Resources Support Inspiration
Vol. 4 Number 7 â&#x20AC;˘ July 2017
Your Month of Independence Special Forces Army Veteran A Model of Positivity
Changing Lives, One Ride at a Time Careers in Law Enforcement
Reintegration into Civilian Life: A Family Effort Use Military Base Activities To Save On Weekly Expenses
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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.
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 REBOOT Workshop Sara Wacker USAA Chad Storlie Operation Homefront Stephen Thomas Women Veterans Alliance VETTED 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.
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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
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inside this issue 06 Independence Day 08 Make July Your Month of Independence 10 Special Forces Army Veteran A Model of Positivity 16 Reintegration into Civilian Life 20 Changing Lives, One Ride at a Time 24 ENLISTED TO ENTREPRENEUR 26 Careers in Law Enforcement 37 Theatre Arts Serves Our Military 40 Use Military Base Activities To Save On Weekly Expenses 41 Military Spouses Making New Friends
16 Reintegration into Civilian Life: A Family Effort
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Independence Day Independence Day is annually celebrated on July 4 and is often known as â&#x20AC;&#x153;the Fourth of Julyâ&#x20AC;?. It is the anniversary of the publication of the declaration of independence from Great Britain in 1776. Patriotic displays and family events are organized throughout the United States. On July 4th, 1776 the United States laid down its claim to be a free and independent nation by adopting the Declaration of Independence.
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Today, Independence Day is celebrated and honored in many forms such as fireworks, BBQs and parades. It is an opportunity for Americans to express patriotism and love of country including reflecting on the sacrifices from those in the military.
Independence Day History On June 11th, 1776 the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to formally sever ties with Great Britain.
Thomas Jefferson, who considered an esteemed writer, was selected to draft the document. After 86 revisions and on July 4th, 1776 the Continental Congress signed the final version. The following Fourth of July Congress was adjourned in Philadelphia and everybody celebrated with bells, bonfires and fireworks. Soon these customs spread to other areas within the 13 colonies and new customs began to develop such as picnics, speeches, games, military displays and of course fireworks. These traditions continued for almost a century before Congress finally established Independence Day as a holiday.
Independence Day Facts • The original copy of the Declaration is housed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and July 4 has been designated a national holiday to commemorate the day the United States • Independence Day 2015 is the 239th Independence Day. • 56 People signed the Declaration of Independence. • John Hancock was the first signer and famously had the largest signature. • In July 1776 there were an estimated 2.5 million people living in the Colonial United States. • Currently there are approximately 316 million Americans. • The Declaration of Independence was revised 86 times. • The first Independence Day was celebrated on July 8, 1776. • Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on the Fourth of July, 1826.
Things to do on the Fourth of July • Barbecue with friends and family • Go to a blockbuster movie release • Have a block party • Light some fireworks (safely & legally of course) • Attend a baseball game • Find water – Boating, beaching and water skiing • Rent a 4th of July themed movie • Find a National Park hosting a July 4th event
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Make July Your Month Of Independence By Kevin Dunn
In the United Stated we have just finished celebrating the 4th of July. It’s a special time to Americans. Not only are there picnics and parades, there is an understanding that over 200 years ago people got fed up with the way things were and pledged their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” to making the changes they saw necessary for long-term success as a nation. July is also halfway through the calendar year, six months away from the hopeful exuberance of New Year’s resolutions. This makes it a perfect opportunity to make July a month to declare your personal independence from the things that are standing in the way of your resolutions and goals. Revisit those grand dreams and declare your independence from the tyranny holding you back – pledging with the same revolutionary fervor as the patriots did to make the changes necessary for your success.
Declare your independence from failure. How are you doing on the goals you made at the first of the year? Have you fallen so far behind that you have shoved them back into a corner, pointedly ignoring them because you feel that you have failed? This is the tyranny of failure. It stalks along beside you, assuring you that each and every time you try something new it will not work out and you will not be successful. Often it has helpers – your friends, co-workers, possibly even those closest to you. Regardless, the largest ally of failure is the voice inside of you. Before you listen to all these voices, ask yourself these three questions: • Have you given this goal your best effort? • If you have – what are the reasons you could not be successful? Is it a lack of resources, knowledge or skill? • How can you learn from where you are and make a plan to acquire what ismissing – the resources, knowledge or skills – to allow you to be successful? The great Roman general Marcus Aurelius asked the question a different way: “Does what’s happened keep you from acting with justice, generosity, self-control, sanity, prudence, honesty, humility, straightforwardness?”
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In other words, does what you perceive as failure change your basic nature as a human being? If not, don’t waste time being held back by the failure. Instead use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Take that learning and growth into the future and continue on to achieve your goals.
Declare your independence from going it alone. The story that Mike Rowe tells also shows the futility of trying to go it alone. Many people set goals – whether they are related to education, fitness or career – then attempt to achieve those goals in the absence of any type of support system.
Declare your independence from fear.
The self-made man is a myth. Throughout history, leaders who have been successful have had carefully developed support systems around them. Whether they are formal advisors, technical assistants, or just sounding boards who can help in the development of ideas, a support system is invaluable in helping you reach a goal.
Television personality Mike Rowe tells a story when he stood before the camera to begin his first night as a host on the shopping channel QVC. He had a product he knew nothing about, he had no experience in live television, and he knew that QVC was not interested in on-air personalities who could not sell products. In his story, Mike points out a key in declaring your independence from the tyranny of fear: Don’t hide your fear. Acknowledge that you are scared to yourself and to those around you. In Mike’s case, he started out his segment letting the entire television audience know that it was his first time, he didn’t know anything about what the product did, and then he asked them to get involved and help him out. The audience responded by filling the phone lines to talk about their experience with the products, encouraged by Mike’s willingness to be truthful and authentic with them. Most importantly, they were willing to purchase the products being pitched. What Mike Rowe did was eliminate the best weapon of fear, which is the uncertainty that comes with doing something that you have not done before. By openly acknowledging the fear he made it clear that he was committed to success, and was able to tap into those who were waiting for an opportunity to make that success possible.
