San Diego Veterans Magazine July 2021

Page 1

VETERANS Vol. 3 Number 7 • JULY 2021





San Diego Veteran of the Month

TRANSITION To Civilian Life

Freedom from Transition Stress

Veteran Resources Warrior Foundation Freedom Station

Laughter in the Workplace



Bonding Together for Independence

Healthcare Careers / JULY 2021


2 / JULY 2021

Get 40K Bonus Points With Your Summer Travel1 Plus, Enjoy a Year of Free Amazon Prime®2



Points on All Travel Purchases

Points on Everything Else



Intro Annual Fee3

Insured by NCUA. Offer valid for for cardholders issued new Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card accounts. To be eligible for the 40,000 points offer, you must make $3,000 or more in net purchases within 90 days 1

Our Members Are the Mission

of account opening. Rewards are earned on eligible net purchases. “Net purchases” means the sum of your eligible purchase transactions minus returns and refunds. Eligible purchase transactions do not include, and rewards are not earned for, the following transactions: cash advances, convenience checks, balance transfers, gambling or fees of any kind, including finance charges, late fees, returned check fees, ATM cash advance fees, and annual fees, if any. Cash equivalent transactions, such as the purchase, loading, or reloading of gift and prepaid cards (e.g., money orders, Visa® Buxx Cards, GO Prepaid Cards and other cash equivalent gift cards), may not be eligible purchase transactions and may not earn rewards. Please allow up to eight weeks after the 90-day period for the 40,000 points to post to your rewards balance. Account must be open and not in default at the time the 40,000 points are posted to your rewards balance. Limit of one promotional offer at account opening. Valid for accounts applied for between 7/1/21 and 8/31/21. 2Offer applies only to annual Amazon Prime memberships. Not valid for recurring membership monthly payment option or student accounts. Offer valid for your Visa Signature Flagship Rewards Credit Card and is not transferable. Limit of one promotional offer per card. Please allow 6-8 weeks after the membership is renewed or opened for the statement credit to post to your account. Navy Federal reserves the right to end or modify this offer at any time without notice. Excludes Navy Federal Business and Home Equity Platinum credit cards. Amazon and all related logos are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2021 Navy Federal NFCU 14014 (6-21)

14014 (6-21) - CC_July/Aug Flagship_Print Ad_8x50625 (6-21).indd 1



6/18/21 4:43 PM


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

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



1231 Camino Del Rio South • 619-298-9571


1066 W. Valley Pkwy • 760-741-0441



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

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

4 / JULY 2021

Armed Forces Memorial Amphitheater

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

Please Contribute Today! Make the Vision a Reality

Armed Forces Memorial Amphitheater Any contribution amount counts!

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




Publisher Editor-In-Chief Mike Miller

Contributing Writers Holly Shaffner Veteran Advocate

RanDee McLain, LCSW A Different Lens

Jenny Lynne Stroup Real Talk: Mental Health

Vicki Garcia

Enlisted to Entrepreneur

CJ Machado

SD Vets & Homeland Photojournalist

Kelly Bagla, Esq. Legal Eagle

Tana Landau, Esq. Legally Speaking Greetings and a warm welcome to San Diego Veterans Magazine! Please take some time to get to know the layout of our magazine. The Magazine focuses on San Diego resources, support, community, and inspiration for our veterans and the military families that keep it together.

Joe Molina

Veterans Chamber of Commerce

Eve Nasby

What’s Next - Transitioning

Amber Robinson Arts & Healing

Eva Stimson Veteran Advocate

Paul Falcone

Our magazine is driven by passion, vision, reflection and the future. The content is the driving force behind our magazine and the connection it makes with our veterans, service members, military families, and civilians.

Human Resources

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

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

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

Mike Miller Editor-In-Chief 6 / JULY 2021

David Koontz Midway Magic

(858) 275-4281 Contact us at: San Diego Veterans Magazine is published monthly. Submissions of photographs, Illustrations, drawings, and manuscripts are considered unsolicited materials and the publisher assumes no responsibility for the said items. All rights reserved.


INSIDE THIS ISSUE 8 Veteran of the Month (Nico Marcolongo) 12 Midway Magic - Collision at Sea 15 Independence Day 16 Displaying Old Glory 17 American Pie 18 Warrior Foundation Freedom Station 21 A Paratrooper’s Pain 22 Real Talk: Bonding Together 24 LENS: CHANGE 26 Arts & Healing - Music, the Universal Healer 28 Painting Brings Joy to Warrior 32 Your Month of Independence 34 What’s Next: Freedom from Transition Stress 36 HR - Laughter in the Workplace 38 Healthcare Careers - A Perfect Fit 44 Veterans Chamber: Social Media 46 Legal Eagle: What is Copyright? 48 Financial Independence After Divorce 50 Money: Booming Housing Market 52 Enlisted to Entrepreneur: What’s Your Endgame 54 San Diego Veterans Coalition (SDVC) 57 VANC - You Can Serve Our Veterans / JULY 2021


VETERan of the month San Diego - July 2021 By Amber Robinson Nico Marcolongo, Marine Corps Veteran When I went to interview this month’s Veteran of the Month, Nico Marcolongo, at the Challenged Athletes Foundation ( in Mira Mesa, I expected to spend some time in his office for the interview, be done in about an hour and be on my way. What I got was a CAF history lesson, complete with photos and personalized stories, an up-front seat to our veteran doing what he does best and a lot of really cool swag. At the CAF front desk I asked for Marcolongo. The receptionist smiled when I said his name, making a call to announce my arrival. Within seconds I heard my name being yelled at a high decibel, the sound echoing through the open gym-like facility. Before I knew it he’d rounded the corner, introduced himself and I was swept up in a history lesson on how the Challenged Athletes Foundation was built. He led me down a timeline of the foundation, illustrated along a wall with dates, names and photos of disabled athletes with varying types of prosthetics accomplishing phenomenal sports goals. Marathons, triathlons, and victories as members of The Paralympic Team are all documented in inspiring imagery along the wall. Marcolongo is in charge of Operation Rebound, a program which encourages disabled military, veterans and first responders to build confidence through sports worldwide. “From frontline to finish line” is the program’s motto but Marcolongo says it will empower you wherever you may be in your sports journey. He says some people may not want to enter races, but just do something simple, like go out and ride a bike on their own. Operation Rebound provides them everything they need to get out there and accomplish their goal. 8 / JULY 2021

“It is about independence,” said Marcolongo. “Through independence comes empowerment. We want to give folks that feeling of independence so they are no longer afraid to go out and flourish in other areas of their lives.” Marcolongo was hired to run the program shortly after leaving the service in 2008. He’s almost completed as much time in service to his fellow veterans at CAF as to his country as a Marine officer. “I’ve wanted to be a Marine since I was six years old,” said Marcolongo. After watching the movie the Sands of Iwo Jima with John Wayne, he decided the Marine Corps was for him. “It was either a garbage collector or a Marine. Then, when I did my first police call, I was like ‘it’s the best of both worlds!,” Marcolongo said, followed by his boisterous laugh. Marcolongo entered the service at the age of 25 after graduating from California’s UC Davis. He entered as an Infantry Officer then served stints as an intelligence officer and even with Force Reconnaissance. He served two deployments in Iraq as well as various non-combat deployments worldwide. It was after his second deployment to Iraq in 2006 and 2007 that Marcolongo was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress. Not long after his final deployment, he left service and began to run Operation Rebound.

At the time, CAF worked with an organization called Look Alike Productions which also worked with the classic children’s show Sesame Street.

“It was very difficult to connect with my family in any way. I lost my smile and that was very difficult.”

Through their global initiative, Sesame Workshop, they tackle “adult” issues, but in a way where children can relate, said Marcolongo. The show contacted him to find participants for a special military families episode. The show centralized on families who had military family members come home from deployments “different”. Marcolongo offered his own family as show participants. “So we ended up on Sesame Street with Queen Latiffah and John Mayer for a special they called Coming Home, Military Families: Coping With Change,” said Marcolongo. In the video Marcolongo explains his PTS to Queen Latiffah. “When I came home I was very sad, very angry,” Marcolongo told her.

“Daddy was still in Iraq.” his 5 year old son at the time, Rocco, said wisely during the video. Through group therapy and hard work Marcolongo’s smile returned. But, he said there is one thing above all else that saved him. “I tell people that Rocco saved me,” he said. “Him being there, seeing his smiling face everyday.” The Nico Marcolongo smile is an infectious one, as is his energy and devotion to his work. “He’s a people person,” said Kim Rohr, Office Manager at Challenged Athletes Foundation. “Prior to COVID he would go visit newly disabled people at Balboa Hospital and talk to them about the program. He has this special way of motivating people to snap out of their funk, to not feel sorry for themselves. He helps them understand there is a whole world out there they can still explore and conquer.”

Nico working with Navy veteran Ann Marie O’Quinn / JULY 2021


Photos with Nico working with Navy veteran Ann Marie O’Quinn by Amber Robinson 10 / JULY 2021

During the interview I was lucky enough to witness Marcolongo’s notorious energy with a brand new Operation Rebound athlete. Navy veteran Ann Marie O’Quinn has a dream to enter races on a hand bike. Her service-connected disabilities and the pandemic have made it difficult to maintain her fitness on her own. Currently O’Quinn walks with a cane and cannot stand for long periods, so her goals may seem lofty to some. “My goal is to become an athlete able to compete at an elite level, perhaps in a senior division,’ said O’Quinn. “I turned 65 this past February.” But, Marcolongo has been the conduit for disabled athletes worldwide to attain the biggest sports goals they can imagine. O’Quinn has come to the right place. Before O’Quinn and I could blink, Marcolongo lined up three different styles of bikes for her to try out. She was tentative about sitting down, unsure of how to mount the machine. He guided her actions, but let her navigate getting on and off the hand bike on her own. “We’re here to empower, not enable,” he says. “We let the athlete take the lead on what they are ready for and teach them everything they need to know, but we don’t do it for them.” I ask O’Quinn how she feels about attaining that dream of riding in a hand bike race after meeting and spending time with Marcolongo.

