Vol. 4 Number 12 • December 2017
Homeland Veterans Magazine
Season’s Greetings AND
Happy New Year
for your service
A Soldier’s Christmas The Christmas Truce of 1914
Gold Star Mom “World Changer”
2017 Veteran Of The Year Serving Those Who Serve
Fighting Domestic Violence Careers In Law Enforcement ENLISTED TO ENTREPRENEUR COLLEGE CREDIT FOR STARTING A BUSINESS Entrepreneurial Career In An RV
Resources Support Inspiration
HOMELAND / December 2017 1
PTSD TREATMENT DECISION AID: THE CHOICE IS YOURS
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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.
HOMELAND / December 2017
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HOMELAND / December 2017 3
Greetings and a warm welcome to HOMELAND Magazine!
Publisher Editor-In-Chief Mike Miller Contributing Writers CJ Machado Vicki Garcia Wounded Warrior Project Vesta Anderson John Roberts R4 Alliance Jenni Riley DAV M. Todd Hunter Steven Wilson Shelter to Soldier Eva M. Stimson Boot Campaign Barry Smith USO Sharon Smith Andrew McClure REBOOT Workshop Sara Wacker USAA Chad Storlie Operation Homefront Stephen Thomas Women Veterans Alliance Melissa Washington Public Relations CJ Machado Thomas McBrien
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.
Marketing/Sales Mike Miller Gina Henderson
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.
Entertainment Media Bob Dietrich Calvin Goetz
We are honored to share the work of so many committed and thoughtful people.
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
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.
Contact Homeland Magazine at: email@example.com
HOMELAND / December 2017
Remember Our Troops This Holiday Season
inside this issue 06 Gold Star Mom “World Changer” 11 Silver Star Families 12 Serving Those Who Serve 16 Hope For US Veterans During The Holidays 18 Holiday Meals & Toys For Military Families 20 Fighting Domestic Violence 26 2017 Veteran Of The Year 32 A Soldier’s Christmas 34 Christmas Truce of 1914 37 FREE Dental Day Military Families 38 ENLISTED TO ENTREPRENEUR 41 College Credit For Starting A Business
A Soldier’s Christmas
42 Entrepreneurial Career In An RV 45 Careers In Law Enforcement
DIGITAL VERSION AVAILABLE WWW.HOMELANDMAGAZINE.COM
HOMELAND / December 2017 5
Holidays Always Tough For Gold Star Mom Advocating Nationally For Better, Stronger, More Resilient America By Barry Smith Boot Campaign
While December is a joyous family time for many across the globe, it is completely understandable why Gold Star mother Karen Vaughn would say unequivocally â€œstraight up, the holidays are grueling,â€? having tragically lost her son in action six years ago on deployment to the Middle East.
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U.S. Navy SEAL Aaron Vaughn, special operations chief with SEAL Team VI, was among 30 brave Americans who were shot down aboard their Extortion 17 helicopter during a mission in the Tangi River Valley of Afghanistan. The highly decorated 30-year-old Vaughn, a husband and father of two, was suddenly gone on Aug. 6, 2011 after nine years of service to his country. “If he was deployed during Christmas, we would just bathe him with presents and gifts and letters and cards and things that made him know he was in our thoughts every minute,” recalls Karen, a Union City, Tenn. native and current resident of Stuart, Fla. “Of course, if he was deployed, he would always find a phone and give us a call. We appreciated and respected what he did, so we just always tried to lighten the atmosphere because we knew it was a lot harder on him being away from home than it was on us.”
Since losing Aaron before the holidays in 2011, Karen and her husband Billy have vaulted onto the national scene as powerful spokespersons for active U.S. military, veterans and the freedoms and prosperity so many Americans have sacrificed their lives to protect. Garnering several trips to Congress and more than one hundred national and local radio interviews, authoring numerous newspaper articles, developing two websites (ForOurSon.us and OfficialKarenVaughn. com) and authoring two books have kept them focused and motivated. Billy is the author of the 2013 bestselling book, “Betrayed: The Shocking True Story of Extortion 17,” while Karen authored her own book in 2017 titled “World Changer,” which has her traveling the country for speaking engagements urging patriots to stay engaged in American culture and politics. “The book reviews have been humbling and very powerful,” confides Karen, who was a featured speaker on opening night of the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Continued on next page www.homelandmagazine.com
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Their reaction kind of shocked me and gave me a real wakeup call about the condition in which we’ve found ourselves in this current culture. “So, that’s when the book turned into what it did,” she adds. “It was almost equally a story of constructive parenting as it was a celebration of a life well lived.” When Karen now speaks around the U.S., she has five key messages for parents: 1. Love your spouse and put him or her first - The best step up you’ll ever give your kids is to build a strong and loving marriage that they can replicate one day.
“I am very passionate about it,’ she says, “because I feel like if we keep going down the path that we’re on in America – the way we’re pitted against each other, the way we are allowing the media to pit ourselves against each other, the way we treat each other on social media – then it’s like Aaron died for nothing.” Her book “World Changer” came about after she had started compiling stories about her son for his children, son Reagan and daughter Chamberlyn, who were babies when he died. “I knew that as his kids were growing up they would want stories about their father, they would want to know what he was like at different phases of his life,” Vaughn explains. “I also knew there would be emotional moments and I wanted them to be able to pick up stories about their father at those stages and read what he was like, what his integrity was like, what his character was like, those sorts of things.” Karen says after she compiled many of these stories just for Aaron’s kids, she was asked by a woman in South Florida to talk to a group of young moms and teach them how to raise ‘world changers.’ Karen was asked to share the principals she and her husband had employed in the home as they were raising their children, revealing some of the basics that created the strength and formidable spirit their children have. One thing led to another that resulted in the book being published in May of this year. “When I shared those stories and ideas in front of this group of moms, they seemed truly moved,” she remembers. “They were not familiar with all the principals I was teaching, primarily about their responsibilities to educate their children on their participation in the civic experience of America, like voting and understanding who their members of congress are and different things like that.
HOMELAND / December 2017
2. Be sure to build a strong tribe around your family. Your friends matter. Who you surround yourself with speaks volumes to your children. 3. Never let up on good discipline. We need to be deliberate in making sure our kids understand that discipline is not our choice, but rather our obligation. Discipline is the primary action that stands between a wrecked life and a productive one. Keep in mind that you are raising someone’s future spouse, parent, employee, boss, etc. 4. Teach your children to not only know what they believe, but make sure they know why they believe it. Courage and character can’t be transferred from parents to kids. It must be taught. 5. Always let your children know you plan to let them go. Hold your children loosely. Most of their lives will be spent outside the confines of our home. It’s our job to prepare them to live their own life and live it well.
Karen was introduced to Boot Campaign by founding “Boot Girl’ and board member Dr. Sherri Reuland, and Karen was eager to become involved after learning the organization’s mission and focus on providing life-improving programs to military families nationwide. “I’m really interested in Boot Campaign’s ReBOOT program because I’ve been working with veterans on legislation for Veterans Affairs reform ever since Aaron died,” explains Vaughn. “Probably within six months I was active in Washington D.C. trying to get legislation to improve VA care for veterans because of the horror stories I started witnessing as I traveled across the country and spoke. “When I heard about the ReBOOT program I got really excited,” she adds, “because it was the first program I saw where specialists were evaluating every aspect of the veteran, not just trying to randomly treat them with medication, but figuring out exactly what the causes of their symptoms were.” In addition to ReBOOT, Vaughn says working with Boot Campaign has helped her with a “gigantic passion” of hers to educate America’s youth about patriotism, service and sacrifice, and about believing in something greater than themselves. “I’ve talked to a lot of schools over the last six years and the response from students is unmatched, I mean completely unmatched,” reports Vaughn.
