San Diego Veterans Magazine June 2024

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A Veteran's Guide to Thriving in the Civilian Workforce

Career Strategies & Resources


PTSD Through the MST Lens


Post-Secondary PTSD


A Talk with Military Fathers


M A G A Z I N E Vol. 7 • Number • June 2024 PTSD
TRANSITION To Civilian Life

Your Summer Travel Could Earn

Open a Flagship credit card, and you can earn 40,000 bonus points (a $400 value) when you spend $3,500 within 90 days of opening your account.¹ Plus, you’ll get a free year of Amazon Prime®2 (a $139 value)—on us. 3 Hurry—offer ends June 30, 2024



You’ll also enjoy:


2 / June 2024 3
Navy Federal is federally insured by NCUA. ¹Offer valid for new Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card accounts applied for between 5/1/24 and 6/30/24. To be eligible for the 40,000 points offer, you must make $3,500 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, if any. 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 8 weeks after the 90-day period for the 40,000 points to post to your rewards balance. Account must be open and not in default at the time the 40,000 points are posted to your rewards balance. Limit of one promotional offer at account opening. 2Amazon and all related logos are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates. 3Offer applies only to annual Amazon Prime memberships. Not valid for recurring membership monthly payment option or Amazon Prime Student. Annual membership must be purchased by 1/1/25. Offer valid for your Visa Signature Flagship Rewards Credit Card and is not transferable. Limit of one promotional offer per card. Please allow 6-8 weeks after the membership is renewed or opened for the statement credit to post to your account. Navy Federal reserves the right to end or modify this offer at any time without notice. 4Visa 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, 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 © 2024 Navy Federal NFCU 14225 (3-24)
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Our Members Are the Mission®

Welcome to San Diego Veterans Magazine!

SDVM is a veteran-focused magazine throughout ALL San Diego & Southern California. It serves to assist all veterans, active military as well as their spouses and families.

It is the leading veteran magazine emphasizing resources & support and focusing on topics and issues facing today’s veteran community. SDVM focuses on resources, support, community, transition, mental health, inspiration and more...

The content is the driving force behind our magazine and the connection it makes with our veterans, service members, military families, and civilians.

The magazine is supported by the city of San Diego and a distinguishing list of veteran organizations & members, resource centers, coalitions, veteran advocates, and more. We are honored to share the work of so many committed and thoughtful people.

Despite all the challenges, our team has upheld their focus and let not one opportunity go to provide resources and support to our veterans & military personnel.

On behalf of our team, we wanted to take this moment to say THANK YOU to the readers and our military-veteran community for supporting our magazine. With that support we aim to make a difference and continuing to make a profound impact on the quality of life for our veterans, military personnel and their families.

If you want to catch up on the current and past issues, please visit:




Mike Miller

Monthly Columns

What’s Next Transition

Eve Nasby • Kristin Hennessy

Human Resources

Paul Falcone

Franchise Dreams

Doug Dwyer

Successful Transitioning Stories

Dr. Julie Ducharme

Veterans in Business

Barbara Eldridge

Risky Business

Hadley Wood

Real Talk: Mental Health

Hope Phifer

PTSD: Reclaiming Control

Robert ‘Bob’ Cuyler, PhD

TLC Caregiving

Kie Copenhaver

Legal Eagle

Kelly Bagla, Esq.

Veterans Chamber Commerce

Joe Molina

Midway Magic

David Koontz

Veterans Chamber Commerce

Joe Molina

Contributing Writers

Wounded Warrior Project

Disabled American Veterans

(In-House) Correspondents

Holly Shaffner

CJ Machado

4 / June 2024 San Diego
Magazine 9528 Miramar Road, #41 San
CA 92126 (858)
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

WOUNDS / June 2024 5 7 Military World of the World Wars 8 Midway Magic: Veteran Voices 12 Caregiving TLC: Planning for the Future 14 Dads & Deployment (Father’s Day) 16 PTSD Awareness Month 18 Navigating Post-Secondary PTSD 20 PTSD Through the MST Lens 22 Real Talk: Understanding PTSD 24 PTSD: Psychedelic Therapy II 26 Healing for Veterans & their Families 28 Arts & Healing: First Steps for Healing 30 Empowering Veterans On & off the Mat 32 A Woman’s Journey to Empowerment 35 Women Veterans Alliance 38 Transition to Civilian Life 39 ONWARD OPS 40 What’s Next: Forging A New Path 44 HR: Occupational Outlook Handbook 46 Franchise Dreams: Insights for Veterans 50 Veterans & Successful Businesses 52 Veterans in Business: Rewarding Excellence 54 Legal Eagle: Ways to Sell your Business 56 VCCSD: Home Equity Loans - “Just the Basics” 58 Risky Business: Earthquake 59 SDVC - San Diego Veterans Coalition 61 VANC - Veterans Association of North County 62 Careers in Law Enforcement 64 SDPD Ride Along - A Story of Two Marines 68 From Navy Sailor to SFPD NOT ALL
6 / June 2024

MOWW San Diego Chapter

A strong America dedicated to preserving and advancing American Ideals and Founding Principles.

The Military Order of the World Wars serves our nation and local communities by providing and supporting activities that promote and encourage responsible citizenship, patriotism, youth leadership, military and public service, veteran support, and strong national security.

The Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW), founded in 1919, is a non-political, patriotic Veterans Service Organization (VSO).

We are a group of patriotic commissioned officers from all uniformed services, our spouses, and descendants. We believe in America and live our motto, “It is nobler to serve than to be served.”. Our tag line is “Serving Youth, Community, and Nation”. We love and continue to serve our nation and all of its peoples. We do this through our outreach programs including Patriotic Education, Veteran Affairs, Scouting, JROTC/ROTC, Public Safety/Law and Order, Homeland Security, and National Security.

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

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

Outreach events and activities

• Annual free Youth Leadership Conferences for high school students. Student teams and Staff interactively explore, learn, and practice leadership, patriotism, American government, American history, and free enterprise.

• Massing of the Colors and Service of Remembrance. Recognizing our youth, community, and nation through honoring our country, flag, active military and veterans, their families, and community patriotism.

• Wreaths Across America. Honoring our deceased veterans through co-sponsoring an annual patriotic ceremony.

• Recognizing youth leadership and sponsoring JROTC, ROTC, and Scouting events.

• Partnering with many community veteran groups.

For more information please visit our website at: Facebook: The Military Order of the World WarsMOWW-San Diego Chapter

Please feel free to contact us: Debbie Kash Kathleen Winchester / June 2024 7

Midway’s Veteran Voices Coming In Loud and Clear

The USS Midway Museum has a secret weapon that quietly extends the museum’s reputation as one of San Diego’s most beloved community symbols. The Midway speakers bureau launched shortly after the museum opened, and it was created to spread the word about Midway and the Navy by providing community organizations with live in-person presentations. It’s only been in the last dozen years, however, that its impact has been felt extensively throughout Southern California.

“It was dormant, only giving about four to six talks a year,” said Dick Walker, the Midway volunteer who took over the leadership of the speakers bureau 14 years ago. “I felt that we needed to train more speakers and provide a wider variety of talks, and continue to add new talks so we would be requested to return.”

The group is comprised of museum volunteers, most of whom are also military veterans. Since 2010, the speakers bureau has given more than 700 presentations before a combined audience estimated to be more than 30,000 people.

“I think by showcasing a very professional group of speakers that represent a professional extension of the museum enhances Midway’s standing in the community,” said Dick Walker, a retired Navy pilot

who has more than 6,300 volunteer hours. “The bureau provides a personal face to the museum’s marketing efforts because we are coming to them.”

The audiences for the speakers bureau has evolved over the years. Initially it was limited to military service groups and specialty clubs like Rotary and Kawanis. The bureau’s outreach has broadened significantly and now connects with organizations that range from corporate groups, law enforcement teams and senior centers to teachers associations and schools. In 2023, more than 2,500 people with more than 100 organizations received presentations.

“I believe that the speaker’s program outreach taps into some of the markets that are hard to reach,” said Steve Walker, a former Navy pilot and a museum volunteer docent who joined the speakers bureau in 2016. “What other program serves a last minute cancellation the day before a downtown San Diego annual corporate meeting?”

The speakers bureau has more than a dozen different presentations, which allows them to make repeat visits to the same organization. The more popular presentations given center on the Midway story, the Battle of Midway and the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

8 / June 2024
Midway docents Brian Butler and Steve Walker with some young learners during Veterans Week at Walt Whitman Elementary Midway docent Brian Bulter speaks to a group at the Casa de las Campanas senior living center.

“It’s an honor representing our great team out in the community,” said Chris Day, a Navy veteran who has been a member of the speakers bureau for five years and a docent since 2014. “Not everyone can come aboard Midway and much of our audience is not entirely mobile. We get to take the Midway to them. I feel pride in having been part of our Navy, and honored to be able to continue to serve in a different way.”

While all of the speaking engagements are enriching experiences, each member of the group has their favorites.

“I'd say one of our most favorite stops has been annually at the Walt Whitman Elementary School in Clairemont,” said nine-year docent Brian Bulter, who joined the speakers bureau with Steve Walker in 2016. “We go on Veterans Day week. The first and second graders learn not so much about the Midway, but instead about the military service in general. I still recall the huge smiles when the kids try on Steve's flight helmets and receive their junior pilot wings.”

Although COVID put a halt to in-person presentations for the speakers bureau for about a year, it opened a new door that is still in place today. During the pandemic, Dick Walker began reaching out to organizations that the group had presented to previously offering virtual presentations.

“Many of our speakers learned how to use Zoom,” said Dick Walker, who actually served on Midway as the flag lieutenant on the staff of Carrier Division One in 1964. “We began giving talks to Rotary clubs in Wyoming, Colorado, Florida and Hawaii.

In 2021, the speakers bureau made more than 50 virtual presentations. While they still do several Zoom presentations annually, most of the presentations are back to being in person.

“Most organizations really appreciate that a Midway speaker has taken the time to come to their site and give a talk,” said Dick Walker, who accumulated more than 4,500 flight hours and 500 aircraft carrier landings during his 21-year naval career.

