San Diego Veterans Magazine February 2024

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Vol. 7 • Number 2 • February 2024




Let's Go Get A Job

Successful Transitioning Stories


Transition Training




FIGHTING PTSD Prairie to the Pacific / February 2024



Visit for more info. 2 / February 2024

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CARFAX, Inc. 3Liberty Mutual Insurance is made available to Navy Federal Credit Union members through TruStage™. Auto and Home Insurance Products are issued by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company or its subsidiaries or affiliates, 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116 USA. © 2023 Liberty Mutual Insurance. In Texas, coverage provided and underwritten by Liberty County Mutual Insurance Company, 7900 Windrose Avenue, Plano, TX 75024. All statements made are subject to provisions, exclusions, conditions, and limitations of the applicable insurance policy. Coverages and features not available in all states. Discounts are not available in all states and discounts vary by state. Certain discounts apply to specific coverages only. To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten; not all applicants may qualify. A consumer report from a consumer reporting agency and/or motor vehicle report will be obtained on all drivers listed on your policy where state laws and regulations allow. Please consult your policy for specific coverages and limitations. The insurance offered is not a deposit, and is not federally insured, sold, or guaranteed by Navy Federal Credit Union. Navy Federal Credit Union is in no way responsible for any products or services provided by or through TruStage, Liberty Mutual, or their affiliates, subsidiaries, and insurance company partners. Navy Federal Credit Union enables this insurance program to be offered and is entitled to compensation from TruStage Insurance Agency, LLC. © TruStage AUT-4210544.2 4Navy Federal Credit Union is in no way responsible for any product, service, purchase, or lease provided by or through CARFAX, TruStage, Liberty Mutual, SiriusXM, or the Navy Federal Car Buying Service operated by TrueCar. © 2023 Navy Federal NFCU 14083 (9-23)




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Publisher Editor-In-Chief Mike Miller

Monthly Columns

Welcome to San Diego Veterans Magazine! SDVM is a veteran-focused magazine throughout ALL San Diego & Southern California. It serves to assist all veterans, active military as well as their spouses and families. It is the leading veteran magazine emphasizing resources & support and focusing on topics and issues facing today’s veteran community. SDVM focuses on resources, support, community, transition, mental health, inspiration and more... The content is the driving force behind our magazine and the connection it makes with our veterans, service members, military families, and civilians. The magazine is supported by the city of San Diego and a distinguishing list of veteran organizations & members, resource centers, coalitions, veteran advocates, and more. We are honored to share the work of so many committed and thoughtful people. Despite all the challenges, our team has upheld their focus and let not one opportunity go to provide resources and support to our veterans & military personnel. On behalf of our team, we wanted to take this moment to say THANK YOU to the readers and our military-veteran community for supporting our magazine. With that support we aim to make a difference and continuing to make a profound impact on the quality of life for our veterans, military personnel and their families. If you want to catch up on the current and past issues, please visit:

Mike Miller Editor-In-Chief 4 / February 2024

What’s Next Transition Eve Nasby • Kristin Hennessy Veterans in Business Barbara Eldridge Successful Transitioning Stories Dr. Julie Ducharme Risky Business Hadley Wood Franchise Frontline Rhonda Sanderson Real Talk: Mental Health Hope Phifer PTSD: Reclaiming Control Robert ‘Bob’ Cuyler, PhD TLC Caregiving Kie Copenhaver Art & Healing Amber Robinson Legal Eagle Kelly Bagla, Esq. Family Law Tana Landau, Esq. Midway Magic David Koontz Veterans Chamber Commerce Joe Molina Contributing Writers Wounded Warrior Project Disabled American Veterans (In-House) Correspondents Holly Shaffner

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

(858) 275-4281 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


8 Midway Magic: Prairie to the Pacific 12 Mental Health & Brain Injury Support 18 Real Talk: Your Journey to Self-Love 20 PTSD: Thoughts and Emotions 22 Caregiving TLC: Counter Culture 24 Risky Business: Toxic Love 25 #ME TOO Movement 26 Valentine’s Day (The Facts) 28 What Homebuyers Can Expect in 2024 29 San Diego Veterans Coalition 31 Veterans Association of North County 32 Transition to Civilian Life 33 Let's Go Get A Job 34 Veterans Embracing Entrepreneurship 36 Successful Transition: AJ Gonzalez 38 Off-Base Transition Training 40 Military Transition Support 42 Strengthen Your Brand Identity 44 Fall In Love With Your Business 47 Entrepreneur & Inventor Summit 49 Financial Freedom Seminar 52 Veteran-Owned Business Certification 54 Legally Speaking: ATROS: What are they? 56 Careers in Law Enforcement 58 SDPD Ride Along - A Story of Two Marines 62 From Navy Sailor to SFPD Cover Photo by: Jamie Howren Photography / February 2024


Veterans facing the challenges associated with an advanced, life-limiting illness can rely on The Elizabeth Hospice for the medical and emotional support they need and deserve.


The Elizabeth Hospice is proud to be a We Honor Veterans Level 5 Partner, the highest level of distinction in this national program. 6 / February 2024

HONORING OUR VETERANS Memorial Amphitheater

Avenue of Flags

Carillon Tower

Contribute Today and Help Keep the Vision a Reality! Why wait until the end of the year to satisfy your Required Minimum Donation (RMD)? You can do it now and support Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation and our heroes all year long! Here's how you can help: • $500 To support costs towards our Memorial Day and Veterans Day Ceremonies • $1,600 The cost for annual maintenance for the Veterans Tribute Tower • $5,000 The cost for bi-annual maintenance on 50 flag poles Your continued support of The Support Foundation’s mission is greatly appreciated by all who visit the Cemetery.

Ways To Donate: Scan the QR code or visit our website at Mail check to Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation Attn: Amphitheater Fund, 6906 Miramar Road, Ste C-142, San Diego, CA 92121


The Support Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. Tax ID #65-1277308 / February 2024


From the Prairie to the Pacific Midway docent’s memoir is a wild ride through naval aviation

Landing a high-performance jet on an aircraft carrier is considered one of the world’s most difficult undertakings. Successfully completing your initial carrier landings as a student naval aviator is understandably seen as a monumental achievement. It’s an accomplishment worth celebrating. It was August 1968 when Navy flight student Gil Rud successfully “hit the boat” for the first time. Overly excited by this feat, he wasn’t surprised when his celebratory revelry got the best of him. A spirited morning beer fest that got him thrown out of a local Pensacola dive bar led to an impromptu redclay mudpuddle wrestling match with a buddy, and culminated in a less-than-ceremonial trashing of the base’s swimming pool with his mud-stained clothes. “Making mature decisions was certainly not one of my strengths,” reflected Rud, a retired Navy captain and USS Midway Museum volunteer docent since 2014. “And it would not be for quite some time.” This story and many others are wonderfully captured in Rud’s recently published memoir, “From the Prairie to the Pacific, A Blue Angels Journey.” From growing up

on a rural North Dakota farm to becoming a Navy pilot, leading the famed Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron, and commanding an aircraft carrier, Rud engagingly recounts his life’s journey with humility and self-deprecating humor. “Gil Rud has lived life to the full, a life of rollicking fun and increased responsibility,” said Kevin Miller, author of the “Raven One” trilogy and a former Navy fighter pilot. “You’ll laugh at his antics in college, flight school and combat squadrons, and ponder lessons in human nature and the treatment of others he offers in each chapter. This fun book is honest, insightful and unforgettable.” The book is written in a manner that easily makes the reader feel as if they are having friendly conversation with Rud over a drink. The story of one remarkable adventure blends perfectly into the next. Although it wasn’t his intention, his decision to craft the book came out of trying to keep busy during the pandemic. “While I was stuck at home during COVID, I decided to put together some memories for my grandkids as I thought they might be interested in knowing how I grew up, so I started at the beginning,” said Rud, who has more than 1,600 volunteer hours on Midway. “I was having so much fun and the words kept flowing.” After writing the first chapter, Rud sent the draft to his good friend and former naval aviator Dan Beintema, who, at the time, was the president of the USS Midway Foundation. He asked Beintema if he thought this might make a book. “I had a blast working with Gil,” said Beintema, who spent eight years as the head of the museum’s foundation. “He’d shoot me a handful of pages as he wrote them, and while trying to stay focused on the editing detail, I could not help but feel in complete awe and in stitches at the same time. I could hear his voice, giggling and laughing as he was telling many of those hilariously wild stories that shaped and defined his amazing career.”

From the Praire to the Pacific - 8 / February 2024

The book is a 50-year romp that takes the reader from the backwoods of North Dakota, to flying combat missions during the Vietnam War, to being the face of the Navy as the commander of the Blue Angels, to ultimately commanding the aircraft carrier USS Constellation (CV-64) responsible for the welfare of more than 5,000 sailors.

Rud on the bridge of the USS Constellation (CV-64) with Carrier Air Wing 2 commander, Dave Nichols, in 1994.

For Rud, it’s difficult for him to say which of the stories are his favorites, as they were all integral to who he was and who he became. By sharing these stories of his life, however, he hopes to inspire others with his positive energy to stay focused on their dreams. “The message of the book for young readers is that you really can accomplish anything that you set as a goal, no matter where you came from or what your background might be,” said Rud, who still flies his own small private plane. “For the rest of the readers, don’t take yourself or your accomplishments too seriously. There is a very fine line between incredible success and embarrassing failure. In any case, you really can have a heck of a lot of fun on your life’s journey. I did.”

