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Vol. 4 Number 9 • September 2017

Homeland

Resources Support Inspiration

Veterans Magazine

SEPTEMBER 11 REMEMBERED One Survivor’s Perspective

TUNNEL TO TOWERS Standing Tall For Those Who Stand Tall For Us

A TRIBUTE TO THE DOGS OF 9/11

Transitions: A Warrior’s Journey to Recovery Comfort Crew for Military Kids

GI Film Festival San Diego Careers in Law Enforcement

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EDITOR’S

LETTER

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

Greetings and a warm welcome to HOMELAND Magazine! Please take some time to get to know the layout of our magazine. Homeland Magazine focuses on real stories from real heroes; the service member, the veteran, the wounded and the families that keep it together. Our magazine is driven by passion, vision, reflection and the future. The content is the driving force behind our magazine and the connection it makes with service members, families, veterans and civilians. Homeland is about standing your ground, resilience, adaptation, inspiration and solidarity.

Public Relations CJ Machado Thomas McBrien 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

858.275-4281

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: info@homelandmagazine.com

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inside this issue 06 Tunnel To Towers: Standing Tall 08 September 11 Remembered 12 Tribute To The Dogs of 9-11 18 9/11 is Catalyst for America’s Next ‘ Greatest Generation’ 22 Third Annual GI Film Festival 26 Enlisted To Entrepreneur 28 Linked In: Build Your Network 31 Careers In Law Enforcement 38 Transitions: A Warrior’s Recovery 44 The Comfort Crew for Military Kids 48 Wellness Retreat Helps Caregivers 52 Seaworld San Diego Honors U.S. Veterans 56 Fantasy Football - What’s the hype all about?

08 September 11 - A Survivors Perspective

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TUNNEL TO TOWERS FOUNDATION STANDING TALL FOR THOSE WHO STAND TALL FOR US

By Andrew McClure The losses suffered as a result of the worst terrorist attack in the country’s history on September 11, 2001 were virtually immeasurable. However, the death toll would have been far greater if not for the heroism carried out by many brave men and women who went beyond the call of duty at the Pentagon, aboard United Flight 93, and, of course, at the World Trade Center. NYC firefighter Stephen Siller was one of those heroes. Stephen, who was assigned to the FDNY’s Squad 1 in Brooklyn, had just finished his shift and was on his way to play golf with his brothers when he got word over his scanner that a plane had hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Determined to carry out his duty, he strapped 60 lbs. of gear to his back, and raced on foot through the tunnel to the Twin Towers, where he was one of 343 FDNY brothers who was lost that day while saving others. Stephen, who was the youngest of seven children, had everything to live for; a great wife, five children, a devoted extended family, and friends. Being as his parents were lay Franciscans, he grew up under the guiding philosophy of St. Francis of Assisi, whose encouraging, inspirational phrase “while we have time, let us do good” was one that he lived by. The Siller Family started the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation to honor Stephen’s memory. The goal of the Foundation is to continue his legacy by supporting our nation’s first responders and service members.

Upon hearing the news, Stephen called his wife and asked her to tell his brothers that he would catch up with them later. He returned to Squad 1 to get his gear, and then headed to Manhattan. Stephen drove his truck to the entrance of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, but it had already been closed for security purposes. 6

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On the last Sunday of each September, the Foundation holds the Tunnel to Towers Run & Walk in New York. The event symbolizes Stephen’s final footsteps from the foot of the Battery Tunnel to the Twin Towers, and pays homage to the FDNY members, law enforcement officers, and civilians who lost their lives. Over 25,000 people participate in what is now considered by many to be one of the top 5K runs in America Thanks to corporate partners and generous donors, the Foundation is able to carry out its programs, which include building mortgage-free smart homes for our most catastrophically injured service members, and supporting the families of first responders who have lost their lives in the line of duty.


Smart homes host a myriad of features such as automated doors and lighting, wider halls and doorways, special showers to accommodate wheelchairs, back-up generators, central heating and air conditioning systems that can be controlled by tablets, and cabinets, counters, and stove tops that can be raised and lowered. These homes enable our most severely injured heroes to live better, more independent lives. To date, 56 homes have been completed or are under construction or in the design stage, and over $30 million has been allocated toward building smart homes. Every day of the year, our brave first responders put their lives on the line for us. When there’s an emergency, while most are seeking safety, firefighters, police officers, and other first responders are running toward danger to save and protect the citizens of their communities.

To date, the Foundation has pledged $3.2 million in the form of trust accounts and mortgage payoffs, and will continue to provide significant financial support. The Foundation is very proud of its track record when it comes to sound fiscal management, organizational efficiency, and program integrity. Just 3.7% of expenses went toward administrative costs in 2016. The Foundation’s program service ratio was 93.1%; over 93 cents out of every dollar went directly to program services. It also boasts a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the country’s largest and most-utilized independent evaluator of charities. To learn more about the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, visit its website at www.tunnel2towers.org

To honor the legacy of police officers, firefighters, and emergency service technicians who have made the ultimate sacrifice, the Foundation has created a special program to support the families of first responders who have lost their lives while protecting and serving the people of New York City.

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SEPTEMBER 11 REMEMBERED One survivor’s perspective by Michael Hingson

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Let’s not ever forget September 11, 2001. Instead, let’s look to see what we can learn from what happened and then let’s truly apply the lessons to making ourselves and our world a better place. September 11, 2017 will represent the 16th anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia. Every year around this time people ask me for my opinion about that day as well as what I think we should remember from the attacks. As a WTC survivor I’m expected to be an expert and to give my views. Ok, but first here is what happened to me. My story is a bit unique compared to most accounts from people who were in the World Trade Center that day. I happen to be blind and use a guide dog. My guide at the time was named Roselle. She was a very bright Labrador retriever who, on that day, was 42 months old. Roselle’s greatest trait, I think, was her ability to focus on the job at hand and not be distracted by events and activities around her unless she felt they would affect her work. The job of a guide dog is not to know where its handler wishes to go nor how to get there. The purpose of a guide dog is to “guide” which means that she would follow directions I would give her in order to accomplish a task.

Our path away from the first tower took us to within 100 yards of Tower two. We were that close to it when it collapsed. Remember, each of those towers was over 430 yards tall. We were well within the potential area of the falling building. Only after the towers collapsed did I learn that we had been the victims of terrorist attacks. As I began receiving interview and speaking requests I had to decide if I would ignore them or accept these requests. I decided that if I could help people move on from September 11, 2001, if I could educate people more about the truth and misconceptions of blindness and if I could help improve our understanding about service dogs then I should accept the opportunities God had presented me. Continued on next page Michael Hingson & Roselle

We worked as a team in which she would serve as the pilot getting us where we needed to go and I would service the navigator giving her the directions that would keep us on the correct path. Make no mistake, the dogs major job is not to lead nor to be the only conscious force in governing the team’s actions. I’m spending time telling you about Roselle’s job so that you will understand when I tell you that at 8:45AM on the morning of September 11, 2001 Roselle was asleep under my desk and I was working in my office on the 78th floor of Tower one. Suddenly there was a muffled explosion then the building vibrated and then began to tip in one direction. After about 30 seconds the building stopped and began to move back the other way. I think we moved about 20 feet before we began moving back into position. After the building stopped moving I and a colleague began issuing instructions to get some guests we had in the office to the stairs. After they were gone my colleague, David Frank, and I along with Roselle made our way to the stairs and started down. Eventually we made it to the bottom after meeting with first responders and others along the way. After exiting Tower one we noticed that Tower two was on fire although we had no idea why.

