San Diego Veterans Magazine April 2021

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VETERANS Vol. 3 Number 4 • April 2021



San Diego

Your Children Deserve the Best of You!

Veteran of the Month

San Diego Veteran Resources



Month of the Military Child Steve Maloney

A Legacy Left Behind


An End of an ERA

What’s Next

Flying Leathernecks Museum

Transition to Civilian Life / APRIL 2021


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Resources Support Transition HEALTH Community

SAN DIEGO San Diego Veterans Magazine A Veterans Magazine by Veterans for Veterans

Voted 2019 & 2020 Best San Diego resource, support magazine for veterans, transitioning military personnel, active military, military families & veteran organizations 4 / APRIL 2021

Armed Forces Memorial Amphitheater

A Vision for Miramar National Cemetery More than 20,000 veterans and their loved ones are interred at Miramar National Cemetery. The Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation holds services in the Flag Assembly Area on Memorial Day weekend and on Veterans Day to honor our veterans. The Flag Assembly Area has no permanent seating. The Support Foundation plans to build the Armed Forces Memorial Amphitheater with permanent guest seating in a beautifully landscaped setting. This will be the Support Foundation’s biggest project yet. Its cost—for construction and permanent maintenance—is estimated at $600,000 Contributions from corporations, veterans groups, civic organizations, local government, and the public are needed to make this vision reality at Miramar National Cemetery.

Please Contribute Today! Make the Vision a Reality

Armed Forces Memorial Amphitheater Any contribution amount counts!

To donate, please go to and Click on “Donate Now” or by check to Amphitheater Fund, c/o 2500 6th Ave., Unit 803, San Diego, CA 92103 The Support Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charity. All donations are tax deductible. Tax ID #65-1277308. You will receive an acknowledgment for your contribution. / APRIL 2021




Publisher Editor-In-Chief Mike Miller

Contributing Writers Holly Shaffner Veteran Advocate

RanDee McLain, LCSW A Different Lens

Jenny Lynne Stroup Real Talk: Mental Health

Vicki Garcia

Enlisted to Entrepreneur

CJ Machado

SD Vets & Homeland Photojournalist

Kelly Bagla, Esq. Legal Eagle

Tana Landau, Esq. Legally Speaking 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 San Diego resources, support, community, and inspiration for our veterans and the military families that keep it together.

Joe Molina

Veterans Chamber of Commerce

Eve Nasby

What’s Next - Transitioning

Amber Robinson Arts & Healing

Eva Stimson Veteran Advocate

Paul Falcone

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.

Human Resources

The magazine is supported by a distinguishing list of San Diego veteran organizations, resource centers, coalitions, veteran advocates, and more.

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

We are honored to share the work of so many committed and thoughtful people. San Diego Veterans Magazine is a veterans magazine for veterans by veterans. We appreciate your support and are so happy to have you as a reader of San Diego Veterans Magazine.

Mike Miller Editor-In-Chief 6 / APRIL 2021

David Koontz Midway Magic

(858) 275-4281 Contact us at: 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.


INSIDE THIS ISSUE 8 Veteran of the Month 10 MIDWAY: Operation Frequent Wind 12 April 10th - Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration 16 End Of A Era - Flying Leathernecks Museum 20 A Legacy Left Behind - Steve Maloney 22 Month of The Military Child 23 DOD - Purple Up 24 PUT MILITARY KIDS FIRST 26 Your Children Deserve the Best 29 My Life as a Military Child 30 Camp Corral: Thinking of the Children 32 Armed Services YMCA 33 Big Brothers Big Sisters San Diego 34 LENS: Resiliency 36 Real Talk: You Matter To Me 38 Helping Your Kid Cope With Divorce 40 Legal Eagle: Helping Your Kid Start a Business 42 Arts & Healing - LSD and the Inner Child 44 Landing Tech Jobs 48 What’s Next: Validate Your Value 54 Enlisted to Entrepreneur: Writing difficult emails 56 Veterans Chamber: Women Veterans in Business 58 SDVC- Salutes PsychArmor Institute / APRIL 2021


VETERan of the month San Diego - April 2021 By Holly Shaffner Matt Shillingburg, Captain, U.S. Army (ret.) This month’s selectee knows something about service – service to his country, service to his community, and service to his military brothers and sisters. For his inspiration, we select Matt Shillingburg as our Veteran of the Month. How does someone inspire others to serve? Well, for one, you follow your true north and stay true to your authentic self. Matt’s personal ethos is simple – “I just want to make a difference for those who sacrifice so much.” In San Diego County, it is very likely that you have seen Matt representing at event in his red, white, blue shirt - being a participant and cheering on his brothers and sisters. Well, now it is time for us to be his cheerleader and tell his story. Matt is true patriot through and through, and his day-to-day actions speak louder than his words, so perhaps his story will inspire you too. You will see some of his military service in this article, but it is Matt’s unwavering dedication to his volunteer service that made him standout as this month’s selectee.

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Matt gave back to his community while he served in the U.S Army and that compassion carried him into his “retired” life. I say “retired” in quotes because Matt volunteers more hours in a week than most of us work in a week! While on active duty and now post-military, Matt gives countless hours every week to various organizations that he is passionate about. He has volunteered with a full spectrum of services from helping victims of crime, to Kiwanis Club, Ronald McDonald House, San Diego Food Bank, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Homeless Veterans Stand Down, USO San Diego, and American Heart Association. He has assisted civilians to learn about veteran issues by testifying and participating on panels for homeless veteran concerns, and veteran employment and education.

In the last few years, he has raised over $50,000 for various veteran programs and for Gold Star families. With all the organizations and people that he has made an impact on, there is one he wants to spotlight. That organization is Veterans Association of North County (VANC). This organization has helped to provide monthly food distributions to more than 20,000 families during the pandemic and gave 800 turkey dinners to active-duty families for Thanksgiving 2020. But the work there is not done as he puts on his fundraising hat once again. This year, VANC will partner with local military bases to host a 5 and 10K walk/run for the fallen, a golf tournament, and memorial recognition - all to raise money for VANC and their partner veteran organizations. For VANC, the monies raised will support more food distros and their emergency fund. That fund has provided grants for the community and in the past year has helped with keeping utilities on for families, helping with those who lost jobs, and so much more. One of the volunteer roles that he finds the most rewarding is as Chaplain for American Legion Post 760. He delivers food and groceries to those who cannot drive or can’t leave their house, like the homebound Navy veteran going through chemotherapy. One of the most impactful events was when he was called upon for a Vietnam veteran who was on the verge of suicide. The veteran had been exposed to agent orange and needed help and one of those items was upgrading his VA disability rating. Matt went to his house, spent the day talking to the vet, compiled the details, and is happy to report the vet’s rating was upgraded.

I just want to bridge that gap between the veterans and their community,” said Matt. “I want to tell their story and how the community can support them.” For the military piece, Matt comes from a long family line of service members dating back to the War of 1812 and continuing through his service during the Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan eras. His brother served, his father was a “Frogman” with the SEAL teams, and his grandfather was a Pearl Harbor Survivor. When he was old enough, it was his turn. “It was my duty to join the service and I wanted to see the world, so I enlisted in the U.S. Army,” said Matt. Early in his career, Matt was trained to calculate (using a slide rule and terrain boards) where to launch 8-inch rounds from the howitzer. Later, he re-enlisted as a U.S. Army Intelligence Analyst/ Interrogator. Since he was fluent in German after attending Defense Language School, he was assigned to a base in Berlin “behind the iron curtain” to screen/ interrogate East German refugees. He was selected for Officer Candidate School and as an Army officer, he was an instructor for Army special forces in Panama and commanded a 200-person unit. Matt retired from his final job as the Senior Intel Officer for the 3rd Armor Calvary Regiment. After retiring from the military, Matt spent several years in the defense industry working on government contracts. When asked why someone should volunteer in their community, Matt had this to say.

“Giving back makes you a part of the community you live in and allows you to make a difference. It’s like dropping a pebble in a pond…you never know how those ripples may affect other people’s lives.” We thank Matt Shillingburg for his service to his nation, his community, and his military brothers and sisters. To learn more about VANC and their upcoming events, go to: / APRIL 2021


Remembering Operation Frequent Wind – USS Midway Rescues Thousands from Vietnam The final American combat troops left Vietnam in March 1973 a few months after the signing of the Paris Peace Accords. America’s involvement in war-torn Southeast Asia, however, would continue for years with thousands of government employees staying behind to assist South Vietnam. When North Vietnamese communist forces surrounded Saigon in spring 1975, the remaining Americans and the tens of thousands South Vietnamese who had supported the United States were in jeopardy. Fears of prison, torture and death fueled their anxieties. U.S. evacuations in Saigon started in early April, however, as the communist’s artillery shelling of the city intensified and the capital began to collapse into chaos, the final air evacuations were only possible by helicopters. “I didn’t think we would be able to escape because the chances were so slim,” said Courtney Herrmann, a South Vietnamese refugee who was only 8 years old when she and her family got to the airport. “We were competing with thousands of others for space on the helicopters. I was petrified.”

With the fall of Saigon imminent, the USS Midway, along with a flotilla of U.S. Navy ships steamed to the waters off South Vietnam for the emergency evacuation. On April 29, 1975, Operation Frequent Wind commenced. For those involved, this massive humanitarian effort was nothing less than extraordinary. 10 / APRIL 2021

“I don’t think anyone anticipated the magnitude of what actually transpired,” said retired Rear Adm. Larry Chambers, who was the Midway’s commanding officer during the evacuation. “Plans had been in place or some time to evacuate South Vietnamese personnel who had supported the U.S. We had not planned or expected hundreds of helicopters.” For 30 hours, American and South Vietnamese military helicopters converged nonstop on the Midway, many low on fuel and without radio communications with the ship.

