San Diego Veterans Magazine June 2021

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VETERANS Vol. 3 Number 6 • June 2021




PTSD Post-Traumatic Growth

San Diego

PTSD - Pandemic Recovery

Veteran of the Month


What’s Next Finding the Light with PTSD

Healing Power

A Better, Simpler Way to Work

Gulf War Illness

American Legion Baseball is Back

Battle of Midway Remembered / JUNE 2021


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It’s Our Turn to

SERVE YOU Proudly Serving Veterans From Every Military Branch Join a credit union that knows what it means to serve. On average, our members earn and save $352* per year by banking with us. Visit to join. Insured by NCUA. *Dollar value shown represents the results of the 2020 Navy Federal Member Giveback Study. The Member Giveback Study is an internal comparative market analysis of Navy Federal’s loan and deposit account rates as compared to the national average for similar products. © 2021 Navy Federal NFCU 13971-F (4-21) / JUNE 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

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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. / JUNE 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 / JUNE 2021

David Koontz Midway Magic

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


INSIDE THIS ISSUE 8 Veteran of the Month 10 Battle of Midway Remembered 14 Real Talk: Post-Traumatic Growth 16 LENS: PTSD 18 PTSD/Pandemic/Recovery 20 Arts & Healing - Healing Power of Sangha 22 PTSD: Loved Ones Suffer, Too 24 Gulf War Illness 26 PTS/Service Dog 30 A Better, Simpler Way to Work 32 A Mentorship that Matters 34 What’s Next: Finding the Light with PTSD 36 HR - The Best Leaders 38 Enlisted to Entrepreneur: What’s Your Endgame 44 Money: Booming Housing Market 46 Veterans Chamber: The VA Home Loan 48 Legal Eagle: Must Have Checklist for Start-Ups 50 Mental Health: How Does it Impact a Divorce 52 American Legion Baseball is Back 54 SDVC- Operation Dress Code / JUNE 2021


VETERan of the month San Diego - June 2021 By Holly Shaffner

Joseph Molina, U.S. Army How to get selected as the Veteran of the Month – Be a master collaborator bringing professional opportunities to military veterans AND be a military veteran. We are honored to select Joseph Molina, Executive Director and CEO for the Veterans Chamber of Commerce as our June Veteran of the Month. According to a report by the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, more than 240,500 veterans reside in San Diego and the county is estimated to have the third highest number of veteran residents in the nation as well. With about 13.5% of San Diego County businesses being owned (or jointly owned by veterans), the need for the Veterans Chamber of Commerce could not be greater. San Diego County is the number one destination in the nation for newly returning veterans, meaning that younger veterans are leaving the service and looking for education and jobs. So, who is better to educate them on starting their own businesses than a military veteran with a resume packed with extensive experience and credentials to make them successful? Joe has spent most of his life being an educator and trainer. He is proud of the training he delivered while stationed at Fort Wainwright in Alaska. In this job, he delivered cold weather training (20-30 degrees below zero) to personnel about how to complete missions in a safer, more effective way. He is grateful for his time in the military as it taught him structure and leadership skills – skills that he would incorporate into starting the Veterans Chamber of Commerce in 2017. Since he has been with the Chamber, he has developed a specialized curriculum for veterans to help transition to small business ownership and veteran management training. He continues to develop partnerships with Veteran Owned Businesses and Veteran Business Centers to assist those “students” of the Chamber and, he serves as a coordinator building a bridge between colleges and military bases.

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Joe’s life is creating and developing programs and products for entrepreneurs. Some of his projects include: • Starting Metro College Online, a Private Training platform that provides a way for professionals to set up courses and provide professional development. • He is the Co-Founder of Alliance Funding Group, a Micro-enterprise that supports local microbusinesses with access to capital. • Author of Internships for Veteran Entrepreneurs, a program that awards Academic credit for students starting a business. • Developed a Certified Training program for Business Coaches to help students create and or manage a new business. The program allows for community colleges to award academic credit to students while working on their own business. • He created a Textbook Companion - a workbook to help support faculty on implementing entrepreneurial activities and real-life applications in the classroom. • He developed Soft Skills Pro - a program that trains teachers, faculty, and counselors on how to teach students job readiness skills to be successful in a job. • Created “Leadership for Business Owners” - a program to help new business owners become better leaders/managers at their own new companies. • Wrote the textbook “Management Guide to Creating High Performance Employees” which is used to help new managers with communication, the motivation of employees and delegation strategies. • Developed the “Military to Civilian Adjustment Program” (M-CAP) to help transitioning military re-enter the civilian market at supervisory and or executive levels. • He is a faculty member for several Universities and Community Colleges teaching courses on: Management, Leadership, Supervision, Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management.

And he’s an innovator. Joe’s newest project is a first of its kind – a medical bracelet for veterans. He designed the bracelet to indicate to first responders that the veteran is going through something and may need a response different from what they normally do.

what it means if they find a veteran in a potentially dangerous situation. He wants to establish teams that respond to a situation and that responder would be a veteran too; military brothers and sisters helping each other.

Wearing of the bracelet is voluntary and he is working to make it available for free through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Not only is he designing the bracelet but the program to support the response too.

As a transition expert, he has this advice for transitioning service members – “Prepare for your transition. You prepare by meeting people with a similar mindset. Seek a mentor in the community who will help you navigate, connect and network.” And that is one of the services the Veterans Chamber of Commerce offers.

He is working with fire, police, and EMS on training and

When talking about the Chamber, Joe said, “Collaboration is key, the more we work together, the more we can do. The mindset is that we want to find a win-win situation where every veteran wins.”

The Chamber believes in working together as “One Family” to support military veterans, military families to include spouses, parents, and children. If you are militaryconnected and want to learn more about the Veterans Chamber of Commerce, go to:

You can also connect with them via email at: / JUNE 2021


Battle of Midway Remembered Veterans of this epic battle reflect after nearly 80 years

“We were outmatched in the air with their Zeros against our TBDs. We were outnumbered all the way across the board in ships and planes.”

Few military campaigns of World War II have been more chronicled than the Battle of Midway. And it’s obvious why. The American triumph after a brutal three-day engagement with a massive Japanese naval force in early June of 1942 turned the tide of the war in the Pacific. Noted military historian, Rear Adm. Samuel Eliot Morison, referred to it as six minutes that changed the world. “At 10:24 Japan had been on top,” said Morison. “Six minutes later on that bright June morning, three of her big carriers were on their flaming way to death.” The U.S. Navy’s ultimate success at Midway came on the heels of the utter decimation of three torpedo squadrons launched from the aircraft carriers USS Hornet, USS Enterprise and USS Yorktown in the initial phase of the battle. Flying the already obsolete Douglas TBD Devastator torpedo bombers, these slow and deliberate aircraft were no match for Japan’s highly maneuverable Zero fighter planes. Shortly after 9 a.m. on June 4, and without fighter escort, 41 Devastators commenced their unprotected attack on the Japanese carriers. Enemy Zeros quickly blew them out of the sky. Of the nearly four dozen Devastators that attacked the Japanese fleet that morning, only six managed to limp back to their carriers. For the USS Hornet’s Torpedo Squadron 8, all of its aircraft were shot down. Only one pilot, Ensign George Gay, was spared after crash landing his bullet-riddled bomber into the sea. Nearly 80 years later, two sailors from Torpedo Squadron 8 still remember Midway as if it were yesterday. “I wasn’t very confident,” said Ervin Wendt, a 105-yearold retired chief aviation ordnanceman who served with Torpedo Squadron 8 during the battle. 10 / JUNE 2021

Ervin Wendt

“I was sorry to hear that several of my buddies were among those killed,” said former Aviation Radioman 1st Class Chuck Monroe, now 98 years old, after finding out that all of his squadron’s planes were lost.

Chuck Monroe

Despite the horrific loss of men and aircraft suffered by Torpedo Squadron 8 and its two sister squadrons, their sacrifices set up the highly effective Dauntless SBD dive bomber squadrons to inflict lethal damage to three of the Japanese carriers. “We caught the Japanese at the right time when they were taking torpedoes off their planes on the flight deck and replacing them with bombs.

Our planes came in and sunk three of their carriers and later a fourth,” said Wendt. “Although we lost our squadron first, we later caught them flat-footed.”

