Homeland Veterans April 2019

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Homeland

Vol. 6 Number 4 • April 2019 www.HomelandMagazine.com

Veterans Magazine

Month of the Military Child

Protect and Serve Takes New Shape

PURPLE UP!

100th Anniversary

Finding Pride to Support Military Community

Enlisted To Entrepreneur

FOR MILITARY KIDS

Recreation for the Whole Military

of easterseals

Veteran Business LEGAL EAGLE

Careers In Law Enforcement

HOMELAND / April 2019 Resources • Support • Transition • Inspiration

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HOMELANDMAGAZINE.COM Resources Support Inspiration

Homeland Veterans Magazine

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

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EDITOR’S

LETTER

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 - Enlisted Holly Shaffner - Honor Flight Joe Molina - VCCSD Lori Boody - VANC Shelter to Soldier Eva M. Stimson Boot Campaign Barry Smith Leigh Ann Ranslem Wounded Warrior Project Jennifer Silva DAV - Dan Clare American Warrior Jim Lorraine Operation Homefront Kelly Bagla. Esq. Billieka Boughton Shya Ellis-Flint Lara Ryan Daniel Chavarria National Women’s History Karen R. Price Fathers Joe’s Village Hart Dubois Public Relations CJ Machado Mike Miller Marketing/Sales Mike Miller 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 4

HOMELAND / April 2019


April is designated as the Month of the Military Child, underscoring the important role military children play in the armed forces community.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

The Month of the Military Child is a time to applaud military families and their children for the daily sacrifices they make and the challenges they overcome.

6 100th Anniversary easterseals 8 New Children’s Museum 9 Month of the Military Child 10 Big Brothers Big Sisters - Operation BIGS 11 Purple Up for Military Kids 12 Supporting Military Community 18 Strengthening Family Ties 22 Recreation Military Family 24 Protect & Serve 27 The First Alive Day 30 ENLISTED TO ENTREPRENEUR 32 Veteran Business 36 Legal Eagle - Business Tips 37 Money Matters 39 Careers in Law Enforcement 46 Shelter to Soldier 48 Military Child of the Year Awards

DIGITAL VERSION AVAILABLE www.HomelandMagazine.com

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A Future Where Veterans Are 100% Included and Empowered By Angela Williams, President and CEO of Easterseals In anticipation of the 100th Anniversary of Easterseals on April 22, we are celebrating with a renewed commitment to creating a future where everyone – regardless of age or ability – is 100 percent included and empowered within their communities. When we say everyone, we truly mean everyone – including the more than 20 million military veterans who live in the U.S. As a former U.S. Air Force Officer, Easterseals’ mission to provide wraparound support for veterans and their families is particularly important to me. In my first week on the job at Easterseals a little more than a year ago, I was honored to go to Capitol Hill to discuss how we’re reducing veteran homelessness.

Easterseals’ commitment to veterans dates all the way back to World War II. Last year alone, Easterseals and our 70 affiliates in communities nationwide supported nearly 20,000 veterans and military family members. Because every veteran has their own unique experience, we respond directly to the needs of each individual by offering programs designed to help veterans and their families successfully reintegrate into their communities. 6

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These services include employment and job training, healthcare coordination, mental health programs, caregiver support and health and wellness programs. Through funding from the CVS Health Foundation, 11 Easterseals affiliates are receiving funding to support programs that prevent and mitigate prescription drug abuse among veterans. These programs support veterans who are seeking treatment for substance misuse by providing a range of community-based services so they can fully focus on recovery. Since 2016, the CVS Health Foundation has partnered with us to impact hundreds of veterans through access to healthcare and smoking cessation.

As Easterseals celebrates its 100th Anniverary, we celebrate our legacy of delivering life-changing services and powerful advocacy on behalf of the one in four Americans living with disability today and look forward to our next century of service in creating a future where veterans and non-veterans alike are 100 percent included and empowered.


To accomplish this goal, we’ll continue to provide innovative home- and community-based services that focus on assuring full participation in life for people with disabilities, veterans asnd older adults so they can: 1. Live: Hands-on services that provide a wide range of health and wellness resources that empower children and adults with disabilities, veterans and older adults to reach their full potential. 2. Learn: Educational programs that help children and adults learn, or re-learn, the basic skills they need to thrive across their lifespan. 3. Work: Training programs that help people with disabilities and veterans prepare to enter or re-enter the workforce. 4. Play: Recreational programs that help individuals across several age groups participate in camping and other fun outdoor activities to relax and connect with friends.

Easterseals will continue to champion the most effective ways to support those who need it most, but the most impactful participants in this cause are the volunteers and supporters who work to make a difference every day. There are countless numbers of ways that community members from all walks of life can make a difference, such as volunteering at a local event, participating in a fundraising campaign or engaging civic leaders to raise awareness of veteran issues. There is a role for all of us to play in creating a future where every one of us is 100 percent included and 100 percent empowered. If you need help getting started, I personally invite you to visit our website at www.Easterseals.com for information about our programs as well as opportunities to contribute within your community.

Angela F. Williams

5. Act: Volunteer programs that provide everyone with the opportunity to get involved with their community and advocate for veteran issues. It’s with great passion that I encourage my fellow veterans and military families to consider these five areas when looking for ways to improve their lives or those of their friends and neighbors.

About the Author Angela F. Williams is President and Chief Executive Officer of Easterseals, Inc. In this role, Williams is leading the national organization in its 100th anniversary in 2019 as the country’s leading nonprofit provider of services for people with disabilities, including veterans, and their families. She began her professional career as an officer in the United States Air Force, serving in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

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The New Children’s Museum Celebrates Military Families The New Children’s Museum is an arts-based children’s museum focused on early learning through exposure to art and play. The word “new” in the name signifies a new approach – one that involves commissioning contemporary artists to create full-scale, room-sized art installations for children to climb in, on, around and through. The Museum is committed to being a viable community resource and has several programs in place to reduce cost as a barrier. Each year more than 25% of their visitors come for free or at a greatly reduced cost. One of the audiences the Museum invites in at discount is the military.

The Museum is also collaborating with Los Angelesbased Tanya Aguiniga, an artist-in-residence working on their Mass Creativity program out in the community, as well as reimagining the Tot Studio, slated to re-open in October. Popular installations currently open for play include No Rules…Except by artist Brian Dick, a large gallery filled with mattresses and tire-shaped pillows, where visitors can jump and bounce to their hearts’ delight. Wobbleland on the Museum’s upper level is popular with toddlers, where children under 4 can romp and play in a giant kitchen sink with full-sized fruits and vegetables. The Museum also has a wide array of tools and materials in their makerspace Innovators LAB, with daily handson art-making workshops and drop-in activities. All of this and more can be accessed by entering the Museum through their inviting new bridge mural SMILE, creatively designed and painted by Tijuana-based artist PANCA.

“Living in San Diego, we have a special place in our hearts for our military,” said Judy Forrester, executive director and CEO. “We embrace our military families with an array of programs to provide an affordable and enriching place where they feel appreciated and at home.” The Museum offers discounted admission for military families all year long ($10 with a military ID, which is $4 off the regular price. They also provide free admission all summer long – through the Blue Star Museums program. Along with over 2,000 museums nationwide, this program kicks off on Memorial Day and runs through Labor Day (see https://www.arts. gov/national-initiatives/blue-star-museums). The Museum also offer free admission to honor our military and veterans on Veterans Day. The Museum’s military efforts are sponsored in part by U.S. Bank, the David C. Copley Foundation, the Issa Family Foundation and the Walter J. & Betty C. Zable Foundation. The word “new” in the Museum’s name also means there is always something new to discover and explore when you visit. This year they have several new immersive installations planned – including a significant new art installation by Japanese textile artist Toshiko MacAdam. Entitled Whammock – a hammock with a big impact – this larger than life, brightly colored net-like structure will open to the public mid-June. 8

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The Museum is housed in a dynamic space designed by visionary and award-winning architect Rob Wellington Quigley and is one of the first green museums in California. Located at 200 W. Island Avenue, in between Front and Union, the Museum is open every day except Tuesday from September to May, and open seven days a week June – August. For more information visit www.thinkplaycreate.org


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Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County’s Operation Bigs is a one-to-one mentoring program for military children Mentoring provides an extra layer of support to local military families, who are often presented with many challenges such as frequent relocation, school transitions, separation from extended family, increased responsibility coupled with a sense of loss when a parent deploys and the physical and psychological stress faced when a parent returns from war. The program joins children with parents in the military to volunteer “Bigs” who are in the military, retired or civilian. Big Brother Jeff shared the following about his experience with his Little Brother, Matt. “I was told he was shy and mostly an indoor child, but it wasn’t long before we were chasing balloons in the field, throwing paper airplanes everywhere, or practicing casting a fishing pole which only a few weeks later landed him his first fish ever. Matt has gained confidence and friends, as well as learned new skills that will hopefully take him down the road to happiness as an adult.” Matt has gained confidence and friends, as well as learned new skills that will hopefully take him down the road to happiness as an adult.” Little Brother Matt shared, “With Jeff I feel I always have someone I can talk to and be comfortable being myself. He teaches me new things like chess and even tells me about fishing. I caught one by myself and wasn’t even scared to hold it! Being matched with Jeff gives me a new form of confidence.” In the Big Brothers Big Sisters Site-Based program, Bigs and Littles typically meet once a week to play sports & board games, or simply talk about life and personal issues – just as friends do.