“I counted as many as 26 helos circling the ship at one time,” remembered retired Cmdr. Vern Jumper, Midway’s air boss in charge of the ship’s flight operations. “My major concern was that one of them would crash on the deck. That would have killed lots of people.” Stephanie Dinh was a frightened 15-year-old when she was evacuated to the Midway with her family. “I didn’t have much hope to escape Vietnam,” said Dinh, who now volunteers for the USS Midway Museum. “The helicopter was loud and bumpy. I did not have my eyes open the entire time I was on it. I was too scared.” As more and more refugees arrived on Midway, the ship’s flight deck became increasingly crowded with people and helicopters. The evacuation effort became even more complicated when a small military observation plane known as a Bird Dog suddenly appeared over the carrier. Maj. Buang-Ly, a South Vietnamese Air Force pilot, crammed his wife and five small children into the twoseat Bird Dog in his attempt to escape. Coming under attack from enemy ground fire during takeoff, he still managed to fly out to sea searching for U.S. naval ships. Luckily, he found the Midway. “When we realized Maj. Ly had his family on board, it was obvious he was going to attempt to land on Midway’s flight deck, said Chambers. “In order to make a ready deck for the Bird Dog, it was necessary to push a number of helicopters over the side.” Midway’s crew was so impressed by Maj. Ly’s bravery and airmanship that they collected $10,000 for him and his family to help them relocate to Florida. By the time the evacuation ending on April 30, nearly 3,100 refugees and Americans trapped in Saigon were safely flown to the Midway. “I was so proud of our crew,” said Jumper, who has been a Midway volunteer for 18 years. “While the operation was exhausting and confusing, nobody lost their life. It was a miracle.” Even after 46 years, both Dinh and Herrmann remain extremely thankful to the Midway for helping their families escape to freedom.

“I still get chills thinking about the rescue operation,” said Herrmann. “So many kind strangers on the ship bravely risked their lives for us. I’m forever indebted to them and proud to be an American.” An 11-year volunteer for the Midway, Dinh never takes for granted the new life and opportunities she was given in the United States. “I’m very grateful to be accepted by my adopted country,” said Dinh. “I volunteer for the Midway to show, in some small way, my appreciation and pay back for what it did for my family.” Nearly half a century later, Operation Frequent Wind remains one of the largest military humanitarian evacuations and Midway played a critical role in the saving thousands of lives. “The outstanding performance and kindness of Midway’s crew was remarkable,” said Chambers. An Operation Frequent Wind exhibit can be experienced at the USS Midway Museum.



HNC’s Commitment to “We Honor Veterans” Will Be on Display at April 10, 2021 Welcome Home, Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration By Shelly Dew, Director of Philanthropy, Hospice of the North Coast “We Honor Veterans” is not merely a slogan for Hospice of the North Coast (HNC). It is our passion; an important focus of our client-centered efforts dedicated to easing the life-to-death transition for patients and their families throughout the region. Since our inception in 1980, we have served many Veterans from all branches of the military involved in various conflicts, dating back to World War II. An Honor to Serve Those Who Have Served Our Nation One out of every four dying Americans is a Veteran. Today, many among the nation’s aging cohort are Vietnam vets. We annually celebrate them and commemorate their selfless service to our country at our Welcome Home, Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration. The event is part of HNC’s commitment to the We Honor Veterans (WHV) program. WHV brings together the Veterans Administration and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization to empower hospice professionals to meet the unique needs of America’s dying Veterans and their families. The program teaches respectful inquiry, compassionate listening and grateful acknowledgement. Learning how to approach and comfort patients with a history of military service and possibly physical or psychological trauma helps our staff accompany and guide Veterans toward a peaceful ending.

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As a longtime, dedicated WHV partner, HNC has achieved pinnacle Level V status. We offer several ongoing activities aligned with WHV goals: • Vet-to-Vet Volunteers: Share a common bond and offer significant comfort to military hospice patients. • Honor Salutes: Active military visit Veteran hospice patients; express appreciation for their service with a moving ceremony featuring an official military salute. • Soul Injury Training: Staff and volunteer training to identify and address PTSD and other traumas afflicting Veteran hospice patients and their family members. Join Our Joyful Celebration! We invite Veterans, family and the community to join Hospice of the North Coast and Veterans Association of North County (VANC) at our third Welcome Home, Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration on April 10, 2021 at VANC, 1617 Mission Avenue, Oceanside, CA 92058 The doors open at 9am for this free, 10am-12pm event that includes a complimentary lunch. All attendees will be heartened by an inspirational presentation by the keynote speaker, U.S. Army Special Forces John Stryker “Tilt” Meyer. John is an American author and a U.S. Army Special Forces combat veteran of service in covert reconnaissance with the Studies and Observations Group, also known as MACV-SOG. Event details are at To learn more, please contact me at / APRIL 2021




VIETNAM VETERANS DAY CELEBRATION Join Hospice of the North Coast and Veterans Association of North County in thanking and honoring Veterans of the Vietnam War for their service and sacrifice. Keynote Speaker

JOHN STRYKER “TILT” MEYER John is a U.S. Army Special Forces combat veteran of service in covert reconnaissance with the Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG). He is an American author and has published three works of nonfiction related to his experiences in the Vietnam War.







VETERANS ASSOCIATION OF NORTH COUNTY (VANC) 1617 Mission Avenue • Oceanside, CA 92058 Safety protocols will be in place and the number of attendees are limited in keeping with state and local guidelines. Reservations REQUIRED by April 7 For information, contact Shelly Dew: or 760.431.4100 14 / APRIL 2021

Presented by / APRIL 2021


End of an Era – San Diego’s Loss of a Legacy of Flight By Holly Shaffner and CJ Machado On April 1st, the nation will lose an iconic piece of history, the only museum in the world dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of U.S. Marine Corps aviation. U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) Headquarters senior leadership made the decision to permanently close the Flying Leatherneck Museum located in San Diego, on base Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. The reason for the closure is budgetary constraints. The base’s commanding officer, Colonel Charles Dockery, said, “Over the past 10 to 15 years, we’ve tried various different strategies to align all those rules, regulations, and get that into a coherent strategy for the museum to move forward, and we were just never able to get there.” The fight to keep the museum open started a year ago as the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation was notified of the USMC’s official decision to close it. The Foundation attempted (on numerous occasions) to find an amenable solution for the Marine Corps which would allow the museum to remain open. The Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation has proposed several viable and sustainable alternatives to closure; these alternatives were rejected.

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Here are some of the Flying Leatherneck’s proposals: • Relieving the USMC of the financial overhead of the museum by privatizing the museum. That meant charging admission (it has always been free) and leasing the land for an in-kind consideration vice fair market value. • Restructure the USMC Museums under “Marine Corps University” – bringing Flying Leathernecks, MCRD Command Museum and USMC Museum Parris Island under the oversight of the National Museum of the Marine Corps. • Merge the San Diego Air and Space Museum with the Flying Leathernecks and allow the Flying Leathernecks to cover 100% of the overhead for utilities, landscape, aircraft maintenance and restoration, etc.… while the USMC covered the salary of the five paid government employees during a two-year transition period.

According to the Foundation’s executive director, Brigadier General Michael Aguilar, USMC, (retired), the leadership within the USMC is not willing to negotiate ways to keep the museum open and instead tells him “why those proposals cannot be done.” Naval and Marine aviation have been an integral part of San Diego’s heritage for over a century. The museum was initially stationed at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro until the base was permanently closed in 1999, then relocated to San Diego under the leadership of distinguished Marine Corps aviator, Major General Bobby Butcher, USMC, (retired).

Ferguson initiated the Irene Ferguson Marine Corps Wife Recognition Award in honor of his wife’s leadership and dedication to the Corps. He also implemented a county-wide high school essay contest to encourage and instill the basic qualities of leadership. The closure will be felt in the San Diego school system as well. It will be especially difficult on young people (students) who visited the museum as a place to learn good citizenship, patriotism, and academic STEM subjects. The greatest loss may be felt by the city’s poor communities. These citizens often cannot afford to visit other San Diego museums but could take advantage of the Flying Leatherneck’s free admission.

General Butcher flew almost 300 combat missions in the A-4 Skyhawk, which provided vital close air support for ground forces in Vietnam. The museum was initially stationed at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro until the base was permanently closed in 1999, then relocated to San Diego under the leadership of distinguished Marine Corps aviator, Major General Bobby Butcher, USMC, (retired). General Butcher flew almost 300 combat missions in the A-4 Skyhawk, which provided vital close air support for ground forces in Vietnam. This is the type of history (aircrafts and crew) that will be lost forever with the closure.

Chuck Meadows, Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation Director of Operations, had this to say, “The closure of the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum is a tremendous loss to the city of San Diego.”

For over two decades, dedicated volunteers (mostly prior military service) have given thousands of hours to preserve, honor, and inspire the history of Marine Corps aviation. Volunteers are the heart and soul of any organization and one of the museum’s most dedicated volunteers and supporters is three-war (WWII, Korea, Vietnam) Marine Corps aviator, Major Glenn Ferguson, USMC, (retired). Ferguson’s contributions, both in funding, vision, and insight are endless.

For the last 21 years, the Flying Leatherneck Museum has provided those services and so much more to thousands of San Diego visitors, tourists, active duty, families, and veterans. For over two decades they have stayed true to their mission - preserve the aviation history of the U.S. Marine Corps, honor the service of its people, and inspire in all generations an appreciation of America’s freedoms and values. Continued on next page > / APRIL 2021


We wondered what will happen to the aircraft and more than 30,000 artifacts held by the Flying Leatherneck Museum. We were told that 13 of the airframes have been promised to other museums and the remaining ones will go to an aircraft graveyard. As for the 30,000 artifacts, The National Museum of the Marine Corps will identify what has historical value and it is uncertain what will come of the rest of the collection.

As we go to print, the USMC leadership has not approved any proposals put forward by the Foundation – the Foundation assumes that means the museum will close. However, last minute discussions are underway to possibly save the aircraft collection and some of artifacts and move them to two possible Southern California locations.

The Foundation is working hard to try to save the museum’s collections in whole and will continue that effort. Regardless of the museum’s final fate, the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation will continue to operate and support their spousal recognition and school programs as they continue to work on “reengineering” their mission statement and priorities to continue to honor and celebrate Marine Corps aviation.

“Although we believe the Marine Corps is not going to change its mind on closing the museum at its present location, we still hold out hope that the Corps allow the collection to remain intact and will allow it to transfer to a different location,” said retired USMC Colonel and Judge Victor E. Bianchini, Chairman of Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation. “We are currently working to find an alternative location and have several excellent prospects.”

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Community support has been overwhelming to keep the museum open. Several politicians have stepped in to help, including Congressman Scott Peters, Congressman Darrell Issa, and Senator Brian Jones. The Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation encourages you to visit their website and to call or write your political representatives, including San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and San Diego Board of Supervisors Chairman Nathan Fletcher. Even though the museum will surely close, your voice should be heard about keeping the collection intact. For more information about the museum or the Foundation, go to: / APRIL 2021


A Legacy Left Behind By Holly Shaffner Last month we featured a story about a project called, Take Me Home Huey. Shortly after the story was published, we learned that project founder and artist, Steve Maloney, had passed away unexpectedly. March article available at

Having worked with Vietnam veterans on the project, he heard about the issues that they experienced returning home from the war - including harsh public criticism and mental health challenges from PTSD. Steve felt more attention must be brought to these issues.

