San Diego Veterans Magazine June 2022

Page 1



Strategies & Expectations





Flight of Survival

A Journey to Advocacy PTSD

It’s A Milestone

Vol. 5 Number 6 • JUNE 2022


US Navy (1987 – 1993) US Air Force (1993 – 2013)

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

2 / JUNE 2022
“I’m happier with myself. Having been in therapy, period, has helped me be in a better place now.”
“Roger” Rodriguez, Jr

Your Summer Travel Could Earn You 30K Bonus Points¹

creditworthiness, and will vary with the market based on the U.S. Prime Rate. ATM cash advance fees: None if performed at a Navy Federal branch or ATM. Otherwise, $0.50 per domestic transaction or $1.00 per foreign transaction. ³Visa

Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Cards earn 3 points for every $1 of net purchases made on travel and 2 points for every $1 of other net purchases. “Net purchases” means the sum of your eligible purchase transactions minus returns and refunds. Eligible purchase transactions do not include, and rewards are not earned for, the following transactions: cash advances, convenience checks, balance transfers, gambling, or fees of any kind, including finance charges, late fees, returned check fees, ATM cash advance fees, and annual fees. Cash equivalent transactions, such as the purchase, loading, or reloading of gift and prepaid cards (e.g., money orders, GO Prepaid Cards, and other cash equivalent gift cards), may not be eligible purchase transactions and may not earn rewards. A travel purchase may only earn 2 points per dollar spent, depending on the merchant code used to process the transaction. Travel is typically categorized under merchant category codes such as airline, hotel, / JUNE 2022 3 Our Members Are the Mission
Navy Federal is federally insured by NCUA. ¹Offer valid for new Visa Signature Flagship Rewards Credit Card accounts applied for between 3/1/22 and 6/30/22. To be eligible for the 30,000 points offer, you must make $3,000 or more in net purchases within 90 days of account opening. Rewards are earned on eligible net purchases. “Net purchases” means the sum of your eligible purchase transactions minus returns and refunds. Eligible purchase transactions do not include, and rewards are not earned for, the following transactions: cash advances, convenience checks, balance transfers, gambling, or fees of any kind, including finance charges, late fees, returned check fees, ATM cash advance fees, and annual fees. Cash equivalent transactions, such as the purchase, loading, or reloading of gift and prepaid cards (e.g., money orders, GO Prepaid Cards, and other cash equivalent gift cards), may not be eligible purchase transactions and may not earn rewards. Please allow up to eight weeks after the 90-day period for the 30,000 points to post to your rewards balance. Account must be open and not in default at the time the 30,000 points are posted to your rewards balance. Limit of one promotional offer at account opening. ²As of 5/2/2022, rates range from 10.24% to 18% APR, are based on
car rental, bus lines, taxis, cruise lines, time shares, parking, and transit. Additional categories may be ineligible, in which case you will receive 2 points per dollar spent at these locations based on the merchant category codes. For more information, view the Flagship Rewards Program Description at © 2022 Navy Federal NFCU 14126 (3-22) 2 X Points on Everything Else3 $ 0 Intro Annual Fee3 3X Points on All Travel Purchases3 2 X Points on Everything Else3 $ 0 Intro Annual Fee3 3X Points on All Travel Purchases3 Open a Flagship credit card, and you can earn 30,000 bonus points (a $300 value) when you spend $3,000 within 90 days of opening your account.¹ Plus, you could save on interest with a 1.99% intro APR on purchases for 6 months after account opening. After that, a variable rate between 10.24% and 18% APR applies.² Hurry—offer ends June 30, 2022. Apply today! Visit You’ll also enjoy:


Publisher Editor-In-Chief

Mike Miller

Contributing Writers

Holly Shaffner

Veteran Advocate

David Koontz

Midway Magic

RanDee McLain, LCSW

A Different Lens

Jenny Lynne Stroup

Real Talk: Mental Health

Barbara Eldridge

Business For Veterans

CJ Machado

SD Vets & Homeland Photojournalist

Kelly Bagla, Esq.

Legal Eagle

Tana Landau, Esq.

Legally Speaking

Joe Molina

Veterans Chamber of Commerce

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.

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.

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

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.

Eve Nasby

What’s Next - Transitioning

Amber Robinson

Arts & Healing

Paul Falcone

Human Resources

Dr. Julie Ducharme

Successful Transitioning Stories

*Guest Writers Includie Local & National Veteran Organizations, & Advocates

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

(858) 275-4281

4 / JUNE 2022
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.


JUNE INSIDE THIS ISSUE / JUNE 2022 5 6 USNS Mercy Hospital Ship 8 Midway Magic - Flight of Survival 10 History That Can’t Be Found in Books 12 It’s a Milestone - Journey to Advocacy 16 The Expressive Arts Institute San Diego 18 PTSD Awareness Month 20 Real Talk: Seeking PTSD Treatment 22 PTSD - Message to Veterans 24 Telehealth is a Lifeline for Veterans 26 Legally Speaking: Coparenting 28 Caregiving TLC - Informal Caregivers 31 Veterans Association of North County 32 The Veterans Writing Group 35 San Diego Veterans Coalition 36 The Military Order of the World Wars 39 Shelter to Soldier - Supporting Veteran 41 Guide Dogs of America 42 What’s Next: Suck It, Up Butter Cup 44 HR: Mental Health Resources 46 Successful Transitioning Stories 48 Veterans in Business: “Silver Rocket” 50 Legal Eagle: When is an Employer Liable 52 The Navy Reserve on your Terms 54 National Veterans Chamber of Commerce 60 Inside the Monthly Columns

USNS Mercy Hospital Ship receives special honor from County of San Diego

The USNS Mercy T-AH 19 received special recognition from the County of San Diego this spring. The hospital ship received a County Proclamation signed by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, declaring March 25, 2022, as “USNS Mercy Day” throughout the county. The supervisors commended the crew “for their outstanding service to our country by providing the highest-quality medical care,” as the proclamation stated.

The USNS Mercy’s commanding officer, Captain Timothy M. Quast, accepted the proclamation at the ship’s predeployment all-hands meeting.

“This is just a wonderful opportunity to highlight the relationship we have with San Diego County,” said Quast.

San Diego County Supervisor Joel Anderson praised the crew of the USNS Mercy and also awarded each servicemember on the ship with a Certificate of Recognition for their recent efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All the crew, everyone who works on the USNS Mercy, you do such an incredible job and represent our country well around the world, helping and lifting people,” Supervisor Anderson said to the crew. “You do so much for our country, but most of all, you make us proud because we get to say we’re your homeport.”

United States Naval Ship (USNS) Mercy, homeported at Naval Base San Diego, provides afloat, acute surgical medical facilities when called upon to the U.S. military. From emergency medicine to radiology to intensive care, the ship functions as a full mobile hospital with 1,000 beds.

The ship’s primary mission is to provide medical care to Marine, Army, and Air Force units deployed ashore and to naval amphibious task forces and battle groups afloat. The ship also supports U.S. disaster relief and humanitarian operations worldwide.

In 2020, the USNS Mercy embarked on a mission to support the nation’s COVID-19 response efforts by taking in civilian patients in Los Angeles.

The ship took in patients who tested negative for COVID-19 and were seeking care for other issues, with the goal of freeing up hospital beds onshore for COVID-19 patients.

The USNS Mercy can deploy worldwide in a five-day period when ordered by the President in response to military contingencies, civil disasters, or humanitarian partnerships. Other than the Mercy’s sister ship on the east coast, USNS Comfort, there are no other ships in the world with these same lifesaving capabilities.

The crew of the USNS Mercy responded with applause and smiles when it was announced they would have their own recognized day in San Diego County’s history.

ABF2 Carl Johnson, a USNS Mercy crew member expressed, “It was a pretty cool day considering we started the new Mercy Day today. I also got pinned on this day, so it means a lot to me.”

“You can tell that people are proud… and we couldn’t be more honored.” said Captain Quast.

6 / JUNE 2022
USNS Mercy’s commanding officer, CAPT Timothy Quast, accepts County proclamation from Supervisor Anderson’s representative on March 25, 2022 (Courtesy of Supervisor Anderson’s office).

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.

MNCSF honors the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice in their Memorial Day Ceremony video, “Remembering the Battle of Midway.”

The 24-min video ceremony can be viewed at:

Please Contribute Today!

Armed Forces Memorial Amphitheater Any contribution amount counts!

Make the Vision a Reality

To donate, please go to and click the “Donate Now” button or by check to Amphitheater Fund, c/o 6906 Miramar Road, Set C-142, San Diego, CA 92121.

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 2022 7

Flight of Survival

On March 14, 1964, The Beatles “I Want to Hold Your Hand” became the number one song in America, “Bonanza” was the country’s top-rated primetime TV show, and Navy Lt. Dick Bradley was fighting for his life.

What started as a routine night training flight off the coast of Southern California, turned into an aviation nightmare in a matter of seconds.

Bradley, an SH-34 Seabat pilot with Helicopter AntiSubmarine Squadron 773 (HS-773) based at Naval Air Station Los Alamitos, had to summon all his skill, training and experience when his aircraft experienced a catastrophic flight-control failure.

“We were flying as safety plane for another SH-34 that was practicing night sonar dipping about three miles off Huntington Beach,” said Bradley, a St. Louis native. “We’d climbed to 500 feet and just as we reached that altitude, the helo jolted. There was a snapping sound, and the plane pitched and started skidding.”

From the helicopter’s contorted flight profile, Bradley and his co-pilot, Lt. Jim Cuff, knew they had lost control of their tail rotor. Though they tried valiantly, they were unable to regain complete control of the aircraft and knew they would never safely make it back to the airfield.

“The aircraft was shaking so much it was almost impossible to read the instruments,” recalled Bradley, who has been a USS Midway Museum volunteer since 2005. “Things were going downhill fast. We knew we had to ditch in the ocean.”

Bradley and Cuff started implementing their emergency-response procedures, radioed a mayday call to controllers, and continued to struggle to keep marginal control of the helicopter. It was a dark night with no moon and no visible horizon, which made attempting an emergency autorotation landing in the ocean very difficult.

“It was about as tough as it could get,” said Bradley, a 1961 graduate of UCLA. “No horizon and no instruments, just built-in instincts and timing.”

An autorotation is an attempt to safely land a helicopter in the event of an engine failure or, as in Bradley’s case, when the aircraft has a tail-rotor failure.

Bradley entered the autorotation by lowering his collective pitch control to reduce the angle on the main rotor blades of his helicopter. This started a rapid and steep rate of decent. His goal was to flare the helicopter by raising its nose and pulling up on the collective to arrest his decent rate and decrease his airspeed just before the aircraft hit the water.

“Without my training, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Bradley, who made two naval deployments to the Western Pacific in the late 1950s. “We practiced full autorotations a number of times. I was mentally counting out 1,001, 1,002, 1,003 in order to time correctly pulling up the collective. We flared just in time to drag the tail.”

The helicopter’s tail hit first and drag along the surface of the ocean before breaking off. Then the fuselage slammed into the water.

“It felt like somebody kicked me in the ass real hard twice,” remembered Bradley, a 10-year Navy veteran. “The H-34 floats like a 10-ton safe, so as soon as the rotors stopped splashing, we were sinking.”

Both Bradley and Cuff were able to get out of the helicopter just as the cockpit went under water. One of his crewmen, Fred Esophi, surfaced a few seconds later, while the second crewman, William Grumer, who was initially caught in some cargo webbing, was last to emerge from the sinking wreckage.

