San Diego Veterans Magazine August 2021

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VETERANS Vol. 3 Number 8 • August 2021




What You Need To Know

Dog Days of Summer Tribute to Service Dogs

Helping PAWS Shelter To Soldier Paws For Purple Hearts

San Diego

Veteran of the Month What’s Next TRANSITION TO Civilian Life

Social Awkwardness Post COVID





Current & Past Issues Available at







San Diego


PLEDGE - SALUTE “Welcome Home” Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration

The Science of PTSD

UCSD - Healthy Eating

Brain Injury Awareness VetCaregiver Self Check-In



Veteran of the Month

Women’s History Month



The Month of Independence Why Women’s Military History is Important



Tour of Honor

Beauty & the Beat

The Final Mission

How Music Unites Us

CYBERATTACKS Our Personal Security



Catalina Island


Enlisted To Entrepreneur

San Diego Veterans Organizations A Call For Community

To Civilian Life

LEGAL EAGLE Military Money



Veterans Finding Friends

A State of Readiness

Enlisted To Entrepreneur

Enlisted To Entrepreneur


A Different Lens - TBI

Resources • Support • Transition • Community

Resources • Support • Transition • Community / JUNE 2019 1 / JULY 2019 1

San Diego Veterans Magazine / MARCH 2019 1

“San Diego’s BEST Community Resource for All Veterans, Transitioning Military Personnel and Military Families”

Subscriptions Available Contact Mike Miller (858) 275-4281





Vol. 1 Number 12 • December 2019

Vol. 2 Number 9 • September 2020

San Diego

“My Life, My Joy”

San Diego

Pearl Harbor Survivor

Veteran of the Month

0755 HOURS

What’s Next

Transition to Civilian Life

What’s Next

Election Season


Enlisted To Entrepreneur



Patriotic Advocate

Christmas Soldier

Art & Healing

CJ Machado

Veteran of the Month


Finding Help and Hope



Army NAvy




America’s Game



Arts & Healing Covid Coaster 1 / SEPTEMBER 2020


HOMELAND / January 2018 1

2 / AUGUST 2021

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6/18/21 4:43 PM


1441 Encinitas Blvd., #110 • 760-944-1534

DEL MAR (Across from the Fairgrounds) 15555 Jimmy Durante Blvd • 858-794-9676



1231 Camino Del Rio South • 619-298-9571


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Golf Tournament - Friday, November 5, 2021 at Singing Hills Golf Resort

5/10k Trail Run - Saturday, November 6, 2021 at Sycuan Casino Resort

For more information and to register for the Golf Tournament & Run go to Walk for the Fallen aims to honor American veterans while raising awareness about the struggles they often face after serving, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Suicide. Walk for the Fallen has partnered with Sycuan Casino Resort and proceeds will benefit Veterans Association of North County, and All Star Vets,

Your Support Makes A Difference!

4 / AUGUST 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. / AUGUST 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 / AUGUST 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 (Ashley Tatum) 10 Midway Magic - Selflessness of Service 12 History of Service Dogs 14 Shelter to Soldier Veteran-Graduate 16 Helping Paws 20 Paws for Purple Hearts 24 Service Dogs - What You Need To Know 26 Pet Custody Agreements 28 Real Talk: Permanent Change of Station 30 LENS: Social Awkwardness Post COVID 32 Veteran Gives Wings to Aspiring Pilots 36 The 8 Second Resume 38 What’s Next: Trust HOPE 40 Enlisted to Entrepreneur: The Power of Focus 44 HR - EQ Leaders Excel 46 Healthcare Careers - A Perfect Fit 52 Veterans Chamber - The Military Mom 54 SDVC - Battle Buddies 56 VANC - Announcements Cover Photo by: © Allison Shamrell Pet Photography - San Diego, CA / AUGUST 2021


VETERan of the month San Diego - August 2021 By Amber Robinson Ashley Tatum, U.S. Navy Veteran Sitting with Ashley Tatum in her spacious office at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic, I can see why her clients enjoy her so much. The room is decorated warmly, but with comforting items like a blanket and pictures of family. Ashley is dressed like happiness itself in a brightly colored top and hot pink pumps. But what makes time with Ashley so pleasant is that her energy is just as comforting and bright. A Navy veteran, Ashley entered the service in 2002 in Ohio at the age of 18. During her senior year the attacks on the world trade center happened. Although many of her friends went into service, she decided to go to college. That is, until she toured a campus and learned just how much college costs. As one of nine siblings, she knew there was no way her family could afford the pricey tuition. “There was really not enough money for any of us to go to college,” said Tatum. “So I went to the recruiter’s office.” Unsure of the job she wanted to do in service, Tatum joined as “undesignated”. After she completed basic in Ohio she went to Florida for some generalized training and finally landed in California for her first duty station. “And I’ve been here ever since!” said Tatum. Where she originally landed was a small duty station called Point Mugu Naval Air Station, just south of Santa Barbara. Tatum hardly had time to unpack before she left on deployment aboard a ship, still without an official job. It wasn’t until she approached the rank of E4 that she was forced to finally choose a rate. Up until then her unit had her work on the ship’s flight deck, launching and recovering aircraft. At the time, Tatum said she knew she didn’t want to do that forever. 8 / AUGUST 2021

“It was hot, getting up to 120 degrees out there in the gulf,” Tatum said. “I was over it.” She then agreed to a job as an AZ or as part of the Aviation Maintenance Administration. The job would allow her to stay inside, cool and clean, which sounded great to Tatum. But, Tatum served for two more years on the flight deck before she was finally able to do her job. By that time, she was an E5 with subordinates who she enjoyed mentoring. When the time finally came for her to work in a cool, clean office it was not quite what she wanted anymore. “Time just crawled by,” said Tatum. “Time already goes slow enough while deployed, but this just made it worse!” But, by that time she was on her third deployment. When she came home again, Tatum transferred to shore duty and left active duty shortly after. She then completed two years in the Naval Reserves as a yeoman. “I then left the service to support my husband’s career,” said Tatum. Tatum met her husband in 2005 while underway. In her last few years of service she and he married and had kids. It was in those years as a now stay-at-home mom that Tatum began to experience transition difficulties. “I had a real struggle with identity when I got out,” said Tatum. “When you have the uniform on people can take one look at your shirt and know where you’ve been and what you’ve done. When you switch that up to now wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt every day, there is a real loss of self.” Tatum said she found herself bringing up her service and deployments as often as possible in various conversations as a way to validate herself.

Her husband was sent on back to back deployments leaving her home alone to deal with the kids. “I found myself being angry and bitter,” said Tatum. “I’d see my husband or friends going on deployment and feel jealous.” But, above all, Tatum said it gave her time with her kids she missed out on when she was an active duty mom. “I had to put them into daycare at six weeks old and return back to work, full time. I was working 12 hour shifts, so I feel there was some time I missed out on,” said Tatum. There were many adjustments Tatum made in the nine years she stayed home with her kids. She was finally diagnosed with anxiety in 2010 and has been in therapy ever since. But, in 2014 she made the decision to finally get into school. “I went into the service to get an education,” said Tatum. “Now, over a decade later I thought it was just about time I started to use those benefits.” Tatum got her Bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration then shortly after got her master’s degree too. Her determination and work ethic really began to shine as she completed her internship for her master’s degree at the VA Medical Center in La Jolla which earned her National University’s Intern of the Year. “My project was working in the facility’s mailroom, figuring out ways to save them money,” said Tatum. “I figured out a way to save them $20,000 that first year with a plan for it to increase in the years to come.” What Tatum discovered was a lot of homeless veterans were using the VA clinic as their address of residence. So when the VA sent out a reminder to them about their upcoming appointments, they were simply sending it back to themselves. She also initiated a change in the materials used for mailing, going from heavier, more expensive materials, to lighter, much more affordable ones.

When asked, Tatum says her immediate goal is to become certified to officially treat her clients. A certification she will have by the end of August. Many become comfortable with Tatum as a case manager. They are excited that they can soon count on her for counseling as well. But when you ask Tatum what she wants to do in five years time she has a much more robust answer. Tatum recounts meeting the director of the VA who has her master’s degree in Healthcare Administration too. She noted to Tatum “I see you have the same degree as me! How are you going to use it?” “Honestly?,” said Tatum, “I’m coming for YOUR job.” In five years Tatum also hopes to be wrapping up her doctorate degree. Her days of feeling anxious, unseen and ineffectual after service are now replaced with dreams of just how far she can go to affect positive change for her fellow veterans.

It was during this internship that she got a job interview with Cohen. Now she is able to use those mental health struggles she encountered to encourage others who are seeking help. As Cohen’s only Case Manager, she helps veterans like herself get in touch with the resources they need for any problem they may face from anxiety like her own to homelessness and drug addiction. “I compile a folder of resources for the veteran to use for their specific issues and can even call different resources on the veteran’s behalf” said Tatum. Nico working with Navy veteran Ann Marie O’Quinn / AUGUST 2021


Selflessness of Service He was on combat patrol in Vietnam’s Cam Lo Valley in the spring of 1968 when his platoon came under enemy fire. A Navy corpsman, his job was simple - keep his comrades alive during combat. Crawling down the line, he felt something strike him in the back. He paused momentarily, but did not falter. Moments later, while treating a wounded Marine, he was hit it again. Driven, he kept going. He then spent several hours moving the injured to where medical evacuation (medivac) helicopters could fly them out of harm’s way. Robert Berns was a 21-year-old corpsman. He didn’t know it at the time, but he had a bullet lodged against his spine. More visible, another round had ripped through his hand. He was lucky to be alive. The Marines in his platoon, however, were even luckier he was there to save them. In the heat of battle, Berns was devoted to something bigger than himself. “I was strongly committed to my Marines,” said Berns, a native of Youngstown, Ohio. “We were all there together with a job to do and my commitment was to aid injured Marines.” For his wounds, but mainly for his heroism, he would later be awarded the Purple Heart.