“I felt avenging our fellow flyers was important,” said Monroe. “Our Navy flight personnel were well trained and were more than capable of defeating the Japanese.” On paper, the U.S. Navy was not positioned for victory at the Battle of Midway. The Americans were also still reeling from the heavy losses suffered six months earlier during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor where more than 2,400 servicemen were killed, and 19 ships and more than 525 war planes were destroyed or damaged. Although U.S. military planners rallied to bring as much naval combat power to bear, the Japanese battle force held a numerical advantage in the size of its fleet. Unbeknownst to the Japanese, however, the Americans had advance knowledge on their invasion plan for Midway Island. “The advantage for the U.S. was that we were notified,” said Wendt. “We knew that Japanese were coming and where. It gave us time to get our forces together which helped a lot.” U.S. Navy cryptanalysts had long been intercepting and deciphering parts of Japanese coded radio messages allowing them to discern enemy intentions. By late April, the Americans assessed that the Japanese were planning major operations against the central Pacific. The Navy’s Combat Intelligence Unit (better known as Station Hypo) was ultimately able to determine the target was Midway Island, a tiny atoll 1,300 miles west of Hawaii. The fight was tenacious and over the course of threedays, the Japanese Navy lost four fleet carriers along with all of its aircraft. More than 3,000 Japanese sailors and aircrews perished. “Even though Pearl Harbor was a Japanese victory, after their heavy losses at Midway, they were disgraced by their own country,” said Wendt. “This took a toll on them emotionally. It played on the Japanese psyche.” “Midway set the stage for future successes,” said Monroe. “I was absolutely sure we would win the Pacific war.” While the Navy’s ability to break the Japanese code, and the courage and sacrifice of thousands of U.S. sailors and Marines, carried the Americans to victory in the middle of the Pacific Ocean 79 years ago, both Wendt and Monroe know that fortune also played a part in their victory at the Battle of Midway. “It was a lot of good luck too,” said Wendt.

The USS Midway was commissioned on Sept. 10, 1945 and was named after this crucial World War II naval battle. / JUNE 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

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

Post-Traumatic Growth The words below are garnered from my journals during the height of my family’s experience with untreated PTSD. They are not direct quotes. They represent the themes I saw over and over again when I reread my daily journal entries. June is PTSD Awareness Month. And for me that awareness extends beyond knowing it exists. Awareness means putting a name and face to what we’ve heard about PTSD. Once PTSD is humanized, it’s much harder to villainize, or regard as something that only happens to “those people,” or “others.” As I’ve dug into the research and learned things from my job, I’ve also begun to realize that the feelings expressed in my journal entries are not singular to me. They’re not anomalies. They are pretty common for people who experience the effects of trauma, and I want to normalize that too.

I need something, anything, to dull the constant noise in my head and anxiety surrounding my heart. Life is insane and I am I at my wit’s end on how to handle it. No scratch that-control it. I want control. I want a crystal ball. I literally want anything other than what I have right now. If my kids were older, if my husband were home more, if I found the right mentor, study, or had the right amount of time, I would no longer feel crummy. I am convinced these things, and more are the answer to all that ails me. I am convinced that if I could just do life a little better with a few more tools, I would not feel like crap. I would want to get off my couch and do the laundry. I would be able to do something creative like start a blog or an Etsy site. If only all of the tools would magically appear, and time would stretch to my liking. Then, then I would do all the things and life wouldn’t feel so hard. 14 / JUNE 2021

Despite the desperate search for new tools to motivate and change me, these things remain the same, the crumbling state of my marriage and the deteriorating relationships within my household. I cannot hold it all together. I cannot bend and twist and grasp and claw to make these two things better. At every turn my efforts appear for naught and I am left crying into my journal once more. The pain, fear, and self-loathing that leap off the pages are hard to read. I have so much compassion for that girl today. Man, she really tried her best and day after day even though her best didn’t look like it was good enough. It didn’t look as if it were making any difference at all. This is the twisty world of a family living in posttraumatic stress. Only one of us went to war, yet all four of us wear the cloak the heaviness that comes from living constantly on edge. Constant fear. Constant high alert. Hypervigilance. Interrupted sleep. Binging on ice cream. No energy to do anything necessary yet all the energy to do something fun, therefore avoiding feeling any pain. Panic. Chest pain. Tight shoulders. General irritability with everyone and everything. This is the twisty world of living in post-traumatic stress. It stole my joy. My ability to connect with my husband. It stole the tender moments of first steps and first words. My spark of creativity. My partner. It led us into steady and constant valley-for years. Oh, PTSD how I loathe thee and all you stole from me. And I never want to hear your name again. I never want another family to suffer. I never want someone to come home from war and feel alone in his own house. I never want a family to continue to live in fear long after the Homecoming pictures are posted because everything about their loved one is different.

I never want you to affect someone’s career. I never want to hear that you took someone’s life because they didn’t have the support to learn how to quiet your pervasive symptoms. I hate you. And in the words of Eric Church, “If I could only kill a word…” you would be it. Yet, you taught me so much. You taught me courage. You taught me vulnerability. You taught me to let people in past the façade. You taught me that I need a Higher Power. You taught me to ask for help. You taught me to stand up for myself. You taught me how to do hard things. Eventually you taught me that I can only heal myself and that healing is journey. You taught me compassion. You taught me how to see the hurt in others and how to reach out a hand. You taught me the importance of community and how to create it. You taught me that a broken heart is where the light gets in and that the cracks are how other people connect with me. You taught me so much. You taught me to grow. And to grow is to erase the “D” and turn from disorder into new opportunity: Post-traumatic Growth.

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


A Different Lens Mental Health Monthly By RanDee McLain

San Diego is home to over 240,000 veterans and many Active Duty and military families. After almost 20 years of conflicts overseas, we see a lot of PTS and PTSD amongst those we serve. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can occur after you have been through a traumatic event. A traumatic event is something terrible that you see, hear or happens to you. These can include combat exposure, terrorist attack, abuse of any kind, serious accidents, natural disasters and others. PTSD can affect anyone who: • Directly experiences the traumatic event • Witnesses a traumatic event • Experiences firsthand repeated or extreme exposure to adverse details of traumatic event (usually in the course of professional duties); (first responders, professionals repeatedly exposed to details of trauma/abuse). Common symptoms of PTSD: Symptoms can occur immediately after the trauma or in others it may cause symptoms years after the event/trauma. • Repeatedly thinking about the trauma. (Can manifest as nightmares or flashbacks) • Feeling on alert, on guard, easily startled or angered. Feeling irritable, anxious or pre-occupied with feeling unsafe are common. • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating. • Feelings of mistrust. • Problems functioning at school, job, or social situations. • Feelings of intense fear: panic attacks. • Relationship challenges: Problems with intimacy, feeling detached from loved ones. • Physical symptoms such as digestive problems, rapid breathing, muscle tension and rapid heart rate. 2020 was the year of COVID19- the global pandemic. It was a year of separation, loss, isolation, 16 / JUNE 2021

anxiety, and uncertainty. Everyone handles these experiences differently. Not all survivors of COVID19 will develop PTSD but many could carry the emotional scars for months or years. COVID 19 Specific symptoms (those that previously had COVID): • Fear of dying • Social isolation • Anxiety of getting sick again • Guilt over infecting others Additionally, many people experienced additional triggers due to COVID. The experiences of COVID may have resurfaced old feelings and emotions tied to previous traumas. It is important for anyone experiencing these symptoms to seek treatment. There are many amazing resources out there for our veterans/ citizens to seek the help they need. It is important for family members, friends and loved ones to be supportive and encouraging to those experiencing PTSD as they work through the challenges of treatment. PTSD does not go away we simple learn how to manage our symptoms. We learn what a new normal is and how we can find happiness again.

The first step to dealing with the struggles of PTSD is to seek help. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the Veteran’s Access and Crisis line at: 1 800 273 8255. Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach caring, qualified responders with the Department of Veteran Affairs (many are veterans themselves). / JUNE 2021


New Movie Highlights Challenges Faced by Veterans with PTSD That Have Worsened Due to the Pandemic By Andy Ansola, Salute to Recovery Group Facilitator, Recovery First Treatment Center Cherry, a new film released on March 12, focuses on a veteran Army medic suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and his drug use to cope with the trauma he developed while deployed in Iraq. The release of the film is timely, as recent studies at show the negative impact COVID-19 is having on veteran’s overall quality of life, often including increased substance use. The film accurately depicts trauma from the veteran’s standpoint and spreads awareness of PTSD and its associated behaviors when left untreated, such as violent and erratic responses, disassociation, trouble sleeping, and addiction, to name a few. Far too often, U.S. military veterans do not receive the level of care needed to treat PTSD—not because treatment isn’t available to them—but because asking for help can be the most challenging part. Lack of trust, being viewed as weak, and fear of judgment are a few common contributors that hold veterans back from asking for help and receiving the treatment they desperately need. Now, after one year of living throughthe COVID-19 pandemic, U.S military veterans living with PTSD, substance use disorders (SUD), or other co-occurring mental health conditions, have been especially impacted. The pandemic, coupled with attitudes about receiving professional care and the perceived stigma from others, has left veterans in an extremely vulnerable place, resulting in many selfmedicating as a coping mechanism.