“I just think it’s a critical to put veterans and even gold star children in front of students and let them tell their stories so students can see what that sort of sacrifice looks like.” Now that it is that time of year again, the Vaughns have figured out a plan to help the family soldier on through the holidays and have something to be positive about. “It’s so individual for everybody how they cope with a loss and how they handle their particular situation,” confides Karen. “We’ve decided to try to build new traditions so that we’re not paralyzed by the old things. We do keep some of the old things, like we still hang up Aaron’s stocking every year, and his children use his boots as their stockings, so they get set out by the fireplace, too. “But one thing we’ve decided to do as a family is take a vacation right after Christmas, so that we all go together and have something to look forward to,” she concludes. “That’s been a big deal for us. This way we’re not focused solely on simply getting through Christmas. No matter what anybody says, you just have to get through it, but the vacation afterwards gives us all something that we really do look forward to, and that helps.” Learn more about Boot Campaign at
“My mission is to inspire families across America to re-engage in intentionally working to raise ‘world changing’ children; kids who are noble, strong and formidable.
HOMELAND / December 2017 9
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Qualifying injuries include: Purple Heart recipients; victims of friendly fire; those suffering from posttraumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, Agent Orange and Gulf War Syndrome; and those with injuries, wounds or illnesses originating in a combat zone.
Recognizing the wounded, ill and dying veterans of our nation’s.
“We are blessed to have individuals with such courage and dignity in the USA,” states SSFOA co-founder and daughter of a U.S. Navy veteran, Diana Creed-Newton, “and it is a small gesture of our eternal thanks for our combat wounded and ill troops and veterans.”
Often times we find ourselves so involved with the flurry of activities designed to recognize the efforts our brave veterans and servicemembers, that we occasionally overlook the profound sacrifices made by the organizations supporting them.
The SSFOA has expanded their efforts to recognize veterans by collaborating with organizations such as the Thank You Foundation to honor those servicemembers who have experienced an injury or illness occurring outside of a combat zone or in times of peace.
The majority of these unsung heroes work tirelessly behind the scenes while receiving little—if any—recognition for the labors they put forth in support of a cause to which they feel inextricably woven.
The organization has also established programs which pay tribute to the sacrifices made by military medical personnel, merchant marines, and—in honor of our four-legged friends— provide a certificate recognizing the important contributions that have been made by military working dogs.
By Jeremy P. Amick
Those within military and veteran social circles have become familiar with the Blue Star Mothers of America (an organization recognizing those with family members serving in armed forces) and the American Gold Star Mothers (an organization honoring those who have lost a son or daughter in the service); however, there is one classification of veteran that often goes unnoticed: those wounded, ill or dying as a result of their military service. Resurrected from the back pages of World War I history, one such organization—the Silver Star Families of America (SSFOA)—has received a new breath of life. The history and use of the Silver Star can be traced back to 1917, during which time it was adopted by the American War Mothers to recognize the combat wounded. An early practice developed into a tradition when the mothers of World War I servicemembers would cover the blue star on the service flag with silver thread to honor a loved one who was injured in the line of duty. This practice remained relatively popular throughout both World I and II, but sadly fell away in the ensuing years. But in 2004—through the dedication and foresight of its Clever, Mo. founders, Steve and Diana Newton— the SSFOA was formally established and received its official status as a charitable organization shortly thereafter. The primary token of recognition provided by the SSFOA consists of a Silver Star Service Banner and certificate of recognition—both provided free of charge—to veterans with qualifying injuries. www.homelandmagazine.com
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens—a former Navy SEAL officer and recipient of a Silver Star Banner—has acknowledged the work of the SSFOA by signing a bill establishing May 1 of every year as the “Silver Star Families of America Day” in Missouri. The United States Senate and U.S. House of Representatives soon followed with resolutions recognizing May 1 in honor of our combat wounded and ill troops and veterans. “The members of the Silver Star Families of America and I are deeply gratified that Missouri was the first state in the nation to recognize the Silver Star Service Banner and Silver Star Service Banner Day,” stated the organization’s founder and Marine Corps veteran, Steve Newton. “With the United States House of Representatives passing House Resolution 855 and the Senate passing Senate Resolution 534 affirming at the Federal level, May 1st will forever be a day for the country to remember and honor our wounded, ill and injured from all wars,” he added. Currently all 50 states and more than 3,000 cities and counties have signed proclamations in support of May 1st date. As a charitable organization, the SSFOA relies primarily upon a group of volunteers and the financial support of donors in order to maintain and continue their military- and veteran-centric recognition efforts. For more information on the mission of the SSFOA, their various programs, or to request a banner and certificate in recognition of an injured or wounded veteran, please visit their website at www.silverstarfamilies.org.
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Serving Those Who Serve By: Jennifer Silva, WWP Chief Program Officer At Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP), we understand the greatest casualty is being forgotten. Watching the first wounded return home from the current military conflicts, our founders were inspired to help others in need. As veterans of prior conflicts, many of our founders knew firsthand the struggles of coming home and transitioning to civilian life. They started WWP with the goal to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history – such an important goal that it was adopted as our vision statement. Their hope was that this generation would be welcomed home with open, supportive arms – a privilege veterans from prior generations were not awarded. What started in 2003 as a program to provide comfort items to wounded service members has grown into a complete rehabilitative effort to assist warriors as they recover from their service injuries and transition back to civilian life. WWP was established on the principle of one warrior helping another. This is evident by its highly recognized and symbolic logo of one warrior carrying another. While not everyone can serve, everyone can support. Once these warriors are carried off the battlefield, it is our responsibility to carry them the rest of the way home, ensuring they accomplish every success in life they desire and deserve. WWP has a simple, yet vital mission: to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. We know it is not just the warriors whose lives change after injury, but the families as well. And it is why our mission
carries over to military families and caregivers. Although they may never set foot on a battlefield, the courage and sacrifices of these families are just as significant as the heroes they support. Just as our returning warriors come home to a new normal, so does every person in that service member’s family. As WWP moves into 2018, we continue to live up to the solemn commitments we made during those early days of the conflicts. Through our work at hospital bedsides, we came to fully understand just how long the battle continues after warriors leave the battlefield. The more we learned, the more vital our mission became. We realized there was very little direct support in place for these young warriors and their families. Where we found gaps in service, WWP and our generous donors filled it. Not because we simply wanted to, but because we had to. If we didn’t fill the gaps with worthwhile and necessary programs and services, where would these warriors turn as they navigated the minefields peppered along the path of transition to a successful civilian life?
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Since 2003, WWP has grown from one grassroots program of packing backpacks in a basement to a variety of programs uniquely structured to increase warrior connection, mental and physical health and wellness, financial wellness, independence, government relations, and community relations and partnerships. We would never have been able to do this if our mission wasn’t seen as necessary and deserved by the entire WWP family and our passionate supporters. A mission started by six friends with a passion to serve has grown into a nationwide effort supported by a team of dedicated employees – almost half of which are veterans and caregivers. United by shared values, we accomplish our mission by raising awareness and enlisting aid for the needs of severely injured service members;
Connection Because WWP believes warrior-to-warrior support is so intrinsic in the recovery process, we focus on connection events as part of the Alumni program. Injured veterans who enroll with the organization are considered “Alumni,” referring to the belief that each person is from the same school of selfless service and sacrifice and shares common experiences that allow each to be there for others in ways unique to service brothers and sisters. This program helps veterans build relationships by providing opportunities to connect with one another, programs, and their communities. From recreational activities and sporting events to professional development and community service projects, there’s something for everyone. And because we understand the value a thriving family life can have on recovery, we also host many family- and spouse-focused events that help warriors get active in their lives. Another opportunity helping to reduce isolation is the WWP Peer Support program. Peer support plays an important role in the recovery process as injured veterans rely upon one another’s learned experiences when managing day-to-day challenges. All WWP programs and services have an aspect of this support structure, while the Peer Support program is solely dedicated to ensuring every injured veteran, family member, and caregiver encourages one another in recovery, thus embodying the WWP logo of one warrior carrying another off the battlefield. At WWP, this is known as “living the logo.” For warriors, the logo is an undeniable symbol that reminds them of their resilience – and their passion for continued service.
