve Nasby • Kristin Hennessy

Human Resources

Paul Falcone

Franchise Dreams

Doug Dwyer

Successful Transitioning Stories

Dr. Julie Ducharme

Veterans in Business

Barbara Eldridge

Risky Business

Hadley Wood

Real Talk: Mental Health

Hope Phifer

PTSD: Reclaiming Control

Robert ‘Bob’ Cuyler, PhD

TLC Caregiving

Kie Copenhaver

Legal Eagle

Kelly Bagla, Esq.

Veterans Chamber Commerce

Joe Molina

Contributing Writers

Wounded Warrior Project

Disabled American Veterans

(In-House) Correspondents

Holly Shaffner

CJ Machado

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

(858) 275-4281



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Magazine is published monthly. Submissions of photographs, Illustrations, drawings, and manuscripts are considered unsolicited materials and the publisher assumes no responsibility for the said items.
rights reserved
WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 5 april 2024 INSIDE THE ISSUe 8 The Lasting Horror of Nuclear Testing 10 From Fort Living Room to Fort Knox 12 Run For The Wall 14 Courageous Hearts 19 The History of Memorial Day 20 Memorial Day: A Time For Heroes 24 Month of the Military Caregiver 26 Caregiving TLC: Veteran Healthcare 28 PTSD: Psychedelic Therapy 30 Real Talk: Steps Toward Wellness 32 Flagging Feelings Around Memorial Day 34 Strengthen Your Mental Resilience 38 Transition to Civilian Life 40 What’s Next: Embracing the Next Mission 44 HR: The Return-to-Work Dilemma 46 Franchise Dreams: Service to Success 48 Veteran Employee Resource Groups 50 Veterans in Business: Marketing Strategy 52 Legal Eagle: RE Asset Protection 54 Risky Business: Home Renovation Risk 56 VCCSD: The Power of Early Investing 60 Careers in Law Enforcement 62 From Navy Sailor to SFPD 64 SDPD Ride Along - A Story of Two Marines
6 WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 www.NonProfitPros.org Resources & Support available at: www.HomelandMagazine.com Veteran Resources 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.

Alaska Adventure Project

Be a part of a Hero’s Journey! We provide therapeutic support to veterans and their families through outdoor adventures in the rugged beauty of Alaska.

About Alaska Adventure Project:

Founded in 2017 by U.S. Marine Combat Veteran and Native Alaskan William Boulton. Alaska Adventure Project (AAP) is a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to supporting military veterans and their families.

Our Adventure program entails:

• Therapeutic support for veterans and their families suffering with PTSD and TBI.

• Veterans helping veterans through shared experiences.

• Outdoor activities provide atmosphere’s of reflection, discovery, meaning of service, camaraderie,

• New network of resources, a new extended family, connecting veterans with veterans, establish lifelong bonds, and promote healing.

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AlaskaAdventureProject.org | info@AlaskaAdventureProject.org learn more Visit our website for more info about our program: donate Contribute toward a Hero’s Journey: Contact us Reach out to us with any question:
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Ride For Those Who Can’t)

Run For The Wall® (also known as RFTW) is an organized cross-country motorcycle ride to honor our veterans and their families and friends and to raise awareness of those still missing - Prisoners of War (POW) and Missing in Action (MIA). The ride, or “run” as many motorcyclists call it, starts in Ontario, California and ten days later ends at the Vietnam Memorial Wall in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.

It all began back in 1989 as an effort by a couple of Vietnam Veterans who traveled across the heartland of America on motorcycles, talking to local radio, television, and newspapers about the fact that we had thousands of men and women still unaccounted for from all our wars.

The need for this awareness continues, so RFTW riders maintain this tradition every May by riding their motorcycles from “coast to coast”, and since 2022 from “wall to wall”. RFTW does not give political speeches or stage demonstrations. Run For The Wall emphasizes its

message by traveling through the United States in a safe and orderly manner, obeying traffic laws and treating all citizens with respect. Their motto is, “We Ride For Those Who Can’t”.

But raising public awareness is only part of the Mission of Run For The Wall. RFTW also gives veterans (from Vietnam and all wars and conflicts) the opportunity to receive the Welcome Home they so richly deserve, and an encouraging environment where they can further their healing process.

Many who have served our country, especially in combat, return with issues that may be unresolved. This can also extend to friends and families who have experienced the range of emotion and trauma associated with having a loved one go off to serve. RFTW riders find healing and comradery in the Run For The Wall family. They can finally start settling issues that have been put away for years.

There is a nominal charge register for the run (https://rftw.us/rftw-registration). And while most of the fuel and most of the meals are provided free of charge to the riders through the generosity of many donors and volunteer organizations, lodging accommodations and other expenses are the responsibility of each individual rider.

Three “coast to coast” routes, Central Route, Midway Route, and Southern Route depart Ontario, California in mid-May and take 10 days to ride across the United States, arriving at our nation’s Capital on Friday night of the Memorial holiday weekend. Events scheduled for the weekend include visiting the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, the annual RFTW participants’ photo at the Lincoln Memorial, and the walk together to the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial. Some RFTW riders participate in the Rolling to Remember parade in Washington, D.C. on Sunday.

In 2022, RFTW established a fourth route to go from “wall to wall”. Following the ten days ride from coast to coast, the Sandbox Route departs Washington, D.C. on Sunday of the Memorial Holiday weekend and continues the Mission to the Middle East Conflicts Wall in Marseilles, Illinois.

Along the way, from coast to coast and from wall to wall, RFTW riders visit VA Medical Centers, Veterans’ Memorials, Veterans’ Outreach Facilities, VFW Posts, American Legion Posts, and community centers, and schools. Riders enjoy parades,

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escorts, and welcome-home receptions from multitudes of patriotic townspeople across this great nation.

The ages of the participants range from eight to eighty. These include mothers, fathers, grandfathers, and grandmothers (some of whom ride their own bikes!)

Among the ridership you will find veterans, active-duty military, patriots, supporters, friends, and family. Everyone is welcome and you do not need to be a veteran to ride. The main rule is NO ATTITUDES.

Some people join Run For The Wall and think of it as just another vacation or motorcycle event. After one or two days, though, they realize this is something very special, much more than just another motorcycle run. It is unlike anything else they have experienced, and it becomes a MISSION! They become part of the Run For The Wall family whose members come from all over the United States, Canada, Australia, and the world. Together riders bond around the RFTW Mission, make many new friends,

rftw-2024-half-page-hm.pdf 1 3/11/24 17:39

• To promote healing among ALL veterans;

• To call for an accounting of all Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action (POW/MIA);

• To honor the memory of those Killed in Action (KIA) from ALL wars; and

• To support our military personnel all over the world.

The Run For The Wall Mission:


“Courageous Hearts are those that rise above life’s challenges, demonstrating unwavering strength and steadfast commitment to their own inner truths.”

Prepare to be captivated by the awe-inspiring display of power and valor within Motor Marc’s work of art. He meticulously crafted a fine art painting that pays homage to every aspect of the US Department of Defense.

From the adrenaline-pumping Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Coast Guard, to the aweinspiring National Guard, each branch is brought to life through their remarkable vehicles and saluting military soldiers silhouettes in various inspiring uniforms standing proud next to a highly skilled military dog.

The thunderous roar of the F/A Hornet and F/16 Falcon fighter jets as they slice through the sky, leaving trails of excitement in their wake. Witness the groundbreaking missile launch for space, soaring towards the unknown, pushing the boundaries of exploration. Behind the wounded warriors, the Apache 64E helicopter stands tall, a symbol of resilience and unwavering determination.

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Get Your Limited Edition Numbered Print Today! Prints available online at www.motormarcart.com or call Marc’s studio and order direct (519) 735-7779

But the action doesn’t stop there! On the open seas and air, the Coast Guard’s unwavering vigilance, personified by a mighty aircraft carrier emerging triumphantly from the turbulent sunset seas. Amidst the blowing dust, a UH60 Black Hawk helicopter fearlessly navigates through the chaos, its rotor blades cutting through the dusty air with a symphony of courage. And of course, the indomitable M1 Abram tank proudly carries the American flag, a powerful symbol of unity and strength.

Finally, behold the US Army Humvee, skillfully adorned with the emblem of the First Infantry, while a drone hovers above it, signifying the triumphs that lie ahead.

As a backdrop to this extraordinary display, the canvas comes alive with dramatic clouds and swirling smoke, creating a mesmerizing effect. And at the center of it all, a captivating image of the Wounded Warrior and an honorable Purple Heart, representing the unwavering courageous and resilience of our heroes.

Motor Marc is the official artist for the High Seas Rally, (www.highseasrally.com) the only motorcycle rally on a cruise ship. Marc has been sailing with the HSR since 2005 creating and displaying his paintings as well as helping to raise money for important causes.

Wounded Warrior project became one of those causes. (www.woundedwarriorproject.com) The HSR auction events for 2022 and 2023 Motor Marc has raised and donated $27,500.00 to the WWP to help honor and empower wounded warrior veterans.

“It’s just another way for me to honor our veterans through my art” “I am thrilled to embark on these monumental projects for the Wounded Warrior Project organization and be a proud supporter’’


A self-confessed “motor head” Marc has combined his love for high-tech machinery withan extraordinary artistic talent to create the ultimate expression of highperformance art.

Motor Marc has gained international recognition for his art showcasing the wild machines from the hit television show American Chopper. He has also appeared on television programs and in magazines nationwide and his high energy persona compliments the wide variety of subject matter he portrays.

The artist’s latest creations series features military fine art in support for the WWP Wounded Warrior Project and Veterans from the past to present, WWII with their legendary military machinery to heroic true stories he tells through his art. Marc paints for a great cause with these amazing paintings and prints have and continue to raise many funds for a multitude organization.

Together, let us bring this exhilarating powerful fine art to the homes of many veterans and WWP families.

Order your print today since we only have limited edition numbered prints available.

You can order online www.motormarcart.com or call Marc’s studio and order direct (519) 735-7779

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Miramar National Cemetery Amphitheater

Dr. Gregory A. Daddis, U.S. Army (Ret.)