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Overcoming PTSD is no simple task, and I know this from personal experience. One of the reasons I am able to gain the trust of my patients, aside from being in recovery myself, is that our PTSD developed from the same circumstances. I know exactly what they went through. PTSD and substance use disorder are typically cooccurring conditions, particularly with veterans, and this past year has shined a light on the many ways COVID-19 restrictions have impacted their treatment. For example, at Recovery First Treatment Center, we’ve had to transition from one-to-one in-person treatment sessions to virtual Zoom meetings. As a result, many veterans have become more apprehensive when sharing due to their lack of trust and not knowing who may be able to hear them divulge closely-kept information. For those who have contracted COVID-19, the requirement of quarantining alone has contributed to an increase in relapse among veterans—many don’t intend on reverting to old problematic behaviors such as drinking, but isolation can be difficult to deal with. In addition, after facing extreme traumatic experiences, veterans spend years relearning safety and trust in order to feel comfortable again in public spaces—and the pandemic is challenging this progress. Adhering to COVID-19 restrictions in order to limit interaction with others has caused veterans to regress back to questioning their safety in public. All of these contributors make it that much more important for veterans suffering from PTSD to have a treatment program in place and a community of support.

But for those who currently do not, I leave you with this: Ask for help. My biggest goal is for veterans is to ask for help. They must know that they are not alone, and the suffering they’re experiencing will only persist if they continue to do this on their own. Asking for help does not equal weakness; it requires courage and shows strength. Seeking help is the most difficult thing to do when trying to manage something that is completely out of your control. And that is exactly what PTSD is—totally and completely out of your control, especially when it’s going untreated. Understanding this is the first step in the journey to healing.


Education is key. Many veterans are not aware of their resources, which is why education is so important in getting from point A to point B. If veterans are unable to recognize PTSD symptoms and that effective treatments exist, they may not realize they are suffering from the disorder and are unlikely to seek care. According to a recent national survey at, people with greater knowledge about PTSD have more positive beliefs about the disorder and mental health treatment. This leads many to view PTSD as less stigmatizing and makes them more willing to ask for help and engage in treatment.

Proud Veterans Affairs Community Care Provider & Partner

Quarantine the triggers. I know from personal experience that treatment is anything but easy, especially considering the impact COVID-19 is having on recovery. Unfortunately, premature termination among inpatient programs is common. A recent study at examined the predictors of premature termination from an inpatient addiction treatment service, with results showing that illicit drug severity and psychiatric severity—particularly PTSD—were associated with premature termination. Just as we’ve quarantined for COVID-19, quarantining the triggers associated with addiction will result in a better chance of being open-minded toward sharing our innermost feelings – the feelings that would normally push patients into wanting a drug or a drink in order to cope with any emotions and unresolved issues that they’re dealing with. If you’re a military veteran struggling with PTSD or know someone who is, you can reach out to facilities around the U.S that cater to specific needs—like Recovery First at for treatment.

For more information, call

866.605.3022 Our treatment team understands that life in service can put individuals at high risk for developing substance use and mental health disorders. The Salute to Recovery program was created with these unique challenges in mind and is dedicated to military veterans and first responders whose lives have changed and become unmanageable due to a substance use disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health issues. Through our program, they develop solid strategies to promote positive decision-making and permanent healthy lifestyle changes.

AdCare, Desert Hope, Recovery First, River Oaks, Sunrise House, Oxford, and Greenhouse are part of American Addiction Centers Nation Network of Treatment Centers.

The VA also offers several different programs for veterans suffering from PTSD and SUD at / JUNE 2021


Arts & Healing Arts for Military Veterans By Amber Robinson

The Healing Power of Sangha This morning during my now daily meditation practice I was asked by the meditation guide to reflect on the Hindi word “sangha”. The meditation was meant to focus on the concept of community, which sanga refers to. English synonyms for this word are ones like fellowship, friendship and company. As I breathed slowly in and out I pushed away thoughts of what I would write this article about along with thoughts of everything else I needed to do for the day. But, before I finally settled into the buzzing silence of my body, I realized I would write this month’s column on sanga. Why would I write about an old Hindi word that means community this month? As you know, June is PTSD awareness month. If you are familiar with the symptoms of PTSD you know that isolation, anxiety and depression are three of the most common. Meditation has been a true gift for me lately, helping me calm my usual anxiety and reigning in my bouts of depression. And now, today, it has allowed me to gently ruminate on easing my isolation as I think of my own community and its importance in my healing. It was the sangha of fellow veterans who initially spotted my PTSD and brought it to my attention. It was the sangha from the therapy group of fellow women vets I have communed with each Saturday at the Chula Vista Vet Center for the last three years who have helped me to work through my issues, reflecting them back to me through their own. During the time I have written for the magazine I have developed a new sangha, one made of fellow veteran artists.

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The unique ways their art has helped them to heal from combat PTSD or PTSD from Military Sexual Trauma have inspired me in my own art. But, they have also inspired me in the way I create my own path to healing as well as life path in general. That path can be dismal, or it can be inspired. Through art and my fellow veteran artists, it continues to become the latter. Two weeks ago I received a text message in the wee hours of the morning from “Fran”, a Coast Guard veteran and artist I recently interviewed for the column. She uses LSD and finger painting in glowin-the-dark paint as a way to access and heal her wounded inner child. Up late, working on a homework assignment I was tired and agitated. Included in her text was a video of all her latest pieces, hung or propped up along her walls, glowing beautifully in the fluorescent light of her apartment. She wanted to merely share the beauty of what she was creating and experiencing. “Look at these beauties!,” she exclaimed, as she panned the camera over her art. In that happy moment of her shared glee I was infused with some much needed childlike creative energy. This weekend I’ll join my most recently interviewed artist, Marine vet and poet Zach Love, now newly graduated Dr. Love, for drinks at his and his girlfriend’s place. We’ll share poetry and he’s even promised me I can type on his special typewriter that types cursive.

Given he’s a known surfer and surfboard shaper, I’ll ask him if he can help me improve my practically non-existent surfing skills. I’ve been inspired by veteran artist Luz Helena Thompson’s many Facebook posts about surfing. I interviewed her a year ago about how mosaic art and time in the ocean on her board helped her heal from MST sustained as a young Marine.

Their paths have now become intertwined with mine, helping me to create my own respective mosaic of new friends and acquaintances. The energy of our interactions and crossing paths are fluorescent and glowing like Fran’s paintings, all of us lighting up brighter and becoming more colorful together like firing synapses criss-crossing in the brain. The isolation, depression and anxiety from PTSD I used to feel continue to be replaced with something new, something I am learning to sustain more and more through my community, my tribe, my sangha. Thank you.

“Meditation has been a true gift for me lately, helping me calm my usual anxiety and reigning in my bouts of depression.” - Amber Robinson / JUNE 2021


PTSD: Loved Ones Suffer, Too. By Hope Phifer Clinic Communications Manager Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) is a common, normal, and often adaptive response to experiencing a traumatic or stressful event. However, for some individuals, including veterans and service members, witnessing life-threatening events like military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adulthood or childhood could have serious, long-term impacts. Those experiencing flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, uncontrollable intrusive thoughts, and emotional numbing are often clinically diagnosed with PostTraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Did you know? • 3.7% of Americans ages 13 years of age and older have a diagnosis of PTSD every year. • 5.7% of Americans 13 years and older develop PTSD during their lifetime. • Women are more than twice as likely as men to develop PTSD during their lifetime, and three times as likely to develop the disorder annually.

(Cohen Veterans Bioscience)

While it is incredibly difficult for the individual, it can be more challenging for those in their immediate circle of relationships, including caretakers, family members and friends.

Women are more than twice as likely as men to develop PTSD during their lifetime

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It is important to recognize that they need help, too. Shari Finney, Clinic Director at The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD), says any moderate to severe illness, both physical and mental health illnesses, can have a ripple effect on the entire family system. Finney speaks from both clinical and personal experiences. “When I decided to set up hospice care for my dad who had cancer, people thought I was a saint. When I took care of another family member through severe depression and PTSD, people avoided talking about it altogether. These stressors increase feelings of isolation and elevate risks of depression for those surrounding the individual with the illness.” As the nation recognizes PTSD Awareness Month, Finney provides the following advice for loved ones caring for those experiencing post-traumatic stress: • First and foremost, get educated. There are many online resources, such as (National Institute of Mental Health), that can help provide information on the symptoms of PTSD. • Don’t personalize loved one’s behaviors, think of them as symptoms. You wouldn’t personalize a sneeze if someone has a cold, or hair loss from someone going through chemotherapy.

• Acknowledge ambivalent feelings. For example, when a spouse seems more like a patient or a child than a partner, it is normal to feel uncomfortable emotions such as resentment, anger, and loss. • Keep safety first. If symptoms are out of control, have a back-up plan or call 9-1-1. Note: a clinician

can help you make a back-up plan. What does treatment look like?