Make yourself accountable to those who care about you. It does not have to be a formal accountability framework; something as simple as online social media can be very powerful. When I first started a fitness program, I posted each day’s run to my Facebook account. This was not so much that I wanted to be sure that my friend saw me run, rather, it was my motivation when I did not want to go run.
Declare your independence. Adjust where neces sary, learn from the attempts of the first half of the year, banish your fear, and reengage with your support system. You have the second half of the year to make your goals a reality, and the experiences of the first half of the year to get you there.
Make this July your personal “Independence Month” – a month to recommit to the goals that you want to achieve this year.
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Special Forces Army Veteran is Picture-Perfect Model of Positivity By Barry Smith Boot Campaign
It is not every day a President of the United States invites you to a golf outing, paints a picture of you on the links and publishes a picture of that painting in his new book with a story about you.
That is exactly what happened Feb. 27 of this year to Staff Sergeant (Ret.) Robert “Bobby” Dove, U.S. Army, when President George W. Bush’s best-selling new book titled Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors was released. Highlighting the work of the Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative, the book features 66 oil paint portraits and stories of American servicemen and women, who are honored for their sacrifice and courage.
“It’s still very surreal to me that I was chosen to be in that book,” explains Dove, a native of Gloucester, Va. “He did a painting of me hitting a golf ball with (U.S. Army veteran) John Faulkenberry walking up behind me, and it’s four feet by three feet. The painting was created off a picture taken of me at the first Bush Center Warrior Open golf tournament in 2013 when I got to play with Lee Trevino. “All I knew was that I was selected to be in the book,” adds Dove. “I didn’t know what extent I was in it until the book was actually released. I didn’t know what picture or what it looked like or what part of my story would be in the book.”
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Dove’s story, plain and simple, is an important lesson in positivity. Serving nearly six years in the Army, Dove was inspired to enlist by his grandfather, Willard “Skip” Tompkins, who was a rifleman in the Army infantry during the Korean War. He credits his grandfather as being the most influential person in his life, teaching him about good character, respect for authority, and the responsibility of defending America’s freedom. Dove joined the Army in Aug. 2008, enlisting as a Special Forces recruit and completing three years of continuous training, first at Fort Benning, Ga., and then at Fort Bragg, N.C. He earned his Green Beret in Aug. 2011 and was assigned to 7th Special Forces Group at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
In Jan. 2012, Dove was promoted to staff sergeant and deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. On June 9 of that year he was injured in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast, suffering several life-threatening injuries and ultimately losing his right leg above the knee and his right hand below the elbow. “I was returning with my team from a mission to our base and was driving a dirt bike, maneuvering positions to the front,” recalls Dove. “We had a convoy and I was actually in the back, but I was going around to go up to the next high ground ahead. As I was going around, and I was off-road at the time, I went over a pressure plate IED and it blew the front end off.” After being stabilized by his teammates and transported by medevac to Kandahar, Dove soon arrived at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. He endured numerous surgeries and completed seven months of rehabilitation before returning to active duty and serving with his team on a non-combat deployment 13 months after he was injured.
“I was on a great team and we all had the mentality that we can do anything, Even when I was injured I maintained that mentality.” When the time came to start doing rehab, rather than just doing it to get back to whatever life I had left, I was doing it to get back to an actual purpose, a job, the same job that I loved so much. I think that was a huge fuel to the fire to keep me motivated.” Dove medically retired from the Army in July of 2014 and now owns and operates “Hooligan Charters,” a near-shore fishing charter service out of Destin, Fla., named for a group of men that will always be close to his heart. “Hooligan was the name of the Special Forces team I was on,” says Dove. “I take people and their families and friends fishing. We catch a few different types of fish in the area here around Destin, Florida, like red snapper and kingfish, in the state water which is up to nine miles offshore. I run the business by myself and provide everything; they just show up and come with me to catch some fish. I just love being out there with them.” Continued on next page
Bobby Dove - full gear Afghanastan www.homelandmagazine.com
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His successful charter fishing business and fishing skills haven’t gone unnoticed by the electronic media either. Recently Dove has appeared in a segment on Sportsman Channel’s Outdoor Troubadours and a full episode on FOX Sports Network’s Addictive Fishing with Captain Blair Wiggins, a U.S. Air Force veteran. He credits his love of the outdoors as a motivating force in overcoming the obstacles presented to him since suffering his combat injuries. His ability to enjoy fishing, as well as hunting, archery, bike riding, golf and other outdoor pursuits are thanks in large part to advances in prosthetic technology. Dove is a proud member of The Bush Institute’s Team 43 Sports Military Service Initiative, which features an annual golf tournament and mountain bike ride for wounded service members. Team 43 continues to have a positive influence in his life, giving him access to numerous resources to continue his recovery, providing once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and introducing him to a supportive network of individuals. 12
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In addition to Team 43, Dove serves on the board of directors for the nonprofit Special Operations Wounded Warriors of Myrtle Beach, S.C., providing outdoor experiences to a select group of both active duty and veteran U.S. Military Special Operations Forces who have experienced combat or training wounds, PTSD or TBI, and have been recognized with our country’s prestigious Purple Heart Medal. If that’s not enough, he also volunteers his time to give back to his fellow comrades with Boot Campaign (www.bootcampaign.org). He was introduced to the Texas-based military nonprofit through U.S. Marine (Ret.) Mark Llano, a member of the organization’s board of directors. Llano is the owner and driver of SERKET Racing, a Porsche GT3 Cup team dedicated to bettering the lives of his fellow veterans, and he met Dove on a thrillride around the racetrack where Dove says “I had an absolutely crazy good time.”