8 / JUNE 2022
Dick Bradley

“I was very happy we all made it out,” said Bradley, who worked in the government and corporate sectors after leaving the Navy. “As the pilot, the final responsibility was mine.

Having survived the ditching, Bradley and his crew now found themselves in frigid 55-degree water. It was 30 minutes before a search and rescue helicopter reached them. As the helicopter began hoisting Bradley’s crew out the water, another swimmer appeared on the scene. Bradley initially thought it was a rescue swimmer from the helicopter, but to his surprise, it was a Huntington Beach lifeguard.

“The person I assumed to be a crewman swam over to Cuff and me,” said Bradley, who retired in 2001. “He told me he was a lifeguard and had swum out from the Huntington Beach Pier.”

John Freenor, a lifeguard for only six months, was parking his car on the Huntington Beach Pier when he heard Bradley’s mayday call over his radio. He grabbed a rescue buoy, jumped into the ocean from the pier and swam more than a mile to try to help.

“He wasn’t certain where we were when he left the pier, he just started swimming out to sea,” said Bradley, who has more than 7,100 volunteer hours on Midway. “I thought he was very brave.”

Treated at the base medical clinic, neither Bradley nor his crew sustained life-threatening injuries, mostly cold and bruised.

“The Navy doc gave Cuff and I a couple brandies, then it was off to the O-Club for a few ‘warm-us-up-toddies,’” said Bradley, with a smile. “We knew what to do and we did it. Fortunately, we made the right decisions that night.” / JUNE 2022 9
“The wreckage of Dick Bradley’s SH-34 after it was recovered from the ocean.” “Dick Bradley with an SH-34 on the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum.”

History That Can’t Be Found In Books

Since 2010, Honor Flight San Diego has taken over 1,500 senior veterans on a trip of a lifetime. It is a 3-day trip to our nation’s capital to visit the memorials built for the veteran’s service and sacrifice.

In less than 72 hours, veterans fly from San Diego, visit the WWII, Lincoln, Korea, Vietnam, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Marine Corps Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery for the Changing of the Guard Ceremony, visit the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, and fly home to hero’s homecoming. For many of the veterans, it is more than visiting memorials, it is also a time for bonding and closure. For some, this may the last trip they ever take.

To say the trip is a whirlwind is an understatement - and now imagine doing it at 70, 80, 90, or 100+ years old! The spring trip returned to San Diego in early May with 85 veterans – WWII and Korea veterans, and two terminally ill Vietnam veterans.

Every trip is memorable, and HonorFlight San Diego tries to incorporate unique memories into each flight. On this trip, team leaders Mel Taitano and Dee Folse performed a special ceremony for the two terminally ill veterans. In a perfected military-style ceremony at the Vietnam wall, they unveiled an American Flag, ceremoniously folded it, and presented it to each ill veteran as onlookers watched in silence.

Another special part of the past trip was when WWII U.S. Marine Corps veteran Pete Mayfield visited the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial. You see, he was at Iwo Jima and saw BOTH flags being raised on Mt. Suribachi! He had never seen the memorial that was built for his service and on this trip and he vividly recalled all the details of February 23rd, 1945. As word got out that he was there in 1945, children and adults gathered to shake his hand and hear his story.

The men and women may not have spoken about their service for decades, but something about being around their fellow military brothers and sisters brings out the stories.

When WWII U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant veteran Gus Matero was in the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, he saw an exhibit and map he recognized. He told his guardian his story of theBattle of Peleliu and Okinawa and showed him on a map the exact location where his unit and squad landed. That’s history you can’t find in a book.

And then there was U.S. Navy veteran Sam Viglione. For two full days, he was quiet and humble, and his guardian did what she could to bring out his stories. He finally came out of his hardened shell at the homecoming. As the veterans got off the plane, they could hear the crowd cheering and they had no idea it was for them. One by one, the veterans came down the escalator and elevator and were saluted by men and women in uniform. The baggage claim area was a sea of red, white, and blue. When this sailor saw that 800 people were there to give him the homecoming he didn’t after the Korean War, it made those salty eyes tear up. Finally, he was honored and truly felt the thanks he had been hearing all weekend!

This flight was likely the last FULL flight of WWII and Korean era veterans as the organization has only a few WWII and Korea vets remaining on their waiting list. This fall they begin a new chapter and will start taking Vietnam veterans on the Honor Flight. When the veterans fly on the Honor Flight, they travel at no cost to them due to the generosity of donors.

For more information about Honor Flight San Diego, please visit: or call (800) 655-6997.

10 / JUNE 2022
Homecoming, Pete Mayfield, Jack Gauthier Photos by Chris Stone / JUNE 2022 11 CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF NOW OPEN Welcome Aboard! 910 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 544-9600 • Volunteer Opportunities Now Available!

It’s a Milestone - And a Journey To Advocacy

This month, San Diego Veterans Magazine’s sister magazine, Homeland Magazine, celebrates its 100th issue.

And we celebrate San Diego Veterans Magazine 50th issue! That’s a milestone for any publication, and for the owner, editor Mike Miller to do both each month is quite an accomplishment.

Homeland Magazine was launched nationally in 2014 and in 2017 San Diegans saw the need for a more localized magazine dedicated to the 240,000 military veterans living in the region.


Around age 24, Mike sat down with his mother and told her that he could not be happy unless he chased his dreams, and that meant moving to Hollywood. She asked, “Do you have a place to stay? Do you have enough money? Do you know anyone in CA?”

Mike answered, “No, no, and no - but that makes it more exciting.”

“It was 3000 miles to Hollywood, I had $2,000 in my wallet, a `77 Toyota Celica with no spare tire, a full tank of gas, some magazines, it was dark outside, and I was wearing sunglasses. With my head full of dreams I had more than I needed”


So, since 2014, Mike and his team of writers have been putting together both magazines dedicated to supporting us - military veterans, active duty, and families. To commemorate this special occasion, we thought you’d like to know how it all got started.

Many of us know the owner/editor/publisher extraordinaire Michael J. Miller from our professional dealings, but when it comes to the personal side, do we REALLY know Mike?

Heading West

Mike grew up in a large family in a small Maryland town. His family had a rich history of military service; but Mike was far away from ever considering a career in the military.

He was college bound to play baseball and football, he wanted the college life, and had long dreamt of being a Hollywood actor…he was looking for a way to chase his dream of living in California.

Seven days and 3,000 miles later, Mike found himself driving through Beverly Hills and thought, “this looks like a good place to live.” In Mike style, he found an empty mansion that was being renovated and camped out on the deck with the best view of Hollywood he could ever imagine. Since there were no “keep out” signs, he thought it would be ok to pop a squat for a night. He just wanted to borrow the view for one night under the stars; looking over the Hollywood stars, on the deck of a Beverly Hills mansion. Mike knew that Los Angeles was going to be his home.


As it turns out, just because there are no signs doesn’t mean you are welcome to camp on someone’s property. Around sunrise, Mike heard a car pull into the driveway. He grabbed his sleeping bag and surfing magazines and high tailed it to his car. But before he got there, he was met by two very large men who were extremely angry and said they were going to call the police.

After apologizing and explaining that he had drove 3,000 miles to chase his dreams to be an actor, he told them, “When I win an Oscar, I will mention that you didn’t call the police and that you gave me a break.” They gave him some firm advice about being careful and about private property, but also said they admired his passion. Mike admits to being lucky, and he believes those guys understood what it meant to be driven by your dreams, and just maybe that’s why they live up on the hill overlooking LA.

M A G A Z N E Vol. Number 6 • June 2022 Homeland th ISSUE TRANSITION Strategies & Expectations Journey TO Homeland
AWARENESS MONTH Warrior Manages PTSD It’s been 50 years since the War I’M FINALLY HOME SUCCESFUL Transitioning Stories TRANSITION M A G A Z I N E
VSAN DIEGO SAN DIEGO MILITARY FAMILY RESOURCES Strategies & Expectations Vol. 5 Number 6 JUNE 2022 It’s A Milestone A Journey to Advocacy

Becoming an Actor

Just last month the Top Gun sequel was released and ironically, it was the original Top Gun movie that Mike’s agent picked lines to read from for a chance to win her representation. Now, reflecting about reading lines from a military movie, perhaps it was his true destiny to write military stories?

Mike nailed the audition/interview and found himself with a reputable Hollywood agent. He lived in LA for a few years, was able to bank a few gigs, and made lifetime connections with some great people who are still his friends today.

Mike doesn’t like to brag, but while in LA, he went to many Hollywood parties, met celebrities, had lunch with Kevin Costner, and had a glass of wine with a famous Hollywood actress at her home during an interview for an assistant job. The job didn’t work out, but her insightful advice did. In a motherly tone, she told him, “Wake up from this dream and get your head out of Beverly Hills. This acting thing may not work out and it’s admirable that you’re chasing your dreams so far from home - just know that sometimes dreams may take you on a different path.”

After the Hollywood life, auditions, rejections, smog, and traffic, it was time to refocus. Mike found the perfect job working for a “cause” magazine. He was a natural in sales, creating professional relationships with clients throughout the country, and managing people. He had his own team, was eager, and ambitious.

America’s Finest City

It only took one round of golf at Torrey Pines and one Pacific Ocean sunset to realize San Diego was where he was destined to put down ties.

Mike called his agent and told her that he had enough of acting. Mike said to her “I’m going to win an Oscar in business!” and she told him, “Mike…go be Maverick!”

Mike went back to his magazine job, threatened his boss that he’d quit unless he sent him to San Diego to open his own office and allowed him to hire a new team for the magazine. Mike was bluffing and trying to buy some time, but his boss said yes and off to San Diego he went.

After a few years learning the publishing industry, Mike decided to go out on his own. Back then his heroes were big time entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Murdoch, and Gates, and he wanted to be like them. Mike had a few internet businesses, made a good living, but found there was always “something” missing. During this time, he gained experience as an entrepreneur, in relationship building, branding and sales management, and was looking for what was missing.

The Military

One day Mike stumbled upon a military-style street/ barracks newspaper. He found the military community had an interesting culture and spent a few months working with the owner on his paper. The owner mentioned that his paper was losing business and pages. Mike, with years of publishing experience, looked at his business, and wrote a business plan to help him, not knowing that this plan was going to be his new career and passion.

The business plan noted that the owners paper had a huge disconnect with veterans and their struggles and didn’t give enough attention to military and veteran families. He told the owner there were amazing organizations that can make a difference in the lives of active military, veterans, and their families.

The owner didn’t want to change his newspaper model. Mike moved on, but could not stop thinking about the research he had found and the business plan he had created.

The Birth of Homeland Magazine

Mike rolled up his sleeves, did more research about the military and veteran community, contacted reputable veteran organizations including the Department of Veterans Affairs and local veteran coalitions/associations. He told them about his business plan for a veteran magazine and what he wanted to achieve, and he knew that he could make a difference in the lives of our veterans, and military families.

And in 2014 Homeland Magazine was born!

The theme of the magazine was resources, support and inspiration. Since he wasn’t a veteran himself, he knew that in order to have a successful military magazine that enhanced the lives of veterans & military personnel, that he needed to recruit experts in the industry –veterans and veteran advocates. He was dedicated to achieving his goals; and little did he know that it was advocacy that would give him the highest degree of success. Continued on next page >

The first year was a lot of work and Mike was proud that Homeland Magazine was starting to receive national recognition. Mike wore all the hats from graphic designer, salesman, editor, to publisher, and kept asking the same questions every day. Should I keep doing this? There’s so much to learn, can I really make a difference?, I just don’t know.

And then it happened...