connecting wounded warriors with each other and their communities; serving warriors and their families with innovative programs that will meet their growing needs; and empowering them to live life on their own terms. As of November 2017, WWP serves more than 108,000 warriors and almost 26,000 caregivers and family members. The growing need for programs and services is evident. We know we have a great deal of work ahead of us if we want to achieve our mission, which is why we continuously pursue innovation in our programs, operations, and strategies to best honor and empower our nation’s deserving warriors and their families. To ensure our programs are meeting the needs and improving the lives of every wounded warrior, we began collecting statistical data from our registered warriors in 2010. Our Annual Warrior Survey is one of the most comprehensive and statistically relevant collections of data on veterans of this generation. Each subsequent survey provides updates to the previous year’s results, highlighting trends among registered warriors, comparing outcomes with other military populations, and measuring the impact of WWP services and programs. Continued on next page www.homelandmagazine.com
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Mental Health and Wellness Our focus on Mental Health & Wellness addresses the mental health and cognitive needs of warriors returning from war. While post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and combat stress are common after war-time experiences, WWP approaches these issues from the warrior’s perspective. We understand the stigma attached to mental health, access to care, and interpersonal relationship challenges. Our approach to meeting mental health needs of warriors is comprehensive. We challenge warriors to think about goal-setting and understanding their new normal. Many begin their journey with a multi-day veterans mental health workshop called Project Odyssey® – the name is derived from Homer’s epic poem about overcoming adversity and finding one’s way home. These themes mirror a veteran’s own journey to overcome the struggles associated with combat and transition to his or her new normal at home with family and friends. The workshops are offered as all-male, all-female, or allcouples and provide outdoor, adventure-based, learn-bydoing missions that promote peer connection and healing using new tools to healthily cope with the invisible wounds of war. The experiences gained during the mental health workshops not only improve mental and emotional wellbeing but also help to recharge and rediscover self. We have conducted more than 190 Project Odysseys, serving more than 2,700 participants this year, with more than 97 percent reporting workshop satisfaction and 91 percent saying they gained valuable resiliency skills. We also assist warriors through one of our highly popular programs, WWP Talk, a mental health support line that serves as an invaluable, non-clinical form of emotional support for warriors, family members, and caregivers. The program has been a lifeline to more than 2,500 participants to date, with 90 percent reporting satisfaction with WWP Talk in 2017 alone. Each week, WWP Talk participants speak with the same helpline support member, developing an ongoing relationship in a safe, non-judgmental outlet to share thoughts, feelings, and experiences. WWP’s professionally trained staff help warriors build resilience, develop coping skills, and achieve goals to improve overall quality of health. In addition to these programs, WWP has built an innovative collaboration between it and four top academic medical centers – Emory Healthcare, Massachusetts General Hospital, Rush University Medical Center, and UCLA Health. This partnership enhances access and provides clinicand family-centered treatment to veterans needing care for PTSD, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and other related conditions. Warrior Care Network® provides more than 70 hours of clinical treatment in two- to three-week specialized outpatient programs. With a completion rate of 96 percent, Warrior Care Network is becoming an optimum model for treating PTSD. 14
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Physical Health and Wellness Designed to reduce stress, combat depression, and promote an overall healthy and active lifestyle, our Physical Health and Wellness program offers educational coaching programs that are even available in the comfort of a warrior’s home. This year, WWP served more than 700 participants through the coaching programs with 57 percent reporting improved mental and social functioning. Physical Health & Wellness has something to offer warriors in every stage of recovery: Inclusive Sports: It’s about what you can do. Inclusive sports allow warriors living with cognitive, emotional, and physical impairments to engage in local, community-based activities to help overcome both visible and invisible injuries. Participating in inclusive sports is a great tool for learning to thrive. Through sports and recreation, warriors can spark deep-rooted leadership skills and challenge buddies in some friendly competition. Fitness: Enhance physical fitness, no matter where you are on your journey. Making fitness a daily routine can change your life. Activities such as run/ walk events, dancing, paddle boarding, cycling and rock climbing are great for reaching personal goals such as weight management, physical endurance, speed, strength, and an overall healthier lifestyle. Nutrition: Fuel your body during recovery. Nutrition plays an important factor in well-being, especially when making new adjustments. By focusing on nutrition, warriors learn about the four major food groups, healthy food preparation techniques, and knowledge to promote healthy choices. Wellness: Unite body and mind for overall wellness. Warriors can learn about healthy lifestyle behaviors and opportunities to participate in physical activities that embrace fun, leisure, and recreation. Active engagements in activities such as smoking cessation education, meditation, stress management, yoga, and scuba can unite mind and body for an improved lifestyle. One of the better known Physical Health and Wellness programs is Soldier Ride®. Soldier Ride is a unique fourday cycling opportunity for wounded warriors to exercise and reintroduce the bonds of service to overcome physical, mental, or emotional wounds. Soldier Ride began in 2004 when civilian Chris Carney cycled more than 5,000 miles coast-to-coast to support WWP and help raise awareness for injured veterans. The following year, several combat warriors who returned from Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) with visible and invisible injuries joined Carney for another cross-country ride. The trek across the nation proved to be a milestone on the journey to recovery as wounded warriors redefined their personal
strengths and limitations. Despite facing many obstacles, the warriors refused to give up. They used the experience as a catalyst to show the public and themselves that with support and motivation, anything was possible.
Today, Soldier Ride continues to inspire warriors to heal their bodies and minds. This year, almost 1,000 riders participated in more than 30 Soldier Ride events nationwide. It has become a gathering that connects American heroes to each other and their communities and provides the American public an opportunity to honor that service and sacrifice.
Independence Despite more than a decade serving those who served, at WWP, we know we must constantly plan for the future. For many warriors, the battle continues long after they return from conflict, and they discover the help they thought they would receive doesn’t even begin to cover what they really need. That is why WWP is committed today and every day after to ensure our warriors live on their terms through the Independence Program. The program is designed for warriors who rely on their family or caregivers because of moderate to severe brain injury, spinal cord injury, or other neurological conditions. It is a team effort, bringing together the warrior and his or her full support team while creating an individualized plan for each warrior – focusing on goals that provide a future with purpose at no cost to the warrior and his or her support team. It’s designed as a complete, long-term partnership intended to adapt to the warrior’s ever-changing needs. Today, America recognizes the heroes who have selflessly served and sacrificed for this country, and WWP joins a grateful nation as we say thank you. This holiday season, we honor the men and women who have bravely worn the uniform and remind them they are not forgotten. Help us honor and empower these warriors as they redefine their lives after injury. Make a donation by visiting http:// supportwwp.org/homeland.
Long-term financial and medical support play a critical empowerment role in the recovery process, which is why we focus on Financial Wellness for our warriors too. We aim for warriors to have professional fulfillment in their lives – without being unemployed or underemployed, and having opportunities to pursue a meaningful career or own their own business. Warriors to Work® and Benefits Service help warriors achieve financial empowerment. Warriors to Work provides career guidance and support services to warriors registered with WWP who are interested in transitioning to the civilian workforce by matching their skills and experience to the needs of hiring managers. WWP career counseling staff work hand-in-hand with warriors to identify civilian career opportunities, translate military experience to resumes, provide interview coaching, and teach networking skills. WWP also partners with outside organizations to provide educational opportunities, improve job skills, and increase job search options. Our Benefits Service program provides the tools needed to navigate the complexities of the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Working closely with each agency, the Benefits Service team walks injured veterans, family members, and caregivers through every step of the transition process, ensuring claims are filed and processed correctly – the first time. This year, the Benefits Service teammates had 91 percent of submitted warrior claims approved through the VA, having an economic impact of $85.4 million for injured veterans and their families. www.homelandmagazine.com
About Wounded Warrior Project We Connect, Serve, and Empower The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP connects wounded warriors and their families to valuable resources and one another, serves them through a variety of free programs and services, and empowers them to live life on their own terms. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. WWP is an accredited charity with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), is top rated by Charity Navigator, and holds a GuideStar Platinum rating. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org. (Photos courtesy WWP)
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Shelter to Soldier Veteran-Recipient Vic Martin Exemplifies Hope for all US Veterans During the Holidays by Eva M. Stimson Vic had a near-death experience while serving his country upon the waters off Bahrain, aboard the USS Gladiator Mine Counter Measure ship. Vic was working in the vessels Combat Information Center when he suffered from a cardiac episode that rendered him unconscious. He was transported to a hospital in Bahrain, but emergency responders failed to supply him with oxygen en route. As a result, Vic suffered from severe memory loss and further heart complications. After his medical trauma, Vic proceeded to deteriorate from depression and severe anxiety when he re-entered the U.S. after his military medical retirement. He was confused, scared and relied on heavy prescription medication to keep him stabilized. He withdrew from his family and his thoughts of suicide steadily mounted. He was eventually diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) due to the lack of oxygen to the frontal lobe of his brain during his cardiac episode. When Vic learned of the Shelter to Soldier program, he immediately recognized the impact a psychiatric service dog would have on his ability to relate to his family and the outside world. He had already experienced the positive synergy that his household pets had upon his disposition. Vic comments, “I began to notice that my dogs (who had been around me throughout my hardest times) were the source of unimaginable peace and resolve.