“I like to ask people, where else can someone my age be relevant in the lives of people from age three to 103, other than as a Midway volunteer,” said Brian Butler, who served in the Navy from 1968-1970. “Perhaps this is especially true when we bring the Midway to life through the speakers bureau.”

10 / June 2024 The Elizabeth Hospice cares deeply about the people who have dedicated their lives to protecting our safety and freedom during conflict and peacetime. As a leading hospice care provider in San Diego County and Southwest Riverside County, we are committed to helping ensure that veterans are aware of their healthcare options, feel appreciated, and receive the medical support and attention they need and deserve. 800-797-2050 | Caring for our veterans


Did you know?

• Miramar National Cemetery is the only National Cemetery with an Avenue of Flags.

• There are 50 American Flags lining the entrance to the cemetery.

• The 5x8 flags fly 24 hours a day/7 days a week/365 days a year.

• Due to wear and tear, Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation replaces the flags twice a year.

• It costs $15,000 per year for the flag replacement and flag pole maintenance. June 14ᵗh is

Please consider a donation this Flag Day to keep the flags flying! The Support Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. Tax ID #65-1277308

Ways T o Don a t e :

Scan the QR code or visit our website at

Mail a check (on memo line, state Ave of Flags) to: Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation 6906 Miramar Road, Ste C-142 San Diego, CA 92121 / June 2024 11
Help to keep our flags flying over our Nation’s Heroes!
Flag Day


Planning for the Future

No one likes to think about a time when we may become incapacitated to the point of being unable to make healthcare and financial decisions on our own. This lack of capacity could be due to an injury or illness. It could be a physical inability or a lack of mental ability. And that day may never come for you…but what if it does? Are you prepared with the proper documents should such an event occur?

Advance Directives are just that – directives or instructions in advance of some occurrence. In this case, I am talking about Advance Directives in the realm of healthcare. There are a few main types of Advance Directives:

• Advance Directive paperwork

• Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)

• Durable Power of Attorney (for healthcare and finance)

• Living Will

There is a document called and Advance Directive that many healthcare organizations will give you to fill out with family and perhaps your primary care provider. The Directive goes over many medical scenarios and how you want your healthcare team to treat you should those things occur. Examples of medical scenarios include feeding tubes to sustain life, dementia, and living in a comatose state. The Advance Directive allows you to consider these various scenarios and write out how you think you would like to be treated medically.

The POLST is a one-page document that must be filled out by you and your doctor. It is an order, much like a prescription, that if not signed by a licensed clinician (states differ as to who can sign the POLST so ask your primary care provider), is not valid.

This should be someone you know well and trust. Ideally, they would know that you are naming them your healthcare DPOA. There is a place in the DPOA for you to name an alternate Agent, someone who would step in if your first choice, your Primary Agent, was unwilling or unable to speak on your behalf.

A Living Will is also a legally binding document that is typically drawn up with the assistance of an attorney or lawyer and outlines your healthcare wishes for end-of-life care if you were to become terminally ill and unable to make medical decisions on your own.

While most of us don’t really want to discuss endof-life issues or medical emergencies, it is vital our wishes be known. If you do not have these important documents on hand (and on file with your preferred healthcare organization), your medical treatment may be determined by others and your loved ones may not have a voice in your care and treatment.

A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is a legally binding document that gives a trusted relative or friend the ability to speak on your behalf should you be unable to for some physical or mental reason.

RetirementWhat’s Next

We all have a fire extinguisher in the house. Why? Advance planning for the unexpected. Do the same for yourself and your loved ones by starting your advance healthcare planning today. You may find peace of mind knowing this crucial piece of the journey we call life in place.

12 / June 2024 / June 2024 13 Navigating your future may bring uncertainty. Aging Well Partners can help you discover your best path forward by empowering you with the vetted resources and trusted services that meet your specific needs. Your journey has a roadmap and we are here to help you find it. Proudly featuring our Certified Business Partners Free Consultation: 619.789.1839 Housekeeping Transportation Meal Prep Physical Therapy Aging in Place Assisted Living Memory Care Your Local Partners. Your Certified Senior Advisors™. Proudly featuring our Certified Business Partners Navigating your f uture may bring uncertainty Aging Well Partners can help you discover your best path forward by empowering you with the vetted resources and trusted services that meet your specific needs. Your journey has a roadmap and we are here to help you find it Proudly featuring our Certified Business Partner e Consultation: 619.789.1839 ™ Your L cal Partners. Your Certified Senior Advisors Housekeeping Transportation Meal Prep Physical Therapy Aging in Place Assisted Living Memory Care

Real Talk: Mental Health

Dads & Deployments: A Talk with Military Fathers

As Father's Day is celebrated this June, we turn to military fathers to gain insight into what it's like being a dad while on deployment. Their experiences are unique, and often challenging, as they balance their duties being in the military with their responsibilities as fathers. Through their answers to our questions, we hope communities learn about the difficulties they face, the joys they experience, and the ways they stay connected to their families while serving their country. These stories are a reminder of the sacrifices made by military families and the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

What is it like preparing a family for deployment?

Shawn: Preparing for deployment can be tough. But it also provides a time to reflect on what is important. My family is the most important. But I also signed a military contract to serve my country, and that must be fulfilled. My family is anxious because there is so much going on with everyone: the children are involved in activities I will miss because of deployment, my wife is worried because she is going to have to take care of everything on her own while I am away, and the biggest worry for my family is me being in danger while I am overseas. There are so many things to worry about, yet there is so little time to address all the worries. I think separating the deployment into 1) beginning, 2) middle, 3) and “daddy is coming home soon” phases. This separation of time helps everyone cope with such a long deployment period.

Arturo: A big part of my career was spent on standby or in a status that led us to believe we could go out the door any time. I know, this sounds funny coming from someone in the Air Force, but it is true. Bottom line upfront, I would do my best to focus on my family while I was at home because it is difficult to do that when we are away. One way that we stayed prepared was by automating payments as much as possible. This might be common practice for some but for others paying bills can be a daunting task. I know this isn't game-changing information, but our families must continue their daily activities without us. Another thing we would do is take advantage of the time together, including using Leave. It wasn't always easy, but I would be present at home. Random phone calls from work and deadlines for assignments at work would often derail that, but I would try to be as present in the moment as possible when spending time with my family. Then when I would take Leave, it was important to try detaching from work and focus on family time.

What is it like being away from family for long periods of time?

Shawn: Life on deployment is much different now compared to many years ago. Technology has opened a way to stay connected with family through vivid video connection to families. The connection to my family with social media was very helpful in passing the time. We would exchange letters, send each other gifts, and try to communicate as much as possible about updates on what my family was doing and what I was doing on deployment. One of my favorite things to do with my children was to encourage them right before sports activities or even pray together when they asked me to.

Arturo: We had our first baby later in my military career. By that time, holidays and milestones had lost their significance. Luckily, they were not for my wife, and she made sure that we celebrated in unique ways. One year, she ordered a life-sized cardboard cut out of me so that I could “attend” a party. Afterward, we would laugh looking at the photos of people dancing with “me.”

Cohen Veterans Network focuses on improving mental health outcomes, operating a network of outpatient mental health clinics in high-need communities, in which trained clinicians deliver holistic evidence-based care to treat mental health conditions.

14 / June 2024

Father's Day was founded in Spokane, Washington in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed an executive order that the holiday be celebrated on the third Sunday in June. Under President Richard Nixon, in 1972, Congress passed an act officially making Father's Day a national holiday. (Six years later, Sonora died at age 96.)

Father’s Day 2024 will occur on Sunday, June 16. / June 2024 15

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.


The Ripple Effect: Navigating Post-Secondary PTSD

Jenna Malone was helping her husband Issac navigate his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when she began to notice her behavior changing.

As a mom of three, Jenna was always safety conscious but realized she would get triggered even when she was not with Issac. “I was starting to react to things that he would react to, for example, a large crowd or loud noises. I felt more hypervigilant in my surroundings,” Jenna said.

Eventually, Jenna learned she was experiencing secondary trauma symptoms – also known as indirect trauma. These symptoms affect family members and caregivers of veterans managing PTSD.

According to the 2022 Warrior Survey by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP), 76% of registered warriors self-reported PTSD or symptoms of PTSD. While symptoms vary, the effects are far-reaching, challenging not only warriors’ daily activities but the overall quality of life for them and their loved ones as well.

“It is a common experience we hear. When a person is living with PTSD, we see families begin to adapt to the individual and take on compensatory behaviors, which, over time, takes a toll on the whole family,” said Erin Fletcher, Psy.D., director of Warrior Care Network® at WWP™. “For instance, if a warrior deals with PTSD triggers through avoidance, family members start isolating themselves, too.”

Dr. Fletcher added that it’s not uncommon to hear family members say things like, “We need to keep our voices down because Mom or Dad doesn’t like loud noise.” Or “We can’t attend this or that because Dad or Mom isn’t comfortable with crowds.”

Family members may feel extra stress trying to meet the veteran’s needs while not having their own needs met. Tempers become shorter, anxiety increases, and family members may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as eating too much or not enough and selfmedicating with drugs or alcohol. Dr. Fletcher noted that physical symptoms, including stomachaches and headaches, are often common among children.

“Eventually, the entire family has difficulty communicating, trusting, and feeling safe, but with education, positive change is possible,” said Dr. Fletcher, noting that part of WWP’s mission is to increase awareness and bring attention to not only warriors managing PTSD but also support family members facing secondary trauma. “We encourage loved ones to seek treatment for themselves as they learn how to support their loved one’s recovery.”

Despite being engaged with WWP through a caregiver workshop, Jenna knew she needed extra help after her symptoms escalated to panic attacks. Jenna connected with WWP Talk, a free, nonclinical, telephonic program that assists warriors and family members. During weekly emotional support calls, participants work individually with a dedicated WWP Talk partner.

“It was extremely helpful [for me] just to talk out some of the things that I just needed to get off my chest or just work through,” said Jenna, who learned to manage her own symptoms while continuing to be supportive of her spouse.

Jenna said she better understood what her husband dealt with and how to navigate their relationship more effectively while attending couples counseling during Issac’s participation in Warrior Care Network,® an accelerated outpatient treatment program.