“I am gently allowing myself to build a trusting relationship with CAF,” she said. “I think I have finally found my tribe with Nico and Operation Rebound.” Once O’ Quinn has peppered Marcolongo with questions and she had gotten her chance to sit on the hand bike of her choice, we both got the CAF swag treatment. Pretty soon we were loaded down with new t-shirts, water bottles, hats and even new Chuck Taylors with the CAF logo on the side.

To learn more about what Marcolongo does for the Challenged Athletes Foundation and Operation Rebound go to: If you’d like to see Marcolongo and family on the Sesame Workshop military families special, go to: / JULY 2021


Collision at Sea Remembered The night USS Midway sailed into danger

July is the month Americans celebrate their country’s independence. Fireworks, parades and family picnics carry the moment. However, for the USS Midway, July 1980 was hardly a time for joyful patriotic remembrance. A near catastrophic incident at sea had the carrier teetering on the edge of calamity. On the night of July 29, Midway was transiting through the Balabac Strait, the passage that separates the Philippines’ Palawan Island from the northern Borneo coast, as it headed westward to the Indian Ocean for a three-month deployment. The carrier’s running lights and radar were turned off as part of a training exercise to avoid detection during a simulated combat situation. “It was about 2300 (11 p.m.), when a trembling sensation ran throughout the ship as if there were an earthquake occurring right under the hull,” said Bruce Lonardo, who was a 17-year-old airman with Attack Squadron 115 (VA-115). “Suddenly, the ship’s collision alarm blurted out its pulsating scream followed by

‘General quarters! General quarters! All hands man your battle stations! - this is no drill!’” Earlier that night, as Midway passed through the narrow strait, the Panamanian freighter Cactus was spotted approaching from the west.

“We had been tracking the Cactus for some 25 miles,” said Shawn Dittman, who was the Boatswain’s Mate of the Watch (BMOW) on the bridge that evening.

12 / JULY 2021

“All lookouts were posted and they fed a steady stream of reporting on Cactus to the bridge through soundpowered phone talkers.” It was determined that the merchant ship would safely pass a mile south of the carrier. However, at the last minute and without warning, the Cactus unexpectedly veered left, directly into Midway’s path. The carrier took immediate evasive maneuvers, however, it was too late and the freighter slammed into the ship’s port side. “As soon as I got up to the hangar deck, I could hear an ear-screeching sound of metal scraping against metal,”said Lonardo, who was in one of the squadron’s crew lounges writing a letter to his parents when the Cactus hit Midway. “I looked in the direction of where the sound was coming from, near aircraft elevator three, and I actually saw another ship scraping past us - ramming us for lack of any better description.” The Cactus had impacted Midway amidship slicing through its hull directly under the overhanging flight deck. The collision ruptured fuel lines, damaged an aircraft elevator and smashed the ship’s optical landing system. More critically, the carrier’s liquid oxygen plant was shattered leaking hazardous liquid oxygen on the deck in proximity to where fuel was also escaping it busted pipes. “Liquid oxygen is a very volatile and combustible agent whenever it comes in contact with heat, other chemicals, or petroleum agents such as fuel,” remembered Lonardo, who had only arrived on Midway several months earlier. Fortunately, the damage control teams were able to keep the two agents separated.”

Tragically, however, two Midway sailors working in the liquid oxygen plant were killed, while three others were injured.

On the flight deck, multiple planes, including several F-4 Phantoms, were also damaged or destroyed. “I had struck below to my berthing area and was preparing to go to chow when all the alarms sounded,” said David Meyers, who was an airman recruit in Midway’s aircraft fuels division. “I immediately went to the flight deck where the Cactus was still sliding alongside the Midway. The crunch had damaged aircraft on the flight deck, so I grabbed a fire hose and started dragging it over to the aircraft in case it caught fire.” It was a long and tense night, and it was only the next morning that the crew was finally able to see extent of the damage. “What I saw looked like the aftermath scene right out of a war movie,” recalled Lonardo. “The portside catwalk was no longer there. The landing lights were gone, along with the landing signal officer station. Aircraft elevator three was attached to the ship only by its giant greasy lifting cables. And there was 50-foot gash on the portside hull.” Midway immediately diverted to U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay in the Philippines where it underwent several weeks of repairs before deploying back to the Indian Ocean. While the carrier was once again fully operational, for the crew, the painful memory of the collision lingered long after the incident. “It was hard to believe that this had actually happened to the Midway,” said Lonardo. “To say that there was a surreal connotation to this event would be an understatement. The damage control team literally saved the Midway and probably all of us aboard her that night.” An exhibit chronicling the collision, and the near disaster that fateful dark night more than 40 years ago can be seen on the USS Midway Museum’s Hangar Deck. / JULY 2021


14 / JULY 2021

Independence Day Independence Day is annually celebrated on July 4 and is often known as “the Fourth of July”. It is the anniversary of the publication of the declaration of independence from Great Britain in 1776. Patriotic displays and family events are organized throughout the United States. On July 4th, 1776 the United States laid down its claim to be a free and independent nation by adopting the Declaration of Independence. Today, Independence Day is celebrated and honored in many forms such as fireworks, BBQs and parades. It is an opportunity for Americans to express patriotism and love of country including reflecting on the sacrifices from those in the military.

Independence Day History On June 11th, 1776 the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to formally sever ties with Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson, who considered an esteemed writer, was selected to draft the document. After 86 revisions and on July 4th, 1776 the Continental Congress signed the final version. The first readings of the document included ringing of bells and band music. The following Fourth of July Congress was adjourned in Philadelphia and everybody celebrated with bells, bonfires and fireworks. Soon these customs spread to other areas within the 13 colonies and new customs began to develop such as picnics, speeches, games, military displays and of course fireworks. These traditions continued for almost a century before Congress finally established Independence Day as a holiday. Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration states, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….”

Independence Day Facts • The original copy of the Declaration is housed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and July 4 has been designated a national holiday to commemorate the day the United States • Independence Day 2015 is the 239th Independence Day. • 56 People signed the Declaration of Independence. • John Hancock was the first signer and famously had the largest signature. • In July 1776 there were an estimated 2.5 million people living in the Colonial United States. • Currently there are approximately 316 million Americans. • The Declaration of Independence was revised 86 times. • The first Independence Day was celebrated on July 8, 1776. • Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on the Fourth of July, 1826.

Things to do on the Fourth of July • Barbecue with friends and family • Watch a fireworks show • Go to a blockbuster movie release • Have a block party • Light some fireworks (safely & legally of course) • Attend a baseball game • Find water – Boating, beaching and water skiing • Rent a 4th of July themed movie • Find a National Park hosting a July 4th event

Patriotic Things to do on the Fourth of July • Fly the American Flag • Wear Red, White and Blue • Volunteer to help our veterans • Take a trip to a special fort, park or monument near you. • Go to a Fourth of July celebration • Attend a Revolutionary War reenactment • Send Letters, Care Packages, and Other Ways to Support the Military / JULY 2021


Do’s and Don’ts for Displaying Old Glory BY SUSAN H. LAWSON

This week, American flags will be displayed across the nation in celebration of the Independence Day holiday. Following a few guidelines can ensure we are displaying Old Glory properly. In 1923, the U.S. National Flag Code was created and distributed nationwide. The code became Public Law in 1942 and became the U.S. Flag Code we know today. The U.S. Flag Code lays out the ways to display and respect the flag of the United States.

Other Do’s and Don’ts: • Clean and damage-free flags should always be used. Dirty, ripped, wrinkled or frayed flags should not be used. Also, when flags are damaged, they should be destroyed in a dignified manner.

For example:

• The U.S. flag should flow freely in the wind or in a lobby with a passing breeze as people walk past. Stretching a flag is a lot like walking around with your arms held out straight. It is not to be held captive by metal arm spreaders as if to say, “Look at me!”

• The flag should not be on display outdoors during bad weather.

• Staffs and finials should always be upright and not leaning.

• The flag should not be used for advertising purposes, or embroidered on cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins or boxes.

• Clamping a U.S. flag to a vehicle’s antenna is acceptable, or the flagstaff clamped to the right fender, as long as the flag displays in the proper direction.

• The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding or drapery. • It should never be displayed upside down unless trying to convey a sign of distress or great danger. • The flag should never touch anything beneath it; this includes water, merchandise and even the floor. • When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right, that is, to the observer’s left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.

16 / JULY 2021

• Service flags are displayed in order of service precedence, not the host service where they are displayed. The order of precedence is Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. • When displaying the U.S. flag with other flags, the U.S. flag comes first and is centered in the middle of a flag display. In addition, the U.S. flag must be placed higher than the other flags, unless other national flags are present. In that case the U.S. flag would be the same height. • Buntings are a good way to display the national colors and decorate for Independence Day without discrediting the U.S. flag.