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Michael Hingson & Roselle

Once a team, guided by its leader, makes a decision all the members of the team abide by the decision until it becomes necessary to modify the goal or the process of getting to the goal. There is a lot of truth to the old adage, “United we stand, divided we fall” No matter what happened 16 years ago we were given an incredible opportunity to come together as a team and move forward. It seems to me that our “leaders” have forgotten this and that they are teaching us bad habits and not good teamwork.

2. A NEW NORMAL. After 9/11 I kept hearing the expression “we have to get back to normal”. The problem is that normal will never be the same after any kind of life-changing event such as 9/11. Whether it is a major change such as the attacks we experienced or it is an event that changes one person’s life we need to remember that while we may not have control over the change we faced we always have control over how we handle the change. At some point we need to move on from change by objectively looking at what happened as well as why the change occurred.

Today I travel worldwide as a public speaker talking about that day and the lessons that we can take away from it. I think there are many lessons that we should learn from September 11, 2001. Unfortunately we seem not to want to be quick learners and thus we allow history to repeat itself. Here is what I mean.

1. TEAMWORK. Like it or not the most important concept we should remember from 9/11 is that a relatively small group of people worked as a cohesive team to bring our country and the world to its knees. Teamwork should be important in everything we do. For a while after the attacks we were very united as a country and we had an incredible amount of support from most of the rest of the world. Our politicians, both parties, squandered away the support and have now become so divided that the only thing they’re really good at is arguing and tearing each other down. Successful corporate and military leaders always know the value of good teamwork including urging disagreement and expression of thought to bring out the best solutions. Members of good teams do not attempt to tear each other down but rather they keep the end goal in mind while

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We then have to consciously decide how to move forward. I have been back to New York many times since 2001 and still find people who cannot talk about that day. They have become paralyzed emotionally and have not learned how to move on. There really is something to be said for talking about your feelings especially when it comes to some unexpected or dramatic change that takes place in your life. After September 11 there was much discussion and dialogue that had the potential to lead to healing and a stronger country. We got diverted by Enron, MCI WorldCom and other events that while important should of been used as additional building blocks for a foundation of unity.

3. TRUST. If I have learned anything in my life it is that I need to rely on trusting my guide dog and, oh yes, people too. None of us trusts everyone unconditionally. However, if the events of the past several years can be used as any kind of teaching model we should learn to be open to the concept of trust. Our political leaders, for example should be taking time to teach us to gain their trust through actions and deeds not through empty words. Going back to the terrorist team of 9/11, the 19 people who conducted the attacks obviously trusted each other.


We have some great examples of trust on the other side including the many stories about Navy seal team six, the Army Rangers and corporate environments that were and are successful. While not everyone liked Steve Jobs for example I suspect that most people in Apple would tell you that they trusted him to lead them. If such were not the case Apple would never have had the successes we have seen. No matter all the turmoil and conflict we see around us I know that the United States of America is still the greatest country in the world and that we have so much potential to be stronger and more unified. Each of us has to expect more of ourselves and then we can begin to expect more of those around us. Our leaders need to set a better example as a collective group and as individuals. We need to set the bar higher for them and not just chalk everything up to quote politics� and business as usual. In my travels I have seen how many times one individual has made a difference in the lives of many whether or not they ever realized it. I constantly receive letters from people who’ve heard me speak telling me how one comment or another I made help them and made them better.

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SIRIUS

Explosive Detection NYC Port Authority

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A TRIBUTE TO THE DOGS OF 9/11 Ron’s journey to meet the hero dogs “While watching the events unfold I saw the story of Sirius, the explosive-detection dog that died in Tower II. I had an overwhelming urge to reach out to David Lim, Sirius’ handler, and do something to try and ease his pain. David was kind enough to share pictures and stories of Sirius with me. His grief over the loss of his friend and partner was heartbreaking….

As I began to better understand the role Sirius played at The World Trade Center, I wanted to know more about the dogs that were committing their lives to serving the public.

I went to NYC to meet with a group of pet therapy dogs and their handlers who had spent a considerable amount of time at Ground Zero. I took photos and got to know the dogs, the handlers and listened to their remarkable stories. They had all worked tirelessly giving comfort to families, firefighters, rescue workers and support groups. I then went to Virginia to meet with a group of search and rescue dogs and their handlers. It was there that I met Sky, the first dog to enter the Pentagon, as well as Nero and other dogs who courageously looked for survivors in the rubble. These experiences deepened my appreciation of the human-animal bond. Through their devotion and unconditional love these dogs touch the hearts and lives of people every day. “I hope I’ve done them justice.” — Ron Burns www.homelandmagazine.com

Ron Burns and Rufus My Inspiration

Rufus has been the creative spirit behind many special projects. He inspired Ron to create a book that you can read to your dogs (or humans) based on classic nursery rhymes, and he is the focus of a unique art collection that combines both original painting with a limited edition series. www.ronburns.com

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SIRIUS

Explosive Detection NYC Port Authority

By cci.org

Ground Zero On January 25, 2002 workers at Ground Zero recovered the remains of Sirius, the explosive detection dog, who’s believed to be the only canine to die in the attack on the World Trade Center. On September 11th 2001, Sirius, an explosive detection dog working in Tower II of the World Trade Center, gave his life for his country. His responsibilities, along with his handler David Lim, included inspecting vehicles for explosives that entered the WTC. On September 11, 2001, Sirius and David were in their office in Tower II when they felt the first plane slam into Tower I. Lim left Sirius in the office promising to return. But while assisting in rescue operations Lim became trapped in a stairwell, along with a grandmother and firefighters from Ladder Company 6, for several hours when Tower I collapsed. Once freed he attempted to return to Tower II which was now rubble and inaccessible. When Sirius’ remains were removed from the World Trade Center wreckage, they were given the same honors accorded firefighters and other rescuers, who lost their lives there too.

The Dogs of 9/11

By cci.org

Although she searched Ground Zero for ten days, she did not find any survivors. However, while waiting for her next assignment, she demonstrated an untrained skill for supporting the first responders on scene. Even in the midst of the chaos, the activity and the overwhelming sadness and stunning loss, she knew which firefighter needed her comfort, and she went to that person. And today, at 14 years of age, a senior dog with silver highlights on her fur and retired from active search work, Bretagne brings that same “emotional intelligence” to her new job. Once a week, she spends several hours at an elementary school, where she is known as the “reading dog.” First grade students greet her as she visits classrooms, where she “listens” attentively to them read to her. Sometimes she puts a paw on a student’s hand, or curls up close to one of them. She also visits a classroom for students with emotional and behavioral challenges, such as autism.

