San Diego Veterans Magazine March 2021

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Vol. 3 Number 3 • March 2021



Celebrating Women Trailblazers in the Military

San Diego

Veteran of the month


Honoring Our Beloved Veterans


History Month VetCaregiver Self Check-In

Take Me Home Huey


What’s Next

for Veterans

Transition to Civilian Life / MARCH 2021


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Honor Ride 2021 Honor Ride 2021 will be led by “Battle of the Bulge” machine gunner Vincent J. Speranza who is one of the Honor Flight distinguished veterans highlighted in the Purple Foxes United story. Motorcycle riders throughout our nation will ride to the Vietnam Veterans Wall in Washington, D.C. in May as a tribute to the fallen Vietnam War veterans. Honor Ride 2021 launches on May 15th at Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial.

How can you support? Sponsorship, please contact: Purchase a dog tag representing the 1585 POW/MIA from the Vietnam War. To purchase a dog tag in honor or memory of a veteran, or to learn more about Purple Foxes and Honor Ride 2021, go to: 4 / MARCH 2021

Armed Forces Memorial Amphitheater

A Vision for Miramar National Cemetery More than 20,000 veterans and their loved ones are interred at Miramar National Cemetery. The Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation holds services in the Flag Assembly Area on Memorial Day weekend and on Veterans Day to honor our veterans. The Flag Assembly Area has no permanent seating. The Support Foundation plans to build the Armed Forces Memorial Amphitheater with permanent guest seating in a beautifully landscaped setting. This will be the Support Foundation’s biggest project yet. Its cost—for construction and permanent maintenance—will range from $450,000 to $500,000. No federal funds will be expended. Contributions from corporations, veterans groups, civic organizations, local government, and the public are needed to make this vision reality at Miramar National Cemetery.

Please Contribute Today! Make the Vision a Reality

Armed Forces Memorial Amphitheater Any contribution amount counts!

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




Publisher Editor-In-Chief Mike Miller

Contributing Writers Holly Shaffner Veteran Advocate

RanDee McLain, LCSW A Different Lens

Jenny Lynne Stroup Real Talk: Mental Health

Vicki Garcia

Enlisted to Entrepreneur

CJ Machado

SD Vets & Homeland Photojournalist

Kelly Bagla, Esq. Legal Eagle

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

Joe Molina

Veterans Chamber of Commerce

Eve Nasby

What’s Next - Transitioning

Amber Robinson Arts & Healing

Eva Stimson Veteran Advocate

Paul Falcone

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

Human Resources

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

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

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

Mike Miller Editor-In-Chief 6 / MARCH 2021

David Koontz Midway Magic

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


INSIDE THIS ISSUE 8 Veteran of the Month 10 MIDWAY: Trailblazers in the Military 13 Shared Hardship 16 Women Leading in the Military 17 Celebrating Women’s History Month 18 San Diego Women Veterans Network 20 All For Doll 24 Take Me Home Huey 28 LENS: Social Worker 30 Gary Sinise Foundation - Launches Network 32 Arts & Healing - Dance 34 Real Talk: Strong, Confident Under Pressure 36 Caregivers Benefit From New Initiative 38 VetCaregiver Check-In 40 What’s Next: What’s in a Name 42 Human Resources: Tough Conversations 46 Here to serve those who serve 48 Enlisted to Entrepreneur: Debunking Myths 50 Veterans Chamber: Education 52 Legal Eagle: Minimum Wage CA 54 Money Matters: Credit on Track 56 When a Parent becomes a Caregiver 58 Shelter To Soldier - Graduates 60 SDVC- Homes For Our Troops * Cover Photo by Charlie Neuman / MARCH 2021


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

Casey Meehan, Commander, U.S. Navy (Ret.) “It was the best year of our life, and it was the worst year of our life.” That is the way U.S. Navy Nurse Casey Meehan describes her experience in the Vietnam War. This month is Women’s History Month and on March 29th, the U.S. will recognize National Vietnam Veterans Day. So, who better for our Veteran of the Month than a woman veteran who served in Vietnam? This story starts in 1959 when Meehan, a newly graduated college student and freshly minted Ensign started her twenty-year career in the Navy. She had no idea all the doors this opportunity would open for her and all the adventures she had coming her way.

Early in her career, she had several assignments in hospitals around the world, including in Japan and the Philippines. She was completing her tour in Great Lakes, IL when her supervisor asked her to complete a “Dream Sheet” for her next assignment. With nine years of nursing experience under her belt and an understanding of being stationed abroad, she volunteered for assignment in country in Vietnam. She and her six other nurses had long days of travel, in uniform (with corset, nylons, and heels), and in August 1968, she and 220 troops arrived in Da Nang, Vietnam. She recalls how hot and humid it was when the doors of the airplane opened. She stood at the top of the stairs, looking out to her new home, and said, “Dear Lord, please help me make it through this year.”