What’s So American About Apple Pie? The grill glows hot, the beer is on ice, and the fireworks are ready to burst. Fourth of July is a holiday celebrated through food. There’s potato salad, popsicles, watermelon slices — and, of course, apple pie. But this all-American dessert isn’t as homegrown as you’d think. “When we say, ‘As American as apple pie,’ we think of baseball and hot dogs without ever considering not one ingredient in apple pie originates from what we call the United States,” says Libby O’Connell, author of The American Plate: A Culinary History in 100 Bites. Pie for thought: The recipe The British used animal fat, wheat, and water to create airtight pastry shells with the un¬appetizing name of “coffyns.” These savories were usually stuffed with beef or venison. In America, the shells became flakier (like the strudels made by German immigrants) and the meat fillings were replaced with apples, a way to use up imperfect fruit. Apples The sweet, juicy fruit we use in pie isn’t native to North America, which specializes in crab apples. It originated in Kazakhstan. The Romans then crossed it with astringent apples used for making ¬cider. (True tidbit: Johnny “Appleseed” Chapman really did plant orchards around the United States.) Love apples? Here are some other healthy ways to eat apples you didn’t know about. Wheat First cultivated more than 9,000 years ago, ancient wheat has been found in Iraq, Iran, and throughout the Middle East. The “king of grains” spread through Europe and then to the New World, where it failed miserably, which is why colonists relied on a Native American staple for baking: corn. In the late 1800s, Russian immigrants brought a wheat variety known as Turkey Red, which was better suited to our climate. Lard and Butter Wild boars (the ancestors of lard-producing pigs) are native to Asia, Europe, and Africa. It was actually Christopher Columbus, on his second voyage to the New World in 1493, who brought pigs and cattle, the source of all things dairy. Sugar and Spices Columbus also played deliveryman for sugar, which originated about 4,000 years ago in Indonesia, India, China, and what is now Papua New Guinea.

Cinnamon comes from an evergreen tree native to Sri Lanka. (The prophet Moses and Rome’s emperor Nero are believed to have eaten it.) The variety most commonly found on super¬market shelves today is cassia cinnamon, which originated in southern China. Cloves and nutmeg, indigenous to the Banda Islands of Indonesia, were considered so precious that Ferdinand Magellan brought 50 tons of them back to Spain after he sailed around the world in 1522. Watch out for these foods that are surprisingly high in sugar. Becoming an American “Original” Once all the ingredients were in place, putting them together was as easy as—Well, it wasn’t so easy after all. Although the earliest apple pie recipes date to the 1300s, it took nearly 500 years for the dessert to hit it big in the United States. “During the Civil War, both Union and Confederate troops scavenged for apples and commandeered the hearths—and flour bins—of white farmers and black tenants to bake pies,” writes John T. Edge in Apple Pie: An American Story. “Wartime adversity fixed the taste of apple pie on the palate of generations to come.” By 1902, an editorial in the New York Times proclaimed that pie had become “the American synonym for prosperity.” In the 1920s, the phrase as American as apple pie started to appear in print, and by World War II, soldiers declared that they were fighting “for mom and apple pie.” Apple pie—wholesome and comforting—had woven itself into the way we see our country. Given apple pie’s strong associations with America, there’s perhaps some small irony that it is not necessarily a homegrown American product, but something baked overseas and brought to these shores. But if immigrants comprise a key component of the United States’ lifeblood, then there is perhaps no better symbol of America than the delicious dessert. / JULY 2021



Freedom Station I, a 12-unit property in Golden Hill, and Freedom Station II, a nine-unit property in South Park, are designed to shift injured warriors to independent living while still providing that all-important camaraderie. Active duty service members and veterans recover among peers, enroll in college or trade schools, establish new careers, gain financial independence, and discover new pursuits.

There is an ethos in the military known as No Man Left Behind. It represents a bond, a brotherhood, and the determination to bring your comrades home, no matter what. When our nation’s troops become ill or injured, a new battle begins. At this life-changing juncture, Warrior Foundation Freedom Station lives out this ethos in service to the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Sergeant Povas Miknaitis, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.) was one of Freedom Station I’s first residents. During a 2009 deployment to Afghanistan, his team was running a reconnaissance mission when an IED exploded beneath the floor of the house they entered. Although severely injured himself, Povas treated his teammates first to keep them alive and maintained perimeter security until the QRF arrived. He eventually ended up at NMCSD for treatment and recovery.

Warrior Foundation Freedom Station was founded in 2004, as Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom were underway. War raged in Iraq and Afghanistan, sending battle-injured soldiers, sailors and Marines back to Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) in devastating numbers. Sandy Lehmkuhler, a Navy wife volunteering at the hospital, witnessed the hardships endured by these warriors and their families. She founded this nonprofit with the mission of assisting, honoring and supporting the military men and women who bravely served and sacrificed for our country.

“When I was medically retiring from the Marine Corps, it was suggested that I move into Freedom Station as a transitionary process,” said Povas. “This model works – it helped me transition in a positive way, with a caring and compassionate support system. I’ve often thought about where I might be if I hadn’t come to Freedom Station. Sometimes I wonder if I would have been that person on the street corner asking for money, because I’ve been in some pretty dark places. Being at Freedom Station helped me with the different battles I’ve faced in my life.”

Now in its 17th year, Warrior Foundation Freedom Station is one of the most respected foundations in the region and serves four groups of warriors: the seriously ill and injured; those suffering from post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury; those undergoing physical or occupational therapy; and transitioning warriors who have medically retired and remain in our community.

Povas since graduated from the University of San Diego and is now a proud homeowner. He has a flourishing banking career and was named San Diego County Veteran of the Year for 2019-2020.

One of the foundation’s most innovative programs is Freedom Station – transitional housing residences that provide injured warriors with the acclimation time, guidance and resources to successfully transition from military service to civilian life.

18 / JULY 2021

Petty Officer First Class Junior Rodriguez, U.S. Navy (ret.) currently lives at Freedom Station II. As a Corpsman, he provided lifesaving medical care to Marines during 13 combat deployments. Yet Junior would end up sustaining serious injuries of his own in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was introduced to Warrior Foundation Freedom Station while recovering at NMCSD. Junior says, “Every Christmas, the foundation decorated the barracks, left goody bags by our beds, and provided us with flights home for the holidays.

It let us know we were not forgotten. When it was time to transition, I moved into Freedom Station, and little did I know what a blessing it would be. They gave me opportunity. They gave me hope. They gave me tools and resources and people like myself - my Marines, my Army guys, and my Navy guys. Warrior Foundation Freedom Station has given me a chance to be me again, and I want to show other veterans that if I can do it, so can they.” Junior now also serves as Assistant Program Director for the Wolfpack, the championship-winning wheelchair basketball team supported in part by the foundation. Colonel Greg Martin, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.) joined the foundation as president in 2019, after 30 years in uniform. He previously commanded Wounded Warrior Battalion-West at Camp Pendleton.

Proudly Serving Our Local San Diego Warriors Please consider donating today to provide San Diego’s injured military men and women with hope, a home and a chance to start the next chapter of their lives with the honor and dignity befitting the world’s finest fighting forces. Transitional Housing Residences at Freedom Station I and II Education & Career Guidance Vocational Projects Adaptive Sports and Wheelchair Basketball Outdoor Therapy Programs Post-Traumatic Stress Treatment Quality of Life Items and much more…


“We understand what drives service members, how they overcome challenges, and the support systems they need to thrive,” said Greg. “That’s why we focus on equipping America’s post-9/11 ill and injured warriors to live purposeful and self-sufficient lives through programs that promote recovery, independence and passion for the future.” In addition to transitional housing, Warrior Foundation Freedom Station offers programs such as adaptive sports, outdoor therapy, mentorship, education and career assistance, vocational projects, and more. To donate, please visit Warrior Foundation Freedom Station also participates in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), the workplace giving program for federal civilian and military employees. Reference CFC #40485 when making a pledge. Warrior Foundation Freedom Station proudly holds the distinguished four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest evaluator of charities. / JULY 2021



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


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




Support. Inspiration.


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

Resources & Articles available at:

The colors of gratitude

20 / JULY 2021


A paratrooper’s


Army Airborne veteran receives VA benefits, compensation more than 60 years after injury By Matt Saintsing


s a young paratrooper in the 1950s, Matt Cimini was no stranger to relatively safe, controlled falls from great heights, but it was an unexpected drop in West Germany that would lead to a lifetime of pain. Even before his enlistment, Cimini had been drawn to a specific military occupation by a civilian boss who’d served with the famed 82nd Airborne Division. “He directly ordered me to go airborne,” said Cimini. “I said OK.” Cimini completed 17 jumps between jump school and his time with the 11th Airborne Division. Together with the men in his unit, he made the trek from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to train in Europe. “The jumping was OK,” he said, “but the worst injury I got was sustained from leading a patrol at night.” The soldiers guided off the road during the training mission in the woods around Munich, flanked left and were about to simulate open fire on their target when Cimini unexpectedly disappeared. “I went down this hole, and I swore I broke the ankle—I swore it,” Cimini said. He was right, as doctors would—much later in life—confirm the bone fracture. After the fall, he remained in a small medical pup tent for three days and was placed on limited duty. After being honorably discharged in 1957, Cimini returned to civilian life and his old job driving a truck for a meatpacking company in Providence, Rhode Island. A year later, he attempted to get his ankle treated through the Department of Veterans Affairs but was turned away. “More or less, they said, ‘Forget about it,’” Cimini said. “If I knew what DAV was at the time, it probably would have gone a hell of a lot different.” The injured ankle only worsened over time, and his years running, jumping and navigating field problems in the Army caught up with him as the pain radiated up both of his legs through his knees, hips and lower back. DAV National Service Officer Kenny Andrade, who met Cimini in 2013, instantly recognized the toll service had wrought on him.

