Homeland Veterans Magazine March 2017

Page 1


Resources Support Inspiration

Vol. 4 Number 3 • March 2017

Military Service Spawns Careers in Law Enforcement and Life of Service 2017 Military Child of the Year® Award Marine Veteran’s Transition Desire to Lead, Resolve to Persevere USO San Diego Supports The Marine Corps Trials DAV encouraging veterans, public to “pay it forward” Finding a Value College to Complete Your College Degree

HOMELAND / March 2017 1


HOMELAND / March 2017

Research Opportunities

VETERANS: WE NEED YOU VA San Diego Healthcare System and Veterans Medical Research Foundation are looking for participants for human subject research studies on Veterans health issues. Findings will help provide better treatments for Veterans and the general population. • We are one of the largest VA research programs in the nation • We employ the most advanced research technologies • We employ some of the best, talented and world renowned researchers in the country • We conduct approximately 400 human subject studies annually

Sign up for a research study TODAY!

Some studies provide medical care and/or reimbursement for participation.

Check out our current list of research opportunities.

Visit: www.sandiego.va.gov/studies.asp and www.vmrf.org/studies.html www.homelandmagazine.com

HOMELAND / March 2017 3



Greetings and a warm welcome to HOMELAND Magazine! Please take some time to get to know the layout of our magazine. Homeland Magazine focuses on real stories from real heroes; the service member, the veteran, the wounded and the families that keep it together. Our magazine is driven by passion, vision, reflection and the future. The content is the driving force behind our magazine and the connection it makes with service members, families, veterans and civilians. Homeland is about standing your ground, resilience, adaptation, inspiration and solidarity. HOMELAND is inspirational, “feel good” reading; our focus is on veterans, military and civilians alike. I believe HOMELAND is where the heart is, and our publication covers a wide variety of topics, and issues about real life and real stories. We are honored to share the work of so many committed and thoughtful people.

Publisher Editor-In-Chief Mike Miller Contributing Writers CJ Machado Vicki Garcia Wounded Warrior Project Vesta Anderson John Roberts R4 Alliance Jenni Riley National Veterans Transition Services Sara Wacker Disabled American Veterans Steven Wilson Shelter to Soldier Eva M. Stimson Boot Campaign Barry Smith USO Sharon Smith USAA Chad Storlie Craig Zabojnik Operation Homefront Stephen Thomas USS Midway Scott McGaugh Public Relations CJ Machado Thomas McBrien Graphic Design Trevor Watson

Homeland Magazine is published monthly. Submissions of photographs, Illustrations, drawings, and manuscripts are considered unsolicited materials and the publisher assumes no responsibility for the said items. All rights reserved.

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

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

With warmest thanks, Mike Miller, Publisher

858.275-4281 Contact Homeland Magazine at: info@homelandmagazine.com


HOMELAND / March 2017

inside this issue

6 USO San Diego Supports The Marine Corps Trials 8 Seven Outstanding Youth Receive Operation Homefront 2017 Military Child of the Year® Award 12 Marine Veteran’s Transition Leads Him to Wounded Warrior Project - Desire to Lead, Resolve to Persevere


19 DAV encouraging veterans, public to “pay it forward” 21 Shelter to Soldier Medical Fund Supplements Healing of Adopted Shelter Dogs 26 24 Military Service Spawns Careers in Law Enforcement and Life of Service


32 Enlisted To Entrepreneur Start Up: From Idea to Launch 34 9 Ways to Execute Your Post-Military Career Search and Transition 37 A Letter to Myself - How to Have a More Successful Military to Civilian Transition 38 Finding a Value College to Complete Your College Degree


41 Women Veterans Alliance Unconference “Nourish Your Soul”


I saw a man about a horse and it changed how I feel about myself


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USO San Diego Supports The Marine Corps Trials

March 4 through March 15, 2017 at Camp Pendleton, California


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As USO San Diego celebrates its 76th year, the organization continues to inspire with its programs and services. This past year alone, USO San Diego served more than 260,000 military members and their families in many ways. One of our passionate involvements is serving as the lead nonprofit organization which is considered as one of the signature annual event for the Wounded Warrior Regiment. The Marine Corps Trials, which take place from March 4 through March 15, 2017 at Camp Pendleton, California, feature the same Paralympic sports as the National Warrior Games: wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, swimming, recumbent cycling, shooting, archery, track and field. The training and competition is fierce during the Marine Corps Trials, with athletes vying for top placement in individual and team sports. Participants in the trials include wounded, ill and injured Marines and Navy Corpsmen, medically retired Marine veterans, and international service members. USO San Diego supports the games by refueling the competitors throughout each day of the training and competition with healthy snacks, fresh fruit, bottled water and sports drinks served by many enthusiastic volunteers cheering them on at each event. Additionally, USO San Diego provides reception services when participants arrive at Lindbergh Field, over 1,600 full meals and thousands of snacks during the event, sunscreen, lip balm and an unforgettable American experience for our allied service members. Thank you to the following 2017 Marine Corps Trials sponsors: Walter J. and Betty C. Zable, Semper Fi Fund, Deloitte, Grand Hyatt, Coast Produce, North County Corvette Club, Tri-City

Medical Center, MOPAR Club of San Diego, Little Italy Association, Sea Breeze Shuttle, Advanced Shuttle, Coca-Cola Refreshments, Boingo Wireless, Camp Pendleton Commissary, COOLA Suncare, The Office of County Supervisor Bill Horn, and USO San Diego Facebook Fans, Leidos, Dana Point 5th Marine, SAIC, Knights of Columbus, Genentech, and Pioneer Services. USO San Diego also serves as a devoted supporter of Families of the Fallen. The organization helps coordinate dignified transfers at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware – the first stop on American soil for those U.S. Troops who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country. In addition, every Tuesday, USO San Diego and the Neil Ash Airport Center host a dinner for military members and their families. Thursday night programs happen once or twice a month at both Centers and are focused on a unit’s families, often during a deployment. In partnership with Feeding America, USO San Diego has a mobile food pantry twice monthly for up to 200 military families. “USO San Diego provides respite and comfort to grieving San Diego families who are traveling to and from Dover and offers families travel assistance and supports the families’ onsite needs,” said Nelson. “Our commitment to support troops and their families through every part of their service remains strong during these difficult times.” In addition, last year USO San Diego launched The Norris Support Center for Military Families to help meet the comprehensive health and well-being needs of our service members and their families. The Norris Center offers a wide continuum of support programs for active duty, National Guard, Reserve personnel and their families to provide family strengthening and resiliency.



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Seven Outstanding Youth Receive Operation Homefront 2017 Military Child of the Year® Award Each award recipient will receive $10,000 and will be flown with a parent or guardian to Washington, D.C., for a special recognition gala on April 6. Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit serving America’s military families, today announced the seven recipients of the coveted 2017 Military Child of the Year® Award. Six recipients earned the award based on the armed forces branch in which a parent either serves or has served — Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and the National Guard. Additionally, one recipient earned the Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation presented by Booz Allen Hamilton. The 2017 Military Child of the Year® Award recipients are as follows: Army: Henderson Heussner, 18, Fort Myers, Fla., Estero High School Navy: Alexander McGrath, 17, Severna Park, Md., Severna Park Senior High School Marine Corps: Jackson Beatty, 18, Camp Lejeune, N.C., Lejeune High School Air Force: Jamal Braxton, 18, Hill AFB, Utah, Northridge High School Coast Guard: Mary Kate Cooper, 17, Fairfax, Va., W.T. Woodson High School National Guard: Molly Frey, 16, Pickerington, Ohio, Pickerington High School North Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation: Sophie Bernstein, 17, St. Louis, Mo., Navy, Clayton High School Profiles of the recipients follow. “These seven award recipients are truly exceptional young people who have achieved much at such a young age in terms of academic achievement and service to others. They are remarkable representatives of a larger community of extraordinary military kids,” said Brig. Gen. (ret.) John I. Pray Jr., president and CEO of Operation Homefront. “The nearly 400 nominees we had for our ninth annual Military Child of the Year® Awards all personified resiliency, leadership, achievement, and strength of character. Their families and their communities can be justifiably proud of each of them – and we are too.” Each award recipient will receive $10,000 and will be flown with a parent or guardian to Washington, D.C., for a special recognition gala on April 6, during which senior military leaders will present the awards. United Technologies Corporation is the presenting sponsor for the 2017 Military Child of the Year® Awards Gala. Other gala sponsors are Booz Allen Hamilton, Murphy-Goode Winery, La Quinta Inns & Suites, MidAtlanticBroadband, and the Military Times. The six Military Child of the Year® Award recipients are selected based on their scholarship, volunteerism, leadership, and extracurricular involvement. The Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation presented by Booz Allen Hamilton is awarded to the child who best demonstrates the power of innovative thinking. Examples include a new invention, improvement to existing technology, or creation of a new nonprofit. In addition to the $10,000 cash award, the Innovation award recipient will receive a mentorship by Booz Allen Hamilton employees to scale or to advance the recipient’s project. 8