BRETAGNE

Search and Rescue - Texas Task Force 1 Bretagne’s career as a search dog began at the age of two, as a member of Texas Task Force 1, responding to the attacks on 9/11. 14

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Not only does she provide a calming influence on the children, but she is quick to lean into a staff member who is having a rough day. That is Bretagne today, continuing a tradition of service that started many years ago. - Denise Corliss


By cci.org

So once again I sent Hansen out and in about 2 minutes and about 3 feet away he started digging like crazy. We all looked at each other and said “no way”. In a few hours we found a machine gun which was Sgt. Curtin’s. His complete body was recovered. Even being able to read his name on his uniform. Sgt. Curtin had been a marine before becoming a police officer. He had helped dig out a marine that was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing. This was a proud day for me and Hansen to bring home 2 of our own. Hansen, a Belgian Shepherd Dog, worked on site for approximately 150 days. He was honored with numerous awards for his service including a memorial statue at a local park in Lindenhurst, New York. - Steve Smaldon NYPD

HANSEN

EVEREST

Search and Rescue - NYPD

It was 6 months after the attacks that K9 Hansen and I reported to Ground Zero for a 6 am to 6 pm tour. We were requested to respond for a search. So after driving the gator, with Hansen, to the search area, we climbed down 100 feet into a hole where Hansen located several victim remains. I rewarded him with “good boy, good job”, letting him know he had done his job and we were done. Hansen ran up the hill ahead of me to get back into the gator. I noticed him jump out and start to dig on the side of the road. By the time I got to him he had already dug a hole almost 1 foot down. Never in the six months there had I seen him act this way. Another emergency service officer came to see what we were doing. I said Hansen is going crazy so we all started digging. We went about 2 feet down and I was ready to call it off when we uncovered a G shock watch. The next shovel uncovered the arm that it was on. Any body part this big was very rare so we called for more officers to help. After a slow hand dig we realized it was a complete body. Then one of the officers found a gun. We reported the gun and they said we had recovered Officer Perry. Officer Perry was retiring on Sept. 11 and was at headquarters. He ran to the Trade Center after the first plane hit. This was a great recovery for the police department. Everyone talked about how Hansen had found Officer Perry. Then the Chief said they had good info that Sgt. Curtin was with Officer Perry. Hansen and I had worked many jobs with Sgt. Curtin.

Search and Rescue - FEMA

Reeny and Everest had just finished their night shift on the pile in NYC when, as they were stepping out of the rubble field, Everest stopped short and seemed to be sniffing and focused very heavily on a piece of paper on the ground. Reeny went over and picked it up and it was a business card. Everest seemed very intent on smelling the card. Reeny didn’t think anything of it but had it in her pocket when she came home to Arizona from the deployment. We got to talking about that event as kind of a debrief to the whole deployment and we decided to look up the name on the card and found that his memorial was planned and there was an address for his wife. Reeny wrote a letter to her stating that Everest had focused on this card and that Reeny felt it was important for her to know that while she and Everest were not able to find anyone alive that finding this card brought home why she went which was to find a remembrance at least of her husband. His wife wrote back thanking her and said that this was really the only thing tangible from the site (at that time) that she had that represented her loved one. So in the end, Reeny and Everest’s mission was to find the card and get it back to his wife to help her heal. Everest was a most special dog, Reeny loved her like her child. They were a special team. - Tom and Reeny Shannon

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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. 16

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Ron Burns Studio www.ronburns.com

www.sheltertosoldier.org


Dogs share in every part of our lives from birth to Dogs share in every part of our lives from birth to death. This book brings together, through a collection of paintings, the story of what happens with people and dogs around times of crisis. Here you’ll see furry friends, such as bomb detection dogs, who work to keep us safe, canines who work to rescue us in times of greatest need, and of course those, such as therapy dogs, who work so lovingly to make us whole again. The traits we like to think of as human ideals – patience, tenacity, unconditional love, hard work, kindness and heroism – are found consistently in dogs, perhaps more consistently than in people (I’m biased). And it’s my hope that by seeing these gorgeous creatures through the lens of art, that we can all appreciate them and celebrate them in a new and profound way. – Ron Burns SIRIUS - “Ron’s original is in the 9/11 Memorial Museum’s permanent collection”

ORDER YOUR COPY AT www.RonBurns.com/book or visit www.ronburns.com

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Marine Veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom Believes 9/11 Is Catalyst for America’s Next ‘Greatest Generation’ A native of Memphis, Tenn., Bell was only an eighth grader By Barry Smith Boot Campaign

on Sept. 11, 2001 when terrorists hijacked commercial airliners to attack New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington D.C., but that American tragedy remains forever etched in his memory.

“I remember being at home getting ready to go to school, and I got a call from my mother and grandmother,” he explains. “I was told to stay home and turn on the TV because there was something that happened in New York and nobody really knew what it was. “I turned on the TV and a few moments later I saw the second plane go into the second tower,” he continues. “I just remember seeing it and, for some reason, I instantly knew that it wasn’t an accident, that it was on purpose, and that my fear was replaced with anger. There was one tower that was just smoldering, and you see the second tower hit and it just looked too intentional. That was like the moment my entire world changed.”

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

It took all of high school and a disappointing first semester at the University of Memphis for a direction-less Bell to act on those changes to his world and make a firm commitment towards his future and a life of service. In 2007 at 19 years of age, he followed in the footsteps of his cousin, Mitch Cannon, and enlisted in the Marines Corps as an infantry rifleman with First Battalion, Sixth Marine Regiment.

This famous quotation is often attributed to Irish statesman Edmund Burke from back in the 1700s. Although the true attribution has never been 100 percent verified, the words themselves continue to resonate, especially with U.S. Marine Corps veteran Zachary Bell.

“There was this overwhelming sense of unity that swept over the country for some time, and I remember I just wanted to be a part of that,” recalls Bell. “Like that saying goes, I didn’t want to ‘do nothing.’

“There are few very universal truths in this world, but that [quotation] is one of them,” proclaims Bell, a Nashville, Tenn., resident and Boot Campaign Veteran Ambassador. “It is just a fact.

“I knew there was this thing I wanted to do, which was to serve my country,” he adds, “and I knew it could help me mature and grow in a lot of ways that would help to shape the person I would become. I just felt this pull towards the military.”

“I think if you look back at World War II with Pearl Harbor,” he explains, “we were so full of our own bravado that we put 90-plus percent of our entire Naval fleet in one location because we were so sure that no one would ever reach it. And then the attack on Pearl Harbor happened, and it brought us into World War II, because until that moment we really weren’t invested in it. “The same thing happened on September 11,” reminds Bell. “There was this war going on overseas and there was conflict level stuff that was happening, but pretty much until that moment we were like, ‘whatever.’ Then 9/11 happened and we had to face the hard reality of life that there is evil that exists in this world and something has to be done about it.” 18

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During his four-year tenure as a Marine, Bell deployed as part of Operation Enduring Freedom to Garmsir, Afghanistan from March to July 2008, and followed with another deployment to Marjah, Afghanistan from December 2009 to July 2010. He was combat-meritoriously promoted to corporal and held the billet of infantry squad leader, before ultimately departing the military at the rank of sergeant in February 2011. In the midst of his military service, not only did he quickly develop into a respected and battle-tested Marine sergeant, he also became a husband to wife Christy and father of two daughters, Alyssa and Audrey. His deployments away from his family took their toll, and certainly give him a lot to think about in terms of perspectives and priorities.


When his military contract was about to expire, Bell found himself at another of life’s crossroads and was forced to make a major decision that would affect his future, as well as the possible destiny of his young family. “At the end of it I had a lot of different options,” explains Bell. “I was looking at being an officer, staying in the infantry, all sorts of different stuff. It was weird, because I had always treated the military like a job but I actually became really good at it. I didn’t realize I was of value until a recruiter came to me and asked, ‘what will it take to make you reenlist because we want you.’ He said he talked to his wife about his different options and the offer to reenlist, but realized in his heart that he had already made up his mind many months before. He can basically recall the exact instant he realized what path he should take. “I can remember the moment I knew what I should do, because it was right before I left for my second deployment, to Marjah, Afghanistan,” he recalls. “We had done an early Christmas with my oldest daughter, and my wife was pregnant, and we only had two weeks to do everything because they made a last-minute decision for us to deploy. “I bought holiday cards for everything I would miss with my wife, my first-born child and my unborn child. I sat down at a table and went through it all chronologically, everything I wouldn’t be there for over the next seven months.