Robert Berns 10 / AUGUST 2021

August is the month when the United States pays tribute to those wounded or killed in combat. National Purple Heart Day is observed each year on Aug. 7 to commemorate the creation of the oldest American decoration for military merit. Initiated by General George Washington in 1782, the Purple Heart is presented to service members for any singularly meritorious action on the battlefield. The award also symbolizes the courage and devotion of the American patriot. Berns’ action in combat more than embodied the bravery and selflessness of an American patriot. In 1963, Bob Werner lied about his age, and at 16 enlisted in the Navy. Joining the Navy was something he always wanted to do. Like Berns, Werner was also a combat corpsman assigned to a Marine unit in Vietnam. “It was a viciously hot and humid day,” reflected Werner on a Marine patrol in 1965 near Da Nang. “Suddenly we started taking small-arms fire. A mortar landed just a few feet in front on me and the next thing I knew I was laying on my back in a rice paddy.

Bob Werner

I came to my knees and noticed that there were several shrapnel wounds on my chest and I was bleeding profusely.”

He paused long enough to check his injuries and decided they weren’t serious. He got back to his feet, blood still pouring from his chest, and moved up to help a group of wounded Marines. Werner was wounded twice more before being rotated back to the United States. For his gallantry, and without fanfare, he was awarded multiple Purple Hearts. Robert Berns and Bob Werner, like so many others, are quiet American heroes. While their selflessness in combat often goes unspoken, they didn’t let their loyalty to others end on the battlefield. Equally committed to their community, both are now volunteer docents for the USS Midway Museum. Today, more than 50 years later, they subtly share their Navy experiences and the importance of military service with millions of museum visitors every year. “I find it very rewarding to see the smiles on the faces of the guests, especially the children, as they learn about the ship,” said Werner, a San Gabriel, Calif. native who spent a career working in the metals industry after leaving the Navy. “I feel it is very important to remember our past and important events in our history such as World War II and Vietnam.” “I started volunteering as a docent on the Midway in 2016,” said Berns who has more than 3,600 volunteer hours at the museum. “The satisfaction of being a Midway volunteer comes from helping guests understand the dedication of the military to serving the country and protecting our freedoms.” Like the bond they developed five decades ago with the Marines they served with in Vietnam, Berns and Werner have found a similar esprit de corps as volunteers helping Midway visitors. “What I enjoy most is the camaraderie with the other volunteers,” said Berns, a retired family physician. “The closeness with other volunteers is what I experienced in the military and have not experienced anywhere else.” They were unselfish while in uniform and continue to be noble servants to the community today. “When I leave the ship at the end of a watch, I find myself smiling,” said Werner, who has been a Midway volunteer docent for nearly six years.” / AUGUST 2021


Dog Days

of Summer “Everyone Why is this timethinks of year,they have the best dog. And none forty of them approximately daysare fromwrong.” early July to early September, referred to as the ‘Dog Days’ of Summer?

Many people believe the phrase “dog days of summer” stems from the fact that dogs tend to be a bit on the lazy side during the hottest days of summer. Of course, who can blame them? With that much fur, dogs that exercise during the hot days of summer can overheat easily. We have all heard the myths about Dog Days, most of which focus around our canine friends, which is why the old folks say this time of year is called Dog Days. Some of the myths are: Hunting dogs will not hunt, dogs go mad and foam at the mouth for no apparent reason, snakes go blind and strike at anything that comes near them, (dogs in particular), no use in going fishing because the fish will not bite, wounds and sores will not heal, if it rains on the first day of Dog Days, it will rain every day for the next 40 days, or the opposite-if it does not rain on the first day of Dog Days then it will not rain for 40 days, and the list of myths goes on. 12 / AUGUST 2021

Sometimes myths are just myths. Handed down from generation to generation, but the real origination of this time of year being dubbed Dog Days, is based on a partial myth also. The term Dog Days was coined in ancient Rome, and was named after the star Sirius, the Dog Star, which is the brightest star besides the sun. It was thought that due to the rising and setting of Sirius at around the same time of the sun each day this time of year, that Sirius added its heat to the sun’s heat, thereby making the days hotter. Hence the term Dogs Days. Our modern day usage of the term has little to do with Sirius or his alleged wrath. We use the term Dog Days to refer to anything that is slow, lazy or languishing. I think the best way to appease the wrath of Sirius is to gather up my canine friends and find a hilltop breeze or go stagnate on the couch in front of the air-conditioning or maybe hit the beach and enjoy the San Diego cool ocean breeze.


Have you ever wondered about the first service dogs? Who trained them and what types of tasks did they perform? Were dogs considered “family members” as they are today? Or were they nothing more than tools? We thought it would be interesting to take a quick look at the history of service dogs and how their roles evolved over time. DOGS AS COMPANIONS Nobody knows exactly when dogs and humans first forged their inseparable bonds. The oldest dog ever found was a perfectly preserved puppy found frozen in the permafrost in the Far East. Scientists estimate its age to be about 12000 years old. We know that Ancient Egyptians kept both cats and dogs and valued them enough to take them along into the afterlife. Dog mummies have been found from as early as the sixth century B.C. and in Peru, a burial place dating back to 900 A.D. holds individual plots for both dogs and their owners. The evidence is strong that dogs have played an important role in men’s lives for a very long time. EVIDENCE OF DOGS AS SERVICE ANIMALS When, though, did dogs first begin to help those with disabilities? One of the first known references to service dogs is found in Ancient Rome. Frescoes depict blind men being led by dogs and Ancient Chinese scrolls talk of the same. In America, one of the first well-known seeing eye dogs made history in 1928. Buddy and his blind owner, Morris Frank, publicly demonstrated how his dog could guide the visually impaired by having him navigate a busy New York intersection. Since then, guide dogs have been publicly accepted and sought for those with vision problems. THE MODERN SERVICE DOG It wasn’t until the 1960’s that service dogs for those other than the blind began to be trained and recognized. For the hearing impaired, dogs could signal a crying baby, a telephone, or the sound of sirens.

As time went on, dogs became companions for autistic children and soldiers suffering PTSD. Today, a service dog can be trained for all manner of tasks. • Recognizing the onset of seizures. • Notification of blood sugar issues. • Stability and many others. But, the role of the modern service dog wasn’t really defined until the American with Disabilities Act of 1990. That particular law was written to prohibit discrimination based on disabilities, but it also defined the rights of service dogs. The ADA defines service dogs (or animals) as being TRAINED to perform tasks for a person with disabilities. They are not just companions, though they also fill that role. Service dogs are caregivers, nurses, and assistants. SERVICE DOG LAWS Today, the role of “service dog” has broadened to the point that new laws are required. Whereas it was once understood, that a service dog was trained to execute a specific task, people will now try to take untrained animals into public access areas. These dogs are often for emotional support as opposed to being trained to perform physical tasks. For those who have invested time and money in their trained? service dogs, this can present a source of frustration. HOW TO LEARN MORE ABOUT TRAINED SERVICE DOGS For anyone wanting more information on how to acquire a trained service dog or how you can train your own dog to become one, please feel free to contact us. White Mountain College for Pets (603) 536-4219 / AUGUST 2021


Shelter to Soldier Veteran-Graduate Dustin Potash Appointed Veteran Advocate and Case Manager By Eva M. Stimson In his newly appointed position as Shelter to Soldier (STS) Veteran Advocate and Case Manager, Dustin A. Potash (US Army), values how important it is to navigate through the application process for donated service dogs offered by the STS program to post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The challenges experienced by our veteran applicants are all too familiar for Dustin, and he utilizes his passion, understanding and desire to help other veterans continue to forge ahead, as he has done. Dustin welcomes this as an opportunity to help his fellow comrades, as he personally sought a solution through STS. Dustin is particularly qualified for his new position at Shelter to Soldier, having experienced the extensive training he went through during the process himself. He successfully graduated through the STS curriculum and was paired with his compassionate service dog, Nigel.

According to Dustin, “I joined the Army in 2002 and was training as an Artilleryman at Fort Sill, OK. My first duty station was at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. In 2003 I was deployed to Iraq during the first invasion. My job was to follow the infantry and shoot artillery rounds into enemy defenses so that the infantry could continue to move forward. Once we moved forward, we would drive through the destruction and saw firsthand the damage we caused. I did this for the entire year I was in Iraq. No one should be subject to the sights and events I witnessed while in war Later in my career, I would escort fallen soldiers to their hometowns as well as notify next of kin of their loved one’s death. During my twelve-year career, I always knew that something was off in me, but I could never talk about it or admit there was something wrong. I was taught in the military never to complain and learned very quickly how to hide and suppress my emotions. There was no outlet for me to talk about what was going on. All I knew was to put the left foot in front of the right and keep moving forward. Everyone has a breaking point and mine occurred in 2013. My mind and body just couldn’t take any more pain so I decided to leave the Military in 2014.