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About the Recipients Henderson Heussner, Army Military Child of the Year® Award Henderson’s family moved to Florida from Colorado as his father was deployed to Afghanistan and as the family was caring for Henderson’s terminally ill grandfather. Henderson, recipient of the Army Military Child of the Year® Award, shouldered the emotional burden and set a leadershipby-example standard for his peers. A student-athlete and member of the Estero High School varsity baseball team – who worked tirelessly to rebuild his strength after he suffered two broken vertebrae during his sophomore year – Henderson spent many hours alone in the batting cage in August 2016 in the sweltering Florida heat. He was not alone for long because he led one teammate after another to join him in putting forth the same spare-time voluntary pursuit of excellence. That is but one example of Henderson’s leadership and can-do spirit. Henderson also devoted 240 volunteer hours in the year leading up to his nomination as a tutor and mentor for at-risk children and teens at the nonprofit New Horizons of Southwest Florida. Henderson, a onetime American Legion Boys State delegate and West Point Summer Leadership Experience participant, also served multiple terms as class president and as Student Government president. He has spent hundreds of hours as a youth group leader, Sports Camp counselor and Sunday School teacher at Summit Church.

Alexander McGrath, Navy Military Child of the Year® Award Alexander McGrath, the 2017 Military Child of the Year® Award recipient, in addition to spending time with his friends, spends some of his spare time reading U.S. Supreme Court opinions as well as books about the U.S. Constitution. It is a fitting activity for this 17-year-old Severna Park Senior High School senior, who has established a laudable track record of influencing public policy in the state of Maryland. As first vice president of the Chesapeake Regional Association of Student Councils, which represents more than 80,000 county students at all levels of government, Alexander organized 700 students to lobby in favor of three education reform bills that would come before the Maryland General Assembly, which is the name of Maryland’s state legislature. He instructed his peers on the legislative process and on the effective use of talking points. He also arranged meetings between the hundreds of public www.homelandmagazine.com

school students and state lawmakers. Ultimately, all three bills got to committee and two became law. Alexander has long advocated on behalf of students from military families as well, personally bringing the needs of military children, notably those needs protected under the Interstate Military Compact, to the forefront of the Maryland State Board of Education’s attention.

Jackson Beatty, Marine Corps Military Child of the Year® Award Jackson Beatty is an 18-year-old senior at Lejeune High School and recipient of the 2017 Marine Corps Military Child of the Year® Award. He began studying Kenpo karate at the age of 4 and achieved his black belt at 16. He has served as captain of the high school wrestling team. He competed at the 2017 North Carolina State Wrestling Championships and placed third in the 1A 106-pound weight class. He has qualified for the State Championship for the last three years and that was his best finish. He has been captain of the Marching Band drumline. He has a near-perfect GPA and has an outstanding track record of volunteerism, thusly giving back to the community, especially to children. Jackson has achieved these milestones through his skeletal dysplasia, a condition which hampers the growth and development of bones and joints. Working in conjunction with the Semper Fi Fund, which serves the children of wounded warriors, Jackson has been a mentor to other students participating in the Outdoor Odyssey Leadership Academy. Jackson is a Lejeune High School Band Booster, raising money for competition and band necessities. Jackson teaches karate to children in his spare time at Wright’s Mixed Martial Arts.

Jamal Braxton, Air Force Military Child of the Year® Award Varsity swimming. Varsity cross country. Varsity outdoor track and field. Jamal Braxton, the Air Force 2017 Military Child of the Year® Award recipient and future United States Air Force Academy Class of 2021 cadet, has been an achiever in them all; nevertheless, this 18-year-old senior at Northridge High School in Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is distinguished, above all, by his selfless service to others. Jamal fills numerous leadership positions at the Red Cross, including Northern Utah Youth Co-Chair for Services to Armed Forces, Northern Utah Youth Co-Chair for International Services, Student Staff for Red Cross Leadership Development Camp, Member for the American Red Cross of Northern Utah Board of Directors, and the Northern Utah Youth Co-President. HOMELAND / March 2017 9

In these capacities, Jamal oversees monthly veteran house visits, youth group and leadership group meetings, numerous activities related to the armed forces, the recruitment of future Red Cross Youth Services leaders, and numerous fundraisers, including the International Measles & Rubella initiative fundraiser. He also educates youth on International Humanitarian Law. Serving military families abroad as well as domestically, Jamal earned the Commander’s Leadership Award from the 52nd Fighter Wing Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, in 2013 and in 2014. Jamal in the U.S. and overseas has been a champion for the nonprofit New Eyes for the Needy.

Molly Frey, National Guard Military Child of the Year® Award Although only 16, Molly Frey is a senior at Pickerington High School North in Pickerington, Ohio, and recipient of the 2017 National Guard Military Child of the Year® Award. She has been accepted to Capital University, where she will major in biology, with an emphasis on pre-med, and will play golf for the Capital Crusaders. For her academic excellence, Molly received a letter from President Barack Obama that read, in part, “Students like you will chart the course of our country’s unwritten history...” As a figure skater, dedicated to causes that benefit the troops, Molly and her coach in 2012 created the inaugural and annual figure skating show Tribute to the Troops, a program to honor the military and to collect donated items to send to deployed service members. She also raised funds and participated for five years in Skate for Hope, accumulating more than $6,000 for Breast Cancer research. Beyond the arts, Molly has served in the leadership group Students Serving Students, which is designed to improve character, bolster school climate, and organize events.

Mary Kate Cooper, Coast Guard Military Child of the Year® Award Mary Kate Cooper, the 2017 Coast Guard Military Child of the Year® Award recipient, is a 17-year-old junior at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, Va. A triple threat, Mary Kate is a scholar who is taking AP Calculus B/C as a junior and has a weighted 4.7 GPA. She is a star multi-sport athlete of national and international acclaim and a community activist who has devoted countless volunteer hours to the betterment of her peers and to strengthening a broader understanding of those with disabilities. That description does not even scratch the 10

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surface of Mary Kate’s life, which is practically the definition of resiliency. Mary Kate is a below-the-knee amputee from birth who has only known life with a prosthetic leg. She has transitioned from playing recreational soccer against able-bodied kids to competing at the highest level in Paralympic sports. In addition to earning All-American High School status in Track and Field from the U.S. Paralympics Track & Field Olympic Committee, Mary has become a top swimmer, competing on the international level in the CanAm Swimming Open. Mary Kate was one of the few athletes to qualify for the U.S. Paralympic Trials in more than one sport. While Mary Kate did not earn a spot on Team USA last year, in her best swimming event, she ranked 36th in the world.

Sophie Bernstein, Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation Recipient of the 2017 Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation, Sophie Bernstein, a 17-year-old junior at Clayton High School in St. Louis, is passionate about food and about social justice. Sophie’s twin passions propelled her award-winning Innovation. Committed to improving the health of her community, Sophie has built, planted, maintained and harvested 22 raised vegetable gardens at low-income daycare centers and shelters in the St. Louis area. Sophie’s innovation has raised awareness of childhood hunger in the community, and it has increased the volume of fresh and healthy produce available at food banks and at child care facilities. Sophie had donated more than 13,570 pounds of produce to local food banks and to families in need by the time she was nominated for the award in the fall of 2016. Sophie’s project has been a handson learning lab for children as she has led 225 science technology engineering and math (STEM) botany and plant science workshops for young children throughout the year. In the process, students at low-income pre-schools are engaged in building, planting and maintaining produce gardens.

More information about the Military Child of the Year® Awards is available at http://www.militarychildoftheyear.org. About Operation Homefront: A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront builds strong, stable, and secure military families so that they can thrive in the communities they have worked so hard to protect. For more information, go to http://www.OperationHomefront.net. www.homelandmagazine.com

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Art by Iwo Jima artwork © Joe Everson 12

HOMELAND / March 2017


Marine Veteran’s Transition Leads Him to Wounded Warrior Project Desire to Lead, Resolve to Persevere


hen Bradley Thomas joined the military, he knew he was in it for the long haul. So when an improvised explosive device (IED) put an end to his career, he said he was not quite ready for the transition to civilian life. Racked with the physical and emotional pain of a war he was not yet ready to stop fighting, Bradley found himself in a desolate place. But he said Wounded Warrior ProjectÂŽ (WWP) was the hand that pulled him from the darkness and placed him on the road back to a life he could live on his own terms. Through his healing, he discovered he had not lost his ability to lead and inspire his brothers- and sisters-in-arms. Today, he continues to do so as a WWP staff member.