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Meehan was stationed at the Naval Support Activity Hospital and estimates that approximately 22,000 patients came through the hospital during her tour there. She said that they came through so fast that she really did not have the time to get to know them indepth. One patient, however, she remembered very well. She was about two and a half months into her tour in the ICU and one day, “a great hullabaloo” happened. Several USMC Generals, two Navy Admirals and the base CO came into the unit. She asked why they were there, and they told her, “a VIP was on their way from the operating room.” That VIP was USMC 2nd Lt. Lewis Puller. If you don’t know the last name Puller, you should know that Lewis’ dad was USMC Lieutenant General (retired) Lewis “Chesty” Puller. General Puller was a legend in the USMC, having served 37 years in the Corps. He is still the most highly decorated Marine in history. The younger Puller had been severely injured and lost both his legs and several fingers. He stayed at the ICU for two days, survived surgery and treatment, and was flown back to the U.S. – but the Puller story does not end there. Fast forward 23 years to 1991. Meehan and her two of her fellow military sisters were visiting the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. Meehan says the experience of being there among so many vets was overwhelming. Tears easily flowed after bear hug greetings and fellow Vietnam vets telling her, “Welcome Home.”

Those sentiments resound among the wounded men of the Vietnam War – that they owe their lives to the nurses who treated them and kept them alive. It is estimated that about 6,000 U.S nurses (Army, Navy, Air Force) served in country in Vietnam. We found Meehan through the Navy Nurse Corps Association of Southern California. In San Diego, the organization has over 100 nurses who served during the Vietnam era. Their mission is to “Promote the Navy Nurse Corps Legacy through Camaraderie, Mentorship, and Historical Preservation.” We thank Meehan for service, her story, and for preserving history. Meehan retired from the Navy, had a successful postmilitary career, and homesteaded in San Diego. She looks back at her time in Vietnam, living in a Quonset hut which she was appreciative for to “just go back and cry, scream, or sleep” after a long ICU shift, and for being able to travel. Between duty stations she was able to travel for six weeks throughout the Middle East and Europe. Like many military members, she made life-long friends and life-long memories. To all the Vietnam Veterans, we say, “Welcome Home.” To learn more about the Navy Nurse Corps Association, go to:

She saw a double amputee man sitting in a wheelchair; her fellow nurses asked him when he was in country and where was he treated. He told them when and where and it was Lew Puller! They chatted for a bit, took pictures, and he told them that he had a book being released. They promised to buy his book and in November 1991, they received a special autographed copy. The inscription read:

“To Casey Meehan and Dottie Yelle, Whose embrace of the healing profession saved the lives of countless young men like me during the Vietnam War. I owe you a debt that can never be repaid. Nevertheless, I hope that you will regard this book as, at least, partial repayment. With love, respect, admiration, and gratitude… Welcome Home, Lew B. Puller

Photo by Charlie Neuman / MARCH 2021


Celebrating Women Trailblazers in the Military No one said it would be easy. While the U.S. military has stood guard and fought wars at home and on foreign shores for nearly 250 years, women have been fighting nearly as long to not only serve their nation in uniform, but to get equal footing and acceptance as members of the armed forces. It’s been a slow go, but they’ve never given up. “When I enlisted in the Navy, there were only 22 jobs for women to choose from,” said Peg Trout, a USS Midway Museum volunteer with more than 2,300 volunteer hours who joined the Navy in 1970 working in aviation maintenance. “It’s wonderful that all jobs are now open to women. It has taken from World War II until just the last few years for that to happen. But women have proven themselves and should be offered the opportunity to do a job they like, including combat-related roles.” The first women to officially serve in the U.S. Navy were 20 nurses – known as the “Sacred Twenty” – following the establishment of the Navy Nurse Corps in 1908. It took another 66 years until the first female Navy pilot was awarded her wings of gold in 1974. Women were finally permitted to serve on Navy combatant ships in 1994. Today, women serve their country in every Navy rank from seaman to admiral and in every job from pilot to submariner.

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“When I joined, women weren’t always popular or wanted in the Navy by some because the overwhelming majority of women didn’t go to sea,” said Hope Andrews, a Californian who served four years as a yeoman in the mid-1970s and began volunteering as a docent on the Midway in 2010. “I believe just like a man, if a woman has the capability to do the job she should be able to compete for it.”

