San Diego Veterans April 2019

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Vol. 1 Number 4 • April 2019 Issue



FOR MILITARY KIDS SAN DIEGO Organizations Stepping Up For Military Children

Enlisted To Entrepreneur LEGAL EAGLE

Month of the Military Child 100th Anniversary of Easterseals

Veterans Business


Resources • Support • Transition • Inspiration San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019

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Publisher Editor-In-Chief Mike Miller Contributing Writers Holly Shaffner - Honor Flight RanDee McLain, LCSW Vicki Garcia - Enlisted CJ Machado Shya Ellis-Flint - VCC VANC - Lori Boody Eva M. Stimson - STS Kelly Bagla. Esq. - Legal Joe Molina - VCCSD Lara Ryan Daniel Chavarria DAV - Dan Clare Shelly Dew Andrea Christensen Brett Hart Dubois - Father Jo’es COVER IMAGE

The Armed Services YMCA of San Diego Greetings and a warm welcome to San Diego Veterans Magazine! Please take some time to get to know the layout of our magazine. The Magazine focuses on resources, support, community, and inspiration for our veterans and the military 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 our veterans, service members, military families, and civilians. The magazine is supported by a distinguishing list of San Diego veteran organizations, resource centers, coalitions, veteran advocates, and more. We are honored to share the work of so many committed and thoughtful people. When I tell people that we are launching a magazine for our San Diego community veterans, the response is “It’s about time”! And I couldn’t agree more. We appreciate your support and are so happy to have you as a reader of San Diego Veterans Magazine Magazine.

Public Relations CJ Machado Mike Miller Marketing/Sales San Diego Veterans 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.

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

858.275-4281 Contact us at:

With warmest thanks, Mike Miller, Publisher 6

San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019

April is designated as the Month of the Military Child, underscoring the important role military children play in the armed forces community. The Month of the Military Child is a time to applaud military families and their children for the daily sacrifices they make and the challenges they overcome.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE 8 Veterans Included and Empowered 10 New Children’s Museum - Military Families

12 Big Brothers Big Sisters - Program for Military Children 13 Purple UP for Military Kids 15 Kids’ Turn San Diego - Happier Children Start With You 16 SDSU - WIC 18 YMCA SD - Afterschool Achievement Academy 20 Month of the Military Child 22 Chula Vista Teen - Military Child of the Year 25 San Diego Veterans Coalition 26 Veterans Association of North County 30 Military Family Recreation 36 Shelter to Soldier 34 Enlisted to Entrepreneur 37 Legal Eagle - Legal Tips 38 Veterans Business 44 Saved in America 47 Military Money


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

Easterseals’ commitment to veterans dates all the way back to World War II. Last year alone, Easterseals and our 70 affiliates in communities nationwide supported nearly 20,000 veterans and military family members. Because every veteran has their own unique experience, we respond directly to the needs of each individual by offering programs designed to help veterans and their families successfully reintegrate into their communities. 8

San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019

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

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

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

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

Angela F. Williams

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

About the Author Angela F. Williams is President and Chief Executive Officer of Easterseals, Inc. In this role, Williams is leading the national organization in its 100th anniversary in 2019 as the country’s leading nonprofit provider of services for people with disabilities, including veterans, and their families. She began her professional career as an officer in the United States Air Force, serving in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019 9

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

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

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

San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019

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

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

For more information, please visit or call (858) 746-9173


San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019


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

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BAck to the ballpark with kids' turn san diego!

7th annual Night at the padres AT PETCO PARK

Join us Saturday, June 1st @ 6:10pm for an amazing evening of fun and baseball on The Landing

Kids' Turn San Diego invites you to join us on the ESTRELLA JALISCO LANDING at Petco Park on June 1st for our 7th Annual Night at the Padres

A portion of every ticket purchased will create happier childhoods for children experiencing family separations and military transitions

Enjoy the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet from 6:10pm - 8:10pm

"This program changed things for me. I am so happy!" Jacob, 13 years old

Soft drinks, Bottled water, Beer and Micheladas served from 6:10pm - 7th inning

Create happier childhoods today! Tickets are $100 and expected to sell out fast! Get yours today @