Rud is greeted by his daughter Val after returning from a Western Pacific deployment in 1975. / February 2024


“Veterans know better than anyone else the

price of freedom, for they’ve suffered the scars of war. We can offer them no better tribute than to protect what they have won for us. ” - President Ronald Reagan 10 / February 2024

MOWW San Diego Chapter

A strong America dedicated to preserving and advancing American Ideals and Founding Principles. The Military Order of the World Wars serves our nation and local communities by providing and supporting activities that promote and encourage responsible citizenship, patriotism, youth leadership, military and public service, veteran support, and strong national security. The Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW), founded in 1919, is a non-political, patriotic Veterans Service Organization (VSO). We are a group of patriotic commissioned officers from all uniformed services, our spouses, and descendants. We believe in America and live our motto, “It is nobler to serve than to be served.”. Our tag line is “Serving Youth, Community, and Nation”. We love and continue to serve our nation and all of its peoples. We do this through our outreach programs including Patriotic Education, Veteran Affairs, Scouting, JROTC/ROTC, Public Safety/Law and Order, Homeland Security, and National Security.

“It is nobler to serve than to be served.”


We have been serving the San Diego area since 1926. Our chapter has sponsored many events that have become constant in community life in San Diego. The San Diego chapter has also been quite active on the MOWW national stage. We are quite proud that the first female MOWW Commander-in-Chief, Capt. Debbie Kash, USAF (Ret), is a member of our chapter. We have also provided MOWW with two other Commanders-in-Chief.

Outreach events and activities • Annual free Youth Leadership Conferences for high school students. Student teams and Staff interactively explore, learn, and practice leadership, patriotism, American government, American history, and free enterprise. • Massing of the Colors and Service of Remembrance. Recognizing our youth, community, and nation through honoring our country, flag, active military and veterans, their families, and community patriotism. • Wreaths Across America. Honoring our deceased veterans through co-sponsoring an annual patriotic ceremony. • Recognizing youth leadership and sponsoring JROTC, ROTC, and Scouting events. • Partnering with many community veteran groups. For more information please visit our website at: Facebook: The Military Order of the World WarsMOWW-San Diego Chapter Please feel free to contact us: Debbie Kash Kathleen Winchester / February 2024


Wounded Warrior Project Commits $100 Million More to Mental Health and Brain Injury Support By Kaitlin Fohlin, Wounded Warrior Project

12 / February 2024

For Jenna Malone, the future was uncertain after her husband, Issac, a U.S. Navy veteran, returned home from Afghanistan. He had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a traumatic brain injury, and broken vertebrae. Jenna was determined to save him, salvage their relationship, and protect their children. In the process, Jenna reclaimed her own life. “With each deployment, my husband Issac experienced more isolation, anger, and physical pain,” Jenna recalled. “Both times that he attempted suicide, he refused to get help. He was afraid of what his command would think — and how they would respond to his mental struggles.” Issac’s struggles led them to live apart for a while. But then Jenna started having panic attacks of her own. She didn’t yet know about the impact of PTSD on military spouses and that secondary PTSD is common in military families. The symptoms of indirect trauma can be similar to what warriors with PTSD face: anxiety, depression, irritation, and social isolation. Jenna began attending peer support groups with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) where she could socialize and connect with other military spouses. She quickly learned about secondary PTSD. Soon, she signed up for WWP Talk®, a free weekly phone call where she could get emotional support.

Continued on next page > / February 2024


Participants work one-on-one with a dedicated listener who helps them to set and work on personal goals. Issac started to see positive changes in Jenna, and soon, he realized help was within reach for him, too. He got involved with WWP™, and while attending an event, the couple learned about Warrior Care Network®.

“Warrior Care Network was a breakthrough for us. It gave our family tools to navigate our path forward” - Jenna Malone

Innovative Mental Health & Brain Injury Care Launched in 2015, Warrior Care Network is a national partnership between WWP and four of the nation’s top facilities for trauma recovery. The program aims to make it easier for veterans to get mental health and brain injury care. It offers a customized two-week program at no cost that is faster and more effective than traditional treatments. To help more veterans access these services, WWP is investing another $100 million toward the program this year, bringing its total investment to $336 million. “Warrior Care Network was a breakthrough for us. It gave our family tools to navigate our path forward,” Jenna said about her experience with Warrior Care Network at UCLA’s Operation Mend Program. “I started to see the light turn back on in my husband’s eyes. He was getting more energy and was getting into the routine.” More than 95% of Warrior Care Network participants say they would recommend it to others. Results from more than 4,000 participants show: • Veterans entering Warrior Care Network with severe PTSD can reduce their symptoms to moderate or mild levels in two weeks, on average. Research estimates that typical therapy takes three to four months for similar results. • Nine in 10 veterans finish the treatment – a much higher rate than traditional treatments. • Warrior Care Network is as good at reducing depression symptoms as a standard three-to-fourmonth program. • After treatment, veterans use fewer substances to manage their mood or symptoms. Warrior Care Network treats substance use disorder alongside PTSD. WWP funding for Warrior Care Network also supports research into innovative tools like virtual reality, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, and artificial intelligence to improve treatment for mental health and traumatic brain injuries. 14 / February 2024

“Veterans tell us that Warrior Care Network delivers results unlike many other treatment programs, and that’s because of the shared expertise and contributions of our clinical partners,” said WWP Chief Program Officer Jennifer Silva. “Wounded Warrior Project is very proud to invest in innovative research and treatments for mental health and brain injury care that are proven to help the warriors and families we serve thrive.” Jenna and Issac had access to a marriage counselor daily during their Warrior Care Network experience. Equine therapy was also part of the couple’s journey. “We were paired with a stubborn donkey,” Jenna said. “The donkey would not move if we were not on the same page or communicating well.” Continued Progress and Healing Warrior Care Network provided follow-up care to Jenna and Issac for a year after completing the in-person

Warrior Care Network® has helped countless veterans take back their lives.



program component. WWP also connected the family to equine therapy near their home. Today, Jenna is finishing a bachelor’s degree in human services – she expects to graduate in May 2024 – and has launched a nonprofit called The Refuge Family to provide therapeutic experiences to other families and caregivers.

After years of suppressing the feelings of guilt, shame, anger, and other emotions brought on by post-traumatic stress disorder and survivor’s guilt, Richard Dorr barely recognized himself. His emotional and mental health had declined to the point that he and his family realized they needed help. That’s when he reached out to Wounded Warrior Project® and the Warrior Care Network. Since completing the Warrior Care Network program, Richard feels more alive today than ever before. In partnership with four world-renowned academic medical centers, Warrior Care Network provides first-class treatment tailored specifically for veterans living with the invisible wounds of war. The program features unique and specialized treatments and offerings tailored to help participants manage the difficulties with their injuries.

“I am excited to turn my pain into purpose and help other caregivers on this journey,” Jenna said. “No, the symptoms of our mental health struggles aren’t gone. Yes, we still work at it daily, but it makes all the sacrifices of this life together worth it. Wounded Warrior Project has continued to help provide a compass to guide this new chapter of our lives.” Find the treatments, connection, and support you need to heal.

To learn more, visit or call 888.WWP.ALUM (997.2586) to connect with the WWP Resource Center.

Learn More at / February 2024


“I’m happier with myself. Having been in therapy, period, has helped me be in a better place now.” Rogelio “Roger” Rodriguez, Jr US Navy (1987 – 1993) US Air Force (1993 – 2013)

PTSD treatment can turn your life around. For more information visit:

16 / February 2024 / February 2024


Real Talk: Mental Health By Giselle Vallejo, LPCC, NCC The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at VVSD, San Diego

Your Journey to Self-Love Self-love can be interpreted in different ways, such as appreciation of oneself or respecting your worth. It is often difficult for people to take time out of their day to provide a moment of self-appreciation or self-compassion. And, understandably so, we are often trying to meet or exceed the expectations and needs of others. We often see military families having to juggle many roles at once, especially around deployments or Permanent Change of Station (PCS) season. For example, one parent might find themself taking on extra responsibilities and having to navigate everything on their own, while their spouse might be deployed. And, on the opposite end, the person serving also must find ways to manage duties at work while making time to stay connected from afar.

health, it will be easier to engage in healthy eating habits when you identify why health is important to you. An increased awareness of your values can also help develop a stronger relationship with yourself and your needs. 2. Set healthy boundaries by putting your needs first. Whether this is in your home life or work life, it is important to know what your limit is to avoid being burnt out. Setting boundaries can look like taking a social media break for mental clarity or saying no when you already have too much on your plate. 3. Try speaking to yourself in the same compassionate way you would to a friend or a loved one. When you find yourself speaking down or harsh to yourself, attempt to identify what you appreciate about what you have done. 4. Take a moment to reflect on your emotional state and write out the feeling you may be experiencing. This can also help you understand where those emotions are coming from and can lift some weight off your shoulders.

Some people might feel “selfish” to engage in self-love activities, while others might feel “unworthy”. Self-love is not about being selfish or not worthy. In fact, it is the opposite of that. Self-love is about respecting yourself and prioritizing your individual needs. Let’s face it, the more we make it a priority to take care of ourselves, the more space we can hold for everything else in our lives. Providing time for self-love can increase awareness, positivity, and balance in your life by setting time aside to understand what your needs and wants are. In addition, it gives us the opportunity to grow mentally, physically, and spiritually through self-reflection.