The Defining Moment

One phone call that changed everything

It was the summer of 2015; it was early in the morning when the phone rang. Mike picked it up and said, “Homeland Magazine, can I help you?”

On the other end of the phone was a woman’s voice. She asked for the editor of Homeland Magazine, and at first Mike thought, “oh no, what did I do wrong?”

Mike doesn’t remember the woman’s name but remembers that she was upset. She jumped right into her conversation.

She told Mike that morning she had walked down the stairs to see where her husband was. She found him sitting at the dining room table with his gun lying next to him. He was hunched over and looking at a magazine. She said her husband stood up and grabbed the gun; his eyes were bloodshot, he walked toward her slowly (which she said seemed like an eternity). He handed the gun to her and told her, “I don’t need this any longer. I’m going to be OK and we’re going to be OK.” He told her that he had problems but he’s not alone. He told her that he needed help, and there are people who can help him and help them. He said that he loved her, gave her a kiss, and walked upstairs.

The woman on the other end of the phone told Mike that she picked up the magazine from the table and it was opened to a page on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Suicide Prevention. He was reading Homeland Magazine.

Mike didn’t know what to say; the lady simply said, “Thank you for the magazine.” And that was it.

From that day forward, Mike never again asked himself the haunting question “Should I keep doing this?”

San Diego Veterans Magazine

It was in late 2017 when Mike was contacted by several military and veteran organizations, veteran advocates, and the San Diego Mayor’s office to San Diego. Since Homeland went national they asked him, “Would you consider starting a veteran magazine specifically for San Diego?”

Mike said, “I thought about it for about 15 seconds”, and that’s when San Diego Veterans Magazine was conceived.”

The theme was the same as Homeland Magazine – to be a resource support magazine for active duty, veterans, and military families…but for the local San Diego area. It took a few months to bring on the right mix of writers who needed to be experts in their fields.

The first collaborators to come onboard was Veterans Advocate CJ Machado, Holly Shaffner, retired Coastie and Randee McLain. Mike said having them onboard was a perfect move, their hearts and passion for veterans and their stories only added fuel to his desire to make a “real” difference in the lives of veterans and their families.

Fast forward to the most celebrated annual day for veterans and San Diego Veterans Magazine premiered!

Since the debut Mike has continued to give back to the veteran community with projects such as Normandy Jump 2019 which featured local WWII U.S. Army 101st Airborne Paratrooper Tom Rice, and films like The Forgotten Hero of the Forgotten War which featured U.S. Navy Fighter Pilot Captain E. Royce Williams and many more...

14 / JUNE 2022
(SDVM) The Premier Veterans Day Issue
San Diego Veteran of the Year San Diego Veterans Museum Transitioning To Civilian Life Connecting for Success Veterans Day: A small gesture can have a big impact SAN DIEGO MAGAZINE Resources Support Community Transition Inspiration San Diego Honor Flight “It was the best weekend of my life” PREMIER Veterans Day Issue


Maybe it was his mission all along – not to be high paid athlete, or actor, but to have found something bigger than himself – helping active duty, military veterans, and their families.

Mike said, “I don’t think of myself as an entrepreneur any longer. I have found my career and it’s an honor to work with the greatest organizations and people in the world. I have surrounded myself with amazing people, and amazing organizations throughout the country.

I can’t say enough about the people that contribute to the magazine; they are very special. I will continue to move forward, and make sure all veterans know they are not alone.”

In 2020, Mike was surprised with a proclamation from the 36th Mayor of San Diego, Kevin Faulconer. The mayor stated that January 20, 2020, was officially Mike Miller Day in the City of San Diego.

He was bestowed this honor for his inspirational story telling through publishing and beneficial support to veteran projects.

The proclamation went on to say that Mike’s love and passion for the veteran community had a profound impact on the quality of life of our military and veteran families.

And while he never did win that award as an actor, he takes home an Oscar & 5-Stars every month for staying authentic and following his true north.


San Diego Resource/Support Magazine

Veterans - Active Military - Military Families

Today San Diego Veterans Magazine is the largest veterans/support magazine in San Diego and SoCal. With thousands of original articles and columns, from transitioning to civilian life, mental health, inspiration and never forgetting stories about veterans who helped shape our county.

CONGRATULATIONS on this milestone and Bravo Zulu for making a difference in the lives of our military and families every day.

To send Mike a note of congratulations, please email:

To see all current and past issues visit the following links:

Editors note: I would like to thank Holly Shaffner, retired Coastie for writing this article. She is one of the hardest working veteran advocates I have ever met.

I would also like to mention although I have never met the couple that changed everything in 2015 with “one phone call”, I would like to imagine they look like the couple below and are happy thanks to veteran organizations around the country that help more than one million veterans in life-changing ways each year. / JUNE 2022 15

The Expressive Arts Institute San Diego

As our understanding of the human brain expands, we continue to learn more about how art and creativity play into that growth. Expressive Arts Therapy specifically explores the link between art and psychology.

For those in Southern California seeking a degree or certification, the Expressive Arts Institute of San Diego, located in Liberty Station, is the place. Much of the professional art therapy happening in San Diego, started here.

Founding Director, Judith Greer Essex, PhD, established the institutein 1998. They boast California’s only fully integrated intermodal, interdisciplinary education for Expressive Arts Practitioners. Judith and her staff offer an accredited MA in Expressive Arts Therapy as well as registration in training and education for licensed professionals looking to add creative skills to their practice, as well as a certificate program in Expressive Arts Coaching.

Greer Essex earned her PhD in expressive arts therapy from the European Graduate School, in Switzerland, but started as a dance and theater major in her bachelor’s program.

According to, expressive arts therapy first flourished in America in the early 1900’s in New York City. Margaret Naumburg and Edith Kramer are credited with its initial creation. Although both women held slightly different beliefs on how art healed, both were pioneers who dedicated their lives to building the framework for what art therapy is today.

The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) was founded in 1969. Their website defines art therapy as thus:

“Facilitated by a professional art therapist, Art Therapy effectively supports personal and relational treatment goals as well as community concerns. Art Therapy is used to improve cognitive and sensory-motor functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change.”

Today, art therapy is more mainstream than ever. Many psychologists will attain an art therapy certification, integrating it into their usual therapy practice. Teachers have begun to use art therapy to calm and focus their students prior to lessons. Even our U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has integrated art therapy into their curriculum for vets healing from combat wounds or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“The performative arts had a profound effect on me,” said Greer Essex. “Although I had no interest in dance therapy at that time, I later became interested in the self-awareness [it produced] among its other helpful aspects.”

She went on to finish her master’s in dance/movement therapy from the University of California Los Angeles. She has worked throughout San Diego as a dance therapist in local universities as well as part of San Diego Rep’s Conservatory before founding the institute. Although her background is in dance, she works with many different mediums and “modalities”.

“I use what is called ‘intermodal expressive arts therapy’, which means I move between dance, drama, music, visual arts and expressive writing, especially poetry,” said Greer Essex.

She says she feels art therapy enhances and often reveals an individual’s strength.

“It helps develop a positive approach to life,” said Greer Essex “It helps develop a positive imagination, causing you to think, ‘What wonderful thing might happen?’ instead of ‘What terrible thing might happen?”

Greer Essex says the use of art as a way to express one’s self and find balance in everyday life is always beneficial.

16 / JUNE 2022

“We are healed in part by being with another person, in whatever form of therapy you are using,” said Greer Essex.

But, she says she would not call this “therapy”, given the goal of therapy is to have someone bear witness to your inner experience and provide guidance.

“We are healed in part by being with another person, in whatever form of therapy you are using,” said Greer Essex.

Francine Hoffman graduated from the institute in 2006 with a Master of Arts in Expressive Arts Therapy and Coaching. Both women agree art on its own is beneficial, but for it to become “therapy”, the inner experience must be brought forth into a shared space.

Hoffman says a therapist becomes essential when someone’s “play range”, or, their ability to move easily in the world, has become restricted and they are unable to self-direct or motivate.

“The therapist offers an invaluable witness to the creative process and the art created, seeing aspects often missed from one’s own eyes, offering suggestions for use of media and exploring possible transfers to another modality, all of which may foster new insights and resources to follow up on,” Hoffman elaborated.

Hoffman also practices Intermodal Expressive Arts Therapy which she explains has some differences from other forms of art therapy, most notably the movement between the art forms.

Through this model, both women have witnessed many transformations during their time in the field.

“During my long career I’ve witnessed healing and change of all kinds; from loss and grief, from trauma, from suffering brought on by all kinds of experiences,” said Greer Essex. “ I’ve seen people change their identities and the way they live their lives … in fact, this is not uncommon.”

Hoffman explains that art therapy allows the client to take a break from focusing on themselves as something damaged or needing to be fixed to experiencing the self as a creative person. “An exciting transformation to see is the client’s experience of a change in identity from a condition or diagnosis to, ‘I’m an artist!’ or at least, ‘I can be creative no matter my skill!,” said Hoffman. A common misconception both women often encounter is that art therapy best serves artists or at least those with somes creative skill or inclination.

“Art therapy and expressive arts therapy can be for anyone,” said Hoffman. “The one mindset that is helpful is curiosity and being open enough to try.”

For those who would like to learn more about the world of art therapy and expressive arts therapy, a good place to start is the American Art Therapy Association website where they house a large array of resources

To learn more about Greer Essex and the programs the ExpressiveArts Institute of San Diego offers, go to which features a resources tab full of inspiring and free downloads. / JUNE 2022 17


You Don’t Have To Do This Alone

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.


Real Talk: Mental Health

Do Not Let Avoidance Stop You From Seeking PTSD Treatment

Avoidance. We have all experienced it.

Avoidance is defined as the action of keeping away from or not doing something. It is often associated with strong negative beliefs about what has occurred or what will occur, and these beliefs are often out of proportion compared to the actual risk.

As we recognize Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month this June, intended to raise public awareness, and reduce the stigma associated with the disorder, it is important to better understand some of the hallmark symptoms of PTSD including avoidance; avoidance of thoughts, memories, and triggers to limit emotional pain.

Before we go any further, think about it this way: distress is a normal reaction to an abnormal event and only evolves to an actual diagnosis of PTSD if the symptoms persist and do not resolve. So, in other words, it is normal for individuals with traumatic exposure to experience distressing symptoms. However, those symptoms should improve significantly within one to three months after the exposure.

PTSD is a mental health challenge that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a lifethreatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. Avoidance of treatment could be the result of the many misconceptions that exist about PTSD.

In June 2021, Cohen Veterans Network (CVN), a national network of mental health clinics for post-9/11 veterans, service members and their families, revealed findings of its America’s Mental Health PTSD Pulse Survey, which looked at Americans’ general knowledge and understanding of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by The Harris Poll, offers a broad overview of Americans’ perceptions of PTSD. Among the highlights:

• Two-thirds (67%) of Americans believe the Majority of Veterans Experience PTSD

20 / JUNE 2022

• One in four (26%) Americans believe the Majority of People with PTSD are Violent/Dangerous

• Nearly one in four (23%) Americans believe PTSD is Not Treatable

• Additionally, two-thirds (65%) of Americans who have been diagnosed with PTSD say that the civil unrest, political polarization & isolation created by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year has negatively impacted their recovery

Did you know that PTSD occurs in approximately 10% of individuals who are exposed to events in which perceived threat of death or sexual assault occurred? Also, PTSD can occur alongside other mental health issues such as depression, insomnia, and anxiety. And traumatic events have the potential to change or reinforce beliefs about trust, safety, intimacy, esteem, power, and control.