Dove now serves as a as a Veteran Ambassador for Boot Campaign, a cause he supports because “from what I’ve seen, I really like the enormous amount of awareness they spread about treating traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress with their ReBOOT program. They’ve had a ton of success with what they’re doing in that realm, and that’s something that’s of the utmost importance that we have to do for servicemembers.” “I came across Bobby Dove when we did a high-speed race day at the track, taking veterans for two or three laps to give them an experience,” remembers Llano. “I talked with him for a while and it was his attitude on life, his love for his family and his passion for the military that really stuck with me. It was remarkable for me to see what a positive role model he could be for other veterans as a double amputee. “I recommended Bobby to Boot Campaign,” he adds, “because I saw not just his leadership skills but it was the way he carried himself and the way he had such a positive outlook on life; nothing can stop him. He’s the type of warrior that, if I went back to war today, I’d want Bobby Dove in my foxhole next to me.”
“I was told that we could do different tests and everything but I didn’t want to do it,” he adds. “I didn’t want to know the answer at that time and never did any tests. So, after I was married, obviously, I found out I could have kids after all, and I’m so eternally blessed and thankful to have them.” That miracle now allows the Doves to enjoy holidays like the Fourth of July as a family, just as he had experienced when he was younger. “I remember the Fourth of July was always a bigger deal for my siblings and I more than any other time of the year, because we knew that all the family was getting together and it was always a lot of fun,” concludes Dove. “When I got a little bit older, I honestly came to know what the holiday really represented, not only in terms of our own independence but what freedom can really mean, why people would do so much to gain it, and the true price that goes into maintaining it so we may continue our lives as uninterrupted as possible.”
While he now enjoys the outdoors and working with nonprofits, he recognizes the biggest impact on his positive outlook these days has been his wife, Emmy. She was by his side before they were married when he was injured in Afghanistan and rushed to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. “She’s been there with me from the beginning, from when I was first in the ICU in Bethesda,” he recalls. “Having someone with you that cares as much as Emmy makes a huge difference.” Almost 17 months after the accident, Bobby and Emmy were married in October 2013. Since then, they are now the proud parents of a two-and-a-half-yearold son, Wyatt, and infant daughter Eva, two prized members of the Dove family that Bobby wasn’t sure would ever be possible.“ When I was first injured I had some lower body injuries, and when I was in the ICU I was told they weren’t sure if would be able to have kids yet or not,” admits Dove. “I had a niece and nephew through my sister and I’ve always loved kids, but that was probably the most difficult news that I received during the whole recovery period.
Learn more about Boot Campaign at www.BootCampaign.org!
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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.
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Reintegration into Civilian Life: A Family Effort By Michael Richardson
“I’ve been in a place where hope doesn’t exist,” “I’ve been blown up three times during my deployments, and now I struggle with post-traumatic stress and a traumatic brain injury.”
Lisa Willis In combat situations, the mind reacts instinctively, collecting and sorting memories that can be excruciatingly difficult for warriors to endure during the inevitable recall process. Therefore, the mind’s “filing system” and unintentional memory recall can elicit great harm to a combat veteran’s mental health and wellbeing. Today, this is known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many warriors coping with the invisible wounds of war, unknowingly, fall deep in its trenches. PTSD can dismantle a warrior’s life if not given the tools and treatment needed to succeed in recovery. Many warriors are concerned with the stigma associated with injuries that are not visible. They either never step up to receive the treatment they need, or they begin to self-medicate. “I’ve been in a place where hope doesn’t exist,” said Joseph Willis, U.S. Army veteran from Titusville, Florida. “I’ve been blown up three times during my deployments, and now I struggle with post-traumatic stress and a traumatic brain injury.” Due to advances in medical technology, many service members are surviving wounds associated with IEDs and other explosive weapon systems. These warriors live with the aftermath of their bravery for the rest of their lives. 16
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On a quest to rediscover hope, Joseph attended a mental health workshop with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). WWP offers intense all-male and all-female multi-day mental health workshops for veterans coping with the invisible wounds of war. These help warriors and their families maintain healthy, meaningful relationships while pursuing life goals – free from the stigmas associated with mental health issues. Combat veterans typically isolate themselves from society and their families, often making these workshops the first time they become active in their recoveries. WWP empowers healing warriors through these specialized mental health programs and services – tailored to each warrior’s specific needs and free of charge. WWP recognizes invisible wounds are not only felt by the warrior – but the family too. Often, family members take up arms for the battle back home, stepping into their new roles as caregivers for their injured service members. The lives of caregivers are tremendously impacted by this role. “Coping with my husband’s post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury has been stressful on our marriage at times,” said Lisa Willis, wife and caregiver of Joseph. “I haven’t always dealt with it the best I should in the past, but it’s a learning process, and every bit of support helps – from Wounded Warrior Project, family, and Christ.”
WWP serves more than 23,000 caregivers and family members of injured service members, providing education on its programs and services, connection and networking opportunities with peers, and opportunities to help alleviate the tremendous stress that a warrior’s injury places on the entire family. This is available free of charge to warriors, caregivers, and family members thanks to generous donors. WWP also offers all-couples mental health workshops that provide safe, private environments for warriors and their significant others to express themselves and share their experiences. WWP staff use special activities in a recovery model that allows warriors to be vulnerable to the unknown and identify and work through anxieties together. “When I attended the all-male workshop, I recognized a change in me,” Joseph said. “I realized I can do anything with my wife, my kids, and the Holy Spirit. I can achieve recovery with them by my side and with the tools I learned at the workshop. I can only imagine what it will bring to me and my wife attending the couples workshop together.”