5. Make time in your day to participate in something you enjoy, even if it is for 5 minutes. For example, it can be completing a word puzzle, listening to your favorite song, dancing, or calling a friend to let them know you have been thinking about them.

Setting time aside to practice self-love can be done in many ways. Below are some ways to engage in self-love that will, hopefully, help you start your journey this year with a fresh perspective on how to appreciate yourself a little more.

Whatever it is you do to focus on self-love, remember that starting something new can be difficult and will take time.

1. Start with identifying what your values are. Values are important to understanding your “why” when engaging in different activities. For example, if you value 18 / February 2024

6. When in doubt of how to proceed with practicing or implementing self-love, try seeking out for support with a mental health expert. The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics are great resources to utilize in order to help manage your stressors and to provide guidance on enhancing your self-love techniques.

The suggestions above are just a few ways to practice self-love. Also, consider looking at the Cohen Veterans Network’s Self-Love Tips for the New Year for more tips. Learn more by visiting


for Veteran & Military Families


Cohen Clinics provide therapy to post-9/11 veterans, service members, and military families, including National Guard and Reserves.

CALIFORNIA locations

Los Angeles 20800 Madrona Ave. Suite C-100, Torrance, CA

All sexual orientations and genders welcome.

Oceanside 3609 Ocean Ranch Blvd. Suite 120


San Diego 8885 Rio San Diego Dr. Suite 301 / February 2024


PTSD: Reclaiming Control By: Robert ‘Bob’ Cuyler, PhD Psychologist and Trauma Expert

Thoughts and Emotions: The Impact of Cognitive Processing Therapy on PTSD In this month's column, I want to continue our exploration into the effective talk therapies for PTSD, a subject close to my heart and practice. We're turning our attention to a therapy that's not just close to my expertise but also recommended by the National Center for PTSD as a frontline treatment: Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). CPT typically unfolds over about 12 weekly sessions. Its approach is distinct, focusing less on desensitization and (Part of 2) more on2the critical connection between thoughts and feelings. A cornerstone of CPT is the act of writing about the traumatic event. This process is not just therapeutic; it also confronts the all-too-common avoidance of traumatic reminders in PTSD. Patients often write about the why and how of the trauma, examining its profound impact on their belief systems. Homework between sessions is a standard part of this therapy, reinforcing the process of engagement with difficult thoughts and feelings. In my practice, I've seen firsthand how this therapy can transform lives. Take, for example, the case of a veteran I wrote about a few months back, who was robbed at gunpoint. This event led to a cascade of maladaptive beliefs and avoidance behaviors. He thought, as a veteran, he should've been able to defend himself and saw the world as an unrelentingly dangerous place. Through CPT, we addressed each of these beliefs. He learned to distinguish between real and perceived threats, reducing his hyper-vigilance. As he confronted his avoidance, he found he could engage in life again, cautiously but not fearfully. We also worked on his self-perception, helping him realize that his reactions were natural and not a sign of weakness or a character flaw. This shift significantly reduced his sense of shame and his tendency to replay the traumatic event, making social interactions easier. Like Prolonged Exposure, CPT isn't without its challenges. It requires revisiting painful memories, 20 / February 2024

thoughts, and emotions. Not all veterans are ready or alliance between the therapist and the client is crucial for success. From my experience, I urge veterans to give therapy a try, to look for a sense of connection and trust in that first meeting, and to understand that the path to healing, while difficult, is immensely rewarding. In our next installment, we'll continue our discussion on talk therapies, delving into another approach that has shown promise in the healing journey of our veterans. Stay tuned.

Cuyler is chief clinical officer of Freespira, an FDA-cleared non-medication treatment that helps people with panic and PTSD manage their symptoms by learning how to regulate their breathing. -

San Diego Veterans Magazine works with veteran organizations & for-purpose institutions that help more than one million veterans in life-changing ways each year. At San Diego Veterans Magazine you can visit our website for all “Fighting PTSD” columns, and featured articles relating to mental health, symptoms, therapy and resources.

Resources. Support. 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.

Columns & Articles available at: San Diego Veterans Magazine - Fighting PTSD / February 2024



counter culture I call it the “counter culture”. It’s a name I came up with when I visited my mother about a year ago and found that her kitchen countertops were becoming cluttered with everything from food items and mail to dog bones and medications. And once I started thinking about it, this is not the first time I have seen this phenomenon. Being a Senior Home Safety Specialist, I have walked through many homes owned and occupied by aging adults. And I have seen the “counter culture” in full swing. Horizontal space is filled – often over filled – with kitchen stuff and then some. Seemingly every horizontal space is being used as storage for something. So, what’s behind this phenomenon of stacking/ cluttering/clogging the kitchen (and other horizontal spaces) counters with everything from soup to nuts? When I asked my mother about it, she explained that she keeps certain things out on the counters so she can immediately see what she has. It’s the solution, at least in part, to the adage of “out of sight, out of mind” – if she puts things in the cupboards and drawers, she may not remember that they are there. When she doesn’t remember that she already has certain items, it leads to more shopping and more stuff to fill the cupboards, drawers and counter tops.

A vicious cycle for certain. Yet I can see the logic in some of it. I too put certain things on my counter tops – in the bathroom and the kitchen – so I remember them. I have some of my medication out on the counter in the kitchen, so I don’t forget to take them in the morning. I have certain ointments, pastes and potions out on the countertop in the bathroom so I remember to apply before bedtime or at the beginning of the day. If I put these items in the cupboards and drawers, which I have done from time to time when I get tired of looking at them, I tend to forget to take them or use them. And with medication specifically, that is not a good thing. And so, they come back out of the cupboard, out of the drawer to sit front and center on my counter tops. In my infinite wisdom (and before asking why the stuff resided on the counters instead of in cupboards and drawers), I promptly began organizing and decluttering my mother’s countertop space. And this went over like a lead balloon. When she got home, she found her counters were clean and organized…but she couldn’t find those things she really wanted or needed. We spent the better part of the afternoon putting things back on the countertop, this time in a more orderly and organized fashion, however. The point is, we all have our “systems” for keeping those things close at hand that are important to us and require our attention. Who am I to tell my mother how to keep her house and where to put her stuff? She’s lived 82 years – 28 of those years without me telling her how to live life, believe it or not. And while I believe there is a fine line between engaging in a “counter culture” way of life and the accumulation of things becoming a hazard to her health and well-being, I should probably leave it up to her. As long as she knows where her medication is and remembers that the bowl of doggie chews on the counter are not for human consumption, I’m happy.

22 / February 2024



Meal Prep

Physical Therapy

Aging in Place

Assisted Living

Memory Care

Navigating your future may bring uncertainty. Aging Well Partners can help you discover your best path forward by empowering you with the vetted resources and trusted services that meet your specific needs. Your journey has a roadmap and we are here to help you find it.

Your Local Partners. Your Certified Senior Advisors™.

Free Consultation: 619.789.1839



Meal Physical Therapy Aging in Place

Proudly featuring our Certified Business Partners

Assisted Living

Memory Care

Proudly featuring our Certified Business Partners

Navigating your future may bring uncertainty. Aging Well Partners can help you discover your best path forward by empowering you with the vetted resources and trusted services that meet your specific needs. Your journey has a roadmap and we are here to help you find it. Your Local Partners. Your Certified Senior Advisors™.

Free Consultation: 619.789.1839 Proudly featuring our Certified Business Partners


Qualif ied veterans can receive an iBOT® at no charge to them under VA FSS #36F79721D0202. Contact Mobius Mobility to schedule your demo today. / February 2024



Insurance Info & Risk Management Tips By Hadley Wood

1) Make sure your business is compliant with the current state law surrounding this. You can visit: Sexual Harassment in the Workplace ( for more information about this. Annual manager and employee training is a must. 2) Be aware and act immediately if you suspect any wrongdoing. If an employee comes to you with even a hint of improper conduct activity – take it seriously, address the situation and document your actions. If you do nothing, you are liable too.

Toxic Love

February is a great time to get cozy and share the love but keep that amorous itch far away from your place of business!

3) If you do not have an HR department, hire an outside HR consultant to help navigate employee relations and issues. 4) Monitor company-owned employee computers for any unlawful or unsavory usage. 5) Set up cameras around common areas to have a visual record of what is going on. This can prove or disprove the actions and conduct of your employees.

Each year, thousands of claims for sexual harassment are filed against businesses and business owners, by both women AND men. Sexual harassment carries a broader definition than most people think and includes both Quid-Pro-Quo (sexual favors for reward) and Hostile Work Environment (unwelcome sexual comments and/or actions) scenarios.

6) Understand that your current business insurance policy likely excludes coverage for this. The insurance for these claims falls under EPLI coverage – Employment Practices Liability Insurance and is generally purchased separately from your General or Professional Liability. EPLI coverage can cover claims arising from:

Sexual harassment includes verbal harassment, sexual comments, physical harassment, impeding movement/blocking, telling sexual jokes, sending sexual cartoons/drawings, passing along sexual joke emails, and conditional bonus/rewards for sexual favors.

• Wrongful Termination

• 38% of women and 12% of men have experienced sexual harassment in their place of business. • Sexual harassment costs an estimated 2.6 billion in lost productivity annually.

• Sexual Harassment

• Discrimination – age, race, religion, sexual identity, disability • Unsafe/Hostile work environment • Whistleblower retaliation

• 55% of victims experience retaliation after speaking up or making a claim. • The ‘Harasser’ can be anyone – an owner, manager, co-worker, vendor, subcontractor.