According to Finney, PTSD has the biggest dropout rate by diagnosis. It may be due to the fact that it requires more commitment and work. “It is not just about ‘talking to a therapist,’ there is frequent homework, sometimes every day, and the work can leave a patient feeling raw in the middle, especially during these challenging times.” She added, “Even still, it’s important to remember that treatment is worth it. Don’t give up. There is hope for symptom reduction if treatment is completed. Families and relationships can be saved by the reduction of symptoms, as well as psycho-education around the disorder and external support.” “Cohen Veterans Network has Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics across the nation staffed with culturally competent professionals who provide therapy in a confidential setting, which helps make recovery possible for many,” Finney added. The Cohen Clinic at VVSD is part of Cohen Veterans Network, a national network of clinics staffed with trained clinicians who treat a variety of mental health challenges including depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress, adjustment issues, anger, grief and loss, family issues, transition challenges, relationship problems, and children’s behavioral problems. The Cohen Clinics provides confidential, high-quality therapy, and referrals to local support services around housing, employment and education to post-9/11 veterans, service members (TRICARE referral needed for active duty), National Guard and Reserves, and their family members, including spouse or partner, children, parents, siblings, caregivers, and others. Care is available regardless of discharge status, role while in uniform, or combat experience. Insurance or ability to pay is never a barrier to care. For more information, visit / JUNE 2021


Gulf War Illness: Military Chemical Injury By Beatrice A. Golomb, MD, PhD Gulf War veterans consider themselves the “forgotten veterans.” A third of the 700,000 US personnel deployed to the Persian Gulf in 1990-1991 developed chronic multi-symptom health problems. These health problems have come to be known as “Gulf War illness” (GWI). What is Gulf War Illness? Symptoms vary from veteran to veteran, but can include fatigue, muscle and joint pain, cognitive problems, sleep problems, gastrointestinal problems, neurological problems, shortness of breath, skin symptoms, and many others. Although some other people also get these symptoms, in Gulf War veterans, these symptoms are typically more numerous, and they are more severe. Veterans with GWI have symptoms from a larger number of “domains,” such as “neurological,” “gastroenterological,” or “respiratory,” and their symptoms are on average are more severe than in those who were not deployed to the Persian Gulf. Do Gulf War Veterans Have Higher Rates of Other Health Problems? Veterans of the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War have higher rates of a number of health problems. These include more hypertension, increased rates of heart disease and stroke, more sleep apnea, and have shown higher rates of infectious diseases – among other conditions. Some conceptualize GWI as akin to accelerated aging, in that many aging-related health conditions arise at a younger age. Are Any Tests “Abnormal” in Affected Gulf War Veterans? Routine laboratory tests are usually normal. However, many studies have now shown that a wide range of less common tests are often askew in veterans with GWI. They have impairments in the functions of “mitochondria” – the energy powerhouses of cells. Affected veterans have modestly increased levels of inflammation (compared to healthy “controls”— inflammation levels are often, nonetheless, in the normal range), and higher levels of markers that signal coagulation. They have increased rates of autoantibodies (that is, autoimmune-type problems), and alternations of so-called autonomic function—the type of neurologic function that regulates heart rate, and the ability to regulate heart rate and blood pressure with standing up. 24 / JUNE 2021

Many other alterations have been shown, and more are continuing to be identified. Brain imaging studies show more loss of “grey matter” and more abnormalities in “white matter” – the myelin sheaths that insulate the nerve processes involved in brain communication. (Note that these show up as group findings. Not every affected veteran has every one of these findings.) What Caused Gulf War Illness? Evidence implicates the complex environmental/ chemical and medication milieu, that was unprecedented at the time of, and has not been matched since the time of the Gulf War. Some of the exposures were relatively unique to the Gulf War. For instance, botulinum toxoid vaccine, oil fires, sarin/ cyclosarin nerve gas (from demolition of chemical munition depots), and pyridostigmine bromide (given as a nerve agent pretreatment adjunct). That latter pill has been passed out to personnel since the 1991 Gulf War, but the order to take it has not been given in subsequent deployments. Other exposures were not unique but occurred first in the 1990-1 Gulf War. These include depleted uranium (to gird tanks and munitions), anthrax vaccine, a particularly high number of multiple vaccines, and permethrin impregnated uniforms. Other exposures, though not new or unique, were excessive. Examples include, pesticides, burn pits, jet fuel, and others.

Is Gulf War Illness the Same as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Gulf War illness is distinct from PTSD. We conceptualize recent signature illnesses of deployed veterans in three categories. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be viewed as representing psychological injury. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) represents mechanical injury to the brain. Gulf War illness represents

chemical injury.

In fact, combat stress is not an independent predictor (or “risk factor”) for Gulf War illness. Many veterans with Gulf War illness have felt frustrated that physicians do not understand the distinct nature of their condition, and often presume that it is psychological in origin. Some of the problems, and research, related to GWI is relevant to other military personnel too – as well as some in the civilian sector – because some of the exposures have been shared by members of these other groups. UCSD’s GRG (Golomb Research Group) has been dedicated to better understanding Gulf War illness, identifying critical exposure relationships, mechanisms of GWI (the first to propose, then the first to show damage in GWI to “mitochondria,” the energy-producing part of cells), objective markers in GWI, and treatment of GWI – including a treatment that significantly improved the symptoms and physical function in affected veterans.

& Organizations Navigating the resources available to veterans can be confusing, but San Diego Veterans Magazine believes no veteran should have to go it alone.

If you are a Gulf War veteran (affected or healthy), or a veteran from another conflict with Gulf War illnesslike health problems, there are studies in which your involvement could help. Ongoing studies, and those soon to be launched, address impairment in muscle energy, cell membrane integrity, and gene expression (how avidly different genes are active and converted to their respective proteins). There are also treatment studies underway as well as a study on veterans’ healthcare experience. If you wish to learn more about any of the studies, contact us at:

At San Diego Veterans Magazine you can find Veteran organizations and private nonprofits with resources for veterans that can help ease the process of attaining earned benefits, coping with the lasting effects of service-connected injuries and finding programs and services that meet your specific needs.

San Diego Veteran Resources & Organizations available at:

San Diego Veterans Magazine

Help us to help these valorous veterans, who were affected, through their service to our country.

A Veterans Magazine for Veterans by Veterans / JUNE 2021


A Veteran’s Words of Hope to Fellow Veterans Suffering from PTS After Receiving the Gift of a Psychiatric Service Dog By Kyrié Bloem & Eva Stimson For US veterans struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), anxiety, hyper vigilance, environmental triggers, depression and difficulty sleeping, (among other challenges) the support of a loving, trained service dog can provide a lasting impact in daily life, post-combat. Shelter to Soldier service dog recipient, Shawn Brown, USMC, recommends to other veterans who are struggling with PTS, “My best advice to other veterans is… get the help, and not to have too much pride that stops you from getting help.

A lot of us get our identity in what we’ve done and not actually in who we are. So, get the help and figure out who you are. That’s going to help you in the end.

Don’t be scared to get the help.”

Shawn Brown, USMC was paired with his service dog named Wilson in January 2021. Brown served in the United States Marine Corps for 16 years and was deployed for two tours in Iraq in 2003-2004. According to Shawn, “I realized I was struggling with PTS when I got back, and I thought I was okay. But then 5 years ago, I had a real nervous breakdown and was having suicidal thoughts. That’s when I went to the hospital to get some help. I really realized I needed some help. I did not like crowds, I still don’t, but I would avoid going anywhere. If I did go somewhere, it would be very early or very late. For example, the night crew knew me very well because I would go in the last hour that they were open. It would take me forever to make a purchase of just two items. I was so hypervigilant that I was looking around all the time checking everyone out.”

Shawn had a service dog before Wilson and says of the time between his previous service dog’s passing and finding Shelter to Soldier “it was really rough.”

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After learning of the Shelter to Soldier service dog program, his subsequent acceptance into the program, and then meeting available dogs, he began to bond with the team and found his new, most important teammate, Wilson. “My first meeting with Wilson was in the Shelter to Soldier yard…he ran straight towards me and he was all over me. It wasn’t overwhelming, it was just right. He picked me like ‘Hey Dad, what’s up?’ and it was a great feeling.” Shawn elaborates of his STS training program, “It was a good experienceworking with Shelter to Soldier. I see them as a family. STS is a very tight-knit group, so even though I drove an hour to get there, it felt like home to me.