I was kind of overtaken by the fact that this might be one of the only things any of them would ever have to remember me by, and that was kind of jarring. “I didn’t realize until I was halfway through it, but I just thought to myself I didn’t want to do this the rest of my life,” he says. “Even if I was lucky enough to make it through it, I would have to do this again, and again, and again, and I had already missed so much. My hat’s off to anyone who’s able to do that, but it wasn’t the life for me. Military service comes at a huge sacrifice, especially on a family, and I just didn’t want to do that anymore.” With the weight of his huge decision lifted from his shoulders, Bell left the military and returned to his family and civilian life where he immediately began pursuit of a lifelong goal, a college diploma. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Nashville’s Lipscomb University in the fall of 2014, and quickly followed that fete with his MBA from Lipscomb in May 2016. Bell presently works as an account executive with a Nashville health care organization. To feed his creative juices and desire to share his military experiences, he has written articles for both The New York Times: At War Blog and the Huffington Post. He also engages the local community to foster awareness about military issues and the services offered by Texas-based nonprofit Boot Campaign. Continued on next page

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“I had the opportunity to meet several of the Boot Campaign staff, and after meeting Marine veteran Marcus Burleson, I decided I really wanted to be a part of their organization somehow,” reflects Bell.

While he learned the Big Apple is not the quietest city in these United States, he found the Memorial site to be a welcome contrast to the hustle and bustle of the surrounding metropolis.

“When he asked me to be a Veteran Ambassador I was elated and still can’t believe I was invited to do so. I truly consider it an honor and privilege to be a part of an organization that is changing and saving lives.”

“I remember we were walking on Wall Street or something and it was so loud, but then we finally got to the 9/11 Memorial and it was very quiet and peaceful, just beautiful,” he reports. “I still remember touching the names that are engraved, and seeing the water flowing. It was just unlike anything I’d ever seen. To see the place and this event that had changed the direction of an entire nation and generations to come was something I will never forget.”

“When he asked me to be a Veteran Ambassador I was elated and still can’t believe I was invited to do so. I truly consider it an honor and privilege to be a part of an organization that is changing and saving lives.” With Bell’s military experience behind him, he realizes his perspective has slightly changed on the events of September 11, 2001, even though his memories from watching the horror live on his television screen have been cemented forever. “Now that I am a parent, I understand it’s my job to hold back the harsh realities of the world so my children are able to understand them and conceptualize what’s going on,” Bell explains. “But at that moment on 9/11, it was all gone for me. There was no more illusion or magic or anything. I was shown what real evil was and how it exists in the world, and it left an indelible mark on me, as it did for many people.” To help shape his new perspective, Bell took his family to New York to visit the National September 11 Memorial and honor the nearly 3,000 people who perished in the terror attacks.

Zachary & Christy with daughters, Alyssa and Audrey 20

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With the unfortunate events of September 11 as a catalyst, Bell now has a strong belief that America will come out even stronger as a nation, much like it did many decades ago under similar shocking circumstances. “Nine/11 was something that brought America together in the modern era, the entire population to the forefront of the realities in the world,” says Bell. “The only other time that happened was with Pearl Harbor and, through that horrible event, America went to war and was able to stop the Axis Powers from taking over the world. We went on to build a nation that was unlike any other, so much so that its generation is called the ‘Greatest Generation.’ “I really do believe there is the foundation for the next ‘Greatest Generation’ to come forward.” Learn more about Boot Campaign at www.BootCampaign.org.


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www. GIFilmFestivalSD.org The third annual GI Film Festival San Diego is back with a new lineup of films and events that bring the untold stories of America’s military to life. Originated in Washington D.C. in 2007, the GI Film Festival is only one of a few military-themed festivals in the United States. With San Diego’s multi-faceted military history and seven major bases between the Navy, Marines, and the Coast Guard, it’s only fitting to bring a collection of compelling and authentic films for anyone interested in the military and veteran experience.

Margot Carlson Delogne Margot’s-hands-photo-courtesy-2-sides-project-filmmakers 22

HOMELAND / September 2017

Organized by KPBS in partnership with the GI Film Group and Film Consortium San Diego, the festival takes place


Third Annual GI Film Festival San Diego Returns, Features West Coast Premiere of ‘The 2 Sides Project’

Ron Reyes Ron-kneeling-photo-courtesy-2-sides-project-filmmakers

Oct. 18-22, 2017 at select venues throughout San Diego County and exclusively features stories for, by, and about military service members and veterans. More than 30 films have been selected for this year’s GI Film Festival San Diego with themes ranging from women in the military, resiliency and recovery, transition, and the LGBTQ+ community. Selections also highlight military experiences from within the Hispanic, African American, and Asian cultures. Wars covered in the films span from World War II to the present day conflicts. All major film genres will be presented including dramas, documentaries, and personal narratives in both short and feature length formats. Continued on next page

Photography by Spark Photography. Provided by KPBS

HOMELAND / September 2017 23


The GI Film Festival San Diego will conduct screenings for the first time in North County San Diego at the Regal Carlsbad 12 on Thursday, Oct. 19 with a “World War II Remembered” film block and other selections.

All festival events and screenings are open to the public with special discounted opportunities for active duty personnel and veterans. The complete schedule, ticket information, and locations are available at GIFilmFestivalSD.org.

The popular Family Movie Night will return to the USS Midway Museum on Friday, Oct. 20 to celebrate military families and provide a fun evening out after a busy week. Additional screenings, filmmaker appearances, and panel discussions will be held at AMC Mission Valley 20 on Saturday, Oct. 21 and Sunday, Oct. 22. Films scheduled to be screened in Mission Valley include: “After Fire” a documentary feature that follows three female veterans on their road to healing; “High Low Forty” a narrative feature about estranged brothers who reconnect during a road-trip home; and a collection of films that are either made by or star veterans. The much anticipated Local Film Showcase, featuring films created by local veterans, active duty military, and filmmakers, is also planned for the closing weekend along with the encore of “The 2 Sides Project.” On Saturday, Oct. 21 the Awards Celebration will take place at the KPBS studios to recognize the best films, filmmakers, and actors in the Local Film Showcase. Comedian and former Navy officer, Jamie Kaler, will emcee the event. www. GIFilmFestivalSD.org Photography by Spark Photography. Provided by KPBS 24

HOMELAND / September 2017


The 2 Sides Project, Wednesday, Oct. 18: Vietnamese and American sons and daughters come together after losing their fathers in the Vietnam War.

October 18 -22, 2017 BRINGING THE STORIES OF AMERICA’S MILITARY TO LIFE.

American Veteran, Saturday, Oct. 21: Army Sergeant Nick Mendes was paralyzed while serving in Afghanistan. This film is an intimate portrait of his sometimes harrowing, sometimes romantic and often surprisingly funny life.

  WED 10/18 OPENING NIGHT SCREENING & RECEPTION MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTS

THU 10/19 MOVIE SCREENINGS REGAL CARLSBAD 12

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FRI 10/20

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MOVIE SCREENINGS AMC MISSION VALLEY 20

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SUN 10/22 MOVIE SCREENINGS AMC MISSION VALLEY 20

After Fire, Saturday, Oct. 21: With intimate access to the lives of three women veterans, “After Fire” highlights the challenges of service and tells a universal story of strength in the aftermath of trauma.