San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019

Happier Children Start With You Did you know that San Diego is one of the largest military communities in the nation and that a child growing up in a military family oftentimes experiences 8-10 moves before they turn 18 years old? They must change schools, make new friends and find ways to fit into their new communities. Through the eyes of a child, they move and change schools more than any other child they know and they think they’re the only ones going through this, even though most attend schools within military housing communities. At Kids’ Turn San Diego, when children walk into our programs, they realize that every child’s family situation is just like theirs. They feel “normal”. When children feel “normal”, they feel like they belong and are more likely to excel in school and have positive peer relationships. When children and their families transition from military to civilian life, there is joy of reunification and their family finally having some stability but, for some, this quickly turns to feelings of disconnection and an inability to communicate. These transitions are challenging for military families and oftentimes lead to tension and conflict between parents. About 85% of military couples get divorced. When a family breaks up, parents and children of all ages feel helpless, sad, frightened, guilty, and angry. From the child’s perspective, they could not wait until the day their mommy or daddy was home for good. They thought everything would be great but many children are left sad and don’t understand why parents argue or ignore each other, why they are not playing games or having family dinners, why their parent who was gone for so long, doesn’t want to talk with them or attend their sporting events. They are confused wondering why this parent just sits in front of the TV or is always working on the car or keeps talking to themselves or struggles to walk due to being hurt in combat. At Kids’ Turn San Diego, our goal is to change family relationships in positive ways so children experiencing family separations and military transitions are happier. In our programs, both children and their parents participate. Children learn new ways to express their feelings and realize that their parent’s behavior is not their fault, thus freeing them up from blaming themselves. Parents learn communication tools so they are able to put their children first. A military veteran named Thomas attended our Family Workshop for Separated and Divorced Families. He told us, “I was nicer to my co-parent this week and I changed her contact name from ‘X’ to Carol, then I showed our son. He was so happy. He jumped up and hugged me. Thank you for helping me help Dylan be happy!”

In celebration of “Month of the Military Child”, here are some tips for helping your children feel happier: • Put your cell phone down and do something fun with your child. For younger children, they like imaginative play so have tea parties or superhero adventures. Children ages 7-12 tend to enjoy board/video games and older children like to listen to music, play video games or to hang out without parents asking questions or giving advice. • Encourage your children through phrases like “You’re so much fun to be around!”, “Can I put this on the bulletin board at work or on the refrigerator?” or “I’m so lucky to be your parent.” • Try to catch your child doing something good and say it aloud. “You are such a good big brother/sister”, or “I love how you are teaching your younger sibling how to...” or “I saw that you got an A on your math test, great job!” • Encourage your child’s relationship with their other parent or grandparents. One way is to help them make birthday cards or Mother’s/Father’s Day cards. Things that are handmade are oftentimes the most treasured gifts we get from others. • Listen to your children without giving advice or trying to solve their problems. • Spend time with your children. No matter their age, children need their parents attention. Put down your laptop and cell phone. Your children feel important and cared for when you pay attention to them.

With a mission of “promoting, supporting and securing the well-being of children who are experiencing family separation”, Kids’ Turn San Diego helps children transition through family separations by empowering them to share their thoughts and feelings and by helping their parents gain insight about the impact of how their behaviors affect their children. We build resiliency, strengthen self-esteem and create brighter futures for children experiencing family separations, divorce and military transitions.

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Families Grow Healthy with the Women, Infant and Children Nutrition Program. You work hard to bring in a paycheck, you take care of how you spend your money, but sometimes still find yourself a little low in cash toward the end of the month. Then comes the worry: “Will I have enough to buy healthy foods for my children?� You are not alone and the Women, Infant and Children nutrition program is here to help you through when money is tight. The Women, Infant and Children nutrition program (WIC) provides checks to purchase healthy foods for pregnant, post-partum and breastfeeding women; infants; and children up to their 5th birthday, including those cared for by a single father, grandparent, foster parent, stepparent or guardian. Checks are worth $50-$113

1416 HOMELAND / April 2018 San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019

Here’s what current WIC participants have to say about the program: • “[WIC staff] provide good education for new mothers whether in nutrition or newborn babies. You guys are the support that a lot of mothers need and the help for low income families so that they don’t have to struggle as much.” • “The information I received about breastfeeding was very useful especially because I am a first time mother. At the beginning I was supplementing with formula and they explain[ed] the importance of breastfeeding. They helped me a lot on feeling comfortable about it.” a month per participating family member, with multiple family members able to enroll simultaneously if eligible. Foods that can be purchased with WIC checks include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, cereal, baby food, milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt, peanut butter and beans. In addition to providing checks for foods, WIC also provides nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and referrals to other community resources. Wondering when to introduce solids to your baby? Trying to figure out how to get your toddler to eat more vegetables? WIC has answers for you! WIC provides one-on-one counseling with a nutrition counselor to discuss your family’s health and nutrition goals, and to answer questions about your child’s growth and development. Wanting to breastfeed, but worried that your baby isn’t getting enough breastmilk? WIC can help you!