Steve had created several influential art projects and pieces throughout his life and Take Me Home Huey was his proudest achievement.

Photo by Rodrigo Peña

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As part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the war’s end, he conceived Take Me Home Huey® to thank and say ‘welcome-home’ to Vietnam veterans. His artistic goal was encouraging a healing dialog that bridges the gap between soldiers risking their lives for their country and society back home. Steve transformed a 47-foot Huey Helicopter that had been shot down on a medevac mission in Vietnam into a color work of art. The sculpture traveled the United States for nearly three years and was later documented in an Emmy-award winning film and supported by a powerful song. Veterans who encountered the Huey felt an immediate connection to the aircraft and reached out to touch it. They recognized their squadron names incorporated into the artwork and responded to the symbolic imagery woven into the piece. This prompted many to open up and share their personal stories. The story of artist Steve Maloney’s project is now manifested in a new book: Take Me Home Huey: Honoring American Heroes Through Art.

Drawing on a lifetime of creativity, in-depth conversations with survivors of the doomed Huey, others who served in the helicopter war, therapists, and historians, Maloney has crafted a stirring tribute to the unsung heroes of one of the nation’s most controversial conflicts. The 216-page hardcover book with 180 stunning photos was released on March 29th, in honor of National Vietnam War Veterans Day. The sculpture became a catalyst for conversation and encouraging veterans to share their stories of war as part of their healing process from PTSD. Steve’s legacy lives on in his sculpture, now on permanent display at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Always striving to give back, Steve decided to donate all proceeds from book sales to organizations that offer art therapy programs to veterans. For more information about the Take Me Home Huey project or to purchase the book, visit: / APRIL 2021


SD Vets Magazine

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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. San Diego Veterans Magazine 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 allDoDEA students; and establishing the organizational capacity to operate more effectivelyand efficiently as a model, unifiedschool 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. / APRIL 2021


PROUD TO PUT MILITARY KIDS FIRST! By: Rob Frazier The Military Child Education Coalition believes there is no better cause than serving the children of those who serve us all. That’s why MCEC® supports all military-connected children by educating, advocating, and collaborating to resolve education challenges associated with the military lifestyle.

SchoolQuest™ - an initiative made possible through the

nonprofit’s partnership with USAA®, is also available. The online program offers parents the ability to track their student’s academic progress through step-by-step guidance, course recommendations and graduation requirements by state and overseas (for those students enrolled in DoDEA schools) to eliminate concerns and keep every student on track to be college-, work-, and life-ready.

“SchoolQuest represents an important achievement

for MCEC, and we are proud to launch this initiative with USAA as we all celebrate the Month of the Military Child,” said MCEC President and CEO Dr. Becky Porter. “Our partnership with USAA made the dream of SchoolQuest a reality, and the result is a free, online resource that provides every military-connected parent and student peace of mind, no matter where they’re stationed, around the world.”

Throughout April, we are proud to lead by example and join the rest of our country in honoring the sacrifices and celebrating the successes of nearly two million military-connected children during the Month of the Military Child. As part of that celebration, MCEC has several initiatives and events planned throughout the month which will prove to be on-going, sustainable resources that reaffirm the importance of facilitating opportunities to put military kids first worldwide. The April edition of On the Move® magazine is out highlighted by the Month of the Military Child theme: Future History Makers. The issue features amazing stories of military kids from across the U.S. and Europe who are making an impact in their communities, inspiring others through their resiliency and determination, and setting an example for others to follow. 24 / APRIL 2021

Learn more and sign up today at Listeners of the MCEC Podcast will also hear a new change as we put military kids in charge. High school senior Tatihana, the president of Swansboro High School’s MCEC Student 2 Student® National Team of the Year, in Swansboro, N.C., will represent all military kids from around the world as the podcast’s official host all month.

Tatihana will also have the opportunity to lead an interview with the nation’s highest military officer, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley and his wife Hollyanne. The MCEC Podcast is available each Friday, and you can listen live or download on Podbean or iTunes. For 19 years, military-connected students in grades k-12 have submitted their artistic reflections of life as a military kid as part of the MCEC Call for the Arts program. The event is open to all military-connected children and offers an opportunity to express their creative side through poetry, photos, and hand-drawn, colored artwork.

This year’s theme is: The View from My Home. Since military-connected children live in so many areas of the world, our hope is that their experiences will inspire them to show what life is life as an Army, Marine, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, and or Coast Guard dependent. We encourage artwork, photos, and poetry that reflects the family dynamic, local community, and the people and places that make your part of the world unique. Winners in the following categories (k-5, 6-8 and 9-12) will receive $100 Amazon gift cards. Submission guidelines and instructions are available at

Registration is also open for biggest event of the summer - the National Training Seminar, scheduled for July 19-21. The three-day event, which is free of charge this year, is highlighted by industry leaders and subject matter experts, celebrates military-connected students, parents, and educators. Register today at “MCEC is ready to provide the most interactive NTS in history,” added Porter. “We’re going to send a message loud and clear that no matter where we are around the world, we’re united, motivated, and excited to Embrace the Future for MilKids.”

Finally, if you are inspired by our mission, and would like to help, perhaps you might consider a small donation in recognition of a military kid in your life during the Month of the Military Child. All donations go to ongoing support of advocacy, education, and collaboration to ease the burdens transitions cause on militaryconnected children. If you would like to make a small gift, a donate button is available on our official website at / APRIL 2021


Your Children Deserve the Best of You! Your children deserve the best of you, and we want you to be the best parent possible. By Cindy Grossman, LCSW, Executive Director, Kids’ Turn San Diego This year, Kids’ Turn San Diego is celebrating a BIG milestone! We have been offering Family Workshops for Separated and Divorced Families for 25 years. Annually, approximately 500 children and their parents attend our programs, including about 200 military-connected children and their parents. Did you know that the divorce rate in military families tends to be about 75%? Militaryconnected children experience multiple school changes and long deployments by one or both of their parents AND MANY also experience the permanent break up of their parents’ marriage, oftentimes resulting in living with one parent for most of the time due to the other parent’s service responsibilities. Over the years, we have listened to thousands of children share their experiences, and, for the most part, their needs have remained stable over time.

“I want to see both my parents.” “I want my parents to stop fighting/arguing/ yelling at each other.” “I want my parents to pay attention to me.” Prior to COVID-19, there were several common threads in the stories shared by the children attending our program. Children witnessed frequent fighting between their parents and were often brought into the fights. Children wanted to spend time with their parents, and they liked it when their parents got down on the floor and played with them. Some of the children felt like messengers passing information between their parents. A few of the children felt caught in the middle between their parents, an experience that was very stressful for them. Many of the children wanted their family to get along because it stressed them out. 26 / APRIL 2021

One year ago, COVID-19 began to change everything. Most divorced parents came together and collaborated for the safety of their children, and children successfully transitioned from one home to their other home, week after week. Every month, 5-12 military families attend our Family Workshop. During the graduation, parents are always asked to share one program take-a-way. One military dad’s comment was, “I learned how to use active listening as a way to hold space for our son and to ask if he wants advise instead of just giving it” and his military connected former spouse shared, “I learned to be present and to listen, even when my child’s stories are really long. I also learned how to communicate differently and how to get along with my co-parent better.” Seven year old Devon was attending the virtual program graduation from his mommy’s home and as the graduation was ending, Devon yelled out, “I love you daddy!” Sadly, not all children are so fortunate. Some children have found themselves stuck between parents with different beliefs, different strategies for ensuring health and safety, and, saddest of all, some children have had no contact with their other parent as one of their parents used COVID-19, probably unconsciously, as a tool to keep their kids away from their other parent. In military families, we have heard from too many parents that their lives were shattered. During deployments, work ups and/or training missions, military parents returned to empty homes, finding out that their children were across the country with their other parent. GONE! Sadly, some children are still not seeing one of their parents to this day. In every Workshop this past year, we have heard these stories over and over. Regardless of your relationship with your co-parent or your history together, parents must remember that your children are not just yours. They are half of you and half of their other parent.

They are half of you and half of their other parent. They deserve to have healthy relationships with both of their parents — and you have a big role to play in this. Their brains are constantly developing, and they are learning from what they see and hear every day. They will copy the words and behaviors that are being modeled. Your children deserve the best of you and we want you to be the best parent and co-parent possible. If you have taken your children away from their other parent or are engaging in blaming, name-calling, manipulating or controlling, we encourage you to take a look at yourself and the behaviors you are choosing. We invite you to think about your choices. Are they in your best interest, or are you hurt, angry or upset and need extra support to work through these feelings? Are they in the best interest of your children, or do your children deserve to have relationships with both their parents, regardless of how you may feel about their other parent? These are hard questions, but feelings are normal and okay when they are addressed in healthy ways and without involving your children and their relationship with their other parent. There are many resources available to support you, especially at Kids’ Turn San Diego! If you are the parent who has not been able to see your children, here are some suggestions for making the most of your parent-child relationship, even if you are apart for now: • Know that someday your child will realize what has occurred and they will come back and want a relationship. This may take 10 years, but with almost all children, as their brain develops, they begin to see through the name-calling and bad-mouthing so be ready for this day. • Keep a journal for your child. Pick out a special notebook and write a note to your child whenever you see something that reminds you of them. For example, maybe you see a beautiful sunset and it reminds you of a day you spent together at the beach. Write a note in the journal to your child.

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“When I was walking the dog today, the sunset was amazing. Pink, purple and some orange. It made me think of you and reminded me of the time when we were at the beach and . . .”. Make sure to date each and every entry. Someday you will be able to present this journal to your child and they will realize that you thought of them often and wished you were together. These journals are also a great idea if you are deployed. Take it with you and write when you can. When you get home, present the journal to your children and they will know how much you missed them and thought about them. • Put together a parent-child picture memory album. Children love to see pictures of themselves when they were little and especially pictures with their parents. Purchase a photo album or a binder to create a parentchild memory album. Add special photos of you and your child and write in notes and details. Someday you will be able to present this memory album to your child. If you are seeing your children regularly, this is still a great idea! This is also a great idea for children to create for their parents when a parent is deployed or away from the family for an extended period of time. Younger children can ask for help from their older siblings or other adults.

Your Children Deserve the Best of You! Regardless of your relationship with your co-parent or your history together, parents must remember that your children are not just yours. They are half of you and half of their other parent.