Vic Martin proudly served as a Mineman in the United States Navy from August 2009 to June 2013. During his service, he was responsible for the detection and neutralization of underwater explosive devices (mines) and while ashore, to test, assemble, maintain, safely store, and execute the transportation of mines. In 2013, he was Medically Retired with a combined disability rating of 100% by both the D.O.D and the V.A. after a sixmonth Medical Evaluation Board. Vic applied to the Shelter to Soldier program for a service dog in the summer of 2014, and graduated with his new service dog, Kira, on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2014. 16
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We spent many hours together hiking in the backcountry and I began to experience joy and companionship for the first time in many years. This made me realize that quality time with my children and spouse would greatly increase, thanks to the healing power of my service dog and her ability to reduce my anxiety… what a transformation it was to learn that replacing certain prescription medications with a specialized working canine was one incredible tool to assist with my condition!”
Vic subsequently turned his life around with the aid of his Shelter to Soldier psychiatric service dog, Kira. He offered his services to Shelter to Soldier to serve as a veteranadvocate for other veterans in need and was hired on a full-time basis to facilitate inquiries from fellow veterans who suffer from TBI and PTS. In early 2017, Kira was retired from her work as psychiatric service dog for Vic and he is now working with a new service dog-in-training, Mia. The pair have bravely participated in several speaking engagements on behalf of the charity, and continue to spread the mission of Shelter to Soldier throughout the community. According to Shelter to Soldier Co-Founder Graham Bloem, “Vic is a living testimony to the benefit of our program and he works tirelessly to educate veterans on resources that are available to them through Shelter to Soldier. He is quick to recognize needs and manage expectations on a national platform that has resulted in a veteran waiting list for our services. He provides counsel, empathy and direction to all veterans who qualify for our program and exemplifies perseverance. He has volunteered for dozens of Shelter to Soldier events and meetings to help raise awareness for veteran suicide, PTS, and TBI and provides testimony to the healing powers of his service dog for his recovery.”
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. Studies estimate that one in every five military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering from PTS.
The services Shelter to Soldier provides for free to veterans and their commitment to adopt dogs, fulfills the mission of this organization by “Saving Lives, Two at a Time”. Shelter to Soldier recently relocated their headquarters to the Pacific Pet Resort and Dog Training Center located at 2909 San Luis Rey Road in Oceanside, CA to better serve the increasing number of veterans in need of their services.
Shelter to Soldier is a CA 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that adopts dogs from local shelters and trains them to become psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or other psychological injuries associated with combat service experiences. Each sponsored service dog serves the critical role of psychological support to his/her veteran handler. To learn more about veteran-support services provided by STS, call (855) 287-8659 for a confidential interview regarding eligibility. Shelter to Soldier Co-Founder, Graham Bloem, is the proud recipient of the 10News Leadership Award, The Red Cross San Diego/Imperial Counties Real Heroes Award, Honeywell Life Safety Award and the 2016 Waggy Award. Additionally, Shelter to Soldier is a gold participant of GuideStar and accredited by the Patriot’s Initiative.
www.sheltertosoldier.org. (Photo courtesy Monica Hoover Photography)
HOMELAND / December 2017 17
Distributes Holiday Meals and Holiday Toys to Military Families Many military families, particularly junior and midgrade enlisted families, deal with tight family budgets that are stretched even further during the holiday season. Operation Homefront, which has been Serving America’s Military Families® since 2002, thank these military families for their service by easing their holiday financial burden through its Holiday Toy Drive® and Holiday Meals for Military® programs.
Dollar Tree stores had collection boxes available in which shoppers placed their purchased toys, knowing they will be delivered to the children of our men and women in uniform. Operation Homefront volunteers collected these toys to be distributed at the nonprofit’s holiday events across the country and through on-base Family Readiness Groups. Making the season bright for military families is what this partnership is all about, and Dollar Tree and its generous customers have made that joy possible since 2006. Holiday Meals for Military® and Holiday Toy Drive® took place as part of Operation Homefront’s “Giving Strength” campaign from November 23 through December 31. Operation Homefront knows our military and veterans have served around the world to protect us. Along with their families, service members continually Give Strength by serving in our nation’s time of need. That’s why Operation Homefront provides a variety of programs and services that show these families that their nation is grateful for their service and that we are there to help them. Learn more at OperationHomefront.org/GivingStrength, and join in online with the hashtag #GivingStrength and tag @OperationHomefront.
Operation Homefront distributed more than 8,000 holiday meals to military families at more than 40 local events in November and December through its 2017 Holiday Meals for Military® program. The program began Thanksgiving 2009 as the result of a chance encounter in a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Fort Drum. A soldier, his wife, and infant had a handful of grocery items they could not afford, so a Beam Inc. employee picked up the $12 cost for the groceries. Since that time, the program has grown from initially providing 500 meal kits to military families in 2009. In addition to Beam Suntory, major sponsors for the Holiday Meals for Military® program include the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Procter & Gamble Company, Safeway, SAIC, and San Antonio Shoemakers. The national nonprofit also collected millions of toys that Dollar Tree customers purchased through the Operation Homefront Holiday Toy Drive®. 18
HOMELAND / December 2017
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. For more information, visit OperationHomefront.org.
Shelter to Soldier Monthly Giving Campaign Help us “Save Lives, Two at a Time” by starting your monthly contribution today.
You can give your gift at www.sheltertosoldier.org by clicking on the DONATE NOW link and checking the monthly recurring donation option on your donation form. Every day, 3200 dogs are euthanized nationwide, and every day 20 veterans and one active duty military personnel lose their lives to suicide – that’s one life lost every 69 minutes.
Donations large and small make a difference by allowing us to adopt, care for, house, train and place these highly trained companions with veterans in need.
Shelter to Soldier adopts dogs from local shelters and rescue organizations and trains them over the course of 12-18 months to become psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and other injuries associated with traumatic service experiences.
Your contribution will help us provide safe housing, medical care, vaccines, supplements, food, bedding, grooming, and training equipment for the service dogs in training while they reside in our training program as well as service dog and graduation materials to each veteran/service dog team when they graduate as a pair.
For as little as $10 a month, you can make a direct impact on these two populations that need our help.
Ron Burns Studio www.ronburns.com
HOMELAND / December 2017 19
R4 Alliance Member Highlight
A ccording to National Coalition
Against Domestic Violence, â€œNearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States.â€?
This number may not completely set in until you realize a person is affected and has to live with that abuse not only in that minute alone, but in every second of every day following. It is very real, and it is happening all around us to people struggling to share their stories. But when one person comes forward, others begin to feel more comfortable with sharing their own personal experience.
HOMELAND / December 2017
Yasmin Odunukwe is a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy and currently teaches Cyber Security at the U.S. Naval Academy. She is a divorced mother of two that ended her cycle of physical and emotional abuse in Aug. 2015. She is a domestic violence survivor, and her story has to be heard. After visiting a therapist for a couple months at the Navy Medical Center, she was referred to Give an Hour™ (GAH). Give an Hour is a nonprofit organization with a mission to develop national networks of volunteers capable of responding to both acute and chronic conditions that arise in our society. Since 2005,
GAH has focused on providing free and confidential mental health care to active duty, National Guard, and Reserve service members, veterans and their loved ones. By harnessing the skill and expertise of volunteer mental health professionals, GAH is able to increase the likelihood that those in need receive the support and care they deserve. In 2015, Give an Hour launched the Campaign to Change Direction, a public health effort designed to change the culture of mental health so that those who are suffering emotionally are better able to seek and receive care. Through Give an Hour, military members, veterans and their loved ones are provided access to healthy habits to maintain mental wellness, tools to identify emotional suffering and no cost, confidential mental health services.
“I have learned in my start-over that we need to appreciate what we have, and not get consumed by what we do not have.”