• “I had a terrible experience when applying to other social service offices. I didn’t want to apply to WIC because of those experiences. When my husband finally convinced me to apply it was a totally different experience and atmosphere. The staff was respectful. WIC is a good program.” • “I’m so happy for everything you all do and give me. All my three kids have been at the same office for so many years and I just like it so much, so thank you.” Millions of families across the country rely on WIC to ease their financial strain and to provide the nutritious foods their families need to grow healthy and strong. As a nationwide program, when you move, WIC moves with you. The WIC program runs in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and other overseas locations. To find out if you are eligible for the WIC program and to learn how to enroll, visit or call 1-888-999-6897.

WIC lactation educators provide guidance and support to help you breastfeed with confidence and provide referrals to additional breastfeeding support when needed.

HOMELAND / April2019 20181715 San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL

Afterschool Solutions for Kids in Military Families Research shows that the “critical hours” for youth are directly after school from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. That’s the time kids are more likely to get into trouble, develop bad habits or engage in negative behaviors. During those times, they’re often unsupervised and/or not participating in extracurricular activities. According to The Afterschool Alliance, a non-profit organization working to ensure that all children have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs, nearly 1 in 5 kids in California were alone and unsupervised between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. And 49% said they would participate in an afterschool program if one were available. Military families feel the need too. According to Blue Star Families’ annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey of over 10,000 active duty, veterans and immediate family members, 78% of military spouse caregivers say they need some form of childcare. Enter The Armed Services YMCA of San Diego, a non-profit that provides innovative and quality social, educational, and recreational programs to meet the needs of military service members and their families. They now offer daily afterschool care for elementary school aged children. Their new Afterschool Achievement Academy is a comprehensive afterschool program focused on resiliency and skill building that engages military dependents in grades K-6. Students participate in a series of activities designed and developed to support in-classroom learning by meeting the common core standards that local school districts focus on. The children benefit from programming, supervision and positive interaction. They work on homework, receive academic support, and participate in STEM activities, as well as arts and crafts, and sports. “We’re also focusing on developing on coping strategies for kids in military families, who face obstacles including having a parent deploy, constant relocations, adjusting to new environments and many more,” says Tim Ney, Executive Director for The Armed Services YMCA of San Diego, noting military children move an average of six to nine times over course of their school career. 18

San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019

“This curriculum is focused to tailor very specific needs and is a national effort being facilitated all over the country.” Critical Need The Afterschool Achievement will give working parents an opportunity to focus on their job, without worrying about of afterschool childcare. It will also provide an opportunity for a non-working spouse in a military family to seek employment as well. That’s critical because Blue Star Families’ survey shows military spouse unemployment/ underemployment is a top challenge: 30% of spouses were unemployed but actively seeking work and 56% of working spouse respondents reported they were underemployed. They say frequent relocation was the reason for underemployment. The survey also found 43% of respondents did not feel a sense of belonging to their local community. They say the availability of military spouse jobs could improve a sense of belonging to their local civilian community. Serving Military Families For this afterschool program, The ASYMCA San Diego will provide transportation from Miller, Hancock and Angier Elementary schools immediately after dismissal to their facility on Santo Road in Murphy Canyon. That area has the largest concentration of military families in San Diego County. There are six elementary schools within a six-mile radius. On average, those schools have student populations made up of at least 74% military kids. “Our goal is to eventually serve all six elementary schools in this area as well as the two middle schools,” says Ney, who adds that this program creates coverage for kids both when they are in school and during all school breaks. (Camp Hero camps are available during school vacations.) “Kids can stay engaged all year long with ASYMCA programs!” For more information about the Afterschool Achievement Academy, go to:











858-751-5755 INFOSD@ASYMCA.ORG 858-751-5755









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Month of the Military Child By Sevrine Banks April, is Month of the Military Child. Around 42% of children of active-duty service members are under the age of 5. Nine schools, deployments, mid school-year moving to a new location, new friends, early mornings, late nights, unaccompanied tours, 12 hours at daycare and overnights, independence and maturity at an early age. These are some of the things that my military child experienced being part of a military family. I retired from the U. S. Army as a Combat Medic, serving 20 years to our Nation. I sacrificed and would do it all over again, however, military families also sacrifice, especially military children. I remember doing the math on how much time I spent away from my daughter, and it came to approximately 5 years including deployments, field training exercises and unaccompanied overseas tours. Resiliency is a term that is often heard in the military setting. We want service members to be resilient, and that term is also heard when referring to military children. Imagine moving a few months after school has started, going to another school for a few months and then returning to the original school, all in one school year, that was my daughter during my deployments. Resiliency goes hand in hand with Military Children, they don’t have a choice, and they figure it out. My daughter always attended a school where the majority of the other children were not military children, so they didn’t understand our way of life, but it also gave an amazing opportunity to share what being a military family is all about. Despite all those moves, my daughter graduated in the top 10% of her class and is a freshman at San Diego State University. Since I am a Service Connected Disabled Veteran, my daughter attends college at no cost to our family. I was also able to transfer my Post 911 GI benefits to both of my children which currently covers her housing. The benefits we have are priceless. My son is ten years younger than my daughter. His experience as a military child is completely different. He was born in El Paso, TX and we moved to California upon my retirement. 20

San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019

Even though my deployment to Iraq was heartbreaking, leaving him when he was 13 months old, I am grateful he doesn’t remember it. Even though I communicated as much as possible with him, when I returned, he didn’t remember who I was. Reaching for your child, to be able to hold them again and he screamed not recognizing me is just one of the things non-Veterans don’t realize. He was a little bit older (4 years old) when I deployed to Afghanistan, however he didn’t fully understand what I was doing. He still says, “Mommy, when it was night time in Afghanistan, it was day time here”, a statement we still use, since his Uncle is currently serving as a Marine. As a Combat Veteran, I hope that my children truly appreciate the sacrifices made and know that I did this for a better place for them to grow up in.

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Chula Vista Teen to Receive Operation Homefront 2019 Military Child of the YearÂŽ Award


San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019

Elisabeth Lundgren, 2019 Navy Military Child of the Year Elisabeth Lundgren, from Chula Vista, California, received the 2019 Navy Military Child of the Year® Award as an 18-year-old college freshman. She’s the daughter of Kevin Lundgren and Connie Lundgren. Kevin, CMC EOD Group ONE retiring later this year, has served in the U.S. Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal community for 27 years with 29 years active duty, completing several international deployments—three in war zones—and 23 years on sea duty. Connie works for General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego supporting the construction and repair of Navy ships in the Pacific Fleet. After unexplainable injuries, continued pain, and surgeries, Elisabeth was diagnosed with Elher’s Danlos Syndrome (EDS) -- a connective tissue and joint hypermobility syndrome causing the joints to move beyond the normal range creating repeated injuries and cycles of pain, therapy, and recovery. EDS created many challenges for Elisabeth. She never gave up despite constant setbacks due to hours of physical therapy, medical appointments, and constant struggle to keep up in school. Even after spending an entire year on crutches, she was determined her physical situation would not govern her future.

Elisabeth’s Favorite Quote:

“It ain’t about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can GET hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep - moving forward” - Rocky Balboa

Elisabeth said her dad inspired her to become a warrior athlete. She could not compete on land, because of the risks to her body, so she pursued sports in the water. She started her freshman year of high school on the swim team using a cane; yet, by the end of the season, she was a varsity swimmer and earned the Freshman Swimmer of the Year award. She cemented her spot every year after that, swimming on the varsity team for four years. She graduated having earned 16 league titles, represented her school in 14 California Interscholastic Federation finals, became the 2018 Captain, and was awarded the 2018 female Swimmer of the Year and MVP titles.

Elisabeth graduated high school as an AP scholar with a 4.6 GPA (4.0 cumulative). She has now moved on to compete at the NCAA level at the University of California, Santa Cruz to continue her career as a student-athlete and recently broke a 19-year old university record in in the 200-meter backstroke event as a freshman. She is studying Biology and seeks to pursue a career in medicine.

She was most recently selected by South Bay Aquatics to receive the Ellen Erickson Memorial Award for her dedication and positive attitude in the face of adversity. Ellen was Elisabeth’s friend and teammate who lost her battle with cancer. After Ellen’s death, Elisabeth helped grow the Cancer Awareness Club from 20 students to 250 students and helped raise $13,000 dollars for cancer research.