“If it weren’t for STS, I don’t know if I’d still be around… they are like an extended family for me”

Photo by: © Allison Shamrell Pet Photography San Diego, CA

14 / AUGUST 2021

In 2013, I was diagnosed with PTSD with Major Depressive Disorder. During my last year in the military I started to see a therapist to address my symptoms. I was having panic attacks, nightmares, night terrors, hypervigilence, anxiety, and I was isolating from friends and family. It was very difficult for me to talk to someone who did not share the same experiences as I did. Finally, in 2014, I was honorably discharged from the Army and was now on my own to deal with my PTSD. Now out of the military and away from any support, I had my first suicidal thoughts. I remember sitting in my car deciding if I was going to end my life to stop the emotional pain I was in. As I was sitting in my car contemplating suicide, I saw someone walking a dog and for a split second, it took my mind off my suicidal thoughts. As I followed them I noticed that they were walking into a shelter and I had a thought that maybe I needed a dog to be in my life. That’s when STS came to my rescue.” Dustin elaborates, “If it weren’t for STS, I don’t know if I’d still be around…they are like an extended family for me. I have had suicidal thoughts since 2013, but they helped me overcome these thoughts by pairing me with my wonderful therapeutic companion (STS service dog), Nigel. STS has been nothing but a positive resource in my life. I am extraordinarily grateful to my sponsor UNITE Hair and Shelter to Soldier for providing me with a new positive outlook on life. I think one of the most impressive characteristics of STS is that they initially contacted me within 24 hours of my inquiry…without a doubt, they are highly dedicated to helping veterans like me in desperate, immediate need. It is no exaggeration to say that they helped save my life.” Additional veterans have benefitted from transformative experiences through the STS program. Chris MeyerOntiveros, US Army and service dog Jade, “I have been diagnosed with severe and chronic depression, PTSD, and multiple traumatic brain injuries while in service. I had tremendous issues getting out of the house where the walls felt like they were closing in on me, including lots of anxiety, depression, night terrors every night and issues in social situations. Jade has had a tremendous impact on my life. I do not know if I would still be around today if it was not for her.” Teri McConnell, USN (Ret.) elaborates on her STS journey with her service dog Riddler, “After returning home from deployment, things took a very downward turn for me. I lost a close friend onboard our ship while I was on watch during a collision.

I was constantly on the tipping point of rage at everyone and everything that reminded me of the accident and my friend’s death. I started to have night terrors where I would wake up screaming two -to-three times per night. STS paired me with Riddler and it’s no exaggeration to say that he has made everything better. He literally watches my back for me when I can’t stand with my back against a wall. “ Witnessing the hands-on affect that rescued, trained service dogs have on the lives of military veterans has motivated Shelter to Soldier executives, staff and board members to advance their mission of Saving Lives, Two at a Time™. Graham Bloem, Shelter to Soldier President explains, “What started as an idea has, thanks to our dedicated team, blossomed into a highly impactful program that is forever changing the lives of deserving shelter dogs and veterans who need our support. We are so proud of all that Shelter to Soldier has accomplished, from the small victories we see in training sessions, to the big life moments our veterans and service dogs experience together. This program is a small expression of gratitude that we can provide to these brave men and women who have sacrificed so much to protect our country.”

About Shelter to Soldier Shelter to Soldier is a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that adopts dogs from local shelters and trains them to become psychiatric service dogs for post9/11 combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or other psychological injuries. Shelter to Soldier Co Founder, Graham Bloem is the recipient of the American Red Cross Real Heroes Award, 10News Leadership Award, CBS8 News Change It Up Award, Honeywell Life Safety Award, and the 2016 Waggy Award. Additionally, Shelter to Soldier is accredited by the Patriot’s Initiative. To learn more about veteran-support services provided by STS, call 760-870-5338 for a confidential interview regarding eligibility.

Testimonial Video (Adam & Bash) - / AUGUST 2021


Helping Paws

Helping Vets by Saving Pets By Hannah Jaime No pet should cross the Rainbow Bridge too soon; especially because of money. That was imperative in Kal-El Prestel’s case because his dog dad is deployed to Africa. The Chocolate Lab is one of many pets Helping Paws has worked diligently to save the past two weeks. Since 2013, we have helped 2,668 dogs and cats and are proud to say all but a handful had a happy ending.

Just before that mournful decision, he found Helping Paws. His sister rushed Kal-El to Mohnacky Animal Hospital of Vista, which is a participating animal hospital. We immediately covered the cost of intensive treatment. Staff cradled his drooping head all day and closely monitored him. In what seemed like a miracle, Dr. Caitlin Sacco stabilized his heart rate, turned his vitals around and brought him back from the brink of death. “That is seriously so amazing, and it helps tremendously,” SPC. Prestel said. “I’ve been speechless with the support.” Kal-El was transferred to a clinic with overnight care, and we connected Prestel with additional resources. The pup proved true to his name and regained strength.

This was the first time we were dealing with a superhero. “Kal-El [is] the birth name of the coolest superhero ever, Superman, aka Clark Kent,” SFC Joshua Prestel explained. Helping Paws helps keep service members like Prestel united with their pets by providing low and no-cost veterinary care for troops and veterans in need. Without our 501(c)(3), a lot of military families would face the heartbreaking decision of premature relinquishment, or worse, economic euthanasia. Prestel is among our nation’s bravest as an elite Army Special Operations Civil Affairs soldier. In July, the people watching Kal-El could no longer care for him. Prestel paid to send him from the east coast to his sister in San Diego. What happened was harrowing. “After a nightmare experience with a pet shipping company by car, Kal had to be rushed to the emergency vet and was in critical condition,” he explained. Doctors suspect Kal-El was lacking food and water for days and likely suffered a heat stroke. He was bleeding out of both ends as organ failure sank its clutches in. One look at his desolate eyes, and death seemed imminent. “The medical expenses racked up extremely quickly,” he explained via email. “Into the 10s of thousands of dollars. I simply cannot keep him [in] the hospital any longer.” Euthanasia seemed inevitable, but losing his best bud without saying goodbye would be unbearable. 16 / AUGUST 2021

Prestel & Kal-El

He was standing and eating on his own, and his eyes beamed with life again. “He [seems to] be getting much, much better,” a hopeful Prestel reported. “I am hoping tomorrow night my family can take him home and start giving him love.” Doctors continued treatment. “[He] hasn’t kicked the pneumonia yet, but that is his only issue at this time thankfully,” Prestel explained.

ABOUT US Craig J. Mohnacky, DVM, started Helping Paws to give back to our veterans. We operate out of three animal hospitals in a county that’s home to the world’s largest military population. Many vets are plagued by post-war battles. Pets are a source of comfort for vets with Post Traumatic Stress, depression and anxiety. They have a way of unlocking the mental shackles of war. Some vets have said they would have ended their life without our help.

During the same time period, we helped save four gravely ill and injured pets whose families could not afford treatment. All veterans had been discussing euthanasia as the only option. Prestel is also an Air Force veteran. He currently works with leaders to dismantle violent extremist organizations. They utilize negotiating skills, cultural awareness and foreign languages to help people. As the type of soldier who wears civilian clothes, Prestel knows a thing or two about a secret identity. He fights evil to protect vulnerable people caught in crisis zones, which we think seems reminiscent of a certain superhero. Kal-El’s super strength was no match for the pneumonia that infiltrated his lungs. Prestel recorded a voice message telling his four-legged son he loves him. We accept cases like this knowing we might not be able to fundraise to recoup funds because our efforts are unwavering. Part of what makes us unique is that we do not turn animals away when the outlook is not good. Sadly, Kal-El is one of the pets we helped who crossed the Rainbow Bridge, but not because of money. This Winter, Prestel will return to a quiet home, but we helped give his boy his best shot at survival when he was rendered helpless. Until then, Prestel’s selfless Superman-esque mission of “Truth, Justice and the American way” continues despite his heartache. It is a life chock-full of sacrifice. Kal-El may have been Prestel’s hero, but Prestel is ours, and we will always fight to serve those who serve our country.

WHAT VETS ARE SAYING ”Hannah Jaime was so helpful with our case and made sure we got help for our fur baby. You really did save my fur baby's life, and we appreciate you so much.” -Nova’s Mom “Our family is so thankful for Helping Paws. If your pet is in need, and you're looking for your last chance this is it. We are so happy to have our baby home with us.” -Gunner’s Dad “I feel very fortunate, and the help couldn't have come at a better time. You and Helping Paws have saved the day.” - Arnee’s Dad


Interact with us on mediamedia Interact with ussocial on social Donate at Give in-kind donations Give donations Be ain-kind corporate sponsor Be a corporate sponsor on AmazonSmile Give 0.5% of purchases Give 0.5% of purchases on AmazonSmile Leave your legacy by including us in your will Leave your legacy by including us in your will Join our Board of Directors Join our Board of Directors The average case costs around $1,000. We rely on community support. Visit us at

Visit us at Donate at / AUGUST 2021


FREE ASSISTANCE DOGS FOR VETERANS Our assistance dogs master more than 40 commands to assist veterans with disabilities with daily tasks. DONATE. APPLY. VOLUNTEER. 800.572.BARK

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— Special Military discounts— As a thank you for your service, we’re proud to offer special military pricing!