Licensed mental health professionals offer a range of services including individual, marital and family counseling, treatment for posttraumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries, substance abuse, depression, anxiety and grieving. Give an Hour’s network of professionals include psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, marriage/family therapists, licensed professional counselors, pastoral counselors, psychiatric nurses and substance abuse counselors. Mental Health services provided by Give an Hour are available to the clients through various options including in-person, over the phone or using HIPAA-compliant tele-health services. A visitor to Give an Hour’s website will find tips on what to expect during a session with a counselor, as well as how to choose the right counselor for you. Many people benefit from using Give an Hour’s services, including Yasmin Odunukwe. Odunukwe decided earlier this year that she wanted to seek mental health care with a psychologist. She sought more directive counseling and was referred to Give an Hour by Navy Medical. After Odunukwe reached out to Give an Hour, she realized that she had ignored a lot of the scars that domestic violence had left on her. Odunukwe mentions that the organization’s program helped her down her “new road, post-abuse.” Continued on next page
HOMELAND / December 2017 21
HOMELAND / December 2017
One aspect that Odunukwe valued about Give an Hour was the fact that there were so many counselors available to talk to her. She built a strong relationship with one of the therapists at Give an Hour, who she would meet with for an hour each week. Her therapist discussed many different challenges with Odunukwe, including co-parenting with her ex-husband, emotional overflow and learning to share her feelings. Shortly after entering care, the two built a strong professional relationship where Odunukwe was able to see that she was resilient and being a domestic violence survivor does not define how she is and that life, indeed, goes on. She said, “God has blessed me and my career, my kids are great” and she expressed to just keep going no matter what. As part of her “new road, post-abuse,” Odunukwe founded the company Beauty to Grace in 2017, which is a trendy online women’s clothing brand. Her company not only shows her personal style, but is also a place which represents her values and beliefs. Odunukwe said her company is really a hobby of hers, and God lined everything up perfectly to start this new journey. On her website, she also writes blogs about beauty, domestic abuse and overcoming challenges in life. One thing that was her biggest challenge, like most domestic violence survivors, was fear. An important piece of advice that Odunukwe gave for others struggling with domestic violence was “don’t let fear keep you in that place.” She had many fears while in her abusive relationship, including raising her children by herself or even if she could make it on her own financially. These reasons are what kept her in her relationship longer than she wanted to be. Odunukwe was able to discuss and overcome these fears through her work with her Give an Hour provider. Odunukwe said her journey has not been easy since divorcing her husband and getting a restraining order against him, but that faith has gotten her through it at every step of the way. After her divorce, she had to fill the role of both a mother and father for about 80 percent of the time to support her household. She stresses that starting over does have its challenges, but she said,
“I have learned in my start-over that we need to appreciate what we have, and not get consumed by what we do not have.” When it came to Odunukwe’s social life and work life, some things certainly changed and some aspects luckily remained the same. She mentioned that with the Navy, she worked harder for she was not going to allow her domestic abuse to affect her job performance. With regards to her social life, Odunukwe said despite having to distance herself from a good friend of hers, she has also been able to strengthen other relationships in sharing her story. www.homelandmagazine.com
When discussing some of her experiences with others, she mentioned being in the Navy sometimes made her hesitant to speak up about domestic violence. Odunukwe realized, however, that once she started speaking up and sharing her story with others, they heard her out, reciprocated and sometimes shared their own story of domestic violence. Through these conversations, she was able to find strength and was able to show herself that she can make a difference in the lives of others. Odunukwe is grateful for Give an Hour and said there are so many counselors ready to assist anyone who needs help. She values the relationship that she has built with her provider and enjoys that they are able to still keep in touch it shows that Give an Hour is accommodating to their clients receiving care from their network. It is stories like Yasmin Odunukwe’s which allow others to speak up and share their experience or to seek help through organizations like Give an Hour. Give an Hour is there to support military service members, veterans, their loved ones and their communities with free, unlimited mental health services - Yasmin Odunukwe is just one success story of many. If you are seeking help, visit
GiveanHour.org/get-help to learn more about how to get in contact with a provider and receive the care you deserve.
HOMELAND / December 2017 23
The Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program is Here for You and Your Family You can participate in WIC if you:
WIC offers families:
• Are pregnant • Are breastfeeding a baby under 1 year of age • Just had a baby in the past 6 months • Have children under 5 years of age including those cared for by a single father, grandparent, foster parent, step-parent or guardian
• Checks to purchase foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, cereal, baby food, milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt, peanut butter, and beans. (Checks are worth between $50-$113 a month per participating family member.) • Breastfeeding Support and breast pumps • Nutrition Information and Online Classes
Many Locations Off Base in San Diego to Serve You
Chula Vista WIC
North Park WIC
542 Broadway, #Q Chula Vista, CA 91910
3078 El Cajon Blvd. #100 San Diego, CA 92104
5222 Balboa Ave. #22 San Diego, CA 92117
1131 East Washington Ave. Ste. K Escondido, CA 92025
Mira Mesa WIC
3177 Oceanview Blvd San Diego, CA 92113
1809 National Avenue San Diego, CA 92113
1000 Vale Terrace Vista, CA 92084
10737 Camino Ruiz #135 San Diego, CA 92126
El Cajon WIC
3301 North Magnolia Ave Ste. 101 El Cajon, CA 92020
Spring Valley WIC
9621 Campo Road #G Spring Valley, CA 91977
1328 South Mission Rd. Fallbrook, CA 92028
Financial Eligibility is Based on Family Size and Income: # of people in family*
Gross Monthly Income
Call us Toll-Free at
*Pregnant Woman = 2 People Not all pay is included i.e., BAH or OCONUS COLA Income guidelines are subject to change This institution is an equal opportunity provider
HOMELAND / December 2017
Scan from Smart Phone for more info on WIC
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HOMELAND / December 2017 25
2017 Veteran of the Year Congratulations to 2017’s San Diego County Veteran of the Year, Robert Muth. Each year, the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park selects one veteran who goes above and beyond in their “service after service” within their communities. Their continued selfless servitude to their community and fellow veterans is something that VMBP believes is important. Veterans are a great asset to any organization or business. Their work ethic, standards and attitude are always to be admired. In all, the museum received 27 nominations for 2017 Veteranof the Year, 5 for Lifetime Achievement, 9 non-profit nominations and 3 for-profit
This year, Holly Shaffner ran The Veteran of the Year Program planning committee. Shaffner is a long-time VMBP supporter and veterans advocate. This is the first year the committee has been headed by anyone other than program creator, Will Hayes. Hayes, a Korean War Veteran, created the San Diego Veteran of the Year in 1989, shortly after the museum was opened.
Each year the VMBP offers four categories which individuals and businesses can be nominated in. The most exclusive is the VOY, followed by the Will Hays Lifetime Achievement Award, the San Diego Meritorious Support of Veterans Award (recognizing a non-profit) and the San Diego Veterans Allegiance Award (recognizing a for-profit). This year’s big winner is Robert Muth, currently an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of San Diego (USD) and he teaches in the areas of veterans law and legal ethics. He is also the Supervising Attorney for the University’s Veterans Legal Clinic and oversees hundreds of veteran legal cases each year. During his military service, Muth served as a Captain and Judge Advocate in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving at Camp Pendleton in San Diego and deployed for 13 months to Fallujah, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This year’s Will Hays Lifetime Achievement Award went to Gary Rossi, The Veterans Allegiance Award went to Honor Flight San Diego, and the Meritorious Support of Veterans Award went to Motivated Military Movers. For the next year, Muth will represent the veteran community. Last year’s VOY, Nadirah Sahar, recalls her experiences. “As Veteran of the Year I have gotten to know exceptional people who inspire me,” said Sahar. “It is an honor to have met the Peraltas and other Gold Star families at the Mt Soledad Memorial Day ceremony, where we were reminded by Gold Star mothers to pay homage to those who are no longer with us.”
HOMELAND / December 2017
This year, Holly Shaffner ran The Veteran of the Year Program planning committee. Shaffner is a long-time VMBP supporter and veterans advocate. This is the first year the committee has been headed by anyone other than program creator, Will Hayes. Hayes, a Korean War Veteran, created the San Diego Veteran of the Year in 1989, shortly after the museum was opened. “It was such an honor to be the Chairman of the San Diego County Veteran of the Year program and to be handed the reins from a local military giant, retired Navy Captain Will Hays,” said Shaffner. “He ran the program for 27 years and I had some pretty big shoes to fill. It was my goal to continue with his vision about honoring veterans for their service after service and continue to grow this remarkable program.”