For more information, please visit SDBigs.org/OperationBigs or call (858) 746-9173 10

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Big Brothers Big SISTERS OPERATION BIGS


April is designated as the Month of the Military Child, underscoring the important role military children play in the armed forces community. Sponsored by the Department of Defense Military Community and Family Policy, the Month of the Military Child is a time to applaud military families and their children for the daily sacrifices they make and the challenges they overcome. The Month of the Military Child is part of the legacy left by former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. He established the Defense Department commemoration in 1986. Homeland Magazine & the DoDEA joins the Department of Defense and the military community in celebrating April as the Month of the Military Child. In DoDEA communities around the world, our most essential strategic imperatives are: establishing an educational system that progressively builds the college and career readiness of all DoDEA students; and establishing the organizational capacity to operate more effectively and efficiently as a model, unified school system. We aim to challenge each student to maximize his or her potential and to excel academically, socially, emotionally and physically for life, college and career readiness. www.dodea.edu/dodeaCelebrates/ Military-Child-Month

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Georgia Native Meg Jones Finds Tremendous Pride In Choosing To Support Military Community 24-7 By Barry Smith Boot Campaign

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fter earning a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education in 2010 from her hometown Dalton State College, it never occurred to Meg Garrison that two years later she would forge a new path where she would be spending her life, 24/7, serving the military community. But that is exactly the life that this selfless Georgia native chose for herself after she came to the aid of an injured childhood friend in his time of need. Garrison is now Meg Jones, the spouse of combatwounded U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant and EOD Technician (Ret.) Johnny “Joey” Jones. She also is a stepmother to nine-year-old Joseph Jones, and the Programs Director with the Texas-based national military nonprofit Boot Campaign. Meg met her husband-to-be at Southeast High School in Dalton in 2003, and upon graduation, she headed off to college and he was off to a career in the Marines.

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Meg and Joey were not in a relationship on Aug. 6, 2010 when Joey stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan, resulting in the loss of both of his legs above the knee and suffered severe damage to his right forearm and both wrists. After learning of the injury, Meg found herself in Washington D.C. and began helping Joey battle through two grueling years of recovery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The couple were married in the nation’s capital at Marine Corps Barracks 8th & I in 2012, and since then she has had a fast and furious education into the military community ever since. “Because Joey and I were not in a relationship at the time of his injury I didn’t have any experience with the military community or lifestyle,” recalls Jones. “Throughout his recovery, I was not only quickly learning how to take care of an amputee but also learning the lifestyle and structure of the military. Thankfully, I had fellow EOD technician wives Caroll Tarter and Sarah Lucas to help mentor and guide me through that process. Without their friendship and guidance, I would have really struggled.”


According to her husband Joey, it was a phone call he made seeking inspiration that brought the two back together again – a call he will be forever thankful that Meg answered. “When I got injured Meg was little more than an exgirlfriend; we were barely exploring a friendship,” remembers Joey, a frequent national television commentator on U.S. news and world events. “I called her from Germany two days after my injury on a whim that she might come visit me and cheer me up. She came a few days later and has been by my side for the past nine years. The love and patience she’s provided our partnership is beyond words and she is truly my rock.” Even though her grandfather Lloyd Keith was a U.S. Army World War II veteran and her father Allan Garrison was a first lieutenant and “Huey” utility helicopter pilot for the Army in Vietnam, Jones says she never quite understood the military life her “Papa” and “Dad” experienced as details were not shared with her during her youth.

“My dad didn’t really talk about serving until after Joey got hurt,” Jones explains. “He told us it was just a part of his past and seemed so long ago that it didn’t seem relevant to talk much about. Joey’s injury opened up a whole side of my dad that none of us, even my mom, knew existed. We now have a much better understanding and have actually seen footage that he filmed during his tour in Vietnam from back in 1972.” While she always has been 100-percent committed to the new direction of her future, the transition did not come as easily or smoothly as some might assume. Pamela Hughes Lisa Cupp “As the wife of a Marine, it’s hard to find civilian friends who can understand and relate to the experiences and challenges that we face every day as a family and that our spouses have been through,” she confides. “Many times, our friends who do ‘get it’ are across the country, so creating long-distance support systems is critical.”

Being supportive to her step-son Joseph also was high on her new list of priorities, especially after majoring in early childhood education and beginning her career at a small non-profit organization developing materials for and running an initiative for children. Although it has had its share of ups and downs, she treasures her relationship with Joseph and considers it a blessing. “Joseph is Joey’s miniature doppelgänger, and he brings so much joy to our lives,” Jones beams. “Joey and I are always looking for new and exciting things to do as a family with Joseph and we cherish our time with him. “The most challenging time was last year when Joseph shared that another third-grade child was making fun of his dad for not having legs,” she explains. “Thankfully, his school has a wonderful support system and sat down all the students in his classroom to discuss the issue and allow Joseph to explain to his classmates what happened to his dad.” She says the situation also reminded her of just how special and strong military children can be in general, no matter what uncontrollable circumstances come their way. Continued on next page >

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#LACEUPAMERICA

GET YOUR BOOTS ON. At Boot Campaign, we proudly serve our country by providing life-improving programs for veterans and military families nationwide to bridge the divide between military life and civilian life. We unite as Americans. As sisters, as brothers, as neighbors and friends. And we take care of our own. We are strongest when we stand together united. So stand with us, America. When they come back, we give back.

READY TO LACE UP, AMERICA? Learn more at bootcampaign.org | 14

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“For me, the incident at school with Joseph was a very eye-opening moment to see how resilient he was and how well he handled the situation,” Jones reports. “Military kids are some of the most dynamic people I’ve ever met.“Their ability to adapt to new situations and settings and to be comfortable constantly meeting new people is something to be admired by all.” she continues. “Secondly, the incident reminded me of how important the work is that I’m a part of with Boot Campaign, which is sharing the message of service, sacrifice, and patriotism of military families nationwide.” The Jones family first learned about Boot Campaign from hearing a 2011 XM radio interview with Joe Nichols, a country music artist and Boot Campaign celebrity ambassador. Eventually, both Joey and Meg ended up working for Boot Campaign full time. Joey ultimately served as chief operating officer until leaving for other ventures in 2017, and Meg currently serves as programs director. “Boot Campaign’s staff was one the first organizations to treat Joey and I like we were just ‘normal’ people postinjury,” admits Jones. “They didn’t look at us and see a couple trying to ‘find their new normal,’ which is a widely used term in the injured service member community. To Boot Campaign we were just Joey and Meg, and they drew us in because there was genuine patriotism radiating from their staff and supporters.” As programs director for Boot Campaign, Jones is on the frontline of the organization’s veteran assistance and

“Each time a veteran shares a message that the services we have provided were better than they’ve ever experienced, I know I’m doing the right thing and making a difference. It’s the least I can do to make a part of their lives easier during or post service.” Adds her husband Joey: “As

the daughter of a Vietnam veteran and the spouse of a combat amputee, Meg truly embodies the virtues we hold dear in this country: love, hope and compassion. I love my wife selfishly, yet I’m proud to selflessly share her with such an amazing cause.” Jones is unapologetically proud of the organization she represents and is confident she and her fellow colleagues will continue to ignite patriotism in the spirit of providing life-improving programs for veterans and military families throughout the country. “Boot Campaign is like no other military non-profit that myself as a military wife has ever experienced,” Jones says. “Our staff, supporters, and partners truly care about the well-being of those who serve and have served. “If you are looking for help or resources, don’t be nervous to reach out and seek support,” reminds Jones. “Taking care of ‘YOU’ is the most important thing you can do for your family and yourself.” Learn more about Boot Campaign at www.BootCampaign.org

awareness programs. She ensures candidates receive treatment as part of Boot Campaign’s revolutionary health and wellness program, arranges for veterans’ families to receive gifts and assistance during the holidays through the Santa Boots program, and encourages the public to “Lace Up America!” by purchasing Boot Campaign combat boots. “For me, it’s an honor to be able to alleviate some of the stress and frustration that many veterans experience in dealing with their healthcare and the holidays,” says Jones.