The achievements of women are hailed every March during Women’s History Month, and within the military, the hard-fought successes of women who have and continue to triumph as trailblazers in the uninformed services are also celebrated. “My dad raised me with the wisdom that I could do anything I set my mind to,” said Catherine Flores, a nearly 800-hour Midway volunteer from Albuquerque, New Mexico, who spent 10 years in the Navy as a torpedoman’s mate. “I still believe that today. You should not be prejudiced that females can only cook and clean. We have and will continue to prove we are amazing and resilient.”

Dianne Wilkie, a 20-year Army vocational nurse and New York native whose family has roots in the military dating back to the Spanish American War, admits there were some very difficult times but wouldn’t have done it differently. “In a post-Vietnam War male-orientated field environment, the challenges were too hard to describe, but the Army provided structured environment and foundation in which to build a civilian career.”

“My time in the Navy was well spent and I look back on that period of my life with pride,” said Hope, who recently retired as a lieutenant following 30 years with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. The USS Midway was decommissioned before women were allowed to serve on combat ships, however, as a naval museum, women are now critical members of the ship’s staff and volunteer team. Women are directly responsible for much of the success enjoyed by the Midway, ranked as the fifth best museum in the United States. “I like watching the faces light up when you interact with any guest especially those with special needs,” said Catherine, who currently works in the comptroller’s office at the 12th Marine Corps District. “Can’t think of a better place to be than on Midway.” While on active duty, Peg Trout wasn’t permitted to serve on combat ships. She’s now catching up for lost time. “My number one request would have been to serve on an aircraft carrier, but women were not yet allowed to serve on ships in the 1970s,” said Peg, an Ohio native who spent 26 years teaching and coaching middle school students after leaving the Navy. “But now I have an emotional attachment to the Midway. My dream came true. I get to serve on an aircraft carrier.” As trailblazers for women in the military, Peg, Hope, Catherine and Dianne not only opened doors for women who currently serve, but are now treasures for Midway. “I like being in a military environment and interacting with the guests to give them a better understanding of what it was like to serve on an aircraft carrier,” said Dianne, who spent nearly 15 years as registered nurse in the postpartum ward at Naval Medical Center San Diego following her retirement from the Army. “The Midway is like a new baby that I get to watch and grow.” / MARCH 2021


Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation ANNOUNCEMENTS

NOMINATIONS SOUGHT FOR MARINE WIFE RECOGNITION AWARD The Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation is now accepting nominations for the Irene Ferguson Marine Wife Recognition Award. Founded by WWII pilot and Escondido resident, Maj Glenn Ferguson (USMC-retired), the award honors the resiliency, strength, and dedication of the wives of active-duty Marines with a ceremony, cash award and other gifts. Nominations are due by March 19, 2021. Friends and family members can submit online nominations and get more information at:

STUDENT ART AND ESSAY CONTESTS NOW ACCEPTING ENTRIES: "Who is Your Hero?" is the prompt for the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation's annual essay contest. All 6th-12th grade students residing in San Diego County qualify. There are cash awards available for both students and teachers. Guidelines, the online submission form and a downloadable flyer are available at: The deadline is April 14, 2021. For students who are artistically-inclined, the Flying Leathernecks host the annual "Marines in Flight" Art Contest. All San Diego students in grades 6-12 qualify. Guidelines, the online submission form, information about the awards and a downloadable flyer for the art contest are available at:

The deadline for the art contest is April 6, 2021

ABOUT THE FLYING LEATHERNECK HISTORICAL FOUNDATION The Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation's mission is to preserve the history of U.S. Marine Corps aviation, honor military service, and inspire in all generations an appreciation of America’s freedoms and values. The Foundation has established a collaboration with the Character Education Resource Center at the University of San Diego to provide lessons in U.S. history, leadership, character, patriotism, and aviation science.



Over the past century, women veterans have seen their options expand, but have services and respect kept pace? By Rob Lewis and Mary Dever


hen Opha May Johnson became the first woman to enlist in the Marine Corps in 1918, she took the oath to defend a nation that wouldn’t even allow her to vote. Even with the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, which finally granted Johnson and all other American women the right to a voice at the ballot box, gaining respect, support and appreciation for their contributions in uniform has been slow. Since the founding of our nation, women have served and sacrificed—first to establish and then to defend our republic. While this service has evolved from roles as nurses, telephone operators and typists to Army Rangers, special forces operators and fighter pilots, recognition and inclusion— including care for those women who have borne the wounds of battle or otherwise suffered disability as a result of their service—has been a persistent issue.