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to a group of troubled Marines. He found exiting in that way to be humbling and therapeutic. He knew whatever career awaited him in the civilian world would scarcely compare to military life, but it was not until he hung up his uniform that he realized how much the transition would affect him.

Hazy Futures Beyond Service “Post-traumatic stress disorder was my main issue, but not while I was still in the service,” Bradley said. “While I was in, the main problem was my back, and I just couldn’t overcome it. But when I was separated and lost that leadership role, all of the signs and symptoms flooded in overwhelmingly.” Bradley could tell within weeks he was falling into a dark place – and the problem was easy to pinpoint.

Traditional Beginnings “Mine was a pretty typical American military story,” Bradley said. “My dad had been in the Navy for 24 years. Even in high school, I knew that I was more than likely going into the military. It was just a matter of deciding which branch.” Bradley’s decision to join the Marine Corps was influenced largely by his older brother, who joined the Marines at 18. “I saw a lot of positive changes in him,” he said. “He had a whole new level of dedication to this service, and I wanted to follow in his footsteps.” Bradley enlisted in the Marine Corps with the intention of staying in until retirement. Even after the 2011 IED that left him with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and severe back problems, he stayed determined to see his mission through. Instead of joining the Warrior Transition Battalion, he was given a platoon of 35 – a situation he likened to Clint Eastwood’s role as Gunny Highway in the movie “Heartbreak Ridge.” “It was mainly an administrative role, which dealt with lots of conflict resolution, to say it professionally,” Bradley said with a laugh. “It was a gang of troubled guys I had the privilege of leading and instilling in them some solid traits. It was truly an amazing way to end my military career.” Though Bradley spent years trying to overcome his physical injuries to stay on active duty, a medical evaluation board retired him in April of 2016. The situation was not ideal, but he took comfort in knowing his final job had given guidance and leadership 14

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“I had been at one of the highest places I could be at my rank of sergeant; I’d had 35 guys who looked to me for answers,” he said. “I was the knowledgeable guy; I was their leader. You go from being the go-to guy to nothing overnight. There’s no easing into it. One day you’re just a nobody, and nobody relies on you.” But there were people still relying on Bradley – his wife and two children. Bogged down by his physical and mental issues, he chose isolation over cooperation. The rift he created between himself and the people around him became detrimental to his home and family life. “I didn’t want my wife to know the things I was going through at the time, so I never explained it to her,” Bradley said. “I never asked her for help. And that ultimately led to our divorce. I felt so secluded and so different that I decided it was best for me just to move away. So I separated myself from my family completely and moved from North Carolina to Georgia.”

A Resolve to Heal Moving into his parents’ Kings Bay home, Bradley resolved to put himself back together. He contacted his local Department www.homelandmagazine.com

of Veterans Affairs to make plans for back surgery, and he signed up for mental health services.

and attended a few connection events, the first being a Jacksonville Jaguars game.

“I never attempted suicide,” he said. “But when you start to even consider it as you’re weighing your options, there is a serious issue to be dealt with.”

“I had some interaction with other warriors, but at that point, I still didn’t really understand what Wounded Warrior Project was,” he said. “I was that guy on the outside going ‘what do they do?’ I knew they had these events, which were cool, but that was all.”

Still, there was something missing in his blueprint for recovery. When he left North Carolina, he separated himself from his veteran friends. The lack of connection left a void in the new life he was trying to build for himself. “I wanted veteran-to-veteran peer support,” he said. “I wanted to see guys who had gone through what I had and came out thriving. I needed to talk to them and see what the secret was – the secret to being healed. So I reached out to Wounded Warrior Project. I had heard about them a lot while I was on active duty, and I contacted them after seeing an ad for the organization online.” Bradley registered on the WWP website


back out whenever a company made him an offer. His preemptive disappointment in civilian opportunities that didn’t parallel his military career was sabotaging his future. After applying for the Warriors to Work program, a WWP staff member worked with him to gain a new perspective. “She really drew the picture for me, explaining how my military skills could be translated to the civilian world,” Bradley said. “She helped me rewrite my resume and walked me through the networking process.”

During an offshore fishing excursion to Orange Beach, Alabama, Bradley began to learn about WWP programs and services that empower injured veterans as they are healing.

One day, the WWP staff member assisting Bradley in his career search informed him that a position opened up that matched his skill set perfectly. The position was with Wounded Warrior Project.

“The staff were telling us about some programs, and the one that spoke volumes to me was Warriors to Work®,” he said. “I knew getting back to work and finding a sense of purpose and dedication would help me – but those things are unmatched in the military.”

“I remember hearing that and thinking there was no way it was going to happen,” Bradley said. “It seemed too good to be true. But a few months down the road, I got the job.”

Before reaching out to WWP, Bradley applied for jobs and found a reason to

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Empowered to Serve Today, Bradley uses the dedication and leadership skills he honed in the Marine Corps to serve injured veterans on their paths to recovery. As a warrior coordinator, he provides helpline assistance, referral services, and outreach to wounded warriors and their family members. In doing so, he finds a sense of fulfillment in his work that brings him back to his days of leading a wayward platoon. “To say it’s a boost of confidence would be an understatement,” he said. “My skills are being used to help an organization that serves the community I have been passionate about since I was a kid. It has helped me make huge strides in my mental health. Even physically, I feel 10 times better than I did before I started working here.” He measures his job not in paychecks, but number of impacts. “Every single day I come to work, and I leave knowing that I’ve changed at least one person’s life,” he said. “That for me is a lifelong blessing, and I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else. If it weren’t for Wounded Warrior Project, I would probably still be sitting at home making excuses as to why I can’t accept job offers.” The progress Bradley has made in his professional life has carried over into his personal life. He has moved into his own home, which he shares with his son. After improving his relationship with his ex-wife, she and their daughter will soon move to Georgia so the family can be closer together. He “100-percent” attributes his new sense of direction to Wounded Warrior Project, and he encourages fellow veterans to reach out to the organization. “Stop being a tough guy – that’s what it boils down to,” he said. “It’s easy to sit at home and pity yourself and ignore the issues. It’s easy to point fingers and blame everyone else for what you’re going through. A real tough guy picks up a phone and says ‘hey, I know I have a problem. I know I need help and I am

ready to deal with this.’ Getting reconnected to the community and finding a purpose did worlds of good for my mental health. You can have that help too; you never know what’s available until you ask.”

Today, Bradley uses the dedication and leadership skills he honed in the Marine Corps to serve injured veterans on their paths to recovery. As a warrior coordinator, he provides helpline assistance, referral services, and outreach to wounded warriors and their family members. In doing so, he finds a sense of fulfillment in his work that brings him back to his days of leading a wayward platoon.

About Wounded Warrior Project The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. The WWP purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To learn more about WWP and Warrior Care Network™, visit woundedwarriorproject.org. (Photos courtesy WWP) 16

HOMELAND / February March 2017 2017


Wounded Warrior Project helped me reclaim my life.





©2016 Wounded Warrior Project, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

HOMELAND / February March 2017 2017 17 17

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HOMELAND / March 2017


DAV to launch month-long volunteer challenge encouraging veterans, public to ‘pay it forward’


his coming March, DAV will host the Forward March campaign—a volunteer initiative aimed at encouraging all those who have received DAV’s assistance or who have benefited from veterans sacrifices to “pay it forward” by giving one hour of service through DAV’s Local Veterans Assistance Program (LVAP).

“Through this initiative, the options for volunteers to provide direct assistance to veterans and their families are virtually limitless ... any task that helps improve a veteran’s life.” —John Kleindienst, National Voluntary Services Director

“We know a lot of veterans we’ve helped want to give back, but they might not know how,” said National Voluntary Services Director John Kleindienst. “Through this initiative, the options for volunteers to provide direct assistance to veterans and their families are virtually limitless. You can perform yard work, help run errands, set up a computer system, clean out the gutters, shovel snow from a sidewalk, assist with cooking or cleaning— any task that helps improve a veteran’s life.” Forward March will encourage people to support


veterans through the program and encourage others to participate through their social networks. Participating volunteers will receive incentive awards for their parti­ cipation. All Forward March volunteers will receive a thank you gift from DAV upon the submission of their LVAP form. “One of our goals with the Forward March campaign is to make it easier than ever to get involved and volunteer, linking volunteers to LVAP opportunities and inspiring individuals to create their own opportunities based on the unique needs of the veterans in their communities,” said DAV National Headquarters Executive Director Barry Jesinoski. For Forward March participants, reporting volunteer hours is key to ensuring service work does not go unnoticed and that volunteers get the credit they deserve. “One hour is very manageable for most people and when we all give a little, it pays off big for veterans,” said DAV National Commander Dave Riley. “If you have ever received assistance from DAV or recognize the freedom and prosperity we enjoy through the sacrifices of those who’ve served, now is the time to help—now is the time to Forward March.”