His wife is equally hopeful. “We are looking forward to attending and meeting other couples dealing with similar issues for support,” Lisa said. “I look forward to understanding more about my husband and him seeing my world as a caregiver. We are blessed to have this amazing opportunity to learn invaluable communication skills that can only improve our marriage and commitment to my husband’s recovery.” WWP recognizes the integral role that family members and caregivers play in a warrior’s successful transition and reintegration into civilian life and is here to support the entire family with a full range of the programs and services. When warriors serve their country, their whole family serves with them. When a family’s warrior returns home injured, they deserve that same level of support. They deserve to know they are not alone. If you or someone you know suffered an injury in connection with military service, please contactthe WWP Resource Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888.WWP.ALUM (997.2586)
Joey Willis (second from left in white shirt) joined other wounded warriors during a WWP mental health workshop at St. Augustine Beach, Florida.
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. www.homelandmagazine.com
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
HOMELAND / July 2017 17
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Changing Lives, One Ride at a Time
By Colleen T. Tucker
Snow covered Pikes Peak dwarfs the landscape majestically, a vision both stark and inspiring against the vivid blue sky. This breathtaking mountain overlooks Latigo Trails Equestrian Center, located east of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and home of Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center. It is on a perfect spring day in this peaceful setting that U.S. Army Veteran Michael Bryant (Retired) sits down to share his life experiences with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). He is at home in this place, having experienced firsthand the amazing results that occur here daily. This Michael Bryant is relaxed and serene, bearing little resemblance to the damaged man he describes, with invisible scars that caused havoc in his life. The story he shares, his story, is a journey of self-discovery and restoration that would not have been possible without a therapy horse named JD. U.S. Army Veteran Michael D. Bryant (Retired) was honored to serve our nation for over 25 years, in both the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army. His career took him to varied locations that had one thing in common: “Any time the tough mission came up, it was me or my squad that went. I was sent to the toughest assignments where there was the most danger.” An experienced, disciplined and capable leader, he served with pride and distinction until his retirement. Of Friendship and Loss June 23, 2010 is a day that Michael Bryant will never forget. On that day, in Logar Province, Afghanistan, a convoy came under attack by insurgents, taking heavy incoming rocket and small arms fire. Ordinarily Bryant would have been in command of the platoon, but on that day he remained at base on special assignment. When the convoy returned, he knew immediately that the worst had happened, and that his friend, PFC Russell Madden, had been killed when an IED struck his MRAP Vehicle. The loss of a man who was a son, husband, father, soldier and friend was devastating. Bryant stayed strong for his men, compartmentalizing his own feelings, focusing instead on the well-being of his soldiers. Action was the answer, for when one is busy and engaged, the pain can be submerged, at least temporarily. This loss created a wound that would be difficult to heal. 20
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The Unseen Wounds Each combat veteran experiences the long-term consequences of the stressors of combat in an individual way. “You never know when things are going to go bad.” For Michael Bryant, the progressive impact of continuous exposure to the pressures of war, coupled with three TBIs, took a toll on his physical and mental health. The effects of PTSD proved difficult to overcome, affecting virtually every area of his life. Living with the lingering aftermath of his brain injuries was difficult; he found himself rethinking and reliving events, experiencing flashbacks and feeling guilt for having survived when others had not. Bryant was not the same man. Anger became an issue, and relationships with those closest to him began to break down. Today, Bryant is thoughtful and introspective about his illness, stating simply,
“Not all wounds are visible. All the blasts have cumulative effects....It is not just one incident. The physical injury of the brain might heal, but the effects that are left behind, one must come to grips with. I still deal with the effects of PTSD”. A Warrior in Transition Bryant actively participated in his own recovery as the combined effects of dozens of engagements and firefights, coupled with leadership responsibility, continued to take their toll. Increasingly, his ability and fitness to continue to serve were called into question. Ongoing need for medical intervention led to his assignment to the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Carson, Colorado, where his sole focus was upon recovery. Ultimately, the decision was made by the Army to retire Bryant. It was bittersweet, as Michael still had a fierce desire to serve. Accustomed to a fast pace, taking the time to focus solely upon himself was not easy, and the transition to civilian life was challenging.
“we succeed and struggle together, but we always carry each other through.”
Michael and Therapy Horse JD Through divorce and the separation of his family, Bryant demonstrated self-destructive tendencies and outbursts of anger. Although he continued with individual psychotherapy, he felt that traditional methods for treating his PTSD had been exhausted. Michael needed a new plan. It was then that his nurse practitioner suggested Equine Assisted Therapy. Bryant looked forward to this new therapy experience, happy to have the opportunity to work with horses again after many years. Michael viewed this with an open mind and managed his expectations. He was hopeful. How Horses Changed Michael’s Life “The reward, the love of my rider is my reason...we succeed and struggle together, but we always carry each other through.” Michael Bryant arrived at Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center (PPTRC) for his first session and, when asked to select a horse from the herd, was drawn to JD, a giant paint gelding with a bit of attitude. Bryant smiles and acknowledges that they picked one another, possibly because they both had a bit of attitude! When therapy sessions began, they were vastly different from what he expected.
He had assumed that riding was part of the plan. It was not! The time spent developing a relationship in quiet reflection with his therapy horse was unexpected. The notion of bonding with a horse was a bit “touchy feely” for him. Working with JD and Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center’s specially trained mental health therapist, Bryant would come to understand that his therapist truly WAS JD. He learned that horses have innate therapeutic qualities, making them ideal partners for those seeking peace and healing. They are responsive and reflective of human behavior, reacting to moods and feelings. “I was taught how to connect with the horse on an almost spiritual level, learning how they view the world. A horse can go from resting to full alert, then relax again, in mere seconds. Horses can let go of tension and anxiety and JUST BE.” Veterans such as Michael find horses easily relatable because they operate on a fight-or-flight instinct, similar to those addressing PTSD.
Continued on next page www.homelandmagazine.com
HOMELAND / July 2017 21
The time spent developing a relationship in quiet reflection with his therapy horse was unexpected. The notion of bonding with a horse was a bit “touchy feely” for him. Working with JD and Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center’s specially trained mental health therapist, Bryant would come to understand that his therapist truly WAS JD. He learned that horses have innate therapeutic qualities, making them ideal partners for those seeking peace and healing. They are responsive and reflective of human behavior, reacting to moods and feelings.