“A lack of understanding feeds into the stigma associated with mental health challenges such as PTSD, which can deter people from seeking care,” says CVN President and CEO Dr. Anthony Hassan. “As a means to address any misunderstandings that surround PTSD, we wanted to look at Americans’ perceptions of the disorder. What we found is that there are strong misconceptions on everything from symptoms to treatments.”

with, PTSD vs. those without a military affiliation. One of the highlights included: Military-connected Americans (35%) are nearly two times more likely than those without a military affiliation (18%) to think that PTSD is not treatable.

“The military-connected community’s misperception of PTSD is troubling given the attention on PTSD within the military community as well as the impact PTSD can have on military families and military mission readiness,” Hassan added.

Avoidance may be a symptom you experience yourself or see in a loved one. But there is help.

Several treatments for PTSD have been proven effective. This includes Cognitive Processing Therapy, a specific type of cognitive behavioral therapy that helps individuals learn how to modify and challenge unhelpful believes related to trauma, and Prolonged Exposure Therapy, which teaches people to gradually approach their trauma-related memories, feelings, and situations so that they understand they are not dangerous and do not need to be avoided.

“We have so much more to do to eradicate stigma and increase access to care. So, when those in need ask for help, we must be ready to help. We may only get one chance,” Hassan said.

Therapy for Veterans, Service Members, and their Families

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

LEARN MORE 8885 Rio San Diego Dr. Suite 301 OUR LOCATIONS 3609 Ocean Ranch Blvd. Suite 120 CVN Telehealth, face-to-face video therapy available statewide. Coming Soon San Diego Oceanside Los Angeles

I Specialize in Treating PTSD: Here’s My Message to Veterans

An Open Letter to Those Experiencing PTSD, Anxiety, and Trauma

To my fellow veterans,

Growing up in the Bronx in the ’80s and ’90s, drugs and alcohol were all around me. I joined the Air Force to escape that environment. Ironically, I moved closer to it.

I spent 12 years as a military freefall instructor working with some of the most resilient, talented, and determined individuals I’ve ever met. Many of them were experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but were opposed to seeking treatment. I’ve come to realize the same drive that makes us successful in our military careers also holds us back. Our ability to “remain in control” and be a valued team member is more powerful than our ability to ask for help – so we don’t, out of fear it will negatively impact our careers.

No one talks about treatment because of the mindset ingrained in us that treatment equals weakness. Excessive substance use is normal, even glorified. Drugs and alcohol are sometimes the only coping mechanisms that aren’t frowned upon.

But if you had a heart attack, you wouldn’t ignore the issue. You’d seek treatment and medical intervention to heal properly. Addiction and PTSD are diseases and should be viewed no differently. Treatment saves lives.

What Does PTSD Look Like?

As an addiction and mental health specialist, I’ve learned that one of the most prominent but least talked about symptoms of PTSD is avoidance of emotional connection with others. When you lose a comrade in the line of duty, it’s hard to continue to connect to anyone emotionally. Avoiding emotional attachment altogether might make you feel safer, like the risk of losing someone is gone.

If you experienced a traumatic event in the military, as so many of us did, it’s common to try to numb these symptoms – which look a lot like anxiety – with substances to avoid the flashbacks. And if you’ve had complex trauma early in life, such as abuse, research indicates you are even more susceptible to PTSD as an adult. Additionally, sleep problems are often concurrent with PTSD, so it’s common to drink excessive alcohol in the evening to aid in falling asleep.

Treatment and Solutions: What To Expect

If not treated, PTSD and substance use disorders do not resolve themselves and are not something you can manage on your own. But here’s the real talk many people won’t tell you: When you enter treatment for PTSD, your symptoms will worsen at first. You’ll start remembering moments you pushed away for years, and naturally, it will surface unwanted emotions. It’s important to know what to expect so it doesn’t deter you. More real talk: It will get easier if you are patient.

I also encourage you to be open-minded to trying something new. I know you’ve been conditioned to maintain the status quo. You’ve lived with trauma for decades. In a way, it’s almost part of your identity, and you’re reluctant to try anything formal, whether it’s therapy or medication.

PTSD and substance use are often an unfortunate package deal. While every individual case is different, I usually start with my patients by treating the substance use first before we address the PTSD. A clear, sober mind is important before moving further.

Part of our treatment for PTSD is Cognitive Processing Therapy, which focuses on building a narrative that’s based on data rather than emotion. As a veteran, I know you often feel shame when those emotions creep in. You blame yourself. Together, we try to find

22 / JUNE 2022

evidence that may support your claims and feed your guilt. More often than not, a lack of evidence can help you let go of the guilt and shame that’s preventing you from moving forward.

My Final Thoughts

Veterans, I know you often hear courage described as fighting on the front lines, sustaining injuries, and putting yourself in harm’s way for your country.

Yet, I believe true courage is saying, “I need help. I cannot do this on my own.” The detrimental stigma around mental health will only subside when more people start talking about it.

Mental illness, PTSD, and substance use are not your fault. You are not broken. It’s OK to seek help – and I hope you do.

Dr. Steven Ramos is the Assistant Clinical Director at River Oaks Treatment Center, an American Addiction Centers facility. Dr. Ramos retired from the United States Air Force in the rank of Major in 2021, following 28 continuous years of active-duty military service. He commissioned into the Air Force Medical Service in 2011 as a Clinical Social Worker, where he treated military service members suffering from PTSD and substance use. / JUNE 2022 23 Proud Veterans Affair Community Care Provider & Partners Addiction Treatment For Veterans For veterans dealing with substance abuse, PTSD and other mental health disorders, our Salute to Recovery Program is designed specifically for you. Built on camaraderie, trust and evidence-based therapies, the program provides a place of healing among fellow veterans to get you on the path to recovery faster. Treatment includes: • Trauma Groups • Emotion Regulation • Grief & Loss • Pain Management • Coping Skills • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy • Relapse Prevention • Motivational Interviewing • Cognitive Processing • EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) • 12-Step • Art & Music Therapy AdCare, Desert Hope, Recovery First, River Oaks, Sunrise House, Oxford, and Greenhouse are part of American Addiction Centers’ National Network of Treatment Centers. 866.915.3555 For more information, call We have someone available 24/7 to answer your call SALUTE TO RECOVERY

Telehealth is a Lifeline for California Veterans at Confidential Recovery

“It’s really been an interesting variety of circumstances that have led Veterans to participate in our drug counseling program via telehealth,” says Jay Wylie, a Veteran-in-Recovery and Operations Manager of Confidential Recovery. “We have an injured Purple Heart recipient who can’t travel to our ‘on-site’ sessions. Another recovering Veteran is currently participating from his hospital bed. Some are geographically distant, and others have disabilities which make it difficult to drive or even use public transportation.”

For some Veterans, the telehealth option is a matter of convenience, and they attend sessions both in person, and via telehealth, depending on their work schedules and other commitments.

Fentanyl Has Left No Margin for Error

Veterans have traditionally been prone to struggle with PTSD, substance addiction, and suicidal ideation. These challenges were exacerbated during the pandemic, during which many Veterans were isolated from their recovery support systems.

Confidential Recovery is an outpatient treatment program in San Diego that helps Veterans achieve sustainable recovery from a substance use disorder (SUD). During the COVID-19 pandemic, the program expanded their telehealth offerings to allow Veterans to receive treatment remotely. But now, even as life returns to normal, the San Diego drug rehab continues to enroll many Veterans into treatment remotely via Telehealth, and even expanded the offering to anyone in California.

Veterans in remote treatment will participate in ‘one-on-one’ addiction counseling, and can also be set up in the room with other ‘live’ participants for group counseling sessions, giving them a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Veterans who are still feeling unsure about seeking help can call in and take advantage of the anonymity of just listening to their counselor, without being seen.

The stakes have been raised for Veterans who struggle with an SUD, particularly if they are using opioids or any street drug that may contain the hyper-potent opioid, fentanyl. Accidental overdose is now the leading cause of death for people aged 18 to 45 (according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control). Of course, Veterans are a ‘high risk’ demographic, as they struggle with substance abuse at a higher rate than civilians.

“The prevalence of fentanyl has been absolutely tragic. No longer can we work with families to stop enabling their loved one and wait for them to ‘hit bottom’ to find the willingness to change. When it comes to fentanyl, every use can be fatal,” says Jay Wylie.

Support a Veteran this PTSD Awareness Month

June is PTSD Awareness Month. Veterans are at higher risk for suicide, depression, PTSD, anxiety, and substance addiction. Reach out and thank the Veteran in your life for their service, and ask how they are doing. Be sure to give them your full attention, and maintain a non-judgmental attitude.

Encourage a Veteran to Get Help Before They Need It

Make sure that any Veteran in your life is aware that there is help available if they are struggling with emotions of any kind.

24 / JUNE 2022

It can also be helpful to get involved in a support group even if they feel like they are doing okay. They can help others, and have an established support lifeline if their PTSD (or anxiety, or depression) starts to present itself.

The Veterans Administration offers an around the clock Veterans Crisis Line that provides help and crisis support – even for veterans not enrolled in its health care network. The phone number is 800-273-8255

San Diego based Veterans and family can get in contact with Confidential Recovery at (619) 452-1200.

About Confidential Recovery

Confidential Recovery is accredited by the Joint Commission and is licensed to provide telehealth drug counseling to all California residents. Confidential Recovery was founded in 2014 by Scott H. Silverman to provide the people of San Diego a private and clinical outpatient treatment program for substance use disorders. Scott is the author of The Opioid Epidemic and frequently makes appearances on television discussing the addiction trends that are impacting our lives. Find out more at

About the Author

Scott H. Silverman was addicted to alcohol and illegal drugs when he “hit bottom”and pursued treatment in 1984. He’s been helping others recover from addiction ever since. In 2014, he founded Confidential Recovery, a drug treatment program in San Diego that specializes in helping Veterans overcome substance abuse. You can reach them at (619) 452-1200, or by visiting the Confidential Recovery website. / JUNE 2022 25

Legally Speaking

Military Focused Family Law Facts

Co-Parenting with an Abuser

If you were in a relationship where you experienced domestic violence (whether it was physical, emotional, or verbal abuse) it is likely you had a nightmarish time freeing yourself of that relationship. You may even suffer from PTSD as a result of it. What happens, though, when you have a child with your abusive partner who you still having to coparent with? You may feel ongoing stress and emotional impacts of that abuse because you are still tied to your abuser. Here are some helpful tips in navigating your way through coparenting with your abuser.


Keep your communications to a minimum. The best way to approach communications with a coparent who was your abuser is to keep your communications businesslike and child-focused. Do not engage if there are communications outside that scope. If the communications turn ugly or your ex tries to escalate the communications into a fight, end the communication as quickly as possible.

Abusers may ignore, push, or test your boundaries. Don’t take the bait. Consider using one of the many coparenting apps that are available such as Our Family Wizard or Talking Parents to keep a record of your communications. Many of these apps also have a feature that will alert you if your communications are inflammatory. Do not name call, insult, or threaten your abuser, especially in the presence of your child. While it may make you feel like you have your power back, it is damaging to your child.


Do not have any. Since an abuser thrives on control, you cannot expect them to work with you. Even in a coparenting situation where neither parent was an abuser, routines and rules differ between homes. It is okay if both parents are acting in the best interest of their children. Learn to accept it and the fact that you cannot control the other parent. Consider a parallel parenting approach which minimizes contact with your abuser. Do set clear boundaries for yourself.

Do not engage your abuser in a power struggle or try to micromanage what they do in their home. However, if you feel your child is in physical or emotional danger, you should intervene immediately.