I felt immediately like I was part of the [STS] family. Once I graduated, I was excited to bring him home, but at the same time, it felt bittersweet like I was missing out on time with my family.” Shelter to Soldier Co-Founder and Vice President, Kyrié Bloem, remarks of Wilson and Shawn “This May, we celebrated Wilson’s one year ‘Adoptiversary’ – the day he was adopted into our program from partner California Labradors, Retrievers and More rescue, under the generous Red Star Sponsorship of The Fish Market, to begin his psychiatric service dog training program. We just feel so honored to have been a small part of Wilson’s big journey, and we are thrilled to see Wilson and Shawn thriving together today.” Since graduating the Shelter to Soldier program, it is clear that Wilson has made a positive impact in Shawn’s life. “With [Wilson], I’m still hesitant [in public] sometimes, but when I look at it, I see I’ve gone back out to live. I go out now; I go into areas where there are crowds, which is something I wouldn’t have done before. I get a lot of anxiety even while driving in traffic and he picks up on that. He licks my neck and my ear and there’s no way you can have anxiety with that. I’m too busy trying to dry my ear out!” The STS team has also shared some more comical times together, furthering their bond as service dog and handler. “I laugh a lot more now. One minute he’s laying on the floor and then he gets the zoomies! At night before bed, he gets this energy and he’s ready to run. No matter what, we sit there and we play; he brings the excitement back. It’s like my house has kids, and all my children are grown! He brings me his toys and leaves them all over the place.” With gratitude, Shawn remarks “[Wilson] really senses and picks up on everything. He’s wonderful.” Shelter to Soldier is a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that adopts dogs from local shelters and trains them to become psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 combat veterans and Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) for veterans suffering from PostTraumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and other injuries associated with traumatic service experiences. The team encourages any veteran who needs support to reach out for help to a mental health care provider, or by calling Shelter to Soldier at 760-870-5338 to inquire about eligibility and/or resources. / JUNE 2021


PTSD COACH PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. More than half of individuals experience at least one trauma in their lives. The National Center for PTSD offers FREE, confidential mobile apps that provide help, education, and support related to mental health.

Download PTSD Coach to:

Learn about PTSD and available treatments Track your PTSD symptoms over time Practice relaxation, mindfulness, and other stress-management exercises Grow your support network Access crisis resources

PTSD Coach is not meant to replace professional care.

Search “PTSD Coach”

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I had a complete meltdown with PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder). I thought I was losing my mind. I’d never been out of control before, and it was hard to admit I needed help, but I wanted my old self back. I’ve gotten that and more. I’m strong. I’m healthy. I have tools, I have knowledge, and I have strength and courage to deal with it. I’m doing just fine. RON WHITCOMB SGT US ARMY 1968 - 1969 SQUAD LEADER, VIETNAM




A Better, Simpler Way to Work By Eve Nasby & Kristin Hennessy The concept of employment seems simple. Businesses need employees. People need work. Businesses post jobs to get the right employee. People submit resumes to jobs they might want, and hope it’s a match. What’s in a Match? Overall, it’s mutual satisfaction. In a way, it’s like dating. If timing, location, and attraction all align, and remain aligned, this could lead to marriage. But, hiring and starting a new job is more like an arranged marriage that skips the critical “get to really know you” stage. Fate is largely contingent on a piece of paper known as a resume, a piece of digital space, known as a LinkedIn profile, a job posting, and a few brief conversations. Finding Your Match A good match is more probable when you know exactly what you want. But, if you’ve spent a good chunk of time in the military, it can be difficult to know exactly what “relationship” you want to be in next. Those in active duty don’t have to think about what they want to do now or next, because they’re doing what they are told to do, trusting it’s for the greater good of our country. When in the military, you’re not looking for a job. The mindset is, “I’m never leaving this job.” But, once you’re out in the workforce, it’s an entirely new world. There’s a good chance that maybe that employer/employee relationship sparks at first, but after a year, you might find you hate that job. Now what?

Let’s add in one more wrinkle. There are a lot of corporations and organizations that know veterans make great employees. They’re driven, hard working, have experience unparalleled to the average civilian, and have a strong work ethic when it comes to being on time and performing duties. 30 / JUNE 2021

Many businesses want veterans and seek them out. But, if uninformed or inexperienced in understanding these benefits firsthand, some could view hiring veterans as a liability. What if they act like a sergeant and not an employee? What if they have PTSD and crumble on the job? How’s this going to affect my workers comp and unemployment claims if they’re not the right fit? Band of Hands, a veteran-owned San Diego startup, gets this, and aims to optimize the relationships (and mitigate risks) between employees and employers. “Our goal is to get America back to work and help small businesses succeed. We’ve created a way for veterans to find their mission and passion in the workplace, and optimize their potential,” says Band of Hands CEO Aziz Badra. No Risks and All the Rewards! Hiring is a risk for any company. It’s expensive and time consuming to recruit, conduct interviews and background checks, onboard, and set up their timesheets and payroll. Then comes the additional risks and costs of having them, like unemployment and workers comp taxes, potential claims and compliance regulations. If an employee quits or files a claim, that business is smacked with a ton of burdens. Yes, one employee can ruin a small business. Suddenly that serendipitous relationship dream shatters. And then there’s the employee perspective. Your resume and networking pays off, you accept a job, are gainfully employed, excited for a lasting relationship…. but there’s a few wrinkles here, too. If you’re a shift worker, you’re probably not aren’t getting benefits or social security, you’re limited to one employer, and aren’t optimizing your potential. If the work environment or role changes, (or your interests change), you may come to hate it. Then what? Start over and hope the next time is a match made in heaven?

Band of Hands is proud to provide a solution that solves these very real problems that both businesses and workers face. If you’re a small business on the Band of Hands platform, you alleviate all of the risk and burdens of hiring, payroll, HR, compliance, claims, and more. You also have access to a pre-screened marketplace of quality employees. Businesses can try out workers at no risk to make sure it’s the right fit and fill last minute shifts with one-click hiring.

No Limits Employment If you’re looking for a job, you can accept multiple jobs that fit your schedule on the Band of Hands platform. If you have a full time job, you can still take on other shifts if you want. You can try a career out first with no risk. “We want veterans to continue to fulfill their mission. Our platform allows veterans to connect the dots between experiences and build a solid resume. By giving them the opportunity to work multiple jobs and try out different careers, they can discover what really motivates and excites them,” says Band of Hands President and passionate military supporter, Eve Nasby. “If someone in active duty goes on missions to Guam, San Diego, and Afghanistan, the loyalty remains to one source. We provide that same sense of loyalty within the Band of Hands family of companies and workers.” While the concept of employment seems simple, the probability of success is much more complex. Band of Hands simplifies these complexities, helping small businesses succeed, and most importantly, helping veterans continue to fulfill their mission of choice. Learn more at / JUNE 2021


American Corporate Partners (ACP) A Mentorship that Matters By Amy Meehan Mission American Corporate Partners (ACP) is a national nonprofit organization focused on helping returning veterans, veterans who have transitioned out of the military and active-duty spouses find their next careers through one-onone mentoring, networking and online career advice. According to the Department of Labor, approximately 200,000 men and women leave U.S. military service every year. ACP believes the biggest issue facing those transitioning service members is not unemployment – it’s underemployment. ACP focuses on helping veterans and active-duty spouses find meaningful employment opportunities and develop long-term careers and professional goals. To date, ACP has helped more than 20,000 veterans and active duty spouses through its mentoring program. Post-9/11 veterans, active-duty spouses and eligible military spouses are referred to as Protégés, and the professionals that participate through their organization’s partnership with ACP are known as Mentors. Program Guidelines ACP focuses primarily on three groups: Post 9/11 veterans, women veterans and active duty spouses. An ACP mentorship is a yearlong commitment, which encourages Mentors and Protégés to connect for monthly discussions. ACP staff support the program with customized resources, training and suggestions, and helps the pair build a successful mentorship. It begins through a pairing process where ACP’s staff carefully selects a Mentor for each Protégé based on career compatibility, experience level, location and personal interests. Every Mentor and Protégé has a phone call with an ACP staff member to communicate and consider preferences. Most mentoring pairs are long-distance and communicate primarily through phone, videoconference and email exchanges.

Post-9/11 Veteran Mentoring Program ACP’s Veteran Protégés are post-9/11 service members and veterans at various stages of the transition process: • Service members who are still serving on active duty and planning for an upcoming transition or retirement • Recently separated veterans in the midst of a transition • Veterans who separated years ago and are currently employed, but are looking to advance in a current civilian career • Student veterans who are seeking advice from successful business leaders in the private sector ACP Veteran Protégé Alum and JP Morgan Chase Software Engineer, Yang Zhou, said “ACP definitely helped me get the job I have now. I was lost and confused on how to start and didn’t have any prior experience in IT.

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My Mentor really encouraged me and gave me detailed steps on how to get started and approach people with similar backgrounds. His personal experiences in the corporate world made a difference and I also appreciated my ACP contact who stayed on top of our partnership, always sending me resources and touching base with me.”