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A Different Lens Mental Health Monthly By RanDee McLain, LCSW Why a different lens? Prior to enlisting in the US Navy I worked for a police department for many years. Once I became a sailor I served as a maser-at-arms……. military police officer. Fast forward several years and deployments later it was time to become a ‘civilian’. Those of us who have served know you will never truly be a civilian. You are no longer active but you will never truly be a civilian. Our experiences have forever altered the way we see the world. I was lost….I lost my sense of identity, purpose and this was compounded by physical and mental challenges I faced as I transitioned.

I have committed my professional life to helping my brothers and sisters as they transition. All of these experiences both as an Active Duty sailor and as a mental health clinician have led me to have a unique and different lens of the world, the struggles we face and the fellow veterans we serve. With each addition of the Different Lens I hope to educate you on many of the mental health challenges our service members, veterans and their families may face. These include Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Military Sexual Trauma (MST) to name a few.

I went to school because that seemed like the next logical step. A few degrees, several years and hard work later I attained my licensure and the title Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

We will also look at some non-mental health related subjects that impact transition such as underemployment and resource navigation and so much more.

I currently oversee a large outpatient mental health clinic.

I hope you will tune in for future additions of “A Different Lens”

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Wounded Warrior Project Helps Warriors Strengthen Family Ties By Dan Schnock – National Alumni Director, Wounded Warrior Project When you serve your country, your whole family serves. The lives of your parents, spouse, children, and relatives are as changed by your service as you are. Your loved ones feel pride, joy in reunions, longing when you’re absent from home, and empathy when you return with visible or invisible wounds.

The goal is to connect the family in meaningful ways, so they can continue to become a stronger family unit.

In the case of injured veterans, the future of an entire family can change because of those wounds. That’s why Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) surrounds the whole family with help and support through its Family Support program. When a warrior is supported in regaining independence, achieving health goals, managing posttraumatic stress, or simply connecting with other warriors, the entire family feels the benefits.

Recognizing Military Children’s Independence As We Nurture The Whole Family

Caregivers and family members play a key role in a warrior’s recovery journey. WWP connection events aim at reaching families and actively engaging caregivers and children who can influence the warrior’s well-being and who need support for themselves. WWP program gatherings bring injured veterans, their families, and their communities together. In a WWP survey (www.woundedwarriorproject.org/survey) of the wounded warriors it serves, more than half of survey respondents (52.6 percent) expressed they talk with fellow veterans to address their mental health concerns. WWP programs embrace family members as they, too, can use someone to talk to. Connection events are sometimes reserved for warriors to share their experiences freely with one another, but some include family members who also need to feel they are not alone – that there are other families going through similar transitions. These connection events bring families together and support the rehabilitation of service members by opening communication channels, bringing awareness and understanding to each person’s challenges, and allowing families to just have fun together. A family that goes through a deployment and has a loved one return with any injury, either visible or invisible, needs support to be able to heal together. These important gatherings can be anything from family picnics to Veterans Day parades to painting classes. 18

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Support for family members extends to career counseling, physical wellness, mental wellness, and working with other veteran service organizations that support children of service members.

…There we were, standing in the hangar looking out on the runway. The helicopter was running and ready to go. There were about seven other families, all in the same position as my sister, my mom and me. Finally, the time came, and the soldiers, including my dad, walked out onto the runway dressed in full camo carrying huge heavy bags over their shoulders. I had to hold myself back from running out after him. It didn’t really sink in that he was leaving until I watched the helicopter fly out of sight. The year that followed I was in the fourth grade. It was very strange for the first few months not having my dad around the house … – Sean McMahon, college admissions essay


Military life can be hard for children. But an oftencited silver lining is the independence and self-reliance children learn while their parent is away serving. Such was the case for Sean McMahon, whose dad Kevin was deployed twice to Iraq while leading a medical battalion for the Connecticut National Guard. Sean was 9, and his sister Erin was 13, the first time Kevin was deployed. The above words came from Sean’s recollections as he filled out college applications years later. While on active duty, Kevin worked as a Medical Service Officer with the 118th Area Support Medical Battalion, Connecticut Army National Guard.

“My unit triaged and stabilized patients who were then transported to a combat support hospital in a major city like Balad, Mosul, or Baghdad.” He oversaw 26 clinics inside Iraq from the Turkey border to the Kuwait border. Kevin retired from active duty after 31 years of service in 2011. It was around this time that he read his son’s college essay for the first time. “It was poignant, and I realized how much of their lives I missed,” Kevin said. While he was wearing a uniform in Iraq, his children had gone through soccer games, senior prom, and graduations. Conversely, while his children were going through high school rites of passage, dad was saving lives in Iraq. Continued on next page >

Wounded Warrior Kevin McMahon was deployed to Iraq twice when his children, Sean and Erin, were growing up. Kevin’s children are now in their 20s, out of college, and starting new careers. He’s thankful they’re able to spend quality time together and bond while sharing activities with Wounded Warrior Project as well as their love of skiing and snowboarding. “I’m able to gain closeness with them as we do activities together.”

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There was the time he answered a call for blood donations at 1 a.m., and watched his own donated blood be infused into a young Marine who had a below the knee amputation. Some days there were late-night miracles, followed by a day of working in the morgue – shipping caskets.

“My back has been rebuilt and fused a few times because of injuries while deployed, and I don’t have full range of motion anymore,” Kevin said. “I used to ski when I was younger, and through a Wounded Warrior Project connection, I now teach skiing at Adaptive Sports Foundation in Wyndham, New York.”

Back home in Connecticut, his children were growing into self-reliant young adults. Sean’s recollection of his dad’s second deployment to Iraq in 2008 reflects that maturing:

Kevin works with a program called Warriors in Motion as a ski instructor and spends three days per week in New York. He finds it a great way to stay active in winter and stay connected to his kids, who also like to ski and snowboard.

… This time the whole sendoff process was much more relaxed. My sister, my dad, and I drove to Camp Niantic, a local military base, where there was a bus waiting to take my dad to Fort Drum in upstate New York. We said our last good-byes and that was it. Or at least that’s what I thought. Much to my surprise, my dad showed up to my eighth grade graduation, dressed in full camo, of course. I was so overjoyed I ran up to him and jumped into his arms. I didn’t care one bit that all my friends were standing there watching me act like a little baby. Then he took me off to the side and we had a private one on one conversation. He proceeded to tell me to be brave and strong during the next year and how much he was going to miss going to my soccer and lacrosse games. The last thing he said to me was that I was going to have to be the man of the house while he was gone. I didn’t realize it then, but this was probably the most important conversation of my entire childhood. After Kevin retired in 2011, he focused on reconnecting with his children. He eventually found support and new purpose through WWP activities. He attended a WWP cooking class at the Culinary Institute of America® in Hyde Park, New York, where he met a WWP teammate who introduced him to other services, including adaptive sports. He participated in Soldier Ride® New York three years ago. “We went from New York City to the Hamptons. It was a great experience.” Dale, his wife Marie Elaina

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“My kids are sports-minded,” Kevin said. “They come to New York to visit and ski and snowboard with me. We now share experiences and activities. I’m able to gain closeness with them as we do activities together.” Kevin’s children are now in their 20s, out of college, and starting new careers. He looks forward to being able to spend quality time together. “My involvement with Wounded Warrior Project has strengthened my family ties. It’s great to have them be involved in things I do. For instance, my son and I are going to a New York Mets ball game together, organized by Wounded Warrior Project. The opportunity to share events with family members has been incredible.” Helping Military Children Connect With Each Other WWP works to support military families in a variety of ways. One highlight is WWP’s collaboration with the National Military Family Association to provide one free week of summer camp to military children. Known as Operation Purple Camp, the initiative offers children of wounded veterans an opportunity to gather in a fun environment during the summer. Operation Purple Camp began at the height of deployments from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, and they are open to all military branches. The goal is to give military children a chance to process military-specific challenges without feeling alone. WWP works closely with other veteran service organizations, private companies, and government agencies to provide resources for warriors and families. To learn more and to register as a wounded warrior or family support member, please visit https://wwp.news/GetConnected.