25% Discount

on adoption fees with proof of active duty SAN DIEGO CAMPUS 5500 Gaines St. San Diego, CA 92110 619-299-7012

OCEANSIDE CAMPUS 2905 San Luis Rey Road (Dogs) 572 Airport Road (Cats & small animals) Oceanside, CA 92058 619-299-7012

ESCONDIDO CAMPUS 3500 Burnet Drive Escondido, CA 92027 619-299-7012

For more information about our military support, visit or follow us on / AUGUST 2021


Canine Assisted Warrior Therapy Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy®is a unique therapeutic intervention. This Program focuses on creating opportunities for positive meaningful interaction with our service dogs in-training. Guided by our highly experienced Program Instructors, in partnership with professional therapists, Warriors get the chance to reinforce commands and behaviors that are vital for a service-dog-in-training. Paws for Purple Hearts improves the lives of America’s Warriors (Veterans and active-duty service members) facing mobility challenges and trauma-related conditions such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) by providing the highest quality assistance dogs and canine-assisted therapeutic programs; and by building public awareness about the important role dogs play in helping Warriors along the road to recovery.

They regain a sense of purpose in accomplishing a critical mission - training a life-long service companion for another comrade. Through this program, each dog will positively impact the lives of 40 – 60 Warriors.

At Paws for Purple Hearts, we train and place three different types of assistance dogs. Facility dogs can be found in a VA, DOD, or similar office visiting Veterans to bring joy throughout a facility. Specialist therapy dogs work with a clinician to improve the patients’ treatment. Finally, service dogs are trained specifically for a Warrior in-need. Service Dogs Our service dogs learn over 100 commands making them more than capable of serving the most demanding category of mobility impaired Warrior, a quadriplegiclevel patient. This provides the Military Caregiver dramatic respite and logistical relief because our dogs can carry out many routine, repetitive and physically demanding tasks that would otherwise have to be accomplished by the caregiver, including picking up dropped objects, retrieving items, opening refrigerator doors, assisting with undressing, switching lights and other devices on and off, opening and closing doors, providing assistance moving to and from wheelchairs, etc. We provide our dogs to Warrior recipients and their families, free of charge. This provides immediate and significant financial relief to the Warrior and to their Military Caregivers, as they are not burdened with bearing the cost of our service dogs in order to benefit from the services and companionship gained. This is a significant benefit given that it takes about $35,000 to raise a top-tier service dog. Our service dogs are also involved in programs throughout their training that help more Veterans other than the ones they are being placed with.

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Social Therapy Social Therapy uses the unique skills of our service dogs in-training to bring comfort and joy while reducing stress in the lives of America’s heroes. Versions of these programs are developed for both Veterans and active-duty service members. Our trainers and dogs will travel directly to our Warriors for this therapy or we host it directly at our sites. This interaction is also very imperative to our dog’s training, as this helps them learn positive interactions and gets them comfortable with meeting new people.

Meet one of our Warriors In January 2020, our San Diego site placed Ralph as a facility dog at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Clinic in San Jose, California. His handler, Lori, has enjoyed watching him excel in his environment where he improves the lives of Veterans through therapy and counseling sessions. Shortly after being placed, the pandemic hit so this affected the way that Ralph was able to interact and make contact with Veterans, but it was actually much more impactful than imagined. The pandemic was incredibly difficult on healthcare workers, so the staff began spending more time interacting with Ralph during their morning huddles and breaks. His loving and friendly nature gave them a dose of comfort and emotional encouragement while they were busy being healthcare heroes. “From the minute I walk into the clinic, people are asking to meet with him,” says Lori. We love to follow the success of our graduated dogs and hear the touching stories of all the lives that they impact. Watching Ralph has brought us overwhelming amounts of joy. Community Involvement In just three years, the San Diego team has hosted over 1,000 hours of Canine-Assisted Warrior Therapy® for 147 Veterans and Service Members. What started as a small service dog training program from the home of two instructors has since evolved into a 10,000+ square foot facility providing therapy programs and assistance dogs for wounded Veterans. The San Diego team looks forward to continuing to improve the lives of America’s Warriors thanks to the generous support of our community. “It’s amazing to see how much we have grown and accomplished,” says Selah M., Senior Program Instructor. “I forget that just a few years ago, we were training service dogs from our homes and now we are in this huge facility with dozens of dogs, volunteers, and Veterans coming through our doors every week.” The dedication and loyalty of our community and supporters keeps Paws for Purple Hearts growing in the right direction. You can find out how to get involved by volunteering or donating on our website, Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @paws4ph or Text purplepaws to 707070 to donate today! / AUGUST 2021



WOUNDS WE CANNOT SEE Post Traumatic Stress Disorder does not always allow the affected to seek help. Lend a hand and provide them with methods of help, listen and be a friend.


San Diego Veterans Magazine works with nonprofit veteran organizations that help more than one million veterans in lifechanging ways each year.




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At San Diego Veterans Magazine you can visit our website for all current and past articles relating to PTSD, symptoms, resources and real stories of inspiration.

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Service dogs for: PTSD MST TBI For veterans from all wartime and peacetime eras

Next Step Service Dogs To donate or apply, please contact us at Office: (760) 607-9964 / AUGUST 2021


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

Service Dogs

And What You Need To Know Many people with disabilities use a service animal in order to fully participate in everyday life. Dogs can be trained to perform many important tasks to assist people with disabilities, such as providing stability for a person who has difficulty walking, picking up items, preventing a child with autism from wandering away, or altering a person who has hearing loss when someone is approaching from behind. The Department of Justice continues to receive many questions about how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to service animals. The ADA requires State and local government agencies, businesses, and non-profit organizations (“covered entities”) that provide goods or services to the public to make “reasonable modifications” in their policies, practices, or procedures when necessary to accommodate people with disabilities. The ADA defines a service animal as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability. Here are some frequently asked questions pertaining to service dogs: Q: Does the ADA require service animals to be professionally trained? A: No. People with disabilities have the right to train the dog themselves and are not required to use a professional service dog training program. Q: What questions can a covered entity ask to determine if a dog is a service animal? A: In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, staff may ask only two specific questions: 24 / AUGUST 2021

1) Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? 2) What work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability. Q: Do service animals have to wear a vest or patch or special harness identifying them as service animals? A: No. The ADA does not require service animals to wear a vest, ID tag, or specific harness. Q: Does the ADA require that service animals be certified as service animals? A: No. Covered entities may not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal, as a condition for entry. Q: Can service animals be any breed of dog? A: Yes. The ADA does not restrict the type of dog breeds that can be service animals. Q: Can individuals with disabilities be refused access to a facility based solely on the breed of their service animal? A: No. A Service animal may not be excluded based on assumptions or stereotypes about the animal’s breed or how the animal might behave. However, if a particular service animal behaves in a way that poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, has a history of such behavior, or is not under the control of the handler, that animal may be excluded. Q: Can a person bring a service animal with them as they go through a salad bar or other self-service food lines? A: Yes. Service animals must be allowed to accompany their handlers to and through self-service food lines. Similarly, service animals may not be prohibited from communal food preparation areas, such as are commonly found in shelters or dormitories.

Q: Can hotels assign designated rooms for guests with service animals, out of consideration for other guests? A: No. A guest with a disability who uses a service animal must be provided the same opportunity to reserve any available room at the hotel as other guests without disabilities. They may not be restricted to pet friendly rooms.

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Q: Can hotels charge a cleaning fee for guests who have service dogs? A: No. Hotels are not permitted to charge guests for cleaning the hair or dander shed by a service animal. However, if a guest’s service animal causes damages to a guest room, a hotel is permitted to charge the same fee for damages as charged to other guests. Q: When can service animals be excluded? A: The ADA does not require covered entities to modify policies, practices, or procedures if it would “fundamentally alter” the nature of the goods, services, programs, or activities provided to the public. Nor does it overrule legitimate safety requirements. If someone believes that they have been illegally denied access or service because they use service animals, they may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice. Individuals also have the right to file a private lawsuit in Federal court charging the entity with discrimination under the ADA.

Award-winning attorney, Kelly Bagla shows you how to avoid legal pitfalls FROM DAY ONE! The last thing an entrepreneur wants is to spend valuable time and resources on legal issues, which is why they often drop to the bottom of the pile. But this can be a COSTLY MISTAKE—and Go Legal Yourself is here to make sure it’s one you avoid. 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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Legally Speaking Military Focused Family Law Facts By Tana Landau, Esq.

Pet Custody Agreements Most people consider their pets to be part of the family - they are more than just a piece of property. Since January 1, 2019, judges in California may now award sole or joint custody of a pet to either party going through a divorce based on the best interest of the pet. This means that pet owners can now also have legally enforceable stipulations, orders, or judgments issued regarding the care of their pets. Since divorce is stressful enough, particularly where children are involved, you may not want to add the stress of litigating the care of your beloved animal. Consider working out an agreement with your former spouse when you both are wanting to keep your pet. You may be asking yourself, but what does a pet custody agreement look like? Pet custody agreements can be structured very similar to a child custody agreement. What to Include in a Pet Custody Agreement Your pet custody agreement should delineate whether you or your spouse will have sole or joint ownership of your pet. If you are going to share in the physical custody and care of your pet, the agreement should specify a visitation schedule that sets forth when your pet will be in your care and your former spouse’s care.