18 / June 2024

“I didn’t fully understand what Issac was struggling with before. But when we went to Warrior Care Network, we were finally given the tools to really communicate,” said Jenna, adding that after the couple came home, they spent time talking to their children about what Issac was experiencing and educating them on new ways to work through anxiety, anger, and other emotions.

“Learning these new skills helped us improve our relationship with each other. And the kids noticed the difference in how we interacted together and individually toward them,” said Jenna. “I am thrilled to be able to pass on healthier coping skills.”

Based on experiences at Warrior Care Network, Jenna said the family has also embraced art therapy and equine therapy to help maintain their mental health, noting they recently relocated to a farm and adopted two horses.

‘I need help.’ That was the hardest sentence I had to say in my whole life.


Chris found hope and support with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). WWPTM has resources and programs offered at no cost to veterans and their families facing mental health challenges. / June 2024 19
888.ALUM (997.2586) to connect with the WWP Resource Center.
or call

PTSD Through the MST Lens

According to a website run by nonprofit, Unbroken Warriors, over 540,000 veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD. What the military is not talking about is how many of those cases were caused by Military Sexual Trauma? The VA reports that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 50 men said “yes” when screened for MST in its most recent report.

Although combat PTSD is no joke, and something I struggle with, the PTSD load from sexual trauma is heavier. Sarah Blum, Vietnam veteran, licensed therapist and author of “Women Under Fire: Abuse in the Military”, says the depth of PTSD from MST is because a sexual assault is experienced as a breach in a person’s sense of self and bodily integrity. Thus, she says the victim’s feelings of safety, self-worth and self-trust deteriorate, making them question their safety, themselves and others constantly.

In service, assaults are doubly damning in that it undermines the much-needed trust between military brothers and sisters in arms. What does it mean if you can’t trust the service member to your left or right during training or a deployment?

“To those who see their military unit or core as family, which that is encouraged, then the violation equates to incest,” said Blum.

Once the trauma of an assault has damaged the brain, the survivor can become haunted by the event as their brain triggers them back to it over and over again. Triggering as well as dissociation during and after the event leaves survivors with an inability to connect to self and others.

“Our thinking brain is shut down during trauma,” said Blum. “Survivors of MST become emotionally numb, unresponsive to the world around them, and thus they cut themselves off from resources.”

Without the ability to connect to themselves and others, MST survivors can flounder. Many are often forced out of service for personality disorders that are actually acute PTSD. Symptoms such as anger, depression or issues with self-perception and relationships can easily be classified as personality disorder symptoms and often are.

Unfortunately, for many survivors, a personality disorder is enough to separate them from service, many with an other than honorable discharge. Without honorable service on their record, most are ineligible for their

a survivor of
20 / June 2024
If you are
Military Sexual Trauma, please know that you are not alone.
can heal, you just have to take the first step.

earned benefits. This, coupled with the symptoms of their PTSD, are sometimes enough to push survivors into homelessness, addiction or suicide attempts. Sometimes these survivors lose the fight and become one of the 22 a day. But, more often, they find a path to healing.

In past issues, I’ve highlighted the healing journeys of veterans such as Marine veteran, artist and advocate Luz Helena Stacey Thompson, who was given an other than honorable discharge for alerting a local politician to her case. Discharged without benefits, she fought the VA for 16 years to get back what she’d earned.

Now, Thompson, along with many others I’ve met in my advocacy journey, have turned over a new leaf. Thompson is now an artist, surfer and art and surf teacher. She’s happily married with three beautiful kids.

“I still struggle,” said Thompson. “I may always struggle. But I know there’s always going to be a brighter day ahead if I can just get through it.”

Thompson says she credits her healing to her family, art, the ocean and her service dog, Reefer.

What Thompson accomplished took guts and resilience, especially after suffering and being discharged for a sexual assault. Air Force veteran Darci Standefer used that same guts and resilience to find healing after she was assaulted by an Air Force sergeant on a long bus trip.

After service her PTSD symptoms would erupt in angry outbursts at work, her family life suffered, and she would eventually lose her apartment and be at the mercy of family and friends for a place to stay. Standefer would make her first attempt with a steak knife in her kitchen, dragging it clumsily across her wrist. Luckily, she did not cut hard enough.

Her second attempt would be a few years later.

“I just remember thinking, ‘You know, If I killed myself, everything will be ok,” said Standefer. “It seemed like the most logical decision I could make right then.”

Standefer would drive up into the mountains, park and plug her tail pipe, with the intention of asphyxiating via carbon monoxide poisoning. Luckily, her second attempt also failed and would prompt her to finally go to the VA for help.

“I went in and told them I needed help, that I had just tried to kill myself,” said Standefer.

Standefer would do a “week in the psych ward”, as she says, but would come out with a better understanding of how to heal. From there she would begin taking medication and going to counseling. Initially, she says she thought meds and therapy would fix her, but soon learned who was really responsible.

“I started figuring out who had to do the actual work, the actual ‘fixing’, said Standefer.

Now, Standefer is in stable housing, and lives with her cat and dog. She says she still doesn’t date and doesn’t know if she ever will. But her life is still a far cry from where it was when she made an attempt to end her life.

Both Thompson and Standefer have learned that healing and often justice, take time and lots of patience. Both women will forever be changed, each living down a legacy of sexual violence that has plagued the service for far too long.

If you are a survivor of Military Sexual Trauma, please know that you are not alone. You can heal, you just have to take the first step.

If you or someone you know has suffered MST and needs help, call the DoD Safe Helpline at 877-995-5247 for immediate support and guidance or go to Connect and Find Support through DoD Safe Helpline

Visit Safe helpline for more information at:

For California locals call your local Vet Center, most of which host MST group therapy. There is no better place to start than with others just like you. / June 2024 21

Real Talk: Mental Health

The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at VVSD, San Diego Diego

June is PTSD Awareness Month, which aims to raise awareness and understanding of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and its impact on individuals and communities. PTSD affects millions of people worldwide, including military veterans, first responders, and survivors of trauma.

Cohen Clinic at VVSD, San Diego Clinic Director Kelly Williams provides some insight from her staff on PTSD awareness. Here is what her team of clinicians have to say:

• Did you know only about 20-30% of people that experience a traumatic event will end up developing PTSD?

• No matter how damaged your brain is, it can always heal itself! 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.

CVN Telehealth, face-to-face video therapy available statewide.

• PTSD is NOT a weakness. It is a natural response to a traumatic event. Anyone can develop PTSD at any age.

• People with PTSD are not dangerous. Although PTSD is associated with an increased risk of violence, the majority of veterans and non-veterans with PTSD have never engaged in violence.

Learn more about PTSD by visiting

22 / June 2024
301 3609 Ocean
Blvd. Suite 120
Rio San Diego Dr. Suite
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Awareness Month

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

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

At San Diego Veterans Magazine you can visit our website for all current and past articles relating to

symptoms, and resources. Resources & Articles available at: / June 2024 23
Resources. Support. Inspiration.

PTSD: Reclaiming Control

Exploring Psychedelic Therapy: A New Frontier in PTSD Treatment – Part II

Last month, we discussed recent efforts to study the use of psychedelic substances for treating PTSD, and we’ll continue this conversation. Here’s a brief recap: the resurgence of interest in these controversial drugs has shown significant promise in carefully controlled trials. These trials, conducted with highly trained personnel guiding participants through their psychedelic experiences, have highlighted the importance of pairing the mind-altering effects of the drugs with comprehensive psychotherapy before, during, and after treatment. This combination seems to be a key factor in the reported successes.

Previously, we focused on psilocybin and MDMA, known as ‘ecstasy’ on the street. Now, let’s address the risks. There is no meaningful evidence that psilocybin poses a substantial addiction risk, though it can certainly be misused. MDMA, on the other hand, is a street drug with significant health and abuse risks. The risk has increased in recent years due to fentanyl adulteration, leading to high rates of overdose and death. It is crucial to distinguish between therapeutic uses under careful supervision and ‘self-medication’ with street drugs.

We also have concerns about ketamine treatment for PTSD. Ketamine, an inexpensive anesthetic used for humans and animals, is being used ‘off-label’ for various mental health conditions, primarily depression, but also PTSD. Promising literature is emerging from small studies where ketamine infusions are followed by multiple days of exposure therapy. There is intriguing evidence that ketamine may ‘rewire’ the brain to disrupt traumatic memories. However, its effects, though often dramatically positive, usually fade within one to three months. While ketamine can provide life-saving relief during suicidal crises, it should be part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

Another consideration is that anesthesiologists or other physicians often provide ketamine treatment without mental health training. PTSD is a complex and often chronic condition, and ketamine treatment should always be provided or overseen by clinicians specializing in PTSD. Ketamine, known as ‘Special K’ on the street, has significant abuse potential. There is a risk that individuals may self-medicate rather than seek clinical treatment.

Looking ahead, the positive findings, consumer and media interest, and growing investment in psychedelic clinics suggest that psychedelic treatment will become more prominent. However, scaling this approach into a widely available treatment is complex. These substances are currently either illegal or controlled, and there are too few mental health professionals trained to guide patients safely through therapy. This treatment will be very expensive, and widespread adoption will require substantial personnel and financial resources. I hope this field doesn’t become an exclusive ‘boutique’ experience for the wealthy or desperate. Meanwhile, there is hope that chemical ‘cousins’ of psychedelics may be developed that are equally or more effective but without the dramatic hallucinogenic effects or abuse potential.

Next month, we’ll explore a tech-focused approach to PTSD treatment: virtual reality.

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

24 / June 2024 / June 2024 25

Serving Those Who Served: A Comprehensive Approach to Healing for Veterans and Their Families

As a nation, we owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude to our active-duty service members, retired veterans, and their families. They've made immense sacrifices to protect our freedoms, often facing challenges that extend far beyond the battlefield. Among these challenges, substance use disorders and mental health issues can pose significant barriers to well-being and fulfillment.

At Healthy U Behavioral Health, we recognize the unique needs of veterans and their dependents. Our commitment goes beyond words; it's ingrained in every facet of our treatment center. With a specialized focus on serving those who served, we've crafted a program tailored to address the complex interplay between substance use disorders and mental health conditions within the veteran community.