Matt Cimini takes a break from training at Warner Kaserne, a U.S. Army training facility in Munich, West Germany, in 1956.

“You can tell what this guy’s been through,” said Andrade. “His gait, the way he favors one side over the other. His body looked like it’s crooked; he leans to one side all the time.” Cimini also told Andrade about the stiffness around both of his ankles and the throbbing pain every time he walked. The years of gnawing aches motivated Cimini—after some persuasion—to submit a claim to the Department of Veterans Affairs with DAV’s assistance. Andrade filed the claim in early January 2020 but was quickly denied due to the dearth of medical evidence in Cimini’s military records. Armed with the knowledge imparted by Andrade and Mike Zibrida, who supervises the DAV office in Providence, Cimini was examined by a private doctor, who unveiled just how serious that pivotal fall was more than six decades ago. With a new medical opinion, supported by recent evidence and documentation, Andrade refiled the claim last year. In July 2020, Cimini’s claim was approved by the VA, significantly increasing his benefits and disability compensation. “It’s been a long road, but we finally have gotten to where he gets the medical treatment and recognition he deserves for his lower extremities,” said Andrade. “I’ve lived with a lot of pain—a lot of pain,” Cimini said. But now that he is able to get the care he needs, he was fitted with a brace for his injured ankle, which he said helps with that pain immensely. The 84-year-old Army veteran lauds the work Andrade and Zibrida did on his behalf. “DAV, for any veteran, particularly if you have a problem, is the absolute answer,” he said. “The VA is good, but they’re limited—they’re not going to go to hearings for you. They’re not putting in claims like the DAV would.” ■ / JULY 2021


Real Talk: Mental Health By Shari Finney , Clinic Director Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at VVSD

Bonding Together for Independence Many years ago, I had the pleasure of attending an Independence Day parade on Coronado Island in California. As Active Duty service members, tanks and even low flying helicopters went by, I was in awe of their power, precision, and elegance. I realized I was watching the descendants of the same military that had helped free us from oppression and create America in the first place. Since then, I have celebrated the 4th of July with a healthy dose of awe of how much of a country we are, and I am overwhelmed by pride in being an American. I realize that for many of us, this pride has been tested in various ways over the past years, but this year I believe we all have cause to celebrate. The dictionary defines independence as “the fact or state of being independent.” It also defines it as, “not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting for oneself: an independent thinker. Not subject to another’s authority or jurisdiction; autonomous; free.” As these definitions relay, independence is an actual state and a way of being. This month, we, as a nation, celebrate independence from oppression. However, it’s not that linear. America and Americans have fought for independence on so many levels throughout history and especially these last few years. And, this month, we should all celebrate with more in mind, whether that’s Juneteenth and steps towards irradicating racial injustice and working toward reconciliation, or our slow independence from the pandemic, for example. We can work together to be free of influence of discriminatory thinking, and we can use resources and change our social behavior in order to combat COVID-19. There is more work to be done, but we are starting to bond together over common goals. However, all of this means nothing if we don’t have the emotional and mental capacity to participate and enjoy independence. The stress from racial divides and the pandemic have wreaked havoc on many individuals’ mental health, 22 / JULY 2021

while we also continue to fight already existing stigma related to mental health and strive to be free from misconceptions related to seeking available, effective treatment. Here are some tips to help care for your mental health along the way: • Don’t do it alone. Talk to supportive family and friends via phone, screen or in person. If you live alone or have very little human contact, make it a goal to connect with someone every day. • Take steps to overcome social isolation that the pandemic has caused by slowly adding activities back into your life, perhaps start with one activity per week. • Find a group of people who challenge you to think about a different culture or look for ways to volunteer somewhere that will have an impact. Our Cohen Clinic has a Day of Giving and Reflection, where we take the day to read, research, and deep dive into other cultures or situations. Then, we meet the next day to discuss. It helps us learn about diversity and allows us to “disagree without being disagreeable,” famously said by former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Ruth Bader Ginsburg. • Facts are your friend. From learning about the various COVID-19 vaccines to opposing political views, learning the facts from a non-biased source can educate and calm anxiety by reducing “catastrophizing” or worstcase scenario thinking. • A professional therapist can help you get through symptoms that you can’t manage on your own. Work with someone to help you get “back to better.” As I personally reflect on independence this month, I will think about being free to vote how I believe, work at what I am skilled in, live where I want, and define my family as I chose to. I will think about how we are all free to seek help, not just for medical issues, but for mental health issues, as well.

Being independent contributes to a sense of mastery over oneself, including one’s emotions and mental health. It contributes to resiliency and self-sufficiency and emotional regulation. It is a vital component to mental and emotional well-being. Shari Finney serves as the Clinic Director at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Veterans Village of San Diego. The Cohen Clinic at VVSD is one of 19 mental health clinics nationwide under nonprofit Cohen Veterans Network (CVN), which focuses on providing targeted treatments for a variety of mental health challenges facing post-9/11 veterans and military families, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, transition challenges, and more. To learn how therapy can help with mental health challenges, visit / JULY 2021


A Different Lens Mental Health Monthly By RanDee McLain

CHANGE In San Diego and most of California we have finally started to see the lifting of many COVID restrictions. We are no longer required to wear masks most places and are free to move about as we please. A unique phenomenon that we have seen is that people from many sectors are looking for a change. We have a high number of employees leaving their jobs, switching agencies, or all together changing professions. It seems COVID has given people the time and space to reevaluate their priorities, and what is important for them. I recently read an article that said this is happening throughout the US and we are seeing increasing numbers of people looking for something completely different than what they were doing pre-COVID. It was interesting even as I was preparing for this article, I have mixed emotions around change. As a prior service member and former spouse of Active Duty- I feel the three-year itch. I feel every three to four years I am looking for the next change or adventure. I think most service members can relate. We are used to uprooting our lives every few years. I personally loved the adventure and exploring new cities. Of course, there was a lot of stress as well, but it was something we were accustomed to. I mentioned the mixed emotions around change. I like changing something every few years but am also known to stay in relationships and jobs longer than I should. I guess when change is forced on me (I.e. military) I accepted and embrace it. When it is my choice for change, I tend to drag my feet. Why do we fear change? Even when we know we should change- so many of us fear change.

24 / JULY 2021

We are creatures of habits. We get a routine, and we stick with it generally. Change will disrupt that and is something that can be uncomfortable. The fear of unknown keeps a lot of people from making changes. You may not be happy where you are, but it seems safer than stepping out and being unsure of what is next. Research indicates that a fear of change is one of the single most career limiting moves you can make. There is the fear many times if it is the right decision. Will the outcome be what you hoped for? I had a Chief I used to work for and when I sought consult on life choices he would always say… won’t know till you try. He also hadn’t cleaned his coffee cup in 25 years- so not sure how trustworthy that advise is!   Things to keep in mind when thinking of change: • Avoid change for the sake of change. • Find what grounds you and won’t be changing (family, relationships, hobbies). This will help you as you navigate the new choice. • Don’t be a full surprise to those most impacted (kids, family, partners) - If you are thinking big career or physical move preparing others is helpful. • Do your researchand take your time when making big life changes. This is your life….take risks….make changes and live your best life. See you next month as we explore the social awkwardness of post COVID interactions / JULY 2021


Arts & Healing Arts for Military Veterans By Amber Robinson

Music, the Universal Healer The power of music. It is said to be one of the most powerful, if not most powerful, healing art. Music has a special ability to soothe us, elate us, motivate us to move or move us to tears. It evokes emotion in the most stirring of ways, taking us back to moments in time complete with the smells and feelings. Music can also be a place to hide, a place to find refuge when days seem dark. As a Soldier deployed to Afghanistan I found that sort of comfort in music. Every night of each of my three deployments I would hit the gym, retreat into my headphones and let music carry me away from the war. During my second tour I discovered artists like Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes and XXY. I’d stay on the treadmill and stationary bike for miles upon miles, letting the music and the rhythm of my body carry me away. My next tour I was still hooked on the same bands, just their new albums. These musicians became my daily saviors. This inspired me to reach out to fellow veterans locally to see what album, band or song has kept them going during war, training or just hard times in general. Whether certain music gave them a laugh, good memories or helps them to heal and grow now, it’s obvious music and military service have a close relationship. San Diego Army veteran and artist, Brian Meyer, says he used to listen to the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin during his service, but has a particular memory of a Zeppelin knock-off group. “I remember when the ground war started in Desert Storm and we just got finished changing frequencies and call signs for our Log Base. They played over the radio station “Dread Zepplin”, a reggae cover band playing “Stairway to Heaven”, but the lyrics were to Gilligan’s Island.,” said Meyer. 26 / JULY 2021

“Just the thought of all our tanks driving into Iraq listening to “Stairway”, and how the lyrics were just completely wrong, but still fitting, had to have made a few listening, chuckle.” “[The] Stone Temple Pilots [album], ‘Core’, settles me,” said Navy veteran Eric Trigg. “One of my go-to songs is “Beautiful” by Carol King,” said Naval officer, Theresa Louise Carpenter. “Every time I hear it, I get inspired. It’s lyrics remind us that your attitude is a choice, one that we must take control of and decide to choose to be positive, no matter what crap life throws at us.”

“Music has the power to literally take us back to who we were before the bad things happened”

Floyd Smith

I then asked musician Floyd Smith, founder of local 501(C)3 nonprofit, Music Therapy for Veterans, what he thought it was about music that could makes it so powerful in coping and healing.