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is the Director of the SDSU Center of War and
ceremony is open to the public, free to attend, and there will be plenty of free parking.
Annual Memorial Day Ceremony For More Information Go To www.miramarcemetery.org or Scan the QR code
Please Join Us May 26th As We Remember the 80th Anniversary of D-Day
local WWII D-Day Veterans will be in attendance.
Photos courtesy of the National WWII Museum
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Memorial Day

has become the traditional kick off of summer, but the holiday has a much more significant purpose.

Memorial Day, observed on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while serving in the military. Among its traditions are ceremonies to honor those who lost their lives in service, with many people visiting cemeteries to place American flags on grave sites. A national moment of remembrance takes place across the country at 3 p.m. local time.

The purpose of Memorial Day is sometimes confused with Veterans Day. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Day - commemorated on Nov. 11 each year - honors all those who have served in the U.S. military during times of war and peace. Armed Forces Day, which falls on May 20 each year, recognizes those who are currently serving in the military.

History of Memorial Day

Memorial Day traces its roots to the tradition of Decoration Day, a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers.

The first declaration of Decoration Day occurred on May 30, 1868, when Major Gen. John Logan declared the day would be a time to recognize those who lost their lives in the Civil War.

Several cities currently claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, including Macon and Columbus, Georgia, Richmond, Virginia, Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, Waterloo, New York and Carbondale, Illinois.

The first large Decoration Day was held at Arlington National Cemetery that year. The ceremonies included mourning draping around the Arlington mansion of former Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant presided over the ceremonies, which included speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the Granddaughters of the American Revolution placing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves.

The Arlington tradition was built on longstanding ceremonies held throughout the South. Once of the first occurred in Columbus, Miss. on April 15, 1866, when a group of women decorated the graves of Confederate soldiers who died at the battle of Shiloh. Upon seeing the undecorated graves of Union soldiers who died in the battle, the women placed flowers at those headstones as well.

Memorial Day continued to be celebrated at local events until after World War I, which it was expanded to honor those who died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.

In 2000, Congress passed “The National Remembrance Act,” which encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.

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Memorial Day A Time for Heroes

I leaned against an oak at the side of the road, wishing I were invisible, keeping my distance from my parents on their lawn chairs and my younger siblings scampering about.

I hoped none of my friends saw me there. God forbid they caught me waving one of the small American flags Mom bought at Ben Franklin for a dime. At 16, I was too old and definitely too cool for our small town’s Memorial Day parade. I ought to be at the lake, I brooded. But, no, the all-day festivities were mandatory in my family.

A high school band marched by, the girl in sequins missing her baton as it tumbled from the sky. Firemen blasted sirens in their polished red trucks. The uniforms on the troop of World War II veterans looked too snug on more than one member.

“Here comes Mama,” my father shouted.

Five black convertibles lumbered down the boulevard. The mayor was in the first, handing out programs. I didn’t need to look at one. I knew my uncle Bud’s name was printed on it, as it had been every year since he was killed in Italy. Our family’s war hero.

And I knew that perched on the backseat of one of the cars, waving and smiling, was Mama, my grandmother. She had a corsage on her lapel and a sign in gold embossed letters on the car door: “Gold Star Mother.”

I hid behind the tree so I wouldn’t have to meet her gaze. It wasn’t because I didn’t love her or appreciate her. She’d taught me how to sew, to call a strike in baseball. She made great cinnamon rolls, which we always ate after the parade.

What embarrassed me was all the attention she got for a son who had died 20 years earlier. With four other children and a dozen grandchildren, why linger over this one long-ago loss?

I peeked out from behind the oak just in time to see Mama wave and blow my family a kiss as the motorcade moved on. The purple ribbon on her hat fluttered in the breeze.

The rest of our Memorial Day ritual was equally scripted. No use trying to get out of it. I followed my family back to Mama’s house, where there was the usual baseball game in the backyard and the same old reminiscing about Uncle Bud in the kitchen.

Helping myself to a cinnamon roll, I retreated to the living room and plopped down on an armchair.

There I found myself staring at the Army photo of Bud on the bookcase. The uncle I’d never known. I must have looked at him a thousand times—so proud in his crested cap and knotted tie. His uniform was decorated with military emblems that I could never decode.

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A teenager learns the importance of war veterans.

Funny, he was starting to look younger to me as I got older. Who were you, Uncle Bud? I nearly asked aloud.

I picked up the photo and turned it over. Yellowing tape held a prayer card that read: “Lloyd ‘Bud’ Heitzman, 1925-1944. A Great Hero.” Nineteen years old when he died, not much older than I was. But a great hero? How could you be a hero at 19?

The floorboards creaked behind me. I turned to see Mama coming in from the kitchen, wiping her hands on her apron.

I almost hid the photo because I didn’t want to listen to the same stories I’d heard year after year: “Your uncle Bud had this little rat-terrier named Jiggs. Good old Jiggs. How he loved that mutt! He wouldn’t go anywhere without Jiggs. He used to put him in the rumble seat of his Chevy coupe and drive all over town.

“Remember how hard Bud worked after we lost the farm? At haying season he worked all day, sunrise to sunset, baling for other farmers.

Then he brought me all his wages. He’d say, ‘Mama, someday I’m going to buy you a brand-new farm. I promise.’ There wasn’t a better boy in the world!”

Sometimes I wondered about that boy dying alone in a muddy ditch in a foreign country he’d only read about. I thought of the scared kid who jumped out of a foxhole in front of an advancing enemy, only to be downed by a sniper. I couldn’t reconcile the image of the boy and his dog with that of the stalwart soldier.

Mama stood beside me for a while, looking at the photo. From outside came the sharp snap of an American flag flapping in the breeze and the voices of my cousins cheering my brother at bat. “Mama,” I asked, “what’s a hero?” Without a word she turned and walked down the hall to the back bedroom. I followed.

She opened a bureau drawer and took out a small metal box, then sank down onto the bed.

“These are Bud’s things,” she said. “They sent them to us after he died.” She opened the lid and handed me a telegram dated October 13, 1944. “The Secretary of State regrets to inform you that your son, Lloyd Heitzman, was killed in Italy.”

Your son! I imagined Mama reading that sentence for the first time. I didn’t know what I would have done if I’d gotten a telegram like that.

“Here’s Bud’s wallet,” she continued. Even after all those years, it was caked with dried mud. Inside was Bud’s driver’s license with the date of his sixteenth birthday. I compared it with the driver’s license I had just received. A photo of Bud holding a little spotted dog fell out of the wallet. Jiggs. Bud looked so pleased with his mutt.

There were other photos in the wallet: a laughing Bud standing arm in arm with two buddies, photos of my mom and aunt and uncle, another of Mama waving. This was the home Uncle Bud took with him, I thought.

I could see him in a foxhole, taking out these snapshots to remind himself of how much he was loved and missed.

“Who’s this?” I asked, pointing to a shot of a pretty darkhaired girl. “Marie. Bud dated her in high school. He wanted to marry her when he came home.” A girlfriend? Marriage? How heartbreaking to have a life, plans and hopes for the future, so brutally snuffed out.

Sitting on the bed, Mema and I sifted through the treasures in the box: a gold watch that had never been wound again. A sympathy letter from President Roosevelt, and one from Bud’s commander. A medal shaped like a heart, trimmed with a purple ribbon, and at the very bottom, the deed to Mama’s house.

“Why’s this here?” I asked.

“Because Bud bought this house for me.” She explained how after his death, the U.S. government gave her 10 thousand dollars, and with it she built the house she was still living in.“He kept his promise all right,” Mama said in a quiet voice I’d never heard before.

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“Remember how hard Bud worked after we lost the farm? At haying season he worked all day, sunrise to sunset, baling for other farmers. Then he brought me all his wages. He’d say, ‘Mama, someday I’m going to buy you a brandnew farm. I promise.’ There wasn’t a better boy in the world!”

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For a long while the two of us sat there on the bed. Then we put the wallet, the medal, the letters, the watch, the photos and the deed back into the metal box.

I finally understood why it was so important for Mama—and me—to remember Uncle Bud on this day.

If he’d lived longer he might have built that house for Mama or married his high-school girlfriend.

There might have been children and grandchildren to remember him by.

As it was, there was only that box, the name in the program and the reminiscing around the kitchen table.

“I guess he was a hero because he gave everything for what he believed,” I said carefully.

“Yes, child,” Mama replied, wiping a tear with the back of her hand. “Don’t ever forget that.”

I haven’t. Even today with Mama gone, my husband and I take our lawn chairs to the tree-shaded boulevard on Memorial Day and give our daughters small American flags that I buy for a quarter at Ben Franklin.

I want them to remember that life isn’t just about getting what you want. Sometimes it involves giving up the things you love for what you love even more.

That many men and women did the same for their country—that’s what I think when I see the parade pass by now.

And if I close my eyes and imagine, I can still see Mama in her regal purple hat, honoring her son, a true American hero.

In Loving Memory

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Month of the Military Caregiver

The Month of the Military Caregiver is observed in May each year to honor millions of caregivers in the United States. Paying tribute to the people who care for veterans is an important part of supporting troops and military families. But for some, it is also about recognizing the work they do that qualifies them as caregivers even if they do not think of themselves that way. \

Caregivers are spouses, parents, children, and relatives of the wounded veteran, but many coworkers, neighbors, and friends also take on responsibilities.

They provide care and assistance, promoting faster recovery for their loved ones and thus saving our nation millions of dollars in health care costs. It is an observance that primarily acts to raise awareness of both veterans and the people who care for them.

If you want to participate in the care of a veteran, no matter what level of training, available time, and awareness of the level of need in your community, it’s a very good idea to contact the Department of Veterans Affairs via the nearest field office or medical centers near you to learn what volunteer opportunities may be available.


So often as caregivers, we are running so hard, putting ourselves last, and not realizing we are burnt out until we fall ill. Or we know we’re over-whelmed, but we accept it without question. What happens when the caregiver is down for the count – the wheels have a tendency to come off, don’t they?