She has carried this passion even further by becoming a local USA Swimming athlete representative, private swim instructor to address drowning prevention, and mentor for other military children integrating into a new school.

Her condition pursues her, requiring her to continue constant therapy and chiropractor care, but she continues to strive for excellence. From helping her dad raise money for the EOD Warrior Foundation, to being on the relay team to raise money for veterans in local Super Frog and Super Seal triathlon events and becoming a certified lifeguard, her life of service is patterned after her dad’s service to country.

Elisabeth spends her free time engaged in creative photography, listening to music, writing poetry, and creating organic skin care products.

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


San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019

The Coalition is comprised of a wide variety of non-profit and for-profit organizations, as well as governmental agencies and civic minded individuals.

“Community Collaboration is the Key” America’s Finest City is well known for its many attractions, amusement parks, nearby beaches and “perfect” weather. Located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, San Diego is home to the largest naval fleet in the world. With over 3 million residents, county wide, San Diego is the second largest city in California and the second largest military town in the United States. When it comes to providing veteran support services, San Diego is the most innovative and resourceful city in the nation. The San Diego Veterans Coalition (SDVC) is mainly responsible for those accolades. The San Diego Veterans Coalition was organized in 2012 using the Collective Impact Model, and is a premier San Diego Countywide monthly convener of over 150 unique member and participating organizations, businesses, and agencies, as well as convening many of that body in our four action groups, and other activities and events. It is one of the largest collaborative veteran service organization in the country and is a national role model for the comprehensive and the integrated system of community partners that serve our veterans. Every month, SDVC provides an open forum for veteran service organizations and businesses to collaborate and better serve our veteran community and their families. The forum is open to anyone that has an interest in supporting or providing a service to our veterans. The affiliated organizations and members range from ‘Habitat for Humanity’ to small business owners who provide specialized services for our veterans. Many of the organizations that belong to SDVC specialize in one field (education, housing, employment, healthcare). The goal is to understand what services each organization provides and with that knowledge, SDVC can offer comprehensive support to our local Veteran community.

The vision of the SDVC is to honor and care for U.S. Veterans, their families and significant others by integrating all available services. The mission of the SDVC is to improve the support of our Veterans in the San Diego Region by inspiring and encouraging collaboration and cooperation among service providers and Veteran service organizations, advocating on behalf of Veterans, their families and significant others for better integration of services, improving communication between Veterans and providers to disseminate information and determine needs, providing guidance and leadership which would affect local changes and serve as a model for other communities to emulate. At SDVC, they have found that collaboration is the key to addressing the needs of San Diego regional Veterans, their families and significant others. To ensure all the needs are met, they have developed four Action Groups to organize the work of the Coalition and have patterned these Action Groups Groups off the successful Live Well model: 1. Physical and Emotional Health Action Group 2. Family Life Action Group 3. Veterans, Empowered, Successful and Thriving Action Group 4. E3- Employment, Education and Entrepreneurship Action Group Through these Action Groups they identify gaps in support and service and create measurable outcomes to resolve them. These groups are made up of our members and together they are working to strengthen our community. COMMUNITY COLLABORATION IS KEY! in supporting our veteran community. Our veterans need your involvement. SDVC encourages all civilians, veterans, organizations and businesses that care about our veterans to attend their monthly meetings and get involved. If you would like to attend an SDVC meeting and support our veteran community, please visit:

San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019 25

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

Veterans Association of North County For people who have not visited the Veterans Association of North County on Mission Road in Oceanside, the question we usually receive is what do you guys do? As we wrap up our first quarter of activities, I thought I would share some events, classes and activities that happened over the quarter. With over 40,000 active duty members and 14,000 veterans in our immediate area, we provide facilities for many in the veteran community to meet, to socialize, to learn and to provide services to others. We have a few dozen Association Members and “Friends of VANC” that provide us with an annual fee in exchange for meeting at our facilities. We provide a very reasonable annual fee for veterans organizations to meet throughout the year in our meeting rooms. In the community, the quality of our facilities and the price compared to alternate venues is very compelling. American Legion Post 760 had it inaugural meeting with us. This new American Legion Post supports the mission of the 100 year old Legion with local activities that focus on making a difference in the veteran and civilian community. We provide classroom space for Team Rubicon to offer classes to its community of volunteers who support the community in times of local, regional or National emergency. The Disaster Data & Analytics class prepares volunteers to assess damage during an event and use their technology to provide accurate information to build an action plan. 26