One of the hallmarks of our approach is our dual-track program, which separates substance use treatment

from mental health care. This specialized setup ensures that each individual receives targeted interventions that address their specific needs comprehensively. Whether grappling with addiction, PTSD, depression, or other mental health challenges, our veterans can expect personalized care that fosters healing and resilience.

Central to our ethos is the inclusion of veterans on our staff. Their firsthand understanding of the military experience enriches our programs, fostering trust and camaraderie among clients. This camaraderie extends beyond therapy sessions, creating a supportive community where veterans and their families feel understood, respected, and empowered to reclaim their lives.

Our commitment to excellence is reflected in every aspect of our services. From our 24/7 answering service to our dedicated admissions team, we ensure that veterans and their families receive the support they deserve, precisely when they need it most. Moreover, our vetted network of care extends beyond our walls, facilitating seamless transitions to detoxification facilities, mental health stabilization programs, and sober living environments as needed.

In our commitment to meeting the diverse needs of our veteran community, Healthy U Behavioral Health offers a range of flexible levels of care.

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We understand that the journey to wellness is not onesize-fits-all. That's why our programs typically span 60 to 90 days, allowing ample time for comprehensive healing and recovery. Additionally, we offer robust aftercare support, assisting clients with placement options and providing continued guidance as they navigate life beyond treatment.

In our commitment to meeting the diverse needs of our veteran community, Healthy U Behavioral Health offers a range of flexible levels of care. Our Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) operates Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 3 PM, providing intensive support and therapy during daytime hours. For those requiring a less intensive schedule, we offer Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) tailored to fit individual lifestyles. Our IOP-5 program runs five days a week, three hours a day, while IOP-4 meets four days a week for the same duration. Additionally, our IOP3 option offers three days of therapy each week, ensuring accessibility without compromising quality care. Recognizing the importance of flexibility, our programs can incorporate virtual sessions and evening appointments to accommodate diverse schedules. Furthermore, we understand the value of weekends, which is why we also offer a Saturday group session, providing support and guidance when it's needed most. At Healthy U Behavioral Health, we prioritize convenience without sacrificing the effectiveness of our treatment modalities, ensuring that veterans and their families can access the support they need, when they need it.

Nestled in the heart of San Diego's vibrant Hillcrest neighborhood, Healthy U Behavioral Health stands as a beacon of hope and healing for our local community. As a proud veteran-owned and operated healthcare group, we bring a unique perspective to the forefront of addiction and mental health treatment. Our roots run deep within the San Diego landscape, and we're honored to serve those who have served our nation.

Beyond our commitment to veterans, we extend our reach to encompass the entire family unit. Recognizing the profound impact of addiction and mental health challenges on loved ones, we offer a comprehensive Family Program. This program provides invaluable support and education to family members, equipping them with the tools and resources they need to navigate their own journey of healing while supporting their loved one's recovery.

Furthermore, we understand that addiction and mental health issues can affect individuals of all ages. That's why we've developed an Adolescent Program tailored specifically to meet the unique needs of teens aged 14 to 17. Through age-appropriate interventions and a supportive environment, we empower adolescents to address their challenges head-on, laying the foundation for a healthier, brighter future.

At our Company, we recognize that true healing extends beyond individual therapy sessions. It encompasses the entire family system. By fostering open communication, providing education, and offering a safe space for healing, we aim to strengthen familial bonds and create a supportive network that promotes lasting wellness for all.

At Healthy U Behavioral Health, we're honored to serve those who served our country. Through our compassionate and comprehensive approach to treatment, we're dedicated to helping veterans and their families find hope, healing, and renewed purpose. Together, let's ensure that no veteran or their loved ones face the challenges of addiction and mental illness alone. / June 2024 27
Behavioral Health

Arts & Healing

Arts for Military Veterans

Let it out and let it in; how to manage those first steps to healing

June is PTSD Awareness Month, which is fitting to have right after Memorial Day. Many of you may still be trying to put the memories that arise on that day back into their box for the next year. Living with the memories of war or any other trauma isn’t easy. There is always that tendency to want to box up those parts of your past and keep them hidden away.

When I first left the service I remember thinking PTSD was just for the infantry, or those who had gone through severe IED blasts, seen buddies die or had to fight for their lives daily on those small, rural combat outposts. Journalists like me didn’t have to deal with those things routinely, we don’t get PTSD.

The first time I ever had a major anxiety attack due to PTSD was in the VA pharmacy waiting room, of all places. I happened to be sitting next to an old Vietnam veteran who had come up from Tijuana to the ER of our VA Healthcare Center in La Jolla. He was telling me in detail about his ailments when I began to feel the walls closing in. I clutched my purse tight against my chest and shrank into myself as the man’s voice waxed and waned between piercing and faint.

I turned to him in desperation trying to explain that I’m usually more talkative but I thought I was having a panic attack. He just nodded his head and asked where and when I served. I told him Afghanistan for three tours. He nodded knowingly, again. It turns out he was an 100% disabled veteran for PTSD.

As I cried and rocked, trying to regain my balance, he said to me, “You don’t look like an angry sort of person, do you have any way of letting any of this out?

You have to learn how to let it out.”

“Letting it out” is the first step in facing the trauma. Before I even took my first steps into the Vet Center in Chula Vista, or before I ever sat in a group of fellow women veterans sharing my trauma, I wrote a poem.

I decided the old Vietnam veteran was right, I had to find a way to let it out. I chose a moment that was especially traumatic for me, and I began to turn it into prose. Just writing the poem made me very emotional. I would write a few lines, walk away, cry and pace, and then come back to it to write some more. It took me days to chronicle the event in my own way.

28 / June 2024

But when I was finished, I felt better. I could look at that poem and see the pain now, I was facing it for the first time.

My next step, I decided, was to “let it out” even more. I decided I would read it to a friend, and have her help me edit it. My next step was to go further, and to read this very vulnerable, traumatic poem to an audience at an open mic night.

“Each time you are brave enough to speak your darkness, it lets a little bit of it out, and makes more room for the light.”

When I did, my hands shook, my voice shook, my knees shook. But I did it, and the more I read that poem at different times and venues, the easier it got. Soon after I began regular group sessions with other female veterans and shared even more of my trauma.

I have a friend I met during a Military Sexual Trauma workshop a few years back, who said to me once that, “each time you are brave enough to speak your darkness, it lets a little bit of it out, and makes more room for the light.” No matter how you speak it, what is important is the “letting it out” part. For me, it was easiest through poetry at first. For you, it may be easiest to start with group sessions, then try art or journaling. Each person must find their own way of releasing the traumatic event.

Healing through art offers a myriad of possibilities. You can let out your pain through paint, poetry, drawings, dance...the ways to say “I hurt”, without words can go on forever in the art world.

But, I also encourage you to “heal creatively". That’s not to say don’t use art or do use art. That simply means don’t be afraid to create your own path to healing. You are the artist of that path, and it’s complexity or simplicity is completely up to you. / June 2024 29

Empowering Veterans, On and off the Yoga Mat

OUR VISION: Helping the world feel better –one breath at a time.

The mission at Connected Warriors is to empower the warriors in our community through a journey of healing, growth, and transformation. With a community-based approach, we strive to partner with agencies supporting veterans, active-duty service members, first responders and their families. Our goal is to provide meaningful, life-affirming services at no cost, benefiting individuals, families, and the community as a whole.

Pushing the mission forward during operations

Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, classes were provided in Kuwait, Qatar, onboard the USS Wasp and at bases in Afghanistan and Iraq

Through trauma conscious yoga trainings and classes, we strive to build the mind and body connection on and off the yoga mat. We provide leadership, partnerships, and teachers to build accessible and free yoga for all active duty, veterans, first responders and their families.

In early 2007, Judy Weaver & U.S Army Ranger Beau MacVane created the groundwork for a program which has provided access to healing to thousands of veterans and their families through yoga, breathwork and meditation. Additionally, a growing community of support and connection was created to educate and promote medically based and holistic tools to this valuable population.

If you would like to read more about our amazing founders, including Ralph Iovino and our dedicated team, please visit:

Connected Warriors has hosted classes and events in 15 states, Germany and Japan as well as on the USS Midway.

Currently we offer classes in Temecula, and Oceanside, coming soon Two classes are being coordinated in San Diego, in Normal Heights and Mission Valley

For updated listing of our classes visit

In the Words of Our Warriors…

“I choose to go to the mat for the next breath!”

Warrior Testimonials

Connected Warriors programs include:

• Trauma informed Yoga Classes.

• “Elevated Warriors” Trauma Informed 200-hour Yoga teacher training.

• Military Mindset Management.

Connected Warriors is looking for volunteers and partners to expand and promote our mission in the San Diego area.

With an active duty and veteran population of nearly 300,000, Connected Warriors is focused on building a team of trained and dedicated individuals who believe yoga should be available for all San Diego warriors.

For more information please visit:

30 / June 2024
Edgar Bush Margaret Schumacher U.S. ARMY VETERAN


Connect ed Warriors is looking for volunteers and partners to e xpand and promote our vision and mission in the San Diego a rea. Conne cted Warrior is focused on building a team of tra ine d a nd dedicat e d individuals who believe yoga should be available for San Diego warriors.

For furthe r information or opportunities to contribute please check out our website

Connected Warriors serves Servicemembers, Veterans, and their Families at no cost to participants.

Connected Warriors serves Servicemembers, Veterans, and their Families at no cost to participants.

CW yoga instructors are trained in trauma-conscious teaching methods.

CW yoga instructors are trained in trauma-conscious teaching methods.

• Improve resiliency

• Improve resiliency

• Increase range of motion

• Increase range of motion

• Manage stress

• Manage stress

• Lower blood pressure

• Lower blood pressure

• Relieve chronic pain

• Relieve chronic pain

• Increase patience

Fe el free t o conta ct our San Diego representative: James (Jimmy) Stahl GySgt USMC (ret)

Connected Warriors is the largest volunteer organization in the United States offering evidence based trauma-conscious yoga therapy to Servicemembers, Veterans, and their Families.