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Pictures can be drawn or photos. These memory albums are a creative way to share stories when parents and children are together again. April is Month of the Military Child. During the month, we celebrate military-connected children and highlight the important roles they play in the military community. April is also National Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month and Parental Alienation Awareness Month. Parental alienation is any act by a parent that tries to destroy the relationship between a child and their other parent. Though not a syndrome or diagnosis, parental alienation can be considered a form of psychological abuse. And childhood happiness most often does not include the word “abuse.” Join us in celebrating military-connected children and in the prevention of parental alienation and child abuse. Support your children’s happiness and encourage your children to have a healthy relationship with their other parent! To learn about Kids’ Turn San Diego programs, visit us at

My Life as a Military Child By Emily MacKinnon

I am thirteen years old and have lived in five different places. My dad served 28 years in the U.S. Coast Guard. Our family moved every two to three years when my dad was in the military. We lived in Alameda, California when I was born and moved to Williamsburg, Virginia, then Poulsbo, Washington and then to Hawaii. I only remember the last move to Hawaii, which is where my dad retired. I liked Hawaii for the beach and ocean. After he retired, we moved back to Washington state. My brother is three years older than me so has one more move than me.

My dad said he traveled internationally for the USCG, and it required him to travel for at least 200 days a year. My dad liked visiting all the countries and gained good experiences, but always wished he could bring his family with him. While being a military child is sometimes hard, all the experiences from moving to different states were fun!

There are definitely some pros and cons with my dad being in the military. One good thing was the R.V trip at the end of his time. Before we found our forever home in Poulsbo, we took a six-month R.V. trip around the United States and visited every state except Alaska and Hawaii. My mom said that because we moved around so much that we wanted to find our forever home, and we probably wouldn’t have had the chance to travel for long periods like that again. So, my family bought an R.V. and we traveled for six months. My brother and I were being homeschooled, so it was easy to continue to homeschool on the road. My favorite place we visited was New York because we got to see Times Square, go on the ice rink, and see old friends. Since I was so young and I don’t remember everything about moving, I asked my brother about how he felt. He said he was sad leaving his friends but knew he had to do it, and always made new friends at the next places. I remember that I was sad to leave my friends when we moved. I kept in contact as much as I could, and it was great to see them when we moved back to Poulsbo. I was so happy to see them, and they are still some of my closest friends. When we lived in Virginia, my mom said it was hard because my dad would leave for his job for a few weeks, come home for a few weeks, then leave again. She had to take care of two young kids by herself which was hard. When my dad was away, my brother and I would go to the computer and tap the screen calling out “Daddy” (even when he wasn’t on) because we knew that’s how we talked with him. We were always super happy when my dad got back but knew he would have to leave again. / APRIL 2021


When you think of wounded, ill, and fallen military heroes, do you also think of their children? Camp Corral believes you should. Camp Corral, a national non-profit organization, starts with the child to serve the families of our nation’s heroes. Since their inception in 2011, Camp Corral has recognized the very real hardships that go along with serving as a military-connected child – especially one who has experienced the trauma of having a parent become wounded, ill, or fallen as a result of their military service. In keeping with their vision to empower these children to live their best lives possible, the Camp Corral team develops and delivers specialized programming designed to meet the unique needs of these children and their families. In the past ten years, some 24,000 children from every state in the nation have taken part in a Camp Corral week-long summer experience, at no cost to their families. Along with traditional programs designed to offer respite, build peer-support connections, strengthen selfconfidence, and reinforce coping skills, Camp Corral took what was down-time for many organizations during the Covid-19 pandemic to bolster their supportive services with new holistic-focused programming. Searching for a way to continue to positively impact military-connected children, many of whom had come to rely upon their yearly experience with Camp Corral, the team crafted targeted programs to continue to reach the families during times of physical distancing, and beyond. This time spent in research became the chrysalis for new year-round opportunities such as Family Camp Retreats; Virtual Peer Connection Groups; Therapeutic Art Programs; Staying Healthy – Self Care for Child Caregivers educational programs; and a free virtual video series, Life Tools for MilKids, which teaches resilience and coping skills designed with these children and their families in mind.

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Leigh Longino, CEO of Camp Corral, stated that as exciting as these times are heading into the summer camp season, the Camp Corral team is also disappointed that available spots for campers have had to be reduced by more than 50% this year. “As with many communities and businesses around the world, our friends, partners, and long-time donors have also faced difficult challenges financially which have unfortunately resulted in a lessening of their ability to help contribute to the camp experiences for these children”. Heading into April, the Month of the Military Child, the camp has more than 1,700 children on waiting lists to attend camps across the country. “As disheartened as we are that not every child who wants to attend our camp programs will be able to do so this summer we are determined not to be deterred,” Longino continued. “Our team is eager to forge ahead and make the best of every opportunity we have to change the very real hardships that go along with serving as a military-connected child.” And forge ahead they have. Registration recently opened for Camp Corral’s new Family Camp Retreats and spots were quickly being filled. Through this new all-inclusive program Camp Corral is expanding its impact on the entire family by offering a variety of fun activities coupled with opportunities for much needed respite and reconnection within family groups. “Our desire to incorporate Family Camp Retreats was an organic evolution of our commitment to supporting the needs of the wounded warrior family,” said Hannah Hutler-Boyd, Chief Program Officer of Camp Corral. “We are determined to create a deeper, more impactful experience for these children and their families and believe that by offering opportunities for them to

experience these retreats together we help them to build on their growth and healing as a family.” Hutler-Boyd adds that research has driven expansions of support services offered throughout the year. “The research tells us that while military-connected children can be resilient, they can also have higher rates of risk-taking behaviors. About 10% of campers’ parents surveyed stated that their child has participated in selfharm or had suicidal ideations – that’s a startling statistic, especially when considering our camper age group is 8-15 years old.” Camp Corral is combatting that statistic head-on by expanding holistic services to provide what they call the 3Cs of Resilience – Connection, Coping, and Confidence. “Connection is vitally important for children of wounded, ill, or fallen warriors. These children can often experience feelings of isolation, of “otherness” due circumstances related to their parent’s service,” Longino explained. “Our programs provide meaningful opportunities for healing, growing, and re-energizing a weary heart. For the children who participate with Camp Corral, they experience adventure, test their limits, challenge their fears, celebrate their accomplishments, and make life affirming friendships that remind them they are not alone – there are others who understand their unique attributes and challenges”. Moving beyond conducting research and developing programs to support needs, Camp Corral is also actively advocating on behalf of the children and families they serve. “With the trust granted to us by these very special families, we are uniquely positioned to advocate with a perspective many non-family members ever see,” said Lori Noonan, Camp Corral’s Chief Development Officer. “Our advocacy takes many forms, from local to national level initiatives, all with one goal in mind - empowering the children and families of our nation’s military heroes to live their best lives possible.” For more information regarding Camp Corral, visit their website at / APRIL 2021



Horse of the Sun Ranch is a program of the Armed Services YMCA San Diego that provides an array of equestrian and respite activities. We are principally focused on healing the spirits of military families and at-risk youth. Nestled in the foothills of the Cuyamaca Mountains in Pine Valley, Horse of the Sun Ranch allows the opportunity to experience some of the most spectacular natural surroundings that Southern California has to offer. Those who visit the ranch have the opportunity to participate in equestrian experiences, workshops on leather-making, horse shoeing, roping, horse grooming and care, archery, Botany, hiking, and more. In response to safety guidelines during this time of pandemic, the ranch hosts three families at a time each day. Families have the opportunity for close engagement with the horses, which makes this time incredibly special for everyone who participates. It is an opportunity for families to spend time connecting with one another, building stronger relationships, and enjoying activities in a setting that naturally encourages relaxation, fun, and learning.

Family Day Ranch Experience Bring the family out for a day on the ranch! Activities include feeding and grooming horses, archery, gardening, leathercraft, hiking, arts and crafts and much more. Testimonial from Military Spouse, Sarah ”I knew I needed today, but I didn’t realize just how much I needed it until we got to the Horse of the Sun Ranch. So much has been happening in the world and in our family, and it’s been a constant struggle to keep going forward and keep our heads above water. Today, I actually felt like we could just sit back, relax, and truly go with the flow. The program that my two children and I participated in was the Family Day Ranch Experience. They had to make some tweaks due to COVID, but it was still wonderful. Throughout the day, there were three stations that we rotated between. First, we went to leather working where we each got to help make our own bracelets. We measured our wrists, cut the leather, picked the designs, and we got to help him stamp them by using mallets. After that, we had our lunch.

Youth Equestrian Experience

Our second station was the horses, and each family got a different horse. Ours was a sweet boy named Tonka. Both children loved grooming the horses and learning more about them. The instructor would start to explain something or ask a question, and my daughter could finish her sentence. We also got to help feed the horses, which my children loved to do.

Our newly developed equestrian experience allows children to travel to Horse of the Sun Ranch and participate in a variety of activities including: horseback riding, feeding and grooming horses, archery, gardening, hiking and more!

After that, our final station was archery. I had attempted it once in high school, and I was awful. I couldn’t get the arrow to stay at first, however I actually ended up being pretty good. I even shot six bullseyes! Archery was definitely my favorite activity – it was so empowering to discover something new that I am good at.

Current Program Offerings:

Afterwards, it was time to pack up. We were so grateful to be able to do one last activity – making a leather bracelet for my husband, since he couldn’t be there with us today. All in all, it was a very good day. It was one of those rare occasions where all your troubles fade away and you temporarily don’t have a care in the world. There was hardly any cell service either, so I just stayed off my phone and enjoyed the fresh air, the activities, and the kiddo’s having a blast!” To learn more about how you can strengthen military families like Sarah’s through the Armed Services YMCA’s programs, visit 32 / APRIL 2021

This month, Big Brothers Big Sisters is proud to celebrate The Month of the Military Child, recognizing those who serve as well as those who support our service members through volunteerism. Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County’s Operation Bigs is a one-to-one mentoring program for military children right here in San Diego County. Mentoring provides an extra layer of support to local military families, who are often presented with 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 parents returns from war. The program joins children with parents in the military to volunteer “Bigs” who are in the military, retired or civilian. This past year, the need has become even more critical with social isolation and so much uncertainty.

Little Brother Landon is one of those natural-born athletes. When Landon was first introduced to his Big Brother, Lonnie, he was excited to play sports and be active with his mentor. They started out playing soccer together, and soon introduced basketball and baseball into their repertoire. Soon after, Landon joined his local Little League team, where he immediately exceled at hitting and fielding, thanks to his practice with his Big Brother.