Parenting Plan

If you find yourself having to coparent with an abuser, one of the most helpful steps you can take is ensuring that you have a very specific parenting plan. You want your parenting plan to have as much detail as possible. Most parenting plans will define who has the child on which days of the week. Make sure that exchanges are defined, where will they take place while school is in session and when it is out, who picks up, who drops off, and at what time. Ensure that you have a very specific holiday schedule. The more detailed your parenting plan is, the less room there is for interpretation and conflict.

26 / JUNE 2022

Issues That May Arise

If you find yourself coparenting/parallel parenting with an abuser, you may find yourself faced with these common behaviors of those who thrive on control:

- They may gaslight you or even your child so the other parent can have their own needs met first.

- They may bad mouthing or trash talk you to your child or subtly try to undermine their trust in you.

- They may try to compete with you for the love and attention of your child through gifts or promises to win your child over.

- They may try to put your child in uncomfortable or inappropriate positions where your child feels like they are caught in the middle or mediating, or they may use them as messengers.

- They may share inappropriate information with your child to align them with them.

- They may struggle to stick to agreements.

- They may use manipulation when they want something from you.

Keep A Record

Document everything. Keep track of what they do in case you do need to return to Court one day. However, do not cross examine your children to dig up information about the other parent.

Support Network

Build a support network. Don’t let co-parenting with an abuser make you feel like you are still trapped in the abusive relationship. If you are feeling trapped, talk to someone. Reach out to counselors, therapists, domestic violence advocates, and family and friends. These people will be important in keeping you confident in yourself and your decision-making abilities. Even though you left the relationship, an abuser will continue to say things to you and attempt to manipulate you in losing confidence in yourself through their co-parenting. While you cannot control them, you have control over your own happiness!

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

This article is intended only for informational purposes and should not be taken as legal advice. / JUNE 2022 27
Legal Experts with Humanity Time for a Fresh Start. Call 858-720-8250 or visit to schedule a free consultation. Flat-fee law packages available. Military Divorce and Retirement, 20/20/20 Spouse, Survivor Benefit Plans, Support Orders, and more. No nonsense. No hidden fees. Discounts for service members. Move forward without breaking the bank. Our military expert family law attorneys are ready to push your case to the finish line.


Mental health, a topic that has traditionally been shrouded in secrecy and shame, is the spotlight of this month, with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder being given its due on June 27th, national PTSD Awareness Day. And while having a specific date or month on the calendar designated for PTSD and Mental Health is great to bring about awareness, conversation, and action, everyday is mental health day when you are a caregiver.

Currently in the United States, 53 million or 21% of the US population are “informal caregivers” for a family member or loved one. Being an informal caregiver means you likely female (61% of that 53 million), unpaid, and probably a family member or close friend to the person requiring caring.

Informal caregivers are often spouses or significant others. And according to multiple data sources (AARP being the most recognized), 30-35% of informal/ primary caregivers will suffer some serious illness, injury, or death before the person they are caring for. This is an alarming statistic given the number of informal caregivers out there and even more reason to focus national attention on the mental health and wellbeing of our informal caregivers.

There are many resources available to informal caregivers – that is, if they can find the time to read, access or utilize said resources.

Here are a couple of things you can do right from the chair you may be sitting in while you read this article:

1. take a deep breath….pull that air into the bottom of your lungs and then exhale; repeat this three times

2. take your magazine outside and let the sun warm your face and body; stay outside for at least 3 minutes and gradually work up to 10-15 minutes, as your caregiving situation allows

3. listen to a favorite song or musical artist throughout the day – sing a bar or two if the mood strikes you

If you know someone who is an informal caregiver, here are a couple of ways you can support them:

1. reach out via text or phone call and just say hi, see how they are doing

2. go “old school” and send them a card, postcard, or letter to brighten their day; maybe set up a schedule where the 1st of every month, you send a card

3. have a meal delivered to them – observing any dietary restrictions that may exist

Caregiving is part science, part artform and all heart. If you are a caregiver or the person requiring additional care with activities of daily living (ADLs), give yourself a little grace today. It’s not always an easy road to travel – many of the twists and turns are unexpected and a roadmap is often nowhere to be found. Just know there are people, communities, and resources around you ready and willing to help.

Aging Well Partners was founded on the premise that everyone deserves to age well; and aging well involves planning well. Whether it’s customized daily call service, a trusted and vetted electrician or plumber, or a referral to a geriatric physician who specializes in illness and ailments more commonly seen as we age, we can point you in the right direction.

28 / JUNE 2022 / JUNE 2022 29 / MAY 2022 33 FREE Consultation Call us to get started (619) 7879-1839
30 / JUNE 2022 As a partner of the We Honor Veterans Program, Hospice of the North Coast is dedicated to providing optimal end-of-life care to the honored men and women who have fought for the freedom and security of our nation. 2525 Pio Pico Dr., Suite 301, Carlsbad, CA 92008 | Veterans Program Call 760.431.4100 COM M I T T E D TO VETERANS

Welcome to the Veterans Association of North County


Here you will find several resources, programs, services and opportunities for Veterans, Service Members and their families. Our goal is to be your one stop shop for all things, so don’t hesitate to contact us at any time. Programs and services vary, and include additional information for each. We have two Veteran Services Representatives (VSR) here at VANC, read all about them below in Addtional Services at: (


VANC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created and operated by Veterans as a one-stop resource center for all active-duty military, Veterans, and their families. We centralize services from diverse agencies to assist with jobs, education, finances, health, and wellness.


We seek to honor and support those who have served our country, bridging the past, present, and future. VANC is a vibrant gathering place in North San Diego County, where all Veterans, active-duty military, and their loved ones can reach out for help and community. VANC engages and informs local Veterans organizations, service providers, and individuals, helping them work together. VANC seeks to be a model for other organizations that serve the military community.


There’s always engaging things happening at VANC and with our partners. Check our calendar here for regularly scheduled events, meetings and opportunities here at VANC (

WE LOVE OUR ASSOCIATION MEMBERS AND THEY’RE HERE FOR YOU TOO. VANC is open to all military, veterans and friends of the military. If you would like to become a Veterans Association member, Contact Lori at to learn more. / JUNE 2022 31

One of the largest military communities on the west coast with close to 380,000 military active-duty and veterans call San Diego County home. The Veterans Writing Group, San Diego County supports activeduty, military veterans, and family members in the passionate pursuit of “writing” and “telling” our stories. We are military veterans learning to write about our experiences. Membership is free. At monthly meetings the writers express themselves through the art of writing in any style: poetry, personal essay or short story, fiction and more.


We are active duty or military veterans, and family members who write, or aspire to write. Our members span all conflicts, services, and eras supporting each other’s writing and experiences. We have the “fight to get home” desire to help each other achieve our writing goals. We write for many reasons. Mostly, we come together for personal and professional growth, comradery or just to share...We do this, with the help of professional mentors, industry leaders and guest speakers that help us learn more writing skills. Most importantly, get connect. Veterans of all writing skill levels are welcome to learn, share, and writing their story.


We meet at the Veterans Association of North County (VANC), in Oceanside the third Saturday each month to share our experiences through the act and art of writing. Not all of us in the group started with the ability to write. One member claims he is the worst writer. He says, “To this day, it takes me three days to write one paragraph.” From the mind, through the pen and on to paper, writing can be cathartic for military people. Our group’s artistic expression of writing falls in line with other skills of imagination, that employ creative characteristics, like painting, theatre, music, and dance. The act of writing allows the person to convey unique military experiences through the art or storytelling.


Founded in 2010, the VWG monthly meetings were held at the Oceanside Library, Mission Branch. Fast forward to 2012. We moved the meetings to the VANC located in the old Police Department building on Mission Ave. Our mission is to strive to help each other write our stories as well as provide entertainment to our readers and members. We trust our writing will help readers understand “the military active duty and veteran’s experience” through “their stories.”


“I joined the Veterans’ Writing Group via Zoom just as COVID-19’s claws were strangling our abilities to safely meet in person. As a novice writer, each week I have had many opportunities to learn this craft. One unexpected benefit is that I am learning how to critique other people’s work. I recently used this new skill by providing constructive feedback on both story line content and grammar for my granddaughter’s college application essays. Thank you VWG! I can’t wait to meet all of you in person one day.”


The Veterans Writing Group outreach campaign desires to connect to as many communities as possible. A new and important effort is the women’s writing subgroup which started in 2019 focusing exclusively on the unique military woman’s experience. Additional outreach includes presentations that have been conducted at several locations about our writing group’s mission. In 2018 we briefed approximately 100 sailors and ship personnel in the hangar bay aboard the aircraft carrier USS Midway. Annually, collaborating with Mira Costa

32 / JUNE 2022
VANC Member Spotlight

College in Oceanside, we ask active duty, or military veteran, college students to submit a short story to compete for scholarships. Recently, April 2022, we presented an overview of our writing group to the quarterly Arts Commission Committee meeting in Oceanside. Literature and writing fall into the category of Visual Arts using creative writing expression. Oceanside is considered an Art District and our writing group is nested under that art umbrella.

The Veteran’s Writing Group of San Diego County has published four anthology books: Away for the Holidays, LISTEN UP!

Things I Learned from the Military, Stories That Must BeTold, and AT EASE!

Now That I have Time to Think About It, which can be purchased from Amazon (direct link at our website)

Each copy we sell of these deeply personal and intimately relatable works allows us to donate two copies to veterans’ organizations, military hospitals and clinics, local libraries, and USO’s to help our fellow veterans and family heal and grow from our shared experiences. Our stories are sometimes hilarious, at other times heart wrenching, but always ring true and are unique to military members who sacrificed, volunteered, and served our country faithfully.

Veterans Writing Group of San Diego County are veterans, military family, supporters, and mentors helping one another tell our stories and grow as authors. All are welcome. We all have a story to tell. Join us. Let’s write together!

Social Media Connections

Facebook - @VWGSDCounty

Twitter - @VWG_SDCounty / JUNE 2022 33
34 / JUNE 2022 Career Resources Available Now Hiring Management and Direct Service Positions -

Serving Veterans and their Families!

The San Diego Veterans Coalition was organized in 2009 and using the Collective Impact Model, SDVC is a premier San Diego County-wide monthly convener of over 160 unique member and participating organizations, businesses, and agencies. The Collective Impact Model is based on leveraging relationships with other veteran and family serving organizations so that we may provide veterans and their families with a complete array of services and other opportunities.

The purpose of the San Diego Veterans Coalition (SDVC) is to serve the needs of San Diego regional Veterans, their families and significant others. We intend to improve collaboration and coordination among community service providers so that delivery of services is more comprehensive and Veteran Family-centric.

The vision of the SDVC is to honor the nation’s commitment to veterans, their families and significant others by leading collaboration among all potential partners, making the San Diego region a national model for a comprehensive, integrated system of community services.

The SDVC is a catalyst that inspires collaboration and cooperation among service partners to deliver premier support for Veterans in the San Diego region.

At the SDVC we have found that collaboration is the key to addressing the needs of San Diego Veterans, their families and significant others. We have four Action Groups:

• Physical and Emotional Health Action Group (PEH)

• Family Life Action Group (FLAG)

• Veterans: Empowered, Successful, and Thriving Action Group (VEST)

• Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship Action Group (E3)

Through these Action Groups we are identifying gaps and creating measurable outcomes to resolve them. These groups are made up of our members and together we are working to strengthen our community. / JUNE 2022 35

The Beginning

The Military Order of the World Wars

San Diego Chapter chartered on August 26, 1926

The Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW) is a non-political, patriotic Veterans Service Organization (VSO). The Military Order’s founding in 1919 resulted from General of the Armies John J. “Blackjack” Pershing’s request that his officers continue serving America after their active military service ended. He urged us to promote good citizenship, patriotic education, military, and public service. We celebrated our Centennial in August 2019.