GIFilmFestivalSD.org

GIFilmFestivalSanDiego |

@GIFilmFestSD | #GIFilmFestSD

THE FESTIVAL IS ORGANIZED BY KPBS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE GI FILM GROUP AND FILM CONSORTIUM SAN DIEGO.

KPBS is a public service of San Diego State University.

HOMELAND / September 2017 25


ENLISTED TO ENTREPRENEUR By Vicki Garcia

Each of these point to a distinct set of tactics (marketing tools) that will produce the desired results. Do you need your market to arrive pre-sold on you? Then your strategy is “create trust.” Every tactic you use should build trust. Does “advertising” create trust? Not usually. So that wouldn’t be your tactic.

Do You Need A Strategy? Look up strategy in the dictionary and many definitions have to do with the military and war. A strategy describes how the ends (goals) will be achieved by the means (tactics). The biggest mistake business owners, who are understandably anxious to see action, make is to jump into tactics without a strategy. This almost guarantees lost money, time, and possibly failure. I’ve seen many strategies: • Create trust through “Personal Branding”

Does publicity create trust? You bet. See how this works? You might think all pizzas are created equally, but no. Some pizzas serve the purpose of getting the kids fed or taking care of a sports crowd. Other pizzas are a culinary experience in a festive atmosphere. They couldn’t be less alike, even though they both sell pizza. Dominic’s Pizza is all about convenience. In fact, what Dominic’s is selling is delivery. It’s not about how the pizza tastes... it’s about getting an inexpensive pizza easily and without bother. Dominic’s strategy is to “emphasize delivery and low price.” It could be cardboard painted to look like pizza. Radio, TV, and signs on delivery cars work well. Tammy’s Wood-fired Pizza, served by waiters in a cute restaurant is all about atmosphere, ambience, a fun experience and good food shared with others. It’s not about pizza either.

• Convenience (delivery)

Tammy’s Wood-fired Pizza’s strategy is “act like it’s entertainment.” Advertising in The Reader and the U/T Night & Day are advisable.

• Educate the market (information)

So the answer to the question “Do You Need a

• Just get them in the door the first time (sales)

• Events and entertainment (attract buyers) • Merchandising (special or more products)

Strategy?” is YES. Don’t spend any money or time on any marketing effort that doesn’t serve your strategy and you have a much better chance of success.

Vicki Garcia is the Co-Founder of Veteran Entrepreneurs Today (V.E.T.) & President of Marketing Impressions. Email her at vicki@ veteranentrepreneurstoday.org, register for free coaching at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/veteransinbiz . Join us at our Veteran Entrepreneur Summit 2017, Sept 23, at www.veteransinbiz.com

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5. Moreover, it will make you stand out. You have 300 characters to use in the invite and you cannot paste links or add attachments. If you mistakenly have connected with someone and want to “Vote them off your island” you can easily remove them.

Build Your Network By Melissa Washington

Last month’s article was focused on creating a LinkedIn profile and importance of building an online professional brand. Now that your profile is complete next step is to build your network. Start with people you know and trust, such as colleagues, customers, people you served with, vendors, and even family. These are the people that you are going to want to connect with on LinkedIn. A few ways to do this: 1. Use the search bar to type in names of people you may know. When the person you want appears in the search list, click on his or her name, and then click on connect (before you do this read my best practice listed below). 2. LinkedIn easily allows you to import contacts from e-mail accounts. Go to “My Network” icon on the top of your homepage. From there click on “See All” below “Your Connections” on the left. Then click on “Managed synced and imported contacts” and follow the additional instructions. 3. “People you may know”- Remember these are network generated possibilities, so you may or may not know these people. These can be found in “My Network” 4. When you first meet someone, ask if you can connect with them on LinkedIn. Get on your phone and use the LinkedIn app to do this on the spot. Best Practice - Always customize the message that you send when making connection requests. It is important to take the time to “Add Note” to your connection requests. Why? 1. To keep the “human” aspect in your request. 2. Give you the opportunity to share information about yourself. 3. Let them know you are looking for work. Be specific about the type of work you are seeking so can avoid opportunities that are of no interest to you. (This is why it’s important to be clear about what you want to do and to develop a personal brand.) 4. Share why you want to connect with them. 28

HOMELAND / September 2017

1. Click the “My Network” icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage and click “See All” below “Your connections” on the left side of the page. 2. When on the page with all of your connections. Type their name in the “search connections” box. 3. When their name appears in the list, click the 3 dots to the right of their name and “remove connection”. They will not be notified that you have removed them. In addition to connecting with people you can follow companies and find out more information about that particular company. You can explore different companies on LinkedIn by using the search bar at the top to type in the company name. One these company pages you can view: Jobs Postings, Photos, Updates, Competitors, Employees (1st, 2nd, and 3rd Degree connection) and Employee Perspectives. Follow companies that you are specifically interested in working for, current employer, past employers, clients, vendors, and other companies of interest. This will allow you to receive key updates as they are posted. You can follow up to 1,000 companies. To follow a company type in the company name on the search bar and once on their page look to the right where there are 3 square dots. Click on these dots and then click on “Follow” LinkedIn offers eligible military and veteran members 1 year of free access to LinkedIn Premium Subscriptions including their Learning Platform. Go to veterans.linkedin.com Download the LinkedIn App which is available in your app store. About Melissa Washington, Navy Veteran, Marine Corps Wife, LinkedIn Maven, Founder of Women Veterans Alliance and author of “ Get Back to Work: Smart & Savvy Real-World Strategies to Make Your Next Career Move”. She has been on LinkedIn since 2004 and worked there for four years doing Global Corporate Meeting Planning.


YOU PROTECTED US.

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

Visit www.ChooseNissan.com.

HOMELAND / September 2017 29


Military, Firefighters, Teachers, Medical Field, Law Enforcment, Veterans

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Military service can be a perfect entrance into a law enforcement career. Military and law enforcement personnel have had a long-standing relationship with overlaps in training exercises, equipment, and, most important, personnel. It is not uncommon for a service member to make the jump from the military to law enforcement, as both professions look for the same characteristics; leadership, fidelity, chain of command, and teamwork are all common themes in both professions. Quite understandably, many American military veterans often gravitate to a career in law enforcement when the time comes to rejoin the civilian workforce. The two professions have many fundamental similarities; from the uniforms they wear with pride, to the firm command structure they serve under, to great personal risk they endure while protecting those who cannot protect themselves.

Opportunities in Law Enforcement

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

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

www.homelandmagazine.com

HOMELAND / September 2017 31


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HOMELAND / September 2017


JOIN

PGH POLICE

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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HOMELAND / September 2017


Santa Monica Police Department THE BENCHMARK OF EXCELLENCE.

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

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HOMELAND / September 2017 35


Become A Part of Our Story!

Learn more at TrooperStories.com

There’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.

JOBS FOR VETS

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

HomelandMagazine.com JOBS FOR VETS LAW ENFORCEMENT 36

HOMELAND / September 2017


Join A Great Team! At Coconino County Sheriff’s Office our Service to the Community is accomplished by hiring the Best! • Exciting Career opportunities in the cool pines of Northern Arizona. • We are currently hiring for Detention Officers, and Nurses.

We find that our Veterans are the Very Best! [Check out our agency and find a home where you can apply the skills you’ve learned in the military.]

• 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

Coconino County Sheriff’s Office is committed to providing responsive and effective Service to Community.