Shaffner has done just that. 2017 was the first year the entire nomination process could be completed online. With an easier, streamlined process, the museum experienced a record number of nominations. “For the first time ever, we designed a website totally dedicated to the VOY program and this year was the first in which nominations were done strictly online,” said Shaffner. “I was proud that we had a record number of nominations and I look forward to growing this program in future years and honoring more veterans.” Honoring veterans is the main reason the VOY Program was started so long ago. As Vietnam Veteran and VMBP Executive Director, Sheldon Margolis, says, “many years ago, a group of veterans thought it was important to show how their fellow vets continue to serve each other and the communities they live in.
The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park is dedicated to bolstering the legacy of our community’s veterans through great programs like Veteran of the Year and many others. To learn more about what the VMBP has to offer, see their website at www.veteranmuseum.org.
HOMELAND / December 2017 27
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 28
HOMELAND / December 2017
Tour Of Honor “Now for the attention of all hands...”
Do you know a WWII veteran who has never flown on Honor Flight and would like to go on the next trip?
If so, please complete the veterans application at: www.honorflightsandiego.org
www.honorflightsandiego.org Since 2010, Honor Flight San Diego has flown more than 1,100 veterans on their “Tour of Honor”
Honor Flight San Diego provides, at no-cost to the veteran, an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, DC to visit the memorials built for their service and sacrifice. Priority is given to the most senior veterans, currently WWII-era, and any veterans who have terminal illnesses.
The next trip to Washington, DC is in May 2018. For more information, go to www.honorflightsandiego.org or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
HOMELAND/ /December November 2017 2017 129 HOMELAND
The Best of 2017 www.HomelandMagazine.com RESOURCES, SUPPORT & INSPIRATION
HOMELAND / December 2017
VETERANS, TRANSITIONING MILITARY PERSONNEL, ACTIVE MILITARY & MILITARY FAMILIES
WEâ€™VE GOT YOU COVERED! April 2017
HOMELAND / December 2017 31
This Page is Dedicated with Gratitude to All of the Men, Women and Veterans of our Country’s Armed Forces.
A SOLDIER’S CHRISTMAS ‘Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone, in a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year, because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give, and to see just who in this little house lived.
I couldn’t help wondering how many lay alone, on a cold Christmas Eve in a land far from home.
As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see, no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree. No Stockings by the mantle, just boots filled with sand, on the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.
The soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice, “Santa don’t cry, for this life is my choice”.
With medals and badges, awards of all kinds, A sobering thought came through my mind.
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more, my life is my God, my country, my corps.”
For this house was different, it was dark and dreary, The home of a soldier, I could now see clearly.
The soldier rolled over and drifted to sleep, I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.
The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone, curled up on the floor in this one bedroom home. The face was so gentle, the room in such disorder, not how I picture a United States Soldier.
I kept watch for hours, so silent and still, as we both shivered from the cold night’s chill. I didn’t want to leave, on that cold, dark night, this guardian of honor, so willing to fight.
Was this the hero of whom I’d just read? Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?
Then the soldier rolled over, with a voice soft and pure, whispered, “Carry on Santa, It’s Christmas Day, all is secure.
I realized the families that I saw this night, owed their lives to these soldiers who were willing to fight.
One look at my watch, and I knew he was right, Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a Good Night.
Soon round the world, the children would play, and grownups would celebrate a bright Christmas day.
The very thought brought a tear to my eye, I dropped to one knee and started to cry.
HOMELAND / December 2017
Happy holidays and best wishes for a wonderful new year. Homeland Magazine
HOMELAND / December 2017 33
CHRISTMAS TRUCE OF 1914
On December 7, 1914, Pope Benedict XV suggested a temporary hiatus of the war for the celebration of Christmas. The warring countries refused to create any official cease-fire, but on Christmas the soldiers in the trenches declared their own unofficial truce. During World War I, on and around Christmas Day 1914, the sounds of rifles firing and shells exploding faded in a number of places along the Western Front in favor of holiday celebrations in the trenches and gestures of goodwill between enemies. Starting on Christmas Eve, many German and British troops sang Christmas carols to each other across the lines, and at certain points the Allied soldiers even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing. At the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man’s-land, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. 34
HOMELAND / December 2017
The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer. Some soldiers used this short-lived ceasefire for a more somber task: the retrieval of the bodies of fellow combatants who had fallen within the no-man’s land between the lines. The so-called Christmas Truce of 1914 came only five months after the outbreak of war in Europe and was one of the last examples of the outdated notion of chivalry between enemies in warfare. It was never repeated—future attempts at holiday ceasefires were quashed by officers’ threats of disciplinary action—but it served as heartening proof, however brief, that beneath the brutal clash of weapons, the soldiers’ essential humanity endured. During World War I, the soldiers on the Western Front did not expect to celebrate on the battlefield, but even a world war could not destroy the Christmas spirit.
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HOMELAND / December 2017
The Super Dentists’ FREE Dental Day & Winter Wonderland Celebrates Military Families By Sara Wacker
San Diego’s largest pediatric dentistry and orthodontic office – The Super Dentists – is bringing holiday cheer to military families across San Diego with their Free Dental Day and Winter Wonderland celebrations. On Dec. 9 from 7:00 to 11:00 a.m., San Diego families are invited to join in The Super Dentists’ Free Dental Day. The local business will be hosting free dental treatments to the first 100 children, ages 1-12 years. No insurance is necessary and treatments will include cleanings, extractions and fillings. All military families will receive priority, with front of the line passes for treatments. Photo By Erik Gloege Following the complimentary dental treatments, The Super Dentists will host their Winter Wonderland that same day from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. The festive event invites the community to kick-off the holiday season with activities for the whole family, such as pictures with Santa, food trucks, an ice-skating rink, cookie decorating, scavenger hunts and more. Families can also get into the holiday spirit with live music and Christmas carollers entertaining throughout the afternoon. Christmas will also come early for 15 deserving military families during this Winter Wonderland event. The Super Dentists’ have partnered with Blue Star Families to adopt 15 military families for a holiday they won’t forget. During the event, the families will be honored on stage and receive Christmas gifts. Each member of the family will be given items from their holiday wish lists, from needs such as towels and winter jackets to gifts such as bikes and home décor. The events will celebrate the grand opening of The Super Dentists’ fifth and newest location in Kearny Mesa at 9737 Aero Drive. Attendees of Free Dental Day and the Winter Wonderland will get a first look at the new space.
“The holiday season is one for giving and we wanted to give back the best way we know how – healthy smiles, holiday fun and acts of kindness,” says Dr. Kami Hoss, CEO of The Super Dentists. “We look forward to celebrating our Kearny Mesa opening by bringing healthy smiles and a one-of-akind holiday experience to San Diego families, especially those serving our country.” The Super Dentists are San Diego’s largest and most trusted Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontic office – one in every six kids in the county is a Super Dentist patient. Highly trained and skilled, the Super Dentists take advantage of the latest in preventative and restorative treatments, and are Invisalign and AccelaDent accelerated orthodontics specialists. They accept most insurances, including Medi-Cal and Tricare, and are available on the weekend and in event of an emergency. With locations throughout San Diego (Carmel Valley, Chula Vista, East Lake, Oceanside, and Kearny Mesa) and continual growth, the practice gives back to its communities whenever possible. This includes an in-classroom dental education program – currently in 800 schools, reaching more than 30,000 kids – hosting free quarterly events, as well as complimentary dental care to those in need. During the month of December, the local business will also be launching parent dentistry to treat parents during their kids’ appointments. Available at their Eastlake, Kearny Mesa and Carmel Valley locations beginning Dec. 11; the offices will be able to treat most adult dental procedures. A dual GPS bracelet will be given to both parent and child for safety, but will also enable parent and child to talk to each other during the appointments. A VIP Parents Lounge will include a host of special features, including a latte machine where parents can upload their child’s photo to appear in the foam. - Get a jumpstart on the holiday this year with an event that encompasses everything the season embodies! The Super Dentists are located at 9737 Aero Dr. #100, San Diego, CA 92123.