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Pet custody agreements also should address any costs that you agree to share for your pet, whether it be veterinary expenses, training classes, etc. They should have specific provisions regarding the rights of each party to make medical decisions, whether independent or consulting first with the other party, the ability to obtain records and consult professionals, and decisions regarding housing the animal. Many shared custody pet agreements will also delineate that either party can obtain emergency medical treatment of the pet and each party shall be listed as an emergency contact with the treating veterinarian. Another provision you could see in pet custody agreements is the duty to notify the other party in writing of an intent to give up ownership/custody rights of the pet to a third party. With this provision there could be included the right for the other party to take sole ownership before any third parties do. You may also consider adding a provision regarding whether you or your former spouse are required to give notification before moving to a new home with the pet if a long distance move is a concern for you. Other provisions that you may find in a pet custody agreement include a duty to notify the other party of the name and

address of any veterinarian who treats the pet, a duty to keep the other party informed about the health, welfare, and safety of the pet, and the duty to confer in good faith and share in responsibility for the pet. You can include any additional specific provisions that you or your former spouse agree upon. Some people want very specific provisions in their agreements protecting the animal such as the pet must be housed inside overnight and if a party is unable to do so, then the other party can take the animal for the night. It is up to you and your former spouse as to how detailed you would like to get when structuring a shared pet custody agreement.

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What Pet Visitation Schedules Look Like If you and your former spouse are willing to work together to reach an agreement, you can structure it as you like. However, there are some visitation schedules commonly utilized in child custody and visitation matters that you may want to consider when structuring a shared pet custody agreement. These schedules may make particular sense if you also have children and would like the pet to go back and forth with the minor child. The different schedules include the following: - 2,2,3 schedule: The pet is with Party A for two days, then with Party B for two days, and then back to Party A for three days. The next week, it reverses. The pet would be with Party B for two days, then Party A for two days, and back to Party B for three days. - 2,2,5,5 schedule: This is very similar to a 2,2,3 schedule and is really just a modified version of it. One party will have the pet from Monday morning until Wednesday morning every week. The other party will have the pet from Wednesday morning until Friday morning every week. The parties will alternate weekends from Friday morning until Monday morning. - Week On/Week Off: The parties share custody of their pet on a weekly basis. The exchanges would occur on a particular day, at a particular time every week. For example, you would exchange the pet every Sunday at 7 p.m. with the pet staying with one party for the entire week before being exchanged the following Sunday to the care of the other party. If you are worried about how your divorce may impact your pet and are willing to share in their care, mediating the issue with your former spouse may be the best way to ensure the outcome you desire.

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For more information about pets in your military divorce, check out our website: or call (858) 720-8250 and ask to speak with military family law attorney Tana Landau.

This article is intended only for informational purposes and should not be taken as legal advice.

Legal Experts with Humanity / AUGUST 2021


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

Permanent Change of Station As summer draws to a close, so does the height of PCS (Permanent Change of Station) season. This summer, my family PCS’d for the first time in five years. What started as a ten-month assignment ended up spanning three commands and five years. For me, this PCS meant going back home - to the place where I was born and raised. I was and am excited about being back here. Yet, there was a lot I left behind - friends, community, my favorite spots to grab coffee, and the support systems I relied on to handle the stressors that come with military life, to name a few.

It’s easy, in the midst of the packing and the driving and the planning and the rush of the “new,” to forget that the weight of this change will come crashing in about the same time I finally find my good dishes, and that all of the things I left are the very things that helped me navigate the other changes and challenges that life often brings. About two weeks after most of the boxes are unpacked and we’ve settled into our new residence, I realize I’ve spent the majority of those nights on the couch with a pint of ice cream staring blankly at whatever show is on Netflix.

Taking Charge of Your Mental Health During PCS Season

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After several moves, I’ve learned that when I look up and realize I’ve spent most nights in a sugar coma that I am grieving the loss of what I had at our last duty station and it’s time for me to put into practice the things that ease the pain of what was and begin to fully live here. Some of those things and practices include: • Routine - Creating a plan for the day helps me settle into my new place. I often get so caught up in the boxes and finding a place for everything that I forget that I function best with a regular routine. • Rituals - My morning ritual includes reading and writing, exercising, and a cup of coffee after breakfast. At night, I wash my face, brush my teeth, then read for 30 minutes before turning out the light. • Going outside - Whether it’s taking a break from unboxing to enjoy the new neighborhood pool or to tend to my little container garden, being outside in the sunshine always helps me not get stuck in the fog loss. • Get involved - I find I am at my best when I am with others, when I feel that I belong. Joining a local church, finding a summer camp for my children, and joining a gym are some of the places I go to plug into community. • Ask for help - Before I left our last duty station, I asked my support system - my therapist, my doctor, my friends - if they had any recommendations for similar services at my new duty station. Though PCS means a permanent change of station this “permanent” change is only temporary and the next one will be on the horizon before we know it and I can once again take charge of my mental health by using the practices above.

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. To learn how therapy can help with mental health challenges, visit / AUGUST 2021


A Different Lens Mental Health Monthly By RanDee McLain

Social Awkwardness Post COVID What was that first interaction with someone outside your immediate family like after COVID? Did you go in for that awkward fist bump/ hug/handshake/ elbow tap? What do we do, what is the other person ok with? I am a hugger by nature but also want to be cautious as well as respectful of others. I have seen people just go right in for big hugs and not care and others who still are reserved understandably. I remember my first real hug outside of my family. It was an in-person board meeting and we had all been vaccinated and taken safety precautions. I must say that first real hug was amazing. I forgot how much that physical interaction was missing from my life. It is not only that first physical interaction that has been weird. It is social awkwardness in professional settings. Recently, we were booking a venue for an upcoming venue and the staff member of the venue was acting like he had never worked around other professionals in his life. You would have thought we were talking in some dark bar…….his language was very colorful. I am a sailor and that is saying something. He was trying to secure a deal, yet every other word was a F bomb. I thought to myself -has this man talked to another human in the last 15 months?

When I see things like this I jokingly say- oh that’s COVID brain. Covid brain to me is when we forget all the social norms and revert to these awkward social interactions. Believe me there are some social norms we can all agree can go away forever – but that is a different column for a different day. Another odd social event I saw recently was on a plane. Pre- COVID, I traveled about 2-3 times a month for work and pleasure. Anyone who travels knows the social etiquette of deplaning an aircraft. Recently, I was flying cross country and the plane landed at our destination. The second the aircraft touched down at least 20 people from the back of the plane pushed forward to the front. I was concerned at first not understanding what was going on…. but it literally was just a group of entitled/ impatient people that felt they needed to get in front of everyone. It was bizarre. Did we forget how to interact with others and show common decency? The last 15-18 months have been difficult on everyone. Some more than others but it something that has forever changed our lives. These awkward social interactions are small things, but we are all figuring out how to live in this post COVID world. We are figuring it out together. A Couple Tips: • Physical interactions - ask! If you want to hug someone, ask if they are ok with it. If not -respect that! (ummm….we should have always done this!). • Language - Be polite and courteous, use language appropriate for setting and audience. • Dress - ok PJs in the house all day is one thing; if you are going to an office……leave the PJs at home. Lastly, I reiterate this has been a hard time for everyone. Be kind, be patient and understanding of each other. We have made it through a lot and deserve a little grace with each other as we figure it all out. Recently, we talked about change and how difficult it may be for some of us. Stay tuned- I have a big announcement next month and look forward to sharing with all of you! Stay healthy and happy!

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Veteran Gives Wings to Aspiring Pilots, Charts New Mission By Raquel Rivas

Jake Norotsky can get real with students in his aviation program because he’s been there. While still a senior in high school, he balanced schoolwork, a full-time job, and National Guard weekend drills five hours away. If any of Jake’s students show hesitation in achieving their dreams of flying high, Jake shares his own journey from disadvantaged student to flight instructor on Army Blackhawk helicopters. His passion and skills — including more than 2,000 flight hours — have been tested through hard work and perseverance. More recently, Jake’s lifelong focus on serving others turned his teaching into a calling. “When I communicate with students, I can empathize without pity,” Jake said. “When I speak to them, there’s credibility because I was a student with big dreams and only $3 in my pocket.”

“We were playing at departure events for other soldiers. I saw the look in their eyes and thought, man, I need to go.” When his time was up with the National Guard, Jake reenlisted in active-duty Army and worked hard to pursue his childhood dream of flying. His first Army job was helicopter mechanic. He learned everything there was to know about taking apart an engine and putting it back together – and he did it in the harsh Iraqi desert. He got noticed and was selected to be part of a Blackhawk helicopter crew, eventually flying missions and serving as an instructor. Jake came from an abusive home and took refuge with his brother and his sister-in-law his last year of high school. They helped provide stability and guidance. “I learned about family, found strength, and figured out who I was,” Jake recalled. “If it weren’t for my brother, Chris, and my sister-in-law, Lisa, I don’t know where I’d be.” Jake signed on with the Pennsylvania National Guard as a trumpet player while still in school. In between schoolwork and drills, he played trumpet in the Army National Guard Band. Over the next few years, he also played taps at many funerals. This experience helped him develop a strong sense of responsibility to serve - Suzanne Martinez his country. He realized he wanted to contribute more. 32 / AUGUST 2021

While deployed to Iraq, Jake saw his share of fighting and medical evacuations. For years after leaving active duty, he wore a bracelet in remembrance of a fellow soldier who fought alongside him and died in his helicopter while being transported to a military hospital. The difficult experiences did not diminish his determination to serve.