“Music is the only thing that consumes the entire brain at one time,” said Smith. “It inspires our need for movement, evokes emotions, memory and releases endorphins.” Smith, part of the five-time Grammy-winning group 5th Dimension formed his nonprofit after a performance at a VA facility in 2011. He recalls everyone looking so sad and the facility being devoid of a very important healing element. Music. From that moment he decided to find a way he could bring veterans the magic of music therapy. His nonprofit raises funds to link veterans up with professional music therapists. It is a San Diego-based nonprofit but Smith hopes to expand his services nationally.

Although Smith is not a veteran, his father was a three-time combat veteran who served during World War II, Vietnam and the Korean War. He exhibited classic PTSD symptoms for most of Smith’s life. But, as a kid, Smith recalls him bringing home a different 45 (record) each Friday and getting lost in the music. “It was the only time he ever seemed peaceful,” said Smith. “He was doing music therapy on himself and he didn’t even realize it. Music was the only thing that brought him back.” When I asked Floyd what he thinks it is about music that helps those of us affected by PTSD heal, he had a profound answer. “Music has the power to literally take us back to who we were before the bad things happened,” he said. “It has the power to grab that part of your brain from when you were alright.” If you are a veteran interested in Smith’s music therapy program, you can sign up for free at their website at / JULY 2021


Painting Brings Joy to Severely Injured Warrior and His Wife By Rachel Bolles Life can change in an instant, taking away the independence we’ve become accustomed to. Fernando Martinez spent more than 15 years defending our nation’s freedoms in the Marine Corps Reserve until a wreck took away his personal independence. The driver fell asleep, and Fernando sustained two traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in the crash. He lost his ability to speak, so now he communicates with facial expressions, hand-waving, eye-rolling, and grunting. He also points to phrases, such as “I love you,” “yes,” and “no,” or letters to spell out words. “He can say certain small words with prompting, as I believe he forgets he has the ability to speak,” said Suzanne, Fernando’s wife.

“Our lives have to be planned accordingly these days,” Suzanne said. “We miss out on a lot of functions that don’t involve people with injuries. Shopping and eating out are the highlights of the week for the two of us together.” Fernando and Suzanne initially faced this new reality with nursing help from VA. Suzanne managed all his therapy. “He will never be the person I married, but there is always room for improvement, no matter how small,” she said.

Fernando is also wheelchair-bound, which limits his and Suzanne’s chances to travel and do usual errands.

“Art has allowed him to speak and express himself without words.” - Suzanne Martinez 28 / JULY 2021

Reconnecting to Art Ten years after Fernando’s injuries, they signed up with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). Suzanne was relieved for the help and new opportunities for Fernando. “I felt like someone cared for the caregiver,” Suzanne said. “We need to feel like ourselves again, instead of a robot that has been shut off from the world.” WWP’s Independence Program helps caregivers and the most seriously injured warriors live as independently as possible. It helps with creating individual goals and plans to exceed them. This program reintroduced Fernando to a hobby: art therapy. For the past six years, it’s been an opportunity for him to reconnect with his creative side and others who have the same interests.

“They feed off each other’s creativity,” Suzanne said. She finds it inspiring to see how others are using their creativity and vice versa. “It’s an hour of pure joy,” Suzanne explained about Fernando’s weekly sessions with his art therapist. “He’s always been artistic by nature. Art has allowed him to speak and express himself without words.” The art therapy sessions are opportunities for Fernando to exercise his brain by working on timing, short-term memory, and decision-making. Physically, the therapy helps him with range of motion, endurance, and motor skills. Suzanne commented that Fernando has come a long way in the years he’s been painting. He has a lot of input in each painting, whether it’s based on a design in a sample book, an idea from Suzanne, or an abstract expression based on the brushes and colors Fernando chooses to represent his feelings. Most of his creations are inspired by things he sees around him. “Three dogs and one horse have been immortalized in paint by Fernando,” Suzanne reflected.

Fernando has added many custom projects throughout the house, including a mural in their daughter’s nursery when Suzanne was pregnant with their daughter. And they’ve also sent many paintings to friends and family. “We both find joy in sharing his paintings with people,” Suzanne said. Fernando and Suzanne also find joy with each other. “We laugh a lot!” Suzanne said. She noted it’s important for caregivers to take care of themselves, too. “Learn to say ‘no’ and not feel guilty,” she said. “You will lose friends and family in your journey, but you will gain more along the way. The ones who stay are the ones who understand and are true.” And despite the joy they’ve both found on their journey, Suzanne recognizes it’s OK to have bad days too. “It’s not sunshine and roses every day,” she said. “Pajamas exist for a reason.” About Wounded Warrior Project Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more at / JULY 2021


30 / JULY 2021


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

It’s time to take advantage.

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

1-855-322-1158, TTY 711 You do not have to be a veteran to be eligible for this plan. Plans are insured through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or one of its affiliated companies, a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in the plan depends on the plan’s contract renewal with Medicare. Benefits, features and/or devices vary by plan/area. Limitations and exclusions apply. Network size varies by market. ©2020 United HealthCare Services, Inc. All rights reserved. Y0066_200911_104349_M SRPJ59083 / JULY 2021


Before you listen to all these voices, ask yourself these three questions: • Have you given this goal your best effort? • If you have – what are the reasons you could not be successful? Is it a lack of resources, knowledge or skill? • How can you learn from where you are and make a plan to acquire what is missing – the resources, knowledge or skills – to allow you to be successful?

Make July your Month of Independence In the United States we have just finished celebrating the 4th of July. It’s a special time to Americans. Not only are there picnics and parades, there is an understanding that over 200 years ago people got fed up with the way things were and pledged their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” to making the changes they saw necessary for long-term success as a nation. July is also halfway through the calendar year, six months away from the hopeful exuberance of New Year’s resolutions. This makes it a perfect opportunity to make July a month to declare your personal independence from the things that are standing in the way of your resolutions and goals. Revisit those grand dreams and declare your independence from the tyranny holding you back – pledging with the same revolutionary fervor as the patriots did to make the changes necessary for your success. Declare your independence from failure. How are you doing on the goals you made at the first of the year? Have you fallen so far behind that you have shoved them back into a corner, pointedly ignoring them because you feel that you have failed? This is the tyranny of failure. It stalks along beside you, assuring you that each and every time you try something new it will not work out and you will not be successful. Often it has helpers – your friends, coworkers, possibly even those closest to you. Regardless, the largest ally of failure is the voice inside of you. 32 / JULY 2021

The great Roman general Marcus Aurelius asked the question a different way: “Does what’s happened keep you from acting with justice, generosity, self-control, sanity, prudence, honesty, humility, straightforwardness?” In other words, does what you perceive as failure change your basic nature as a human being? If not, don’t waste time being held back by the failure. Instead use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Take that learning and growth into the future and continue on to achieve your goals. Declare your independence from fear. Television personality Mike Rowe tells a story when he stood before the camera to begin his first night as a host on the shopping channel QVC. He had a product he knew nothing about, he had no experience in live television, and he knew that QVC was not interested in on-air personalities who could not sell products.

In his story, Mike points out a key in declaring your independence from the tyranny of fear: Don’t hide your fear. Acknowledge that you are scared to yourself and to those around you. In Mike’s case, he started out his segment letting the entire television audience know that it was his first time, he didn’t know anything about what the product did, and then he asked them to get involved and help him out. The audience responded by filling the phone lines to talk about their experience with the products, encouraged by Mike’s willingness to be truthful and authentic with them. Most importantly, they were willing to purchase the products being pitched. What Mike Rowe did was eliminate the best weapon of fear, which is the uncertainty that comes with doing something that you have not done before. By openly acknowledging the fear he made it clear that he was committed to success and was able to tap into those who were waiting for an opportunity to make that success possible. Declare your independence from going it alone. The story that Mike Rowe tells also shows the futility of trying to go it alone. Many people set goals – whether they are related to education, fitness or career – then attempt to achieve those goals in the absence of any type of support system. The self-made man is a myth. Throughout history, leaders who have been successful have had carefully developed support systems around them.

Whether they are formal advisors, technical assistants, or just sounding boards who can help in the development of ideas, a support system is invaluable in helping you reach a goal. Make yourself accountable to those who care about you. It does not have to be a formal accountability framework; something as simple as online social media can be very powerful. When I first started a fitness program, I posted each day’s run to my Facebook account. This was not so much that I wanted to be sure that my friend saw me run, rather, it was my motivation when I did not want to go run. Declare your independence.