Whether a veteran is actively searching for a new career or newly employed and looking for advice about how to be successful in their new role and advance, ACP’s customized program is designed to assist a veteran or active duty spouse on their path toward rewarding, meaningful employment. Typical mentorship topics include: • Résumé review and interview preparation • Career exploration • Work-life balance • Networking • Small business development • Leadership and professional communication With eight months to go before his official retirement, Army Sergeant Major (E-9) Bryan B applied to ACP in August of 2020. Soon after, he was paired with ACP Mentor James Wise, PMP from Amentum. After getting to know one another, Jim and Bryan rolled up their sleeves and got to work. They explored careers in project management, discussed best PMP study practices, conducted countless mock interviews, overhauled Bryan’s resumé, and so much more. Their hard work paid off when Bryan accepted his “dream position” at Airbus Defence and Space and Bryan and Jim continue to meet and conquer workplace challenges as they arise. ACP has more than 20,000 success stories like the ones Yang and Bryan experienced in their mentorships. You can see the impact be visiting For more information, please visit us at / JUNE 2021


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

Finding the Light with PTSD Imagine transitioning from the military into the civilian workforce while battling visceral responses to loud noises, sights and smells. This was the case for Urban Miyares after he was honorably discharged after serving in Vietnam. Fortunately, he was offered a job at a Wall Street firmvia a family friend and eagerly accepted, anticipating a life of hard work with rewarding payoffs. Unfortunately, his term at the firm was quickly put to an end when the leadership found out he had served in Vietnam, as this came with an extremely negative stigma back then. He was fired and left to find a job in an economy where he was labeled a “baby killer”. Rebounding from Darkness Undeterred, Urban started his own company to support his wife and new born child. And then he started another.

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A few years after starting his first company, Urban became blind due to medical issues. That didn’t stop him, as he went on to start 22 more companies. Urban became a sought after keynote speaker, author, radio personality and trusted advisor in the disabled community. Urban also was part of the crew first to sail with a small all-disabled crew from San Diego to Hawaii and became a competitive downhill skier, blindly skiing at over 60mph. Urban has PTSD. He tells his comrades that it can be a blessing. Being diagnosed with PTSD is no excuse for not becoming remarkably successful in the civilian work world. Urban encourages companies to hire individuals with PTSD, as they enjoy project work and know how to get things done.

Disclosing Disabilities is Not Required! Did you know that you don’t have to disclose that you have a disability on your job application unless you need an accommodation to perform a specific duty on your job? You do not need to give your future employer a copy of your medical exam or answer any medical questions until you are conditionally offered a job. The employer may ask for a medical examination if it is consistent with their business needs and is job related. If you have a challenge on the job that was related to your diagnosis of PTSD, they may ask for a medical exam to determine if you are able to return to work, perform your job and if or what kind of an accommodation you will need to return. But, look at this as a solution-oriented attempt to make your work environment as productive as possible. Simple accommodations for those with PTSD, like putting a mirror on your desk, giving you a workspace with natural lighting and/or minimal noise are all possible to help you feel safe and succeed. Real Struggles, Real On the Job Solutions Avoiding relationships, avoiding places, feeling tense, anxious, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, and living in a state of being at the ready can be incapacitating for those with PTSD looking for jobs and starting jobs. But these feelings are normal, and companies can and will make accommodations to mitigate your struggles. If you’re having challenges with your peers, you can practice breathing techniques, or even try walking away for a few minutes. You can also request to work remotely if the work can be done from home. Remote work has become the new norm.

If you’re interviewing, practice answering commonly asked questions with your friends and family. The more rehearsed you are in your answers the more able you will be to stay focused in the interview even in the light of a surprise distraction. Another tip is to write out your answers word for word and have them accessible during your interview. Phone interviews are still common and they won’t know you are reading or glancing at your notes. If it is Zoom, simply you can use tape or sticky notes with your answers around your monitor. If it’s in person, take a notepad to read from and also take notes on. This will help keep you from wandering as you answer. Once you are hired, know that companies are happy to have you aboard and can provide accommodations for you to help you succeed. If working as an employee is not your cup of tea, explore entrepreneurship! Urban MIyares is a great example of how physical and mental disabilities don’t need to hold you back from realizing more success than you thought possible. Even if you can’t see, you have the tools, resources and support to find your way out of the dark, and into a career you love. Want more information? Need help with hiring or getting hired? Contact Eve Nasby: Connect on LinkedIn:

If you’re having a hard time concentrating, try noisecancelling headsets, or white noise sound devices. Many apps provide white noise or calming frequencies free of cost. If you’re finding yourself feeling forgetful or disorganized, don’t be afraid to ask for help! For example, you can ask your employer to give you instructions in writing, use your computer’s calendar, or desk calendars, make a checklist to stay productive and meet deadlines. Job Searching and Interviewing? If you’re searching for a job, create a list or spreadsheet with the companies you are applying for and keep track of your follow-ups, status, dates and phone interviews. I Update it regularly so you have all of the information in one place. Eve Nasby: / JUNE 2021


HUMAN RESOURCES Transition to Business By Paul Falcone

The Best Leaders Aren’t Necessarily the Ones with the Most Followers In fact, the paradigm works like this: the best leaders are the ones who create the most leaders in turn. The “coaching” mindset will help you create the most leaders in turn, so let’s discuss how that works. You’ll hear a lot about coaching leadership in the private sector and for good reason: looking at the needs of the newest generations in the workforce—Gen Y Millennials and Gen Z Zoomers—the desire for career and professional development ranks high. And why shouldn’t it? Isn’t it reasonable for a younger generation of high-tech and knowledge workers to look for higher levels of career satisfaction than previous generations? Is it too much to ask that workers look beyond physiological and safety needs to those of motivation and belonging, esteem, and career actualization? This isn’t meant to be a utopian vision of the future: it’s very real and “on topic” for many organizations in corporate America right now. The strongest leaders are coaches, not disciplinarians. They are selfless teachers who take personal interest in their employees’ and peers’ professional growth and career development. They see leadership as a gift and as the greatest privilege the workplace has to offer. After all, what other endeavors in the business world, beyond compensation, are as significant as hearing that you’re someone’s favorite boss, the person who influenced and shaped them to become the best leaders they could become in their own right, and their role models and greatest influencers in their careers? Further, this isn’t only the realm of managers and executives: individual contributors can stand out as excellent leaders as well, even if they have no subordinates reporting directly to them. The question you have to ask yourself is whether being known as an outstanding leader is important to you at this point in your career as you prepare to transition into the private sector. 36 / JUNE 2021

Here are some general rules to follow, whether you see yourself as a team leader or an individual contributor leader. First, great leadership is about sincerity and selflessness. The old paradigm of the “boss” dictating what to do and how to get it done—that is, the traditional role of management—has been replaced by the leadership concept. Management is about oversight, control, and order, leaving little discretion to the individual laborer. Leadership is different, though. It has a different focus and feel. And it tends to get much greater results than traditional top-down management. For example, leadership favors the collective over individual decision making.

It looks for inspiration, imagination, creativity, and ethical behavior in piercing workers’ hearts as well as their minds. It thrives on respect, inclusiveness, and a culture of otherness that permits and rewards individual and group achievement. The optimal result is that selfless leaders gain discretionary effort from their team members and peers—a willingness to go above and beyond 100% because of the love and trust they have in their leader or fellow associate. Next, understand that the best team leaders ask questions of their employees even when they already know the answers. The questioning process is used to teach. And yes—it may take longer than simply giving the right answer—but it’s important for your team members’ professional development. You’ve probably heard of managers who say, “Whenever you have a question, bring me to two to three possible solutions that you’ve thought through so we can discuss them together.” This forces employees to think things through on their own, and more often than not, you’ll find that their answers and recommendations are fairly close to what you would have recommended initially. At that point, you can ask a few follow up questions to tease the correct answer out of them or help them course-correct to reach the answer on their own with your guided help. (This technique works great with kids as well—but no so well with spouses!) Finally, strong “coaching leaders” meet with their employees at least quarterly to spend one-on-one time reviewing performance goals, removing roadblocks, pivoting in light of unforeseen changes, and asking questions about professional growth and development. The leader-as-coach model looks to draw wisdom, insight, and creativity from the people being coached. It focuses on teaching people to fish rather than simply giving them a fish. It encourages them to resolve problems with the underlying assumption that the answer is in them already and simply needs to be guided out. Coaching others to high performance is a noble goal and will likely catapult your own reputation as a people leader and talent developer to new heights. Never underestimate the power of being a strong team developer or trusted associate: the particular “soft skills” of trust and selflessness could open more opportunities for you career-wise than you might otherwise imagine and help so many others reach their personal best. 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. / JUNE 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

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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




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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

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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.

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• 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.