The match spends a majority of their meeting time each week playing and practicing baseball skills, and Landon landed a spot on the All-Star baseball team after just one season. Landon’s mom, Jenni, says “Lonnie is like an actual big brother to Landon. He looks up to him and tries to make him proud.” Lonnie has had the special opportunity to watch some of Landon’s local baseball games because they live in the same city. Jenni said, “My favorite memory was when Lonnie came to one of Landon’s baseball games, and was cheering him on louder than any of the parents there. He even asked Landon to sign a game ball afterwards, which I know made Landon feel like a real all-star.”

For more information, please visit: or call (858) 746-9173 / APRIL 2021


A Different Lens Mental Health Monthly

By RanDee McLain, LCSW

Resiliency Month of the Military Child

As I started to prepare for this article, I spoke to some military families I work closely with. One of the mothers told me her daughter had moved four times before her 7th birthday. That same child has never been in the same school more than two years in a row. That is a lot of change in a young person’s life, change of friends, change of school, change of environment, change of routine and so much more. Resiliency is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties or challenges. Our military children are resilient. There are also the good times that come with military life. A dear friend of mine takes family photos in every duty station- but through the cultural lens of that location. She really works to immerse the children in the local culture while they are there- what an amazing learning opportunity. There are pictures of them at Luaus in Hawaii; riding camels in Bahrain and riding the trains through Europe. I didn’t get out of Arkansas till I was nineteen…..and these kids have seen the world before 10. They are resilient. They are strong. They are brave. There are ways to help support the resiliency of our military children. Acknowledge their feelings-Allow them time to process upcoming changes and listen to how they are feeling. Allow them the opportunity to express their feelings and help them find ways to cope. Model self-care and teach them healthy ways to deal with stress. Teaching our children that stress is normal and how to deal with it helps build resiliency at a young age. Children who feel cared for and loved have an easier time forming healthy relationships and handling challenges- stay connected. Find ways to bond and spend time together. 34 / APRIL 2021

Know your resources: Many active-duty commands have a Family Readiness Group (FRG) or other form of family support. How can I support a military family? • Offer to help the parents. When a service member is absent, it puts stress on the entire family unit and by helping the parent, you are in turn helping the child. • Include and invite them to activities-Due to the frequent moves of military families, they aren’t always aware of the many activities and resources that exist within their communities. Invite them out and help them learn about the new community in which they live. This can have a tremendously positive impact on the military kids. In April rock your purple and help us celebrate the military children in your life!! Military children are strong, courageous, and resilient. / APRIL 2021


Real Talk: Mental Health By Jenny Lynne Stroup, Outreach Coordinator for the Cohen Clinic at VVSD

You Matter to Me. These four words grace my favorite t-shirt and the walls of my favorite coffee shop. When I wear this tee, I wear it with intention. I want the reader of my t-shirt to feel the weight of the words and to know they are seen and loved. Sometimes, though, I forget that I need to simply wear this shirt around my house, that the people within my four walls need to read, hear, and feel those words as much as anyone out there beyond our front door. “You Matter to Me” is perhaps more important now than it ever was before, especially to the young people inside my house. It has been a year. A year of change. A year of weird. A year of hard. So, as we move into this next phase where the now doesn’t necessarily look “normal,” how do we let those we love, know they matter; that, despite the increased stressors and pressures on us, our people matter to us? At my house, this looked like becoming brilliant on the basics. I had ambitious goals-especially in regard to homeschooling my two children. I was going to do all the things, until I realized that not only do my boys matter

to me, but I mattered to me- and that meant overzealous ambition did not coincide with treating myself or my people well. I had to scale back-ay back. I had to believe that basics were not just good enough; they were goodfor me, for my boys, for our collective mental health. This back-to-basics plan helped our family immensely. It helped keep some of the stressors at bay and also provided us more time to do things as a family, rather than dump all of our time and energy into work and tasks. In addition to becoming brilliant on the basics, my family also navigated this last year with the help of mental health professionals. Not only did this take some of the mental strain off of me as an individual, but it also helped me as a mom. My children are receiving support from another adult who cares about their well-being. In honor of Month of the Military Child this April, the following ideas for helping your child navigate the everchanging landscape of pandemic life were provided by mental health professional and Clinic Director for the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Veterans Village San Diego, Shari Finney-Houser.



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Let your children know they matter to you by: • Talking to them about the future- both the hopes and possibility of setbacks. • Helping them think about their future. What will they do? Do they want to go back to the same routine? • Asking them what they are comfortable with, then listening to their questions and concerns. • Acknowledging that most kids have spent more time on screens, then asking them if they have seen things/ learned things they are uncomfortable with and let them talk about it. If safe to do so, watch it with them. • Encouraging new hobbies: painting, writing, gardening, cooking, baking, etc. It may be helpful to remind them what interested them when they were little. • Encouraging new sports: surfing, running, swimming, skateboarding, and bike riding are all great Covid safer choices and if possible, do it with them or enjoy as a family. • Providing opportunities to engage in new household responsibilities. In the age of everything being virtual, a task (like taking out the trash or mopping) can actually bring a lot of satisfaction as they see, touch, and feel the accomplishment. • Engaging in safe social interaction. This may include both virtual and in-person interactions like video chatting with friends or meeting a few people in an outdoor environment. • Being mindful that many people prefer to bond while doing something, not just chatting. If this is the case, explore baking, crafting, video games or other activities that can be done in tandem while online. You matter to us. Your people matter to you. May the basics be brilliant, and the way forward be paved with good conversation and care.

Jenny Lynne Stroup serves as the Outreach Coordinator for the ​Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Veterans Village of San Diego​. The Cohen Clinic at VVSD is one of 19 mental health clinics nationwide under nonprofit Cohen Veterans Network​(CVN) which focuses on providing targeted treatments​for a variety of mental health challenges facing post-9/11 veterans and military families, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, transition challenges, and more. / APRIL 2021


Legally Speaking Military Focused Family Law Facts By Tana Landau, Esq.

HELPING KIDS COPE WITH DIVORCE Going through a divorce is never easy. It becomes even more difficult when children are involved. Children not only have to adjust from a one-household dynamic to a two-household dynamic, but they may also witness turmoil between their parents during the divorce process. Naturally, many parents worry how this will affect their children. There are several things you can do to protect your children’s emotional and psychological well-being during the divorce process. Many children will go through a roller coaster of emotions when they learn their parents are getting divorced. Some may see themselves as the reason for their parents’ divorce as kids tend to be “egocentric” and believe their actions or thoughts cause bad events.

It is important to let your children know that it is in no way their fault. Keep the line of communication open with them. Talk about the feelings that are natural under these circumstances. Let them know it is normal to feel sad or angry about a divorce. Your children should be able to talk freely with you about any fears or concerns they have. It is important not only that they can do so, but that they feel comfortable doing so.

Children also tend to keep their feelings inside because they don’t want to upset either parent, so it is always a good idea to check in with them frequently during the divorce process. If you have very young children or a child who tends to bottle up their emotions, it may be a good idea to get them to express their emotions through play. Children feel most comfortable while playing, so you can try role playing, drawing, or games.

One of the mistakes that you can make is to fail to validate your children’s emotions or demonstrate that you accept what they are feeling.

Reassure your children that they will always have your love and the other parent’s love. Do not ever talk badly about the other parent in front of your children.

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This is probably the biggest mistake parents make during the divorce process, and it can have profound effects on your child’s emotional and psychological well-being. You never want your child to feel like they must choose between either parent. When you speak negatively about the other parent in their presence, you are setting the stage for them to feel like they have to choose or that they are wrong for loving the other parent. They need to feel like both parents are valuable. When you place blame on the other parent in your child’s presence or speak badly of the other parent, you are also deterring your child from keeping an open dialogue with you. Remember, children keep their emotions to themselves when they are afraid to upset you. Explain what things will look like now so they have a sense of stability and certainty. For example, let them know what day they can expect to be with you and what day they will see the other parent. Keep a sense of familiarity in both homes. If this means them taking their favorite objects between homes, let them do it. Do not tell your children that stays at mommy’s house or it can’t go to daddy’s house. Show your children what good coparenting looks like. This is the hardest for most parents going through a divorce, but your children’s well-being should be a priority over your feelings toward your ex-spouse. If you can, keep the routines and discipline consistent between both households. This again takes both parents working to be the best coparents they can. If you are having difficulty doing so, try a coparenting app or take a coparenting class. Kids thrive on stability and consistency during a divorce. It’s the uncertainty, inconsistency, and negative interactions between parents that can disrupt a child’s well-being. Last, consider the benefits of therapy or counseling. You can work with an experienced therapist or counselor on not only how to handle addressing the divorce with your children, but also for assistance in processing your own feelings so that you can ultimately be a better coparent. Children can benefit greatly from therapy during the divorce process. Sometimes they can express themselves more freely with a therapist, sharing emotions or thoughts that they are worried will upset either parent. Children will often experience guilt, anxiety, behavior issues, regression, or become withdrawn during a divorce. If you think your child would benefit from therapy, don’t hesitate to make an appointment. For more information about how we can help with your military divorce or child custody case, check out our website: or call (858) 720-8250 and ask to speak with military family law attorney Tana Landau.

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

HELPING YOUR KID START A LEGAL BUSINESS Lemonade stands and lawn mowing are popular ways for kids to earn pocket change, but could they get in legal trouble for their entrepreneurial activities? Kids just want to be kids, but kids also want to be grown-ups. That’s why letting kids have a neighborhood lemonade stand, yard sales or lawn mowing businesses is a great way for them to learn responsibility and the value of a dollar. However, child-run businesses can sometimes run into problems if they are not legally compliant with the local laws. Cities, counties and states have laws that require businesses to secure permits and licenses to operate. Those rules can extent to just about every business, including those owned by a child. Having a business is a great way for children to focus their energy and efforts on something positive and learning from a young age what entrepreneurial means. An increasing number of states and communities have started to make it easier for young entrepreneurs to make money, but in many communities, children and teens need to secure the right paperwork to lawfully run their businesses. It is important to note that a business is a business, no matter the age of the person in charge. Businesses must adhere to certain legal requirements, and parents must understand these requirements to make sure their kids’ businesses are legal. In addition to completing paperwork, such as obtaining a permit, they may have to pay taxes on the money the business earns.