Learn More Online To submit your LVAP Information Forms (Form 21) and LVAP Report Forms (Form 60), visit www.dav.org/forwardmarch. You may also email them to VAVS@dav.org, fax them to 859­442­2088, or mail them to DAV National Headquarters, 3725 Alexandria Pike, Cold Spring, KY 41076 ATTN: VS Service.

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HOMELAND / March 2017

Shelter to Soldier Medical Fund Supplements Healing of Adopted Shelter Dogs


efore a shelter dog can be paired with a veteran suffering from psychiatric symptoms due to the trauma of combat duty, many of these canines must be treated for pre-existing medical conditions, much like their veteran partners receive medical attention for combat wounds. Shelter to SoldierTM provides their service dogs in training with comfortable housing, a healthy diet, supplements to stay in optimal health, plentiful exercise, training, and most importantly, an opportunity to thrive in a forever home with a worthy veteran, with the best job of all: psychiatric service dog.

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By Eva M. Stimson Shelter to Soldier is currently supported by corporate sponsors, private donations, and grants, all of which contribute to the basic veterinary care of the dogs while they are in the Shelter to Soldier 12-18 month psychiatric service dog training program. Unfortunately and in seldom occasions, unforeseen healthcare costs outside of basic veterinary care services are necessary for dogs in the training program and are not completely covered by the funded amounts pledged by each dogs’ sponsor. Shelter to Soldier is reaching out to supporters for help to raise funds to replenish their Shelter to Soldier service dog Medical Fund. According to Shelter to Soldier co-founder, Kyrié Bloem, «The adoption, training, housing and basic veterinary care during the 12-18 month Shelter to Soldier service dog training program is generously sponsored by corporations and private foundations, but dogs (just like humans) also have emergencies and conditions that require treatments not previously accounted for. The Medical Fund supplements costs in times of critical need.” Within a few short months at the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017, Shelter to Soldier depleted their existing Medical Fund substantially while helping service dogs in training, Julio, Annie, and Jax to heal and recover. It is their goal with this campaign to raise funds to help replenish this fund, so that all of their service dogs in training have access to veterinary care outside of their basic needs if necessary. The following case studies represent the successful outcomes of the Shelter to Soldier Medical Fund

Julio Sponsored by David C. Copley Foundation On November 15th, 2016, Shelter to Soldier met a handsome, 11-­month old Pitbull/Rottweiler mix named Julio at San Diego County Department of Animal Services Shelter on Gaines St. in San Diego. Julio was eager to please and loved working for treats and affection, but his behavior was struggling in the kennel environment 22

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and he needed a new home. Thankfully, the team at SDDAC shelter took incredible care of Julio and gave him a safe and comfortable stay for nearly two months while he looked for his forever home. There, our dog-­evaluation team fell in love with Julio, and worked with the shelter so that we could foster him for further evaluation in our service dog training program. Shortly after we brought him home, Shelter to Soldier trainers noticed Julio feeling ill and weak. They took him to their veterinary partner, Carmel Mountain Ranch Veterinary Hospital, where they referred them to VCA Animal Specialty Group in Kearny Mesa. There, Julio was diagnosed with Parvovirus. Luckily, it was caught early. The friendly staff at VCA Animal Specialty Group nursed Julio back to a stable state at which time he could come back home. Shelter to Soldier knew his path was going onwards and upwards, with the exception that Julio needed to be kept in isolation during the shedding time of the virus, and that presented a challenge. US Navy veteran and Shelter to Soldier service dog recipient, Vic Martin, eagerly volunteered to keep Julio in isolation at his home, where a fence and kennel was built by Shelter to Soldier on the side of his property away from any area where the dogs could potentially interact. Shelter to Soldier created a weather proofing system, purchased an insulated cover, and tons of toys and bones were given to Julio to keep his mind busy. Vic volunteered countless hours helping to construct the kennel, learning isolation protocols for Parvo virus, and providing Julio the care he desperately needed to recover and heal -­all day and through each night, for 14 days. On Monday December 5th, Julio was finally able to be safely introduced to other dogs outside of the isolation environment, and only photos can portray his excitement and gratitude for being saved by the Shelter to Soldier team, Vic Martin and family, the staff at VCA Animal Specialty Group, Carmel Mountain Ranch Veterinary Hospital and County Department of Animal Services shelter. Today, Julio is happy and thriving, and is showing off his talent during his training sessions with Shelter to Soldier service dog trainers. Though his past has seen struggle, it is evident that his strength lies in his capacity to love, and it is evident that one day he will pay forward the compassion he has received and help a veteran to heal, as a psychiatric service dog.




Sponsored by UNITE

Sponsored by Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Brentwood Office and Los Angeles Charitable Foundation Shelter to Soldier adopted Annie from San Diego Department of Animal Services Southern Region shelter in Bonita in Spring 2016. She is a fun-loving dog that absolutely loves having a job, has thrived in the Shelter to Soldier service dog training program since her adoption, and continues to excel in her training program. Annie has always had a mild form of what is classified as “happy tail,” a condition that results when a dog wags the tail forcefully enough on a hard surface that it causes a small cut or split on the tip of his/her tail. The cut tends to bleed and can bleed profusely, which eventually became the case for poor Annie. When Shelter to Soldier brought Annie home, her happy tail condition was mild to moderate, but after meeting her new dad and veteran handler-in-training, Kevin Justice, US Navy Ret., her condition became severe. Tail amputation became a medical need for Annie, as she was constantly in pain (and quite a mess) with her happy tail. Today, Annie’s tail makes her look more like a pointer mix! She is now recovering from her surgery, and excited to get back to training with Kevin.

Shelter to Soldier adopted Jax in October 2016 from San Diego Department of Animal Services Southern Region shelter in Bonita where he had lived for a short five days after they rescued him as a stray. He came to Shelter to Soldier with kennel cough, recovering from a recent neuter, and struggling with weight loss. His youth, coupled with medication, helped Jax to recover quickly from kennel cough, and his neuter took only days to heal. However, the struggle to keep or gain weight continued. Shelter to Soldier took Jax to see their veterinary partner at Carmel Mountain Ranch Veterinary Hospital, and they ran a series of tests to rule out parasites, pancreatitis and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). Jax was then put on Metronidazole and a prescription diet that has made a significant difference in his gut health, coat, and overall energy level. He can now “hold it” and is enjoying training sessions and play-dates more and more each day with his newfound energy. Every 69 minutes a US veteran commits suicide and every day, 3200 dogs are euthanized nationwide. Shelter to Soldier adopts dogs from rescues and helps veterans working through the perils of mental injury associated with traumatic combat experiences. The healing impact that a highly trained service dog provides for US Veterans improves their overall quality of life, personal relationships, confidence and sense of security, therefore advancing their mission of “Saving Lives, Two at a Time”.

Shelter to Soldier service dogs help US Veterans integrate back into society and find their purpose, often for the first time since their military service. Visit www.sheltertosoldier.org for additional information or call 855-CUS-TMK9 (855-287-8659) for a confidential interview regarding eligibility. Shelter to Soldier’s 5th Annual fundraising event will be held on September 9, 2017 in Rancho Santa Fe, California. To contact the author, email emsmci@aol.com.


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Military Service Spawns Careers in Law Enforcement and Life of Service BY: BARRY SMITH BOOT CAMPAIGN


uite 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.

Two Boot Campaign Veteran Ambassadors – J.W. Cortés and Jason Borne – have successfully made the transition from service in the U.S. Marine Corp to law enforcement, and both have pursued a life of service that goes well beyond their chosen professions.