Make a promise to yourself to CheckIn at least weekly. Better yet, do the same with a trusted caregiver or friend as an “accountability partner” so you don’t neglect to consider your own health.

24 WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 info@mobiusmobility.com https://mobiusmobility.com

To Qualify, You Must...

• Be a veteran of the U.S. armed forces or first responder

• Have symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress for at least 3 months

• Be available for both in-person and additional online sessions


• You may receive intervention for your PTS symptoms in the form of either Transcendental Meditation (TM) or Present Centered Therapy (PCT).

• Neither intervention involves medication or discussing traumatic experiences.


• Qualifying participants will be financially compensated over $800.

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 25 Are You a Veteran or First Responder Suffering from Posttraumatic Stress? You May
Research Study
research study will
PTS. To find out if you qualify Call (855) VET-PTSD or visit PTSResearch.org
Qualify for a
T he
investigate the
of meditation and therapy as treatments for
Find a Research Study Location Near You New York City Long Island, NY Los Angeles Palo Alto, CA San Diego The research is not VA research, will not be conducted by VA, has not been reviewed by the VA’s Institutional Review Board, and is not endorsed by VA. VA is not responsible for any costs incurred by a Veteran if the Veteran enters the study as a research subject. The announcement is provided for information only.


Veterans Healthcare Release of Information 101

I work for the Veterans Healthcare Administration in Release of Information. This is the office where veterans can request their medical records. Each day, I work with hundreds of veterans and non-VA healthcare organizations and agencies, filling medical records requests for a variety of reasons.

The VA has a specific form for everything, and Release of Information (ROI) is no exception. When a veteran requests their own medical records for personal purposes (First Party request), VA Form 10-5345a is used. This is a one-page form that allows the veteran to specify what records are being requested and how they would like to receive the records. If the veteran is requesting their medical records be sent to someone other than themselves – such as a healthcare organization, Veteran Services Officer, attorney, or family member – VA Form 10-5345 should be used. This is a two-page document that allows the veteran to provide ROI with all pertinent information needed to release sensitive medical information to what is referred to as a Third Party. The 10-5345 requires more information than the 10-5345a because the medical records are being sent to someone other than the veteran. When filling this form out, the veteran needs to know the name and contact details (full mailing address and fax number) of the person or agency who will be receiving the information. Additionally, the veteran needs to specify if “sensitive information” can be released the third party – this kind of information is related to drug and substance use, alcohol use, sickle cell anemia, and/or HIV status. Finally, this form must have an expiration date to be valid within the VHA system. Per VHA Directive 1605.01, a 10-5345 lacking an expiration date is invalid and will need to be sent back to the veteran for completion.

Much of your medical record can be viewed through the MyHealtheVet patient portal. If medical services were rendered at a VA facility, the records would be in the patient portal. All medical records originated outside of the VA – if the veteran was sent to Community Care for additional or ongoing treatment – are not viewable

RetirementWhat’s Next

through the portal at this time. A request to ROI can be made through MyHealtheVet, if the veteran has a premium account, by composing a secure message stating the specific records being requested and sending it to Release of Information (the option will be in the drop-down menu). A request can also be made in-person at your local VA hospital or clinic; ask for the Release of Information form that best suits your needs. VA Forms 10-5345 and 10-5345a can also be found online for download and printing. The form can be mailed to your local VHA, Attn: ROI.

I get a number of veterans wanting to get a copy of the DD-214 when they come to my department. Unless you, the veteran, have brought your DD-214 into the VHA and asked for this document to be uploaded into your medical record, the VHA will not have it in your chart. The same goes for your Means letter. These documents are not originated by the VHA and therefore are not automatically in your medical record.

When in doubt, call your local VHA and ask to speak with someone in the Release of Information department. They can help you with your records request or send you in the right direction based on what you need.

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WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 27 Navigating your future may bring uncertainty. Aging Well Partners can help you discover your best path forward by empowering you with the vetted resources and trusted services that meet your specific needs. Your journey has a roadmap and we are here to help you find it. Proudly featuring our Certified Business Partners Free Consultation: 619.789.1839 www.agingwellpartners.com Housekeeping Transportation Meal Prep Physical Therapy Aging in Place Assisted Living Memory Care Your Local Partners. Your Certified Senior Advisors™. Proudly featuring our Certified Business Partners Navigating your f uture may bring uncertainty Aging Well Partners can help you discover your best path forward by empowering you with the vetted resources and trusted services that meet your specific needs. Your journey has a roadmap and we are here to help you find it Proudly featuring our e Consultation: 619.789.1839 www.agingwellpartners.com ™ Your L cal Partners. Your Certified Senior Advisors Housekeeping Transportation Meal Prep Physical Therapy Aging in Place Assisted Living Memory Care ELEVATE YOUR GAME with iBOT Qualif ied veterans can receive an iBOT® at no charge to them under VA FSS #36F79721D0202. Contact Mobius Mobility to schedule your demo today. www.mobiusmobility.com info@mobiusmobility.com www.agingwellpartners.com

PTSD: Reclaiming Control

Exploring Psychedelic Therapy: A New Frontier in PTSD Treatment

In this column, we have been covering the range of treatment options for PTSD, and this month we turn to fascinating research using psychedelic drugs to treat PTSD. Most of us will remember that the use of LSD and other psychedelics surged in the 60s, and the drugs were outlawed during the 'war on drugs' in the late 60s. Apart from a small group of researchers, mostly in Europe, investigation of the therapeutic potential of these substances dried up. Early in the 21st century, some work resumed, mostly for people with terminal illnesses. Soon after, preliminary work began looking at the potential for treating people with PTSD, based at least in part on the fact that our go-to treatments, antidepressants and psychotherapy, are not effective for many patients.

Research in several academic centers commenced, looking at psilocybin and MDMA (also known as ecstasy, the street drug). This has been complicated research since the drugs are illegal to possess, except recently in Colorado and Oregon. Strict regulatory oversight is the norm in these studies to protect participants and determine how drugs are administered.

What has emerged has been evidence of strong therapeutic potential, with one long-term study showing that almost 75% of participants had substantial improvement in PTSD symptoms over three years posttreatment. Few adverse events have been noted in the

clinical trials. A great deal of attention, for good reason, has been paid to this emerging area. Frequent press reports emphasize the potential for benefit. The FDA has given support for clinical trials and review of resulting outcomes, with the potential for expedited approval for wider treatment use.

Here’s where we put on the brakes a bit. These substances remain illegal, except as above, and there is no evidence that recreational use of these drugs is curing PTSD. The positive results that are emerging are all coming from carefully designed and controlled circumstances. Participants in these trials have extensive preparation, usually several days, to evaluate, educate, and set the tone for the upcoming psychedelic episode.

The patient is usually accompanied by two highly trained mental health professionals who guide the user through their 'trip,' which may last 4 to 6 hours. These guides have several roles: first, to alleviate any negative reactions that may occur, particularly anxiety, paranoid feelings, or overly intense emotions; second, to help the individual process the memories and thoughts that emerge. Importantly, the one to three psychedelic sessions are followed by therapy to continue to process and integrate the experience so that the initial benefit has a chance to spark lasting change and relief.

I think the careful attention to the setting of this experimental treatment and the inclusion of specially trained therapists keep participants safe and maximize benefits. Individuals with a history of significant psychiatric instability are screened out in the research settings. In uncontrolled settings, the risk of a ‘bad trip’ is real. It is unlikely that these drugs will ever be approved for use without the accompanying therapy and support. We’re in a bit of a strange period, with extensive and mostly glowing reports in the media, but actual treatment confined to highly controlled clinical trials available to only a tiny fraction of PTSD patients.

We’ll continue to discuss psychedelics for PTSD next month.

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

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Real Talk: Mental Health

Four Steps to Utilize Your Force Towards Wellness

The month of May is known for many things. The most unconventional to mental health would probably be May 4th, also known as Star Wars Day. How does that tie into mental health you ask? Let me break it down. You have a lead character that has dealt with many obstacles and challenges in life. Much like our military population, they are constantly being faced with new and challenging obstacles such as deployments, Permanent Change in Station (PCS), and rebuilding new social networks. Then, this lead character feels a spark of their force from a reaction of something they had to face. Military personnel and families are constantly learning they have many strengths (forces) to manage their obstacles. In Star Wars, once the force has been awoken, they begin to give it more attention and time to learn how to manage and contain the force. The force essentially helps them be more present and aware of the energy of all living things. Our military population is often learning new strengths they probably did not know they had before in efforts to overcome many obstacles and be resilient.

Once Star Wars’ lead characters learn how to use their force, they typically build the ability to levitate objects near them or from afar and they also become more aware of others’ emotions and intentions. I’m not saying you’ll learn how to levitate objects or read people’s minds from this article but hopefully you can learn how to take steps towards being more present about your inner strengths and abilities. Let’s get into the four steps.

1. Identify the force.

Recognize your strengths and increase self-awareness. Ben Kenobi tells Luke, “Reach out with your feelings”. The idea of “the force” is that it is the energy field created by all living things. Everything we do creates a feeling. And every feeling we have is a response to something that happens or happened. When that feeling is sparked, it is helpful to understand where this reaction and feeling is coming from. Listening to your feelings can help you identify what you need from that experience. Are you feeling afraid and need security and trust? If so, your force may lead you to communicate more effectively. Are you feeling alone and sad?

Your force might lead you to a stronger connection with others. Strengths come in all shapes and sizes, a few examples that might not be viewed as strengths all the time are curiosity, fairness, humor, modesty, or persistence.

2. Learn how to utilize your strengths.

“Do or do not”, this is where I am going to challenge Yoda and say, “There is a try”. Sometimes we might need ourselves a jedi master to feel more confident in trying to increase our use of our strengths. This can be someone you look up to for appearing comfortable with using their strengths, like for example setting healthy boundaries at work or for feeling confident at trying something new. Seek out to them for guidance and ask, “what has worked for you and what hasn’t?”. Ask how they were able to get to that place of being able to use that strength so well. The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics at VVSD is also a great resource to find support in using the force within you. Starting May 1st, we will be hosting a group on Tools for Stress and Worry. More information about this online resource can be found at cohenveteransnetwork.org/ tools-for-stress-and-worry. The group can be a great starting point in developing some skills to find your inner strengths.