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 twitter@cspd.pio

Visit our website for further information and fill out a job interest card today! cspd.coloradosprings.gov

HOMELAND / September 2017 37


Transitions: A Warrior’s Journey to Recovery By John Roberts Marco Harrington was a strong soldier. A full-body X-ray revealed several bones that healed from breaks, for which he was never treated. Though these breaks happened in the past and were already healed, the fractures weren’t truly felt until the moment doctors discovered them – fractures that would eventually tear apart the final shred of hope Marco had of staying in the military. Marco is the youngest of six siblings and an identical twin. But of his large family, he was the only to enlist in the military. At age 22, Marco joined many of his friends who had already taken up ranks in the Army National Guard By John Roberts (ANG). He would later marry one of those friends and start a family. Military service came easy for Marco. As a well-minded youth, he wasn’t easily stressed, so he was able to thoroughly enjoy his basic training at Fort Jackson just outside of Columbia, South Carolina. Marco, now military police, was assigned to Grand Prairie Armed Forces Reserve Complex in Texas. Shortly thereafter, in 2008, Marco deployed to Iraq, working entry control points by checking vehicles entering and leaving the base for contraband. “In the next seven years of his enlistment, Marco crosstrained military occupational specialties and held multiple positions as a supply sergeant. It all came to a startling halt on a deployment to Egypt in 2015. Marco started having severe nightmares. “I woke up and felt like I was having a heart attack,” Marco said. “The hospital evaluations couldn’t confirm that I had a heart attack, but they also couldn’t confirm that I didn’t have one. I went back to duty, but it kept happening. Then, one day, we had a physical training test, and I passed out after running.” Marco was shipped out to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. “They didn’t know what was wrong,” Marco said. “I went through a cardio stress test, and they thought I was having anxiety attacks and had a panic disorder.” Without a firm diagnosis, Marco arrived back stateside to Fort Hood just outside Killeen, Texas. After supervised cardio workouts, the doctors discontinued his regular cardio stress tests believing that Marco had a very strong heart. 38

HOMELAND / September 2017

Joey Willis

Their focus quickly shifted to his nightmares. They started thinking it was just severe nightmares from past deployments,” Marco said. “So they started having me attend group and individual therapy, regular stimulus therapy, and began monitoring my brain activity. They thought stress and everything just finally caught up with me and that my brain sent a signal to my heart to stop.” Marco also began attending group and individual therapy sessions. Ultimately, he was diagnosed with extreme panic disorder with nightmares. “It got to a point where I couldn’t sleep anymore,” Marco said. “I was always on edge and uneasy. Still, they wouldn’t diagnose me with post-traumatic stress disorder because every time I was in public, I wore a smile. That’s just the kind of person I am.” Still, more and more symptoms arose. “They started seeing other problems with my strength,” Marco said. “I’m left-side dominate, but I was weak on my left side. I had back problems, neck problems, headaches – major headaches. I was having so many tests – MRIs and bone scans. Finally, a doctor stepped in and requested a full-body scan.”


That scan revealed all the broken bones Marco sustained over the years. He endured corrective surgeries and went through physical therapy, but the fracture already set in his military career. He was determined to be unfit for duty. In 2016, Marco received a military medical retirement. He left the ANG with a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability rating of 80 percent. By this time, Marco’s wife, Brittany, already made the transition from military forces to the civilian world to take care of their family and was actively involved with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). During a dinner with the veterans service organization, Marco and his wife met a WWP Benefits Service teammate who assisted them with securing long-term financial and medical support from the VA. Veterans with service-connected disabilities are eligible for veterans’ disability benefits, which include health care and compensation through the VA. To help injured veterans, their family members, and their caregivers successfully transition to life after injury, the WWP Benefits Service program provides the tools needed to navigate the complexities of the Department of Defense (DoD) and VA. The Benefits Service team works closely with wounded warriors, family members, and caregivers to understand their unique needs, provide information and education on the claims process, advise them of benefits options, file benefits claims, help to obtain necessary evidence, and stay connected with them through the life cycle of the claim. In April 2017, WWP filed a claim with the VA on Marco’s behalf. Three months later, with a confirmed diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and more, Marco received a VA disability rating of 100 percent with more than $17,000 in retroactive pay, backdating to the day WWP filed his initial claim.

“I’m not the same person that I used to be,” Marco said. “My injuries have impacted my family and marriage because 80 percent of the time, I’m secluding myself from life. It’s hard for family and friends who knew me before to understand me today.” Since then, Marco participates in other free WWP programs and services like its Physical Health and Wellness program. Through this program, Marco can expend any negative energy through exercise and leave the workout less frustrated than when he began.

The payoffs? Getting into a regular workout routine with his family and losing weight. Every day, Marco takes more control of his recovery. Through the generous support of donors, WWP offers veterans specialized, multi-day mental health programs and services – tailored to each warrior’s specific needs and free of charge. One program is its multi-day mental health workshops that are offered as all-male, all-female, or all-couples. WWP quickly enrolled Marco and Brittany up for a couples’ workshop. These workshops provide safe, private environments where warriors and their significant others can express themselves, share their experiences, and set achievable goals to strive toward at home. “The workshop really prepared me and my wife for transitioning out of the military,” Marco said. “We learned that my injury limitations are adaptable, and we can move beyond them. We realized we need each other – that we may not be the same, but we will fight to move past it – become better together.”

Continued on next page www.homelandmagazine.com

HOMELAND / September 2017 39


Marco wants other wounded warriors to know they are not alone.

“I want warriors to know that Wounded Warrior Project isn’t just for people missing limbs,” Marco said. “WWP is ready to help warriors with visible and invisible wounds – regardless of their situation. If you need help, reach out to their Resource Center and get referrals for the programs and services you need to get your journey back on track.”

Marco is among more than 90 percent of warriors who have had successful VA claims processed with the help of WWP. In the first quarter of fiscal year 2017, WWP secured $4 million more in monetary benefits than in the first quarter of fiscal year 2016. Since its inception, more than $200 million in total veterans’ benefits has been secured through the WWP Benefits Service program.

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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.


www.homelandmagazine.com

HOMELAND / September 2017 41


Mentorship for children in military families who deserve our thanks and support. Enroll a child or become a Big Brother or Big Sister. Call (858) 746.9173 SDBigs.org/OperationBigs

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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

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HOMELAND / September 2017 43


R4 Alliance

Member Highlight

The Comfort Crew for Military Kids Supports Our Youngest Heroes The chance meeting between LTC Davis and the Comfort Crew took place in the parking lot outside of his office shortly after he returned from Afghanistan in 2011.

But it was when we reached his youngest son who was 9 at the time and asked, “how did you deal with the deployment” that the surprise came.

The conversation quickly grew into how his family, and particularly, his three children, coped with the separation and worry.

See, the Davis family is the model for good communication and support. So, when his youngest son broke down and spoke through tears, “I just don’t have a way to express my feelings,” everyone had to take a step back. No one realized the pain this child was holding in over a year after his father’s return.

A year later, the family would sit down and be filmed by the Comfort Crew about how deployment and reintegration affects families. His oldest son shared how baseball had kept him busy and his mind off the worry, while his daughter talked about how journaling had helped her to get away from negative emotions.