Warriors Matt Cowie and Dan Bittner, from Iowa, know that their respective family members and friends play a key role in their recovery journeys. Wounded Warrior Project® connection events aim at reaching families and actively engaging caregivers and children who can influence the warrior’s well-being and who need support for themselves.

Warrior Jose Rodriguez, from Texas, is homeschooling his 3- and 10-year-old daughters. Wounded Warrior Project® helped him develop stronger relationships with his family by encouraging him to go out kayaking, fishing and participating in other outdoor activities. “We love to kayak, work out together, go fishing, hiking, ride scooters, walk our two dogs, and play soccer.”

For injured veterans, the future of an entire family can change according to how the warrior recovers from visible and invisible injuries. That’s why Wounded Warrior Project® surrounds the whole family with help and support. When a warrior is supported in regaining independence, achieving health goals, managing posttraumatic stress, or simply connecting with other warriors, the entire family feels the benefits.

About the Author

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

Dan Schnock joined Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) in 2011 and serves as national alumni director. His team provides education on WWP programs and facilitates events and opportunities for wounded veterans to connect with each other and build camaraderie. With 22 years of leadership experience in the U.S. Army, Dan brings a wealth of knowledge to the WWP team. Dan started his career as an Army lieutenant. He held numerous positions including aide-de-camp, military instructor, and operations officer. He deployed numerous times and culminated his military career as the U.S. military exchange officer in Albury/Wodonga, Australia.

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Recreation for the Whole Military Family By Jim Lorraine, President and CEO of America’s Warrior Partnership April marks the Month of the Military Child, a time when we honor the dedication displayed by children of military families both at home and abroad. This month also serves as an excellent reminder for those of us in the veteran-serving community to always ensure our programs and initiatives are open to military children. One of the best ways that local veteran-serving organizations can honor military children is by hosting inclusive programs, events and activities for the whole family, particularly those that center on recreation and outdoor activities. Our 2018 Annual Survey found that recreation, networking and volunteerism are the three most sought-after opportunities among veterans, family members and caregivers throughout the nation. Our team at America’s Warrior Partnership conducts this survey every year to evaluate how communities can improve the services they offer to veterans, and these types of programs regularly rank high among veterans’ most sought-after resources. These may seem like nonessential services, but a significant number of veteran families are looking for these types of programs. In fact, 20 percent of the warriors we surveyed in 2018 were ONLY looking for either recreational activities, connections with other military families or volunteer opportunities – they did not need assistance with housing, education or other critical areas. Most importantly, a robust program of community events built around recreation, networking and volunteerism can have a very positive impact on veterans and their families. Our 2018 Annual Survey found that veterans, family members and caregivers who regularly participate in community events are 13 percent more hopeful on average than those who do not. The benefits of providing recreational opportunities to veterans and their children are clear, and there are a wide range of resources available to help individuals and veteran-serving organizations find quality programs. A great place for community groups, or veteran families themselves, to start is the Four Star Alliance, which is a membership organization of service providers that offer adaptive sports, therapeutic recreation and wellness programs to veterans and their families. 22

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There are tens of thousands of organizations spread throughout the country that specialize in different types of outdoor programs, so the search for a veteran-friendly program can be challenging without a little guidance. The Four Star Alliance provides that guidance by vetting prequalified organizations that are staffed with professionals who understand the unique situations and culture of veteran families. Every Four Star Alliance program has passed a rigorous vetting process that considers fiscal responsibility, use of effective practices and the level of satisfaction among those they serve. The seal of approval provided by a reliable vetting process can help eliminate the uncertainty that veterans may face when looking for an appropriate recreational program, especially when that decision involves their children. The other benefit of tapping into such a specialized membership organization is that it can help community groups and veterans find programs that otherwise may not be available locally. The Four Star Alliance currently counts more than three dozen service providers among its members, all based in different parts of the country with a diverse offering of recreation-based programs ranging from horticulture and hiking to team sports. A list of all Four Star Alliance members and their contact information is available at FourStarAlliance.org for those who are interested in exploring whether a recreational program may be right for their family. Our military children are asked to bear a difficult burden as their parents serve their country. The least we can do is give them an opportunity to relax, have fun and develop loving relationships with their families. About the Author Jim Lorraine is President and CEO of America’s Warrior Partnership, a national nonprofit that helps veteranserving organizations connect with veterans, military members and families in need. Learn more about the organization at www.AmericasWarriorPartnership.org.


veteran, r e d i v o r p & r fathe . d e r e w o p m i am e

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After Spinal-Cord Injury, ‘Protect and Serve’ Takes New Shape By Patricia McMorrow Jeff Edwards of Herman, MN, fell from roofs and crashed dirt bikes as a kid, parachuted into dangerous places with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and faced potential harm for 13 years as a Grant County sheriff’s deputy and SWAT-team marksman. Breaking his neck in shallow water while on vacation in Mexico in 2015 was not something Jeff had ever imagined. “It was just a freak accident,” he said. “I got rolled by a wave and hit the crown of my head on the bottom of the ocean … instantly paralyzed.” Jeff said he remembers thinking, “All the dangerous and dumb things I have done in my life, and a wave takes me out?” After a medical evacuation—securing an air ambulance that required up-front payment of $30,000 became longtime girlfriend Dani Murdoff’s first act as a caregiver—Jeff had surgery at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis to stabilize his spinal cord. Then, he set his first goal: going home. “I hated being in the hospital,” Jeff said. “They said I would have to be there for at least three months, and then I would be in [physical] rehab for six months.” But after just one month, he was transferred to the Spinal Cord Injury & Disorder Center at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System. Although Jeff had earned an Honorable Discharge from the Army in 1999 and his injury was not service-related, he was eligible for treatment as a Catastrophically Disabled Veteran. Doctors at the VA also thought it would take six months for Jeff to master a wheelchair, bathe, dress, cook and learn to drive with hand-controls. Throughout the time that Jeff was in the hospital and in physical rehab 170 miles from home, Dani used CaringBridge to keep family and friends updated on his progress. Jeff said, “The best thing I had in the hospital was the CaringBridge site. Dani would show me the comments; it was so motivating. I was a small-town police officer, and you don’t always feel well-liked … then you see what people write, and it just totally changes your attitude and motivation to get better and get back home to see everybody.” 24

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In just three months and 10 days, Jeff had “checked all the boxes” of self-sufficiency. When he was finally able to return home, his family, friends and law enforcement community rallied around him as he began to figure out what would come next. While Jeff was in the hospital, Dani put the two-story house they had been restoring up for sale and started making plans for to build a place with an open floor plan and no stairs. Next on the to-do list was a new line of work. “Obviously, I couldn’t be a law enforcement officer,” Jeff said. “You have to be able to chase the bad guys.” Through the VA and Paralyzed Veterans of America, Jeff landed a work-at-home job with a computer-storage company based in New York. He wanted to quit on Day 2. “It was completely different from what I was used to, and way out of my knowledge base,” he said. “But I’m not much of a quitter, so I figured I would give it a week … and within the first month I started catching on.” Although “not a quitter” sums up so much, Jeff said he still thinks about the day his life “went from 60 mph to 0 mph, in no time flat.” “Every day there are ‘what-ifs,’” he said. “I think, ‘What if I had just hung out at the pool that day? Or gone across the street to shop? Or had not even gone on vacation?’ How different my life would be.”


While he said he feels entitled to those thoughts, Jeff won’t let them take over. He also refuses to be consumed by anger. “So many guys with injuries like this are angry with the world,” Jeff said. “But I look at it like, ‘This was my fault … something I did to myself.’ Granted, nature had a little hand in it, but I made the decisions that led up to what happened.”

Reconciling the before-and-after like this is at the core of Jeff’s healing process.

When Jeff has been asked to talk with other service members who have been paralyzed, he said he always tries to focus on the positive. “Don’t get me wrong; I get frustrated,” he said. “It’s hard to deal with, but I still try to do the better thing.”

ABOUT THIS ARTICLE

Dani describes it this way: “I think you just have to have the mentality that this is what you have been dealt; you have to deal with it as it comes. It wouldn’t have done Jeff any good if we didn’t take a high road. So that’s just what we needed to do.”

For Jeff, healing is a mix physical and mental. And while he does not pretend to have all the answers, he has this advice for others: “For me to heal, I had to push myself. Maybe you’re not going to be 100%, but you’re going to be at 100% of what you are capable of at a time. The stronger you can stay mentally, the better off you will be as a person. Try to do the best you can, with what you have. That’s what healing means to me.”