3. Become a master of your abilities.

This is where the “Try” comes in. Strengthen your abilities by practicing the skills you learn. A great way to do that is by practicing incrementally. Not only will this build on your self-confidence, but it will build up your level of comfort to use your strengths more effectively. All jedi masters have one thing in common, they worked on mastering their force with training and support. If you find yourself enjoying art, start by engaging in art activities at home, then work your way into joining an art class, and eventually find yourself mastering your art skills. Creativity is a great strength to have, and much like this article, I had to channel how my creativity can tie in a Sci-fi film that most of us can relate to. Mastering your strengths takes time. So, if you find yourself feeling lost, confused, or frustrated, give yourself the same grace and compassion you give a friend.

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4. Reflect on the “W’s” of your strengths:

a. When to use them. Some strengths are best used in different environments. Being honest can be an amazing strength to have, especially when you want to be honest about how you are feeling. However, honesty is a strength that not everyone knows how to control. Being honest about what you think of someone’s outfit for example, might not be something a person seeks honesty for. In that scenario, honesty might be better used when asked for from others.

b. Where to use them. Our strengths are universal and keep in mind that strengths can be used differently in different environments. Boundaries at work might look different from boundaries at home. Simply having the awareness of how you are using them in those different environments can go a long way. It might increase your awareness of how it might take a little more effort in one environment than the other.

c. Who to use them with. Just like where, who is important to reflect on how your strengths are being used. Sometimes it takes more energy to use your strengths with certain people. Again, awareness of that can help you learn what you might need after using your “force”. Just like Luke, we might need to recharge the energy used on others.

d. Why use them. Utilizing your strengths and being more consistent with them will help build your confidence and increase self-care. The more aware you are of yourself and your needs, the more opportunities you have for utilizing your strengths.

I encourage you to take the time to practice and be patient with yourselves when working on strengthening your force. With consistency, time, you will develop the natural ability to understand how much you have to offer for yourself and to others.

This May, focus on finding the strengths within you and “May the Force be with you” - Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Cohen Veterans Network focuses on improving mental health outcomes, operating a network of outpatient mental health clinics in high-need communities, in which trained clinicians deliver holistic evidence-based care to treat mental health conditions.

Learn more by visiting: www.cohenveteransnetwork.org

Cohen Clinics provide therapy to post-9/11 veterans, service members, and their families, including National Guard / Reserves.

CVN Telehealth, face-to-face video therapy available statewide.

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 31
for Veterans, Service Members, and their Families
LEARN MORE vvsd.net/cohenclinics 8885 Rio San Diego Dr. Suite 301 3609 Ocean Ranch Blvd. Suite 120
20800 Madrona Avenue, Suite C-100, Torrance, CA San Diego Oceanside Los Angeles our CALIFORNIA locations

Flagging Feelings Around Memorial Day

As Memorial Day nears, it stirs a complex mix of emotions among us. For many, it offers a welcome pause from the usual routines and a chance to gather for traditional celebrations like cookouts. Yet, within these festive gatherings, the day holds deeper meanings. It is a solemn reminder of the valor and sacrifice of the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom, and it acknowledges the profound loss their families and friends endure. Amidst the laughter and camaraderie, feelings of gratitude, loss, and frustration might surface, reflecting the broad spectrum of experiences and emotions that this day evokes.

For Nick O’Kelly, a Special Forces veteran, Memorial Day goes beyond mere remembrance. It acts as a poignant reminder of life’s brevity. “Memorial Day makes me think about all that our fallen soldiers miss out on due to their ultimate sacrifice,” he reflects. “While we get to experience life’s significant milestones—like walking our daughters down the aisle or watching our sons grow into men—they do not. My heart aches for the families coping with this immense loss.”

Allen Simmons, an Marine Corps Veteran, shares a similarly sobering perspective. “Memorial Day isn’t just another date—it’s a powerful reminder of the human cost of conflict,” he states. “It means that someone listened to the sound of dirt clunking against a coffin dressed in red, white and blue.”

As the holiday nears, many of us grapple with a tumult of conflicting feelings—sadness for lives cut tragically short, frustration over the ongoing cycle of violence, and gratitude for the freedoms secured by such profound sacrifices. Nick shares that “the best way to honor and remember is by being grateful for everything that we are blessed with in America. We have it so good in the United States, and none of it is possible without our military protecting us both home and abroad.”

We mourn the unfulfilled dreams and altered destinies of those who served, and we wrestle with the injustices of conflict. But how should we honor these complex emotions? For some, like Allen, it begins with a moment of silence, offering time to reflect on the profound impact of these losses.

For Nick there’s no specific routine or ritual, just an acknowledgement of feelings that come up. He poignantly shares, “I made it through and because of those who didn’t, I have a responsibility to strive for excellence, and do what they wish they could.”

This observance is a chance to appreciate our own life’s journey, recognizing the resilience within us, inspired by those who have fallen.

Nickie Silverstein, an Army veteran, finds solace in personal reflection. “I allow myself time to remember the friends I’ve lost, recalling the fullness of their lives and the legacies they left,” she says. “I consider the dreams they couldn’t realize and think about how they would want us to continue. Their bravery and kindness inspire me daily, urging me to live purposefully and with compassion.”

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Nick, Allen, and Nickie are all connected to the national organization Give an Hour which, for the past 19 years, has provided mental health services for individuals who have experienced humanmade trauma, including many serving and supporting our military community.

At Give an Hour we are deeply aware of the complex emotions that surround Memorial Day. This understanding drives our commitment to support those who mourn and grapple with the trauma caused by loss due to war. Whether through counseling services or

Give an Hour provided three 90-minute peer-to-peer support trainings with 3 facilitators, including Veteran facilitators, for 30 active-duty Army soldiers.

dedicated military peer support groups, we offer a place for connection and healing. We are here to ensure that no one must face these feelings alone.

As we all prepare our hearts, minds, and tables to observe Memorial Day, let us take a moment to honor those who have laid down their lives in service to our nation. Let us cherish our time with loved ones and live each day with intention and gratitude in honor of their sacrifice.

For those who do not understand what this day means, tell them. For those that do, find solace in your shared experience. Find healthy ways to channel anger or sadness. Laugh and cry telling the stories of a fallen comrade. Show up unannounced for someone who is struggling. Do not hesitate to reach out if you need a shoulder to lean on. And if you need Give an Hour, we are here for you.

About Give an Hour: Established in 2005, Give an Hour is a national organization committed to providing accessible mental health services to individuals and communities, with a focus on the military community, among others. Through evidence-based and consumerinformed therapeutic approaches, Give an Hour supports those affected by trauma, striving to ensure equitable access to care. www.giveanhour.org.

GiveAnHour.Org @GiveAnHour

Tips to Strengthen Your Mental Resilience

There are many words people use to describe mental resiliency, from having inner strength to being steely, tenacious, or tough as nails.

By definition, resilience is “the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.”

Being resilient is necessary in the military. Navigating the twists and turns of life after service also requires resiliency. Some days, it takes more work to adjust, however.

Recognizing the challenges servicemen and women face, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) offers various programs and resources to help warriors keep moving forward.

WWP™ asked several warriors and family members to share what mental resiliency means to them and their advice for others.

Army veteran and father of two, Bill Geiger, is quite familiar with resiliency, noting it is something taught to every generation of children. “We tell our kids things like, ‘If first you don’t succeed, try again.’ Or ‘It’s not how many times you fall, but how many times you get back up,’” said Bill.

But on dark days when he struggled with managing symptoms from a mild brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Bill says it was easy to forget those lessons.

“You think, today sucks, tomorrow is never going better. You forget that you’ve lived through other bad days before and gotten back up. You need to be reminded that things will improve,” said Bill, who retired from the military in 2014.

A friend invited Bill to a WWP event. “It was just amazing being around other veterans, being around the staff. I signed up for other programs then,” said Bill, who now credits WWP with helping him thrive – and remember his resiliency.

“There is an old saying – sometimes you need a curvy road to get your mind straight – that’s how I say it. I think that is true.” – Bill Geiger, warrior
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Over the years, Bill has participated in many WWP activities and mental health programs, including Warrior Care Network® and Project Odyssey®, a 12-week adventure-based mental health program that helps warriors enhance resiliency. Today, he serves as a peer mentor.

Bill offers these top tips for building mental resilience:

• Embrace your feelings but have faith. “It’s OK to be sad, to sit there in bed on bad days, feeling down, mourning the loss of something. Feel how you feel, but have faith that it will get better. It could be tomorrow, it could be next week, but it will get better.”

• Reset your mind through activity. “Find something you enjoy. I know vets who play video games online with others; some walk or swim; others garden. On the bad days, don’t sit there, do something. For me, it’s riding my motorcycle. There is something about just riding, having that freedom of the road to zone out with the breeze, the trees, the sun, the rain. It brings a different aspect to things.”

• Build connections with like-minded people. “There is no single, right way to navigate life after the military, but it’s often helpful to connect with other warriors and

“Resiliency is all about training our resolve so we can withstand life’s trials and tribulations. For me, resilience has been about holding on to hope, no matter how tough things get. There is always a path forward.”
– Jennifer Jenkins, caregiver

of the obstacles you may be facing. Wounded Warrior Project makes it easy to meet and bond with peers,” said Bill.

It was Jan. 25, 2005, when Jennifer Jenkins’ life became a whirlwind of uncertainty. Her brother James, an Army specialist, had been wounded in Iraq. As his next of kin, Jennifer became his caregiver.

“Stepping into that role for my brother pushed me into uncharted waters. It was a challenging time that made me fear the future, tested my limits, and forced me to confront my vulnerabilities,” said Jennifer. “But love and commitment can turn our challenges into opportunities for growth and fulfillment.” .

In her journey, Jennifer learned to adapt to the unexpected by consciously embracing obstacles as opposed to trying to fight them.