Cortés is a 12-year Marine veteran who now serves as a police officer with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTAPD), in addition to working in the entertainment business as an actor, singer and filmmaker. On the small screen, Cortés plays the role of Detective Carlos Alvarez in the hit FOX series “Gotham.” Borne is an eight-year Marine veteran who is currently a senior police officer in his native Central Texas. But, unlike Cortés, he is not an actor and not the star of the action movies where the main character 24

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shares his name. That would be Matt Damon. But Borne believes the similarity in his name helps bring much needed attention to the variety of causes he advocates for every day, including the military, first responders, critically ill children and their families. “The Jason Bourne character was a source of annoyance for several years, but now I just embrace it,” explains Borne. “I figured if this annoying name can help people remember what I’m trying to do, then it’s worth it.” www.homelandmagazine.com

The terrorist attacks around the country on Sept. 11, 2001, also played a significant role in his calling to serve and protect. “I was still in high school and I walked into my Spanish class when one building was smoking and the second plane hit the second tower,” he remembers. “Obviously, that was impactful for a sophomore in high school to watch. “The desire was there before that though, so 9/11 was more of a fortification than an inspiration,” he adds. “I’ve always been a very protective person by nature. I don’t know if it’s from having a little sister (Julia) or what, but I was always someone who felt like people need protecting and I want to be there to help protect them.” At 19 years of age, he enlisted with the Marine Corp infantry in 2003 after completing just one college semester. In 2004, he was sent to Twentynine Palms, Calif., to get prepared for deployment overseas to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom. After seven months in Iraq, he returned to the U.S. and remained on active duty while going to college and working fulltime in an officer recruiting office. In 2006, he entered Officer Candidate School (OCS) himself, but after graduation he decided to withdraw and pursue a career in law enforcement. “My daughter was born in February of 2006, and when I went to OCS in June, I didn’t like being way from her, even though it was only for six weeks,” remembers Borne, who was honorably discharged as a Marine Sergeant in 2011. “Getting a taste of what it’s like to leave a child behind kind of changed my perspective on what I was going to do for the next 20 years. I ended up moving on to my next life calling which was getting into law enforcement. Now in his ninth year as a police officer, with two sons added to the family, his decision to change career paths is paying off just as he’d hoped. What’s also paying off is Borne’s side business, a premium supplement company named MILLECOR® (millecor.com) that he founded in September 2015 as a vehicle to give back. The name is an abbreviation that reflects the company’s mission of support. MIL stands for the brave men and women of the U.S. military, LE is for law enforcement, and COR is short for Corps, or a group of persons associated together or acting under a common direction.

Borne has felt the deep sense of responsibility for protecting and serving others for most of his life. During his early childhood, his father was a police officer and he had family members in the military. “When I was eight years old I wrote a letter to my mother saying that I was going to go into the Army and then be a police officer because I liked their handcuffs,” he laughs. “She was probably in the next room when I was writing her these letters, and she still has them today.” www.homelandmagazine.com

“I’ve always been into working out and have taken it seriously, because I think physical fitness is beyond vitally important for military and first responders,” says Borne, a resident of Cedar Park, Texas. “I also know a lot of veterans, first responders and active military are working out and taking supplements. I wanted give them a company they could support that would deliver just as good if not better products, but also a bigger purpose that would in a way be supporting themselves, their families, and the causes that they care about.” A portion of all company sales directly benefit MILLECOR’s MILLECARE Campaign, as well as non-profits and other initiatives like Boot Campaign (Bootcampaign.org) and research for the childhood brain cancer called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. DIPG affects the pons portion of the brainstem, rendering nervous system function impossible, and symptoms usually worsen quickly because the tumor is rapidly growing.

Jason Borne

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Photo By David Santiago (Instagram@CallMeDav1)

Borne has been inspired to give back and support many causes thanks to the influence and example of family members. “A relative once told me, ‘if money could fix it, it›s not a problem,’” reflects Borne, “and the reason he has that attitude is because he knows what money can›t fix from a health standpoint. That›s kind of what fortified my desire to help people out financially.” “Money can›t take away childhood cancer or a lot of things that healthy people or people with health kids can take for granted,” he adds. “But when people are in these situations when they’re dealing 26

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a dying child with no cure and they have to take one day at a time, it is in situations like these that I don›t want money to have be anywhere near the forefront of their thoughts from a stress standpoint.” By contrast, Cortés’ journey to a life of military service and law enforcement was quite different from Borne’s, yet both have made the most of their circumstances and upbringing. Cortés was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y.’s primarily Puerto Rican neighborhood of Sunset Park on a street called by the NYPD as “little Vietnam,” that was surrounded by Methadone addicts and gangs. www.homelandmagazine.com

As an 18-year-old he realized he wanted more, and followed his father’s footsteps into military service. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps for nearly 13 years, including tours for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, for which he attaining the rank of Gunnery Sergeant and earned a Combat Action Ribbon and Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medals. His choice to follow-up his military service with career in law enforcement was aided by the extreme sense of trust he experienced as a Marine. “After my time in Iraq I wanted to give life a chance and start a family and so that meant that I needed to find a new career,” Cortés explains. “I came to the realization that a career that included some sense of ‘service’ seemed the most appealing to me. “An important factor in my decision was the culture of being in the Marine Corps where you really must learn to trust the person at your six and those who lead us,” adds Cortés, who joined the MTA Police in 2004. “I have found that being in the Police Department in many ways does mirror that sort of culture and foster that particular mindset.”

“After my time in Iraq I wanted to give life a chance and start a family and so that meant that I needed to find a new career,” Cortés explains. “I came to the realization that a career that included some sense of service seemed the most appealing to me.” “I remember my acting teacher explaining to us that actors are artists in service to their audience and that the craft of acting demands that we give it our 100 percent because folks pay good money and want to have an experience,” concludes Cortés. “That really resonated with me when I look back and see that I’ve had a life of service, whether it be in the uniform of the Marine or police officer or in the costume of a

character. It’s important that it involves a level of service.” It’s also important that Americans can thank and celebrate the selfless life-ofservice commitments made by military and law enforcement officers like Cortés and Borne, who continue to make us safe and proud.

While developing a strong desire to serve his community and country at an early age, he also developed an interest in the arts at the same time, even performing in the musical The Wiz in high school Since leaving the military, he has served in law enforcement for more than a decade and, at the same time, become one of the most revered actors of Puerto Rican descent on television today. “In the beginning I didn’t set out to do both careers simultaneously but I did want to at least explore the idea of acting,” recalls Cortes, who in addition to “Gotham” has had various roles on shows like STARZ’s “Power,” NBC’s “The Blacklist” and CBS’ “Blue Bloods.” “The biggest take away from having this sort of career is the amount of empathy it has given me. That translates incredibly well and, in my opinion, has informed my acting.” When not acting, singing or patrolling New York’s Grand Central Terminal, Cortés is actively helping to raise awareness and funding for various charities and organizations including Boot Campaign, Autism Speaks, Got Your 6, among others. www.homelandmagazine.com

J.W. Cortés

HOMELAND / March 2017 27



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R4 Alliance Member Highlight

I saw a man about a horse

By Saratoga WarHorse Graduate Patrick Hughes


saw a man about a horse and it changed how I feel about myself. A while ago, I ran across the website for a program called Saratoga WarHorse. I reached out to Bob Nevins, Director of Veteran Program and Founder. Bob is a Vietnam vet and retired from a 24 year career as an airline pilot to start this program. Bob called me and we spoke on the phone about the program and then selected my date to attend the program and it was one of the

best choices I’ve made in a long time. Saratoga WarHorse is an unbelievable program that works on a simple level. It is just you and the horse. This program is one of those things that I can tell you about, but it’s hard to actually explain and express how it feels. Bob has created a program that works and has had over 300 graduates with no failures. It is not that the program is pass or fail, because it 30

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is what you make of your experience that matter, but the program’s success rate is just that good. It is a three-day program that teaches you a lot and gives you an experience. One fantastic aspect of what Saratoga WarHorse offers is that the program is free to the Veteran. Through donations, the program is able to pay for travel to Saratoga, a 2 night hotel stay in a beautiful hotel and the meals while you’re there. The other fantastic aspect to the program is the retired horses. They are what makes the program work and they are in the program to graduate as well. My horse, Volente, was a retired race horse. All of the horses in the program are retired race horses. They enter the program themselves to learn how to be something besides a racehorse. The program is as much to retrain the horse for its second life as it is for the veteran. The program is a new beginning for all involved. The veteran and the horse. Volente, and I’m directly quoting The Saratoga WarHorse website here, comes to SWH from Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue after an unsuccessful racing career. He has a kind and gentle personality and has been adopted out to several homes over the years, which due to circumstances out of his control, have ended up with his return to Akindale. They are not joking either. Volente is my www.homelandmagazine.com

I find myself thinking about my time with Volente instead of the memories I used to refer back to. The horrible memories nobody wants to think about. It’s much more pleasant to think about hugging my horse and I do it and think about it naturally. I’m not going to say that I’m fixed and that every issue I have was cured by my time with Volente, but it sure helped me. Bob talks about resetting a circuit breaker and I find it is an excellent analogy. I learned things about myself and I opened myself up. I gained a lot of traction in my personal battles and this experience jump started my recovery. I am forever grateful for my time with Saratoga WarHorse. I can’t thank Bob, Janelle, Melody, Brian, Troy, Volente, their many donors and all of the other volunteers who showed up to help enough. What they do is a fantastic service to the veteran community.