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GETTING YOUR KID’S BUSINESS LEGAL The first step is to search for more information on the website of the city and county where the business will be located. It’s important to make sure your kid’s business is up to code because anyone can decide to report the business to the authorities. City and county officials in the jurisdiction where the business is located can outline the requirements, explain penalties for noncompliance and provide the proper paperwork to get the process rolling. You might be asking yourself, “Why go through all of this if it’s just a lemonade stand? What harm could be done?” In some cases, neighbors may feel inconvenienced because customers lining up for lemonade could be blocking driveways or adding more noise or traffic to their usually quite residential street. In addition, competitors have snitched on kid-owned businesses. A landscaping company, for instance, could report a teen-run lawn mowing business for noncompliance to weed out cheaper competition. Yes folks, this actually happened! It’s important to be aware of the legal risks and liabilities if your child’s business is not legally compliant. Kids who run their businesses without the correct permits or licenses can face closure and other penalties, including but not limited to fines.

Furthermore, a run-in with regulators is almost never a fun experience, especially for a young entrepreneur who is dreaming big.

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Here are some fun business ideas that your kids can start explore: • Lemonade Stand • Mow Lawns • Academic Tutor • Artist • Baby Sitter • Baker • Candy Maker • Dog Walker • Actor • Podcaster • Author • Clothing designer • IT Services You’ll agree that there is so much potential for your kid to make money, and the best time to learn valuable business lessons coupled with hands-on experience is now. Therefore, encourage your young entrepreneur to start any of these kid businesses that make money with the right permits and licenses. You will have given your child a head start in life.

You can incorporate your business, find contracts, and download free resources from For more information on how to legally start and grow your business please visit my website at

Disclaimer: This information is made available by Bagla Law Firm, APC for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, and not to provide specific legal advice. This information should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

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Arts & Healing Arts for Military Veterans By Amber Robinson

Art, LSD and the Inner Child: One Coast Guard Vet’s Trip Into Healing When people think of psychedelics they usually think about them in the context ofsocializing or partying, maybe conjuring an image of a spaced-out hippie dancing wildlyat a music festival. Psychedelics like Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA, most often called “Molly” and lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, are two of the most common psychedelics used for their euphoric and mind-expanding characteristics. Not only are these drugs currently popular with those seeking to elevate their mood or personal experience at Burning Man, they have become a popular study focus for scientists and psychiatrists. The ways in which these drugs expand the mind can also be used to help heal the mind from those suffering with PTSD. But, you don’t have to tell Fran that, a Coast Guard veteran living with PTSD who has combined the healing power of art, with the healing power of psychedelics. She was Introduced to the substance through a family member, taking it she noted the ways in which it alleviated the dark thoughts that often pervaded her mind after service and how it inspired her to create. “I was always a creative person, ”said Fran. “But I was always like a Pinterest crafter. Like, oh, you want me to make that for you? I got you. I never considered myself an artist.” But, while attending college after service in Arkansas, she truly put her creativity to the test and began to take art classes. The world she would soon step into was a far cry from her life as a gunner’s mate in the Coast Guard. When asked why she chose to work with guns and ammo she proudly says, “My grandfather. He was a gunner’s mate during World War II. I even still have his uniform.” Fran graduated high school early to join the Coast Guard. Growing up partly in foster care, she learned that self sufficiency was best, and knew the military would provide her job security, plus many benefits her adopted parents could not.

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“By the time everyone else in my class graduated I was in India,” said Fran, “We were on our way to the Persian Gulf to support that conflict.” For Fran, there has never been a time to truly relax. Foster care has a way of making a child grow up fast. So, Fran grew up fast. In the service she was driven and known for her work ethic and professionalism. She served 18 years honorably with the Coast Guard until her seperation in 2014. Once out of service Fran used her Post 911 GI Bill to attain a Family Consumer Science BA at the University of Central Arkansas. Still in military mode, she maintained a flawless grade point average. Once she had her degree in hand she packed up her family and moved back to San Diego, which was her last duty station prior to leaving service. Fran jumped into work doing homeless outreach once she arrived, continuing to maintain her same military work pace. But soon, her accumulation of military traumas and a life of hyper vigilance began to weigh on her more and more. Overwhelmed and suicidal, Fran finally quit her job. Shortly after, she was offered LSD as a way to self explore during this new time in her life. Initially she was dead set against taking the substance, but relented with hopes it would help her mental state. It was during this very first psychedelic experience that she decided to paint. Fran points to two paintings on her walls, “I painted those, that night,” she said. “It was just so natural,” she said. “I could feel the pretendness of my [hyper vigilant behavior] just falling away.” Fran painted for the duration of the “trip”, with the experience becoming emotional, but in a positive way, she explains. As she painted, she also cried, letting go of pain that had clung to her for years.

“I could all of a sudden cry without feeling like a leak,” she said, “when I cried it felt like it was washing away all these bad feelings I’d had for so long.” That first experience with LSD and painting was in December, 2020. Now, in late Spring of 2021, Fran’s small apartment is already filled with large pieces of abstract art. Her pieces use different techniques, many that she develops as she paints. She loves to use different elements to give the paintings different types of depth, such as glitter or glow in the dark paint. She puts different parts of her trauma onto her canvases, leaving it behind in a new beautiful form. “Once I started using the glow in the dark paint, from then on all I wanted to use was that paint,” said Fran. “It best captured the glowy way I was feeling and the light I wanted in my work.”

Her favorite technique for glow in the dark paints has been finger painting. I think back to points in my childhood where I may have finger-painted, unable to use a brush due to my naive age. As she waves her hands in the air, happily explaining how she creates “different galaxies” in paint with her finger tips, I realize through LSD and painting she has finally found the inner child she put away when she was put into foster care. Now, decades later, it seems she has found a pathway back to a more pure version of herself. As I think this she recounts a few times in foster care or during her childhood when she was able to color or create. “Those were the only times I felt like myself,” she said. “It’s like that now. When I create I’m not [Fran] the Coastie, or mom or anything else. When I create, the veil is lifted and I am just myself.” Her demeanor is light and airy as she lines up her paintings, some small, some huge, telling me their names. She “charges” some with a black light then turns off the white lights to share the ways in which they truly glow like tiny universes unto themselves. In the future she hopes to showcase her paintings, sharing the way in which they were created, encouraging others with PTSD to find their own unique way of healing. / APRIL 2021


Landing Tech Jobs:

Transitioning Veterans and the Growing Digital Economy For many Veterans, leaving the service is as lifealtering as entering it – and just as disorienting. It’s a seismic shift that leaves them floundering despite their military-earned competencies. One of the biggest anxiety- and stress-inducing issues? Employment. Determining a career path is a huge stumbling block for a lot of Veterans, especially those recently mustered out. Many want to try something new, but don’t know where to start. Others struggle with how to best leverage their military skills. Our suggestion? Look into tech.

“In today’s digital landscape, the range of job opportunities is virtually endless.”

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How Veterans fit into today’s digital landscape

Continued on next page > / APRIL 2021 45

How Veterans fit into today’s digital landscape

• Data Security Technologist

The tech industry is booming – and this isn’t changing any time soon. In fact, studies show that tech is on the rise, which puts technology professionals in high demand across all industries. Coders, data analysts, network administrators, Azure specialists, and more: companies need them, actively look for them, and pay them well.

• System Administrator

Veterans are particularly well-positioned to step into tech sector roles. With excellent soft skills in areas such as leadership, communication, focus, and confidence, Veterans are effective team members and problemsolvers who know how to overcome obstacles and can see a project through to the end.

Start your career journey off right!

Those Veterans with security clearances and other credentials are uniquely qualified for roles with bigname employers like Microsoft, Google, the DoD, etc., that require high levels of security authorization for employment.

The National Veterans Transition Services, Inc. (NVTSI), founded and led by Maurice Wilson, MCPO, USN. (ret), is one of the most well-known. Its REBOOT program picks up where the military’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP) leaves off.

The key is recognizing these skills and qualifications for the job-landing gems they are and capitalizing on them.

What career opportunities are in the tech sector for Vets? In today’s digital landscape, the range of job opportunities is virtually endless. From writing to code to analyzing data to managing hybrid networks, tech roles are as diverse as the people who fill them. All offer stability, room for growth, and competitive incomes. Roles that Veterans are particularly well-suited for include: • Business Analyst • Project Manager • IT Security Specialist • Network Engineers/Administrator • Cloud Infrastructure Engineer • Security Engineer • Software Engineer • Cybersecurity Analyst • Cybersecurity Program Manager 46 / APRIL 2021

• Cloud Security Engineer

• Scrum Master • Service Now Specialist • Program Manager • Help Desk

Like any mission, successfully achieving a new career hinges on clarity and structure. There are numerous organizations designed to help Veterans transition successfully into the civilian workforce.

A two-week intensive program, REBOOT works with Veterans to relearn, rebuild, and rebrand themselves as civilians. It provides networking opportunities and other career-defining exercises that help Veterans get clear on their future and what they need to do to make their dreams a reality.

Successfully navigating the experience requirement maze Whether you held a technology position in the military or not, a major hurdle to stepping into the civilian tech sector is bridging the gap between your military experience and the civilian workforce’s reliance on documentation. Civilian employers look for and make hiring decisions based on diplomas, certifications, licenses, etc. Many qualified and capable Veterans lose out on jobs simply because they don’t have papers verifying their expertise. Recognizing this gap and including it in your career planning helps mitigate frustration, stress, and confusion. Again, there are numerous organizations out there who can help you earn the necessary credentials for the tech role(s) you’re interested in. Many of them are schools/education facilities, and you can also learn directly from working tech professionals.

CCS Learning Academy (CCSLA) is the training division of CCS Global Tech, a full-service tech provider. Designed by tech professions to support upcoming and current technology professionals, CCSLA offers industry-leading courses and credentials in many current technologies and applications, including DoD required certifications. Their experienced team has been helping Veterans design and execute successful career paths for 20+ years. From newly-transitioned Vets to those looking to change or boost their established career, CCSLA offers insider perspective and know-how not found in conventional learning institutions.

Getting your foot in the tech sector door Once you’ve got clarity and the right documentation, there’s still the stomach-knotting process of actually finding a job. Do you wade through LinkedIn’s job board? Hire a headhunter? CCS Global Tech ( offers another option: their Veteran Job Placement Services. Based in California, the international tech company specializes in business intelligence, data analytics, Azure management services, and cybersecurity training and job placement. Their Veteran Job Placement Services are designed to leverage the highly-skilled ex-military workforce by placing qualified Veterans on established projects; they work with clients such as Microsoft and Amazon, and they need qualified people to fill open roles. With projects in both the public and private sectors, CCS Global Tech can help Veterans leverage their military skills and get their civilian career off to a strong start.