Army veteran Jeff Edwards’ story is part of How We Heal, an ongoing series produced by the global nonprofit social network CaringBridge. To help ensure that patients and family caregivers like Jeff and Dani don’t go through health journeys alone, CaringBridge is working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to offer veterans, service members and caregivers a safe online place to connect. Learn more at https://military.caringbridge.org/a/

What remains difficult for a sheriff’s deputy and Army veteran trained to protect and serve is being on the receiving end of help. “Learning how to say, ‘yes’ to help was very, very hard. And it still is,” Jeff said. “But I am getting a little better.” Life offers many opportunities to practice. Jeff is handy—a look at his garage workshop gives him away—so talking son Jake through repairs beyond his reach offers an exercise in bonding and patience for a man used to being very independent. He also enjoys hunting and fishing, which remain possible thanks to an all-terrain wheelchair purchased through a GoFundMe campaign launched by friends. Being outdoors and doing activities he loves are good for Jeff’s soul, although having to depend on Dani or daughter Briona to load the track-chair onto its trailer is yet another reminder of how life has changed.

HOMELAND / April 2019 25


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ALIVE DAY

The first ‘Alive Day’ As the commemoration of the Vietnam War is now nearly at its midpoint, we highlight the man credited with the concept of wounded veterans celebrating their ‘Alive Day.’ Army Pfc. Jim Mayer in Vietnam in 1969 (top). The DAV life member lost his legs from wounds sustained in combat in Vietnam. This April, he marks 50 years since his injury. Mayer is widely credited for coining the term “Alive Day” to refer to a second birthday or life celebration for those who survived life-threatening combat injuries.

By M. Todd Hunter

V

ietnam didn’t waste its time making an impression on Jim Mayer. A week into the 23-year-old infantryman’s deployment, a village elder insisted Mayer and other members of his platoon follow him into a hut to view a small coffin. Inside it was a young Vietnamese boy who had been playing in a rice paddy and tripped a land mine. “Just the trunk of his body was left,” Mayer said. “It was an awful sight, and it really stuck with me.” Two months later, on April 25, 1969, Mayer nearly received the same fate as the boy inside the coffin when he also triggered a land mine that was placed in a Vietnamese rice paddy. When he hit the ground, he looked down and saw that the bottom of his left leg was gone and his right leg was severely damaged. “The first thing I said to my friend that reached me was ‘I’m going to live,’ which was really bizarre because I had really thought if I was blown up that bad that I would just end it,” Mayer explained. “But it was just a 180. It was just will. I don’t even know where it came from.” Through the efforts of the platoon medic, Mayer was evacuated and remained conscious until he reached the operating room at the 25th Infantry Division hospital

at Củ Chi. When Mayer woke up two days later, a priest informed him that he had administered last rites while he was on the operating table. The priest also asked Mayer to look down. “That’s when I saw that both of my legs were gone below the knees.” Right then Mayer made the decision to mark the lifechanging event with a “Thank God I’m Alive” party every April 25. Mayer made good on his promise after spending most of the following year recuperating at a military hospital in Texas. He spent his first Alive Day in his parents’ backyard with people from his small hometown in Missouri who had reached out to him while he was recovering. Mayer’s Alive Day parties grew and eventually became an event attended by dozens of family members, friends, co-workers and wounded veterans he had met and mentored—all of whom are undoubtedly happy Mayer was able to summon the will to face down life-altering injuries a half-century ago, choosing to live and use his experience to inspire his fellow veterans. n

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“The men and women who serve our Nation deserve our support — Today, Tomorrow, Always —” www.vanc.me Always a lot going on at VANC

Veterans Association of North County For people who have not visited the Veterans Association of North County on Mission Road in Oceanside, the question we usually receive is what do you guys do? As we wrap up our first quarter of activities, I thought I would share some events, classes and activities that happened over the quarter. With over 40,000 active duty members and 14,000 veterans in our immediate area, we provide facilities for many in the veteran community to meet, to socialize, to learn and to provide services to others. We have a few dozen Association Members and “Friends of VANC” that provide us with an annual fee in exchange for meeting at our facilities. We provide a very reasonable annual fee for veterans organizations to meet throughout the year in our meeting rooms. In the community, the quality of our facilities and the price compared to alternate venues is very compelling. American Legion Post 760 had it inaugural meeting with us. This new American Legion Post supports the mission of the 100 year old Legion with local activities that focus on making a difference in the veteran and civilian community. We provide classroom space for Team Rubicon to offer classes to its community of volunteers who support the community in times of local, regional or National emergency. The Disaster Data & Analytics class prepares volunteers to assess damage during an event and use their technology to provide accurate information to build an action plan. 28

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Our Yoga classes meet twice a week. Run by veterans, these classes relieve stress and provide a place for veterans to stretch, relax and socialize. Our Association member Homeless Veterans of San Diego has meetings twice a week to meet with veterans in need of housing, work opportunities and case related help. HVSD has succeeded in getting 50 veterans off the street and into housing. Our Military Transition Services Classes were well attended. The classes, taught over 8 sessions, connect active duty members and their families transitioning out of the military professional help in making the transition. From evaluating their strengths to developing their interviewing skills as well as practicing through mock interviews, our transitioning veterans are getting practical skills from professionals. We also had a Tap Takeover with Northern Pine, a local brewery owned by veterans. This was an event to create a social atmosphere while providing veteran entrepreneurs an opportunity to inspire fellow veterans to create local businesses and local connections. Always a lot going on at VANC. You can see for yourself the upcoming events at VANC on www.vanc.me. In the mean time, thank you to all those who support our organization with your attendance, your financial support and your participation. We will continue to offer free programs and services that our relevant in our community while supporting our active duty military, our veterans and their families.

www.vanc.me


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ENLISTED TO ENTREPRENEUR By Vicki Garcia

Is SEO Dead? Let me say from the get-go that I’m no SEO expert. I hire SEO experts. And, as you read this, you will know why. Just asking this question is intimidating. For at least 20 years I’ve been working with small businesses who want to be found high on the first- page of internet searches. And all those businesses have torn their hair out trying to win the game of first-page ranking. It’s very difficult. Is SEO Dead? I Wish. It’s More Accurate to Say It’s Evolving. In 2016 companies spent 65.26 billion dollars on SEO tactics. That number swelled to 72 billion in 2018. And by 2020 it’s estimated that companies will spend a whopping 79.27 billion dollars on search engine optimization. But we must admit that all of the hand wringing that SEO isn’t important anymore isn’t without merit. As search engines have evolved SEO has changed a lot. Many former tactics don’t work anymore. Backup and Start from the Beginning How did we get here and what’s changed? To answer that question, let’s rewind back to 2010. On May 25, 2010, a website proclaimed, “SEO is dead,” bursting out of the furtive mind of a supposed SEO expert in a drunken rant. Fast forward 9 internet years (a century in internet terms). Google then was nowhere near the proficiency of what Google is today. Remember the golden age of search? Then a lot of black hat SEO specialists who would try to game a search engine used shady techniques. Sadly, it worked. The Arrival of Modern SEO Google knows all. They were aware that these ploys worked and were in wide use. Google didn’t like it and saw it as a challenge. So, being smarter than we mere mortals, they wrote code to try to circumvent these scalawags and their sly tactics. Along comes new algorithms named after cute, animals like pandas, penguins, and hummingbirds. So, SEO specialists and marketers had to find a way to rank their websites using different techniques. 30

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This was the first example of the death of SEO. Something new and exciting was now required. SEO Doesn’t Die. It Reincarnates in Different Forms. The experts who live in SEO world now know it will be in constant change to outsmart us. You could spend months working on your SEO only to find out that all those months of hard work vanished. Not that valuable content that’s search engine optimized when done correctly doesn’t have dramatic results. It does. (Thinking of hiring an expert yet?) Along Comes Mobile The other day I saw a woman in the hot tub at my gym spend her whole time there on her iPhone (not talking, scrolling and searching). SEO Died Again We now know we have to think about websites from a mobile usability viewpoint. This announced the birth of mobile responsive design. What Is Mobile Responsive Design? Sites that enable designs and substance to resize naturally to the screen it’s being seen on. Now there are four screen sizes considered by mobile responsive web designers: desktop, laptop, handheld tablet, smartphone.