Patrick Hughes favorite horse and once our experience was through, Volente was a very loving horse, and even returned my hug. So, I’ve talked about the experience and I haven’t told you what it is yet. The day we go to the facility that houses the horses is the day everything happens. Melody, our wonderful and super talented guide through the whole process, started the morning by bringing in all sorts of home cooked food. You might actually gain a few pounds; the food is good and plentiful for both lunch and dinner. I’m not going to detail every aspect of this experience because it is not necessary to tell you them all. I’ll tell you the highlights and the things I can actually explain into words.

From the bottom of my heart, I can’t thank you enough. If anyone thinks this program might help them, please reach out to Bob or Janelle, all it takes is a phone call. I can consider these folks family for what they do to help. Bob is a veteran himself and words aren’t needed. After 300+ veterans, he just seems to know. “We are proud to be a member of R4 Alliance in an effort to reach out to fellow veterans in an effective collaboration. Due to this kind of support, Saratoga WarHorse has now graduated over 600 veterans.”

Throughout the morning we learned about the horses, communicating and working For more information please visit with them and about the program itself. It’s very personal, very well done and very www.saratogawarhorse.com interesting. Our afternoon started the work, there are some physical aspects to this, but nothing above what each individual can handle. We assembled the round pen, the area in which we will work with the horses (we disassembled it as well) and working as a team, we actually did it quite quickly. Inside this pen we were visually schooled my Melody and Bob before practicing our routine with Melody pretending to be the horse. That poor women ran and ran and ran all afternoon making sure we had everything down. The moment that makes the visit is working with the actual horses. I cannot explain how I feel. I’m sharing the video of my experience below, you can see for yourself what we do. Immediately, I felt good. I enjoyed my experience, I enjoyed bonding with the horse. I did feel good and extremely glad I participated. It’s now though, several weeks later that I’m realizing the real effects of the experience. www.homelandmagazine.com

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Start Up: From Idea to Launch Electing to start a business can be one of the most white-knuckle decisions you can make in your life. We are living in a world where it is possible for anyone to make extra money, add to his or her income, or to succeed as a sole proprietor. Most people have achieved this by developing a great business idea. When you start up a company, you must be ready to meet competition. In fact, no competition is a red flag. No competition is an indication that there might be a market for your business. But, don’t let that discourage you. You just must do more homework. Remember, many businesses, like Uber, were totally nuts on paper. My rule of thumb is: You will never get rich working for somebody else. So, plow on...

Follow the below 10 basic tips essential to start a business successfully. Tip 1: Love your idea

see what you need to prepare yourself for business. For a small business succeed it must fulfill a need, solve a problem or offer something the market wants.

• Who needs it? (Who is your target Customer?)

You can identify this need in many ways by doing research, focus groups, and even trial and error. The worst way to do this is to ask your friends and family for feedback. Their lack of objectivity could lead you down the wrong path.

• Who is the competition?

Tip 2: Do Your Due Diligence

Your research should address the following:

Reality check. Are you really ready to start a business? Answer the questions below and

• Is there a need for your anticipated services or products?

A business plan is a blue print for your business. It can be an internal document until you want to present it to an investor or financial organization. A plan in your head is no plan at all. It must be in writing.

Every business begins with an idea. You may have imagined of opening your own business for years, or motivation may have hit you suddenly. No matter the source, the first step of starting your own business is coming up with a business idea. As worthy as your idea, you must be in love with the idea. It must energize you because it’s going to take a lot of energy to birth this baby.


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• Are there other companies offering similar services or products right now?

• Can or how will your business fit into the market?

Tip 3: Make a Business Plan


If you expect to seek financial support from an investor or financial organization, a formal written business plan critical. Even if you don’t need financial support, a simple business plan can walk you through important decisions. Mind Meister, an on-line mind mapping software can be super helpful. Find it at https://www.mindmeister.com/ The more time you spend on your business plan, the better chance you have of success. Your business plan should summarize your business goals and the inspiration behind them, as well as your specific plans for the realization of your goals in terms of marketing and funding.

Tip 4: Planning Finances Opening a small business doesn’t have to involve a lot of money, but it will involve some investment. I always use the example of Spike Lee who financed his first movie on his business cards. Some businesses require the purchase of goods and a commitment to renting space, among other expenses. Other businesses can be launched with a phone, computer and business cards. There are several ways to fund your small business: • Family Loans or Investors • By Financing • With Small business loans • Angel investors (See Crowdfunding and the JOBS Act) You can get your business off the ground by bootstrapping, using as little capital as necessary to start your business. Lots of people have done this, and it particularly helps if you have another source of income to support your basic needs in the meantime.

Tip 5: Determine Your Business Structure Your small business can be an individual ownership, a partnership, a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation. The business structure you might choose will impact in many factors from your business name, to liability, and how you file your taxes.

Shared office spaces have become extremely popular nationwide. These operations allow you to use a small office on an as needed basis, or on a longer term. They also have meeting spaces, and other advantages, especially if you need a space to meet clients when you travel. Go to Yelp and look for Shared Office Space for reviews and options.

You can choose an initial business structure, and change your structure as your business grows and needs to be changed. I always hate to see small business owners who are unable to carry marketing costs because they have spent a lot of money on an attorney to incorporate. So, prioritize carefully.

Tip 6: Your Business Name

Tip 9: Your Accounting System

This is a huge topic. Contemporary business names have evolved to be punchy and short, rather than technical and weighty. Think General Electric vs Samsung. Older companies have been forced to use initials to overcome cumbersome names. IBM was really International Business Machines in the old days. Whatever you do, first check on www. GoDaddy.com to see if you can buy the name you want as URL (website name).

One of the most essential systems for a small business is an accounting system. Your accounting system is essential to build and manage your budget, set your charges, conduct business with others, and file your taxes. You can set up your accounting system by your own, or hire an expert to take away some of the work. You can start with something like www. freshbooks.com to generate invoices, and then graduate to www.QuickBooks.com. But, don’t wait too long, because staying on top of your finances is critical.

The name you choose plays a role in almost every aspect of your business, so you want it to be a good one. Make sure you think through all the possible consequences as you explore your options and select your business name. Don’t use initials, since they are difficult to remember.

You should find a reputable and responsive tax advisor, who can also help you with financial planning. Don’t pay big bucks for a company that is really built for larger corporations. Find a boutique operation who understands and supports small businesses.

Tip 7: Licenses and Permits Once you have selected a name, there is the need to check if it’s trademarked. Every business must register their business name with either their state or county clerk and pay for a business license, even if you’re working from home. Expect an annual tax bill for being in business, but it’s usually very low.

Tip 10: Go to the Marketplace As soon your business is up and running, you need to start attracting customers. Your marketing plan is part of your business plan and is essential for success. Explore as many small business marketing ideas as you can, know when you’re going to implement them, and how much they cost in advance. All marketing is experimental, and the learning curve is significant. Again, a small marketing agency can save you time and money.

There is a range of small business licenses and permits that may apply to your situation, depending on the type of business you are starting and where you are located. You will need to inquiry what licenses and permits apply to your business during the initial process.

Tip 8: Your Business Location

Not much to do, right? Don’t worry. You know the saying “how do you eat an elephant? One spoonful at a time.” Be deliberate. Be motivated. Just put one step in front of the other, and before you know it, you’ll be enjoying the independence and liberty of business ownership.

For some businesses, it is all location, location, location. Setting up your place to work is essential for the operation of your business, whether you will have a home office, a shared or private office space, or a retail location. You will need to reflect about your place, equipment, and overall setup, and make sure your business place works for the kind of business you will be doing.