Look over your insurance policy and talk with your Broker to make sure this coverage is included. I suggest a minimum of 500,000 in coverage and premiums can be as low as $500 per year depending on the nature and size of your business. The average sexual harassment claim that makes it to court costs the defendant over $200,000. If your business does not have EPLI coverage, this will be coming out of your pocket. And that’s a love letter you do not want to receive!

Let’s be real. This has always been a workplace problem but since the #MeToo Movement, more people are now confident to speak up and take action. So, what can a business owner do to protect the company?

Please reach out to me at: with any business insurance or risk management questions.

24 / February 2024

#MeToo Movement

#MeToo is a social movement against sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and rape culture, in which people publicize their experiences of sexual abuse or sexual harassment. The phrase “Me Too” was initially used in this context on social media in 2006, on Myspace, by sexual assault survivor and activist Tarana Burke. The purpose of “Me Too”, as initially voiced by Burke as well as those who later adopted the tactic, is to empower sexually assaulted people (especially young and vulnerable women of color) through empathy, solidarity, and strength in numbers, by visibly demonstrating how many have experienced sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace.

After millions of people started using the phrase and hashtag in this manner in English, the expression began to spread to dozens of other languages. The scope has become somewhat broader with this expansion, however, and Burke has more recently referred to it as an international movement for justice for marginalized people. For more information on the #MeToo movement and founder Tarana Burke visit Reference: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia / February 2024


Valentine’s Day Impress your Valentine’s Day sweetie with an encyclopedic knowledge of the facts surrounding this quintessential day of love that’s been around since Roman times. Surely, someone so well versed in the day must also know a thing or two about actual amore.

February 14th

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Dying for Love Theories abound on the origin of Valentine’s Day, but the most popular dates back to 270 A.D and the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius II. Seems Claudius didn’t want men marrying during wartime because he believed single men fought better. Bishop Valentine took exception and performed secret nuptials anyway. Claudius found out, jailed Valentine and had him executed on Feb. 14. From jail the holy man wrote a love letter and signed it “From your Valentine” and greeting card industry cheered.

First Speed Dating

In the Middle Ages, young men and women picked names out of a box to see who would be their Valentine. Then they would wear the names pinned to their sleeves for a week. This lead to the expression “to wear your heart on your sleeve.”

The Chocolate Connection

Doctors in the 1800s routinely advised patients pining for lost love to eat chocolate to calm themselves. Later in the century Richard Cadbury produced the first box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. Today, no fewer than 35 million boxes of chocolate are sold each Valentine’s Day. More than $1 billion in chocolate is bought in the United States alone.

Not just a U.S. Holiday

Besides the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Denmark and Italy.

Japan’s Take

Valentine’s Day was introduced here in 1936 and quickly became popular – with a twist. Because of a translation error, women buy men chocolates on this day to show interest. The men return the favor, if so inclined, on White Day, March 14.

It’s a Good Day for the Roses

Valentine’s Day – along with Christmas and Mothers Day – is huge day for florists. This single day generates sales of $14.7 billion, which is greater than the gross domestic product of several countries. An estimated 189 million flowers are sold in the United States this day of which about 110 million are roses.

Feb. 14 in History ….

Capt. James Cook killed by natives in Hawaii (1779), Oregon and Arizona admitted to the Union (1859 and 1912, respectively), James Polk becomes first president photographed in office (1848), United Parcel Service formed (1919), the League of Women Voters established (1920), Aretha Franklin recorded “Respect” (1967), Richard Nixon installed a secret taping system in the White House (1971) and Voyager I photographs entire solar system (1990) / February 2024


Real estate Guide

Real Estate Tips for Veterans & Active Military By Michelle Muniz

What Homebuyers Can Expect in 2024 Now that inflation has slowed and interest rates are starting to decline, there is certainly reason to be optimistic about homebuying in 2024. But, as we enter the busy PCS season, there are certain trends military homebuyers should be aware of as they navigate the real estate market. Some industry professionals predict that interest rates will drop to as low as 5% by the end of the year. This sounds like great news, but while lower home sales have increased housing inventory slightly, it’s not enough to keep up with demand. As a result, home prices continue to escalate. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) anticipates sales prices will increase approximately 13.5% by the end of 2024. Although the real estate landscape remains competitive for homebuyers, it’s a much more manageable environment than it was two years ago!

Sellers, on the other hand, can enjoy quite a bit of equity that can be used as a down payment for their next home. However, if they benefited from the 2-3% interest rates that were prevalent a few years ago, financing at 5-6% in the current market might not be feasible, especially coupled with higher home prices. If you find yourself in this situation, it might be worth considering renting your home for a time, especially with high rental rates in certain markets. As you continue to hear predictions from industry professionals that may favorably or unfavorably impact your decision to buy or sell, the best you can do is be prepared for the moment you are ready to make your move! Good luck in 2024! For more information on buying or selling a home,contact Michelle Muniz at (619) 214-0131 or email at

28 / February 2024



SAN DIEGO VETERANS COALITION COMMUNITY • COLLABORATION • COOPERATION The San Diego Veterans Coalition was organized in 2009 and incorporated as a non-profit on May 24, 2011. Using the Collective Impact Model, SDVC is a premier San Diego County-wide monthly convener of over 150 unique member and participating organizations, businesses, and agencies, as well as convening many of that body in our four action groups, and other activities and events. The Collective Impact Model is based on leveraging relationships with other veteran and family serving organizations so that we may provide veterans and their families with a complete array of services and other opportunities. Many of the organizations that belong to SDVC specialize in one field (education, housing, employment, healthcare). Knowing what services each other provides, we can offer comprehensive support to our local Veteran community. We are proud to work alongside a wide variety of non-profit and for-profit organizations, as well as governmental agencies and individuals. The SDVC is a catalyst that inspires collaboration and cooperation among service partners to deliver premier support for Veterans in the San Diego region and beyond.


E3 E D U C AT I O N , E M P L O Y M E N T & E D U C AT I O N





SDVC is proud to have partnered with ONWARD OPS, which has partnered with the Veterans Administration, the Department of Defense, and local communities to support service members through the process from military to civilian life by matching them with one-on-one sponsors in their specific community.

ONWARD OPS Sponsors all complete a VA-Certified Sponsor Training Course and the Community Integration Coordinators are all validated as best-in-class, trusted, and capable partners in their local region. Our national network, working with the department of defense, the department of veterans affairs, and the department of labor, brings a team together in one common mission: to securely provide the information and relationships needed to help every transitioning service member successfully make the journey out of the military and into civilian life.









EMAIL: INFO@SDVETSCOALITION.ORG © San Diego Veterans Coalition 2023




Navigating the resources available to veterans can be confusing, but San Diego Veterans Magazine believes no veteran should have to go it alone. At San Diego Veterans Magazine you can find Veteran organizations and private nonprofits with resources for veterans that can help ease the process of attaining earned benefits, coping with the lasting effects of service-connected injuries and finding programs and services that meet your specific needs.

Resources National Veteran Resources & Organizations available at:

30 / February 2024

Welcome to the Veterans Association of North County HERE FOR YOU WHEN YOU NEED US Here you will find several resources, programs, services and opportunities for Veterans, Service Members and their families. Our goal is to be your one stop shop for all things, so don’t hesitate to contact us at any time. Programs and services vary, and include additional information for each. We have two Veteran Services Representatives (VSR) here at VANC, read all about them below in Addtional Services at: ( OUR MISSION VANC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created and operated by Veterans as a one-stop resource center for all active-duty military, Veterans, and their families. We centralize services from diverse agencies to assist with jobs, education, finances, health, and wellness. OUR VISION We seek to honor and support those who have served our country, bridging the past, present, and future. VANC is a vibrant gathering place in North San Diego County, where all Veterans, active-duty military, and their loved ones can reach out for help and community. VANC engages and informs local Veterans organizations, service providers, and individuals, helping them work together. VANC seeks to be a model for other organizations that serve the military community. JOIN US FOR AMAZING UPCOMING EVENTS There’s always engaging things happening at VANC and with our partners. Check our calendar here for regularly scheduled events, meetings and opportunities here at VANC ( WE LOVE OUR ASSOCIATION MEMBERS AND THEY’RE HERE FOR YOU TOO. VANC is open to all military, veterans and friends of the military. If you would like to become a Veterans Association member, Contact Lori at to learn more.