Recalling a time her brother needed specialized treatment, Jennifer was told she would need preapproval authorization from at least four other physicians. “This was a huge obstacle, but I realized if I stopped being angry and accepted the circumstances, then my brother would get what he needed.”

Continued on next page >

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Over time, Jennifer connected with WWP and eventually joined the organization as a member of its Warriors Speak team, sharing her experiences with people around the country.

Her top pieces of advice for building and maintaining mental resiliency:

• Focus on what you can control. “It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the things outside your control. Concentrate on actionable steps you can take to improve things one day at a time.”

• Practice self-care. Acknowledge the effort it takes to be a support system for others and take time for yourself. “WWP is where I first heard about caregiver burnout. I realized that self-care isn’t selfish; it’s necessary for resilience,” said Jennifer, adding that WWP exposed her to many self-care opportunities. “From mindfulness and breathing exercises to physical fitness routines, yoga, and tai chi, to doodling, and writing, I have a menu of things that I choose from now based on how I feel.”

• Stay connected. Taking advantage of programs from organizations such as WWP is helpful in meeting people who have gone through or are currently on similar journeys. Find your peer network and lean on them.

Stay engaged with those who care about you. “Isolation can magnify challenges, while connection will foster ongoing resilience and healing.”

Connect with WWP to learn more about veteran mental health services and programs for warriors and their families to build a more positive future.

To learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org or call 888.WWP.ALUM (997.2586) to connect with the WWP Resource Center.

‘I need help.’ That was the hardest sentence I had to say in my whole life.

Chris found hope and support with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). WWPTM has resources and programs offered at no cost to veterans and their families facing mental health challenges.

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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

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 37
Resources. Support. Inspiration.


- ONWARD OPS: Transition Support

- What’s Next In Transition

- HR: Return-To-Work-Dilemma

- Franchise Dreams: Service to Success

- Veteran Employee Resource Groups

- Business for Veterans: Marketing

- Leagle Eagle: RE Asset Protection

- Risky Business: Home Improvement

- Careers in Law Enforcement

Transitioning out of the Military into the Civilian Workforce?

For editorial & monthly columns regarding transition, 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.homelandmagazine.com/category/veterans-in-transition

38 WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024
May 2024 Issue
To Civilian Life
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onwardops.org team@onwardops.org


Transition to Civilian Life

Embracing the Next Mission: A Combat Aviator's Transition to

Civilian Life

From Officer Candidates School to squadron Commanding Officer, Isaac G.Lee, Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (Ret.) reached the finish line at HANGAR 4 on MCAS Miramar.

“After two decades of service as a combat aviator in the U.S. Marine Corps, I found myself at a crossroads. The journey I had known and lived for so long was coming to an end, and a new chapter was on the horizon. Transitioning from the structured world of the military to the civilian workforce was a daunting prospect, but I was determined to embrace this challenge head-on,” Isaac says.

Transitioning from combat overseas to a civilian career can be tumultuous. War defines every warfighter, with survivor's guilt, emotional numbness, and lingering grief. Personal reckoning occurs post-war. Though less dramatic than neutralizing an RPG pointed at his face, he applied the same mechanized precision during transition and now shares his transition tips.

Redefine your Mindset

In the military, there’s a clearly defined chain of command with meticulously outlined roles and responsibilities. The civilian workforce has a more

flexible and adaptable approach. Isaac had to shift his perspective from being a decision-maker to becoming a problem-solver, leveraging his experiences to navigate the complexities of the corporate world.”

Networking is Crucial

Though recognizing networking's importance, Isaac lacked experience since it wasn't emphasized in the military. He had to build these skills from scratch. Attending networking events, he challenged himself to articulate his background and value to potential employers. Initial attempts proved arduous, but with persistence and willingness to learn, Isaac improved at translating military experiences to civilian job requirements.

Translate Military Accomplishments into Civilian Speak

Isaac also learned the importance of translating his military accomplishments into language that resonated with civilian hiring managers. Instead of relying solely on military jargon, he focused on highlighting the transferable skills he had honed over the years – leadership, decision-making under pressure, risk management, and the ability to inspire teams towards a common goal.

One surprise was the differing decision-making processes. In combat, decisions are split-second with limited information, contrasting the business world's allowance for analysis and deliberation. Isaac adapted, embracing opportunities for data gathering and strategic thinking before deciding.

The Right Fit Trumps the Job

As Isaac navigated this career transition, he realized that finding the right fit was more important than simply securing a job. He was attracted to organizations that were experiencing growth and facing challenges –environments where his leadership skills and ability to bring order to chaos could make a positive impact. Isaac sought out situations where he could rapidly absorb the business dynamics and refine processes, much like he had done in his military roles.

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Financially preparing for the transition is critical. Isaac made sure to build up a substantial financial cushion and savings, as there is real pressure to ensure financial stability during this pivotal period. He also took advantage of the numerous resources and programs available to veterans, seeking guidance from mentors and peers who had successfully navigated similar transitions.

Remember Resilience and Adaptability

Throughout Isaac’s journey, the resilience and adaptability cultivated during military service remained constant. Just as countless challenges were faced in combat, this transition was approached with the same determination and willingness to learn. The skills honed as a combat aviator - remaining calm under pressure, making decisions with limited information, and inspiring teams - became invaluable assets in the civilian workforce.

Reflecting on the transition, it was one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences, forcing an embrace of new perspectives and continuous adaptation to the ever-changing corporate landscape.

To fellow veterans, “Embrace uncertainty, be willing to pivot and evolve, and never underestimate the value of military experiences. The cultivated skills and resilience will serve well, and challenges will only strengthen resolve.”

The Powerful Final Tip from Issac

Transitioning from the military to civilian life is not just a change of career; it's a transformative journey that requires courage, adaptability, and a willingness to redefine oneself. Approach it with an open mind, a hunger for growth, and the confidence that your military service has prepared you for any mission that lies ahead.

Isaac G. Lee’s military career has been chronicled in his latest book, “Hangar 4” where we are drawn into Isaacs personal journey and witness his transformation in the squadron, cockpit, in war zones and at home.

Isaac grew up in Lubbock, Texas. A graduate of Texas Tech University, he departed for Marine Corps Officer Candidates School in the summer of 1997. His two decades as an officer and aviator resulted in seven overseas deployments, which included four combat tours of duty in the Middle East. The veteran combat aviator served as the Commanding Officer of an operational CH-53E squadron prior to his retirement from the Marine Corps in 2017. Isaac and his family reside in San Diego, California, where he works as an operations executive. When he isn’t volunteering to help his fellow veterans, he spends his free time with loved ones and enjoys baseball and football.

Need help with your transition? Have questions? Link up with Eve on Linked In today. www.linkedin.com/in/eve-nasby-given-hiring-expert

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42 WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 sandiego.edu/business L E A R N M O R E Ready for your next career step? The Knauss School of Business at the University of San Diego offers flexible graduate programs to help you advance your career, bring your values to enterprise and prepare you for a lifetime of impact. And as a 100% Yellow Ribbon School, tuition is fully covered for most military-connected students. Flexible programs, F O R M O S T M I L I T A R Y 1 0 0 % C O V E R E D www.sandiego.edu/business
WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 43 Helping today's heroes achieve success by making it easier to run a small business. www.bandofhands.com Contact Eve Nasby, Band of Hands president and passionate military supporter to learn more. eve@bandofhands.com D o M o r e . S t r e s s L e s s . I f i t ' s r e l a t e d t o e m p l o y m e n t , w e h a n d l e i t f o r y o u . W e a l s o p r o v i d e : M e d i c a l b e n e f i t s a n d 4 0 1 K f o r y o u r e m p l o y e e s a t n o a d d i t i o n a l c o s t t o y o u C o m p l i a n c e w i t h e m p l o y m e n t L a w s U n e m p l o y m e n t c l a i m h a n d l i n g W o r k e r s C o m p c l a i m h a n d l i n g A Veteran Owned Business proudly supporting Veterans, Military Spouses and active duty Military looking for work and employers needing great workers We do all this for you. We've got your back. Our one-stop shop turnkey employment solution makes it simple and affordable for businesses to hire, employ and remain compliant. www.bandofhands.com

Transition to Business HUMAN RESOURCES

The Return-to-Work Dilemma

The month of May celebrates our military caregivers, which is a cohort we should all love and respect for their ceaseless, untiring efforts in supporting our returning wounded from the battlefield and raising our families, often sandwiched between parents and children. This gives us an opportunity to reflect on our core values and appreciate those who care for and nurture the rest of us who may experience vulnerability as they grow, mature,or heal.

Yet, the demands to transition from a COVID “work from anywhere” setup to the traditional Monday – Friday, 9 – 5 onsite mandate place us at a critical inflection point. CEOs and C-suite executives overwhelmingly want employees to begin to return to in-person work, if only for a few days a week (i.e., the hybrid” work environment). Many workers, on the other hand, still believe that if they’re required to return to work onsite full time, they’ll either quit immediately or launch a quiet job search to find employment elsewhere with another, more flexible company.

• The C-Suite’s Point of View

A recent global survey of CEOs found that almost two-thirds expect a full return to the office by the end of 2026. Their reasons range from what’s become known as “productivity paranoia” (i.e., concern that out-of-site employees don’t perform as well as onsite, collocated workers) to concern for loss of culture, compromised collaboration, and a continuous

negative impact on Gen Z workers (i.e., the 25-and-under crowd which, as the first truly digital generation, suffers from loneliness, isolation, and depression more so than any other generational cohort on the planet). These concerns make sense, and many organizations are looking to increase onsite days from two to three, for example, to return workers slowly to the fully onsite model.

The Remote Worker’s Point of View

The demands for work-life-family balance preceded the pandemic. In fact, this balance remains one of Gen Y millennial and Gen Z Zoomer priorities in survey after survey. Justin-time technology like Zoom and Microsoft Teams enabled employees to work remotely, and combined with the savings from excessive commute times, gave workers a sense of control over their lives without sacrificing work quality. The natural resistance to any type of physical return-to-work mandate is likewise logical. For example, who can argue with Bank of America’s shared findings with Newsweek in March 2024 that labor productivity in the U.S. has increased to a record high in 2023 after fifteen years of no gains?