Vicki Garcia is the Co-Founder of Veteran Entrepreneurs Today & President of Marketing Impressions. Look for trusted advisors, or apply to be a B2B vendor for veteran entrepreneurs at www.veteranentrepreneurstoday.org


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By Chad Storlie

9 WAYS TO EXECUTE YOUR POST-MILITARY CAREER SEARCH AND TRANSITION One of the greatest challenges of leaving active duty is to create a comprehensive and detailed career transition plan for your next career. There are a great many considerations, such as where to live, occupations to choose and how to begin to conduct research on all the possible opportunities. In part one of this series we covered ways to understand the current business and hiring environments of your chosen field. In part two we highlighted, how to plan and target your career search, networking and transition plan. Up next we highlight: Planning where you want to be, what you want to do, and determining who to talk to so you can create your career goals is essential. Too often, military veterans believe a career transition plan is applying for jobs. Job applications are the final step, not the first in a good career transition plan.

training and experience makes the person an ideal candidate. 2. Follow up on networking letters with phone calls to establish a networking meeting. This can be in person or over the phone. 3. Create networking questions, industry questions and opportunities to discuss at a networking meeting. 4. Set and conduct networking meeting. Send out thank you notes and ask for 2-3 other contacts that can help your networking search. 5. Set up informational interviews, personal meetings, and company visits. 6. Revise and improve your resume and cover letter based on the information and feedback from the networking sessions to ensure it matches the company needs.

1. Start letter-mailing networking campaign (goal should be 200-300 letters) to companies on your GIO list. Plan to mail out 25-30 letters a day for one week. You should have mailed ~200 letters at the end of a 7-day week.

7. Apply, interview and follow up with listed and potential job positions. Once you apply, phone and email all of your contacts at that company to alert them to your application and ask for their assistance to get you an interview.

Include a cover letter and resume requesting a meeting or phone call to discuss opportunities within the industry or the company.

8. Update networking list with new information, new contacts and followup dates. 9. Evaluate and respond to job offers.

In your letter, ask three questions about how to enter the industry, other people you can discuss how to be successful in the industry and what


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IT’S TIME WE RETURN THE FAVOR. After all you’ve done to protect our country, you deserve the best. So we’re giving the brave men and women of the military* the opportunity for big savings on top of all current incentives.* Like up to $1000 on select models. If you’re an Active or Reserve U.S. Military, U.S. Retired Military who completed at least 20 years of Active or Reserve duty, or a U.S. Veteran discharged from active service within the past year, Nissan’s Military Program is open to you and your spouse or partner. To get started, just print your Military Program Certificate, gather your proof of eligibility, and head to your local Nissan store today.*

Visit NissanUSA.com/military *Eligibility requirements apply: Eligible individuals include U.S. Active and Reserve Military, U.S. Military Veterans within 12 months of separation from Active or Reserve duty, U.S. Military Retirees that have completed at least 20 years of Active or Reserve duty required. Military cash certificate available towards the lease or purchase of a qualifying new Nissan vehicle from dealer stock. Excludes Nissan Versa Sedan S Trim, Maxima, Murano, Murano Cross Cabriolet, 370Z, Quest, Pathfinder, Armada, Titan, GT-R and NV. Military cash certificate amount varies by qualifying model. Offer valid from 3/1/16 through 3/1/2017. Limit up to 2 vehicle leases or purchases per calendar year per qualified participant for personal use only. Offer not valid for fleet or business use. Down payment may be required. Available on lease or purchase. Must take delivery from new dealer stock. Subject to residency restrictions. Other restriction s apply. See dealer for details. Offer is subject to change at any time. Always wear your seat belt and please don’t drink and drive. Nissan, the Nissan Brand Symbol, Innovation That Excites, and Nissan model names are Nissan trademarks. ©2016 Nissan North America, Inc. All rights reserved.

Visit www.ChooseNissan.com.


HOMELAND / March 2017


By Chad Storlie

A Letter to Myself-

How to Have a More Successful Military to Civilian Transition Dear Chad, Right now, you are sitting in your house in Colorado Springs a few weeks after returning from a Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) rotation and after returning from a rotation to Bosnia Herzegovina a few months before that. In a few months, you will be officially discharged from the Active Duty military after more than twelve years of service. Right now, you are tired, a little bit scared, and ready to meet the new challenges ahead. I know that you are anxious to get going, but there is more that you can do to prepare yourself for a successful transition. Civilian life, like the military, requires constant engagement, planning, communication, and learning in order to be successful. Transition is a bigger deal than you are giving it credit for. Here are a few tips to be more successful. 1. Save More Money. After being deployed the majority of the time over the past few years, you do not have an accurate concept of what it costs to live. The best way to prepare for the transition is to save more money, as much as you can. Money in the bank that is not in retirement accounts or otherwise tied up in investment accounts is the best “transition insurance” to have. You will get a part-time job to help meet expenses while you are in school, but it will pay a lot less than you expect. Pay yourself now and put as much as you can into a savings account. 2. Talk About Transition Concerns with Your Wife. Transition is a big move for you, but it is also a big move for your wife. You are leaving a secure job, a consistent paycheck, and a known future. This sudden clouding of your future prospects brings the potential of great success but it will be scary at times. This is not the military, where you cannot express fear to those that you lead. Sit down with your wife nightly to make sure both you and she talk about the joys and challenges of transition. 3. Transition Takes Longer Than You Think - About Two Years. Transition is more than just taking off the uniform. Transition is about becoming comfortable with a new you, a new community, a new career, and a new way of life. This takes a lot longer to get used to than you think right now. As a rule of thumb, for every five years of military service, it takes about a year to become truly comfortable and confident in your new civilian role. Do not be distressed if it takes longer to get the military out of your system. You performed in an exciting, demanding, and rewarding military career for a long time. It will take some time to grow comfortable in a new role. The good news is that you really like where you are now. 4. Purpose is the Most Important Aspect of Your Life. Right now, you believe that finding a job, a new place to live, and starting a family are the most important concerns. Those are important concerns, but the most important concern that you have to pay attention to is how you will find and structure a new sense of purpose in your life. When you boil down your military service to its absolute essentials, a strong sense of purpose


and a strong sense of mission are what the made the military so rewarding to you. As you discover new careers, new friends, and new community activities, make sure that creating a building a strong sense of purpose is and remains the central part of your life. Making a lot of money is great, but if the financial return does not create purpose, then ultimately the value will be lost. Volunteer in the community, help out at your local school (you have three young children now, so take a nap after you read this - you will need the rest), and find ways to teach others how to be great people - these are the experiences in the military that helped create a strong sense of purpose. 5. Support Your Spouses Wildest Career Ambitions. Your wife has an amazing amount of skill, creativity, leadership, and desire. As a military spouse, she could not always match her career ambitions, desire for education, and make that fit into a military lifestyle. Now, as a civilian, the two of you can much more easily match your career ambitions and potential. Listen very closely to everything your wife wants to do and do your utmost to make it happen. 6. Seek Out Professionals and Military Friends When You Need Support. When you returned from a deployment, you had a panic attack as you drove down the highway when you could not locate your M4 Carbine and M9 Pistol and realized that you were not wearing your body armor. Later, at home, you felt foolish because you should have realized that there is no reason to have a combat rifle and pistol next to you when you are not deployed. First, give yourself a break and realize that the combat training and combat conditioning that you endured kept you safe and others around you safe when you were deployed. Second, you have literally years of deployments when your M4 and M9 were within arm’s reach day and night, all day, and every day. It takes time, distance, and discussing these thoughts, feelings, and actions with others and other military veterans. When you need to talk, and then talk - do not dismiss your feelings. Your decision to transition now is a good one. You have a wife that loves you, three children that adore you, a good career, and a great place to live. Military transitions and career transitions have their bumps along the way. Planning, saving money, talking with your family about what is working and what is not working, and making sure you discover and embrace a strong sense of purpose are all ways to have a great military transition. Today is one of your final parachute jumps. Appreciate the feel of the static line, the wind on your face as you exit the aircraft, and take a few extra moments on the drop zone to look around - you will miss it and that is ok.