San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019

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

San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019 27

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San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019 29

Recreation for the Whole Military Family By Jim Lorraine, President and CEO of America’s Warrior Partnership April marks the Month of the Military Child, a time when we honor the dedication displayed by children of military families both at home and abroad. This month also serves as an excellent reminder for those of us in the veteran-serving community to always ensure our programs and initiatives are open to military children. One of the best ways that local veteran-serving organizations can honor military children is by hosting inclusive programs, events and activities for the whole family, particularly those that center on recreation and outdoor activities. Our 2018 Annual Survey found that recreation, networking and volunteerism are the three most sought-after opportunities among veterans, family members and caregivers throughout the nation. Our team at America’s Warrior Partnership conducts this survey every year to evaluate how communities can improve the services they offer to veterans, and these types of programs regularly rank high among veterans’ most sought-after resources. These may seem like nonessential services, but a significant number of veteran families are looking for these types of programs. In fact, 20 percent of the warriors we surveyed in 2018 were ONLY looking for either recreational activities, connections with other military families or volunteer opportunities – they did not need assistance with housing, education or other critical areas. Most importantly, a robust program of community events built around recreation, networking and volunteerism can have a very positive impact on veterans and their families. Our 2018 Annual Survey found that veterans, family members and caregivers who regularly participate in community events are 13 percent more hopeful on average than those who do not. The benefits of providing recreational opportunities to veterans and their children are clear, and there are a wide range of resources available to help individuals and veteran-serving organizations find quality programs. A great place for community groups, or veteran families themselves, to start is the Four Star Alliance, which is a membership organization of service providers that offer adaptive sports, therapeutic recreation and wellness programs to veterans and their families. 30

San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019

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

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



San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019 31

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

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

In December 2018, Lady Liberty graduated from the STS program with Aaron Neely, a Navy veteran. Aaron and Liberty have a very special bond. According to Aaron, USN Ret., “Liberty has been a game changer! Before being paired with her, I was barely leaving the house alone and struggling to connect with anybody outside of my immediate family. Since entering the STS program, I have found new confidence and a desire to experience life. I’m reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. Previously, I felt as if I was dying of a mental illness. Now, I feel like I am really living.” Every day on average, twenty (20) U.S. veterans and one (1) active duty service member commit suicide (Department of Veteran Affairs) and every day, 3200 dogs are euthanized in the U.S. Shelter to Soldier provides hope for both veterans and dogs facing lifethreatening challenges and offers its services at no charge to veterans upon completion of a screening process. According to STS Founder Graham Bloem, “Lady Liberty is a special dog who needed to be channeled into a role where she could be of service and find her highest calling. I am sure she was discouraged and confused to be returned to the shelter from which she was initially adopted, but we were fortunate to find her and provide her another chance at a great life, and pair her with Aaron. Her bond with Aaron has transformed both of their lives immeasurably and they are now both living their lives surrounded by unconditional love and positivity.” Artist - Brittany Gneiting 32

San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019

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

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

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

Graham & Kyrié Bloem

Vic Martin & Mia

Artist - Saul Hansen

Aaron & Liberty

Perry Chapman

San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019 33


Is SEO Dead? Let me say from the get-go that I’m no SEO expert. I hire SEO experts. And, as you read this, you will know why. Just asking this question is intimidating. For at least 20 years I’ve been working with small businesses who want to be found high on the first- page of internet searches. And all those businesses have torn their hair out trying to win the game of first-page ranking. It’s very difficult. Is SEO Dead? I Wish. It’s More Accurate to Say It’s Evolving. In 2016 companies spent 65.26 billion dollars on SEO tactics. That number swelled to 72 billion in 2018. And by 2020 it’s estimated that companies will spend a whopping 79.27 billion dollars on search engine optimization. But we must admit that all of the hand wringing that SEO isn’t important anymore isn’t without merit. As search engines have evolved SEO has changed a lot. Many former tactics don’t work anymore. Backup and Start from the Beginning How did we get here and what’s changed? To answer that question, let’s rewind back to 2010. On May 25, 2010, a website proclaimed, “SEO is dead,” bursting out of the furtive mind of a supposed SEO expert in a drunken rant. Fast forward 9 internet years (a century in internet terms). Google then was nowhere near the proficiency of what Google is today. Remember the golden age of search? Then a lot of black hat SEOs specialists who would try to game a search engine used shady techniques. Sadly, it worked. The Arrival of Modern SEO Google knows all. They were aware that these ploys worked and were in wide use. Google didn’t like it and saw it as a challenge. So, being smarter than we mere mortals, they wrote code to try to circumvent these scalawags and their sly tactics. Along comes new algorithms named after cute, animals like pandas, penguins, and hummingbirds. So, SEO specialists and marketers had to find a way to rank their websites using different techniques. 34