HOMELAND / December 2017 37
ENLISTED TO ENTREPRENEUR By Vicki Garcia
If you’ve ever been to a veteran job fair, you know how depressing and frustrating they can be. I got depressed, and I wasn’t even looking for a job.
Vetrepreneurship Takes Off
So, Barbara and I started a project to help vets and military, which we called Veteran Entrepreneurs Today (V.E.T.). Because we’d both had over 30 years experience working with civilian business owners, we figured we had something to offer. Fast forward four years and the landscape is significantly different. All over the country, the idea of veteran entrepreneurship has taken off. This has been propelled by institutions of higher learning (hoping to apply GI Bill benefits to learning how to run a business), non-profits, private enterprises, and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Slowly, but surely, the environment in support of “vetrepreneurs” (a new word) has produced a wide variety of answers. Some of these answers were low touch, such as online courses where the vet is on his or her own. A little more support and education can be found in workshops, which we deem medium touch. These you can find at places like the SBA funded Veteran Business Outreach Center operated by MiraCosta Community College.
When my associate, Barbara Eldridge, Founder of Mind Masters, and I started talking about helping veteran entrepreneurs in 2013, it was unheard of. Everywhere we went in the veteran community, the resounding response was “huh?”
We learned that a high touch alternative, where entrepreneurs got more one-on-one personal attention, was preferable. We also discovered that vets prefer the company of other vets, rather than being mixed in with civilian business owners.
This was primarily because almost everyone in the veteran ecosystem has a JOB. The idea of veterans or active military starting their own “side hustle” was not on anyone’s radar. In the last several years, the government has pushed out millions of active military personnel. All the accepted direction for newly minted veterans was “Go to school – get a roof over your head – don’t beat on your partner – get treated for PTSD if you need it – and GET A JOB. The only problem, as we saw it, was there just weren’t enough jobs.
Consequently, we designed the V.E.T. program to put together intensive think tank groups of vetrepreneurs to share info, challenges, goals, and most importantly, accountability.
One trip to a job fair was enough to convince me that starting and running a business was a viable option for veterans. 38
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One of the most recent high-touch offerings comes in the form of events, calling out to large numbers of military/ veterans for a one or two-day event. As you might expect, each of these events has it’s own focus and character. If you’re going to spend your valuable time and precious money, it’s a good idea to know the difference so you can choose wisely where to go and what to expect.
Vetrepreneurship Takes Off This fall three veteran entrepreneur events were produced in our region. They are likely going to be produced again in 2018. In the interest of transparency, we produced the first one, but I’ll do my best to be objective.
You can tell a lot about an event by how much it is charging to attend. Producers can eliminate unwanted attendees by charging a price that is not attractive to small players. Any event charging over $50 is not targeting cash-strapped
Veteran Entrepreneur Summit 2017, September 23, 2017. Sponsored by a grant from the City of San Diego and significantly assisted by Homeland Magazine, this event was produced by National Veterans Transition Services Inc., which is well-known for its REBOOT program. V.E.T. Summit 2017, designed and coordinated by a team of dedicated volunteers, targeted startups and small business owners. It featured a number of basic how-to, informative, deep-dive workshops on how to manage and run a small business, a panel of bigwigs, as well as roundtables with experts. The keynote speaker was a veteran who recently sold his business to GoDaddy.com. Exhibitors aim at small business vetrepreneurs. Cost to Attend: $25, active military free.
startups. Larger operations recognize a higher ticket price as more likely to attract larger, more established companies like themselves. Calling out to active military for free has proven to be a boondoggle. Sounds like a great idea, but the result is lots of registrants that don’t show up, but add to the cost.
Veteran and Military Entrepreneur Conference & Awards, October 25, 2017. Produced by the San Diego Business Journal and The Rosie Network, with a number of corporate sponsors. The conference and awards dinner had the feel of two different events knitted together. The “conference” part had a small number of workshops on topics such as Cyber Security and Funding, limited display tables, as well as well-recieved brainstorming sessions during lunch. It appeared to be primarily a fundraiser for The Rosie Network. The awards dinner, featuring “war stories” about the winners, followed the standard San Diego Business Journal format of inviting corporations to purchase tables and fill them with invitees. Cost to Attend: $65-$150, active military free.
If the workshops feature issues such as funding, insurance or taxes, the producers are likely responding to sponsor demands (fair enough).
The VIB Network Inaugural National Conference, November 6 & 7, 2017. This well-orchestrated event, produced by the VIB Network, was held in Palm Springs with two days of networking, workshops, exhibitors, and business matchmaking roundtable discussions. It ended at the Palm Springs Air Museum for an Awards Banquet Dinner. Clearly targeting businesses hoping to work with corporations and the government, attendees were older and more experienced business owners. Workshops focused on topics such as “Hidden Rules of Working with Prime Contractors,” rather than the basics. A significant number of exhibitors were corporations who bid on government
Truthfully, there are few experts on the topic of veteran business ownership, so finding speakers who are spot-on is a not easy. Keynote speakers tend to give their canned talk about the local economy, or worse, talk about themselves. Boring and irrelevant in my opinion.
All conferences always include workshops. A careful review of those workshops will tell you who the event means to attract. If an event has speakers addressing basic business issues, then the target markets are startups, young businesses, and “side hustles,” popular among currently employed vets, and active military.
Should the speakers be focused on working with prime contractors, match-making, or winning bids, then the target market is primarily certified veteran-owned businesses or wannabees. It is challenging to produce these events. The veteran business owner community is diverse and not homogeneous. Veteran entrepreneurs are sprinkled throughout the community and are consequently hard to easily reach.
Having said all this, events can be exhilarating, exciting and worthwhile. They are not for the shy or socially inhibited. Just a few new contacts can produce significant results. Pick the right one or ones, get clear on your goals and go armed with lots of business cards.
Vicki Garcia is the Co-Founder of Veteran Entrepreneurs Today (V.E.T.) & President of Marketing Impressions. Email her at email@example.com and register for free coaching at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/veteransinbiz
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Veterans Chamber of Commerce www.vccsd.org
We are the Voice and Action of our Veteran Community. Access a Network of Veterans, Service Providers and Resources to Help your business Grow! We support programs that Improve the quality of life of our Families and our Communities.
For more information please visit our website www.vccsd.org or send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org
We encourage and Support New and Existing Entrepreneurs 40
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Veterans Receiving College Credit for Starting a Business By Joseph Molina There’s a great program where veterans attending college can gain college credit for starting a business. Veterans enrolled in college or university can enroll in a program that will award up to 12 units of college credit. The Veterans Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with participating colleges and universities, can work with veterans to set up this amazing program. For a long time, students interested in starting a business were referred to a similar business to learn about the industry. Veterans were able to learn about working in the business, but not how to start and manage that type of business. This new and innovative program allows for student veterans to learn the steps and challenges of starting a business (i.e., how to identify vendors and sites, hire people, set up the right entity and more). Veterans attending college and enrolled in a business program are usually interested in starting a business. Whether that business is freelance (gig), a coffee shop, a construction company, or a web-related service, such as graphic design, SEO services, website creation, the options are endless. Starting a business doesn’t have to be a huge investment, let’s keep in mind that the lower the investment the greater the profit! Entrepreneurs love to start new ventures and create new concepts that positively impact our everyday lives. These entrepreneurs are the ones that create new products and services. These new ventures need a “test drive”, a proof of concept. It is through the colleges and universities that students learn the step-by-step process and are able to acquire the knowledge needed to understand how the world of business works. Student Veterans also learn that in order for their business theory to be fully understood, the new business needs to be tested and evaluated for sustainability. To help students accomplish this, the “Faculty Mentorship / Business Coaching” program provides guidance and all the support a student Veteran needs, while at the same time enabling them to earn college credit. This is a great partnership between the Veterans Chamber of Commerce and local institutions of higher learning. This program was initially created by Joe Molina, a faculty member and business advisor, who identified the gap between classroom knowledge and real-life application. Mr. Molina built a connector or as he calls it, “The Bridge”, which allows the student Veteran to safely and intentionally implement their new business idea. www.homelandmagazine.com
Mr. Molina stated that, “For students to gain true knowledge about starting a business, they need to actually start a business. Students need the opportunity to use classroom knowledge and implement it in real-life situations. With the guidance of a business coach, we can help student business ventures succeed. The program assigns a business coach (or a faculty mentor with business coaching training) that works with the student Veteran for a full semester.” These business coaches/faculty mentors work with the students at every step of the startup process.