WWW.VANC.ME / February 2024


Feburary 2024 Issue

TRANSITION To Civilian Life

- Let's Go Get A Job - Unleashing Your True Potential: Veterans Embracing Entrepreneurship in 2024 - Successful Transitioning Stories - Off-Base Transition Training - Military Transition Support - Strengthen Your Brand Identity - Fall In Love With Your Business - Women's Product Entrepreneur & Inventor Summit - Financial Freedom - The Benefits of a Veteran-Owned Business Certification

Transitioning out of the Military into the Civilian Workforce? For editorial & monthly columns regarding transition, career advice, tips, workshops, transition to education, entrepreneurship, straight-forward legal tips for military and veteran business owners and more visit Veterans In Transition at 32 / February 2024

‘LET’S GO GET A JOB’ Retired Air Force veteran Marcus Harvey found exactly what he needed at a DAV job fair By Elizabeth DePompei


arcus Harvey knew he didn’t want to go to college right away. He was too eager to launch a career and put his life into motion. “And that’s when I looked into the Air Force and did my research and decided to join,” he said. “I felt like it was an instant career.” In 2022, Harvey retired from the military after 20 years. He spent most of that time as a recruiter but also served as a missile mechanic and a Military Entrance Processing Station liaison. After retirement, he took some time off to travel and spend time with his family. When he entered the job market months later, he was surprised at how tough it was to break into a civilian career. “The job hunt for me, it was a little bit intimidating. I thought it would be a lot different,” he said. “I just felt like companies would be like, ‘Oh, man, you retired military Air Force? Oh we want you.’ “It really wasn’t the case. It’s a lot of competition out here.” When someone in Harvey’s network posted on LinkedIn about a DAV job fair happening near him in Arlington, Texas, he jumped at the opportunity. “Woo! Yo yo yo, check this out,” Harvey exclaimed in a video he submitted to DAV right after leaving the job fair. “I just left the event—amazing experience, so many companies there. I talked to so many good people, talked to so many good companies. Oh man, I’m motivated. … Let’s go get a job now.’” Harvey later applied to a job he found on his own and now works as a talent acquisitions manager for the city of Carrollton, Texas. He enjoys finding the right fit for open positions and working one-on-one with candidates. “I love the fact that I can help people,” he said. “I hold my head a lot higher, knowing that I go to work every day and I’m making an impact on society.”

Harvey said his DAV job fair experience gave him critical tools to add to his toolbox, particularly when it came to tweaking his resume to suit different employers. He also found reassurance and encouragement from the employers he spoke to, many of whom did the exact job he was interested in—talent acquisition. “Going to the DAV job fair motivated me,” he said. “You really just gotta keep pushing and use all your resources. [There are] so many resources out there that you can reach out to and use, including DAV. … “They have your back. DAV has your back.” Harvey hopes to one day be at a DAV job fair on the other side, recruiting veterans like him into new careers. DAV hosts dozens of virtual and in-person job fairs across the country every year, connecting transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses with employers who appreciate the unique skills they bring to the table. Find a full schedule of upcoming DAV job fairs and other employment resources at n

Marcus Harvey retired from the Air Force after 20 years, with most of that time spent serving as a recruiter. Now, thanks in part to a DAV job fair that prepared and inspired him to reenter the job market, Harvey is a talent acquisitions manager for a city in Texas.

DID YOU ATTEND A DAV JOB FAIR? Share your experience and empower other service members, veterans and spouses to find meaningful careers. Scan the QR code and share your story now. / February 2024


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

Unleashing Your True Potential: Veterans Embracing Entrepreneurship in 2024 Are You Kidding Me?! Humility comes before honor….and before a $500k salary right out of the military. Naval Academy Graduate Alan Lerchbacher is a Professor at University of San Diego and Cal State San Marcos and teaches the Capstone Course for the Master's of Global Leadership. He tells a woeful tale of how, 40 years ago, his attitude lost a $500,000 year salary right out of transitioning from the Navy. Through a few serendipitous encounters with retired military leaders and business owners, Alan found himself in the interview of a lifetime. After decades invested in the Navy he had seen and done it all and was ready to transition out on a new adventure. He was not sure anything could top the mission focused success he had in his decorated Navy Diving career but being the CEO of a company might come close. Walking into the interview, because of his high recommendations, he had theJim job. The interview Gruny was a mere formality. Unfortunately, he spent the entire interview trying to convince the Chairman of the Board that he’d be a better candidate for the same role in another state because he just did not want to live in the Midwest. After his interview the man who referred him to the company called him enraged and through his fourletter explicative asked what he thought he was doing? Alan flatly responded that he thought he’d be a better fit in another city. When his friend asked him how much he thought that the position he just interviewed for was paying. Alan, who was making $72,000 per year in all honesty said, “I don’t know.” “$500,000 a year, plus bonuses!!” was the loud response. There was no going back. He blew it. 34 / February 2024

Photo by: Jamie Howren Photography

We spoke with Alan about his tips to transition if you want to be an entrepreneur or you are interested in running a company as he was.

Days to Broke He begins his business classes by asking a simple question. How many of you want to be an entrepreneur? 70-80% raise their hands. By the end of the semester only 1-3 students have the same answer. Why? He gives them a strong dose of reality. He teaches them to track “DTB” or “Days to Broke”. Think about that. Continue to keep that figure in the forefront of your mind as you press on into your entrepreneurship dream. He cautions that if you have a family, you better be having conversations with them to make sure they and you are all on the same page and in agreement. Make sure you know how much you ‘want’ to make and how much you ‘need’ to make so as to not stress your family financially. He also encourages that there is nothing wrong with getting a job out of the military and then figuring out what you really want to do. Maybe while on the job you think of a better way to do something, or you invent something that serves as a catalyst and driver for you to start your own business. Motivational speaker and life coach Julianne Kirkland says, “In a world filled with opportunities, there exists a unique path for veterans to fully embrace their integrated identity and tap into the limitless potential within them.“ As a former facilitator for Tony Robbins’ Mastery Program, she has seen firsthand the transformative power of harnessing one’s knowledge, skills, and passions. She notes, “By embracing entrepreneurship, veterans can embark on a journey that not only enables them to tap into their full potential but also helps them overcome some of the most common obstacles they face upon returning to civilian life.”

Continuing on with purpose, on purpose “Leaving the structured and purpose-driven environment of the military can leave veterans feeling lost and disconnected. Entrepreneurship offers a unique opportunity to regain that sense of purpose by pursuing a passion or cause that truly resonates with you.” Post-Traumatic Stress and Mental Health “Many veterans grapple with the invisible wounds of war, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mental health challenges. Entrepreneurship can provide a therapeutic outlet and a sense of purpose that aids in the healing process. It offers the flexibility to create a work environment that accommodates your needs and allows you to focus on self-care.” Julianne offers practical tools 1. Self-Discovery and Goal Setting: Reflect on your strengths, interests, and passions. What excites you? What do you want to achieve through your entrepreneurial venture? Set clear, achievable goals that align with your values. 2. Education and Training: Invest in acquiring the knowledge and skills needed for your chosen business. Seek out courses, workshops, coaches and mentors who can help you build a strong foundation. 3. Networking: Build a network of fellow veterans, mentors, and business professionals who can provide guidance and support. Connect with organizations like Band of Hands, Bunker Labs and SCORE that specifically assist veteran entrepreneurs. 4. Funding: Explore funding options, such as grants, loans, or crowdfunding, to kickstart your business. Organizations like the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) can assist in accessing financial resources. 5. Resilience: Entrepreneurship is a journey filled with ups and downs. Cultivate resilience by staying adaptable, learning from setbacks, and maintaining a growth mindset. You have this skill from fighting for your country, now it’s time to apply it to YOU.

Need help with your transition? Have questions? Link up with Eve on Linked In today. / February 2024


Successful Transitioning Stories By Dr. Julie Ducharme

AJ Gonzalez

AJ Gonzalez spent 21 years in the Navy retiring as a Chief Petty Officer. Before I get too far into this story, I have known AJ for about 13 years since he married my dear friend Katie. Katie was in my wedding 22 years ago as a bridesmaid. And to top it off, I got to be at Katie and AJ’s wedding when they jumped out of a plane together, skydived in and then walked over and got married right after they touched the ground. This couple is super fun! AJ and his wife Katie had lived in San Diego for years, but they decided that when he retired, they would move to Texas. My wife did it all while I was deployed, she bought the house and moved out a few months before I retired, she packed up the house and family all on her own and moved them out to our new home in Texas. And this was tough because all our support groups were gone. It was like starting over. But despite the big move and sudden changes it was the best place for us to be. 36 / February 2024

To be honest, when I retired, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was in a good place. I didn’t have to work but I wanted to, and there were lots of job opportunities given to me, but I decided I needed to just go home first, spend time with my wife and kids and start there. But very quickly I found myself bored out of my mind. I realized it was different being retired versus being on leave. And I found out quickly I needed to adjust and figure out what I wanted to do. It was tough at first, but I enjoyed being home and waking up every morning to my family. But I needed something, and I didn’t want to do a 9-5 and that is when I started getting into the stock market and becoming a trader and I loved that. I could have a flexible job and very slowly but surely, I realized I could do this. Two years later I have been trading and loving my job. Another thing I did for the first year was that I volunteered for everything I could think of, I started participating in the kid’s home schooling, and helped coaching teams, and helping at my local church. It took a lot of patience and time, and I didn’t have a routine, but I did figure it out. I stayed so busy the first year it helped me with the transition. Find things you are passionate about and volunteer that first year out of the military.

I often hear that veterans feel like they lose their group when they transition out, how did you replace the loss of that camaraderie that had been happening for the last 21 years? I realized I needed a new group of men to have this camaraderie and I helped start building our men’s group at our church. It has grown so much in the last 2 years and helped bring to me a new group of men that I can have that similar camaraderie with. It’s important when you transition to find these groups and if you can’t find one create one like I did. Were there some other struggles you faced in your first year of transition? I was lucky that my job required me to work with the Navy Seals, so the Navy Seal Foundation was great with helping and encouraging me to really make sure to start working on my rating for disabilities. It’s a beast of a task, but it’s needed, so when you do transition out it can be processed much sooner. This can be a major struggle if you don’t make time for this.

What exciting things have happened since you transitioned out? Besides my trading job, all my volunteering, teaching my kids, coaching my kids’ team. I started teaching English to Spanish speakers and over the last 2 years this program we started is expanding incredibly fast. We started with 25 people and now we have 135 people. And next round we are expecting more.