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@GoVALoans (833) 825-6261 / JUNE 2021


Veterans Chamber of Commerce By Joseph Molina


Securing the American Dream for Military Families Homeownership is a component of the American Dream. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Home Loans have helped make this dream a reality for many Veterans. Once approved by the VA, these loans are provided by private lenders (banks and mortgage companies) and typically don’t require a deposit or mortgage insurance because the VA guarantees some of the loans against loss, allowing the lender to supply more favorable terms. WHAT IS A VA LOAN? The VA loan offers several key benefits, 1) $0 down mortgage option, 2) No mortgage insurance. VA loans are issued by private lenders, like a mortgage company or a bank, and guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA home equity credit was created in 1944 by the us government to assist returning service members in purchasing homes without having a deposit or excellent credit. This historic program has guaranteed over 20 million VA loans, helping Veterans and their families purchase or refinance a home. Today, the VA mortgage is more important than ever. Many Veteran and military buyers found it increasingly challenging to secure home financing within the wake of the good recession. Lots of lenders tightened their guidelines again due to the 2020 global pandemic. Over the last decade, VA loans have mainly provided a lifeline for Veterans and active Military homebuyers facing higher credit scores and deposit requirements. TYPES OF VA LOANS VA IRRRL The VA rate of interest Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) is one of the VA loan program’s two refinance options, and therefore the one most Veteran homeowner chooses. The VA IRRRL is for Veterans who currently have a VA loan and a new and lower rate is available. 46 / JUNE 2021

These also are referred to as VA Streamlines, and that is because they’re simple, low-cost refinance loans that in some cases won’t require credit underwriting, income verification, or an appraisal. The $0 Down Advantage Veterans can use the VA loan to get new a home with a $0 down. VA purchase loans also allow Veterans to shop for single-family homes, condominiums, manufactured homes, multiunit properties (like a duplex), and even new construction. Policies and guidelines can vary by lender. Some lenders might not offer all of the available options. VA Energy Efficient Mortgage The VA allows veterans to borrow additional money for energy efficiency improvements to a home as a part of either a home purchase or a refinance.

Veterans can finance up to an additional $6,000 for qualified improvements, like storm or thermal windows, heat pumps, and solar heating and cooling systems. Homeowners can’t use this feature to get appliances, window air-conditioning units, and other non-permanent additions. IS THE VA LOAN A GOOD OPTION? VA loans are by far the most powerful loan option on the market. These are available with a attractive benefits, including a $0 deposit, no mortgage insurance, flexible and forgiving credit guidelines, and therefore the industry’s best fixed interest rates. Of course, every Veteran’s situation is different and going over all of the loan options with a home equity credit specialist can help make sure you make the most financially-sound decision possible. HOW DO I GET A VA LOAN? Talk with a trusted lender and preferable with a “Veteran-Friendly” Lender who knows the VA loans process and understands the needs and advantages of our Military & Veteran Community.

& Organizations

THE “STARTING” PROCESS 1. Pre-qualification or preapproval: The process starts when a prequalification/preapproval is completed. 2. Once the initial step is completed, the Veteran with the assistance of a “Veteran-Friendly Agent” can start the search for a property that fits withing the Approved criteria. In Summary: Always look for Real Estate Agents who are members of the National Network of Veteran-Friendly Agents. These agents have made a commitment to support our Military Families and have pledged to provide the best Home Buying Experience. Agents will help you connect with the right VA Lender. If you would like to talk to a Veteran-Friendly Agent, Just contact us at: we will send you the contact information of Agents in your area. Real Estate Agents are invited to be a part of the Network of Agents committed to supporting our Military/Veteran Community. Agents may request more information at: veteran-friendly-agents

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

San Diego Veteran Resources & Organizations available at:

San Diego Veterans Magazine A Veterans Magazine for Veterans by Veterans / JUNE 2021


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

MUST HAVE CHECKLIST FOR STARTUPS Starting your own business can be a difficult task and complying with all of the legal requirements can be overwhelming. The following list includes the most important elements any startup should meet to avoid a list of potential legal issues. 1) Form the proper business entity Choosing the proper business entity for your startup is crucial because it affects your personal liability, how much you and the entity pay in taxes, and your ability to raise funding. It’s a good idea to first decide whether you want to raise capital from any outside investors. If so, it’s usually best to form a C-corporation. A C-corporation’s structure could result in double taxation, but investors are usually more open to investing in this type of structure and startups that raise venture capital are unlikely to distribute dividends. For that reason, double taxation usually is not as large an issue. An S-corporation would be the best structure for a business that intends to stay small with only a few owners who are all U.S. citizens or residents. 2) Incorporate in Delaware You should incorporate your startup in Delaware no matter where you are located, but you should also look into incorporating in your home state. Delaware’s court system is known to provide maximum flexibility in business entity structures with its well-developed case law. Corporate attorneys are more familiar with Delaware law mainly because more than 80% of U.S. publicly traded companies have their legal home in Delaware. Your startup will reflect credibility as a Delaware incorporated business when approaching outside investors as well, since most require it. 3) Create a written agreement between your business owners If you are working with multiple business owners, it’s important to make sure that each person knows and understands his/her rights and responsibilities. If you are forming a corporation, this means creating a shareholder agreement and the Articles of Incorporation. The Articles must contain the number of authorized shares, state the purpose of the company, identify the incorporators and the agent authorized to receive service of process, and provide the name of the corporation. 48 / JUNE 2021

4) Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) In order to open a corporate bank account and to properly file your business tax returns, you will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN). You must request one from the IRS and may apply over the phone or by using an online application on the IRS website. You will need the social security number of the person completing the form for the company (usually the President or CEO). Include information on your business entity and date of incorporation. Make sure to keep a signed copy of this application in your files – ask for one if you apply over the phone. 5) Perform due diligence on your investors Venture capitalists and angel investors are certainly doing an abundant amount of research on your startup; therefore, as a founder you should do the same. You want to make sure that your investors are just as committed as you are to your brand because they will be your long-term partners. You also want to make sure you know enough about their background and industry expertise. Conduct LinkedIn searches, learn about their expectations, and even get to know them on a personal level to make sure they are the right fit for you. 6) Create a vesting schedule for the founders A common issue among founders is the level of commitment each person brings to the table. Upon incorporation, founders should create a vesting schedule that states that stock ownership will vest over time. This is important not only because it prevents one founder from quitting and being able to keep all of his/ her stock, but it is also usually required from investors before the first round of financing. You want to have a vesting schedule created before negotiations with investors take place or else, they may want to impose a certain schedule. If you already have an existing system, they are more likely to follow what you have implemented. 7) Protect your Intellectual Property The road to success requires that you maintain a strong intellectual property (IP) portfolio. Remember that IP not only includes patents but copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets as well.

File any patents as soon as possible, for the process to issue a patent can take more than 5 years. Investors are more likely to invest in a company that has protected its IP. Make sure you have the exclusive right to reproduce and display your work. Pick a name for your company that is specific to the products/services you provide and prevent others from using a similar mark. Decide what is considered a trade secret and keep that information secure against unauthorized access.

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Since IP can entail a vast array of legal to-do’s, you should consult an experienced IP attorney who can help you through the process and provide you the utmost protection. 8) Know how your employees are classified A very common mistake when startups first hire employees is misclassifying them. Know the difference between an employee and an independent contractor. The main difference between the two boils down to control, regardless of what the worker may be called in any sort of agreement. If the startup requires that the worker show up at a certain time, work a certain number of hours, and be under a great deal of supervision, it is unlikely that he/she is an independent contractor. More control over the worker means it is more likely that a court will deem the worker an employee. 9) Comply with Securities Laws Founders and investors of LLC’s, corporations, and partnerships are subject to federal and state securities laws. These laws were made to require companies to provide reliable and accurate information about their businesses to enable a fair market. They also protect from insider trading and trading fraud. Failure to comply with these laws can result in the startup having to repurchase all of its shares at the issuance price, even if the company has lost all of its money. 10) Hire competent legal counsel Startups are usually concerned about expenses, but should not be as concerned when it comes to having the right attorneys on your side. Startups should retain experienced legal counsel who have expertise in employment law, contract law, securities law, and intellectual property law, to name a few. The work may be spread out between different firms and attorneys, and the cost is worth avoiding any legal trouble.

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

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

Mental Health: How Does it Impact a Divorce? Mental health has been at the forefront of discussions in the past year given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are going through a separation and your spouse has mental health issues, you may question how this will impact you filing for divorce. Mental health issues may be a factor when it comes to the underlying issues to be addressed by the Court in a divorce matter, such as child custody, visitation, and spousal support issues. Filing for Divorce California is a no-fault divorce state. A spouse does not need to demonstrate that the mental health issues contributed to the divorce. Having irreconcilable differences in and of itself is reason for a divorce. However, if your spouse is unable to make decisions and is of unsound mind, a Court can dissolve your marriage based on legal incapacity. If this is the case, your spouse will have a guardian or conservator appointed to represent their interests in Court. A Court can also grant an annulment of the marriage if your spouse is found to have been unable to consent to the marriage (was of unsound mind) when it took place as a result of their mental health issues. However, if the party with the mental health issues that could not consent at the time the marriage took place, after coming to reason, continues to live with the other spouse, a Court cannot annul the marriage and will only grant a dissolution of marriage. Child Custody and Visitation The Court’s analysis in making child custody and visitation orders looks at the best interests of the children, including their health, welfare, and safety. Given this standard, mental health issues can impact custody matters. This does not mean just because a parent has mental health issues their custody and visitation will be impacted. Plenty of parents can have mental health issues or diagnosed disorders that they have addressed and maintained care/treatment for. Mental health issues will impact custody and visitation only where it can be demonstrated that the parent’s mental health issues interfere with their ability to care for the children, endangers the children physically or emotionally, or has caused the parent to have an addiction to drugs or alcohol that has resulted in the children’s safety and well-being being at risk. A parent may be required to have supervised visitation or (depending on the severity of the issues) could lose custody and visitation. If a parent’s ability to care for a child and provide a safe and stable home/environment for the child is unaffected by their mental health issues or diagnosis, then a Court will not weigh the fact that they have mental health issues againstthe parent. In cases where one parent’s mental health issues are contested, it may be necessary for the Court to order a psychological evaluation to determine the extent to which their mental health issues affect custody and visitation.