Conclusion Your military experience should enhance your future, and the tech sector offers a multitude of opportunities for translating your service into a satisfying career. NVTSI, CCS Learning Academy, and CCS Global Tech are efficient, effective conduits for Vets ready to tap into the tech industry. / APRIL 2021


WHAT’S NEXT Transition to Civilian Life By Eve Nasby

Validate Your Value to Find Your Freedom 23 and Me A few years ago I was privileged to be invited to a VIP tour aboard the USS Nimitz. I’d spent 25 years in the civilian business world, so this was a new experience. A COG flew us to the ship, where we were then guided to a tiny “tower” where hundreds of dials, screens and buttons rose above a flurry of ringing phones, rapidly delivered white papers and a cacophony of jets beneath us being arrested and thrown off of the ship in rapid succession. I was mesmerized. This was all being orchestrated by a young lady, who was incredibly calm under pressure, friendly and exuded obvious leadership prowess. I asked the young sailor who had escorted us up about her. He invited me to chat with her. My question to her came from pure fascination. “How old are you?” She smiled broadly and said, “23.” No further questions, your honor. The Great Divide of Experience 23 years old and running a multi billion dollar operation with thousands of lives literally beneath her, relying on her and those around her to make good decisions. You may be reading this and nodding your head while shrugging and thinking, “And?”. However, my mind raced back to her peers in the civilian work world who, simultaneously, were wondering if they put enough almond milk in their customer’s latte. Most civilian employers would be shocked to learn that in our military today, 18-23 year olds may have responsibility for dozens of people and millions of dollars worth of equipment. Those who have served understand what it is like to follow in order to lead. Most of your ambitious civilian counterparts want only to know how to lead. In the job search competition, your civilian counterpart knows how to interview, write a resume and network. 48 / APRIL 2021

You know how to get work done, be responsible work as a team and create success. The Value Proposition Many civilian employers simply don’t recognize the value of veterans. And subsequently the veterans do not understand the value of themselves because they don’t get hired right away. Understanding your value and effectively communicating that value will break this vicious cycle. You deserve to have a rewarding career after your service. You’re skilled and experienced in taking and following orders. You even know, by training, how to serve and follow directives you may not even agree with. But you do them - because you’re a team player and trust the system. You may also be skilled in leadership, but you know you don’t always have to be the leader. It can be a stark contrast to the civilian work world. All too often, civilians look for any and every way to climb up the ladder to be the leader and be first. Humility Trumps Entitlement Does that seem defeating and frustrating already? Don’t let it. Here’s the good news. Companies are looking for great team players, and you, veteran, are the best team player that a company could hope to hire. We know the best leaders are those who have learned to humble themselves and follow. Those who have done the most menial tasks have learned the greatest character trait of leadership, which is humility. Civilians, particularly younger ones in the workforce, tend to just want to be first, without learning how to be last. Unfortunately, the modern trend of receiving participation awards throughout life, for essentially no noble cause except for just “being,” has caused quite an “entitlement era.” Competing for nothing, but expecting (and getting) everything, may seem too good to be true. And it is. Companies looking for talent recognize laziness and entitlement from a mile away. You, on the other hand, have learned humility. You know what it’s like to be hungry, worn out, sleep deprived and on watch. Dave Grundies

You’ve shed blood, sweat and tears to earn all that you have today. Did you know that as a member of the US military, you will have worked the same number of hours in a 5 year tour than civilians have in 21 years of work? -Brian O’Connor Validate Your Value Why does this matter? Because many veterans in transition don’t recognize their value right away. It’s easy to feel defeated if you’ve sent out hundreds of resumes and gotten only one response. It’s easy to feel like you’re incapable, if something like choosing a health care provider for the first time is overwhelming for you and normal for others. It’s normal to have heightened anxiety in transition - as you’re transitioning away from your former sense of purpose. Here are a few thoughts to help form your path to your next purpose and find your freedom: 1. Find a mentor. Find someone in your sphere of influence to talk to. Listen to their stories about mission critical mistakes and how to avoid them. Please, tap into Social Media groups, LinkedIn groups and mentors within your civilian workplace that will walk this new path with you. You will find that people want to help.

Never miss another birthday. Focus on the positives. Take that list and tape it to your dashboard, your bathroom mirror and the foreheads of your unruly children. 5. And lastly, be prepared. You wouldn’t jump out of a plane with a backpack instead of a parachute. During your reflection time, you should gain a better idea of what you want to do. So, prepare for it. If you want to live somewhere specific, prepare how to make that happen. If you want a certain career, prepare what needs to happen to get there. If you have debt, prepare the best way to stick to a budget and hold off on buying the unnecessary items until you’re more settled in civilian life. We are a community of people designed to collaborate and do life together. We invite you to write to us to share your personal tips to help the 4 million readers each month who come here for ideas and hope. Send an email to Eve at Or connect on Linked in at

2. Embrace the change. This may sound counter intuitive, as change is stressful. But, cherish and memorialize the past and appreciate that it is part of your history. In part, it has made you who you are today. Create a “recognition” wall at home with pictures of your platoon, your medals. Embrace your past without dwelling in it. There is a great opportunity ahead if you allow it. Your brain needs constant challenge and will continue to develop as you seek new adventures. 3. Use this time to your advantage. Accept this transition time as a gift of pause and reflection. Use it to think about where you want to go, as you reflect upon where you have been. Write your short term (finding a job) and long term (getting a PHD or starting your own business) goals and begin steps towards them. Get comfortable with what you like to do as well as what you don’t like to do.

4. Repeat: “I will get through this!” Think about all of the times you have had to move. Think of the stress involved for you and the kids to up end your family, schools, friend groups and more. It was a challenge, but you made it. This is another move, and you will make it through this one too. How do you do it? Make a list of all of the positives this change will bring for you. Better pay. Better flexibility in your schedule. More time with the family. / APRIL 2021


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Writing difficult emails

When you’re upset, it’s easy to let emotion seep into your writing. I’ve told you before, sometimes your emotion isn’t serving you. More importantly, it’s easy to throw in a few jabs (if someone else is at fault) or to build up a pretty tall wall (if you’re at fault). So the best thing you can do is calm down. Take a walk. Take some time. Breathe.

d if emaficult ils...

Some people say that you should write the email you want to write and then you can write the email you really are going to write. I don’t recommend that strategy if you aren’t 100% clear that first email isn’t going to go out. I say this because years ago a coworker of mine had written one of those emails. They left it in their unsent email. But they had even put the person’s email in the To field. They just hadn’t mailed it. You know where this is going, right? A couple of weeks later, they had a problem with their email software and needed to reset it, etc. The result? You guessed it. That email that was sitting in an unsent folder ended up getting sent. Ouch! So if you can, just don’t write when you’re upset.

I follow a marketing guru named Chris Lema. Chris is a WordPress savant, and usually writes things way over my head. But, lately he’s been sending out emails in plain English. It might be interesting to hear a different voice, especially Chris’. He’s given me permission to run this.

Don’t use a sandwich structure Do you know when they told you that feedback should be sandwiched between compliments? They were lying. You hear it all the time, but the advice is there to help you more than to help the person you’re writing to. People want feedback. They want to hear the truth. And you don’t have to waste time by trying to come up with silly statements before and after. It’s pretty clear you’re giving them feedback or frustrated with something. Your best bet is to skip the, “I hope this finds you well,” because it doesn’t come across as authentic.

Chris: Sometimes it can feel like writing difficult emails is a full-time job. Every week it seems like I have an opportunity to write a difficult email. At least once. As I talked about it with a colleague, we realized that we had each learned tricks from mentors over the years. It seems like you don’t just learn it from doing it. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if I hadn’t gotten mentoring in this area, I would still be writing difficult emails as horribly as I did when I was 25 – 25 years ago. Back then I wrote an angry email, to someone in a role two levels above mine, copying way too many people. I would have been fired, except for one thing – I had already given notice. Maybe I wrote that email that way because I knew I was stepping out. But it and I were wrong. He didn’t fire me, but on that day, even as I only had a week left there, he decided to invest some time in talking about how to write challenging emails out are what yourtocustomers want first before that Find we never excited write.

build a whole company around what you think

Some Tips for Writing customers want.Difficult Emails Don’t write when you’re upset. 54 / APRIL 2021

Whether you’re providing the details for why you’ve not given someone a contract, decided not to hire someone, announced a reduction in force, or articulated the reason you failed at something— whatever it is, keep the main thing the main thing.

Don’t ramble That last suggestion for writing difficult emails needs to you be reinforced with this suggestion. Don’t ramble. Know your why you’re writing. And articulate it. State it. Sooner rather than later.

Some people put paragraphs of the story at the beginning of a difficult email because they’re trying to create a larger narrative. And those emails just end up rambling. Don’t do it. Don’t be harsh. Don’t be mean. But be honest and direct. Waste no time getting to the point. Don’t use broad generalities When we have to write difficult emails because we’re giving people feedback they need to hear, writing in generalities not only makes it seem like you don’t know (to a deeper degree) your main point, but it can often come across as an exaggeration that isn’t helpful. So if you’re letting someone know that things aren’t working out, make sure you’re not slipping into “always” and “never” land.

We had to connect with the audience in what might be a stressful day for them, and make sure they heard that we cared and were going to help them get thru it—all while explaining what happened and what we were doing about making sure it never happened again. Empathy is a powerful tool. Use it. Don’t hesitate to use the phone I know these are rules about writing difficult emails, but never forget that you have another tool at your disposal. You can always pick up the phone and make a call. And sometimes that’s the best move. I once said something that clearly touched a nerve. I felt bad because it was clearly not my intention, but I had hurt someone’s feelings. I just knew it.

Don’t forget to give the benefit of the doubt When my mentor sat me down years ago, his main point was that I never knew the whole story. And because I didn’t know the whole story, I was going to end up telling myself some part of a story that I had made up for myself. And that would impact my reactions. I would react differently, not because of what really happened, but because of how I filled in the blanks.

So I wrote an apology. Trying to make it clear I had no intention of hurting them, but also acknowledging that my intention was secondary to their actual feelings. Then I did the thing they didn’t expect. I called them. “Hey, I just emailed you an apology. I realized that I must have hurt you by my words and that was the last thing I ever wanted to do. But I understand I still did it and I wanted to apologize.”

Assume positive intent. That’s the phrase I’ve learned. And even when it’s hard, it’s worth doing – especially when you have to write a challenging email or deliver tough news. Don’t add to the challenge by making poor assumptions and reacting to them.

They were quick to explain that in reality, the issue had been on their side. They knew, the moment they’d reacted, that their response was out of line and not really about my words. They loved the call and I’m pretty sure it built a stronger relationship because we talked about it, rather than just sending two emails back and forth.