“If I don’t go, somebody else has to,” Jake would tell himself. “Even when I came back from deployments and after I got out of the military, seeing others go off to war was difficult because I felt I should be there too.”

After Action After 14 years of active duty, Jake moved to Alabama to attend Auburn University and used his GI Bill benefits to continue pursuing his love of flying. Jakes’s military time made him comfortable in the cockpit of a small plane and he excelled at his flight training. He started teaching. He built a family life. But he knew there were things he was holding on to. “It wasn’t until I went to a Project Odyssey workshop with Wounded Warrior Project that I was able to start letting go — I had to let go of the soldier who passed in the helicopter, with the new understanding that letting go doesn’t mean forgetting,” Jake said. When Jake removed the memorial bracelet, a Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) teammate replaced it with a black WWP bracelet with the word “Service” inscribed in it. It was fitting. “My life has always been about service.” Soon after completing college courses, Jake achieved his instrument flying rating, accrued more flying hours toward his commercial rating, and found a new path to service. He was offered a job teaching young people aviation concepts, flight simulation, and drone flying at a private school near Auburn, Alabama.

Jake used this opportunity to create a new aviation curriculum and incorporated drone flying into the lesson plans. In addition, he successfully pulled a group of highly motivated students into a drone demonstration team. Soon, they were choreographing drone shows and sharing their flight skills with the community. Flying in New Directions Jake’s Army-tested perseverance and his ability to think outside the box inspired students to try something that had never been done before. Soon, Jake was tapped to teach more students around the region. Students in Jake’s “Intro to Drones” course had the chance to fly drones and learn most of the private pilot certification requirements. They organized into a 10-person team and manually flew the drones to background music. They were invited to headline a nighttime airshow in Florida. “I’m humbled to be able to help young people accelerate in their path to flight,” Jake said. “In most cases, students just need a little guidance figuring out how to reach their goals.”

“I’m humbled to be able to help young people accelerate in their path to flight.”

Continued on next page > / AUGUST 2021


“Managing PTSD is a lifelong process. I needed another outpouring of water to refill my cup. I learned 10 times more than I did the first time, and that helped move me to a place where I can help others.”

Jake prepares them to attain their pilot licenses and have that under their belts when they get to college. “I learned that I’m a teacher – that’s who I am as a person,” Jake said. To expand his teaching portfolio, Jake started consulting for other organizations and eventually decided to form his own business. He spent the summer offering one-day aviation camps and going into YMCAs in the region to teach young people the basics of aviation. He generously advises and shares his passion for aviation with students from all walks of life. “If anyone has questions about careers in the aviation industry, I try to help them find a pathway to do what they want to do,” Jake said. He also volunteers his time to help students and fellow veterans. “I think about the pathways that brought me here, and Wounded Warrior Project is such an integral part of that,” Jake said. “How could I not want to give back and share with others?” “Wounded Warrior Project helped me to see that there’s still a brotherhood out there — with men and women who served — that continues after the military. There is still a mission. ”In this phase of his life, Jake is tapping into new technologies while keeping his original purpose of serving others. “Through this new venture, I hope to continue answering the call to help others,” Jake said. “I love the challenge of continuously reinventing myself as the aviation industry changes. I also understand it’s important to stay energized.” To replenish his energy, Jake attended a second Project Odyssey — this time with a new perspective. “Managing PTSD is a lifelong process. I needed another outpouring of water to refill my cup. I learned 10 times more than I did the first time, and that helped move me to a place where I can help others.”

Learn more about WWP’s Project Odyssey and other WWP mental health programs to assist warriors on their journeys to successful transitions. About Wounded Warrior Project Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more at 34 / AUGUST 2021


“When I was first injured, Wounded Warrior Project promised they’d always be there for me and my family. And they always have been.” — WOUNDED WARRIOR BRYAN WAGNER

Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is commited to serving the post-9/11 generation of injured service members, ensuring they get the care, attention, and support they deserve. Our services in mental health, physical health, peer connection, career counseling, and financial wellness change lives — and warriors never pay a penny for these services.



Learn more at

H / AUGUST 2021



8 Second Resume

By Janis Whitaker, VetCTAP Executive Director

Job seekers spend multiple hours creating the “perfect resume”. Ever wonder how important that resume is in catching the eye of a company or hiring manager? In our workshop series, our facilitators and coaches emphasize the following tips. Will your resume make it to the “yes pile” or the “no pile”? Recruiters spend an average of 8 - 10 seconds looking at each resume initially! And, most of that time may be on the top portion of your first page. They will skim the pages looking for key information (particular skills, degrees, certifications, and experience) and if these key words or important information doesn’t catch their attention, they will move to the next resume without a second thought. Oops, your resume goes into the “no pile”. Imagine, eight seconds! If you do capture their interest, they will then spend an additional 1-2 minutes looking for other important aspects about your job history such as significant accomplishments and career progression. If you make it that far, you have passed the 8 second resume test! Hurray, the “yes pile”. Most Human Resources professionals, hiring managers, and recruiters will not read a resume over two pages long, no matter how good it looks at first glance. They just don’t have time to read all that information. Instantly, it goes into the “no pile”. These experts have hundreds of resumes to review and limited time to do so. Resume screeners love bullet points and short phrases describing what you have achieved in your professional positions. Spend a lot of time developing this area and highlight significant accomplishments in your positions, not just the tasks you performed.

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Did you know there are “pet peeves” in the hiring industry? Here are a few that are on the top of the list. One or more of these could land your resume in the “no pile”. • A resume that is generic (customize each resume precisely for the job you are seeking), • Spelling or grammar errors (double check and/or have someone else review it), • Military jargon that is not explained (best to leave military jargon out and use equivalent corporate language), • Inconsistent formatting (keep headers, indenting, bullets, and sub-headings consistent), • Font size too small (12 pt. type minimum) • Work dates that don’t make sense (chronological resumes should show dates in order with no gapsmost recent first), • Not enough ‘white space’ on the page (margins and spacing make a resume easier to read). Recruiters spend much of their day looking at resumes whether it is on the computer or on paper. Make your 8-second resume stand out by developing a document that is easy to scan, simple to read, and includes bullets to highlight your significant accomplishments. Good luck and we hope to see you in the “yes pile”. Find out more about our Veteran Career Transition Workshop Series at


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WHAT’S NEXT Transition to Civilian Life By Eve Nasby & Kristin Hennessy

Trust HOPE and Manifest your Mindset “I got this,” he said as he pushed himself back from his desk feeling a mixture of hope and frustration. “I did it then, and I can do it now. It can’t be any tougher than what I’ve already gone through.” He remembered having just graduated high school at 18. Many were preparing for the next phase of college life. But, his Mom didn’t have any money for him to attend college. He felt his only option was to enlist, so he did. Two years later, at age 20, he met his bride. By 26, he had 3 kids. The next 25 years were spent traveling the world, taking orders, executing missions and proving himself. He and his family were used to living on the government’s dime. But, then the time came where he had to do something seemingly harder than all of that. Look for a job. You Know More than You Think You Do He’d spent more than half of his life in the military, and realized that the military culture and processes were all he knew. He was overcome with feeling a loss of purpose, an unclear mission, and a lack of vision and insecurity. The idea of his next phase of life was starting to haunt him. He felt so valued in the military, and now he didn’t know his value. This is familiar when transitioning. Change is unfamiliar. There are some tried and true tips that have helped those in transition do so successfully. Much like any mission, there are phases, mindsets and steps to follow. Let’s keep this one simple with an acronym: HOPE. Following the simple HOPE method will keep you focused. 1. Help from your network. Oftentimes we think of a network as something that is already formed. Other people seem to have one, and it seems too late to start now. It’s overwhelming to think all of a sudden you have to attend events to get a network, or start randomly connecting with people on LinkedIn. Then it’s supposed to happen? 38 / AUGUST 2021

The truth is you have a very strong network already. Hundreds of thousands have gone before you in this transition phase, and many of those are in your immediate network. You also have connections with those who have transitioned out within the last few years. Begin there, along with your immediate friends and family. Break it down. Each relative and friend has a job, and an opinion about their job and workplace. Ask them about their work! Try to take interest in their company and ask questions. “What’s the culture like? What kind of roles do they have?” Look on their careers page and see if there is a role that you may be interested in. If so, apply. Then, ask your friend or relative who works there to send in a recommendation for you. If you’re interested in the company but don’t see a relevant role open, still have them make the soft introduction. From there, you can follow that up with a request to the Hiring Manager or HR Contact person for an ‘informational interview’. This is how you start to build your network. If you’re not granted an interview, simply ask them who else they know that may be looking to fill a role with your skills. No one is a stranger in the networking business. As you keep asking around and telling people you are looking for work and have just transitioned out, you’ll be surprised how many people want to help you succeed. 2. Own your shortcomings. These are shortcomings that are normal. You are not a professional resume writer. But it’s easier than you think to find someone to help you write your resume for free. Look for free military resources, or even a friend who’s skilled in that area. You are not a professional interviewer. You weren’t handed a rifle to fire without training, so you also wouldn’t be expected to know the interview tips and tricks without training. There is a tried and true formula to keep you on track and outperform your competition. We have many previous articles on the STAR Format. In short, it means to answer questions in the format of 1) Explain the Situation you were in. 2) Tell what Task you needed to perform. 3) State what Actions you took to perform the task and 4) State what the Results were.