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 help you succeed in your transition.

Final tips, ask for help, get help, and share. The military and as well as culture creates a false narrative that men can’t share or get help or ask for help. Too many of our brothers and sisters in the military are not getting the help that is there. I have only been retired two years and I am excited to see that I have settled into my groove. There is a lot more I want to accomplish, and I am excited to go after those goals. To learn more about how Synergy Learning Institute helps transitioning veterans visit:

For editorial & monthly columns regarding transitioning to civilian life, career advice, tips, workshops, transition to education, entrepreneurship, straight-forward legal tips for military and veteran business owners visit



Employment Focused Workshops to Help You Reach Your Goals Author: Tim Winter, Director, Transition Assistance Program, Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service Perhaps you’re trudging back and forth to the same office or signing on for a day of work in a job that shows no sign of changing or improving: the long hours, the ongoing meetings, the lack of fulfillment. The job itself is mind-numbing; your talents forgotten and the potential you had in abundance when you first transitioned out of the military feels like it has been sucked out of you. If you’re reading this and thinking, yeah, that is me, then the Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS) has just the thing for you. DOL VETS has a new pilot program to help veterans, veterans currently serving in the National Guard and Reserve, and their spouses to take control of their careers. The Off-Base Transition Training (OBTT) pilot program consists of ten two-hour workshops designed to help you to prepare to meet your employment goals. These no-cost workshops, both in-person and virtual offerings, will fit any schedule and can give you an advantage over your civilian counterparts.

The Workshops Your Next Move: Your Next Move is designed to help anyone unsure of what they want to do next with their career. This workshop explores interest profiling, skills matching and general labor market information. It is designed to introduce the basic tools needed for career exploration and identification of high-demand occupations. 38 / February 2024

Marketing Yourself and Other Job Search Tactics: Marketing Yourself and Other Job Search Tactics explains how essential it is to present skills, knowledge and abilities that meet the employer’s needs. This workshop provides proven tactics to help job seekers get noticed and hired. Understanding Resume Essentials: Understanding Resume Essentials explains the importance of a wellstructured resume that highlights relevant skills and experience to potential employers. This workshop covers the elements of a resume and provides job seekers with techniques to create an effective document that employers will notice. Creating Your Resume – Writing Workshop: Creating Your Resume – Writing Workshop builds on the Understanding Resume Essentials. During this workshop attendees will have time to craft an initial resume or revise a current one. Interview Skills (virtual only): Interview Skills aims to provide attendees with the tools and confidence they need to ace a job interview. Learning how to prepare for an interview and practice answering questions will give attendees an advantage in landing a job. During this workshop, interview basics, potential questions and interview techniques are presented. Federal Hiring (virtual only): Federal Hiring covers the basics of gaining federal employment. Veterans have a distinct advantage when applying for federal positions with veterans’ preference. During this workshop, the basics of civil service, USAJobs, special hiring authorities and other resources for attendees’ federal job search are discussed.

LinkedIn Profiles (virtual only): This workshop walks attendees through how to create a compelling LinkedIn profile that can be used to build a professional brand and highlight experience.

Employment Rights (virtual only): Employment Rights cover basic employment protections as well as those protections specific to veterans. It provides essential information on the American Disabilities Act, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act. Information on reasonable accommodations and selfadvocacy will also be presented.

LinkedIn Job Search (virtual only): This workshop explains how to proactively use LinkedIn for job searches and pulls back the curtain to show how recruiters use LinkedIn to find potential employees, which you can use in your employment opportunities.

Thinking about changing careers? It’s time to find your passion and make that your priority.

Salary Negotiations (virtual only): Salary Negotiations explores the tools and techniques to handle salary negotiations. This workshop is designed to take the mystery out of salary negotiation and walks attendees through how to conduct salary research to position yourself effectively during negotiation.

OBTT will help you reach your employment and career goals. You served, you earned it; find your next victory with OBTT. Explore and register for OBTT in-person or virtual workshops online at: / February 2024


Change is hard. Your transition to civilian life doesn’t have to be. At zero8hundred our goal is to ease the transition from military to civilian life. We are here to connect you to the resources specifically suited to your goals for joining the Southern California civilian workforce and community.

Resource Specialists work together with TSMs to map out a plan for re-entry, checking in regularly and providing referrals to our network of partnering organizations as needed to ensure they are, connected with resources to achieve their goals. When participants graduate from the program, we place them into our Veteran Alumni Network where we continue to track their outcomes and help keep them connected with community resources relevant to each stage of their Veteran Lifecycle. We also provide the same services to military spouses, who often face career challenges due to the frequent relocations and other demands of military family life.

This free individualized support is available up to a full year prior to military separation through a full year post-military separation. The zero8hundred team are trained Resource Specialists, with lived military experience, who are committed to working alongside transitioning service members to help them design and execute the post-military journey they want. OUR MISSION The mission of Zero8Hundred is to proactively link military service members, recent veterans, Reservists, National Guard, and spouses (including Gold Star spouses) to the broad range of resources and opportunities in their local community dedicated to helping them transition to civilian life. Zero8Hundred derives its name from the daily military ritual of raising the American flag at 0800 hours (8:00 a.m.) to signal that a new day of work has begun. We provide transitioning service members (TSMs) with personalized 1:1 counseling and wraparound support from clinically trained Master Social Workers (MSW) for up to one year before and two years after their separation from military service. Each TSM is matched with a Zero8Hundred Resource Specialist (MSW), who immediately begins a clinical assessment to address any critical needs and connects with clients to develop their transition plan. Needs may range from basic needs such as food and housing to employment support, continuing education, mental health support, financial advice, legal support, and/or health and wellness resources.

Our Resources The tools for transition, right at your fingertips.


Your Contribution Matters


Contact Us 40 / February 2024

MILITARY TRANSITION SUPPORT OUR FIVE PILLARS: Jobs & Employment - Education - Basic Needs - Health & Wellness - Community Connections

What is Zero8Hundred?

How does it work?

The mission of Zero8Hundred is to proactively link military service members, recent veterans, Reservists, National Guard and spouses (including Gold Star spouses) to the broad range of resources and opportunities in their local community dedicated to helping them transition to civilian life.

Zero8Hundred uses a Veterans Wellness Model to create & ensure a better system to ease the transition into the civilian community before, during and after leaving the armed forces.

Zero8Hundred derives its name from the daily military ritual of raising the American flag at 0800 hours (8:00 a.m.) to signal that a new day of work has begun.

Through a unique partnership with community partners and the military, Zero8Hundred provides a one-stop approach to support transitioning service-members, veterans and their families.

ENROLL TODAY ON OUR WEBSITE: Tax ID: 83-1268486 / February 2024



Strengthen Your Brand Identity Customers make the heart of your business beat with their desire to choose products, services and experiences that meet their needs, fit their values, engage their emotions and respond to their desires. Your role is to transform prospects into customers and customers into fiercely loyal advocates. As your own marketer you have to be heard over the marketing noise that is everywhere, (TV, newspapers, on every street corner, now even at the movies). You then have to overcome the skepticism of the more sophisticated consumer. In creating a Personal Brand it is important to understand that all of this starts with what you say about who you are, what you do, but most importantly what is the outcome you deliver so you stand out, create interest and satisfy someone’s desire to buy. I would like to suggest you start by asking yourself some questions that can flush out the things you need to know about your customer, and what your customer needs to know about you. If you have targeted a market, what is their challenge, issue or problem. The better prepared you are to answer that question the better prepared you will be to know what your customer needs to know about you.

What is the value of your product or service in terms of saving customers time and effort? Does what you offer add value by offering an enhancement – beauty, status, advancement or guarantees? Can you demonstrate that your product or service is not a cost but an investment? How about your competition, why do people buy from you rather than your competition? What makes you different? What do your customers tell each other about your product or service? and eBay have capitalized on this by giving buyers a chance to comment and/or review what they purchased and in the case of eBay how well the seller fulfilled what he sold. You need to be able to tell the stories and quote the testimonials of happy customers so others can see how you are different. Few products or services are unique, you make them unique by looking at your strengths to create your competitive edge. What strengths do you have that you can effectively capitalize on? When you have answers to the questions that apply to you, you must be able to deliver that information verbally and in all your written and hand out materials. Remember people want to know “what’s in it for them.”

promote Your value

build Your Brand promote Your Brand 42 / February 2024

So, what is the outcome and value you deliver; this is not the how, but the what, that will keep them coming back over and over again? Barbara Eldridge has built a solid reputation as a Results strategies specialist, within industry and business over the past 40 years. Her unique message, since starting Mind Masters 30 years ago for entrepreneurs and small business owners, continually stresses vision, purpose and values as the key elements of business philosophy. / February 2024


legal Eagle

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


INCORPORATE YOUR BUSINESS Forming a corporation is an essential step to protect your personal assets from any liabilities of the company. Each business structure has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on your specific circumstances. GET A FEDERAL TAX ID NUMBER To distinguish your business as a separate legal entity, you will need to obtain a Federal Tax Identification Number, also referred to as an Employer Identification Number (EIN). The EIN is issued by the IRS and acts as a social security number for your business. This number will identify your business with the IRS and your clients. OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT TO START BUILDING BUSINESS CREDIT


ith each new year, entrepreneurs look to turn their vision into a business. These startups are often overflowing with tremendous ideas, energy and optimism, but don’t always have a roadmap for the legal aspects involved in starting a business. In the flurry of drumming up new customers, getting ready for a website launch and building the first prototype, it’s all too easy to put off some of the less glamorous, more administrative aspects of running a company. Company filings and regulations are not the most exciting parts of your startup, yet they are critical to the health of your business and personal finances. Here’s a list of administrative aspects you need to consider for your startup or small business: PICK A NAME – MAKE SURE YOU ARE LEGALLY PERMITTED TO USE IT Before you start printing our business cards, make sure the great new name you thought of is not infringing on the rights of an already existing business. Start with a simple google search, conduct a free trademark search and then conduct a search with the Secretary of State. 44 / February 2024