Then again, negative headwinds and counterarguments to remote work can also be demonstrated. The Gallup Organization, for example, recently released a significant finding that after peaking in January 2020 (i.e., just before the onset of the pandemic), U.S. employee engagement — a critical factor in team productivity — has been trending steadily downward. Gallup's latest measure finds that 4.8 million fewer U.S. employees are engaged now than at the end of 2023. The findings are a mixed bag, no doubt, and data for both arguments will likely be available to substantiate executive as well as worker points of view.

• The True Impact and A New Way Forward

In balancing these considerations, one critical factor stands out: “Prime age” working women— defined as ages 25 – 54—have flooded back into

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the workplace over the past few years. The strong labor force participation of women workers and the strength of the economy are closely intertwined. Time Magazine recently published an essay titled, “No Recession? Thank Women,” which outlined the reasons why our economy avoided a steep recession emerging from the pandemic. Inflation has been tamed, posits the article, because the surge in female workers provided the much-needed talent to fill critical job vacancies. Had that talent source not materialized, wage increases might have gone through the roof to attract scarce workers, making inflation harder to control.

Yet, these potentially strict return-to-work mandates threaten female labor force participation, squeezing female workers—who are often required to balance busy workloads with family care obligations—out of the market. Will there be a new balance going forward that achieves both accountability and autonomy? That’s what we’re about to find out. Be sure to make your voice known by writing the president at WhiteHouse. gov and your local congressperson. More likely than not, the hybrid work model will remain the option of choice for most organizations for the foreseeable future. But making your voice known now will surely help keep hybrid work on the table the next time a nasty recession comes our way and transitions us from a worker’s job market to an employer’s market.

Paul Falcone (PaulFalconeHR.com) is a consultant specializing in management & leadership training, keynote speaking, and executive coaching.

His bestselling books on hiring, performance management, and leadership development are available at amazon.com/author/paulfalcone.


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Veterans Make Great Entrepreneurs FRANCHISE DREAMs

From Service to Success: Unveiling Veterans’ Potential in Franchise Ownership

Have you ever considered franchising as you transition from military service? Do you think your skills may not transfer? Do you think direct business experience is the most important factor? Think again.

I’ve been in franchising for over 35 years. In my experience, veterans are some of the best franchise owners. By leveraging their unique skills, experiences, and values from military service, veterans can excel as franchise business owners and make valuable contributions to their communities.

Here are some of the unique characteristics that make veterans great franchise owners:

Leadership Skills: Veterans often possess strong leadership skills developed through their military service, which can be invaluable when managing a franchise business and leading a team of employees. Teamwork and Collaboration: Military experience fosters a deep understanding of the importance of teamwork and collaboration. Veterans can leverage these skills to build cohesive and efficient teams within their franchise.

Process-oriented: Franchising offers proven processes and systems. Veterans tend to maximize detailed processes for marketing, sales, hiring, technology, production, and financial systems.

Discipline and Work Ethic: Veterans are known for their discipline, work ethic, and ability to thrive in highpressure environments. These qualities can translate well to the demands of running a franchise business, especially during challenging times.

Problem-Solving Abilities: Military training hones veterans' problem-solving abilities, adaptability, and resilience. These skills are essential for navigating the complexities of business ownership and overcoming obstacles that may arise.

Attention to Detail: Military training emphasizes attention to detail and adherence to standard operating procedures. Veterans can apply this

meticulous approach to ensure compliance with franchise guidelines and deliver high-quality services to homeowners.

Resourcefulness: Military service often requires veterans to be resourceful and innovative in finding solutions to challenges with limited resources. The better franchise organizations provide peer groups where franchisees can exchange ideas and best practices.

Integrity and Trustworthiness: Veterans are typically held to high standards of integrity and trustworthiness in their military roles. These values can enhance the reputation and credibility of a franchise business, fostering trust among homeowners and employees.

At DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen, we offer prospective franchisees the opportunity to own a kitchen, bath, and interior remodeling business. Over half of our franchisees joined us with little to no experience in business or remodeling. Like other franchisors, we can teach marketing, sales, design, project management, and financials; however, the best franchisees are ones who match our DreamMaker culture and follow our proven processes and systems.

I truly believe that Veterans have the innate characteristics to perform at a high level in franchising.

As you transition from the service to civilian life, I encourage you to explore franchise opportunities. You have so many valuable skills, character traits, and the leadership experience to succeed.

Doug Dwyer is the President & CSO of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen, a company dedicated to helping its remodeling franchisees achieve Strong Margins and a Quality of Life.


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WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 47

Veteran Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

Navy 1989 - 1993)

In recent years, a powerful movement has emerged across industries—a surge in the establishment of Veteran Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). This trend isn’t just symbolic; it’s a tangible commitment by organizations to honor and elevate military veterans within their workforce. As we delve into the world of Veteran ERGs, it becomes clear that these groups don’t just benefit veterans; they’re transformative for the companies that champion them.

The Rising Wave of Veteran ERGs

Picture a workplace where the tapestry of experience includes the unique stories of military veterans. This vision is becoming a reality as organizations, driven by a commitment to inclusivity, increasingly embrace veteran ERGs. In fact, a staggering 90% of Fortune 500 companies have ERGs with an average employee participation rate of 8% which is steadily growing. Initiated by employees with military backgrounds or deep connections to the armed forces, these veterans groups serve as vibrant communities fostering support and camaraderie.

As the momentum of veteran ERGs builds, it signals a broader societal acknowledgment of the sacrifices and contributions of military personnel. This isn’t mere symbolism; it’s a tangible expression of gratitude and support for those who have served—a paradigm shift from rhetoric to action.

The Strategic Imperative: Why Organizations Pioneer Veteran ERGs

Organizations pioneer veteran ERGs for a multitude of reasons, each contributing to a holistic commitment to the well-being of veterans:

• Navigating Transition Together: Veteran ERGs provide a crucial support system as military personnel navigate the transition from service to civilian life. It’s a shared space for insights, advice and the unique challenges of adapting to civilian work culture.

• Charting Professional Journeys: These groups aren’t just about support; they’re launchpads for professional development. Opportunities for skill enhancement, mentorship and career advancement are the hallmark of many veteran ERGs.

• Service Beyond Uniform: The ethos of service remains intact as veterans in ERGs engage in community service. Whether supporting homeless veterans, sending care packages to deployed service members or contributing to local projects, veterans continue their tradition of service.

• Diverse Perspectives for a Richer Workplace: Veteran ERGs enrich workplace diversity and inclusion initiatives by highlighting the unique qualities and experiences veterans bring. It’s not just about ticking boxes; it’s about creating a dynamic and thriving work environment.

The Wacker VetNet Showcase: Elevating Support for Veterans

Enter Wacker Chemical Corporation’s VetNet— an exemplar of how organizations can turn their commitment into tangible support. VetNet is more than an acronym; it’s a strategic partner focused on veterans from all branches, both foreign and domestic. It’s a hub for networking, mentorship and mutual support—a community within a community.

Announced during the company’s 2023 Veterans Day programs, VetNet goes beyond awareness; it actively engages in community service, partnering with organizations supporting homeless veterans and contributing to various impactful projects.

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Wacker Chemical doesn’t just acknowledge its veteran employees; it elevates them through a structured and supportive system aligned with diversity, inclusion, and community engagement.

Capturing the Imagination: A Call to Veterans

As the prevalence of Veteran ERGs grows, there’s a vital need to raise awareness among veterans themselves. Imagine a workplace actively embracing and valuing your unique experiences and skills. Veterans aren’t just job candidates; they’re indispensable assets to any workplace.

In conclusion, the surge in Veteran ERGs isn’t merely a trend; it’s a cultural shift in workplaces. Organizations are sending a resounding message—they not only recognize but celebrate the contributions of veterans. For veterans, this awareness opens doors to workplaces that genuinely value their experiences and skills, fostering a win-win relationship for both veterans and the organizations that ardently support them.

About the Author:

Karla Walker served in the U.S. Navy from 1989 to 1993 and leads the veterans’ employee resource group, VetNet, at Wacker Chemical Corporation. Walker is executive assistant in the legal department at Wacker in Charleston, Tennessee where she has served for 9 years.

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

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 49
IN TRANSITION Transitioning out of the Military into the Civilian Workforce? www.HomelandMagazine.com


What is Your Marketing Strategy

Recently in a networking group a member was designated to be the speaker of the day. It was obvious that like many small business owners, this person was trying to be all things to all people. This helter-skelter method may have gotten him off the ground initially, but in this changing market he lost sight of where to find potential customers.

So let me ask you “what is your marketing strategy”? Have you created a laser sharp focus for sales and marketing efforts. I am talking about a foundation upon which you create all future materials, plans, messages and advertising so that you can stand out to your ideal customer.

In his book Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, Gino Wickman urges readers to look inside at their own experience and core focus. This commitment to one’s own core passion is the motivating source that keeps you and the business moving forward.

Now back to my headline question, one of the key components for a laser-sharp focus for your sales and marketing efforts is a complete marketing strategy. It may be the most important strategy in any business.

Before you can put all the elements into a strategy you must gather the “pieces parts”.

Many entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses by doing the work of the business from day to day, living fully in the present to keep the business going. But to create a business that’s future-ready and future-proof, you need to have future vision. Makes sense, right? That’s what you’re a good Marketing Strategy does. It’s a clear and vivid picture of how your business will look, act, feel and perform.

Your marketing strategy has four elements (1) The Target Market/”The List”; ( 2) Your Unique selling proposition (3 unique things that present how you stand out; (3) Your Proven Process (these are the several steps that guide your sales process); (4) The Guarantee, (some businesses find this difficult, find something that puts the customer’s mind at ease about working with you).

All of these components help you to follow your Vision, and values so you stay alive and alert to what you created. This enables you to be different and stand out to your ideal customer and helps you identify what you’re supposed to be doing for them and how you will do it. That means you can avoid trying to be all things to all people.