• Increase patience

• Improve sleep

• Improve sleep / June 2024 31 Join us on social media
Contact US!
32 / June 2024

Continued on the next page / June 2024 33
34 / June 2024
*This article is shared by our collaborative Partner, She Talks Magazine. (

Women Veterans Alliance is the leading national network dedicated to enhancing the lives of women veterans. Through innovative networking strategies, we facilitate direct connections between individuals and programs, revolutionizing community engagement in the process.

Our mission is to UNITE over 2 million Women Veterans and their supporters worldwide, fostering collaboration and empowerment. We are dedicated to fostering a supportive environment that equips, empowers, and encourages women who have served our nation, offering access to valuable resources, mentorship, and career opportunities to help them realize their full potential.

We've established a vibrant community both online and offline, comprising local women veteran networking groups, community events, and national conferences held globally, providing avenues for connection and personal growth.

Our offerings include:

• A Directory of Women Veteran Owned Businesses to promote or connect with local and global enterprises.

• Support for women looking to launch or expand their businesses.

• An Allies Directory encompassing networking groups, meetups, support groups, veteran service, councils, organizations, and advisory committees tailored for women veterans.

• A comprehensive resource directory for veterans.

• An online event calendar featuring nationwide events.

• An online store offering a range of items including t-shirts, jewelry, hats, books, pins, and more!

• Women Veterans Magazine

Women Veterans Alliance is a woman-owned, disabled veteran-owned small business, founded in 2015 by Navy Veteran Melissa A. Washington. Recognizing the need to unite women veterans and provide them with essential support, Melissa established our organization to equip, empower, and encourage each other on their journey. / June 2024 35
Ways to help us help her — Donate: One Time, Monthly, or Volunteer YOUR DONATION MAKES DREAMS BECOME A REALITY After being awarded the Melissa Washington Small Business Award in 2020, Jennifer was able to invest in critical resources to help grow her business and make her dreams of being a successful entrepreneur come true! MWSBA will now be awarded Quarterly. Visit website for more information. We have awarded over $21,000 to date! Join us at to learn more and sign up for updates. Stay connected by following us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.

Alaska Adventure Project

Be a part of a Hero’s Journey! We provide therapeutic support to veterans and their families through outdoor adventures in the rugged beauty of Alaska.

About Alaska Adventure Project:

Founded in 2017 by U.S. Marine Combat Veteran and Native Alaskan William Boulton. Alaska Adventure Project (AAP) is a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to supporting military veterans and their families.

Our Adventure program entails:

• Therapeutic support for veterans and their families suffering with PTSD and TBI.

• Veterans helping veterans through shared experiences.

• Outdoor activities provide atmosphere’s of reflection, discovery, meaning of service, camaraderie,

• New network of resources, a new extended family, connecting veterans with veterans, establish lifelong bonds, and promote healing.

36 / June 2024 | learn more Visit our website for more info about our program: donate Contribute toward a Hero’s Journey: Contact us Reach out to us with any question:
Learn more at Paws for Purple Hearts improves the lives of America’s Warriors (Veterans and Active-Duty Service Members) facing mobility challenges and trauma-related conditions such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) by providing the highest quality assistance dogs and canine-assisted therapeutic programs; and by building public awareness about the important role dogs play in helping Warriors along the road to recovery. TOGETHER, WE CAN SERVE THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED. S C A N M E

TRANSITION To Civilian Life

- ONWARD OPS: Military Transition Support

- What’s Next In Transition: Forging a New Path

- HR: Occupational Outlook Handbook

- Franchise Dreams: Insights for Veterans

- Transition & Successful Businesses

- Business for Veterans: Marketing

- Legal Eagle: Ways to Sell Your Business

- Careers in Law Enforcement

Transitioning out of the Military into the Civilian Workforce?

For editorial & monthly columns regarding transition, career advice, tips, workshops, transition to education, entrepreneurship, straight-forward legal tips for military and veteran business owners and more visit Veterans In Transition at

38 / June 2024

San Diego Veterans Coalition which currently supports recruitment of new sponsors. Nationwide, the number and more social support. The latest research, currently sponsor are 50% less likely to attempt suicide and 63%

If you would like to learn more about VSI or becoming / June 2024 39

Forging a New Path: A Veteran's Guide to Thriving in the Civilian Workforce

For over three decades, Amy Forsythe dedicated her life to serving in the United States Marine Corps and Navy. Her journey through multiple deployments and transitions has provided her with a unique perspective on the challenges veterans face when entering the civilian workforce. As someone who has navigated these uncharted waters herself, Amy offers invaluable insights to those embarking on this exciting, yet often daunting, new chapter.

Change is inevitable. Embrace it! "One of the most significant hurdles veterans face is adapting to a different work culture and environment," says Amy, author of Heroes Live Here: A Tribute to Camp Pendleton Marines Since 9/11. Having operated within the structured hierarchy of the military, with clearly defined roles and responsibilities, the fluidity and lack of rigid structure in the civilian workforce can be a stark contrast. However, Amy emphasizes the importance of embracing this change and remaining open to new ideas and approaches.

Expand your network beyond military connections. Adaptation has been a constant companion throughout Amy's career, as she currently serves as a U.S Navy Reserve Public Affairs Officer under the U.S. Special Operations Command (Theater Special Operations Command Europe). Her experiences have taught her the value of diversifying her professional network beyond her military circles. "Developing connections with professionals in various industries and locations can open doors to new opportunities and provide valuable insights into the civilian job market," she notes.

Reframe your military experience and update your LinkedIn profile. Redefining one's personal brand and online presence is another critical component of the military-to-civilian transition process. As a veteran, Amy understands that service members possess a wealth of skills and experiences that are highly transferable and valued by employers. However, she emphasizes the importance of translating military accomplishments into language that resonates with civilian hiring managers. "Your military experience is extremely relevant," Amy states, "but it's crucial to communicate it in terms that hiring managers can directly understand."

She advises veterans to document their military experiences and rephrase them to highlight valuable qualities like leadership, project management, and technical proficiencies. Creating or updating professional platforms like LinkedIn to showcase unique strengths and achievements is also essential. By reframing military backgrounds in corporate vernacular and leveraging modern networking tools, veterans can effectively market their qualifications to prospective employers.

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Be honest and transparent with potential employers

Honesty and transparency have been constants throughout Amy's transitions. "Don't be evasive or elusive with potential employers. Be open about your experiences, both the triumphs and the challenges," she advises. "Employers value authenticity and the unique perspectives that veterans bring to the table."

Fuel your journey with education and exploration

Amy's military assignments and adventures have taken her on uncharted paths, from traversing the roads of Sri Lanka, where elephants roamed freely, to navigating the complexities of redefining her brand during transitions. Through it all, she has learned the value of education, pursuing a master's degree after a deployment to broaden her horizons and position herself for roles in the State Department.

Transitioning from the military can also be an opportunity to explore new passions and interests. Amy discovered a love for photography and curating exhibits during her time as a public affairs officer, finding fulfillment in visual storytelling and opening up new avenues for creative expression.

As she reflects on her own transitions, Amy expresses gratitude for the opportunities they have provided her to grow, learn, and expand her horizons. "Volunteering for causes I care about has also played a big role in helping me navigate my passions and purpose. The skills and resilience cultivated during my military service have served me well in the civilian workforce, allowing me to tackle new challenges with confidence and determination."

For those considering entrepreneurship, Amy's journey with her husband in purchasing a commercial pool cleaning business in 2014 provided invaluable lessons on taking calculated risks and embracing challenges. "Entrepreneurship allows you to leverage your leadership skills, adaptability, and problem-solving abilities honed during your military service," she says, encouraging veterans to explore this path.

Make your journey your own!

Remember, the transition process is not a one-size-fitsall experience. Each veteran's journey is unique, shaped by their individual goals, aspirations, and circumstances. Amy encourages veterans to embrace the uncertainty and be willing to adapt and pivot as needed, seeking out mentors, tapping into veteran support networks, and taking advantage of available resources.

"Know that you possess a wealth of invaluable experiences and a mindset that sets you apart. Embrace the transition as a chance to redefine yourself, explore new passions, and continue making a positive impact in your community and beyond."

Need help with your transition? Have questions? Link up with Eve on Linked In today / June 2024 41
To her fellow veterans embarking on this journey, Amy offers these words of wisdom:
42 / June 2024 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 / June 2024 43 Helping today's heroes achieve success by making it easier to run a small business. Contact Eve Nasby, Band of Hands president and passionate military supporter to learn more. D o M o r e . S t r e s s L e s s . I f i t ' s r e l a t e d t o e m p l o y m e n t , w e h a n d l e i t f o r y o u . W e a l s o p r o v i d e : M e d i c a l b e n e f i t s a n d 4 0 1 K f o r y o u r e m p l o y e e s a t n o a d d i t i o n a l c o s t t o y o u 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 h a n d l i n g W o r k e r s C o m p c l a i m h a n d l i n g A Veteran Owned Business proudly supporting Veterans, Military Spouses and active duty Military looking for work and employers needing great workers. We do all this for you. We've got your back. Our one-stop shop turnkey employment solution makes it simple and affordable for businesses to hire, employ and remain compliant.

Transition to Business HUMAN RESOURCES

Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “Occupational Outlook Handbook” in Your Private Sector Job Search

Occupational Outlook

Transitioning from the military to the private sector can feel like an overwhelming and daunting challenge, but there are certain tools available to help you navigate the hurdles. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website is a good place to start to gain a 30,000-foot view of the terrain, especially their Occupational Outlook Handbook (www. Why? Because it projects job growth over the next decade, which is one of the most important considerations in your job search strategy. You can browse “Occupations” that are the highest paying and fastest growing as well as where the most “new jobs” will be created. You can also browse “Resources” that show the ten-year growth projections of particular roles by industry.

If I have your attention at this point, it’s because this tool actually projects the “hidden job market” and anchors where you might want to spend your time and efforts in launching your job search. Specifically, the “Occupational Groups” you’ll find on the main page cover everything from construction to transportation to healthcare to education and protective services, and more. (The “Military Careers” section also provides some interesting insights.) And when you click on a particular role (for example, Human Resources Manager), you’ll find a treasure trove of additional information, including

median pay, educational requirements, work experience in related occupations, and most important, the “Job Outlook” from 2022 – 2032. These projections are developed from payroll data and economic research collected and updated on an ongoing basis.