3. Plan ahead. This means, prepare all aspects of life! Get your house in order before you transition. Work on a budget. Expect not to land a job right after you get out. Financial stress on families after transition is real and pretty common. Start researching the geographical area you want to ultimately live in with your family and identify great companies that you may want to work with. Think of your kids and transitioning them out of school. Think of your family network to support you in your transition, and plan accordingly. 4. Expect great things to happen. This may sound cliche, but it’s not. A good friend and mentor, Richard Marks, is an Army veteran turned Facilitator, Keynote Speaker, Performance Coach & Author of “The Empowerment Series Volume I & II. Richard will teach you that you must tell yourself to “Expect great things to happen.” When you put yourself in this mindset, you’re manifesting it. Richard even gives out bracelets with this message stamped on it so the message can’t be overlooked. He speaks it, lives it and believes it. And you can, too. Your attitude will determine your altitude. Whether or not you think you can or can’t, you are right. Learn what you Love, Learn what you don’t. Your new mission is to find a job that will support your family and allow you to grow as a professional. Train yourself as you were trained in the service. If you are a reader, read books or articles on business or an industry that interests you. If you prefer watching videos, search for those types of videos on YouTube videos. Allow yourself to become a student of your search, and seek out mentors to help you along the way. They will. Should you or someone you know feel overwhelmed by the transition, reach out for help. The veterans crisis hotline is available 24/7.

Need help with your resume or interviewing skills? Reach out to Eve at: / AUGUST 2021



The Power of Focus Everyone wants to be successful in life. Whether it’s a business, pursuing your passion, your career, or building a family. Without the desire for success, humans cannot exist and thrive. While success is not an uncommon term to many, only a few people have really benefited from the sweet taste of a career or building a business. What’s their secret? The ability to focus. According to a 2000 study conducted by Microsoft, an average individual has an attention span of 12 seconds. It was supported by a study by the Technical University of Denmark, suggesting that short attention span is caused by information overload. The more we are surrounded by information, the more we feel overwhelmed. As a result, none of the tasks we wrote on our to-do list get accomplished.

The ability to focus is a thinking skill that must be developed to avoid procrastination and keep your attention and efforts applied to a certain task until it is completed.

It’s quite frustrating, right? You meticulously wrote down these tasks, knowing that each step brings you closer to your success. But if you can’t finish a single task, how long before you reach your success? Or will you even reach it if you are stuck on the same task and stagnant for years? This is one of the main reasons why people settle for less and give up on their ambitions. It’s time to take control of your life and get what you want. No matter how ambitious it is, you can get anything you want with the power of focus. To improve your focus, there are elements that you need to master first. But before that, let’s get to know the different sources of distractions in our lives. According to Daniel Goleman in his book Focus: The Hidden Power of Excellence, there are two sources of distractions that can disrupt your focus. The first is the sensory distractions that come from things that are happening around you. The second is more abstract…the emotional distractions… which come from your inner voice, the thoughts about the circumstances that are happening in your life, your fears, and your self-talk.

The Power of

FOCUS 40 / AUGUST 2021

5 Key Elements to Keeping Focused 1. Create a Focus Driven Environment The environment you are working with plays a huge role in how you are able to focus on one task without getting distracted. If you sit in a cluttered room and decide to work on something, chances are, you’ll end up getting distracted by the things inside the room. 2. Stop Multi-Tasking Your brain goes a little haywired when you multitask. There is no clear direction of what you are supposed to do. Sure, it’s fun. But then you’re exhausted. Hence, it’s crucial to practice single-tasking. It can help to pin down your focus, concentrate on what you are doing, and improve your work performance. 3. Limit Who Has Access to You This includes the kids if you work at home and the cat who is walking on your keyboard. Stop checking your email obsessively. Turn off the phone. Put a sign on your door saying “Stay Out - Focus in Process.” In time it will become a habit. 4. Take a Real Break Being focused doesn’t mean depriving yourself of a much-needed break. You need to take multiple breaks in a day so you won’t strain your eyes and get stuck on something because you’re feeling overwhelmed. Scrolling your Facebook feed or checking out how many likes your recent tweet got is not a real break. You need to stand up, drink water, stretch, or maybe take a walk outside. 5. Control Your Technology Most people blame their lack of focus on technology. The rise of smartphones, emails, news, and 24/7 access to information has shortened our attention spans. Instead of making our lives easier, technology has destroyed so many opportunities because people let themselves be distracted by it. Speaking of technology, there are many online apps that can help. I use which has recently added the ability to list tasks. I find checking off tasks done very rewarding. But then, that’s just me.

Vicki Garcia is the Co-Founder of Operation Vetrepreneur & the owner of a marketing firm for over 30 plus years. She is the author of Focus Power, which can be found on at along with several other of her books for entrepreneurs.



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 >





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HUMAN RESOURCES Transition to Business By Paul Falcone

EQ Leaders Excel Because of Their Heightened Self-Awareness Emotional intelligence is discussed heavily in the private sector. It rests upon a foundation of trust and empathy for others. Business leaders known for having high “EQs”—emotional quotients—do more than listen; they care. They hear with their eyes in addition to their ears and walk in others’ shoes readily and without judgment, thereby making more thoughtful and deliberate decisions. They’re known as excellent communicators and leaders who overcome challenges and defuse conflict. EQ leaders recognize that social skills are as, if not more, important than raw intelligence because effective leadership requires getting things done through others—not despite them. Simply stated, emotional intelligence permits leaders to embrace nuances of human emotion in the workplace and can have pragmatic benefits, such as better collaboration among teams, greater creativity and innovation, and a happier, lighter culture. EQ can be taught and improved, which is why emotional intelligence represents one of the hottest trends in leadership development strategy today. Leaders known for possessing high levels of EQ are self-aware and often have a reputation for creating friendly and inclusive work environments, recognizing and sharing their own shortcomings and limitations, making themselves vulnerable (in a healthy sense) in an effort to build trust, letting go of mistakes and forgiving easily, neutralizing toxic personalities, and being good judges of character. What might this look like in practical terms? EQ leaders pride themselves on being coaches and mentors to their team members, they believe in establishing goals and celebrating successes, and they constantly look to make room for staffers on their schedules to listen empathically and share wisdom.

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They recognize that motivation is internal, and while they can’t motivate others directly, they can create a work environment in which others can motivate themselves. in short, they come from gratitude and selflessness and embrace and inspire others by paying it forward.

President John Quincy Adams famously stated, “If your actions inspire people to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, than you are a leader.” Commit to growing people and developing their talents. Enforce a performance culture that provides realistic developmental feedback to help others increase their self-awareness and prepare for their next move in career progression—whether at your organization or elsewhere. Help others codify their achievements and identify meaningful opportunities for growth. Hold others accountable to the highest standards of performance and conduct—not just for the sake of the organization but for their own professional development. Most important, have others’ backs. You’re the first domino. You need to demonstrate role model leadership so that others can emulate your example and respond in kind. Teach what you choose to learn. When in doubt, err on the side of compassion. Put others’ needs ahead of your own and expect them to respond in kind. Self-reflect on questions like these: Would you want to work for you? If the whole company followed your lead, would you be happy with where you took it? Whatever you want for yourself, give to another. The business world doesn’t need to be a shark tank. Create your own reality as you wish to live your life and experience your career. Authenticity, respect, and inclusion are your goals, tools, and opportunities. Use them to enrich people’s lives and build stronger, better organizations. You’ll likely find that others will gladly follow your lead and pass along your gifts to future generations.

IQ + EQ = Success You can connect with Paul on LinkedIn at

Paul Falcone ( is a human resources executive and bestselling author on hiring, performance management, and leadership development. / AUGUST 2021


Healthcare Careers: A Perfect Fit for Military and Civilian Life By Stephanie Lee, Air Force Veteran & Enrollment Manager, CareerStep Sometimes, the sense of division between life in the military and life as a civilian feels like a vast chasm. In fact, for military families, this sense of division joins a long list of challenges that specifically impact the men and women who sacrifice so much for the country. These challenges couldn’t be more apparent than when it comes to finding a post-military career or one that is flexible enough to align with military spouses’ unique needs—a career that checks all the right boxes: satisfaction, security, and stability. Finding industries and employers that understand the skills of veterans and their families can seem like an uphill climb at times, and it shows. For example, the unemployment rate for veterans rose to 6.5% in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Reasons for this vary, but one contributing factor could be that lessons learned under the harsh conditions of combat don’t always translate to private-sector jobs. And for military spouses—60% of which say they’re looking for full- or part-time work—finding a profession that’s both portable and in-demand is increasingly difficult.