When you keep focused on building a business that works, it provides the motivation to say no to things that consume your time and helps you remember what’s important and why—so in every moment, you have direction and motivation to keep working forward.

Barbara Eldridge President/ Founder of Mind Masters an organization that provides business owners a proven, repeatable process that keeps the focus on the business of success. She can be reached at (858) 467-9091 or visit wwwmindmasters.com.

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

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

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

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

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 51 MILITARY TRANSITION SUPPORT ENROLL TODAY ON OUR WEBSITE: What is Zero8Hundred? How does it work? OUR FIVE PILLARS: Jobs & Employment -
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legal Eagle

Straight-forward legal tips for Military and Veteran Business Owners


Real estate asset protection is a strategy investors can use to protect their finances from unexpected blows, including lawsuits. While real estate can be a great asset to your portfolio, it does not come without risks. The biggest risk is the risk of a lawsuit.

If you are wondering how to protect property from creditors, creating a real estate asset protection strategy might be the solution you need. The best way to protect assets is to plan ahead. You want to structure your real estate assets in a way that hides ownership, minimizes equity, and protects your best interests.

Here are a few real estate asset protection strategies:


More likely than not, you probably have purchased real estate in your name, and you probably hold the title to that real estate in your name. This means if you are personally subject to a lawsuit, all of your assets, including the real estate will be open for grabs by creditors. By creating an LLC for each real estate asset to separate your liabilities will prevent legal troubles with one asset from interfering with another asset in your portfolio. It is equally important to consider which state to form the LLC in so you have the best legal protection available under law.


Carrying debt on your real estate assets through a mortgage or a loan can have its benefits.

By stripping equity in your real estate portfolio through borrowing against the portfolio could potentially deter third parties from suing and reduce the number of lawsuits you receive. A lawsuit might be more appealing to someone if you own a property outright without a mortgage or a loan. Getting rid of this equity and maintaining a 75% loan to value ratio reduces the funds available through your assets or LLC. You can also use the stripped equity to further your investments by purchasing other properties or land.


Creating or forming a management company to manage your real estate rental properties is a crucial part of asset protection. Even if you have a third party property management company managing your rentals, this third party property management company can enter into a contract with your management company whereby your management company will take on 100% of the liabilities, as and when they arise. Since your management company does not own any real estate, it can afford to be sued.


A landlord specific insurance policy protects you in the event one of your tenants is injured on the property. This could help you cover the associated costs of medical bills,lost wages, and legal/court fees, all of which could end up costing you hundreds and thousands of dollars, not to mention the loss of your real estate property. Landlord insurance is typically affordable, and this should be your place to start when creating a strategy for real estate asset protection.

"If you already have a portfolio of real estate assets, consider your protection strategy options before it’s too late. Asset protection for real estate investors is an important part of any strategy."
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A homestead exemption can help protect property by making it unavailable to creditors. The downside of a homestead is you are required to live on the property to qualify in most states. This might be an option if you inherit a fully paid off property that you intend to inhabit.

A comprehensive real estate asset protection plan that caters to you and your assets is the best option. Regardless of which strategy you choose to protect your real estate assets, it is imperative that you create a plan before investing, and especially before you rent your property out to tenants.

If you already have a portfolio of real estate assets, consider your protection strategy options before it’s too late. Asset protection for real estate investors is an important part of any strategy.

If you need help determining the best real estate asset protection strategies, we can help. Click link https://baglalaw.com/contact/ to schedule your consultation.

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 schedule your consultation here www.baglalaw.com/contact

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.

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 53 Legal Pearls! PEARLS OF WISDOM for Avoiding Business Litigation Award-winning attorney, Kelly Bagla shows you how to avoid legal pitfalls FROM DAY ONE! Legal Pearls! - The quick and easy guide for avoiding business litigation. Award-winning Attorney Kelly Bagla distills the legal information every business owner needs to know to avoid costly lawsuits and protect personal assets. Now every entrepreneur can apply the same legal steps and strategies used by top attorneys. • AVOID COSTLY BUSINESS LITIGATION • PROTECT YOUR HARD-EARNED ASSETS • BE READY WHEN LEGAL ISSUES ARISE NEW FROM KELLY BAGLA! Get your copy at amazon today! www.tinyurl.com/Legal-Pearls

Insurance Info & Risk Management Tips

Home Renovation Risks

With summertime just around the corner, some people may want to take advantage of the good weather to plan a home renovation project or remodel. For some, this might be a needed ‘fix-it’ list from the heavy rains this past winter and spring. Before you start any major or minor construction, it is important that you follow some basic risk management measures to ensure you don’t go over budget or create more of a problem for yourself.

Unless you are an experienced contractor, I would not suggest tackling any major renovation projects yourself. It is one thing to do some interior painting or handywork, but it is entirely a different monster to take on a major construction project if you do not have the background for this. First, you could cause a lot more damage and be liable (out of pocket) for it - most homeowner insurance policies will not pay out if you caused the damage yourself! Second, you will likely spend more money, time and physical strain in the long run and the stress of it all is just not worth it.

When you look for a Contractor, make sure to check their status on the state licensing board. In California, it is the Contractors State Licensing Board – www.cslb.ca.gov and most states have something similar to this. This will give you the Contractors status, list any bond infractions, show whether they have work comp insurance in place and more information. It may not show you whether they carry General Liability insurance though, and it is important for you to ask the contractor to provide you

with a current Certificate of Insurance, showing proof of this coverage, along with naming you (as Homeowner) as Additional Insured to their policy.

It is important to have the proper permits in place with the City. It is awful to start a project and then be shut down for weeks at a time while the permits are approved after the fact. It is also important to contact your Homeowners Insurance carrier to make sure the renovations are covered and to understand the impact of these renovations on your policy. Many times, a homeowner’s policy will put a temporary hold on your coverage until the project is complete. In this case, you will want to obtain a Builders Risk policy. Builders Risk is essentially coverage for the structure and building materials while the project is going on.

Some of the biggest problems that lead to expensive claims and legal disagreements, deal with budget and the approved work/design. Be diligent about having a comprehensive budget that carries at least a 10% contingency cost for unplanned increases and have the Contractor sign off on this. The Contractor should provide a detailed plan/rendering that you sign off on and any changes that are made need to be in writing and signed off by both parties. Take lots of pictures and videos of the before, during and after - so you have this for your records and save all receipts and correspondence between you and the contractor.

Thank you to all the serving military and veterans on Memorial Day and every day!

Please reach out to me at: www.hlinwood-insurance.com with any business insurance or risk management questions.

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WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 55 Become a certified IT professional in 15 weeks with no prior experience necessary! Talk to our friendly veterans admissions counselor today! • GI Bill & MyCAA Approved • Flexible Schedule • Online & In-person Hybrid Classes • Small Class Size • Hands-on Training • Lifelong Job Placement and Career Counseling • Technical Support Specialist • IT Support Technician • Network Administrator • Network Analyst • Systems Administrator Why ICOHS College? Career Outcomes: The median IT job salary in the US was about $88,000 last year. READY TO TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR CAREER? admissions@icohs.edu (858)581-9460 www.icohs.edu

Veterans Chamber of Commerce

The Power of Early Investing

In the world of finance, time is money. And when it comes to investing, few principles are as universally acknowledged as the benefits of starting early. Whether you're a seasoned investor or just dipping your toes into the market, understanding the profound advantages of early investing is crucial for building long-term wealth and financial security.

So, what exactly are the benefits of investing early, and why should you prioritize it? some key reasons:

1. Harnessing the Power of Compounding: This occurs when the interest earned on an investment generates additional interest over time. By investing early, you give your money more time to compound, allowing even modest investments to grow substantially over the long term.

2. Mitigating Risk Through Diversification: Diversification spreads your investments across different asset classes, industries, and geographic regions, reducing the impact of volatility on your overall portfolio. By starting early, you have more time to weather market fluctuations and benefit from the potential growth of various investment opportunities.

3. Building Financial Discipline: By committing to regular contributions to your investment portfolio, you prioritize long-term financial goals over short-term spending impulses. This discipline not only fosters responsible financial behavior but also sets the stage for future financial success.

4. Maximizing Long-Term Returns: By starting early, you can afford to adopt a long-term investment horizon, which allows you to ride out market downturns and capture the full potential of market upswings. Over extended periods, even small differences in annual returns can translate into significant disparities in wealth accumulation.

5. Securing Your Financial Future: Investing early lays the foundation for a secure financial future. Whether you're saving for retirement, a home purchase, education, or other long-term goals, starting early gives you a substantial head start. It provides the opportunity to accumulate wealth steadily over time, ensuring that you have the resources needed to achieve your aspirations and maintain financial independence.

6. Taking Advantage of Tax Benefits: Certain investment vehicles, such as retirement accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s, offer tax advantages that can further amplify the benefits of investing early. By contributing to these accounts early and consistently, you can leverage tax-deferred or tax-free growth opportunities, allowing your investments to compound more efficiently over time.

7. Enjoying Peace of Mind: Finally, investing early provides peace of mind knowing that you're taking proactive steps to secure your financial future. By building a robust investment portfolio early on, you create a safety net that can help protect you and your loved ones.

By harnessing the power of compounding, diversifying your portfolio, cultivating financial discipline, and prioritizing long-term goals, you can pave the way for a financially secure and prosperous future. So, seize the opportunity today and embark on your journey towards financial freedom. Your future self will thank you for it.

The National Veterans Chamber provides access to resource-partners who can help you design, create and/ or maintain a budget.

To contact us: veteransccsd@gmail.com

*Disclaimer: This is for informational purposes only and based solely on my personal experience. Make sure you contact a qualified Attorney to actually create living trust for your family.