His experiences at PPTRC have reawakened his love for horses and the simple joy of working with them. With a desire to give back to an organization that was instrumental in his recovery, he has become a valued member of the Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center family as a volunteer in the Children’s Hippotherapy Program. He has found a calling and a mission, and now experiences joy in transforming childrens’ lives.
Michael and Therapy Horse JD
“I was taught how to connect with the horse on an almost spiritual level, learning how they view the world. A horse can go from resting to full alert, then relax again, in mere seconds. Horses can let go of tension and anxiety and JUST BE.” Veterans such as Michael find horses easily relatable because they operate on a fight-or-flight instinct, similar to those addressing PTSD. When the lightbulb went off... “That moment for me was seeing the reaction of JD when I felt tension and frustration. He became tense and uneasy, even fearful. Was this really what my family felt? I was dumbstruck.” Bryant learned that when he released his tension and let go, JD immediately relaxed as well, leading to an increased selfawareness never before experienced. “I was able to apply that calming affect to help control or mitigate flare-ups in temper, hyper-alertness, anxiety, panic attacks and general edginess.” Bryant attended several full sessions at PPTRC through the Warrior Transition Battalion and the Wounded Warriors Project. He learned that JD could teach him much about himself. The insight was stunning, as he learned the difficult lesson of just being and staying present in the moment. This experience was life-changing, and he acknowledges that, although his therapy did not cure his PTSD, he developed valuable new instinctual tools and a priceless awareness of himself and his own behaviors. Today, Michael Bryant has found balance and is at peace. Relationships with his family have been mended; a new life partner and the arrival of son Declan 16 months ago have rekindled his joy of life and optimism about the future. Bryant sees his son as a gift after all of the pain endured, and relishes being a full-time caregiver.
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Miracles happen every day at PPTRC
“The moment for me was seeing the reaction of JD when I felt tension and frustration. He became tense and uneasy, even fearful. Was this really what my family felt? I was dumbstruck.”
PPTRC Programs: • Hippotherapy (derived from the Greek “hippo”): physical, occupational, or speech therapy that is part of an integrated treatment plan to achieved targeted outcomes. Led by a trained and licensed physical, speech, or occupational therapist, hippotherapy utilizes the threedimensional movement of the horse to influence the rider physically and neurologically. This therapy increases core strength, muscle memory, flexibility, balance, independence, cognitive abilities and more. • Therapeutic Riding: an adaptive horseback riding lesson taught by a certified therapeutic riding instructor to increase the cognitive, physical, emotional, and social well-being of the rider. Riders learn to influence the actions of the horse in a manner that addresses physical, emotional, and cognitive needs. • Equine Facilitated Mental Health Therapy allows participants to learn to honestly assess their own emotions and behaviors to improve interactions with the horse, learning social and relationship skills. Specially trained mental health therapists help clients translate the skills learned working with therapy horses into everyday life and interactions. Inclusion of the horse removes the fear of human judgment that prevents many from addressing mental health needs.
About Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center At PPTRC, Equine Assisted Therapy and other activities are provided to those with a varied set of disabilities, such as Cerebral Palsy, amputation, paralysis, PTSD, TBI, trauma, depression and loss. Experiential therapies are designed to meet the unique needs of the individual. Horses reproduce the natural walking motion of a human being, and are able to reintegrate and resequence the neurological inputs to a person lacking them. Inclusion of the horse, along with evidence-based therapeutic theories and practices, helps remove the stigma surrounding traditional mental health therapy. This provides an option for those who would otherwise not seek help and those who have not seen the desired results with traditional therapy.
Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center was started in 1981, seeing many incredible breakthroughs. In 1989, PPTRC received PATH certification, the national membership and credentialing association for equine activities. PPTRC maintains the highest level of accreditation, Premier Accredited Center, providing over 3500 classes per year, averaging 110 clients per week. At Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center, we understand it is our duty and our privilege to serve those who have served our country. As a proud member of the R4 alliance, we are working to maximize the potential of our military families.
To find out more about Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center and learn how you can help our nation’s heroes find hope and healing, visit PPTRC.org.
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ENLISTED TO ENTREPRENEUR By Vicki Garcia
Setting and Selling Your Price Setting your price for either products or services can be a challenging task. Let’s start by recognizing what prospective customers really want, no matter if you’re selling services or products. Think of it as a triangle with “Quality” at the top, and the two other points being “A Deal” and “Fast/ Convenient.” If you’re smart Quality is never up for negotiation. You can eliminate either one of the two bottom features to make a sale. So, if your buyer wants it overnight, the price goes up. If he or she wants “A Deal” they can’t get it fast or delivered. Trying to give them all three can be the road to ruin as a small business.
Startups often think they can get into the game by charging the least for their product or service. This is a losing strategy. Notice the point on the triangle doesn’t say “cheap.” It says “A Deal” for a reason. Customers are suspicious if you are the cheapest, but they love a deal or a sale.
There are many factors in determining what to charge. 1. What Are Your Competitors Charging? This is not always easy to determine, but a little industrial espionage can result in a lot of interesting answers. Look for their ads, check out their website, talk to former employees (always a font of information), or simply call them and act like a prospect.