Make this July your personal “Independence Month” – a month to recommit to the goals that you want to achieve this year. Adjust where necessary, learn from the attempts of the first half of the year, banish your fear, and reengage with your support system. You have the second half of the year to make your goals a reality, and the experiences of the first half of the year to get you there. / JULY 2021


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

Celebrate Freedom from Transition Stress Those who haven’t transitioned out of the military, but plan to, may think the transition period is just as structured and command-oriented as active duty. After all, there is a rather lengthy enlistment ending program! Ranging anywhere from 4 hours to a few days, you’ll be stuffed with valuable information and guidance, right? Brochure Overload Janet thought that was the case. After 10 years in the Navy, she made the decision to leave. She felt hopeful that the transition seminar would guide her into her next stage of life. As she plopped herself down on her overstuffed couch and mindlessly flipped through the brochures and colorful packets of information she received, she suddenly was struck with great stress and anxiety. The instructors at her Transition Readiness Program were well-informed and had good intentions, but her mind just couldn’t focus or absorb the firehose of information assaulting her. Her needs roiled through her mind in a bubbling cauldron of uncertainty. “Finances, education, new career…,” and the list churned on. “Just because they told me about these services doesn’t mean I know where to start or how to use them,” she brooded. “How do I make sense of all of these services? How do I know what to do first? Who can I trust to give me good intel who will invest the time and energy to really get to know my needs and make unique recommendations just for me?” She was drowning in stress and anxiety. Drowning in a Sea of Goodwill This feeling is a common one for those transitioning from active duty military to civilian work life. Transition means change. Leaving what’s familiar is stressful, and can lead to feeling angry, on edge, sleepless nights and difficulty concentrating. When your mind is swirling in chaos and fear, it’s unlikely that you’ll be motivated and focused enough to make sense of the countless flyers, brochures and tips that are thrown at you in a seminar about effectively ending your enlistment. While the seminar’s intentions were good, the reality is, all you see is a stack of more chaos and no idea what to do with it. 34 / JULY 2021

Sure, there are services for everything. One quick google search or dip into your stack of brochures will produce countless offerings for services on resume writing, interviewing skills, financial management and more. But which ones do you need? Some are free and some are expensive. Some are local and some aren’t. Some things you may need, but some you may not. Where do you begin? Or, do you even dare begin? Wouldn’t it be easier if there was a trusted broker of these services that really made sense of everything for you, and even your spouse, if applicable? Your Freedom Awaits Good news! There is. Kynan T. Henderson (K.T.), U.S.M.C. (Retired) Transition Manager from The USO Pathfinder® Transition Program, extends his hand out to help those in transition make sense of all that is available. K.T. and his team are strategically positioned throughout the U.S. to extend the USO experience to active duty, Reserve, National Guard and military spouses. They offer professional development services starting from the initial transition period. They will be there to assist and guide you and/or your military spouse for 6 months into your new career to ensure you’re settled and on your feet. K.T. and his team of Transition Specialists work with you one on one to create a personalized plan to help your transition successfully. In addition to specializing in employment, they also help with education, (including leading online learning platforms like Skillsoft, IBM SkillsBuild and Coursera), financial readiness and mentorship.

More positive news, most companies love to hire veterans. “I get emails every day from companies that want to hire veterans,” says K.T. enthusiastically. You, as a veteran, are wanted and needed in the civilian workplace. The trick is finding your niche, your passion and your fit. When you register for free with the USO program, a specialist like K.T. will reach out within 24 hours to assess your needs and confidentially create a plan of success for you aligning you with pre-vetted resources who are dedicated to your success.

About The USO The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. Since 1941, the USO has been the nation’s leading organization to serve the men and women in the U.S. military, and their families, throughout their time in uniform. From the moment they join, through their assignments and deployments, and as they transition back to their communities, the USO is always by their side. Today’s USO continuously adapts to the needs of our men and women in uniform and their families, so they can focus on their very important mission. We operate USO centers at or near military installations across the United States and throughout the world, including in combat zones, and even un-staffed USO service sites in places too dangerous for anyone but combat troops to occupy. In San Diego, ( we have four physical USO locations, Camp Pendleton, Liberty Station, the Neil Ash Center at SD International Airport and at MEPS. Our mobile programming is county-wide and impacts the lives of both military and their families.

Eve Nasby: / JULY 2021


HUMAN RESOURCES Transition to Business By Paul Falcone

The Big Benefits of Laughter in the Workplace July is the month celebrating the Declaration of Independence, and every employer wants to hire new staff members that are independent, accountable, high performing, and achievement focused. Know one of the best ways of getting there? Laughter. Seriously. Humor drives camaraderie, teamwork, and trust better than just about anything else. And when workers feel comfortable in their skin and supported by one another, they perform at a higher level naturally. They say “Laughter is the best medicine” for a reason. A healthy workplace culture known for humor and lightheartedness produces incredible benefits, including: • Creating an atmosphere of levity and a sense of perspective that can dissolve tension and, in turn, protect us from stress at work and improve our physical and mental health • Keeping your team connected and bonded, especially when you’re facing challenging times, so that people are more inclined to have others’ backs

“Laughter is the best medicine”

36 / JULY 2021

• Making team members more open to change, as the very act of laughing releases feel-good chemicals that enhance concentration and creativity • Driving greater innovation because workers who relax around each other and benefit from a playful culture are less concerned about making mistakes and open to taking risks—a foundation for finding more creative and innovative solutions A hint of self-deprecating humor can also be a useful tool for leaders and other employees to make themselves more approachable. In fact, when leaders and employees share a certain level of self-effacing banter, employees tend to gain even more professional respect for leaders—a counterintuitive finding for leaders who are afraid to show weakness. Moreover, research suggests that people who engage in more conversational humor with colleagues feel happier and experience higher job satisfaction. But how do you incorporate humor into the corporate world?

Many of the ideas below will depend on your own personality and willingness to adopt a broader spirit of fun, but here are some places to start: 1. Smile: That’s it, and it’s that simple. Ask your team to just smile more. That’s an order. 2. Set up Eat & Greets: Start a lunch bunch and get out for a daily walk or watch your favorite TV show (especially The Office, which might make for parallel laughter) 3. Organize a happy hour with your co-workers once a week 4. Play Tell the Truth: Gather trivia about the people on your team; send out a mapping and matching quiz to see who can correctly guess all of the matches. 5. Picture This: Photoshop pictures of your team onto a picture of superheroes or celebrities. Use these avatars in all your PowerPoint presentations. 6. Get Cartoony: Start a cartoon board and post some funnies for all to enjoy (Dilbert, anyone?) 7. Showcase Your Kids: Create a “Look at what my kid made!” or “Could you imagine my kid did this?” mural for employees to share their kids’ creations and peccadillos 8. Learn a New Language: If you work internationally, learn a few words and phrases of a language of one of your clients; surprise your team with it in your next meeting 9. Learn More English: Pick a word of the day or week, make sure it’s obscure and esoteric, and ask everyone to create a funny sentence using it 10. Be Creative: Brainstorm your own unique way of bringing humor to work. It’s worth the added effort. Note that many of these exercises work just as well for remote teams. Presentations and meetings are great opportunities for you to add a little entertainment value to keep your team engaged. With an increasingly distributed workforce, virtual team building activities have become an important measure for cultivating camaraderie and boosting motivation amongst remote employees. And with remote work here to stay, managing the needs of a remote team is basically equal to managing the needs of the future workforce. Let laughter get you there much faster as your key strategic leadership tool.

You can connect with Paul on LinkedIn at

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


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

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

38 / JULY 2021

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

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

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

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



Become a military chaplain by earning a MASTER OF DIVINITY degree {

Proven record of more than 200 chaplain graduates




Workshops for Warriors is a nonprofit school that provides veterans and transitioning service members with hands-on training and nationallyrecognized credentials in CNC machining, CAD/CAM programming, and welding. Our students earn credentials that open doors to jobs anywhere in the U.S.

ENROLL NOW AT WFW.ORG CAD/CAM Programming CNC Machining Welding DoD SkillBridge Organization

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


READY TO TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR CAREER? Talk to our friendly veterans admissions counselor today! (858)581-9460 Become a certified IT professional in 15 weeks with no prior experience necessary!

Why ICOHS College?

Career Outcomes:

• GI Bill & MyCAA Approved

• Technical Support Specialist

• Flexible Schedule

• IT Support Technician

• Online & In-person Hybrid Classes

• Network Administrator

• Small Class Size

• Network Analyst

• Hands-on Training

• Systems Administrator

• Lifelong Job Placement and Career

The median IT job salary in the US was about $88,000 last year.


42 / JULY 2021


BECOME A CRANE OPERATOR Skillbridge Approved

Discover an exciting new career opportunity after serving your country. Heavy Equipment Colleges of America proudly supports and honors the brave women and men who fight for our country. • VA education benefits and Career Skills Program (CSP) • Job placement help and hands-on, classroom interaction • Get certified in as little as three weeks

Veteran Only Locations

Joint Base Lewis McChord in Lakewood, WA | Ft. Irwin, CA (active duty, too) Phone: 760-383-1030 | Email:

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


How Social Media Helps Improve Your Business or Profession By Joseph Molina What started as a tool for fun, games and entertainment has grown far beyond that to become an invaluable tool for communication, networking and Relationship Building becoming an integral part of people’s lives. Many find it difficult to stay away even for a day (or even for an hour). For businesses and professionals, social media can be a Launchpad to reach the world. They can leverage on the over 500 million users of LinkedIn and more than 1 billion users of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp as well as other newcomers. Another beautiful thing about social media platforms is that they keep evolving in line with the demands of users and businesses that use them. Many platforms have now incorporated various features and programs that lend more support to businesses and professionals. Social media has helped many businesses become global brands and send the right messages to their target audience in a simpler, more effective yet cheaper way. For many professionals, social media has been a platform through which they showcased their skills a nd talents, connecting them with those who need their service. With all the recorded successes of social media, many are still left behind because they fail to see the inherent benefits in it. Many businesses fail in converting leads to actual customers because they do little or no social media campaign at all while others fail to grow because they still don’t understand how it works. Let’s take a look at some of the options: 1. It can help businesses and professionals reach out to their target audience This is one of the key importance of social media. Businesses and professionals need to reach out to potential customers. They need to showcase themselves, their brands and products (or services). It’s not only about having the right product and/or services. If people out there know next to nothing about the business/service. With a greater percentage of people in developed countries and a good number of those in developing countries on at least one social media platform, a targeted social media campaign will reach potential customers in far less time than it would take traditional media. 44 / JULY 2021