Our Purpose

Our outreach programs and activities stem directly from the Preamble to our Constitution. Just some of the nine tenets include the following.

To inculcate and stimulate love of our country and flag; To promote and further patriotic education in our nation; and to defend the honor, integrity, and supremacy of the Constitution of the United States.

These tenets are centered on the idea embodied in its motto that “It is Nobler to Serve than to be Served.” The motto summarizes our commitment of MOWW to our veterans, families, youth, and our country. Our tagline is Serving Youth, Community, and Nation.

San Diego Chapter

We have been serving the San Diego area for the past 94 years. Our chapter has sponsored many events that have become constant in community life in San Diego. The oldest and most prominent of these events is the annual Massing of the Colors and Service of Remembrance. The San Diego chapter has also been quite active on the MOWW national stage. We are quite proud that the first female MOWW Commander-in-Chief, Capt Debbie Kash, USAF (Ret), is a member of our chapter. We have also provided MOWW with two other Commanders-in-Chief.

Outreach and Service: Three of Many

MOWW serves America’s youth by hosting Youth Leadership Conference (YLC) programs throughout the United States at no cost to high school students. The San Diego Chapter sponsors 20 participants, and provides organizers, speakers, workshop leaders, and chaperons for the event. The event has grown from a small group to over 50 in 2019.

Another major event sponsored annually is the Massing of the Colors and Service of Remembrance. It is a patriotic ceremony to rededicate our faith in the Flag of the United States and to pledge our support to those Colors and of the servicemen and women those Colors represent. It combines the Flag and unit flags and color guards of active and reserve component military units, veterans organizations, civic, and patriotic organizations. The Massing originated with The Society of the Massing of the Colors, that was organized on Armistice Day, 1922, by distinguished military officers, veterans, and civic leaders. Since 1927 MOWW has been sponsoring these ceremonies nationwide.

This free event, open to the public, brings together about 50 color guards from many organizations to celebrate patriotism and the flag each October in Balboa Park. Some responses have been these.

“Fantastic!” “... patriotic and beautiful....” “... even got a bit emotional at times.” “Most impressive!”

This event was first held in 1954 and has been a nearly annual event ever since. This year will mark its 64th year. Wreaths Across America (WAA) Its mission is to Remember, Honor, and Teach.

- Remember the fallen.

- Honor those who have served and their families.

- Teach our children the value of freedom.

WAA is a nationwide patriotic ceremony at perhaps hundreds of cemeteries on the same December day. The San Diego Chapter of MOWW has been a co-sponsor of this event for several years. We provide speakers, honorary wreath bearers, financial support, music, and hundreds of volunteers. These volunteers lay wreaths on up to 10,000 graves of veterans and five Medal of Honor recipients at Greenwood Memorial Park, a private cemetery in San Diego.

Additionally, MOWW also sponsors awards programs for Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and Junior ROTC cadets (JROTC), the Girl Scouts of the USA (GS-USA), and the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). MOWW formally honors those who excel in national security, homeland security, and law and order.

36 / JUNE 2022

To Learn More

We are a group of patriotic US Federally commissioned officers (active duty, retired and former) from all uniformed services, our spouses, and descendants.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about MOWW, please contact us through our websites or Facebook pages.

Facebook: The Military Order of the World Wars-MOWW-San Diego Chapter

“Serving Youth, Community, and Nation” since 1919 / JUNE 2022 37
38 / JUNE 2022 Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states, in all GEICO companies, or in all situations. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, DC 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. © 2020 GEICO #0G11150 1155 Grand Avenue, San Marcos | 760-753-7907 |

Shelter to Soldier Matches US Navy Veteran with Rescued and Trained Emotional Support Animal Sponsored by

The non-profit mission of Shelter to Soldier (STS) is to pair eligible US veterans suffering from PTS, TBI and/or MST, (Military Sexual Trauma) with trained dogs from shelters and rescue organizations to help heal psychological wounds. This service is provided at no cost to veterans who qualify for the program. In keeping with the philosophy of “Saving Lives, Two at a Time , STS adopted a 2.5 year-old male German Shepherd from LA-based I Stand With My Pack (ISWMP), a rescue partner of STS. Scout was carefully chosen as a potential candidate to serve as an STS service dog that would ultimately be partnered with a wait-list of eligible veterans in need of STS services.

STS President Graham Bloem remarks, ”Scout has charming energy…he is relaxed, but eager to learn and train. In his initial evaluation, Scout appeared to be a great candidate for the STS psychiatric service dogtraining program. Scout promptly began the training schedule where his foundational work was going well, and his handler focus and desire to please were stellar traits. Over a short period of time, Scout was presented with orthopedic challenges. The training team at STS noticed instability in favoring his front right leg while training and in off-duty play. X-rays revealed he needed surgical treatments to remove bone fragments from his elbows, which was thankfully underwritten by Logomark.”

According to Clive Goldberg, Chief Operating Officer of Logomark, “We are so grateful to be in a position to support Shelter to Soldier and proud to help build awareness of the commitment to ‘Saving Lives Two at a Time ”.

Despite Scout’s diagnosis and surgical procedure, he healed and remained in great spirits, eager to do good work. Thankfully, he met the standards for an STS Emotional Support Dog and was “career changed” to this important role. He resumed his training program and was ultimately matched with US Navy Veteran, Adam Fleener. Adam served in the United States Navy as a Mineman for nine years and was deployed to Bahrain from 2013-2014 and in Japan from 2014-2017.

Adam is over the moon excited to add Scout to his family and STS is thrilled that Scout has found such a lovely family. Adam elaborates, “Scout has been a great

addition to me and my family. I am so happy that I was able to find Shelter to Soldier. We are grateful to have Scout in our lives.”

Everyday, 20 US veterans on average commit suicide and approximately 1,800 dogs are euthanized. These staggering statistics inspire the entire STS team to do all they can do to support those served by the STS program, both canine and human.

Shelter to Soldier is a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that adopts dogs from local shelters and trains them to become psychiatric service dogs for post9/11 combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or Military Sexual Trauma (MST).

To learn more about veteran-support services provided by STS, visit their website at or call 760-870-5338 for a confidential interview regarding eligibility.

To discover more about other Logomark Cares give back programs, visit / JUNE 2022 39
Scout with Adam Fleemer
40 / JUNE 2022 Whether your disability is obvious or invisible, Canine Support Teams can help you reclaim your independence. Canine Support Teams is proud to offer the PAWZ for Wounded Veterans program, which provides specially trained service dogs, at no charge , to the brave men and women who have faithfully served our country. caninesupportteams @k9supportteams Apply for a service dog today at Or Call 951.301.3625

Guide Dogs of America

At Guide Dogs of America, we transform lives through partnerships with service dogs. We breed, raise, and train guide dogs for individuals who are blind/ visually impaired and service dogs for veterans and children with autism. We also place facility dogs with professionals in hospitals, schools, and courtrooms. Our highly skilled canines become trusted companions that increase people’s confidence, mobility, and independence. All programs and services, including transportation, personalized training, room/board, and postgraduate support, are provided at no cost to the recipient.

This heartfelt note is from US combat Vietnam Veteran. Jim served with the 173rd Airborne for 18 months. He was exposed to Agent Orange and suffers from PTSD.

“My name’s Jim Reed, and this is my friend Triton. It’s been a long time since I had a friend, and even longer since I wanted one. When I first got here, I was real nervous. Which I am now. But, I’ve felt the feeling of easiness and calmness that I thought I left somewhere in the past.

Like I said, I have PTSD and a few things that agent orange had to offer. At night when the dark dreams come, and 1968 comes looking for me just like it always does, now Triton will be there to wake me up and bring me home. And for that, I’d like to thank everyone involved in this program from the bottom of my heart.

I’ve been told a few times since I’ve been here that Triton is a tool to help me navigate through life, which he is, but I like to think of him as my guardian angel.”

Volunteers Needed / JUNE 2022 41
Open your home and your heart, to a future service dog in-training VOLUNTEERS NEEDED Text “PUPPY” to 51555 Or Call: (818) 362-5834 RAISE A PUPPY... CHANGE A LIFE!


Transition to Civilian Life

Suck It Up, Buttercup!

Woah, isn’t that aggressive? Stay with us. The phrase “Suck It Up, Buttercup” is a response to someone complaining. It bears hints of irony and sarcasm, The phrase stuck because it rhymes, it’s memorable, and has a enough sweet in it to combat the sourness. Essentially it means, “ just get over it.”

Wondering how on earth a column intended to help someone transitioning out of the military could start off this way? Well, you’re going from a strict military mindset into the corporate civilian world where people may be kum-bay-ahhing. Again, stay with us.

Enter “Operation Insta Biotech Exec”

Meet Jim Gruny, a retired Colonel in the United States Marine Corps. He inspired the title of this column. Gruny recalls his transition era. After many years of exceptional service as a Marine with a family, he realized it was time to take his experience and apply it elsewhere. (Well, not really elsewhere - only San Diego. But we’ll get to that shortly. It’s relevant.)

When Gruny decided to take on the next chapter, he put a few priorities in order. First, was location. He had his wife, their two kids, and even a grandchild. They were all in San Diego. When considering the question of where to look for his next career, he knew that if he wanted to KEEP this lovely family, he was keeping his wife’s needs top of mind. San Diego, it was.

So far, he’s following everything we recommend! Location, check! Industry-focused, down, check! Type of role, check!

Gruny started his transition preparation in earnest about 4-5 months out. He felt he had a head start. He knew a few people that he thought would help him get his foot in the door and had a lot of transferable leadership experience. He expected he’d jump right into biotech at the level and role he wanted. Slam dunk? Not as-is. Not yet.

Spoiler alert.

Gruny kept running into the same problem. The leadership role he wanted (Director or above) required 5-10 years of industry experience, which he didn’t have. His expectations were high, and he didn’t want to start at the bottom. After 5 months of this, he got frustrated and gave up the biotech dream.

While he did pursue a rewarding career connected with the Marine Corps, he does wish he spent more time researching biotech as a career. In retrospect, he offers this invaluable advice to you.

1. Suck it up, buttercup and find a job.

If you have to start at the bottom, do it. Even if you’re the best leader the Navy or Marines has ever seen, no one hiring in corporate America really cares if you don’t have the transferable and applicable industryspecific skills.

2. Networking Naturally.

People tend to network to find people that will help them. But Gruny recommends to network differently. Instead of looking for people who can help you, focus your networking on how YOU can help people. He calls it “networking naturally”. And it’s worked for him to build mutually benefitting and lasting relationships.

3. Accept PTSD.

If you get injured, you get the injury fixed. Treat PTSD like any other injury or ailment. Don’t run away from it or ignore it. Just fix it. There are a ton of helpful resources throughout this month’s magazine that can help.

4. Start the transition process EARLY.

Most people, including Gruny, started too late. As a result, you don’t know what you’re getting into

42 / JUNE 2022

until once you get into it. Then you realize how long it actually takes to do what you want to do. Give yourself 1-2 years to get it right.

5. Ask yourself a couple of fundamental questions. A lot will impact your decision. Make sure you are clear on these personal questions! What’s most important to you? Where do you want to be or what do you want to do after you retire?

6. Set reasonable expectations. Even if you were an outstanding leader in the military, you won’t have what they’re looking for to start at the top in a sector outside of the military. You’ll need to suck it up and start lower down to get that experience. Setting realistic expectations results in less frustration.