When you rely on your personal credit to fund your business, your personal mortgage, auto loan and personal credit cards all affect your ability to qualify for a business loan. Using business credit separates your personal activities from that of the business. The begin building your business credit, you should open a bank account in the name of your company and the account should show a cash flow capable of taking on a business loan. LEARN ABOUT EMPLOYEE LAWS Your legal obligations as an employer begin as soon as you hire your first employee. You should spend time understanding what your obligations are according to the state you conduct business in. You should know federal and state payroll and withholding taxes, self-employment taxes, anti-discrimination laws, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation rules, and wage and hour requirements. Obtain the necessary business permits and licenses Depending on your business type and physical location, you may be required to have one or more business licenses or permits from the state, local or even federal level. Such licenses include, general business operation license, zoning and land use permit, sales tax license, or professional licenses.

FILE FOR TRADEMARK PROTECTION Using a name instantly gives you common law rights as an owner, even without formal registration. However, trademark law is complex and simply registering your company in your state does not automatically give you common-law rights. In order to claim first use, the name has to be trademarkable and in use in commerce. It’s always a great idea to protect your business name as it can become a valuable asset of your company.


Legal Pearls! PEARLS OF WISDOM for Avoiding Business Litigation

GET YOUR LEGAL DUCKS IN A ROW No matter how busy things with your startup get, set aside some time to address these matters and take your legal obligations seriously. Getting your legal ducks in a row right from the start will help you avoid any pitfalls down the road, and will help you scale your business successfully as you grow. We help entrepreneurs start, run, and grow their business and I’m proud to provide a limited time offer of 10% discount on our Startup Essentials Package. Please use the code Veteran at checkout.

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.

Award-winning attorney, Kelly Bagla shows you how to avoid legal pitfalls FROM DAY ONE! Legal Pearls! - The quick and easy guide for avoiding business litigation. Award-winning Attorney Kelly Bagla distills the legal information every business owner needs to know to avoid costly lawsuits and protect personal assets. Now every entrepreneur can apply the same legal steps and strategies used by top attorneys. • AVOID COSTLY BUSINESS LITIGATION • PROTECT YOUR HARD-EARNED ASSETS • BE READY WHEN LEGAL ISSUES ARISE

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Veterans Chamber of Commerce By Joseph Molina

The Benefits of a Veteran-Owned Business Certification Veterans bring a unique set of skills, experiences, and discipline to the business world. Recognizing the contributions of veterans, many governments and private sector organizations offer and recognize this Veteran-Owned Certification or Designation which offers many benefits for veteran entrepreneurs. 1. Government Contracting Opportunities: One of the most significant advantages of obtaining a VeteranOwned Business certification is the access it provides to government contracting opportunities. Government agencies at various levels often have set-aside contracts for businesses owned by veterans. These contracts can range from goods and services to construction projects, offering a substantial avenue for business growth. 2. Competitive Edge in the Marketplace: The VOB certification is not only a testament to the owner's military service but also serves as a mark of credibility in the business world. Many consumers, as well as other businesses, actively seek to support veteran-owned enterprises. Displaying the VOB logo on marketing materials and products can provide a competitive edge, attracting customers who prioritize supporting veteran entrepreneurs. 3. Networking and Mentorship Opportunities: Veteran-Owned Business certifications often open doors to exclusive networking events and mentorship programs. These opportunities allow veteran entrepreneurs to connect with like-minded individuals, share experiences, and learn from established business leaders. Mentorship programs provide valuable guidance, helping veterans navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship. 4. Access to Capital and Financial Incentives: Many financial institutions and government programs offer special incentives and loans to veteran-owned businesses. These financial benefits can include reduced interest rates, favorable loan terms, and grants. 5. Demonstrating Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion: Companies and organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusion. By obtaining a Veteran-Owned Business 52 / February 2024

certification, entrepreneurs contribute to a diverse business landscape. This commitment to diversity can be appealing to clients, partners, and employees, enhancing the overall reputation of the business. 6. Recognition and Awards: Veteran entrepreneurs often receive recognition and awards for their contributions to the business community. Various industry associations and chambers of commerce have awards specifically dedicated to veteran-owned businesses. These awards could serve as marketing tools. 7. Community Support and Goodwill: Veterans hold a special place in the hearts of many communities. By obtaining a VOB certification, businesses tap into a reservoir of goodwill and support from local residents. This community backing can translate into increased patronage, fostering a sense of loyalty among customers. In conclusion, Obtaining a Veteran-Owned Business Certification or designation goes beyond a symbolic gesture; it opens doors to tangible benefits that can benefit your business. From government contracts to community support, the advantages are many and could be impactful. For veterans transitioning to entrepreneurship, the Veteran-Owned Business Certification/Designation could serve as a powerful tool. As the business landscape continues to evolve, the recognition of veteran-owned businesses becomes not just a commendable practice but a strategic advantage for growth and sustainability. To apply for a Veteran-Own Business Designation submit your request to: The National Veterans Chamber of Commerce, Veteran-Owned Designation Nominate a Hero in your Community or Share your story on the Veterans Show Now broadcasting on Ruku Channel - Complete the REQUEST FORM at *Disclaimer: This is for informational purposes only and based solely on my personal experience. Make sure you contact a qualified Attorney to actually create living trust for your family.


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Veteran Resources & Organizations Navigating the resources available to veterans can be confusing, San Diego Veterans Magazine believes no veteran should have to go it alone. At San Diego Veterans Magazine you can find Veteran organizations and private nonprofits with resources for veterans that can help ease the process of attaining earned benefits, coping with the lasting effects of service-connected injuries and finding programs and services that meet your specific needs. Resources & Organizations available at: / February 2024


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

ATROS: What are they?

When a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Nullity of Marriage, Legal Separation is filed in California, Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders come into effect. Family law attorneys use the term “ATROS” to refer to these automatic temporary restraining orders which are summarized on the back of a summons for a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Domestic Partnership, Legal Separation, or Nullity of Marriage. These are mutual orders that become effective upon the party who files immediately upon filing and upon the non-filing party when the Petition and Summons are served. The back of the summons sets forth the language of the ATROS exactly as stated in the California Family Code. The primary purpose of ATROS is to maintain the status quo and prevent any unilateral actions that could harm the opposing party or the case’s overall proceedings. Most people do not bother to read them. Therefore, a good family law attorney will explain them at the outset of your case as there are penalties for violating them. What do the ATROS prevent? They prevent both parties from removing the minor child or children of the parties, if any, from the state without the prior written consent of the other party or an order of the court. You cannot transfer, encumber, hypothecate, conceal, or in any way dispose of, any 54 / February 2024

property, real or personal, whether community, quasicommunity, or separate, without the written consent of the other party or an order of the court, except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life. This prohibits for example a party from closing accounts and transferring funds to another account, taking out loans on property, or pledging property as security or collateral for a debt with the express written consent of the other party. In addition, the ATROs restrain either party from cashing, borrowing against, canceling, transferring, disposing of, or changing the beneficiaries of any insurance or other coverage, including life, health, automobile and disability, held for the benefit of the parties and their child or children for whom support may be ordered. For example, you would be prohibited from cashing in a life insurance policy or changing the beneficiary on the policy without written consent. You also cannot remove your spouse or children from any health or automobile insurance. Finally, the ATROS restrain both parties from creating a non-probate transfer or modifying a non-probate transfer in a manner that affects the disposition of property subject to the transfer, without the written consent of the other party or an order of the court A “non-probate transfer” is an instrument that makes a transfer of property on death. This most commonly includes a beneficiary designation on a retirement or investment account.

What do they not prevent? The ATROS do not prevent you from using any type of property to pay reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to retain counsel. You can also encumber your community interest in property to secure counsel through a Family Law Real Property Lien with notice to the other party. The ATROS also don’t apply to the creation, modification, or revocation of a will, creation of unfunded trust, execution of a disclaimer, of testamentary interests, or revocation of a non-probate transfer such as a revocable trust as long as notice is filed and served on the other party beforehand. You can also sever a joint tenancy or revoke the right to survivorship if you file and serve notice to the other party. The most abused exception to the ATROS is the ability to dispose of property in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life. The Court will look to whether the transaction was bonafide in terms of the usual course of business or it being a necessity of life. It is best to consult with an attorney as to whether a particular transaction you are considering falls into the exception. How long are ATROS in place? The automatic temporary restraining orders remain in place until entry of final Judgment, dismissal of the petition or further Court order. Despite being aware of and bound by the ATROS, parties going through a divorce often ignore them unfortunately. What happens if a party violates the ATROS? Violating the ATROS during a family law proceeding can lead to penalties, such as being held in contempt of court and fined or face imprisonment. It can also result in facing monetary sanctions for breaching your fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the other party. Understanding the implications of ATROS and complying with their restrictions is crucial to avoid complications during your divorce and protect your rights.