2. What Does It Cost to Manufacture Your Product? Take into consideration the cost of parts and labor, fabrication, and delivery. There are often hidden costs such as licensing, research and development, design, and sales costs. That will bring you to break even. Then determine how much you want to make on each unit. 3. Determine Your Strategy. One strategy is to price your product a little over the break-even point and rely on the volume of items you will be able to sell. Another strategy is to price your product substantially higher than the breakeven point so that every sale would reap some substantial rewards. One strategy you see all the time for hot new items is to start high to capture the early adaptors who will buy at any price, then slowly come down for those in the market who wait. Each strategy will require different tactics. 4. Consider the Time Element. If you’re selling your services, consider the amount of time that your selling price is covering. You would be smart to think of your services as “products” and break your assistance into packages. A project is a package. Retainers are monthly packages. Think through the number of hours on each package (and let your client know the boundaries). What do you want to be paid per hour? Keep track of your hours (Quickbooks as the capacity to do this), if for no other reason than to report to your client. Be careful here not to sell yourself as an hourly worker. 5. What Will the Market Allow? This, of course, has everything to do with determining who your market is. Do you have credentials to support your prices? Does the value of the work that you provide support your prices? Do you have social proof to support the prices and the fact that your services are good services? 6. Is There Room for Negotiation? Some companies are selling the same services at one low price, and for three or four times that to a different buyer whose expectations (and budget resources) are different. If you’re a startup, you may raise your prices over time as you get more confident. Some sales acumen is helpful. You might be surprised what you can get if you know how to sell and when to keep your mouth shut.
Vicki Garcia is the Co-Founder of Veteran Entrepreneurs Today & President of Marketing Impressions. Look for trusted advisors, or apply to be a B2B vendor for veteran entrepreneurs at www.veteranentrepreneurstoday.org
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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&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve served your country, now serve your community! The following Police departments 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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Santa Monica Police Department THE BENCHMARK OF EXCELLENCE.
Benefits: • • • • •
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
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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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Military, Firefighters, Teachers, Medical Field, Law Enforcment, Veterans
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Oakland County, Michigan Sheriff’s Office If you’re looking for a rewarding career that allows you to make a difference, then you should consider joining the team of the Oakland County Sheriff ’s Office. A dedicated group that has set a standard of excellence for police training and performance. The Oakland County Sheriff ’s office is one of the largest full service agencies in the state of Michigan and offers endless opportunities for advancement. Whether your interest is in corrections, dispatch, road patrol, special unit, forensics, or investigative services the possibilities are endless for you here at Oakland County. Currently accepting applications for: • Corrections Deputy I • Deputy II – Road Patrol • Dispatch Specialist • Park Deputy (part-time) www.homelandmagazine.com
View our jobs at www.oakgov.com/jobs Continued on page 12
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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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Visit: www.sandiego.va.gov/studies.asp and www.vmrf.org/studies.html 30
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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. 36
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Theatre Arts Serve Our Military
Challenge has different meanings within different communities, but to a mission-oriented mindset –in any walk of life— a challenge presents an opportunity to show what you can accomplish by application of rigorous training, extensive planning, and committed execution. For artists, our challenges are self-identified. When Cygnet Theatre was presented with an opportunity in the form of a generous grant from the James Irvine Foundation, we advanced a proposal and challenged ourselves to reach out to people who are underserved by the arts: active military, veterans and their families. This effort to connect the two worlds is counter-intuitive to many people. The professions seem so opposite to each other. Many people with theatre experience see the military as rigid and doctrinaire, while many folks from a military background see the arts as undisciplined and slack. Yet, as a practicing and fully employed theatre artist who is also the son of a retired naval aviator and proud Navy wife and once rose to the sound of reveille, I see similarities between military life and a life in the theatre. That sense of difference evaporates quickly –as most differences do— when we experience life as the other person lives it. Both military units and theatre companies coordinate large numbers of people and logistical resources in a small space within a given time frame (“mounting” a show or action of arms) Planning is both extensive and intense, feedback from the field essential (“brief and debrief” or “take the note”) We are trained, we execute directives (“obey orders” or “take direction”) to the best of our capabilities. Though there is scope for questions, they go to proper execution and are not permitted to compromise leadership or mission. www.homelandmagazine.com
We have to believe in our mission and our mates (“morale” and “unit cohesion” or “ensemble” or “cast solidarity”) much more than employees of companies that vend products or services. Creative solutions to problems are crucial, because most problems have never been encountered in exactly their present configuration. These are important commonalities, areas of overlap, and the place where we meet. The individual serviceman or servicewoman’s mission shifts, of course, as does the mission of the individual artist in the theatre. For many in the military, the current mission is to reintegrate with the society they serve and find productive roles for themselves, their experience and their training, in non-military contexts. For spouses and children of active military and veterans, the mission is readiness during service, or easing the transitioning out of it. Cygnet too has shifted our mission, devoting resources to regular weekly residencies at ASPIRE VA Center and PATH Homeless Shelter, which assist troubled veterans, summer residencies at ASYMCA’s Camp Hero and SAY San Diego at Serra High School, which offer support to kids from military families, performances at Operation Homefront Village, Veterans Village and the Veterans Museum and Cultural Center, workshops with the USO, Travis Manion Foundation, American History Theatre, representation at the San Diego Veterans Coalition, membership in the San Diego Military Family Collaborative. Our current effort is SUPERS, commissioned from playwright Liz Silverman, which plays at the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park, July 21st and 22nd, and Navy Base San Diego on July 23rd. Look for more of this show as we get the word out: Wherever our military community needs us, Cygnet Serves. www.cygnettheatre.com or call 619-337-1525
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R4 Alliance Partners with Unite Us to Establish Nationwide Network Consider this scenario: a Veteran experiencing PostTraumatic Stress has worked up the courage to ask for help. He spends time and energy searching for services, is turned away as “ineligible,” and isn’t sure where else to look. Frustrated, he stops looking for services he knows he needs. This scenario is all too common; people across the country struggle to get help because they can’t find what they’re looking for, don’t know what services exist, or have financial, geographic, or social barriers to access. At the same time, there are thousands of organizations across the country doing incredible work to provide support and specialized services for the military community. The problem is that the people seeking services and the providers offering services don’t always get connected. What is the answer, then? Collaboration between service providers is a must, and communities are looking to technology to provide the foundation. The first step is for providers to connect on a common platform, where they can easily refer clients to one another and, together, work towards client success. One provider’s reach becomes much larger when they can lean on an extended network of other organizations to find the right care for the person seeking help. Realizing the exciting potential behind coordinated care, organizations across the nation are coming together to make this goal a reality. Coordinating Integrative Wellness This month, R4 Alliance in partnership with technology firm Unite Us, will launch the R4 Coordinated Care Network. The first of its kind, the network will digitally connect recreational and rehabilitation organizations across the nation to enable service members, Veterans, and their families to more easily access integrative wellness services. No matter where in the country a Veteran or military member resides, if they connect with a provider in the R4 Coordinated Care Network, they’ll tap into a national bank of resources. When a R4 member organization realizes their client has service needs beyond their scope, they can make electronic referrals within the Network.