“The beauty of this program is that students who start a business and implement the concepts learned in class are also awarded college credit,” said Mr. Molina. Overview: Each student Veteran receives direct assistance and support from a certified faculty mentor/business coach. The faculty mentors/business coaches are certified directly through the Veterans Chamber of Commerce. The Process: Community colleges and universities value entrepreneurship and business ownership as they are aware of the impact of small businesses in their communities. According to the SBA, over 95% of all businesses in our communities are small businesses. The State of California has funded a program that facilitates “extra income earners”, or a gig economy, by funding the existence of incubators and accelerators across the state. This proves that entrepreneurship is being recognized as a new (or additional) way of supplementing a family’s income. The Partnership: This program is a perfect example of collaboration between the Veteran Centers located in community colleges and universities and the Veterans Chamber of Commerce to benefit our Veterans. Joe Molina, Executive Director, Veterans Chamber of Commerce email@example.com www.vccsd.org
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How One Veteran Found An Unexpected Entrepreneurial Career In An RV For 21 years, Eddie Macias served in the US Navy as a Master at Arms First Class Petty Officer. “I loved it, and sometimes wish I was still active duty,” he says about the two decades he spent as a military servicemember. Upon retirement, he took on a new career in law enforcement. “Thankfully, it was an easy transition as it’s in my nature to serve others,” explains Macias. One minor hiccup with his new role was the location -- as it was two hours from his home. He rented a hotel room nearby but found the arrangement to be less-than-ideal long-term. Eventually, he decided to invest in an RV -- a house-on-wheels. Little did he know, the purchase was one that would enrich his life. While the RV worked well enough as a lodging solution, Macias knew his rig could be used for more than a place to lay his head during the workweek. Living in a busy tourist area, he saw a huge demand for people itching to get outdoors. RVs, motorhomes, and camper vans were the perfect way to travel and experience it all. This gave him the idea to rent out his RV while he wasn’t using it. He could offset the cost of ownership with the rental income and still enjoy the rig to himself when he wanted to use it. “At first, renting to people I didn’t know worried me because of possible damage from fires and theft,” he says. “After a talk with someone from the Outdoorsy Owner Success team, my concerns lifted. It was their “It was their $1,000,000 insurance $1,000,000 insurance coverage guarantee dedicated coverage guarantee and and support team in dedicated support team case something did in case something did happen that sold me.”
happen that sold me.”
The conversation convinced him to list his RV with Outdoorsy, the #1 trusted peer-to-peer marketplace connecting RV owners with people who want to experience RVing without ownership. Within the first day alone, Macias had booking requests for renting his Class C Sunseeker and was preparing the rig for his first guests.
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Since starting his RV rental business a little over a year ago, Macias has seen revenue grow steadily. He now makes enough to pay for a hotel room while at work, all RV-related expenses, fun weekend getaways, and an expansive drone collection. He is even considering adding new trailers with his earnings. His only question, “I can’t decide between “Service members and a huge Class A, or tiny teardrop trailer... veterans are among there seems to be a our most successful big market for those.” pro operators making Macias believes his military background anywhere from $20,000 helped him succeed to $100,000...” as an entrepreneur -- from a deeplyingrained desire for a positive customer experience to the willingness to jump in and get his hands dirty on any given task. “Service members and veterans are among our most successful pro operators making anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 with just one or two vehicles,” says Jennifer Young, co-founder and CMO of Outdoorsy. “They know how to lead teams, work with systems, and have the dedication and perseverance to succeed — no matter what. Our platform provides the technology, marketing, and worldclass customer service needed to succeed.” This year, Outdoorsy launched an incentive program to encourage active-duty and veteran service members to become entrepreneurs. From Veterans Day 2017 to Veterans Day 2018, Outdoorsy is waiving 100% of its service fees for the entire first year when service members list their RV on the platform. On average, this will put $3,000 or more back in their pockets. Macias is one of dozens of veterans who’ve created successful entrepreneurial businesses on Outdoorsy. Learn more about Outdoorsy’s Active Duty and Veteran Military program now at www.outdoorsy.com/veterans
FREEDOM TO RUN YOUR BUSINESS THE WAY YOU WANT TO Rent your RV with complete peace of mind.
Join active-duty and veteran military and become part of the $100 billion outdoor recreation travel market. With Outdoorsy, the largest and most trusted RV rental marketplace, you can easily make $30,000 - $100,000 your first year.
$0 FEES. EASY TO GET STARTED. MAKE MONEY YOUR FIRST WEEK.
www.outdoorsy.com/veterans or 877-723-7232
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Military, Firefighters, Teachers, Medical Field, Law Enforcment, Veterans
The Thank Heroes Home Rebate Program! We are Honored to Serve Those Who Serve
Get 100% of your closing costs covered and up to a 20% return on commissions... cash! Contact us today at 619-937-3659 or visit us at SDThankYouHeroes.com to find out how our program can help you! CalBRE#01990368
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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
Youâ€™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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Become A Part of Our Story!
Learn more at TrooperStories.com
Thereâ€™s a story behind every badge, and a person behind every story. There are For upcoming test dates as many reasons and motivations for and locations visit joining the Washington State Patrol as PublicSafetyTesting.com there are troopers themselves.
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Honesty - Professionalism - Commitment to Community The Monroe County Sheriffâ€™s Office
Become a part of the Monroe County Sheriffâ€™s Office, the most rewarding job you will ever have. We are accepting Preliminary Applications for a Detention Deputy Trainee Academy starting 2017/2018.
Applicants may apply online at www.keysso.net or contact Charles Slebodnick at firstname.lastname@example.org or 305-292-7044. EEO/AAP
Colorado Springs Police Department Safeguarding Our Community As Our Family (719) 444-7437 cspd.coloradosprings.gov Recruiting@ci.colospgs.co.us Facebook: Colorado Springs Police email@example.com
Visit our website for further information and fill out a job interest card today! cspd.coloradosprings.gov
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We strive to maintain the trust and confidence of our citizens while working to improve your quality of life.
Answer The Call!
Accepting Applications November 13th through December 28th, 2017
Seeking qualified Men and Women with:
If serving and protecting the community is your passion, Answer the Call.
• A Strong Moral Compass • A Desire to Serve the Community • Dedication to Upholding the Law 48
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www.JoinOPD.com • Phone: 402-444-3507 Facebook: JoinOPD • Twitter: JoinOPD
LEAD. SERVE. PROTECT. The City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police is looking for individuals to lead, serve, and protect. We value our service members and offer the following benefits: Medical, Dental, Vision, and Life Insurance Tuition Reimbursement Veterans Preference Points Career advancement through our specialized units Join us in one of America's most livable cities
Visit joinpghpolice.com for more information
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Join A Great Team! We find that our Veterans are the Very Best!
• Exciting Career opportunities in the cool pines of Northern Arizona. • We are currently hiring for Detention Officers, and Nurses. • Military preference given. For employment questions call Sheriff’s Office Human Resources
(928) 226-5069 or (800) 338-7888 www.coconino.az.gov/sheriff.aspx
• At Coconino County Sheriff’s Office our Service to the Community is accomplished by hiring the Best! • [Check out our agency and find a home where you can apply the skills you’ve learned in the military.] • Coconino County Sheriff’s Office is committed to providing responsive and effective Service to Community.
JOBS FOR VETS
Careers In Law Enforcement Visit Today For Law Enforcement Profiles & Job Openings
HomelandMagazine.com JOBS FOR VETS LAW ENFORCEMENT 50
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(719) 444-7437 cspd.coloradosprings.gov Recruiting@ci.colospgs.co.us Facebook: Colorado Springs Police firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit our website for further information and fill out a job interest card today! cspd.coloradosprings.gov
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Santa Monica Police Department THE BENCHMARK OF EXCELLENCE.
• • • • • •
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
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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YOU PROTECTED US.
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.
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Homeland Holiday Issue www.homelandmagazine.com