San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019

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

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

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

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

Google Hummingbird - seeks to improve the Google search engine experience for users by going beyond keyword focus, instead considering the context and all the content (see

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

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

If you want support for starting up a business, email her at San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019 35

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

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


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

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

Why an Incubator?


San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019

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

MARKETING SUPPORT As a start-up, it is difficult to a lot of people or investors might not believe in your brand or find it difficult to trust your brand. But with the help of business incubator programs and their expertise in PR and marketing can help you to develop a marketing strategy at the early stage of your business. Having someone to make calls for you at a very low rate, is another great benefit of the incubator. Most business owners have difficulties making those cold calls, the incubator may help in this area. ACCESS TO EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES By joining business incubators, you have access to workshops, mentor relationships and other training opportunities that will help your business be successful. Learning is part of the growth process of any business. Markets are always changing, shrinking, expanding, so learning is always a must for every business owner. SUPPORT FROM CREDIBLE MENTORS Business incubators help start-ups with mentors, these mentors bring a wealth of knowledge with personal experience and business knowledge in marketing, presentation skills, human resources, accounting, legal guidance and more. As a veteran or anyone looking to venture into business, you will benefit greatly from the services of a business incubator. Business incubator provide the necessary support to help a new entrepreneur. As a veteran entering the world of entrepreneurship it is nice to know that you will have a Team at the Veterans Business Incubator providing you with the support and guidance needed to successfully launch your business. Start-ups that partnered with business incubators have recorded a significant level of successes in their first five years. In conclusion, business incubator programs will help you launch your business and help you grow. The Veterans Incubator is a unique concept that welcomes veterans who are interested in starting their own business and want to be part of a community of like-minded veteran entrepreneurs. For any questions about this topic or to set up a Veterans Incubator please contact the author at (Write on subject line “Incubator”) Article by: Joseph Molina Veterans Chamber of Commerce San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019 39


San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019

The San Diego Police Department is


For more information, visit Or contact a Recruiter at (619)531-­COPS For more info contact Officer Steve Markland @ (619)531-­2202 or

San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019 41


San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019

San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019 43

Saved In America would focus on preventing gangbanger/ pimp/predator/slave traders from securing girls to traffic here in the United States. This meant targeting children before they could be trafficked. Saved in America would find the missing children, the runaways like Brittanee. In December 2014 SIA recovered its first child.

A California Non- Profit Organization of Former Police Officers and Navy SEALs turned Licensed Private Investigators who assist Parents and Law Enforcement in locating Missing & Exploited Children Narrative by Founder: Pastor Joseph A. Travers, CPI, CCDI, CMECI

The Saved In America team model consists of three pillars; 1. We never charge parents/ guardians to find their children. 2. We do this voluntarily, refusing pay. 3. We only use former Special Operators and retired/ current Police Detectives who become Licensed and Insured Private Investigators. Saved In America currently has over 30 operators; all licensed and insured Private Investigators consisting of former Navy SEALs, Marine Recon Raiders, British SAS, and retired Police Officers. In addition, SIA has an Executive Director, Legal Director, Policy Director, Training and Child Rehabilitation Director, Social Networking Investigator, Licensed Drone Operators and State Licensed Firearms Instructors. Since our initial operation in December 2014 Saved In America has performed 133 successful child recoveries (out of 133 cases). The approach and techniques used by Saved in America help guide the rest of the nation on how to stop child sex trafficking before it happens, by focusing on runaway and missing children. Saved In America has taught it’s investigative techniques to the Human Smuggling &