The fact is that social media platforms are connected beyond borders. This can greatly multiply the chances of getting customers from any country. 2. It can aid easier and faster communication between businesses (or professionals) and customers Thanks to social media, businesses, brands and professionals can now communicate faster with customers in a seamless manner. Customers can now register their grievances, reviews, feedbacks and appraisals easily and get a response in a short amount of time. 3. It can improve the visibility! As stated earlier, a brand needs to be seen before it can be patronized, and social media can boost findability even amid lots of competitors. The introduction of SEO to social media makes it possible for any brand or professional to come up once keywords, phrases and other features that relate to their products or services are searched. 4. It can help your business connect You would be surprised to hear that lots of partnerships were born through social media interactions. Yes, that’s true. In the social space are lots of businesses & professionals who seek to connect with those who are likeminded a perfect example is the LinkedIn platform. 5. It can boost customer loyalty If a brand runs a lively social media account and thoroughly engages with users in a friendly, caring and not-too-official manner, such brand is sure to get loyal customers. We are emotional beings and crave to be connected. Summary and Tips: There are many new platforms to manage, one of the suggestions is to use a Management company like White Label Marketing to help manage and boost your engagement. Summary and Tips: Creating contents, engaging conversations and promoting the humor is more likely to increase brand loyalty than a serious, formal and or boring post. The Veterans Chamber of Commerce Radio Show • Share your story with our Veteran Community? Be our guest on the show REQUEST FORM. • If you have any ideas or a project that you would like to develop in collaboration with the National Veterans Chamber send us your idea to:




Veteran-Friendly Directory

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

Jim Sagona, Realtor Military/ Veteran- Friendly Agent DRE #01921622 (619) 665.6938 Platinum California Realty DRE #02112380

Deborah Kemp (310) 903-7877 Military-Veteran Friendly Agent DRE#00988086

Dan Leonard (562) 762-7511 Veteran-Friendly Lender Orange County - Inland Empire

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


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

WHAT IS A COPYRIGHT? There is much confusion around what people can trademark or copyright. A copyright is a type of legal protection given to content creators and artists. When a person creates a story, a work of art, or a piece of software, the copyright provides legal ownership of the work. The creator receives exclusive rights to the use and distribution of the work for a set amount of time.

For any of these works to qualify for a copyright, they must meet what the law describes as “some minimal degree of creativity.” What Is Not Eligible for Copyright Claim? The primary areas where someone cannot claim copyright status are: • Facts

What Is Eligible for a Copyright?

• Ideas

The following works are eligible for a copyright:

• Systems

• All literary works: These include short stories, poems, newspaper articles, blogs, plays, and reference materials.

• Methods of Operation

Which Protections Does a Copyright Give?

• Artistic works: These include drawings, paintings, pictures, and sculptures.

Think of a copyright as your ownership of something that you’ve created. Whether you take a picture, write a short story, or compose a piece of music, it’s your work. A copyright gives you legal protection over that creation.

• Technical Drawings

As the copyright owner, only you have the right to:

• Advertisements • Architecture

• Films • Television shows • Podcasts • Choreography • Musical compositions • Concerts and other live performances • Computer software

46 / JULY 2021

• Reproduce the Work: You can make copies of the content you created. You may distribute your work as you see fit. • Create Other Works Based on the Original Work: For example, you may want to combine a series of blog posts into a book. • Display the Work in Public: When you create art, you may want others to look at it. Your painting, statue, or installation is yours to show wherever you like.

Go Legal Yourself ®

• Ability to sell copies of your work:

Know Your Business Legal Lifecycle

You can profit from your copyrighted idea by selling it.

2nd Edition NOW AVAILABLE!

• Perform the Work in Public: When you write music, a book, a play, or anything else you can display in public, you have the right to do so. For example, you have the right to play your own music at a concert. You as the content creator with a copyright hold these rights for a period of time. You cannot lose them unless you legally give them up. You own the rights to your works in the same way that you own your house or car. Nobody else can use any of it without your express permission. How Long Does a Copyright Last? The time limit for a copyright depends on the date of the work. Anything created after January 1, 1978, has a copyright for the life of the author plus 70 years.That means that a person who dies tomorrow would have a copyright on their work for 70 years and one day. Does a Person Have to Register a Copyright? No, creating the work automatically gives a person a copyright. Registration of the copyright is voluntary. A person may register their work at any point during the timeframe when their work is eligible for copyright. Still, official registration lets the creator:

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

• Have a public record of their copyright claim • File an infringement lawsuit in court 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.

• • • •

Gather the right documentation Protect your brand Avoid expensive legal pitfalls Plan and manage growth competatively

Rest assured that no nasty legal surprises will stand between you and your success.

Get your copy at amazon today! / JULY 2021


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

Tips for Financial Independence After Divorce While life after divorce can be a new beginning, the process of going through a divorce can be emotionally and financially difficult for many people. Whether you live in a dual income household or are a stay at home parent, divorce often means a change in your financial circumstances. Many people struggle to adjust to a change in their standard of living or fail to anticipate many financial issues that arise during a divorce. Establishing financial independence after divorce is often a difficult process for many divorcing individuals.

There are steps you can take to set yourself up for financial success following your divorce. Here are some tips to help seek financial independence:

6) Consult a financial advisor. There are many certified divorce financial analysts (CDFA) who can help you maximize the assets received in a divorce.

1) If a divorce is likely, proactively gather all important financial records and copy and store them in a safe place. This is particularly important if you are not the spouse who handled the finances during your marriage.

7) If you have been out of the work force, proactively take steps to obtain training or education necessary to reenter the work force or increase your income.

2) Check your credit report. 3) Look at your tax returns, bank and retirement statements, and any investment accounts you have. Knowing these financial figures will help you see how many resources are available. 4) Consider opening a checking/savings or credit card account in your name only to begin separating your finances and build your own independent credit. 5) Develop a financial budget reflecting the assets, debts, income and expenses you will have post-divorce. A mistake many individuals make during a divorce in establishing financial independence is that they live beyond their means. 48 / JULY 2021

There are many common mistakes that people make during a divorce which can impact their financial independence post-divorce. These are some of the mistakes too be mindful of if you are going through a divorce: 1) Over-estimating the amount of child or spousal support that will be received: You should consult with an attorney so that you have a realistic expectation for the amount of income you will have from child or spousal support. 2) Under-estimating the cost of a divorce: A divorce can be costly. It is important to have good legal counsel which comes with a price.

If your divorce involves contested child custody issues or complex financial issues such as business valuations, you can expect to incur additional expert and legal fees. 3) The cost of health insurance: If you have been covered by your spouse and have also been out of the work force, you may be unaware of the costs to obtain your own health insurance. This is often a shock to most people when they are forced to obtain their own independent policy. Your spouse will not be able to remove you from their policy while your divorce action is still pending. It is important to research early before your divorce judgment is entered so you can be prepared for the financial impact of the costs of health insurance.

Time for a Fresh Start.

Move forward without breaking the bank. Our military expert family law attorneys are ready to push your case to the finish line.

4) Being unaware of all your marital debt: Many people fail to consider that it isn’t just the assets that are divided in a divorce but the debt as well. It is not uncommon for one party in a marriage to be unaware of debt incurred by the other party. Many people fail to realize that debt in the other party’s name alone does not make it their own debt in a divorce. It is important to know the type and total amount of all debts incurred during the marriage. 5) Not considering the inability to keep the family home: Realistically, you may not be able to keep the residence from your marriage. In some situations, it may be necessary to sell the home to pay off the debts from the marriage to set the parties up in the best financial situation. Don’t make the mistake of living beyond your means as far as housing goes. Consider the fact that you may have to downsize for the time being. 6) Returning to the work force: If you have been a stay at home parent or spouse, do not go into a divorce believing you can rely on support indefinitely. Be prepared to take proactive steps to obtain any necessary job training or further education to put yourself into a position to become self-supporting and financially independent. Since a divorce can unravel both parties’ finances, it is important to take steps to take control of your financial future and have realistic expectations of what life looks like financially after divorce. The best way to achieve your goals and rebuild your financial independence is to have a solid plan to work from.

Military Divorce and Retirement, 20/20/20 Spouse, Survivor Benefit Plans, Support Orders, and more. No nonsense. No hidden fees. Discounts for service members.

Call 858-720-8250 or visit to schedule a free consultation. Flat-fee law packages available.

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

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

Legal Experts with Humanity / JULY 2021


Money Matters

Expert Advice on VA Lending & Personal Finance By Phil Jawny, MIRM, CMP, CSP

Booming Housing Market Gives Military Families New Options Question: How Can Military Families Benefit from the Booming Housing Market? Answer: The U.S housing market gained close to $2.5 trillion in value in 2020 — the most significant increase since 2005. Some states saw an increase of nearly 8%, and 2021 is projecting an even higher increase. What does that mean for you as a homeowner? This increase in equity is possibly one of your most valuable assets. This year many homeowners used their equity asset by doing a refinance that allowed for cash to be taken out of the home. For those that haven’t gotten into the “Refi Boom,” rates are still extremely low and the potential savings per month on average are close to $250. That’s $3,000 a year and $90,000 over the 30-year lifetime of the mortgage – this sum of savings could fund your home repairs, vacations, investment portfolio or college savings. Owning a home allows for secure savings, especially as home values continue to increase and monthly savings compound by reducing your interest rate with a refinance. The 411 on VA Mortgage Financing Current or former military members have the opportunity to take advantage of a full suite of benefits through a VA Mortgage. With low interest rates and flexible lending guidelines, the VA Loan was specifically created to benefit the military community. Who is Eligible for a VA Loan? To be eligible, you must meet one of the conditions below: • Active duty or honorably discharged veteran • Served over six years in the National Guard or Selected Reserve • Surviving spouse of a service member who passed in active duty and spouse has not remarried

50 / JULY 2021

Benefits of Using Your VA Loan Qualifying for a VA mortgage provides a host of benefits and working with a VA loan expert who understands the unique conditions around a VA loan will ensure you get the most out of your loan. The benefits are many: • May not need a down payment • No maximum loan limit *county/city loan limits do apply • Typically provides lower interest rates than Conventional or FHA financing • Lower closing costs • Qualify with lower credit scores and higher debt to income ratios than other loan types • No monthly mortgage insurance • Use your VA loan multiple times Like other traditional mortgage programs, a VA mortgage requires an underwriter to review and evaluate your income, debts, and financial and related documents. This review ensures program eligibility and protects your financial wellbeing.