When it comes to career management, industry trumps company and position. In other words, industries dictate job growth and security more than just about anything else these days. Since I come from the HR world, we can look at human resources as a prime example. HR, as a discipline, has become significantly elevated in the eyes of business owners and senior corporate executives because of its focus on talent management. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, talent availability has become a key driver of company growth. Thanks to the talent scarcity that we continue to face in this postCovid reintegration phase, organizations realize that people are not expendable and that accessing talent through new sources is the key, not just to beating the competition but to keeping the doors open. Yet, HR may still be regarded as an “overhead” discipline in times of economic slowdown or other challenges. Your greatest career defense mechanism as an HR professional will lie in knowing where the jobs are across industries.

Job Outlook Tool: The Best Kept Job Search Secret in Town

When you click on the “Job Outlook” tab for the “Human Resources Manager” classification, you’ll see at the top of the page the job growth prospects for “All Occupations” (for example, three percent). You’ll then see that the job growth prospects for HR Managers come in at a different number (for example, five percent). That’s a healthy trend for an HR management career path relative to the overall job market because it shows HR growing faster than average.

Next, on the “Job Outlook” page, scroll down to the “Get Data” link under the heading “Employment Projections Data for Human Resources Managers, 2022 – 2032.”

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There you’ll find your treasure. Click on the “Employment Percentage Change” column in the spreadsheet provided, and you’ll see that—relative to the five percent overall growth that the HR management role will experience over the next ten years—the fastest and slowest growing HR management roles by industry might look like this:

Employment Percentage Change, 2022 – 2032

Job Search Gold

You get the idea. . . You can perform a similar search for positions in sales, marketing, IT, finance, or any other functions or disciplines listed. And then match those roles to industries that are experiencing extensive or average growth versus decline. A +40/-40% span tells you that anchoring your career planning to a particular industry or industries is a critical factor in your longerterm career planning considerations. And this certainly makes for some fascinating interview discussions, doesn’t it?

The BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook data changes every few years, and the numbers can shift—sometimes significantly—over time. Remember, these are only projections. But tweaking your career focus from paper to digital publishing or targeting pharmaceutical versus paper manufacturing can have a substantial impact on your longer-term career trajectory. So, keep this website and spreadsheet in mind when mapping out your longer-term career path and goals. Candidates armed with this level of intelligence will be well prepared for the swiftly changing markets to follow—and employers will surely be impressed when you share your knowledge of the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook during your interview.

Paul Falcone ( is a consultant specializing in management & leadership training, keynote speaking, and executive coaching.

His bestselling books on hiring, performance management, and leadership development are available at / June 2024 45 THE PAUL FALCONE LEADERSHIP SERIES WORKPLACE ETHICS EFFECTIVE HIRING NEW MANAGERS LEADERSHIP OFFENSE LEADERSHIP DEFENSE
Electrical Equipment and Component Manufacturing Transportation and Warehousing Healthcare and Social Assistance Utilities Postal Service Coal Mining +38.8% +13.5% +7.9% +0.8% -6.7% -42.2%

Veterans Make Great Entrepreneurs FRANCHISE DREAMs

Misconceptions About Franchising: Insights for Veterans

Franchising presents a unique opportunity for veterans transitioning from military service to civilian life. The structure, support, and established systems can make it an appealing option for those accustomed to discipline and teamwork. However, several misconceptions about franchising can deter veterans. I’d like to take a moment to debunk some of the most common myths, specifically from a veteran's perspective.

Myth 1: Franchising Guarantees Success

A prevalent myth is that franchising guarantees business success. While franchises often have higher success rates than independent startups due to established brand standards and support systems, they are not a guaranteed ticket to prosperity. Veterans, familiar with rigorous training and strategic planning, understand that success depends on several factors such as location, market conditions, and their management skills. The military's emphasis on preparedness and adaptability can be crucial in navigating these variables.

Myth 2: Franchises Are Easy to Run

Some believe that franchises are simple to operate because they come with a set operational model. This misconception can be misleading. Managing a franchise requires effort in areas like staffing, marketing, and customer service. Veterans, who excel in leadership and operational excellence, are well-suited to handle these challenges. The franchisor provides a framework, but veterans must apply their discipline and leadership to execute the business plan effectively.

Myth 3: Franchises Are Mainly for Fast Food

When people think of franchises, they often picture fast food chains like McDonald's. However, franchising spans numerous industries, including healthcare, education, home services, and even kitchen and bath remodeling. Veterans, with their diverse skill sets and experiences, can explore a wide array of franchise opportunities that align with their interests and strengths. This opens possibilities that allow veterans to find a niche that suits their passions and career goals.

Myth 4: Franchisees Lack Independence

Another common misconception is that franchisees are merely extensions of the franchisor with little independence. Franchisees are independently owned and operated, providing you with significant control over your business operations, from staff management to local community involvement. Veterans, who are used to making decisions in high-stakes environments, can thrive in this model. The structure provided by the franchisor ensures consistency, but the day-to-day operations and local adaptations are in the hands of the franchisee.

Myth 5: Franchising Is Only for Large Investors

Many veterans might believe that franchising requires a substantial financial investment. While some franchises do have high entry costs, many are affordable and offer financing options. There are also specific programs and incentives designed to assist veterans in franchise ownership. Organizations like VetFran (go to to learn more) provide resources and discounts to help veterans transition into franchising, making it accessible to those with varying budget levels. At DreamMaker, we’re proud to offer veterans a 20% discount on their franchise fee.

For veterans considering franchising, understanding these misconceptions is crucial. Franchising offers a structured yet flexible path to entrepreneurship, blending the benefits of proven processes and systems with the autonomy of running a business. With realistic expectations and the right approach, veterans can find a rewarding and prosperous career in franchising.

Doug Dwyer is the President & CSO of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen, a company dedicated to helping its remodeling franchisees achieve Strong Margins and a Quality of Life.

46 / June 2024 / June 2024 47
48 / June 2024 Become a certified IT professional in 15 weeks with no prior experience necessary! Talk to our friendly veterans admissions counselor today! • GI Bill & MyCAA Approved • Flexible Schedule • Online & In-person Hybrid Classes • Small Class Size • Hands-on Training • Lifelong Job Placement and Career Counseling • Technical Support Specialist • IT Support Technician • Network Administrator • Network Analyst • Systems Administrator Why ICOHS College? Career Outcomes: The median IT job salary in the US was about $88,000 last year. READY TO TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR CAREER? (858)581-9460


Our sports managements program supports professionals striving to become leaders in the exciting athletics field. Enrolled students can complete coursework entirely online while receiving guidance from high level coaches, retired pros, and sports industry experts. / June 2024 49
Launching your business in Sports Leadership Principles in Sports Strategic Communication in Sports Ethics in Sports Game within the Game NIL basics This program is transferable with our University partners for credit. For more info email

Transition: Veterans & Successful Businesses

San Diego Veterans Magazine had a chance to catch up with a few veterans who started successful businesses. The following veterans were happy to offer advice and share their experiences.

Cynthia Williams - Veteran and cancer survivor who champions black-owned businesses and owns Molly Maid of Winder and Athens. After a decade in the Marine Corps and overcoming leukemia, she embraced small business ownership, founding her Neighborly company over 10 years ago.

SDVM: What were your first few months out of the service like?

Cynthia: Surreal. I missed the structure and the camaraderie of the service where you knew your responsibilities and your unit worked together to get them done. In my first civilian job, I had to learn to get my employees to work together without the directness and speed that I was used to. I had to learn patience relying on leadership more.

SDVM: If you had to name just one, what quality or skill from your service most applies to being a small business owner?

Cynthia: A small business owner has several moving parts, so you must be able to plan, set goals, and motivate others. When your business starts to grow, you will have to train and delegate to your employees, and they need to trust in your vision. With strong leadership, you can grow and guide your business to where you want it to go.

Eric Garcia - Army veteran that grew up in extreme poverty and overcame significant challenges to secure a scholarship to the University of Arkansas as a firstgeneration Mexican American college student. After a few semesters, he joined the military to help his family out of bankruptcy, serving for eight years. Recently, Garcia and fellow veteran Garrett Peek opened Neighborly’s 350th Mr. Handyman location.

SDVM: How did your time in the service influence your current career goals?

Eric: My time in the service influenced my current career goals through the discipline and structure I gained from the military. It helped cultivate, inspire and energize my entrepreneurial spirit.

SDVM: Tell me a little about your business, and do you have a website, if so, can you give me the URL and I’ll share it with our readers.

Eric: Our business is Mr. Handyman of Fort Smith, a Neighborly company, and we have service professionals that provide a range of services for home maintenance and repair needs - both residential and commercial. Our team provides value and expertise with our skilled craftsmen offering their reliable, quality work to our River Valley community. Find us at

Sara and Sean Bess - A married couple who met in Air Force training 22 years ago have achieved much: both became decorated Air Force Officers, Sara was among the first women to fly the F-15E in combat, they raised four kids, and they opened Mosquito Joe of Northwest Florida.

SDVM: What barriers did you face when starting your own company?

Sean & Sara: We had normal feelings of doubt— wondering if we had made the right decision and if our business would be successful. There were typical challenges from learning the business software to government licensing to logistical challenges.

Sara and I both excel at problem-solving, especially when the problem may be challenging to define. We both can keep our wits about us under fire (literally); so, the Air Force was a great proving ground for the challenges that we would face starting a business.

SDVM: What’s the top piece of advice you’d give a veteran who’s thinking about starting a small business?

Sean & Sara: Take the time to research the business requirements and make sure that lifestyle is compatible with your life. The type of business you select matters.

Even more so than the military, business is a team sport, and it helps to have a few people that you

50 / June 2024

can trust and seek advice from to keep things in perspective. A good teammate will also help you distill what core process, experience or service drives profit. It’s important to have a realistic mindset about the time it will take to reach profitability and make sure that your partner(s) is aligned.

Additionally, a franchise model, like Neighborly’s, gave us both a proven process to follow with a track record of success; but also, a cohort of fellow franchisees to collaborate with and incubate new ideas.

Finding a job in the civilian world may seem easy at first. After all, you have learned skills, practiced leadership and demonstrated initiative that will make you successful wherever you go.