On September 21, 2009 I was reading an article from the Orange County Register, “Retired Terror Hunters Hope to End Child Sex Slavery” (in foreign countries). This brought to mind the news I heard recently regarding a missing 17-year-old girl who left her parent’s home in New York. Brittanee Drexel was last seen in a hotel video in South Carolina on April 25th. Where was she? (In August 2016 the FBI reported that Brittanee was taken from the hotel in Myrtle Beach by a gang member pimp to a stash house in North Carolina for several days then repeatedly raped by gang members, shot dead and fed to alligators.) As a former Police Detective and current Licensed Private Investigator, I have seen countless cases of missing children. The statistics are grim and disheartening. I knew many children ended up being trafficked into human slavery and felt compelled to meet the “Terror Hunters”, to see if there was a way to perform these rescues here in the United States. I immediately made arrangements to meet these former special operations ‘Terror Hunters’. Through a series of meetings, I met a former Navy SEAL who helped form Saved In America (SIA). It was decided after several meetings and operational discussions that 44

San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019

Trafficking Center, Washington, DC, Licensed Investigator Associations in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama, and, for the Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado, California. Thank you ‘Terror Hunters’ for your inspiration, and in the remembrance of Brittanee Drexel, who started and continues to drive Saved In America’s work. On November 1, 2018 at the 2nd annual Saved In America ‘Child Saved Not Sold event in Del Mar, California, Saved In America awarded its first ‘Brittanee Drexel Scholarship’ to a survivor of Child Sex Trafficking. Brittanee’s mother Dawn presented the award. For further information please visit our website: The Saved In America story has also been published in a book titled- “Investigation of Missing & Exploited Children: The Gateway of Child Sex Trafficking, 2nd Edition October 2018, available at Resources Support Transition Community

San Diego Veterans Magazine A Veterans Magazine by Veterans for Veterans

San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019 45


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



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






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


San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019

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


By Lara Ryan & Daniel Chavarria

“Congratulations on your enlistment or commission. We (DoD) promise to take care

• Service Member’s Group Life Insurance (SGLI) Are you aware that your military SGLI coverage expires at retirement or separation from the service? You have the option to enroll in Veteran Group Life Insurance (VGLI) and can do so without medical underwriting within 120 days of your last service date. Because it is “guaranteed issue,” it is really intended for those who can’t get other coverage. In other words, because it is available to all servicemembers, it is very expensive. If you’re healthy and have the option to get other insurance, the commercial market usually offers any number of options that cost considerably less.

Here’s an overview:

Work with a financial planner to review your financial situation and understand your military pay and benefits. You don’t know what you don’t know, and the more you know, the better off your finances will be!

of your financial needs: descent but moderate pay, health care needs, life insurance needs, housing needs, and investment needs. You give us 110%, and we will make sure you are covered.” This isn’t actually said to a service member, but it is implied. “Do your job, and we’ll worry about the rest.” It puts the service member at ease and gives them a sense of security. Unfortunately, that can lead to a false sense of security unless you are educated on those benefits and have the knowledge to fully leverage them.

• THRIFT SAVINGS PROGRAM (TSP): This is the military’s retirement plan, like a civilian 401k. Did you set up an account and is it Roth or traditional? Do you know the difference? Did you know can adjust the way the funds are allocated? Unless you manually adjust how your TSP is invested, the default option is known as the “G” Fund – “G” as in government securities investment fund. It is a “safe money” fund that has a low yield, which may be fine if you are aware of how slowly it will grow, but disappointing if you aren’t. Are you enrolled in Blended Retirement System, and if so, are you contributing enough to get the maximum matching contribution from the DOD – a possible 5%? Don’t leave money on the table.

Lara Ryan and Daniel Chavarria work with a team and run a comprehensive financial planning practice that specializes in working with active duty, retired, veteran and military-connected individuals, families, and businesses.

They are not fee-based planners and don’t charge for their time, but believe every servicemember needs and deserves a financial plan.

• GI BILL: Do you have the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) – the one you paid into at $100/month for a year) – or are you eligible for the Forever GI Bill (Post9/11)? Do you know the difference? Do you plan to use the education benefit or do you plan to transfer it to a dependent? A MGIB can’t be transferred to dependents, and a Forever can. If transferring the benefit is what you want to do, then you must understand that to transfer requires at least an additional 4 years of service, a realization many people have too late! And, an added consideration, use of the benefit for a full-time education is accompanied by an E-5 with dependents stipend (whether or not you’re and E-5 and whether or not you have dependents). (307) 690-9266 (702) 497-3264

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

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

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

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

I currently oversee a large outpatient mental health clinic.

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


San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019




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San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019

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San Diego Veterans Magazine / APRIL 2019