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Vets 4 Warriors, a confidential, Veteran-run peer support hotline will serve as the switchboard between Network organizations, routing referrals to the best matched provider. Combining Forces The R4 Alliance currently has more than 80 member organizations across the US with a focus on recreation and integrative wellness services. Unite Us has created a cloudbased software that powers coordinated care networks in 24 communities across 14 states. The partnership between R4 Alliance and Unite Us is an extension of the work that both organizations are doing to bridge the gaps in the fragmented health and human service landscape. If the goal is to improve the health and well-being of Our Military Family, we know the answer is coordinated care. When service providers collaborate, the total health journey of an individual is considered. Their Social Determinants of Health - factors like financial or educational status, geographic location, or access to transportation - are positively influenced when providers are equipped to work together. The R4 Coordinated Care Network will do just that - bring together established and successful organizations and capitalize on their efforts through national collaboration. Network Information The Network will launch in July 2017 across 7 states through the efforts of ten pioneer providers: EQuest, Give an Hour, Higher Ground, Paws4people Foundation, Pike’s Peak Therapeutic Riding Center, Project Healing Waters, Project Sanctuary, Team River Runner, World T.E.A.M. Sports, and Vets4Warriors. After this pilot program, the goal is for the R4 Coordinated Care Network to expand and include the other seventy R4 Alliance member organizations. To learn more, check out the R4 Alliance and Unite Us websites.
Dollar Tree Shoppers Donate School Supplies to Military Children for 2017 Operation Homefront Back-to-School Brigade TM SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The back-to-school season can be a financial burden to some military families living on stretched family budgets. Dollar Tree shoppers through Aug. 10 can help military families during what can be an expensive back-to-school season by purchasing and donating school supplies to military families through Operation Homefront’s Back-to-School Brigade. The Back-to-School Brigade is a nationwide Operation Homefront campaign. Dollar Tree and its customers have participated in this program for the past eight years. In 2016, Dollar Tree patrons purchased more than $4.5 million in school supplies for Operation Homefront. The recipients are mostly junior enlisted families and the families of wounded warriors of all ranks. Since 2008, Operation Homefront’s Back-to-School Brigade has distributed more than a quarter-million backpacks – each accompanied by school supplies – to military children. And in 2017, the campaign will give away its 300,000th backpack to a military family at one of its distribution events taking place in July and August. The Back-to-School Brigade takes place during Operation Homefront’s 1Mil1Fam campaign through July. Operation Homefront knows that every community is only as strong as the people and families who live there. That’s why the national nonprofit provides a variety of programs and services that help military families feel more connected to people and businesses in their community. Americans wishing to show their support for our military families can learn more at OperationHomefront.org/1Mil1Fam, and join in online with the hashtag #1Mil1Fam.
Photo courtesy of Vickie Starr Operation Homefront
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
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By Chad Storlie USAA
Use Military Base Activities to Save on Weekly Expenses Today, as you drive around your local military base, give your base, post, air station, fort or camp a new look to discover lots of areas to save throughout the week. Military Base Weekly Savings – The Commissary. The Commissary is a great place to look for savings on grocery items. To make a big impact quickly on groceries, find the 20 most expensive weekly items on your grocery list. Then, compare prices of those 20 most expensive items to similar items in the Commissary. If you found savings, great. Then look for the next 20 most expensive items on your list to compare to Commissary prices. If you find a price that is not less expensive in the Commissary, then ask the Commissary manager if they will match the price. Using a shopping list in the Commissary is essential so you stay on budget and don’t grab those impulse purchases (I skip the entire aisle with the German chocolate – my personal and everlasting weakness).
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Military Base Weekly Savings – The Gym. Military base gyms are nothing short of awesome. Classes, lots of options for weights, and incredible options for cardio machines. One of the drawbacks for military gyms can be the crowds, especially around traditional physical fitness times in the morning. Instead, look for gyms in out of the way locations, on base gyms tend to be less crowded on weekend, classes in off hours, and on post races – these are all great ways to save. When off post gyms can cost upwards of $100/month, the on post gym is an incredible option to save. Military Base Weekly Savings – The Library. For decades, the on base library has been my place to save. On base library hours have been reduced, but their book selections remain strong in the areas of business, history, children, and military history. On weekends, several bases offer story times for young children, and tutoring for older children can be available. Finally, almost all bases in the United States and overseas have access to audio books, videos, and eBooks.
Military Base Weekly Savings – Lending Closets and Discount Stores. Everyone knows about Goodwill, but most military bases have their own lending closets and discount stores (thrift shop). These are great places to go to for costumes, kid clothes, winter boots, or for jackets when you move to a base on a cold weather location. These locations may not have all the items that you need, but they probably have some of the items. Any savings are still big savings. Military Base Weekly Savings – Your Neighbors. We all need help sometimes for jobs around the house. Sewing a costume, snow shoveling, babysitters, tutors for the kids, or mowing the lawn. Instead of looking up someone on the Internet, ask if a neighbor could help. Older children are a great source for babysitters and for basic lawn care. Sometimes, the best savings for jobs are literally right outside the door.