Bouncing from laptop to smartphone and back indicated several things to organic search engines. Online searchers are primarily mobile today, and it would become much more important for websites to display relevant information on smaller devices. Websites had to be as light as possible, in order to deliver an optimized experience that wouldn’t frustrate their users. Mobile-First Indexing In August 2018, Google officially launched the core algorithm called mobile-first indexing. Google defines it thus – “Mobile-first indexing means Google will

predominantly use the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. ... We will continue to show the URL that is the most appropriate to users (whether it’s a desktop or mobile URL) in Search results.” This means the mobile version of a website would primarily be used to gather keywords and assess a site for ranking, rather than the desktop version. You have permission to freak out. Mobile searches accounted for 96% of Google searches in the last quarter of 2017. And, it’s growing. Google also added another ranking factor that tests for mobile page speed. So, the trinity of SEO has now become speed, relevancy, and mobile responsiveness. SEO, vampire like, died another little death mostly on desktop-focused searches. Google RankBrain Changes the Game Evidence of how SEO continues to die and be reborn is the significance of more recent Google algorithm updates. Get this in your head. Google is a living ecosystem of digital connections trying to make sense of the global internet, while trying to deliver more relevant results to search queries from users, faster. Here are some the insider terms (there are more for sure): Mobilegeddon -- a release of a “mobile-friendly” algorithm change. (see https://tinyurl.com/mobilehell)

Did the visitor bookmark it? Even better. In today’s world, that’s how you rank higher than your competitors. Your content must be awesome and highly useful to the visitor. If you can’t noodle out how to create content that’s ridiculously useful and of high-quality, no amount of SEO expertise -- technical or otherwise -- will save your content from oblivion. And Then…OMG –Voice Search The rise of voice search on mobile devices is another great example of one area of SEO dying and another one surging. Voice Search Statistics You Should Know: About 30% of all searches will be done without a screen by 2020. (Gartner) 52% of people keep their voiceactivated speakers in their living rooms. 25% keep them in their bedrooms, while 22% keep them in their kitchens. (Google) 35.6 million Americans used a voiceactivated assistant device at least once a month in 2017 (eMarketer)—a year-over-year increase of 128.9%. (WordStream) 1 in 4 shoppers used voice assistants in their holiday shopping during the 2017 season. (CTA) 72% of people who own voice-activated speakers say that their devices are used as part of their daily routines. (Google) Mobile voice-related searches are 3X more likely to be local-based than text-related searches. (Search Engine Watch) 65% of people who own an Amazon Echo or Google Home can’t imagine going back to the days before they had a smart speaker. (GeoMarketing) 41% of people who own a voice-activated speaker say it feels like talking to a friend or another person. (Google) I just Googled “Honey Baked Ham Near Me.” Cool. Think this is a passing fad? You’re probably hanging on to your cassette tapes in case they come back. The technology is very new and difficult to implement, but forward-looking companies are taking advantage of voice search. The trends show us that traditional SEO is morphing into more natural ways of communicating with machines.

Google Hummingbird - seeks to improve the Google search engine experience for users by going beyond keyword focus, instead considering the context and all the content (see https://tinyurl.com/yy5hw78b).

Vicki Garcia is the Co-Founder of Operation Vetrepreneur & President of Marketing Impressions, a 33+ -year- old marketing consulting firm.

Google RankBraIn - new artificial intelligence that looks for signals of human interaction with websites and ranks those sites accordingly.

Apply NOW to join her Operation Vetrepreneur’s FREE Brainstorming Group launching again on March 25, 2019, for veteran entrepreneurs at www.veteransinbiz.com and visit https://www.nvtsi.org/ov/ for more info.

Google now also looks at the dwell time of a site, meaning how long a visitor hangs out and got some value from it.

If you want support for starting up a business, email her at vicki@veteransinbiz.com.

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VETERANS BUSINESS

INCUBATOR Have you been thinking of a life as a veteran after Transitioning from the military? Do you have a business idea but don’t know how to start? What if there was a place where you could network with other veterans, receive business advice from experts in business, have a place to perform your work, meet with clients and even get your mail? Would this help? AN INCUBATOR PROGRAM FOR VETERANS?

Why an Incubator?

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In the late 1970s, it became a popular vision for early-stage companies to share facilities in business incubators. Business incubator programs are majorly interested in helping new and start-up companies to grow by providing them with necessary support ranging from seed funding, office space, mentoring, training, technical services, and other benefits. Business incubators offered start-ups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses the support, expertise, and tools needed to succeed in an increasingly competitive market. Some incubators operate physically while some work on an off-site or virtual basis. Take a look at the Veterans Incubator in San Diego, Founded by Joseph Molina from the Veterans Chamber of Commerce in Partnership with the Escondido Chamber of Commerce, to give you an idea on what to expect from your local Veterans Business Incubator. www.vccsd.org/veteransincubator.html Below are several ways veterans can benefit from business incubator programs; OFFICE SPACE Business incubator help every veterans and other start-ups in getting an office with the necessary office equipment to get your business up and running. Availability of office space to be able to run your business is extremely important, Having a place where you can work from, meet clients, collaborate with fellow veteran entrepreneurs, attend workshops and meet with a mentor is critical to the success of the business. ACCESS TO “MOVER AND SHAKERS” NETWORK The ability to tap into a strong network of business owners is another excellent benefit of being part of a Business incubator program. It allows business owners to network with people with a common goal of growing their business, exchange best practices and share ideas. This network also provides a great level of support and mentorship for the new entrepreneur. MORE FUNDING AND INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES Business incubators offer start-ups access to more funding opportunities and potential investors who believe in what you offer. With these opportunities, you don’t have to worry as lenders may will be available for you to showcase your business idea. From SBA loans to private funding options to independent investors the funding opportunities become available to those participating in the incubator program.

MARKETING SUPPORT As a start-up, it is difficult to a lot of people or investors might not believe in your brand or find it difficult to trust your brand. But with the help of business incubator programs and their expertise in PR and marketing can help you to develop a marketing strategy at the early stage of your business. Having someone to make calls for you at a very low rate, is another great benefit of the incubator. Most business owners have difficulties making those cold calls, the incubator may help in this area. ACCESS TO EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES By joining business incubators, you have access to workshops, mentor relationships and other training opportunities that will help your business be successful. Learning is part of the growth process of any business. Markets are always changing, shrinking, expanding, so learning is always a must for every business owner. SUPPORT FROM CREDIBLE MENTORS Business incubators help start-ups with mentors, these mentors bring a wealth of knowledge with personal experience and business knowledge in marketing, presentation skills, human resources, accounting, legal guidance and more. As a veteran or anyone looking to venture into business, you will benefit greatly from the services of a business incubator. Business incubator provide the necessary support to help a new entrepreneur. As a veteran entering the world of entrepreneurship it is nice to know that you will have a Team at the Veterans Business Incubator providing you with the support and guidance needed to successfully launch your business. Start-ups that partnered with business incubators have recorded a significant level of successes in their first five years. In conclusion, business incubator programs will help you launch your business and help you grow. The Veterans Incubator is a unique concept that welcomes veterans who are interested in starting their own business and want to be part of a community of like-minded veteran entrepreneurs. For any questions about this topic or to set up a Veterans Incubator please contact the author at veteransccsd@gmail.com (Write on subject line “Incubator”) Article by: Joseph Molina Veterans Chamber of Commerce www.vccsd.org

HOMELAND / April 2019 33


VETERANS, MILITARY JOIN US WE UNITE CURRENT AND FORMER MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY WORKING IN THE MEDIA, FILM AND TELEVISION INDUSTRIES

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building a Foundation For your success. one-on-one coaching | certiFication suPPort | think tank grouPs Veterans make great entrepreneurs. Building a company is tough & requires lots of work. It can be lonely. The vets & active military we work with, from start-up to experienced owners, polish their business smarts the same way they learned skills in the military.