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If you are a parent who is struggling with mental health issues and also going through a divorce, it is best you seek counseling, therapy, and/or help from a trained professional the help you through this difficult period. Spousal Support Mental health issues can also factor into a court order for spousal support. The Court will weigh different factors including the earning capacity of a party, ability to maintain the standard of living, and a reasonable amount of time for them to become selfsupporting.

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If a party’s mental health issues are severe enough, it may affect their ability to be employed and maintained the standard of living. As such, the Court will consider this factor when determining the issue of spousal support and how much or how long the supporting party will have to pay support. If a party with mental health issues is receiving disability benefits as a result of their mental health disorder, the Court will consider this income in determining how much spousal support they are entitled to. The Court will also consider whether a party has the ability to be employed where they have been unable to hold a job due to their drug or alcohol use. In the case where one party petitions the Court for dissolution of marriage on the basis of legal incapacity, they will still be obligated to pay support for their spouse who lacks the ability to make decisions and lacks earning capacity or the ability to be employed. It is important to note that even where mental health issues may not affect custody, visitation, and spousal support, they may still have an impact your ability to reason and reach agreements with your ex-spouse during your divorce matter. This can often cause frustration and further conflict. In these cases, it may be best to consult with an attorney who may be able to more objectively handle the issues between you and your ex-spouse. For more information about mental health during a military divorce, check out our website: or call (858) 720-8250 and ask to speak with military family law attorney Tana Landau.

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Legal Experts with Humanity / JUNE 2021


American Legion BASEBALL IS BACK! By Holly Shaffner

With summer just around the corner, what is more

Each athlete who competes in the championship will be shown an opportunity into their athletic future, to play the game against the toughest opponent in the most pristine of conditions, in stadiums and on fields that

Throughout the United States and Canada, more than 3,400 elite teams and nearly 55,000 youth participate in the program annually. This year in California, teams representing the six regional American Legion areas will be vying to be the State Champion and go on to the American Legion Baseball World Series.

could be realized in their collegiate or professional baseball careers.

American than kids playing baseball? Just like many other sports in 2020, American Legion Baseball was forced to take the season off – and now it is back for 2021!

So how does American Legion Baseball work? Local American Legion Posts are paired with a team of boy and girl players aged 15 to 19 years old. As an example, in San Diego County, there will be 26 teams paired with Posts. What is interesting is how the teams are named to start instilling a “military mindset” and sense of honor. The teams will be named for military aircraft and what they did in history; names such as Vipers, Crusaders, Hercules, Avengers, Phantoms, Hornets and Tomcats. The teams will represent the hundreds of Posts, thousands of Legionnaires, Auxiliary members, Sons, and Legion Riders that comprise the Legion family. The teams will be supported by these pillars of The American Legion and in the communities where the tournaments are hosted. For the first time ever, they will compete under the bright lights of a modern stadium and on television for the State Championship title. For the first time ever, they will compete under the bright lights of a modern stadium and on television for the State Championship title. 52 / JUNE 2021

Since American Legion Baseball began in 1925, some of baseball’s best players have played in the American Legion system – names like Yogi Berra, Carl Yastrzemski, Tony Gwynn, Trevor Hoffman, Joe Maddon, and Randy Jones. In fact, here are a few stats: • 75% of American Legion players went on to play collegiate baseball • 51% of Major League baseball players played American Legion baseball • Over 80 American Legion baseball players have been inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. For the American Legion, the game of baseball is much more than just learning about sportsmanship and playing the game at an elite level. It is the timeless connection between the youth athletes of today and the history and stories of our military veterans. The American Legion takes it a step further and promotes active citizenship. “Players don’t always know what the word “veteran” really means,” said American Legion, Department of California Baseball Program Spokesman, Judy Leonardi.

“They play baseball in a free country and it is important to us to ensure they understand patriotism – that’s why they are paired with a post so they can better understand what freedom means.” For the State of California, they are hoping to send a team to the American Legion World Series for the first time in over two decades. This year’s state championship tournament will be held in the vibrant veterans’ community of Clovis, California from July 24th through the 27th.

It is an ideal location due to the thousands of veterans who live in Clovis, and the multitude of veterans’ service organizations that they are members of and support daily. The California State Championship has been held in Northern California for over forty years. Newly established Tournament Director Ray Flores has been directed to establish an annual rotation of tournament sites where an elite level diamond is co-located with VA facilities across California. “I’m going to swing for the fences to build out the program to other major metropolitan cities,” said Flores.

“There’s no reason why San Diego or Los Angeles couldn’t host the championship in future years.” This would allow families to travel to other parts of the state and for local professional baseball teams to be involved with tournament. Currently, the San Diego Padres are involved in supporting American Legion Baseball, as is the Randy Jones Foundation. So how is American Legion Baseball funded? The answer is simple – through donations and sponsorships. In Southern California, The American

Legion Baseball Program embraces the “No Pay to Play” concept and fundraises all the monies that are needed for team uniforms, umpires, and fields, and for the Area Champions to travel to the State Championship Tournament at absolutely no cost to the players or their families. If you would like to donate or become a sponsor of California American Legion Baseball and keep the kids playing, please email: To connect with the California Tournament Director, email: To learn more about American Legion Baseball or find a post near you, go to: / JUNE 2021


SERVING VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES Over 150 unique member and participating organizations, businesses, and agencies - united in one goal! June 2021

The San Diego Veterans Coalition partners with Operation Dress Code on behalf of Transitioning Women Veterans A program this successful shouldn’t be a secret. Operation Dress Code is a program that assists active duty and veteran women as they transition to new careers. The San Diego location began in 2015 serving 60 women and now in its 5th year that number has grown exponentially. According to RanDee McLain, San Diego Program Director for Operation Dress Code, she hopes to serve another 500 women annually again this year! So how does it work? During the month of October, San Diegans donate thousands of pieces of new and gently used business attire, shoes, purses and accessories through the local military-centric nonprofit organization Courage to Call. Courage to Call is a program of Mental Health Systems (MHS) that has been serving the San Diego community for over 40 years. Volunteers then sort the items and help with set up the day before the big “shopping” day. The shopping day is known as “Boutique Day” and the women who attend the event will have a personalized shopping experience complete with a personal shopper to help pair together outfits, providing advice on how to dress for different scenarios and accessorize their new outfits. When they have found a few new outfits, they check out and take home a new-found confidence for entering that next chapter in their lives. Kyra Treible, Human Resources Manager for Bryan Allen Events said first impressions are critical. “That first impression is all visual and we look for attention to detail.” When wondering what to wear to an interview, she said “You need to dress for the job you are asking for. Every office has a dress code and my favorite candidates are those who ask what the dress code is before coming to the interview.”

54 / JUNE 2021

The Boutique Day is more than just shopping for clothes…it is also prepares the ladies for other aspects of transition. This year there will be a resume writing seminar and a workshop for how to use LinkedIn when searching for jobs. Additionally, there will be a hair and make-up station, and a professional photographer to take that head shot for a profile picture. Kyra Treible has a few pieces of advice for interviewing and nailing that first impression: 1) Wear clothing that have a good fit – not too tight, not too loose 2) The clothing should be clean and ironed 3) Makeup should be natural and if in doubt, it is better to go with none vice too much 4) Nails should be neatly trimmed and either completely polished or not at all 5) Be careful with any scents – too much perfume or scented lotions can be distracting for the interviewer Lastly, she said that you want to minimize as many obstacles as you can (like clothing that is too tight or too reveling) so that you feel good about what you are wearing. That feeling will make you more comfortable and in turn will make you more confident. To learn more about Operation Dress Code donation drop off locations, volunteer opportunities, or to register for Boutique Day, go to: or contact Courage to Call via email at: or (858)636-3604. Mental Health Systems, Courage to Call, and Operation Dress Code are steadfast and significant supporters of the veteran’s community in San Diego County and are proud members of the San Diego Veterans Coalition. For additional information, please visit

The SDVC salutes Psycharmor Institute Operation Dress Code

SDVC / JUNE 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 56 / JUNE 2021 / JUNE 2021


Remembering Our Heroes

Helping today's heroes achieve success by making it easier to run your small business.

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 / JUNE 2021 / JUNE 2021


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