By Sierra Tervo, USAA member
The base Outdoor Recreation office is a great first stop to checkout outdoor rentals, RV rentals, tickets, ski lift tickets, summer festival tickets, and other outdoor event savings. Military bases are a great way to save on critical weekly expenses. The Commissary, the library, base gyms, and other activities are all incredible ways to save on a weekly basis. In addition to the on base savings, it minimizes gas expenses, saves time, and helps build a sense of community. Stay on base and save!
3 Things Military Spouses Learn About Making New Friends Fast
Growing up a military brat, I know the challenge of moving to a new place and making new friends, only to receive permanent change of station (PCS) orders sooner than you expected, forcing you to uproot and start all over again. Today, as a military spouse, it isn’t much easier. In fact, it can be tougher because it’s difficult to find the people you want to befriend. Here’s what I’ve learned along the way: Seek out other military spouses. Some say it’s easier for military people to make friends with other military people, and I believe that to be true. We know what it’s like to relocate often so we don’t usually waste any time getting to know someone. When we do find a person with whom we connect, we form deep friendships almost overnight. These relationships grow stronger over time and sometimes across thousands of miles. Tip: To meet people in a new place, start with other spouses in the squadron, unit, battalion or command where your significant other has been assigned. Attend their events. Also join the enlisted or officers spouses club, and get involved in their community service opportunities and social activities.
Military Base Weekly Savings – Outdoor Recreation. Children’s parties, vacations, and summer activities can put a big dent in a weekly budget.
Watch your network grow. The longer you are with the military, the easier it can be to find friends because your network is constantly growing. Even if you’re not fortunate enough to PCS to an assignment where a friend is already located (or will be locating soon), one of your friends probably knows someone and will happily introduce you through Facebook® or email. This person can then introduce you to his or her circle of friends, too. Reach out and show up. Making friends is not a spectator sport. You have to be willing to show up, introduce yourself and be open. If you have young children, join play groups. When your kids start school, spend some time volunteering at the school and get to know other parents and teachers. You may get lucky and your child will make friends with another child who has a parent you actually enjoy, too! Children also open doors by getting involved in activities of their own, which in turn allows you to come into contact with more people. No children? Take a college course or some other kind of class, attend church, start a new job, volunteer or join a gym. All of these places put you in contact with other people who probably share some common interests with you. Tip: There’s a Facebook page for most military installations — a virtual place to connect with others who are also new to the area.
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Steps To Start Your Military Career On The Right Foot By Chad Storlie USAA
I still remember the day I arrived at Fort Benning, GA to begin the Infantry Officer Basic Course on a sweltering September day. The awesome 250 foot airborne towers, old armored halftracks from World War II, and thousands of soldiers running, marching, and shooting on the ranges. No matter how long you were a soldier, you always remember the day you report in for your first school. There are some pieces of advice that can help make your first days easier and ensure that your training days get started on the right foot. Tip #1 – Plan to Arrive 2-3 Days Early. Who doesn’t remember standing in the 1st formation or a new training class and watching other peers arrive hours or days late. Trust me, no one wants to be that person. Ever. Car break downs, traffic accidents, flight delays, flight bumps, and flight cancellations are only a few of the events that cause travel plans to become rescheduled, sometimes rescheduled several times. Don’t forget the inevitable weather delays, too. Planning to arrive 2-3 days early gives yourself enough slack in your schedule to handle a delay with ease. Tip #2 – Triple Check Your Packing List. There are some military schools that are so hard to get into because of limited space that even missing one item on the packing list will get you dropped from the course. Always ensure that you have the most up to date packing list and you confirm that the item on the packing list is the item that you have. Once you have triple checked your packing list, repack all your items, and lock the bag. This ensures your packing list remains packed. Tip #3 – Learn the Ins and Outs of The Base, Fort, or Post You Are On. Every military installation has its share of do’s and don’ts that are unique to that installation. Find out when gates on and off base open and close, what gates are backed up with morning traffic, and what roads are closed for morning and / or afternoon physical training. Finally, if you are going to a different service post, for example an Army soldier on a Navy Base, memorize and learn the rank structure so you can render the proper courtesy of the day to superiors you encounter. Take the time to learn where the post resources like clothing sales, the BX / PX, post gym, and other resources are located and their hours of operation. 44
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Finally, wear your seat belt always and drive the speed limit precisely. Nearly all military bases have a stringent safety policy that must be followed – no exceptions. Tip #4 – Extra Uniform Items in Your Car. Most new soldiers excel at wearing the uniform of the day following their Initial Entry Training (IET) or Basic Training. However, in nearly all parts of the country, the weather can change rapidly. Have a spare set of physical fitness clothes, boots, running shoes, wet weather gear, rank insignia, gloves, etc. in a large duffel bag in your car. You may never need it, but you or one of your friends will inevitably forget something or something necessary will be lost. Having backups in your car is an insurance policy of untold value. Tip #5 – Easy on The Alcohol. Alcohol, staying out late, and pushing the limits of your physical endurance to do well at training and to have the most fun possible is a central part of military lore and the military experience. That being said, DWI’s, DUI’s, and missing formation due to alcohol have killed more military careers that a love of alcohol created. Have fun, choose moderation, and limit yourself to one or two drinks, at most on weekdays. Always, always use a designated driver. Tip #6 – Get the Most Out of Your Training. Take advantage of every chance that you can to learn. If you are on the range, volunteer for the clean-up detail if that allows you to shoot more. Talk to instructors who just returned from deployment on what they learned. Always carry a book on military subjects to read during down times. When you get to your new unit after just coming from training, your unit will expect that you are the Subject Matter Expert (SME). Listening to outside speakers is another terrific way to expand your professional horizons and learning. Start your military career on the right foot by being early, in the right uniform, with the right equipment, and at the right location. Your first military school following Initial Entry Training is where your career beings to shine.
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HOMELAND / July 2017