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IN THE TRENCHES . . . What You Can Expect Certification & Supplier Diversity Concept Review for Startups Perfecting Your Pitch Speaker Training Brainstorming with Experts Publishing Knowhow Personal Branding Mind Mapping Crowdfunding Writing a Business Plan Branding, Graphics & Visuals Internet Marketing Social Media & SEO Legal Issues Budgeting Where & How to Get Money High Velocity Growth Strategies Employees & Contractors

HOMELAND / April 2019 35


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

SMALL BUSINESS LAWSUITS:

WHAT ARE MY CHANCES OF GETTING SUED? Starting and running your own business can be incredibly rewarding, but it is also inherently risky. Maybe you’re doing something entirely new and putting your money, time and dreams on the line to make it a success. But sometimes things don’t go as planned. Getting sued, for example, could destroy everything you have worked so hard to build. So, what are your chances of getting sued? What can you do to protect your business? The threat of a lawsuit is very real: over 100 million cases are filed in the US state courts every year. To assess your chances of being sued, the first step is to figure out where you could potentially be liable or otherwise legally responsible. Contract disputes are a very common source of liability for businesses and this liability expands when you have employees. Even your own success may expose you to lawsuits as competitors could file claims for infringement of logos, which is very common as business owners neglect to file a registered trademark for their logo or name. WHAT WILL A LAWSUIT COST YOU? The cost of a lawsuit will depend heavily on the cause of action, whether or not you proceed to trial, and if you win or lose. Pursuing a lawsuit in any capacity can be an expensive endeavor: hiring a lawyer, court filing fees, and discover; it all adds up fast and that doesn’t even include the trial itself. The median costs for a business lawsuit start at $55,000 and can reach well over $100,000. HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF? There will always be some risk that goes along with being a business owner, but that should not discourage you. Here are simple ways to protect yourself and mitigate some of the potential damage: • Incorporate your business – this can limit your personal exposure • Consider alternative dispute resolutions in your contracts – this can avoid the high costs of trial. • File for registered trademarks for your business name and logo – this could save you thousands and time in rebranding your business. • Always keep a good business attorney on retainer – never make business decisions without talking to your business attorney first. 36

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MILITARY MONEY MINUTE A Monthly Financial By Lara Ryan & Daniel Chavarria

SDP – THE HIDDEN GEM

What would you say to a financial advisor if they told you they could guarantee you a 10% annual rate of return on your money, compounded quarterly? You’d probably check their credentials and then maybe report them to FINRA or at least walk out the door. Well, we’re telling you there is such a deal. So, how do I get in on this you may ask? All you have to do is deploy to a combat zone! Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) administers the Savings Deposit Program (SDP). SDP offers a guaranteed annual return of 10%, compounded quarterly, on up to $10,000 contributed to the program. This far exceeds the return on any traditional savings account out there. In fact, it’s a good return compared to most any other investment. Sure, you may be able to beat that rate of return by putting your money in the stock market when the market is having a good year, but how can you predict a good year? Even Warren Buffett doesn’t have a lock on that gouge. The truth is, you can’t time the market, and you most certainly won’t find a stock, bond, fund, or ETF in the marketplace that will guarantee you a 10% annual rate of return. HOW IT WORKS You can participate in SDP if you are serving in a designated combat zone, qualified hazardous duty area or certain contingency operations outside the United States for more than 30 consecutive days or for at least one day for each of three consecutive months. Contact your Admin department or the finance office at your deployment location. They will let you know if you or your unit are eligible, will provide assistance with the necessary paperwork and will explain when you can begin making deposits. A total of $10,000 may be deposited during each deployment and will earn up to 10% interest annually. You cannot close your account until you have left the combat zone, although your money will continue to draw interest for 90 days once you’ve returned home or to your permanent duty station. Interest earned in your Savings Deposit Program is taxable, even though your income while deployed is not taxable. Uncle Sam always gets his cut.

Deposits may be made in cash, by check or through allotment. Once started, allotments may be increased or decreased as your financial situation changes. Your allotment will stop upon your departure from the combat zone. Once you make your initial deposit, interest accrues on the account at an annual rate of 10% while compounding quarterly. Let’s take an example. You leave for a known nine month deployment to the fun zone and you want to immediately deposit that $10,000 you have lying around. Interest earned on $10,000 deposited into the SDP for nine months would total $768.91. The last day to make a deposit into the fund is the date of departure from the assignment, and interest will accrue at the 10 percent rate up to 90 days after return from deployment. That said, wait 3 months after you get back and interest earned would total $1038.13! That’s not a bad gig for just letting your money sit around. Not like you have anything to spend it on over there anyway… Well, those Persian rugs are pretty nice! Lara Ryan and Daniel Chavarria work with a team and run a comprehensive financial planning practice that specializes in working with active duty, retired, veteran and military-connected individuals, families, and businesses. They are not fee-based planners and don’t charge for their time, but believe every servicemember needs and deserves a financial plan.

Lara.ryan@nm.com (307) 690-9266

Daniel.Chavarria@nm.com (702) 497-3264

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JOBS FOR VETS

Careers In Law Enforcement Visit Today For Law Enforcement Profiles & Job Openings

HomelandMagazine.com JOBS FOR VETS LAW ENFORCEMENT 38

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Military service can be a perfect entrance into a law enforcement career. Military and law enforcement personnel have had a long-standing 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.

Opportunities in Law Enforcement

You’ve served your country, now serve your community! The following agencies are actively hiring & proudly support our veterans, active military and the families that keep together.

We thank you for your service, to all the men and women in law enforcement around the world for your courage, your commitment & your sacrifice. - Homeland Magazine -

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WE DON’T JUST THANK

VETERANS,

WE HIRE

THEM.

PGHJOBS.NET CITY OF PITTSBURGH - E/O/E 42

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Sworn to Serve Live to Protect Be FLPD FORT LAUDERDALE POLICE DEPARTMENT

Military Preference Given The task ahead of you is never as great as the Power behind you

ANNUAL SALARY NON-CERTIFIED $55,536 - $85,675 CERTIFIED $58,344 - $85,675 Contact us to learn how you can become part of the Premier law enforcement agency in South Florida

(719) 444-7437 cspd.coloradosprings.gov

WWW.FLPDJobs.com recruiter@fortlauderdale.gov Recruiting@ci.colospgs.co.us 954-828-FLPD (3573)

Facebook: Colorado Springs Police THE CITY OF FORT LAUDERDALE IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER twitter@cspd.pio

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Shelter to Soldier Service Dog Transforms the Life of US Navy Veteran by Eva M. Stimson Lady Liberty, (a black lab mix), was adopted by Shelter to Soldier (STS) from the San Diego Department of Animal Services in Carlsbad. She was there for a little over a month and had been previously adopted and returned. This pup was just in need of a job to keep her engaged and out of trouble! She loves people and the shelter staff was so pleased that she’d be entering the STS program and fulfilling a greater life purpose. An STS Red Star Sponsor, Mission Beach Women’s Club, generously sponsored Lady Liberty to be trained and paired with a deserving U.S. veteran that demonstrated a need for a psychiatric service dog.

STS is experiencing continued growth as demand from the veteran population for their services continues to increase. STS has responded to this escalation in need by creating a new level of sponsorship to help facilitate the operating costs of the non-profit organization’s veteran services department. The STS White Star Sponsorship provides corporations, private foundations and individuals with the opportunity to participate in the STS mission by providing tax-deductible funds to facilitate expansion. As a White Star Sponsor, a gift of $10,000 will be utilized to help bolster STS’s existing efforts to support veterans. Through the use of mental health support services, outreach networks, and continued education, STS hopes to increase the support network available to each and every veteran entering the Shelter to Soldier Program.

In December 2018, Lady Liberty graduated from the STS program with Aaron Neely, a Navy veteran. Aaron and Liberty have a very special bond. According to Aaron, USN Ret., “Liberty has been a game changer! Before being paired with her, I was barely leaving the house alone and struggling to connect with anybody outside of my immediate family. Since entering the STS program, I have found new confidence and a desire to experience life. I’m reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. Previously, I felt as if I was dying of a mental illness. Now, I feel like I am really living.” Every day on average, twenty (20) U.S. veterans and one (1) active duty service member commit suicide (Department of Veteran Affairs) and every day, 3200 dogs are euthanized in the U.S. Shelter to Soldier provides hope for both veterans and dogs facing lifethreatening challenges and offers its services at no charge to veterans upon completion of a screening process. According to STS Founder Graham Bloem, “Lady Liberty is a special dog who needed to be channeled into a role where she could be of service and find her highest calling. I am sure she was discouraged and confused to be returned to the shelter from which she was initially adopted, but we were fortunate to find her and provide her another chance at a great life, and pair her with Aaron. Her bond with Aaron has transformed both of their lives immeasurably and they are now both living their lives surrounded by unconditional love and positivity.” Artist - Brittany Gneiting 46

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“Lady Liberty is a special dog who needed to be channeled into a role where she could be of service and find her highest calling. Her bond with Aaron has transformed both of their lives immeasurably and they are now both living their lives surrounded by unconditional love and positivity.” - STS Founder Graham Bloem


According to Kyrié Bloem, Shelter to Soldier Co-Founder and Operations Director, “Veterans undergo a thorough application and screening process when they apply for the Shelter to Soldier program. We understand that each veteran has different needs, and it’s our mission to provide as much support throughout this process as we can. We believe that assisting a veteran does not just stop with providing a trained psychiatric service dog --- we recognize that there are more opportunities to provide much-needed underwriting for all of our programs so that we may continue to help veterans move forward. We’re unveiling the White Star Sponsorship to give prospective donors additional options.”