Don’t forget you need data and a heart It may not be the first rule, but it’s clearly not the last. You can’t ever forget that you need to bring more than just facts to a challenging situation. One time someone on my staff created a prototype of a software program with sample data from our actual customer database. This data appeared and was cached by Google, long after the prototype was cancelled. The last four digits of their SSN had been captured by Google and was being presented in that xxx-xx-1234 structure online when you searched for their name. The facts included several data points that mitigated the fear of the person who discovered it. Very few records had been used. No records had presented any additional personal information (like addresses, age, gender, etc). And even though the data had been available for a year, none of the few records exposed had led to any consequences whatsoever. But that’s just the facts. When we had to write the apology email, we were really writing the first of several crisis communication emails. And that’s when empathy is way more powerful than just the facts.

How do you structure a difficult email? There’s a book that goes into one structure, called The Minto Pyramid Principle. It’s a book on writing and logic and it’s not an easy read. But the structure the author introduces is: • Situation: Explain what some may already know. But set the stage. • Complication: This is the change, the tension that is introduced. • Question: This is the “what do we do now?” It flows from the complication. • Answer: This is the proposed resolution. It’s also the reason for the email. It gets better. It gets easier Last month I wrote more than a couple of difficult emails. Each time, I waited until evening. I waited until I was sufficiently calm, had the data I needed, was able to articulate what I wanted to happen, and could write it from a position where I could be polite. So, thank you Chris Lema for your sage advice. You can reach Chris at / APRIL 2021


Veterans Chamber of Commerce By Joseph Molina

Women Veterans in Business The number of women veterans keep rising steadily over the years due to an increase in the number of women entering and leaving the military. Women long before they were recognized officially have served in the military since the days of the revolutionary war, showing patriotism, sacrifice, courage, tenacity, leadership, sound judgment, resilience, all special qualities that are valued in military service.

Women have been a crucial asset to the military and we at the National Veterans Chamber want Honor and show our gratitude for their contribution. Unique challenges of women veterans in business Veterans who exit the military service may also have a hard time fitting with civilian life. Women may encounter more difficulties compared to their male counterparts. According to a survey conducted by the VA, the result shows that only about 1.4% of female Americans have served in the military in comparison with growth rate expected to increase to 16% by 2043, women are the fastest-growing segment in the veteran community. This may bring some unique challenges faced by women veterans, because of the steady increase in number. Women veterans are more likely to become entrepreneurs, maybe this is as a result of a necessity. Women veterans have an unemployment rate 4% higher than other women. While younger women veterans face a stark of over 20%. All these, in addition to the stigma from the society that makes it difficult to go from soldier to what the society expects to appropriate female behavior. Also, at the end of their service, unlike male counterparts who are easily seen as heroes and warriors, women have a harder time identifying as veterans. Another challenge female-veterans encounter in business is a lack of capital. 56 / APRIL 2021

Women veterans are more likely than males to secure government contracts. This was revealed in a recent study where women are less likely to go for loans even when their financial profiles were far better than their male counterparts. This may be in large part due to fear of being denied. How do women veterans fare in business? What we do know is that women veterans who are given the necessary tools, they end up doing great things in business. Women have proven to be a better risk factor when it comes to loans, women tend to make payments on time and are less likely to default. The traits that make women veterans successful in service are what makes them thrive in business too. Integrity, the ability to take initiative, a resilient spirit that adapts to changing and evolving situations, all unique traits that make successful business owners. Despite the challenges, the veterans who make it are twice as successful in terms of revenue and longevity.

According to statistics by the department of labor in 2012 alone, women veterans contributed to about 20b a 26% increase since 2007. Representing about 400,000 women veteran-owned businesses as of 2012 makes them the fastest-growing segment in the entrepreneurship community. To makes the picture clearer, this is over 200% increase from 2007. As a nation with futuristic ideals, it is not only a moral imperative but an economic one, that we take care of women veterans. These women reinvest and rededicate themselves to the future of our country, through service and through entrepreneurship. We must consider the unique challenges they face, and we should work towards adopting a better system that works to empower more women veterans immediately after service. Women veterans & business traits Some veterans are born with special personality traits that make them outstanding leaders coupled with the military training they undergo. This also plays a key role in how they take on their businesses. What they learn and the culture they embrace during service such as the ability to work as teams, leadership growth, early leadership, progress after failure, focus and execution, curious and knowledge seeker, action-oriented, thoroughly trained, are what makes an outstanding entrepreneur. In Summary: It is no surprise that women veterans are successful business owners. It is our duty as a Nation and as Veterans to support all Veteran-Entrepreneurs and to provide the tools and the set of skills one needs to succeed. Women-Veterans have demonstrated a unique ability to succeed in business and have shown to possess a set of skills and traits that are crucial to Entrepreneurial Success. The Veterans Chamber of Commerce Radio Show • Would you like to Nominate a Hero? Let us know and we will announce it on the show. • Would you like to share your story? Be our guest on the show – Complete the REQUEST FORM. • If you have any ideas or project that you would like to see Developed by the Veterans Chamber send your idea to:



Transitioning out of the Military into the Civilian Workforce? Finding a job in the civilian world may seem easy at first. After all, you have learned skills, practiced leadership and demonstrated initiative that will make you successful wherever you go. The reality, though, is that it can be difficult. In fact, it can be downright depressing, demotivating and you may feel totally disillusioned. Veterans In Transition is dedicated to you and to helping you succeed in your transition. For editorial & monthly columns regarding transitioning to business, career advice, tips, workshops, transition to education, entrepreneurship, straight-forward legal tips for military and veteran business owners and more, visit >




April 2021

The San Diego Veterans Coalition Salutes PsychArmor Institute of San Diego About PsychArmor PsychArmor Institute of San Diego (PAI) is a leading national nonprofit and preferred training provider that specializes in military cultural awareness and competency. PAI powers learning journeys, from continuing education to customized training, by creating rich learning ecosystems--inclusive of online courses, curricula, podcasts, webinars, live speaking, social media and so much more. The Problem You don’t know what you don’t know. PsychArmor exists to educate on military cultural competency. It’s a world that is overlooked and unknown. PAI is here to shed light, so people can address issues relevant to the military community with understanding and sensitivity. History of PsychArmor It all started in 2013, here in San Diego, CA. There was a glaring need for military cultural competency education for all industries. PyschArmor’s team of nationallyrecognized experts were ready and willing to step up to the plate and take on subjects like Military Culture, Mental Health, Suicide Prevention, Veterans, Caregivers, Transition, Employment, Ups, Downs, and everything in between. PsychArmor turned those discussions into best-inclass education and training. Now, PAI is empowering organizations and businesses of all shapes and sizes with the learning ecosystem they need to genuinely connect with military-affiliated communities. Over the years PsychArmor has come alongside and created custom learning for close partners such as: Amazon, Bank of America, Cigna, Verizon, United Way, TriWest and more. 58 / APRIL 2021

The Solution PsychArmor believes education and training equates to transformation. This transformation starts with humility, runs on awareness and results in genuine connection. That’s why PAI is committed to powering any organization’s learning journey. Powered by PsychArmor learners and organizations can collectively create impact and change. PsychArmor collaborates with public and private partners to deliver: Education: Custom course content designed to inspire awareness of the unique needs associated with military culture. Engagement: Diverse learning pathways so any and all learners can find the right fit for them. This includes curricula, toolkits, podcasts, articles and over 200+ online courses. Expertise: In people and in subject matters. That means capacity building, professional development, speaking engagements, trainings coupled with specific skills in topics such as suicide prevention, mental health awareness and employment. Evaluation: We measure the learner’s reaction, learning, behavior and results of our learning ecosystem. We conduct assessments and evaluations using qualitative and quantitative data to measure impact on individual learners and partner organizations. PsychArmor Institute is a passionate and significant supporter of the veteran’s community in San Diego County and an exemplary member of the SDVC. For additional information, please visit

The SDVC salutes Psycharmor Institute / APRIL 2021


Honor Ride 2021 Join us in supporting Honor Ride 2021!

WWII Paratroopers Tom Rice and Vincent J. Speranza, both featured in the Purple Foxes United story, will begin the ride with the “Pass the Torch” project. Rice who jumped on D-Day will "Pass the Torch" to Speranza, who came in as a replacement after the D-Day losses. Speranza will then lead Honor Ride 2021 from San Diego to the Vietnam Veterans Wall in Washington, D.C. Follow Vincent J. Speranza as he travels across the country to "Pass the Torch" onto the next generation spreading patriotism and honoring those who have fallen. Honor Ride 2021 launches on May 15th at Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial.

How can you support? Sponsorship, please contact: Purchase a dog tag representing the 1585 POW/MIA from the Vietnam War. To purchase a dog tag in honor or memory of a veteran, or to learn more about Purple Foxes and Honor Ride 2021, go to: 60 / APRIL 2021

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

800.797.2050 | / APRIL 2021


HIRE THE BEST AT NO RISK Employers LOVE Hiring Veterans!

A Veteran Owned Business Proudly Supporting Veterans, Military Spouses and Active Duty Military looking for work and employers needing great workers.

All-inclusive company memberships starting at $100/month provide: • Immediate access to quality talent • Unbeatable rates with no hidden costs • Unlimited job postings, unlimited use of local recruiters • Hire quickly with one click • Hire as permanent employee at any time with no rollover fee • Built in quality control & background checks • Hire on to our payroll to avoid risks and costs or put your current employees / temps on our payroll - no liability, no cost of turnover

Join the Band of Hands Network to Start Hiring Talent at No Risk TODAY! 62

Contact Eve Nasby, President of Band of Hands and passionate military supporter to learn more and get started. / APRIL 2021 / APRIL 2021


Choose a Medicare plan that serves those who served You deserve a Medicare plan that always has your back. That’s why UnitedHealthcare® has a wide range of Medicare Advantage plans designed to complement the health benefits you already receive for your service. The UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage Patriot plan includes the freedom to visit doctors and hospitals in our large network for a $0 monthly premium.

It’s time to take advantage.

Learn more about Medicare Advantage plans designed to complement your VA or TRICARE For Life benefits.

1-855-322-1158, TTY 711 You do not have to be a veteran to be eligible for this plan. Plans are insured through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or one of its affiliated companies, a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in the plan depends on the plan’s contract renewal with Medicare. Benefits, features and/or devices vary by plan/area. Limitations and exclusions apply. Network size varies by market. ©2020 United HealthCare Services, Inc. All rights reserved. Y0066_200911_104349_M SRPJ59083

64 / APRIL 2021

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