7. Treat transition like a job. You can’t half-ass it and think your new career will come to you. Work at it every day and structure yourself like you would for any other project you worked on while on active duty.

Jim currently serves as the Community Liaison Officer at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, where each year 17,000 young men and women are trained to win battles, become better citizens, and earn the title...Marine.

We hope this no fluff advice is helpful. Questions, looking for resources or answers?

Reach out to Eve at: / JUNE 2022 43
Jim Gruny


Transition to Business

Mental Health Resources in the Workplace

June is PTSD Awareness Month, and it’s important that you’re aware of the conversations that corporate employers are having right now regarding the state of mental health in the workplace.

First, know that employers take this seriously. Mental health support tops the list of concerns that many employers have, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, where loneliness and isolation have become a real concern for remote workers. Let’s start there.

The Red Cross has created a course, open to the public, titled “Psychological First Aid: Supporting Yourself and Others During COVID-19,” which you can access here:

The online course costs $20.00 and is designed for anyone interested in learning techniques for supporting mental health during the COVID-19 crisis.

Further, employers are beginning to realize that workers from diverse backgrounds can face greater anxiety from lack of representation, unconscious bias, and other stressors that impact their mental health and psychological safety at work. For example, studies show that:

• Minorities tend to feel less included at work, especially in the areas of race, gender, and sexual identity.

• Millennials (35 & under) were 3.5 times more likely than Boomers (60 & under) to say that their work environment contributed to their mental health symptoms.

• 90% of transgender employees, 75% of Gen Z, 50% of Millennial, 47% of both Latinx and Black employees have left a previous role due, at least in part, to mental health reasons, compared to 34% of all respondents overall.

• Asians are 51% less likely to use mental health services than Whites.


Employers’ Responses

Mental health and workplace stress tie into the DEI—Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion—movement well because such programs attempt to identify and mitigate the effects of isolation and “otherness” that plague many U.S. workers. Employers and their DEI committees continue to create inclusion strategies with greater nuance, specificity, and intentionality to enforce conduct and behaviors that ensure that:

1. Everyone treats everyone else with respect.

2. Managers appreciate the unique characteristics of everyone on their team.

3. Leaders do what’s right and are trained in identifying symptoms or concerns that may require greater attention or resources.

Other employer interventions that you may learn of include mentorship and buddy programs, mental health training for managers to provide “mental health first aid,” the creation of “Employee Resource Groups,” or ERGs, for workers to come together voluntarily and according to particular affiliations, including veteran status, disability, working mom, race, gender, sexual identity, and other associations. ERGs’ messages confirm, “You’re welcome here. You’re safe here. And we’re all in this together.”

44 / JUNE 2022

Employee Assistance Programs, or EAPs, are companypaid third-party providers that offer confidential and free services to workers who may be in need of mental health resources. Employees may self-refer to an outside EAP organization on a voluntary, private basis to get the support they need. If your company offers EAP benefits, you can typically find out about it on the company’s intranet page or in the HR department, where flyers and handouts are typically prominently displayed.

For Immediate Support

Check out the Mental Health Action network at This incredibly valuable community encourages and empowers you to take action for your own mental health, your family, and your community. The network provides resources based on what you may be feeling or experiencing right now and also provides a hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with a medical professional confidentially and without charge.


We’re all responsible for community mental health, one individual at a time. And never forget that so many people have dedicated their lives and careers to this noble cause, making themselves available whenever they’re needed. We’re all in this together, and together we can make this work—for everyone.

You can connect with Paul on LinkedIn at

Paul Falcone ( is a leadership consultant, trainer, and bestselling author on hiring, performance management, and leadership development. / JUNE 2022 45

Successful Transitioning Stories

This month I am excited to talk with Ryan Adams. Ryan’s Navy career started on a nuclear fast attack submarine and moved into the Navy Special Operations Community where he served as a Master Explosive Ordnance Disposal Operator among our country’s most elite units. His Naval career fueled his lifelong passion for the water where after retiring from the Navy after a 28 year career in the Navy, he became a licensed Yacht Sales Professional with Jeff Brown Yachts and obtained his US Coast Guard Captain’s Credential where he often helps new and seasoned boat owners with on the water training and enhancing their boating experience. With Ryan’s recent transition, we got a chance to get some great tips on transitioning.

Ryan who helped you in your transition?

I worked with the Honor Foundation on my transition and they did an excellent job helping me transition. They provided a great mentor and really helped me find my why and what I wanted to do as I transitioned out. I learned I did not want a conventional 9-5 job and be stuck in an office all day. I found out I was really competitive and sales fit me very well. And I loved boats so getting into the Yacht club sales seemed like a good fit. It was flexible, it was sales, and I loved the adrenaline of the sales industry. And by getting my Captain License, I also get to captain boats for many clients. And there was no cap on my salary, I could make as much as I wanted. I just had to put in the work.

What are some tips you can give to transitioning veterans?

You owe it to yourself to work on your transition at least 12-24 months ahead of leaving the military. You need to research many industries, network, start making it your part time job to work on your transition before you get out.

What where some of the ways you researched the industry?

I researched my industry and sales. I talked to the Mayor of my town as he had to go door to door, so this is part of sales. I sat in on Amazon webinars, I educated

myself so I could really find out what my passion was, what I wanted to do. Most important is to stick with your passion as it may not evolve overnight but give it time it will move in the right direction.

What do you feel was most helpful in transitioning?

I was able to do some internships in the industry that I was interested in. That helped me get experience, build a good network, and guide me on if this industry really fit with what I wanted to do. When I had my retirement party, a large amount of people attending were people from the new industry and job I was entering into because I spent so much time working with them, building relationships, and learning the industry.

Any other tips?

Many don’t realize when they transition they need to be ready for all the paperwork and processing. This can take time and many do not get their checks right away so be prepared financially and have some money put back to support you. Also, I set up my transition that I transitioned out and was starting my new job shortly after I officially retired.

To get education from Dr. Tiffany click link below

To watch the Dr. Tiffany live interview click the link below

For more help on active duty transition, education, and more click the link below

46 / JUNE 2022

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

{ Proven record of more than 200 chaplain graduates IN-PERSON OR ONLINE



Have You Found Your “Silver Rocket”?

We start to shed doubt on the wisdom of our decision, and pressures mount because cash flow is slow.

Success is very personal, and it is up to each of us to discover it for ourselves. It requires a vast reserve of inner strength which is based on your personal purpose, a direction that guides the choices you make at any given moment. People often confuse purpose with goals. When you discover purpose then the goals you achieve bring a rich sense of fulfillment.

As business owners, grabbing this “silver rocket” does several things:

1. Your decision making is congruent with the core of your being AND moves you closer to your ultimate vision of success.

2. It helps you define what constitutes a successful business and life for yourself.

3. It enhances your personal motivation, inner strength, determination and desire.

How many books, e-books, programs, workshops etc. have you bought into lately looking for that “silver rocket” for success? The “silver rocket” of success means different things to different people. During times of economic change I have found business owners questioning what success really means to them. It was not too long ago that many thought going back and getting a “job” was that silver rocket. Funny how things change.

So, what is it inside of people that makes them willing to risk everything they have to be in business? Is it to join the league of greats like Ford, Carnegie, Hearst, Jobs, Gates or just to have the freedom of being in a business of their own?

Perhaps it is the spirit passed down by parents or grandparents who ran the butcher shops, bakeries and small service businesses from the beginning of time. Some say it is a burning desire that hits like a flash of lightening or an idea that begs to be developed.

When we first go into business the dream and desire may seem clear, but then events and circumstances start to affect the business climate, competition ramps up their marketing and customers seem to need more information, a better deal or just more of our time.

4. It strengthens the courage to overcome any adversity that interferes with the vision you have for your business.

Your personal purpose “silver rocket” is not discovered overnight. One of the best sources of encouragement is to record your achievements. Reviewing them as you plan each month helps to maintain a high level of motivation and an ever-increasing keenness for achievement. List the achievements in your life that have given you the most sense of fulfillment. Look at the people you admire, what are the qualities in them that stand out for you. Do some self assessment about your own strengths and qualities. Consider all areas of your life, they add to your belief in your potential and your motivation to achieve even more. When you look within, you will find your “silver rocket” of success.

Barbara Eldridge has built a solid reputation as a Success strategies specialist, within industry and business over the past 40 years. Her unique message, since starting Mind Masters 30 years ago for entrepreneurs and small business owners, continually stresses vision, purpose and values as the key elements of business philosophy.

48 / JUNE 2022 / JUNE 2022 49 HR Services Employer of Record Onboarding & Compliance Payroll & Tax Services Job Board & Automated Recruiting Time & Attendance A Veteran Owned Business proudly supporting Veterans, Military Spouses and active duty Military looking for work and employers needing great workers. Contact Eve Nasby, Band of Hands president and passionate military supporter to get started today. H i r i n g & O n b o a r d i n g F i l l i n g s h i f t s P a y r o l l H R P o l i c i e s C o m p l i a n c e w i t h E m p l o y m e n t L a w s U n e m p l o y m e n t C l a i m s W o r k e r s C o m p C l a i m s W a v e g o o d b y e t o t h e c h a l l e n g e s o f : We handle it all for only $10/week per employee. We take on the small business burdens so business owners can focus on what they love. Employment Simplified

legal Eagle

Straight-forward legal tips for Military and Veteran Business Owners


It’s always been your dream to open a small family restaurant business. You’ve finally saved up the money to do it and you hire a delivery driver to help you deliver catered food to your customers. One day, the driver calls you panicked and tells you he has been in an accident with the company truck. You start asking yourself who will be the responsible party for all legal related issues?

Employers can be held liable for their employees and independent contractor acts under a legal theory known as “respondeat superior,” which is Latin for “let the superior answer.” The general rule is that the employee or independent contractor must be acting within the course and scope of employment for an employer to be held liable. If an employee or an independent contractor causes an accident or injury while doing his job, acting on the employer’s behalf, or carrying out company business, then the employer will usually be held liable. This rule holds employers

responsible for employee or independent contractor carelessness and misconduct as a cost of business. It also encourages employers to make careful hiring decisions and to be vigilant about who they choose to represent their company.

If an employee is carrying out personal business or acting out of personal motives when an accident occurs, the employer might not be held liable. For example, when your delivery driver has finished his shift and decides to run personal errands with the company truck and causes an accident, the employer can argue that the employee was acting independently. If the employee was not acting at the employer’s direction, then there are good arguments that the employee should be held personally responsible for his actions. But if the accident or injury in any way stemmed from actions of the employer, the employer will likely be held liable.

50 / JUNE 2022

Let’s consider the independent contractor performing work for an individual, for example as a gardener, and accidently or deliberately cause injury to your neighbor’s dog, as the person who hired the gardener, you will be held responsible for your gardener’s actions. You should make sure that your gardener has general liability insurance so you can make a claim for damages that you’ll be paying your neighbor for the injured dog.

Under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, whether or not the employer knew that the employee or independent contractor might cause harm is irrelevant. A victim does not need to show that the employer did anything wrong. Simply by virtue of employing a person who committed harm while on the job is usually sufficient to establish employer liability.

If an employee harms another employee while on the job, this is generally covered under workers’ compensation. The injured employee can make a workers’ compensation claim for lost wages, medical bills, and any other qualifying expenses. If workers’ compensation covers the injury, the employee likely cannot sue the employer for the same injury unless it stemmed from an employer’s intentionally misconduct.

Becoming a business owner, you control your own destiny, choose the people you work with, reap big rewards, challenge yourself, give back to the community, and you get to follow your passion. Knowing what you’re getting into is smart business because the responsibility of protecting your family and yourself falls on you.