Additionally, the general public can participate in the ongoing fundraising efforts of STS by subscribing to a minimal donation of $10.00 per month on the STS website (sheltertosoldier.org), or by sponsoring and/ or participating in the upcoming STS Annual Gala to be held on August 24, 2019. The 7th Annual “Be the Light” Gala will take place at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm and will include live music by Ryan Hiller, dinner and drinks, silent and live auction by Clint Bell in the company of veterans and their service dogs to help raise funds to perpetuate the STS mission of Saving Lives, Two at a Time™. The Gala is presented by Cox Communications alongside event partners Ranch & Coast Magazine and Redfearn & Associates. Sponsorship opportunities are still available and individual tickets can be purchased for $175 per person with tables of ten starting at $1750. Visit https://bidr.co/events/ bethelight7 for details. Shelter to Soldier is located at 2909 San Luis Rey Road in Oceanside, CA. The non-profit organization is a gold participant of GuideStar and accredited by the Patriot’s Initiative. To learn more about veteransupport services provided by STS, call (855) 287-8659 for a confidential interview regarding eligibility.

Graham & Kyrié Bloem

Vic Martin & Mia

Artist - Saul Hansen

Aaron & Liberty

Perry Chapman

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Seven Outstanding Teens to Receive Operation Homefront 2019 Military Child of the Year® Award Operation Homefront, serving America’s military families® since 2002, today announced the seven winners of the prestigious 2019 Military Child of the Year® Award, the nation’s premier celebration of the achievements of our military children. 2019 marks the 11th anniversary of the awards, which each year has provided the extraordinary young recipients with opportunities to be recognized by senior military leaders, elected officials, celebrities, and other remarkable military children. The Military Child of the Year® Award reflects the positive impact that these special young people have made on their military families, their schools, and their communities. The award recipients will travel to Washington, D.C., to be recognized at the April 18th gala, during which senior leaders of each branch of service will present the awards. They also will each receive $10,000, a laptop computer, and other donated gifts. The Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation recipient will work directly with a Booz Allen Hamilton team to develop a plan to help scale the recipient’s project — drawing on technology and strategic thinking as a part of the corporation’s competitive Summer Games. “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 350 plus nominees we had for our 11th 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.”

The seventh award is the Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation, presented by global technology and consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. This award goes to a military child who has designed a bold and creative solution to address a local, regional or global challenge.

The 2019 Military Child of the Year® Award recipients are as follows: Army: Elisabeth McCallum Polleys, 16, Macomb, Michigan, L’Anse Creuse High School-North Marine Corps: Jaxson Jordan, 13, Tarawa Terrace, North Carolina, Brewster Middle School Navy: Elisabeth Lundgren, 18, Chula Vista, California, University of California Air Force: Benjamin Rawald, 16, Del Rio, Texas, Brackett High School Coast Guard: Kylie McGuire, 17, Hamilton, New Jersey, Nottingham Hamilton High School North National Guard: Campbell Miller, 17, Ontario, Ohio, Mansfield Christian School Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation: Brandon Mammano, 18, Mililani, Hawaii, Hanalani Schools United Technologies Corporation is the gala’s presenting sponsor. Additional sponsors include Booz Allen Hamilton, MidAtlanticBroadband, LaQuinta Inns & Suites, and Procter & Gamble. Military Times is the media sponsor.

Six recipients earned the award based on the armed forces branch in which a parent either serves or has served — Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and the National Guard, selected for their scholarship, volunteerism, leadership, extracurricular involvement, and other criteria while facing the challenges of military family life. Each service branch’s awardees were selected by a panel of independent volunteer judges with deep roots in the military-support community. 48

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More information about the Military Child of the Year® Awards is available at www.militarychildoftheyear.org.


Elisabeth McCallum Polleys

Jaxson Jordan

Elisabeth Lundgren

Benjamin Rawald

Kylie McGuire

Campbell Miller

About Operation Homefront: Founded in 2002, Operation Homefront is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to build strong, stable, and secure military families so that they can thrive – not simply struggle to get by – in the communities they have worked so hard to protect. Recognized for superior performance by leading independent charity oversight groups, 92 percent of Operation Homefront expenditures go directly to programs that support tens of thousands of military families each year. Operation Homefront provides critical financial assistance, transitional and permanent housing and family support services to prevent short-term needs from turning into chronic, long-term struggles. Thanks to the generosity of our donors and the support from thousands of volunteers, Operation Homefront proudly serves America’s military families. Brandon Mammano

For more information, visit OperationHomefront.org.

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Caring for our veterans

Veterans facing the challenges associated with a life-threatening illness can rely on The Elizabeth Hospice for the medical, emotional and spiritual support they need and deserve. Our skilled, compassionate caregivers are trained to address PTSD, depression, anxiety, survivor’s guilt, and soul injury. Complementary therapies, including physical therapy, music therapy, aromatherapy and pet visits, are used in combination with medical support to help alleviate pain. We celebrate and thank our patients for their service at bedside pinning ceremonies officiated by a veteran or active duty service member. Since 1978, The Elizabeth Hospice has touched the lives of more than 100,000 people in San Diego County and Southwest Riverside County. To learn more about our hospice care, palliative care and grief support services for veterans, call 800.797.2050 or visit www.elizabethhospice.org.

The Elizabeth Hospice is proud to be a We Honor Veterans Level 5 Partner, the highest level of distinction.

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THIS IS OUR CALL OF DUTY.

For nearly 70 years, Father Joe’s Villages has been taking care of the immediate needs of homeless Veterans, while also helping end their homelessness for good. Call 1-619-HOMELESS or visit NEIGHBOR.ORG to learn more.

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© 2018 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved.

52 Air HOMELAND 2019 Show Ad Oct 2018.indd/ April 1

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THE POSSE VETERANS PROGRAM

Go to a TOP college with the support of other veterans and FULL TUITION GUARANTEED. Posse is selecting veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces to attend:

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO

VASSAR COLLEGE

POSSE IS LOOKING FOR VETERANS WHO: • Have not previously received a bachelor’s degree • Have served at least 90 consecutive days of active duty since September 11, 2001, and have received or will receive an honorable discharge by July 1, 2019 • Can commit to a one-month pre-collegiate training program in New York City in the summer of 2019 • Are leaders in their places of work, communities and/or families

WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY

UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE POSSE VETERANS PROGRAM? Visit our website at www.possefoundation.org/veterans or email the Posse Veterans Team at veterans@possefoundation.org. GET TO KNOW A POSSE VETERAN SCHOLAR...

WHAT IS THE POSSE VETERANS PROGRAM?

GRANT KILLIAN

COLLEGE DEGREE: Each cohort—a Posse—of 10 veterans attends college together to pursue bachelor’s degrees.

University of Virginia Navy Gallatin, TN

FUNDING: Vassar College, The University of Virginia, The University of Chicago, and Wesleyan University guarantee four years of full tuition funding after GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon benefits have been applied. SUPPORT: Comprehensive training from Posse prepares veterans for the college experience and support continues on campus through graduation. CAREER: Posse offers internship opportunities, career coaching and connections to a large professional network to prepare Posse Scholars for leadership positions in the workforce.

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Grant joined the Navy after graduating from high school in 2015. He developed into a strong and effective leader while training at the Naval Special Warfare Preparatory School. At UVA, Grant hopes to study physics and international relations while actively engaging with the university and surrounding communities. Grant says, “the Posse Foundation is investing in groups of driven individuals with incredible leadership potential to have an impact on conversations, campuses, communities, and the world."


www.homelandmagazine.com

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PTSD TREATMENT DECISION AID: THE CHOICE IS YOURS

Wondering which PTSD treatment is right for you? Use the PTSD Treatment Decision Aid to learn about and compare treatments.

HOW DOES IT WORK? Watch Video Interviews with Providers Compare the Treatments You Like Best Find Answers to Frequently Asked Questions Get a Personalized Summary

WHO IS IT FOR? PATIENTS: The Decision Aid teaches you about your options and gets you ready to work with your provider to choose the best treatment for you. PROVIDERS: The Decision Aid educates your patients about evidence-based PTSD treatments. Review it together in session, or have your patients work through it at home.

There are effective treatments for PTSD. You have options. The choice is yours.

The PTSD Treatment Decision Aid is an online tool to help you learn about effective treatments and think about which one might be best for you.

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