The reality, though, is that it can be difficult. In fact, it can be downright depressing, emotivating and you may feel totally disillusioned.

Veterans In Transition is dedicated to you and to helping you succeed in your transition.

For editorial & monthly columns regarding transitioning to business, career advice, tips, workshops, transition to education, entrepreneurship, straight-forward legal tips for Military and Veteran Business Owners please visit our website. / June 2024 51
Sara and Sean Bess Eric & Business Partners Cynthia Williams
IN TRANSITION Transitioning out of the Military into the Civilian Workforce?
SD Veterans Magazine-Veterans-In-Transition


How Do You Reward Excellence?

“We choose to go…not because it is easy, but because it is hard, because that goal will serve to measure and organize the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”

- John Fitzgerald Kennedy on sending a man to the moon

All Military service groups have always been proud of the accomplishments of the men and women who serve; be it with ribbons, medals of honor or advancing someone’s rank. Simply put, a reward is an extrinsic symbol for the enforcement and celebration of intrinsic values.

So let me ask you, as an entrepreneur/business owner, how do you inspire, promote and celebrate the achievement of your goals? How do you acknowledge and appreciate yourself?” That's right: YOU. Just YOU!

Seriously, think about it. Goals are natural value generators, often because of what you learn and become enroute to their achievement. But having a reward that honors and symbolizes that achievement is a powerful motivator for continued progress and performance excellence.

If you want to improve your performance results, increase innovation to gain and sustain competitive advantages, create an environment that fosters excellence and ethical behavior then you must make rewards and recognition standard protocol.

Whether it's a War Hero receiving a Medal of Honor, an Olympic athlete winning a Gold Medal, an Author being granted a Pulitzer Prize, a Martial Artist earning a Black Belt, or a young child winning a trophy for a local spelling bee - rewards and recognition promote and define personal excellence. They provide an effective but uncomplicated means for reinforcing quality, and worldclass behaviors.

Often we achieve things which we have been planning and visualizing, and then forget to even notice that we have succeeded. So, give yourself some appreciation everyday, not just a pat on the back.

The need for recognition and approval is a fundamental human drive, and one of the motivators behind our willingness to give and serve.

The goal of rewards, recognition and celebration is to feed your motivation and to promote and define excellence.

Therefore, the success of your endeavors that provides constant recognition and applause is one that rewards the good behavior it wants repeated. When you reward the right behavior and its results, you almost guarantee repeat performance.

When you start from a place of feeling positive about that behavior, then you create the necessary positive energy which attracts people, resources and opportunities that match that vibration.

As you approach a new month, I encourage you to become a great believer in the importance of celebration and rewards that boost that energy so that you identify the behavior you want repeated in yourself, your family and associates.

Barbara Eldridge President/ Founder of Mind Masters an organization that provides business owners a proven, repeatable process that keeps the focus on the business of success. She can be reached at (858) 467-9091 or visit

52 / June 2024 / June 2024 53 ENROLL NOW AT WFW.ORG Workshops for Warriors is a nonprofit school that provides veterans and transitioning service members with hands-on training and nationallyrecognized credentials in CNC machining, CAD/CAM programming, and welding. Our students earn credentials that open doors to jobs anywhere in the U.S. Call us at (619) 550-1620. CAD/CAM Programming CNC Machining Welding DoD SkillBridge Organization BEFORE SERVED HONORABLY. AFTER EARNED A CAREER IN JUST 4 MONTHS.

legal Eagle

Straight-forward legal tips for Military and Veteran Business Owners


Selling your business is a very complex process and most business owners have never been through a sale process before. But business owners have more options than they realize. Lacking a team of professional advisors, including a strong M&A Advisor, corporate/ transaction attorney and a CPA/tax advisor could have serious financial and tax consequences for both the business owner and the company so seek professional help from the beginning of the process. It pays to understand the various methods to sell or partially cash out of your business for a successful exit.

An outright sale could be the simplest and best way to exit a business. This makes sense when a business owner’s family members have no interest in taking it over or when the owner does not have the desire or capital to take the company to the next level.

There are several ways to sell your business. Regarding the structure of a sale, a business owner can:

• Sell the company’s assets outright, or you can

• Sell the stock in the company (or units if it is a limitedliability company).

Stock sales benefit the seller, while asset sales are more beneficial to the buyer, especially from a liability and tax standpoint.


Asset sales involve transferring the company’s equipment, facilities, customers, and customer contracts, as well as intellectual property, such as trademarks and patents including intangibles like goodwill. Asset sales do not involve liabilities (unless specified by the buyer) and are generally protected against prior lawsuits facing the business.


Stock sales involve buying the company itself along with the exposure to all of its legal issues and potential problems, as well as the liabilities of the company. This is why most sales of small or mid-size, closely held businesses are structured as asset sales.


Companies with $10,000,000 or more in revenue and $1,500,000 or more in EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) can explore selling all or a large portion of their business to a professional Private Equity firm. This method comes with stipulations but has many advantages and potential upside. It also enables business owners to take a significant amount of cash up front and still work as the CEO until the business is sold 100%.


Selling the business to its management team is also a popular option for the right company. An owner might use this method when the company has a trusted, entrepreneurial management team that wants to carry on the business, and this represents the best and most flexible process for the business owner. The primary advantage to this method is that the business owner doesn’t have to spend time trying to seek out a buyer. The trade-off for a streamlined sale is that the purchase price may be lower than what an outside strategic buyer would pay.


Another option is to sell the company to its employees through an employee stock-ownership plan (ESOP). Setting up these plans can be a complex undertaking, but they have their advantages. With an ESOP, the owner may want to remain with the company while slowly employees with a long-term incentive for loyalty and hard work. With this method, the company sets up

54 / June 2024

transitioning the business over time. It’s a way to reward an independent trust (the ESOP) that buys the owner’s stock at a price set by an independent valuation firm. The trust holds the stock for the employees for as long as they work for the company. When an employee leaves or retires, the employee can sell the stock back to the company at fair market value. This can be a challenge as some business owners don’t like having a third party determine the value of their business as it may mean accepting a lower price than they could receive on the open market. Also, the company has to grow or have cash on hand to buy back employee shares when workers leave. This can divert cash from other business uses and can be a real cash drain if several employees leave the company in close proximity.


Owners who want to sell their stake gradually, or who want to take some cash out of the business without giving up control, can recapitalize the business, or change its financial structure using instruments such as stock, preferred stock or debt. Suppose there is an outside buyer who is interested in acquiring the business but doesn’t want to buy it outright up front. The company could issue Preferred Stock and sell it to the potential buyer on a predetermined schedule. This gives the owner cash up front, while the buyer has a chance to learn the company’s operations and line up financing before taking it over completely.

There are many options for business owners who want to sell or cash out. The best method depends on the desire and health of the business and the owner. Understanding your options and getting the right advice from a team of experienced business professionals, such as an M&A Advisor, corporate/transaction attorney and a CPA/financial advisor will make it far easier to pursue the method that’s best for you.

If you need help determining the best asset protection strategies, we can help. 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 business falls on you.

Click here to schedule your consultation.

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

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Veterans Chamber of Commerce

The Pros and Cons of Home Equity Loans - “Just the Basics”

In the world of real estate financing, home equity loans stand out as a compelling option for homeowners looking to leverage the value of their property to access additional funds.

However, like any financial decision, there are both advantages and disadvantages to consider before pursuing this avenue. Let's consider the pros and cons of home equity loans, along with exploring alternative options available in the market.

Advantages of Home Equity Loans:

1. Lower Interest Rates: Home equity loans typically offer lower interest rates compared to other forms of borrowing, such as personal loans or credit cards. This is because the loan is secured by the equity in your home, making it less risky for lenders.

2. Lump Sum Payment: Home equity loans provide borrowers with a lump sum of cash up front, allowing for greater flexibility in how the funds are used. Whether it's renovating your home, covering unexpected expenses, or funding a major purchase, you have control over how you allocate the money.

Disadvantages of Home Equity Loans:

1. Risk of Foreclosure: Since home equity loans use your property as collateral, defaulting on the loan could result in foreclosure. It's crucial to ensure that you can afford the loan payments and understand the potential consequences of defaulting.

2. Additional Fees and Closing Costs: Like any loan, home equity loans may come with fees and closing costs.

3. Tapping into Home Equity: By taking out a home equity loan, you're essentially borrowing against the “CURRENT” value of your home. This may reduce the equity you have in your property.

Additional Financing Options:

1. Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC): Similar to a home equity loan, a HELOC allows you to borrow against the equity in your home. However, rather than receiving a lump sum upfront, you have access to a line of credit that you can draw from as needed. This provides expenses or projects with uncertain costs.

2. Cash-Out Refinance: With a cash-out refinance, you replace your existing mortgage with a new one that's larger than your current loan balance. The difference between the two mortgages is paid out to you in cash, which you can use for various purposes. This option allows you to access your home equity while potentially securing a lower interest rate on your overall mortgage.

3. Personal Loans: If you don't want to use your home as collateral or are unable to qualify for a home equity loan, personal loans are another option to consider. These unsecured loans typically have higher interest rates but may be suitable for smaller borrowing needs or if you prefer not to tap into your home equity.

Make sure to contact a Veteran-Friendly Lender –Contact us for the list of Veteran-Friendly Lenders in your area.

Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational purposes only. Make sure to consult with a real estate financing Loan expert who can provide valuable guidance in navigating these decisions and finding the right solution for you.

56 / June 2024 / June 2024 57 No down payment, No PMI Use your VA loan multiple times Single-Home or Multi-Units C a l l u s r e a l e s t a t e VA E X P E R T S Michael Bullock Real Estate Broker HOUSING FOR HEROES RE# 01237037 ( 9 4 9 ) 2 9 5 4 3 0 0 V e t e r a n - F r i e n d l y A g e n t ( 9 4 9 ) 2 9 5 4 3 0 0 HOUSING FOR HEROES


Insurance Info & Risk Management Tips


It is impossible to predict where and when an earthquake will strike but it can help to be prepared and have a plan - just in case. Earthquakes happen all over the country but the west coast up to Alaska is a hotbed of activity due to the Pacific and North American plate overlap. Anyone living in California long enough will tell you that it is a hazard we have to deal with!