Since that time, the Crew has been able to introduce strategies to help him express these feelings, bringing the family closer together. LTC Davis said recently,

“when we first met and had that conversation I had no idea the impact that the Comfort Crew would have on my family.” Those of us connected to the military know, but many people don’t realize, our country has been at war for 16 years. And unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be coming to an end any time soon. This has brought a different type of stress to our military personnel, and their families. Military families are the forgotten heroes in this time of war. They’ve always had to move every 2-3 years and there have always been deployments and trainings, but nothing like the last 16 years. People love to say,

Davis Family 44

HOMELAND / September 2017

“Military kids are so resilient”. Well, many are. But resiliency for most is a learned skill that needs to be nurtured.


This is where The Comfort Crew for Military Kids is able to help. Since 2007, Comfort Crew has been providing invaluable resources to help our military kids grow and thrive through extremely difficult times. The Comfort Crew for Military Kids is a 501(c)(3) public charity, founded by Trevor Romain and Ronda Englander. Trevor is an award-winning children’s book author who is a naturalized American by way of South Africa. Trevor served in The South African army. He had an experience with an injured African child that paved his path to helping kids. Ronda has worked in the child development field most of her life, and she is a gold star daughter. Her father Rocky Armstead, died in Viet Nam when Ronda was 3. Together, Ronda and Trevor saw the need to help this generation of military kids. Recent research validates what kids have been telling us for years, that military kids are faced with extraordinary circumstances: deployments, injury, loss, and many feel they must carry this burden alone. During an interview of middle and high school students here is what some said when asked “What was it like when your parent came home from deployment?” “When my mom came home she didn’t want to be hugged anymore.” “When he came home I was happy, but things weren’t the same.” “It feels like he’s not my same dad.” These are common themes we hear from kids and many have never shared these feelings with anyone before. The Comfort Crew for Military Kids developed programs to address the challenges that families told us they needed help with. The basic goals of our programs are to increase communication within families, and to let kids know they aren’t alone. The With You All the Way! Deployment Kit is packed with incredible information to help kids and families with the stress of deployment. It includes strategies to prepare for deployments, stay connected during separations and to manage expectations for the homecoming. The Together Again! Helping Military Families Reconnect Kit is a fantastic resource to help families reconnect in a very difficult transition period. We all understand the trials and tribulations of military personnel battling PTS. But we generally don’t consider the impact it has on kids. This incredible resource helps kids understand what their parent might be feeling, what they themselves might be feeling, and helps pave a path to reconnection. The Grief Kit provides kids and families a safe way to learn about their feelings of loss, and how to keep their loved ones in their heart.

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This resource lets kids know that you won’t ever get over the loss of a loved one, but how you can live with the loss, and keep your loved one close to and with you on your journey. This is what Ronda learned during the process of creating the resource and many other gold star children have said they wished they had received something like this after their loss. In partnership with the USO, Trevor Romain has traveled all over the country, and to 16 different countries where we have military installation, on the With You All the Way! Tour. This tour is an assembly format performed in schools to provide hope, inspiration, and critical skills to our military children, to help them navigate the unique challenges of modern day military life. Continued on next page

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In partnership with the USO, Trevor Romain has traveled all over the country, and to 16 different countries where we have military installation, on the With You All the Way! Tour. This tour is an assembly format performed in schools to provide hope, inspiration, and critical skills to our military children, to help them navigate the unique challenges of modern day military life. Trevor shares an especially poignant memory from a tour presentation. Kids love to share their stories, especially after I share my own personal stories during my USO school talks. Depending on questions from the kids, I sometimes include how I deal with the loss of my dad. After one assembly at a base in North Carolina, a fifth-grade boy said he wanted to speak to me privately. His father had been killed in action in Afghanistan not long before. One of the teachers told me the boy had been bullying kids at the school and hurt some kids badly because he could not control his temper. The school administrators felt they could not expel the boy because his father had recently passed away, so they tried to manage the situation as best they could.

He went on to tell me that in honor of his dad, he had started a club to welcome new kids at the school and even asks them to sit with him at lunch. His dad would be so proud. Captain Sam Arnett, his wife Sara Jane and their 3 sons know what it is like to face the challenges that come with multiple deployments. They have experienced three 12-month deployments over the past eight years and are currently experiencing a PCS. Sara Jane received resources from the Comfort Crew during an especially difficult time when her husband was deployed to Afghanistan. “I was at my wit’s end and happened to ask one of the ladies at the front desk if they had a kit. I really needed help,” said Sara Jane. “They gave it to my middle son and I sat there and just cried becomes it’s the kindness, it comes from a great place and it’s there to help our children. The With You All the Way! Deployment Kit pushed my sons through months of lonely, sad times,” Sara Jane shared.

“Thank you so much,” the boy said after he came up to me. “You really helped me.” “How did I help you?” I asked, not quite sure what he was talking about. “You helped me figure out that I am bullying kids because I am angry about what happened to my dad.” I acknowledged the boy’s situation and we went on to discuss ways he could deal with his anger. As adults, it is sometimes easy to understand why we behave in a particular way, but this boy had no clue why he was bullying other kids until he heard our presentation. During my talks I always challenge kids to be nice. “I triple dog-dare any of you in this room to be kind,” I say at every presentation. I thanked the boy for sharing his story and shook his hand, wishing him well. As he walked away he turned to me and said, “I accept your challenge.” I gave him a thumbs up and got a sweet, genuine smile in return. I got an email from one of the boy’s classmates a few weeks later. He said, “You won’t believe it Mr. Romain, but the bully actually stopped a fight the other day.” A few weeks after that I got another email, this time from the former bully himself. “Dear Mr. Romain,” he wrote, “I am still taking your dog-dare challenge.”

Arnett Boys 46

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Last year, the boys joined the Comfort Crew in San Antonio for the With You All the Way! Tour. Sara Jane said, “For my oldest, the most responsible, that doesn’t want to burden anyone else, it has changed him. I feel like he’s more comfortable sharing his feelings or comfortable saying, mom can you listen to me, can you come in here, hold me, can you work with me on my homework so he’s more comfortable knowing that it’s fine.” The intended impact of our programs can be summed up by an email we received from this parent: It is Saturday and I have received one of the ‘With You All the Way’ kits, and cannot say in words how it may just be one of the very best ways to express our child’s feelings.

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There is an 8-year-old boy of a deploying Sailor whom this is for and his name is Logan. Logan got this box from me today and read the first couple of pages of the journal and began to cry. When I asked him why he was crying, he stated to me that the book said things he could not. If there is no better use than that, we have won the battle. - Logan’s Dad

The Comfort Crew is honored to be a member of the R4 Alliance. Together, with other quality non-profit organizations, we can provide the best support to our military and veteran families. CFC #46891

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Wellness Retreat Helps 70 Caregivers of Wounded Warriors Through Operation Homefront Hearts of Valor Program Operation Homefront on Aug. 25-27 held the first of two Hearts of Valor military caregiver retreats scheduled for this summer. This is the seventh year that the annual retreats have been held. Thanks to a generous donation from USAA, 70 caregivers of wounded warriors from across the United States gathered to further their knowledge on caregiving.