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Legal Experts with Humanity / February 2024


Opportunities in Law Enforcement You’ve served your country, now serve your community!

Military and law enforcement have had a longstanding relationship with overlaps in training exercises, equipment, and, most important, personnel. It is not uncommon for a service member to make the jump from the military to law enforcement as both professions look for the same characteristics; leadership, fidelity, chain of command, and teamwork are all common themes in both professions. Quite understandably, many American military veterans often gravitate to a career in law enforcement when the time comes to rejoin the civilian workforce.

The two professions have many fundamental similarities; from the uniforms they wear with pride, to the firm command structure they serve under, to great personal risk they endure while protecting those who cannot protect themselves. The following agencies are actively hiring & proudly support our veterans, active military and the families that keep together.

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SDPD Ride Along: A Story of Two Marines By Amber Robinbson San Diego Veterans Magazine When I asked to go on a ride along with the San Diego Police Department, making a special request for any veterans-turned-cops, I expected a really serious, possibly dangerous, afternoon of shadowing our city’s toughest crime fighters. What I got was an afternoon of heartfelt service to our San Diego community, honorable humility and a lot of respect. When I asked whether former Marine Sergeant Major, Mark Wright, and his partner, former Marine Staff Sergeant, Sean Bunch, had rank or titles he said their titles were just San Diego police officers. They are relatively new partners, but act like they’ve known each other for years, which is usually the case when you get Marines together.

Most of our particular day was cruising around beautiful Balboa Park running car tags to see if they were current, from cars not displaying proper plates and placards to those double parked. Bunch says they often catch parole violators or even stolen cars doing just this. I was struck as I watched both officers go out of their way to look in and around vehicles to find plates or disability placards not displayed correctly so as to avoid issuing superfluous tickets. “We try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt,” said Wright. “We’re not out to get anybody.”

Wright is a newer addition to the force, coming on board two years ago, with Bunch only having two years left.

Although, both officers confirm that enforcing even the most basic of park rules can yield large payoffs. During a recent patrol Bunch spotted an individual smoking in the park, which is illegal. As he circled back round, the individual turned and rapidly tried to walk away, which activated immediate suspicion. He was detained and came back with a warrant for numerous kidnapping and child molestation charges.

Officer Mark Wright

Officer Sean Bunch

Currently, these brothers-in-arms spend their days patrolling the entirety of Balboa Park. Although neither men are taking fire or kicking in the enemy’s door on this beat, like during their time in Iraq or Afghanistan, they still work hard to serve their local community. Service which can range from tracking down criminals to answering questions from lost pedestrians, to giving out stickers to kids and never backing down from a chance to turn on those flashing red and blues just to make one of them smile. 58 / February 2024

Both men say a lot of what they do is talk with museum owners and those living in the neighborhoods surrounding the park about their concerns. A shared concern by all is the park’s homeless population. Bunch says their posture towards the homeless is mostly that of assistance, adding there are many resources available for those who would take them.

The city spends a lot of money on resources,” said Bunch. “The biggest problem we run into is whether or not the [homeless] people want them, and a lot of them don’t.” Thus, the men tend to run into the same issues with the same people pretty often. Although frustrating, they have learned that respect goes a long way when challenged with these repeat offenders. Bunch recalls spotting one such offender in the park, who was in violation of his parole and wanted on warrant. He was unable to get to the offender immediately, but still apprehended him with a verbal request. The parolee waited patiently to be hand-cuffed and arrested, simply out of the respect he held for the law man.

Bunch, for instance, did not come to the force straight from the Marines, but from Hollywood. Surprisingly, he is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, working as a military advisor on various productions, like Lonestar 911, and appearing in some as well, such as one of the most recent Men in Black movies. “I grew up outside of LA,” said Bunch. “So, I’ve always just kind of been around the business and found a place for myself there with all my military experience.” Bunch hopes to return to work in Hollywood after he leaves the force, bringing with him a new level of experience and respect.

Both men say a huge part of their work is being able to connect and communicate with the myriad of people they meet daily.

Wright, who retired from the Marines as a Sergeant Major never worked in Hollywood, but he does have plenty of stories about being a proud grandfather, father and new amputee. When I entered the Central Division Station and met him, he said he was just getting back to work after some time off after losing his leg.

Bunch says he feels he and Wright are lucky to come to the force later in life, given it means they have a wider frame of reference for those they meet and serve daily. “We deal with people who are going through all kinds of things in life,” said Bunch. “And it’s helpful to be able to say, ‘hey I know what you are going through, I’ve been there.”

Wright remained unscathed during his over-20-years in service, overseas deployments and endless combat train ups. It wasn’t until after service that he lost his leg in a motorcycle accident late one foggy night a little over a year ago. Wright says it had been an eventful second watch and he was leaving the station about 2 AM on his motorcycle when it happened.

As the day progressed, I realized that both gentlemen definitely had a long list of tough and unique life experiences to pull from. Both proudly served the United States Marines for years, traveling to war and all over the world, experiences that yield much wisdom as well as many a story.

“It was only about two minutes from work,” said Wright. “I was coming around a curve and entered into what I thought was fog, and as I’m entering, I see a headlight and side mirror in my lane.”

“Being respectful of everyone despite their lot in life goes a long way in this job,” said Wright.

That headlight and mirror became an entire car that was blocking Wright’s entire side of the road. “I was a heuy crew chief in the Marines and reverted to my training from that, grabbed my shoulders, braced for impact and went flying like a human lawn dart over my handlebars,” said Wright. Wright landed in the ditch on the side of the road. He says he realized immediately that he had a back and leg issue. He learned that a bystander had called 911, but he requested they call back and state that the injured motorcycle rider was a policeman with the San Diego Police Department and expedite services. This one request would become pivotal in saving Wright’s life. Continued on next page > / February 2024


“What I didn’t know at that time was that I had severed two arteries in my leg, and I was bleeding out,” said Wright. What Wright would learn later is his heel had also been torn off on the wrecked car as he sailed past it into the ditch. After much pain and many surgeries, Wright would finally lose his leg from the knee down. says he doesn’t let it get him down, though. He’s proud to continue to serve as one of our city’s finest. Both he and Bunch take much pride in their time as Marines and as San Diego Police Officers. Each officer comes from strong military stock, with Wright’s grandfather being a World War II veteran and Prisoner of War and Bunch’s father a decorated veteran of Vietnam. All in all, this Army vet’s afternoon with two Marines was an impressive one. Both seasoned public servants, these honorable men have discovered you must give respect to get it, that violence is often not the answer and the most important thing to keep in mind along the way, is a good, human dose of empathy.

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Officer Sean Bunch - Amber Robinson (SDVM) - Officer Mark Wright 60 / February 2024 / February 2024


From Navy Sailor to San Francisco Police Officer By Holly Shaffner

“Being able to talk to people, figure out what they are going through, and what they need is a huge portion of the job. I enjoy interacting with the public, and engaging in what I call verbal judo.” - Officer Cindy Ovares

Changing careers can be exciting, exhilarating, and filled with trepidation. Meet Officer Cindy Ovares who has made the transition numerous times – from active-duty service member, to student, massage therapist, teacher, and now police officer. The life experience she gained in those previous longterm jobs set her up to be successful today. She is doing what she’s always wanted to do – have a career that is challenging and rewarding. Cindy was like many seniors in high school as she contemplated what she would do after graduation. When the Navy recruiter called the house looking for her brother, the recruiter instead got an eager, independent 17-year-old woman who wanted to find adventure. Just a few months later, she was off to “see the world” and start her first career. As an Aviation Machinist’s Mate, Petty Officer Ovares was a jet engine mechanic. It was a male-dominated job, and she wanted to prove that anything a man could do, she could do better. She attended military schools in Florida and Virginia to learn her trade, and was later stationed in Lemoore, California. She was attached to VFA-22, an F/A-18 Super Hornet squadron, that deployed on ships. After serving four years on active duty, she earned Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits, and chose to leave the Navy to attend college. After completing her bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and being a fluent Spanish speaker, she was hired to be a high school Spanish teacher. The job was gratifying; but also, under resourced, understaffed, and had little room to grow professionally. She wanted something new and challenging, was drawn to the community where she grew up, so, in her late 30s she applied to be a police officer. 62 / February 2024

Officer Ovares was accepted to the San Francisco Police Academy and has been an officer for the last three years. She is a foot patrol officer working in the Tenderloin District – a 50-block area that has a storied history, and has been known for homelessness, drugs, and crime. “Being able to talk to people, figure out what they are going through, and what they need is a huge portion of the job. I enjoy interacting with the public, and engaging in what I call verbal judo,” said Officer Ovares.

As a Latina giving back to her community, she admits that the job comes with highs and lows. Officer Ovares recommends a career in law enforcement for those military members looking to make a smooth transition to a new chapter. To learn more about the San Francisco Police Department, or to connect with recruiter, go to:

For Officer Ovares, the parallels between serving in the military and serving in law enforcement made the transition go smoothly: • Routine – You know what to expect before your shift begins (what time to report, what uniform to wear, the structure of the day). • Camaraderie – The bond between fellow officers is like the bond between your fellow military brothers and sisters. • Variety – Every day is different with different assignments and duties, so the job is never boring. • Benefits – Include a competitive salary, paid vacation days, floating holidays, and sick days, healthcare, retirement, and special pay for certain assignments and being bilingual. / February 2024

63 64 / February 2024 / February 2024


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