Earthquakes are terrifying and cause lasting damage to homeowners and business owners alike. Like homeowners coverage, a standard business insurance policy DOES NOT include Earthquake coverage. It is something you would purchase separately or possibly endorse on to your current policy. This type of insurance can be a bit pricey, and the deductibles can be high, so you would want to weigh the risk of having or not having this coverage. If you live/work in an area that is especially prone for earthquakes, it might be advisable to have this coverage.

Businesses most impacted by earthquake damage are those that have a high amount of valuable inventory/ product stored or where revenue is generated by clients coming to the premises such as restaurants and shops. This type of coverage would cover the loss of damaged inventory and also Loss of Use coverage which would cover vendor and employee payments, lease/mortgage, and lost revenue up to a point (generally 3-6 months).

Here are a few risk management tips to consider to prepare for the aftermath of an earthquake:

1) Purchase Earthquake Insurance for your business (and home)

2) Take pictures/videos of your inventory on a regular basis

3) Know the amount of lost revenue you would lose should your business be shut down for 3 months or 6 months (if you had to close and rebuild)

4) Keep some cash on hand in case you cannot access your bank or accounts immediately

5) Make sure any heavy bookshelves, file cabinets, standing large furniture is firmly secured to the wall or floor

6) Have flashlights in various places around the workspace

7) Create an evacuation plan and meeting place for employees (and family)

8) Perform an annual earthquake drill for employees (duck and cover)

9) Have a backup generator in case the electricity is down

10) Create a plan to inform clients of any closure or delay in shipments

If a quake is especially damaging, you may also consider bringing in a crisis counselor to meet with employees. Remember your employees are your number one asset and keeping them safe and reducing their trauma should be a priority.

Having a plan of action and being prepared is one of the only ways we can reduce the impact of an earthquake or frankly any natural disaster.

Talk with your broker and as always, reach out to me at: with any business insurance or risk management questions.

58 / June 2024



The San Diego Veterans Coalition was organized in 2009 and incorporated as a non-profit on May 24, 2011. Using the Collective Impact Model, SDVC is a premier San Diego County-wide monthly convener of over 150 unique member and participating organizations, businesses, and agencies, as well as convening many of that body in our four action groups, and other activities and events. The Collective Impact Model is based on leveraging relationships with other veteran and family serving organizations so that we may provide veterans and their families with a complete array of services and other opportunities.

Many of the organizations that belong to SDVC specialize in one field (education, housing, employment, healthcare). Knowing what services each other provides, we can offer comprehensive support to our local Veteran community. We are proud to work alongside a wide variety of non-profit and for-profit organizations, as well as governmental agencies and individuals. The SDVC is a catalyst that inspires collaboration and cooperation among service partners to deliver premier support for Veterans in the San Diego region and beyond.

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

ONWARD OPS Sponsors all complete a VA-Certified Sponsor Training Course and the Community Integration Coordinators are all validated as best-in-class, trusted, and capable partners in their local region. Our national network, working with the department of defense, the department of veterans affairs, and the department of labor, brings a team together in one common mission: to securely provide the information and relationships needed to help every transitioning service member successfully make the journey out of the military and into civilian life. / June 2024 59

Veteran Resources

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

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

60 WWW.SanDiegoVeteransMagazine / June 2024 Resources
& Support available at:

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 2024 61

Opportunities in Law Enforcement

Military and law enforcement have had a longstanding relationship with overlaps in training exercises, equipment, and, most important, personnel.

It is not uncommon for a service member to make the jump from the military to law enforcement as both professions look for the same characteristics; leadership, fidelity, chain of command, and teamwork are all common themes in both professions.

Quite understandably, many American military veterans often gravitate to a career in law enforcement when the time comes to rejoin the civilian workforce.

The two professions have many fundamental similarities; from the uniforms they wear with pride, to the firm command structure they serve under, to great personal risk they endure while protecting those who cannot protect themselves.

The following agencies are actively hiring & proudly support our veterans, active military and the families that keep together.

62 / June 2024
You’ve served your country, now serve your community! / June 2024 63 Veterans! Join Our Team CHANGE Be the SFPD Salary $103,116 - $147,628 TEXT “JoinSFPD” to (415) 704-3688

SDPD Ride Along: A Story of Two Marines

When I asked to go on a ride along with the San Diego Police Department, making a special request for any veterans-turned-cops, I expected a really serious, possibly dangerous, afternoon of shadowing our city’s toughest crime fighters.

What I got was an afternoon of heartfelt service to our San Diego community, honorable humility and a lot of respect.

When I asked whether former Marine Sergeant Major, Mark Wright, and his partner, former Marine Staff Sergeant, Sean Bunch, had rank or titles he said their titles were just San Diego police officers. They are relatively new partners, but act like they’ve known each other for years, which is usually the case when you get Marines together.

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

Currently, these brothers-in-arms spend their days patrolling the entirety of Balboa Park.

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

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

“We try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt,” said Wright. “We’re not out to get anybody.”

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

Both men say a lot of what they do is talk with museum owners and those living in the neighborhoods surrounding the park about their concerns. A shared concern by all is the park’s homeless population.

Bunch says their posture towards the homeless is mostly that of assistance, adding there are many resources available for those who would take them.

64 / June 2024
Officer Sean Bunch Officer Mark Wright

The city spends a lot of money on resources,” said Bunch. “The biggest problem we run into is whether or not the [homeless] people want them, and a lot of them don’t.”

Thus, the men tend to run into the same issues with the same people pretty often. Although frustrating, they have learned that respect goes a long way when challenged with these repeat offenders. Bunch recalls spotting one such offender in the park, who was in violation of his parole and wanted on warrant. He was unable to get to the offender immediately, but still apprehended him with a verbal request. The parolee waited patiently to be hand-cuffed and arrested, simply out of the respect he held for the law man.

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

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

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

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

Bunch, for instance, did not come to the force straight from the Marines, but from Hollywood. Surprisingly, he is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, working as a military advisor on various productions, like Lonestar 911, and appearing in some as well, such as one of the most recent Men in Black movies.

“I grew up outside of LA,” said Bunch. “So, I’ve always just kind of been around the business and found a place for myself there with all my military experience.”

Bunch hopes to return to work in Hollywood after he leaves the force, bringing with him a new level of experience and respect.

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

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

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

That headlight and mirror became an entire car that was blocking Wright’s entire side of the road.

“I was a heuy crew chief in the Marines and reverted to my training from that, grabbed my shoulders, braced for impact and went flying like a human lawn dart over my handlebars,” said Wright.

Wright landed in the ditch on the side of the road. He says he realized immediately that he had a back and leg issue. He learned that a bystander had called 911, but he requested they call back and state that the injured motorcycle rider was a policeman with the San Diego Police Department and expedite services. This one request would become pivotal in saving Wright’s life.

Continued on next page > / June 2024 65

“What I didn’t know at that time was that I had severed two arteries in my leg, and I was bleeding out,” said Wright.

What Wright would learn later is his heel had also been torn off on the wrecked car as he sailed past it into the ditch. After much pain and many surgeries, Wright would finally lose his leg from the knee down. says he doesn’t let it get him down, though. He’s proud to continue to serve as one of our city’s finest.

Both he and Bunch take much pride in their time as Marines and as San Diego Police Officers. Each officer comes from strong military stock, with Wright’s grandfather being a World War II veteran and Prisoner of War and Bunch’s father a decorated veteran of Vietnam.

All in all, this Army vet’s afternoon with two Marines was an impressive one. Both seasoned public servants, these honorable men have discovered you must give respect to get it, that violence is often not the answer and the most important thing to keep in mind along the way, is a good, human dose of empathy.

more information visit or email us at

66 / June 2024
SDPD Ride Along
Officer Sean Bunch - Amber Robinson (SDVM) - Officer Mark Wright
SDPD / June 2024 67

From Navy Sailor to San Francisco Police Officer

Changing careers can be exciting, exhilarating, and filled with trepidation. Meet Officer Cindy Ovares who has made the transition numerous times – from active-duty service member, to student, massage therapist, teacher, and now police officer.

The life experience she gained in those previous longterm jobs set her up to be successful today. She is doing what she’s always wanted to do – have a career that is challenging and rewarding.

Cindy was like many seniors in high school as she contemplated what she would do after graduation. When the Navy recruiter called the house looking for her brother, the recruiter instead got an eager, independent 17-year-old woman who wanted to find adventure. Just a few months later, she was off to “see the world” and start her first career.

As an Aviation Machinist’s Mate, Petty Officer Ovares was a jet engine mechanic. It was a male-dominated job, and she wanted to prove that anything a man could do, she could do better. She attended military schools in Florida and Virginia to learn her trade, and was later stationed in Lemoore, California. She was attached to VFA-22, an F/A-18 Super Hornet squadron, that deployed on ships. After serving four years on active duty, she earned Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits, and chose to leave the Navy to attend college.

After completing her bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and being a fluent Spanish speaker, she was hired to be a high school Spanish teacher. The job was gratifying; but also, under resourced, understaffed, and had little room to grow professionally. She wanted something new and challenging, was drawn to the community where she grew up, so, in her late 30s she applied to be a police officer.

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

Officer Ovares was accepted to the San Francisco Police Academy and has been an officer for the last three years. She is a foot patrol officer working in the Tenderloin District – a 50-block area that has a storied history, and has been known for homelessness, drugs, and crime.

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

For Officer Ovares, the parallels between serving in the military and serving in law enforcement made the transition go smoothly:

• Routine – You know what to expect before your shift begins (what time to report, what uniform to wear, the structure of the day).

• Camaraderie – The bond between fellow officers is like the bond between your fellow military brothers and sisters.

• Variety – Every day is different with different assignments and duties, so the job is never boring.

• Benefits – Include a competitive salary, paid vacation days, floating holidays, and sick days, healthcare, retirement, and special pay for certain assignments and being bilingual.

As a Latina giving back to her community, she admits that the job comes with highs and lows. Officer Ovares recommends a career in law enforcement for those military members looking to make a smooth transition to a new chapter.

To learn more about the San Francisco Police Department, or to connect with recruiter, go to: / June 2024 69
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