Clinical health psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio Dr. Lindsay Bira, a TEDx speaker, gave an educational presentation on mindfulness, including hands-on exercises. Boots and Aprons, a San Antonio-based company, presented “Slow Cooker Secrets,” a program influenced by the Eat Healthy, Be Active Community Workshops. The military caregivers worked with Dr. Roxana Delgado and Dr. Kimberly Peacock of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UT Health San Antonio to develop healthy eating habits, including cooking demos with crockpots and sampling the food. Adjunct Clinical Faculty at the University of Maryland School of Social Work William Reidy, LCSW-C, presented practical ways to evaluate stress. The speakers were asked to consider the challenges of caregiving and, through their professional expertise,

Operation Homefront is committed to strengthening military families, and the retreats provide a safe and welcoming environment where military caregivers can feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings with staff and with each other. Thirteen subject matter experts delivered 12 hours of education during the August retreat that was relevant to military caregiving and was centered on support systems, self-care, stress, coping skills, veteran care, and fostering healthy habits. At the retreat, each military caregiver experienced a variety of wellness opportunities, including individual spa time and an introduction to yoga and meditation.

they offered the caregivers practical and useful tools in reducing stress. Another retreat was held Labor Day weekend in San Antonio. Founded in 2002, Operation Homefront’s mission is to build strong, stable, and secure military families so they can thrive, not simply struggle to get by, in the communities they have worked so hard to protect.

The following Police departments

This year’s program included presentations from prominent are actively hiring & proudly and distinguished experts in the field of caregiving. The support our veterans, active content was designed to have a lifelong impact on the military and the families that caregivers.

keep together.

Renowned clinician, Associate Vice President and the inaugural Director of the Military Health Institute at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Dr. Byron C. Hepburn, discussed ways in which the body responds to stressful situations, underlining the importance of wellness. 48

HOMELAND / September 2017

Photos by Jason Moody


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Research Opportunities

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

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HOMELAND / September 2017 51


SEAWORLD SAN DIEGO HONORS U.S. MILITARY VETERANS Military veterans and up to three guests invited to enjoy free admission during tribute program SeaWorld® San Diego is honoring the men and women who have previously served as members of the U.S. armed services with a special free admissions program. Starting now the park is offering complimentary admission to military veterans and up to three additional guests. Tickets must be obtained by Sept. 30, 2017 and can be redeemed for park admission by Dec. 30, 2017. This offer is available online only. “The service and sacrifice our veterans have given our country is something that should make us all proud,” said Marilyn Hannes, SeaWorld’s park president. “At SeaWorld, we appreciate all they have done and we are again extending our appreciation by offering them free admission to the park. We hope they can spend a great day with us at the park with their families and friends.” Veterans must register online at www.WavesofHonor.com in advance, and verify their proof of service through the ID.me qualification process. SeaWorld works with ID.me to provide an online verification of former military personnel in a secure and privacy-enhancing manner. Once veterans and their guests have registered online, they can bring their e-tickets directly to the park’s entrance turnstiles. SeaWorld has also paid tribute to active duty service members through a complimentary ticket programs for the military since 2003 with more than two and a half million members of the U.S. and allied armed forces and their families having visited the park for free. SeaWorld has also offered a number of complimentary and discounted admission programs to veterans in the last 14 years, as well as complimentary offers to teachers and emergency first responders. These admission offers have been very well received. About SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS) is a leading theme park and entertainment company delivering personal, interactive and educational experiences that blend imagination with nature and enable its customers to celebrate, connect with and care for the natural world we share. The Company owns or licenses a portfolio of globally recognized brands including SeaWorld®, Shamu® and Busch Gardens®. Over its more than 50-year history, the Company has built a diversified portfolio of 11 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of-a-kind zoological collection of approximately 89,000 marine and terrestrial animals. 52

HOMELAND / September 2017

The Company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests. SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The Company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The Company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld rescue team has helped more than 30,000 animals in need over the last 50 years. Additional information about SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. can be obtained online at:

www.SeaWorldEntertainment.com Shareholders and prospective investors can also register to automatically receive the Company’s press releases, SEC filings and other notices by email by registering at that website.


VETERANS FREE to SeaWorld® San Diego & up to 3 guests.*

Limited-time offer exclusively online at WavesofHonor.com

“Get Your Tickets Now… Offer Ends Sept 30”

*ONLINE ONLY — tickets must be obtained in advance through the online registration process. Offer not available at the SeaWorld ticket windows. Ticket is nontransferrable, non-refundable and not for sale. Not valid with any other discounts, offers and has no upgrade value. Register online 7/5/17–9/30/17. Visitation valid through 12/30/17. © 2017 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved.

HOMELAND / September 2017 53


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Just For Fun

(Fantasy) Football

what’s the hype all about? By Mike Miller

The NFL regular season kicked off in early September, but long before that Americans in unprecedented numbers were poring over rosters, statistics, training camp reports and depth charts getting ready. Why and what’s the hype all about? It’s the social, cultural and economic phenomenon – some say obsession -known as Fantasy Football. If you’ve never heard of it, chances are someone you know has and is playing. From football junkies who can recite NY Giants Odell Beckhams’ Yards After Catch average to the casual fan who picks players based on uniform color, tens of millions of us are playing. Although its mainstream appeal has skyrocketed in recent years, the birth of Fantasy Football can trace its modest roots back to 1962. Winkenbach and two sports writers – Scotty Stirling and George Ross – created a game where sports fans could draft players from professional teams onto 56

HOMELAND / September 2017

their fantasy rosters, playing weekly games against others in a league that rewarded the best record. Thus the world’s first Fantasy Football league – the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League – was born.


Its original purpose was nothing more than to pit Oakland’s finest football minds against each other in order to spark greater interest in the daily happenings in pro football.

Advertising revenue is so high because fantasy players are heavy Internet users. They generate, on average, four times more page-views than those who don’t play fantasy sports.

Mission accomplished.

And advertising isn’t limited to just sports sites and television. Demand for fantasy football information has spread to mobile applications, which carry banner ads at the bottom or top of each screen.

From three men in a New York City hotel room more than 50 years ago, Fantasy Football is now played coast to coast by more than 40 million players. But how does Fantasy Football work? Fantasy Football might seem complicated, but it really isn’t. Typically, members of a league gather somewhere – even online – where they select real NFL players for their squads. (I should point out that an entry fee is usually charged to join a league, and that that money is traditionally divvied up at the end of the season by the top teams. But free leagues can also be found.) Once players – mostly offensive players -- are selected and starting lineups set, teams score points based on how well those players do in actual games. And just like in real games, teams play against each other. For example, let’s say I drafted Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and made him a starter. Every week whatever statistics he put up would translate into points for my team.

Despite the economic boom of Fantasy Football, there are some concerns. Fantasy Football’s addictive nature and widespread popularity have come at the expense of work productivity. Recent stories peg this lost productivity at perhaps $14 billion a year. But there is a business upside, too. I tend to believe Fantasy Football has replaced golf as a venue where business deals are made while appealing to an even wider audience. Since there is no way to stop the juggernaut that is Fantasy Football, employers should consider starting leagues to increase employee morale, loyalty and retention rates. As a veteran Fantasy Football geek entering his 20th season, I say embrace it, work hard, play hard and give it a chance.

Fantasy Football teams mirror real teams in that owners must deal with injuries, can make trades and add and drop players during the season. Due to the growth of the Internet, Fantasy Football has increased in popularity thanks to ESPN Fantasy Sports, CBS, Yahoo! and others which offer statistics online.

Fantasy Football

The Hype is Real!

The economic impact of Fantasy Football’s explosive rise is now measured in the billions of dollars and shows no signs of slowing down. The annual online ad revenue it generates alone is estimated at $3 to $6 billion. Go Gridiron Critters!

HOMELAND / September 2017 57


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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

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This institution is an equal opportunity provider

Scan from Smart Phone for more info on WIC

Homeland Veterans Magazine September 2017  

www.HomelandMagazine.com Homeland Veterans Magazine

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