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HOMELAND / March 2017

Six Tips for Finding a Value College to Complete Your College Degree Completing a college degree is a great choice for gaining a promotion, taking a job at another company, or switching industries into a higher growth area. A college degree is a good choice, but the right college degree from the right school at a value price is a great choice. There are several potential missteps that can derail your plan to complete higher education. Follow these six steps to help make a great choice when continuing your higher education to get a degree respected by the marketplace and your bank account. Value in Higher Education Tip #1 – Go For a Four Year Degree. A four year degree should be your primary goal when completing higher education because this type of degree is the most common basic entrance requirement for most corporations to be member of company management and / or apply for management positions. Additionally, a four year degree will ensure you remain competitive with graduates coming out of college today and in the future. A four year degree aligns your professional goals with today and future business requirements. Value in Higher Education Tip #2 – Look at Management Resumes to Help Select a School. One of the best ways to get an idea of a set of higher education institutions to advance your career is to look at executive biographies in your city. In the Investor or “About Us” section of a company website, there are almost always biographies that list the undergraduate institutions of management. Look at 4-6 different companies and 4-5 people in each company for their undergraduate institution. This will give you a very good idea of 4-6 schools to apply for admission. Value in Higher Education Tip #3 – Select Higher Education Institutions that are Local, Physical, and a Large Student Body. Value colleges are usually large, public universities with a physical campus in major cities. This translates to a lot of available major fields of study, a large alumni network for hiring / mentoring opportunities, and most public colleges have very reasonable tuition and fee requirements. In addition, value colleges are used to serving both a traditional and a nontraditional student body so they have online and traditional classroom education options. By far, these are the best options for completing your education. Value in Higher Education Tip #4 – Get Plans in Writing with Registrar & Undergraduate Counselor Before Applying. Once you have selected a school, then meet with the registrar and an admissions counselor to determine how many of your existing credits will transfer before you even apply. Then determine what the remaining course requirements and scheduled offerings will be to complete your degree. This is the only way to determine what the total expense will be between different schools. This is www.homelandmagazine.com

a critical stepbecause some classes required for graduation for some majors are only offered once or twice a year. Value in Higher Education Tip #5 – Apply to 3 to 4 Schools That Meet Your Criteria with a Focus on Educational Outcomes. A focus on higher education outcomes that schools actually produce is the only way to cut through the school’s marketing and advertising information to determine what your expected financial outcome will be from your degree. There are eight critical data elements to focus on to assess how well a school prepares you for an improved professional and financial life. They are:

1. Average Salary Following Graduation 2. Average Student Loan Debt 3. Educational Complaint Count — The number of

4. 5. 6. 7.

educational complaints against the school that may signal financial collapse, compliance to accreditation, or deceptive financial / recruiting practices. Graduation Rate of All Students Tuition Levels Retention Rate of BA Students — the percentage level of students who continue their education at the college. Student Loan Repayment Rate All Students

Undergraduate Enrollment — Higher is better to the larger size of alumni in related career fields. Value in Higher Education Tip #6 – Select Your Final School Choice Based on Financial Aid, Estimated Debt, and College Outcomes. Once you have your educational plan, know the educational outcomes of your schools, understand your true financial requirements, you can then pick a school to complete your degree. The best choice to complete your degree is to find a school that is respected, valued in the marketplace, physically present in your community, has a high alumni base, and one that will allow you to complete your degree quickly, on-time, and with the minimal financial impact. Determining a school to complete your degree is hard work, but the hard work disappears at graduation and when your dream job corporate recruiter calls. Content provided courtesy of USAA. By Chad Storlie

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HOMELAND / March 2017


“Nourish Your Soul”


hat comes to mind when you hear the term, “Veteran”? Most likely, you immediately form an image of a male. Did you know that there are currently over 2 million women veterans across our nation? That number continues to increase as women serve our nation in ever-growing numbers. Many of these women don’t identify themselves as veterans and as a result are underserved and often unrecognized in the community. Coming to terms with this realization led Women Veterans Alliance to not only be created, but to actively and passionately take on the mission of reaching all women veterans and connecting them, not only with each other, but to the benefits and services available to them. Women Veterans Alliance lives out this mission through events, workshops, our newsletter and our ever-growing network. 2016 saw Women Veterans Alliance hold the inaugural Unconference, in Sacramento, CA. as a means to better serve and support the incredible population of women veterans and those that directly interact with them. This 3-day event was open to all women who had served or are currently serving in any of our military branches; this included active-duty veterans, guard, reserve, as well as their caregivers and spouses. Connecting these women with each other was a powerful experience! The great success of last year›s event opened the door for not one, but two Unconferences for 2017! Mark your calendars for our fast-approaching spring event in Sacramento, CA., March 24th - 26th at Lions Gate Hotel and our Southern California event this fall, October 13th - 15th at Pacific Palms Resort, City of Industry. Both 3-day events will provide resources and networking for all who attend. Our theme - “Nourish Your Soul”, perfectly expresses what we intend to do for these amazing women! Discounted hotel rates are being offered and we encourage all women veterans to attend regardless of location. This is an outreach and experience that should not be missed. Sponsorship/Partnership opportunities are available. Here’s what attendees from last year’s Unconference had to say:

“Best women veterans event that I have been to” “When is the next one? “Connecting with my sisters was Amazing” Unconference March 24th - 26th is set to not only inspire, but nourish and pamper all its attendees. The choice of interactive workshops include: · Navigating the VA Disability claims process · Using VA Home Loan to buy or refinance · Will & Estate Planning · Organizing your life · Leadership · Importance of a professional presentation · Self care And more! Our one-on-one sessions are: · Will & Estate Planning · Financial planning · Resume/Career Review · Starting a business Unconference Spring 2017 is honored to introduce our inspirational speakers: · Nancy Glowacki, Army Veteran · Kiyo Sato, Air Force Nurse Corps, Veteran · Ruthie Bolton, Army Veteran

Visit our event page for bios of each of these incredible women and prepare to be touched and inspired by their stories: www.womenveteransalliance.org/events/unconference/springunconference-information/#spring-speakers We are also very pleased to announce that James and Mara Morrison of James R. Morrison Photography will make a special presentation of their project, What Does A Woman Veteran Look Like?. Additional services include: · Kids retreat · Massage · Clothing boutique · Equine Therapy And more! Visit our events page to register today: www.WomenVeteransAlliance. org/Unconference and make the Investment in YOU!

To learn more about Women Veterans Alliance, start a chapter or learn how you can better support women veterans, visit our website: www.womenveteransalliance.org www.homelandmagazine.com

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Making A Difference Together

Homeland VALIDATION, INFORMATION, DIRECTION AND COMFORT Our goal each episode & Issue is to raise awareness of military issues, bring on experts in their field to provide direction, validate experiences that are foreign to most of the population and finally provide comfort that you are not alone and not forgotten.

WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE We raise awareness. We change public perception. We connect people. We honor and support our families and their sacrifices, triumphs and tragedies. You protect our freedom of speech and we do our part to honor your service with every show.

3.5 MILLION LISTNERS & READERS EACH MONTH Connect with Homeland Magazine & Military Mom Talk Radio for your print & radio promotions. (Including resources, support and inspiration) For more information contact mikemiller@homelandmagazine.com Military Mom Talk Radio provides a powerful platform for women to discuss their ideas, issues, and concerns with respect to the military lifestyle. Military Mom Talk Radio encourages women to share their experiences of being a military wife and mother. Homeland Magazine featuring articles, resources and topics of interest relating to is an veterans, transitioning servicemembers, active military, service disabled veterans, military spouses, and the families that keep it together.

Listen to Military Mom Talk Radio iTunes • MilitaryMomTalkRadio.com Get your current & past issues Homeland Magazine HomelandMagazine.com 42

HOMELAND / March 2017



HOMELAND / March 2017 43

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Come Visit Us! Love To Show You Our New Location

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Affordable Tuition 100% Online Course Options GI Bill and MyCAA Approved Financial Aid Available For Those Who Qualify • Tuition Assistance Our new address: 3550 Camino Del Rio N. Suite 208 San Diego, CA 92108 Easily accessible from anywhere in San Diego Easy Freeway Access: I-8, I-15, I-805 / Bus Stop: #18 Trolley Stop: Mission San Diego Phone: 858.653.3000


HOMELAND / March 2017

Call to speak with our Military Admissions Advisors.


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Santa Monica Police Department THE BENCHMARK OF EXCELLENCE.

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Annual Salary Ranges of $80,988 - $99,984 Compressed work schedules Paid vacation, sick, and personal leave City paid medical, dental, and vision insurance 2.7% at 57 Public Employee Retirement Plan Educational incentives- 6% for Intermediate POST Certificates, 12% for Advanced POST Certificates Uniform allowance Additional bilingual pay Court standby pay Longevity pay Sick leave buy back incentive

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TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP TOWARD A REWARDING CAREER In addition to Patrol, our core service, the Department offers a wide range of special assignments: • Crime Impact Team • Criminal Investigations Section • Crisis Negotiations Team • Downtown Bicycle Unit • Field Training Officer Unit • Gang Unit • Homeless Liaison Unit • K-9 Unit • Mounted Patrol Unit • Neighborhood Resource Officer Unit • Personnel and Training Unit • School Resource Officer Unit • Special Weapons and Tactics Team • Traffic/Motor Unit • Vice/Narcotics Unit

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