For more information on how to legally start and grow your business please visit my website at

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

The last thing an entrepreneur wants is to spend valuable time and resources on legal issues, which is why they often drop to the bottom of the pile. But this can be a COSTLY MISTAKE—and Go Legal Yourself is here to make sure it’s one you avoid.

• Gather the right documentation

• Protect your brand

• Avoid expensive legal pitfalls

• Plan and manage growth competatively

Rest assured that no nasty legal surprises will stand between you and your success. / JUNE 2022 51
Go Legal Yourself ® Know Your Business Legal Lifecycle
Get your copy at amazon today! 2nd Edition NOW AVAILABLE! Award-winning attorney, Kelly Bagla shows you how to avoid legal pitfalls FROM DAY ONE! shows you how to avoid legal pitfalls

The Navy Reserve on your Terms!!!


Recently transferred from Active Duty or have been out for some time but don’t know the benefits that the military can offer you? Why not come back for part-time service and get those same benefits! Enjoy the flexibility, comfort and affordability the Reserves has to offer you. In the Navy Reserve, military life doesn’t have to be all in or all out. You can achieve the best of both worlds, serving your country alongside full-time Sailors as you continue your life in the c ivilian world.

Some of the benefits you get from the Navy Reserve is healthcare. Below you will see what a member pays for themselves as well as with a family.


Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP): The first 180-days of health care coverage may be premium free under Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP) for those that affiliate immediately. HEALTH INSURANCE SELRES eligible for TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) and TRICARE Dental Program. Rates are for CY2022 2 Source:

TRICARE Reserve Select TRICARE Dental Program

TRICARE Reserve Select

Member only: $46.70/month

Member + Family: $229.99/month

TRICARE Dental Program

Member only: $11.65 Family: $75.71 /Member and Family: $87.36

If you have served and have completed less than 8 years of service you will have a military service obligation that continues past transition out of the Active Component (Any Branch).

Why not get some additional benefits from part-time service and get paid while you’re at it. The more time that you complete the less time you owe on your service obligation.


Voluntary temporary recalls to active duty (Definite Recall) for durations of 1-3 years are available. While on these orders the Sailor will earn full Active Duty pay and benefits Voluntary Active Duty for Operational Support (ADOS) and Active Duty for Training (ADT) allows periods of active duty in a variety of capacities Indefinite Recall, aka Training and Administration of the Reserve (TAR) program, is a path back to full-time active.


As a NAVET (Navy Veteran) or OSVET (Other Service Veteran), you will likely resume at your previous rate or MOS BONUS Joining the Selected Reserve (SELRES) could earn a potential affiliation bonus of up to $50,000. Navy SELRES are paid for four days of Active Duty for only two days of work. 2022 pay table, shows maximum rate for 4-drills based on years of service RETIREMENT Generous benefit, plus an optional taxdeferred Thrift Savings Plan to help you prepare and plan for retirement.


52 / JUNE 2022

Paygrade Drill Weekend pay

Reserve-Guard Enlisted military drill pay chart for 6 years and under.

Pay Grade Years of Service

Under 2 Over 2 Over 3 Over 4 Over 6

E-7 $439 $479 $498 $522 $541

E-6 $380 $418 $437 $454 $473

E-5 $348 $372 $389 $408 $436

E-4 $319 $335 $354 $372 $387

E-3 $288 $306 $325 $325 $325

E-2 $274 $274 $274 $274 $274


MGIB-SR: A free education benefit for SELRES officer and enlisted Sailors who agree to serve 6-years in a SELRES status

NAVY COOL: Earn certifications and licenses while serving in the SELRES: Available to officers and enlisted.

TRANSFER POST 9/11 GI BIL: Eligibility can be obtained to transfer your Post 9/11 GI Bill to your dependents while serving in the Selected Reserves; incurs a four-year drilling obligation in the SELRES.

“A” AND “C” SCHOOL OPPORTUNITIES: Sailors who change their rating can be eligible to attend required formal schooling. Certain billets may also require.


UNIFORMS- IRR must keep uniforms serviceable -Enlisted SELRES eligible for partial sea bag issue, one for one swap for unserviceable items

LIFE INSURANCE (SELRES) -SGLI offered for SELRES up to $400K, premium $29/month -Dependents eligible for FSGLI up to $100K spouse, $10K each child

BASE AND OTHER AMENITIES MWR commissary, exchange, Fleet and Family Service Centers, Military/ Navy lodging, Psychological Health Outreach Program, Military One Source, etc…

NETWORKING, Maintain military affiliation, camaraderie. Connect with other Sailors for expanded civilian/professional opportunities. Strong Reserve mentorship networks

USERRA Protections By law, your status as a member of the military is protected and as such, an employer may not discriminate against you based on that service in any way. While on orders, your civilian job is protected up to 5 years.

Testimonial: My name is Angel Nelson and I have served in the Navy Reserve for over 10 years. I was active duty and the Navy separated me under the Perform To Serve (PTS) Program in March of 2012. I joined the reserves to continue my career and still have some stability in my life. The Reserves has helped me to get back on active duty orders as FTS, make rank, take care of my family, buy a home and continue with my career. I used the reserves to get back on my feet by getting on short term orders, during funeral honors, volunteering, and even taking classes. I am now half way through my Master’s Degree (using Navy TA) with a total of 22 ½ years in. I’m about 2 years from retirement. The NAVY has been good to me.

Prior Service Benefits Advisors:


Angel Nelson, NC1 (SW/AW) (904) 233-5679

Vincent Madrigal, CM1 (951) 533-4603

Kamdon Martin, CS2 (619) 486-4811 (Former Marine now Navy)

Alexander Bracht, MA2 (619) 932-1009 / JUNE 2022 53

IS Acupuncture a Good Option for PTSD?

The NVCC set up a series of Interviews with “Local” professionals who could bring some light and provide some clarity on this issue.

In our first Interview we contacted Joe Voss from the North County Acupuncture™ to tell us, from his perspective, what PTSD is and how he helps Veterans deal with its effects. Joe Voss provided the following information:

These symptoms can include but are not limited to headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, memory issues, and emotional imbalances often manifested as anxiety. Any of these issues on their own can be detrimental to functioning at a comfortable, productive level in society. While western medicine is phenomenal at treating trauma, it is limited in options for treating pain and initiating healing in the body and spirit.

The result is that many veterans suffering with PTSD continue to experience symptoms, especially anxiety, for many years after the initial injury. However, in my 22 years of practicing acupuncture and Chinese medicine, I have seen a large percentage of my patients experience relief from many PTSD symptoms and reduce their reliance on medications. My experiences in effectively treating PTSD with acupuncture goes beyond the anecdotal because, as evidence-based studies show, acupuncture increases the release of endorphins, known as the “feel good” hormones.

Studies published by the Evidence Based Acupuncture research organization also show that acupuncture is recognized as a therapeutic treatment for anxiety and depression. Much of acupunctures positive effect is based on its ability to improve Heart Rate Variability (HRV). An important way our bodies deal with stress is by regulating our heart rates in response to our environment. In other words, our heart rates vary as needed to cope with what our bodies and brains interpret as stressful or non-stressful situations. Individuals with a higher (HRV) tend to have healthier responses to their environmental and emotional stressors.

Studies have also shown that acupuncture improves HRV by regulating the brain’s hypothalamus into releasing the proper neurochemicals when stress is perceived, and the heart rate is then able to adjust appropriately. The result is that a higher HRV helps regulate the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. It is through these pathways and mechanisms that acupuncture is able to help improve HRV, and the body is better able to cope with life’s stressors.

Which comes first treating the mind or the body? Our bodies, through feelings and emotions send certain frequencies and neurotransmitters to the brain which triggers the brain to release a cascade of hormones and neurotransmitters into the body. This causes changes in how all of our organs and systems function. But it has also been shown that there are more nerve pathways leading from the heart to the brain than there are leading from the brain to the heart. Promising research, in which HRV is just one part, is exploring how our heart is transmitting to our brain how “to think and feel,” instead of the other way around as we have believed for many years. If the heart and brain rhythms are out of sync then our health suffers, and one of the symptoms of this imbalance is anxiety.

So, while according to the most up to date evidence that acupuncture is an effective treatment for anxiety, I believe it is reasonable to extrapolate that acupuncture also has beneficial effects in treating other painful emotional conditions by treating organs such as the heart. Anecdotally, I have experienced this to be the case numerous times with my patients in my acupuncture practice. However, the empirical evidence also shows that acupuncture is not an “alternative medicine” to be used as a last resort for treating PTSD symptoms like anxiety. When combined with traditional medicine to treat TBI, concussions and emotional trauma, acupuncture is an effective treatment method that stimulates the body’s physical and emotional healing processes.

Another observation that I have had is that emotional pain has the effect of increasing physical pain. Over many years I have seen many veterans decrease the use of and often stop their use of opioid and other medications. I firmly believe that acupuncture can play a very important role in solving the current opioid crisis in our country as a whole and especially in our veteran community.

We would like to thank Joe Voss from North County Acupuncture™ for his participation and contribution to this very important issue for our Veterans.

54 / JUNE 2022 / JUNE 2022 55 V e t e r a n s G e t t h e s k i l l s T e c h C o m p a n i e s a r e l o o k i n g f o r ! NATIONAL VETERANS Learn More Learn more Sponsor by:


San Diego Veterans Magazine features monthly columns & articles on topics of interest for today’s veterans, transitioning military personnel, active military, and the families that keep it together.

• Real Talk:

Mental Health

• A Different LENS -

Mental Health Monthly

• Arts & Healing Arts

Arts for Military Veterans

• What’s NextTransition to Civilian Life

• Human ResourcesTransition to Business

• Business for Veterans

• Legal EagleLegal Business Tips

• Legally Speaking

Military Family Focused Law

• National Veterans Chamber of Commerce

Feel free to review & bookmark our supportive & resourceful monthly columns:

Real Talk: Mental Health

By Outreach and Clinical experts from the Cohen Clinic at VVSD

Deployment, transition, reintegration – as a veteran, service member or military family member, you’ve likely had to face all three. The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at VVSD, part of Cohen Veterans Network, provides high-quality, evidence-based mental health care to the military community. Our Mental Health Column provides advice on various topics related to these challenges.

Learn more:

A Different LENS Mental Health Monthly

A Different Lens reflects on RanDee’s personal experiences as former law enforcement, Veteran, military spouse, and clinician. A Different Lens explores all things mental health related and the struggles our veterans and their families may face. Connect with Randee at

Arts & Healing Arts for Military Veterans

Arts & Healing is a reflection of Amber’s personal experiences in healing through the arts as a disabled combat veteran as well as a reflection of our San Diego veteran artists and how they are using art to transform and heal, too.

You can read Amber’s columns at

56 / JUNE 2022
San Diego Veterans Magazine / JUNE 2022 57
58 / JUNE 2022 / JUNE 2022 59 L E A R N M O R E Ready for your next career step? The Knauss School of Business at the University of San Diego offers flexible graduate programs to help you advance your career, bring your values to enterprise and prepare you for a lifetime of impact. And as a 100% Yellow Ribbon School, tuition is fully covered for most military-connected students Flexible programs, F O R M O S T M I L I T A R Y 1 0 0 % C O V E R E D San Diego Veterans Magazine A Veterans Magazine by Veterans for Veterans Resources Support Transition HEALTH Community Voted 2020 & 2021 Best San Diego resource, support magazine for veterans, transitioning military personnel, active military, military families & veteran organizations

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

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