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WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 57 HOUSING FOR HEROES The American Dream Project VA HOMES MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE FREE HOME BUYING CLASS FREE RESOURCES VA HOMES EXPERTS 1. Home pricing No down/ No PMI are great advantages for Veterans 2. Help with Mortgage Payments? Yes, we help Families work together to purchase a home 3. How can I make Money with my purchase? Your property can make extra cash by renting to fellow Veterans Rent is paid by the VA Problems / Solutions Cell : 949-295-4300 BULLOCK.RE.BROKEROFFICE@GMAIL.COM Why we do this We believe each Military/Veteran Family should own their Own Home
58 WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 ENROLL NOW AT WFW.ORG Workshops for Warriors is a nonprofit school that provides veterans and transitioning service members with hands-on training and nationallyrecognized credentials in CNC machining, CAD/CAM programming, and welding. Our students earn credentials that open doors to jobs anywhere in the U.S. Call us at (619) 550-1620. CAD/CAM Programming CNC Machining Welding DoD SkillBridge Organization BEFORE SERVED HONORABLY. AFTER EARNED A CAREER IN JUST 4 MONTHS.


Our sports managements program supports professionals striving to become leaders in the exciting athletics field. Enrolled students can complete coursework entirely online while receiving guidance from high level coaches, retired pros, and sports industry experts.

WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 59
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Opportunities in Law Enforcement

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.

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You’ve served your country, now serve your community!
www.rva.gov/police/personnel www.rva.gov/police/personnel
WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 61 Veterans! Join Our Team CHANGE Be the SFPD Salary $103,116 - $147,628 TEXT “JoinSFPD” to (415) 704-3688 www.JoinSFPD.com

From Navy Sailor to San Francisco Police Officer

Changing careers can be exciting, exhilarating, and filled with trepidation. Meet Officer Cindy Ovares who has made the transition numerous times – from active-duty service member, to student, massage therapist, teacher, and now police officer.

The life experience she gained in those previous longterm jobs set her up to be successful today. She is doing what she’s always wanted to do – have a career that is challenging and rewarding.

Cindy was like many seniors in high school as she contemplated what she would do after graduation. When the Navy recruiter called the house looking for her brother, the recruiter instead got an eager, independent 17-year-old woman who wanted to find adventure. Just a few months later, she was off to “see the world” and start her first career.

As an Aviation Machinist’s Mate, Petty Officer Ovares was a jet engine mechanic. It was a male-dominated job, and she wanted to prove that anything a man could do, she could do better. She attended military schools in Florida and Virginia to learn her trade, and was later stationed in Lemoore, California. She was attached to VFA-22, an F/A-18 Super Hornet squadron, that deployed on ships. After serving four years on active duty, she earned Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits, and chose to leave the Navy to attend college.

After completing her bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and being a fluent Spanish speaker, she was hired to be a high school Spanish teacher. The job was gratifying; but also, under resourced, understaffed, and had little room to grow professionally. She wanted something new and challenging, was drawn to the community where she grew up, so, in her late 30s she applied to be a police officer.

“Being able to talk to people, figure out what they are going through, and what they need is a huge portion of the job. I enjoy interacting with the public, and engaging in what I call verbal judo.”
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- Officer Cindy Ovares

Officer Ovares was accepted to the San Francisco Police Academy and has been an officer for the last three years. She is a foot patrol officer working in the Tenderloin District – a 50-block area that has a storied history, and has been known for homelessness, drugs, and crime.

“Being able to talk to people, figure out what they are going through, and what they need is a huge portion of the job. I enjoy interacting with the public, and engaging in what I call verbal judo,” said Officer Ovares.

For Officer Ovares, the parallels between serving in the military and serving in law enforcement made the transition go smoothly:

• Routine – You know what to expect before your shift begins (what time to report, what uniform to wear, the structure of the day).

• Camaraderie – The bond between fellow officers is like the bond between your fellow military brothers and sisters.

• Variety – Every day is different with different assignments and duties, so the job is never boring.

• Benefits – Include a competitive salary, paid vacation days, floating holidays, and sick days, healthcare, retirement, and special pay for certain assignments and being bilingual.

As a Latina giving back to her community, she admits that the job comes with highs and lows. Officer Ovares recommends a career in law enforcement for those military members looking to make a smooth transition to a new chapter.

To learn more about the San Francisco Police Department, or to connect with recruiter, go to: www.sanfranciscopolice.org/your-sfpd/careers

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SDPD Ride Along: A Story of Two Marines

When I asked to go on a ride along with the San Diego Police Department, making a special request for any veterans-turned-cops, I expected a really serious, possibly dangerous, afternoon of shadowing our city’s toughest crime fighters.

What I got was an afternoon of heartfelt service to our San Diego community, honorable humility and a lot of respect.

When I asked whether former Marine Sergeant Major, Mark Wright, and his partner, former Marine Staff Sergeant, Sean Bunch, had rank or titles he said their titles were just San Diego police officers. They are relatively new partners, but act like they’ve known each other for years, which is usually the case when you get Marines together.

Wright is a newer addition to the force, coming on board two years ago, with Bunch only having two years left.

Currently, these brothers-in-arms spend their days patrolling the entirety of Balboa Park.

Although neither men are taking fire or kicking in the enemy’s door on this beat, like during their time in Iraq or Afghanistan, they still work hard to serve their local community. Service which can range from tracking down criminals to answering questions from lost pedestrians, to giving out stickers to kids and never backing down from a chance to turn on those flashing red and blues just to make one of them smile.

Most of our particular day was cruising around beautiful Balboa Park running car tags to see if they were current, from cars not displaying proper plates and placards to those double parked. Bunch says they often catch parole violators or even stolen cars doing just this. I was struck as I watched both officers go out of their way to look in and around vehicles to find plates or disability placards not displayed correctly so as to avoid issuing superfluous tickets.

“We try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt,” said Wright. “We’re not out to get anybody.”

Although, both officers confirm that enforcing even the most basic of park rules can yield large payoffs. During a recent patrol Bunch spotted an individual smoking in the park, which is illegal. As he circled back round, the individual turned and rapidly tried to walk away, which activated immediate suspicion. He was detained and came back with a warrant for numerous kidnapping and child molestation charges.

Both men say a lot of what they do is talk with museum owners and those living in the neighborhoods surrounding the park about their concerns. A shared concern by all is the park’s homeless population.

Bunch says their posture towards the homeless is mostly that of assistance, adding there are many resources available for those who would take them.

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Officer Sean Bunch Officer Mark Wright

The city spends a lot of money on resources,” said Bunch. “The biggest problem we run into is whether or not the [homeless] people want them, and a lot of them don’t.”

Thus, the men tend to run into the same issues with the same people pretty often. Although frustrating, they have learned that respect goes a long way when challenged with these repeat offenders. Bunch recalls spotting one such offender in the park, who was in violation of his parole and wanted on warrant. He was unable to get to the offender immediately, but still apprehended him with a verbal request. The parolee waited patiently to be hand-cuffed and arrested, simply out of the respect he held for the law man.

“Being respectful of everyone despite their lot in life goes a long way in this job,” said Wright.

Both men say a huge part of their work is being able to connect and communicate with the myriad of people they meet daily.

Bunch says he feels he and Wright are lucky to come to the force later in life, given it means they have a wider frame of reference for those they meet and serve daily. “We deal with people who are going through all kinds of things in life,” said Bunch. “And it’s helpful to be able to say, ‘hey I know what you are going through, I’ve been there.”

As the day progressed, I realized that both gentlemen definitely had a long list of tough and unique life experiences to pull from. Both proudly served the United States Marines for years, traveling to war and all over the world, experiences that yield much wisdom as well as many a story.

Bunch, for instance, did not come to the force straight from the Marines, but from Hollywood. Surprisingly, he is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, working as a military advisor on various productions, like Lonestar 911, and appearing in some as well, such as one of the most recent Men in Black movies.

“I grew up outside of LA,” said Bunch. “So, I’ve always just kind of been around the business and found a place for myself there with all my military experience.”

Bunch hopes to return to work in Hollywood after he leaves the force, bringing with him a new level of experience and respect.

Wright, who retired from the Marines as a Sergeant Major never worked in Hollywood, but he does have plenty of stories about being a proud grandfather, father and new amputee. When I entered the Central Division Station and met him, he said he was just getting back to work after some time off after losing his leg.

Wright remained unscathed during his over-20-years in service, overseas deployments and endless combat train ups. It wasn’t until after service that he lost his leg in a motorcycle accident late one foggy night a little over a year ago. Wright says it had been an eventful second watch and he was leaving the station about 2 AM on his motorcycle when it happened.

“It was only about two minutes from work,” said Wright. “I was coming around a curve and entered into what I thought was fog, and as I’m entering, I see a headlight and side mirror in my lane.”

That headlight and mirror became an entire car that was blocking Wright’s entire side of the road.

“I was a heuy crew chief in the Marines and reverted to my training from that, grabbed my shoulders, braced for impact and went flying like a human lawn dart over my handlebars,” said Wright.

Wright landed in the ditch on the side of the road. He says he realized immediately that he had a back and leg issue. He learned that a bystander had called 911, but he requested they call back and state that the injured motorcycle rider was a policeman with the San Diego Police Department and expedite services. This one request would become pivotal in saving Wright’s life.

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WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 65

“What I didn’t know at that time was that I had severed two arteries in my leg, and I was bleeding out,” said Wright.

What Wright would learn later is his heel had also been torn off on the wrecked car as he sailed past it into the ditch. After much pain and many surgeries, Wright would finally lose his leg from the knee down. says he doesn’t let it get him down, though. He’s proud to continue to serve as one of our city’s finest.

Both he and Bunch take much pride in their time as Marines and as San Diego Police Officers. Each officer comes from strong military stock, with Wright’s grandfather being a World War II veteran and Prisoner of War and Bunch’s father a decorated veteran of Vietnam.

All in all, this Army vet’s afternoon with two Marines was an impressive one. Both seasoned public servants, these honorable men have discovered you must give respect to get it, that violence is often not the answer and the most important thing to keep in mind along the way, is a good, human dose of empathy.


For more information visit www.joinSDPDnow.com or email us at SDPDrecruiting@pd.sandiego.gov

66 WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 SDPD Ride
Officer Sean Bunch - Amber Robinson (Homeland Magazine) - Officer Mark Wright
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68 WWW.HomelandMagazine.com / May 2024 www.dallaspolice.net
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