What About Refinancing Your Current VA Loan? The “Streamline” Loan Makes it Easier A VA mortgage allows you to maximize your equity or take advantage of a lower interest rate to reduce your payments. Also known as an “IRRL” interest rate reduction loan, the “Streamline” is a popular refinance option among current VA borrowers. When current interest rates are lower than the rate you secured on your mortgage, your VA loan expert can help you take advantage of a VA IRRL to lower your rate and save on your monthly payment. In many cases, your term will not change. For example, if you have been paying your 30-year fixedrate mortgage for ten years, you could streamline it into a 20-year mortgage. With the lower rate, you could possibly have the same or lower payments and still pay off your mortgage in the same amount of time. “Cash-Out” Options If you’ve considered renovating your home and building that home office that you desperately need or allowing your home equity to pay off any high-interest credit cards, the refinance is the way to leverage your equity for those needs. Because home values have increased dramatically, the equity in your property can provide the buying power you need. What will do for you: As VA mortgage experts, has a team of originators and mortgage support staff to help you achieve your mortgage goals no matter where you are around the world. These experts will:

Change Your Financial Outlook in 2021 Put Your VA Loan Benefit to Work! Are you taking advantage of all your VA benefits? Our team of experts is here to share advice and guide you down the path toward financial stability. One conversation can set you on the best financial path.

• Guide you through every step of the process • Provide education to empower you and your decisions • Leverage real estate relationships to help with contract negotiation • Secure the lowest rates possible

So what are you waiting for? Contact us today!

• Provide a seamless closing You have earned the benefits of the VA Mortgage. Still have questions? Our experts are here to serve you with free credit counseling or refinance support to get the most of out your home investment.

Contact us at

@GoVALoans (833) 825-6261 / JULY 2021



What’s Your Endgame?

“Alice asked the grinning Cheshire Cat, who was sitting in a tree, “What road do I take?” The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?” “I don’t know,” Alice answered. “Then,” said the Cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Words to live by. If you don’t know where you want to end up, it’s difficult to choose the right path. Smart small business owners know in advance what they want to get out of their business when the time comes to retire. Some cagy founders start and launch a business with the express purpose of selling it at a specific point in the not too far distant future. Do all small business owners have an “Exit Strategy?” No. The UBS (NYSE: UBS) Q1 Investor Watch Report, “Who’s the boss?” reveals 48 percent of business owners don’t have a formal exit strategy at all. Warning! Closing up shop is riddled with legalities and hoops you have to jump through. Let’s look at a few of the most popular strategies. 1. Liquidate. For some small businesses, especially those that are dependent on a single individual, simply closing the doors may be the only option. When the founder is the main asset, there’s nothing else to sell. If you’re in this position, you may want to spend some time retooling your business so that

52 / JULY 2021

it could be operated by someone else – making it a business someone might want to buy. It can take months to close a business properly. A closing plan will offer the most protection possible to your personal assets, your credit, and your reputation. In fact, you can choose to liquidate slowly over time, taking out large salary draws or dividends over several years before eventually pulling up stakes. If you wish to maximize your current lifestyle rather than aggressively expand your business, a slow wind-down could be your best option. The order in which you notify people of your intention to eventually quit can greatly affect your ability to make the most of the time you have left. You will need to collect outstanding accounts receivable, sell off inventory and notify your creditors. Notify your customers, terminate your lease, give any employees adequate notice, take care of any tax responsibilities and close your business bank accounts. And you thought it simply involved closing the doors. 2. Leave it to the Kids. Keeping it in the family is a dream of many owners. You hope to make it a smooth transition and even retain a role in the business. Of course, this depends on someone in your family who wants to take the wheel. And, how about your customers. They may not take to the transition. This is another case of taking it slowly, plan carefully and keep your ear to the ground. 3. Sell it. This is the most popular option, especially for a profitable business that is attractive to buyers. If you want to sell your business, start preparing several years in advance. Keep excellent records and look marketable. Assets and goodwill can be incorporated when valuing the business for sale, maximizing the return to the owner(s). In the report, UBS points out the majority of business owners don’t have a full understanding of what takes place in the selling of a business. It identifies a knowledge gap for the 75 percent of owners who believe they can sell their business in a year or less.


GOALS Businesses are difficult to value, and the selling price may be less than you would like. Several different business valuation methods ranging from asset-based to future earnings approaches are available. Whatever you do, don’t cook the books to look more profitable. You would be well served by working with a reputable professional business broker as well as an experienced attorney. * The takeaway - Plan early with different exit strategies in mind. This will allow you the flexibility you need to get the most out of your business, whether you sell it, pass it on to your family, or move on. *This information is made available 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. It should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

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

Vicki Garcia is the Co-Founder of Operation Vetrepreneur & the owner of a marketing firm for over 30 years. Email her at and register for free coaching at


If you have a business, join the California Veterans Chamber of Commerce for free at



Servicing Veterans and Their Families Over 150 unique member and participating organizations, businesses, and agencies - united in one goal! July 2021 We are proud to work alongside a wide variety of non-profit and for-profit organizations, as well as governmental agencies and civic minded individuals.

Our Mission The SDVC is a catalyst that inspires collaboration and cooperation among service partners to deliver premier support for Veterans in the San Diego region. At the SDVC we have found that collaboration is the key to addressing the needs of San Diego Veterans, their families and significant others. Background The San Diego Veterans Coalition was organized in 2009 and incorporated as a non-profit in 2012. 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. 54 / JULY 2021

Our Purpose The purpose of the San Diego Veterans Coalition (SDVC) is to serve the needs of San Diego regional Veterans, their families and significant others. We intend to improve collaboration and coordination among community service providers in all sectors (non-profit, county, state, federal, informal councils, Veteran groups) so that delivery of services is more comprehensive and Veteran Family-centric. Our Vision The vision of the SDVC is to honor the nation’s commitment to veterans, their families and significant others by leading collaboration among all potential partners, making the San Diego region a national model for a comprehensive, integrated system of community services. JOIN US The San Diego Veterans Coalition would like to get to know you and your organization! If you provide services to Veterans, their spouses, or families, please join us! Community members may attend SDVC events and meetings for free. If you’d like to apply to be an official SDVC member, please complete the Membership Form. Thank you for your interest! The SDVC monthly member meeting is held the first Friday of every month in a virtual venue. 8:30 am-10 am Join the Zoom meeting at For additional information, please visit

sponsored by

calling all Veterans & military startups! growing business owners!

Free* help is here!


r u e n e r p e r

build a Foundation For your success. coaching | training | brainstorming

Veterans and active military make great entrepreneurs. Building a company is tough & requires lots of work. It can be lonely. The vets & active military we work with, from start-up to experienced owners, polish their business smarts the same way they learned skills in the military.

Startup & Grow Brainstorming Cohorts Everything You Need to Launch & Fast Track Growth 4-Weeks 1 Morning per Week, Hands on Business Growth Acceleration

Business Planning Deep Dive Intensive Focus, Make Decisions, Move Forward Quickly Half day, Concentrated Planning with Expert Leader IN THE TRENCHES . . . What You Can Expect


Startup & Grow

New Brainstorming Cohorts Starting NOW! Register at for schedule Want Info? Questions? Email Operation Vetrepreneur is a Project of the National Veterans Transition Services, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit

*A small “skin in the game” fee is refundable when you attend all 4 meetings.

Certification & Supplier Diversity Concept Review for Startups Perfecting Your Pitch Speaker Training Brainstorming with Experts Publishing Knowhow Personal Branding Mind Mapping Crowdfunding Writing a Business Plan Branding, Graphics & Visuals Internet Marketing Social Media & SEO Legal Issues Budgeting Where & How to Get Money High Velocity Growth Strategies Employees & Contractors / JULY 2021


Honor Flight San Diego’s “Operation Find Our Vets” We need your help to find our Southern California WWII and Korean War Veterans to go on their Honor Flight. Veterans from San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial Counties are invited! Next flight is scheduled for Oct 1-3, 2021. The 3-day trip to Washington, D.C. is no cost to the veteran and departs from San Diego.

Facts about Honor Flight San Diego:

• Since 2010, the hub has flown over 1,400 SoCal veterans • The hub typically takes two trips/year (pending funding) • Every veteran is paired with a guardian to assist them for the weekend

For more information about Honor Flight San Diego, go to: or call (800) 655-6997

56 / JULY 2021 / JULY 2021


Celebrate Freedom! Hand over your small business burdens. For only $10/week per employee: Job Board & Automated Recruiting

Payroll & Tax Services

HR Services

Employer of Record

Onboarding & Compliance

Time & Attendance

Contact Eve Nasby, Band of Hands president and passionate military supporter to get started today. 58 / JULY 2021 / JULY 2021




Resources Support Transition HEALTH Community

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

Voted 2019 & 2020 Best San Diego resource, support magazine for veterans, transitioning military personnel, active military, military families & veteran organizations 60 / JULY 2021

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.