However, there is hope and there are opportunities. First, it’s important to consider key reasons why a career in healthcare—the fastest-growing sector in the U.S. economy according to BLS data—might just be what bridges that expansive gap between military and civilian life. 1. Meaningful Work Most who enter the military are looking for fulfilling work—an opportunity to make a difference. A real difference. But few civilian careers allow veterans to make as much of a difference as those found in healthcare. That’s because working in this particular field, regardless of the role, provides the opportunity to impact peoples’ lives in profound ways. From mending wounds and healing minds to saving lives, the difference healthcare workers make is undeniable. 2. Transferable Skills There’s a reason healthcare is an overwhelmingly popular career choice for veterans and their spouses: it’s an industry in which military-specific skills are undeniably relevant. Creative problem solving, adaptability, and effective communication—they’re all valuable skills that healthcare organizations can’t ignore if they want to provide the best possible service and care to their patients. And they’re all skills that veterans and their spouses already possess. 3. In-Demand Careers People need healthcare. In turn, the industry needs people willing to step up to the proverbial plate.

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Economic and labor experts believe we need to hire 2.3 million new healthcare workers by 2025 if we’re going to keep pace with the needs of our aging population. But a persistent shortage of skilled workers with exceptional knowledge and training means hundreds of thousands of positions will remain unfilled. Home health aides, medical assistants, lab technicians, and more are all in high demand. 4. Portable Jobs For a working military spouse, it can be difficult to cultivate a strong professional network, and when the time comes to pack up and move to a new city, the wrong vocation can leave even the most talented pro scrambling to start over. That’s why job portability is so important. Healthcare training provides the skills and certifications that employers are looking for in highgrowth, high-demand fields in virtually every city in the entire world. Supportive Training for Success These days, there are multiple training options for learners to pave their road to success. These organizations often have hiring network relationships, so it’s important to keep in contact and inform them when certification is achieved. It’s especially important for members of the healthcare sector to be fully qualified and properly trained. An early step is to start by choosing a specific discipline and then find a provider that can help learners develop the concrete job skills employers are looking for. The good news is that there’s a significant amount of trusted providers who specialize in transforming entrylevel learners into high-performing, certified healthcare professionals. And they all do this with expansive catalogs of fully online career training programs that are fast, portable, and eligible for military education grants—often covering up to 100% of the cost.

Healthcare Training For Your Next Phase of Life Our online training programs are approved for military education funding—all designed to help military members and their spouses build skills and thrive in careers that are portable, in-demand, and rewarding. Start training today so you can be prepared for meaningful work tomorrow.

Finding the right fit takes a little time and it is important to explore the possibilities. Doing the research is crucial as it can improve the learning experience—and potentially lead to faster employment. Deciding to pursue a career in healthcare is a fulfilling and viable option for veterans and their spouses. About the Author: Stephanie Lee served in the Air Force for 11 years as a Munitions Systems Craftsman. She now serves as an Enrollment Manager for CareerStep, (, the Allied Health training division of Carrus. (

For more information, call (877) 201-3470 or visit / AUGUST 2021


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Call us at (619) 550-1620. / AUGUST 2021


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TRAIN TO BECOME A CRANE OPERATOR TODAY. Visit: No Official US Government or DOD endorsement is implied / AUGUST 2021


THE MILITARY MOM “From a Mom’s Perspective”

Presented from the perspective and point of view of a Military Mom By Joseph Molina

Many military moms recall how surprising it was

when their child told them about their decision to get enlisted in the military. Some couldn’t believe it; others couldn’t hold back their emotions of joy. Watching a son or daughter leave for college alone can bring tears to a mother but seeing them off to Basic Training is on a whole new level. Although it’s not easy to watch a son or a daughter transform into a soldier, military moms take pride in the fact that their son or daughter will soon be returning from their training as strong, independent, self- sufficient, and confident individuals. However, it is pertinent to note that being a military mom is not a fun ride. When a son or daughter embarks on that journey, so do you. The Moment of Pride The most difficult moment as a mom happened when he was sworn in and left for Boot Camp. I was there with his wife, and it was time for the dreaded hug. “Don’t cry, mom,” he said. I held it in, knowing that calls would be few since he was only allowed one call, and it would go first to his wife. I knew that my son was a natural leader; he was smart, strong, and prepared. But the mom in me worried. I binged on any movie or song about a soldier. I volunteered with the USO and the American Red Cross. I would do anything to keep him present. To this day, I cannot sing the “National Anthem” and look at the flag without shedding a tear as I remember my first and only son. When I see anyone in uniform, my heart skips a beat. Despite the mom challenging emotions, two additional feelings emerged. These included that of feeling inspired and proud. Adapting to Change I try to honor my son by volunteering as an Ambassador for Blue Star Families. I also serve as the FL Delegate of The National Veteran Chamber of Commerce and as the VA Certifying School Official at the University. Moms are the son’s and daughter’s protectors and letting go might trigger lots of emotions. 52 / AUGUST 2021

Hearing your child’s daring stories of how they train, fight, and carry out their daily activities could get you worked up. This could make facing reality difficult for military moms. It’s ok to seek help and advice from experienced military moms or military serving organizations. Feeling Disconnected Moms may feel disconnected as parenting has shifted to someone else taking care of their son or daughter. This is one of the challenges a military mom faces as they try to adjust to a new normal. It doesn’t get any easier Some probably think that moms get used to seeing their child deployed, but it doesn’t work that way. No matter how many times their son or daughter gets deployed. After a while and many transitions or deployments, military moms learn what to expect, but still affects the way they feel. My Advice as a Military Mom My advice to other military moms is to find other military moms’ support groups. Volunteer, keep a journal where you write about your feelings, be active in military events as much as possible. Being a civilian mom entails many of the same feelings as you watch your child grow up. However, as a military mom, knowing that there exist uncertainties and situations beyond your child’s control requires lots of prayers. One learns to savor every moment and appreciate the little things in life. I salute all military moms, the invisible heart warriors full of unconditional love. You are also our hero. Article written by Joseph Molina and co-authored by a very special Military Mom, Lori Huertas The Veterans Chamber of Commerce Radio Show • Share your story with our Veteran Community? Be our guest on the show REQUEST FORM. • If you have any ideas or a project that you would like to develop in collaboration with the National Veterans Chamber send us your idea to:




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Licensed Agents and Lenders working with local Community Groups, Military Bases and Non-Profit Organizations to help Military Families achieve the American Dreamof Homeownership. These Veteran-Friendly Agents and Lenders have a strong passion for supporting our Military/Veteran Families

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Barry University College Credit for Military Service, visit: To join the Veteran-Friendly Network visit: / AUGUST 2021


Servicing Veterans and their Families Over 150 unique member and participating organizations, businesses, and agencies - united in one goal!

August 2021

The San Diego Veterans Coalition supports the mission of Battle Buddies! Battle Buddies is a veteran service organization dedicated to providing returning veterans with a place where they can feel at home, where they can find help with whatever challenges they encounter while reintegrating into civilian life. Battle Buddies assist with medical, educational, psychological concerns, and employment referrals. In addition, they are committed to helping veterans with other needs or requests they may have. Trained volunteer Battle Buddies, are paired with returning veterans, according to each veteran’s need and experience. The Battle Buddies’ mission is to help our returning veterans transition successfully to the civilian world. For additional information, please visit Battle Buddies is a steadfast and significant supporter of the veteran’s community in San Diego County and a proud member of the SDVC.

If Battle Buddies doesn’t have the answer to your inquires, they will do their very best to find someone who does.

San Diego Veterans Coalition (SDVC)

Battle Buddies Mission: To provide veterans and active-duty personnel in San Diego with a place of their own where they can feel free to drop in when searching for answers for their needs.

The San Diego Veterans Coalition would like to get to know you and your organization! If you provide services to Veterans, their spouses, or families, please join us!

The core of the organization is their trained Battle Buddies. All with military experience, Battle Buddies serve as mentors and guides to veterans while also making referrals to needed services. Other volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds including, social work, yoga, medicine, accounting, banking and law.

Community members may attend SDVC events and meetings for free. If you’d like to apply to be an official SDVC member, please complete the Membership Form. Thank you for your interest!

They call these volunteers Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). SMEs offer their services, within the scope of their professions, at no charge to the veterans and their families.


The SDVC monthly member meeting is held the first Friday of every month in a virtual venue. 8:30 am-10 am Join the Zoom meeting at For additional information, please visit

Battle Buddies Mentor Veterans (Video) 54 / AUGUST 2021

The SDVC salutes Battle Buddies / AUGUST 2021


Questions? Contact Lori at 56 / AUGUST 2021 / AUGUST 2021


1155 Grand Avenue, San Marcos | 760-753-7907 |

Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states, in all GEICO companies, or in all situations. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, DC 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. © 2020 GEICO #0G11150

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Helen Woodward Animal Center

people helping animals animals helping people Through our humane education and therapy programs, international awareness campaigns, and local fundraising events we are creating a humane world for both animals and people.

To learn more about how Helen Woodward Animal Center is helping the military, see us featured in the article on page and visit To donate to these valuable programs, call Renee Resko, 858-756-4117 ext. 347 or email 60 / AUGUST 2021