Delphine Metcalf-Foster, an Army veteran of the Persian Gulf War who went on to become DAV’s first woman national commander in 2017, said that being female in a male-dominated military culture strengthened her character and sharpened her fortitude. “It wasn’t easy,” she said in her acceptance speech. “But I’d like to believe I came through with the same fighting spirit that my male counterparts had.” In the years following the first Gulf War, Tammy Duckworth’s generation of women warriors continued to make advancements. She was commissioned in the Army Reserve in 1992 and went on to serve in the Illinois National Guard, where she ultimately became a Blackhawk helicopter pilot. During the Iraq War in 2004, her helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade—the crash resulting in the loss of both of her legs and partial use of one arm. Such hardship didn’t stop Duckworth from seeing out her military career, and following her retirement as a lieutenant / MARCH 2021


Above: Army nurses arrive in Scotland, 1944. (National Archives). Right: Linda Bryant enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) in May 1977, 17 months before the WAC was disbanded. Bryant was one of the first women to integrate into previously all-male units. (Photo by Spc. David M. Ryder/U.S. Army)

colonel, she went on to first serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and then to become the first double amputee to serve in the U.S. Senate. “I’ve never tried to be a trailblazer. I’ve just tried to do my job,” said Duckworth, who was named DAV’s Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year in 2008. Duckworth said that as women have continued to prove themselves on the battlefield and beyond, their respect and responsibilities have only increased. “We’ve had multiple female four-star [generals] and flag officers, and I think that’s really fantastic,” she said. “You’re seeing even more and more women lead veterans organizations—especially women who have combat time under their belt. “I think this is all good. I think greater diversity at every level is good for veterans organizations and good for our military.” While the population of women in the military has grown and their roles have expanded to include serving in combat operations and experiencing the same war-related injuries suffered by their male peers, women have had to fight for equal access to Department of Veterans Affairs health care services and benefits. Moreover, too many women veterans report they feel as if they don’t belong or that they are not welcome when seeking the care and specialized services they need. More than 60% of women veterans using VA services 14 / MARCH 2021

have a service-connected condition and are eligible for a lifetime of benefits and care, yet many women who served don’t believe they are eligible for these benefits because of their gender. “I believe the major challenges facing women veterans today are that we are still not being seen as equal to our male counterparts. We are just as much a veteran as men are, but with some unique issues,” said DAV National Service Officer Naomi Mathis, a disabled Air Force veteran who served in Iraq. “I recently was asked, again, if my husband was my sponsor for my TRICARE health benefit. It’s imperative that we are seen to fight right alongside, shoulder to shoulder, with our male counterparts so people can see that we can bring a different perspective as a woman.” Recent legislative victories supported by DAV, including the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020, which included 22 provisions from the Deborah Sampson Act, have started leveling the health care playing field in terms of improving access to care and benefits, increasing VA staff cultural competency, and ending sexual assault and harassment within the VA. Among many other things, this legislation requires the creation of an Office of Women’s Health within the VA, establishment of a VA policy to end sexual assault and harassment, expansion of treatment and counseling for

Left: In 1990, Lt. Cmdr. Darlene Iskra became the first woman assigned to command a U.S. Navy ship—the USS Opportune. (Photo by JO1 Mike O’Shaughnessy/U.S. Navy). Below: From left, Army Capt. Kristen Griest, Army Reserve Maj. Lisa Jaster and Army 1st Lt. Shaye Haver were the first women to gain the coveted Ranger tab. (Paul Abell/AP Images for U.S. Army Reserve)

“I’ve never tried to be a trailblazer. I’ve just tried to do my job.” —Sen. Tammy Duckworth, DAV Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year, 2008

sexual trauma, improvements to the Women Veterans Call Center, child care and legal support services for certain veterans, studies on infertility services, and prioritized retrofitting of VA medical facilities to accommodate women veteran patients. “The passage of this comprehensive bill at the end of the 116th Congress reflects the commitment to ensuring we’re continuing to refine and improve care and support services for women veterans,” said National Legislative Director Joy Ilem. “It represents years of hard work and advocacy by DAV

members and truly recognizes the service and sacrifice of our nation’s women veterans.” There is still work to do, but as long as women veterans continue to face challenges wrought by inequality, DAV will be there beside them in the battle for change. “DAV draws no line at male or female when it comes to the word ‘veteran,’” Mathis said. “We have led the charge, and remain in the forefront, of making sure the country knows that, man or woman, veterans put their lives on the line for our country.” n / MARCH 2021


The Case for Women Leading in the Military By Lindsey Sin, CalVet Deputy Secretary for Communications The tradition of women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces is woven into the storied history of this nation. From the country’s founding, through various wars and conflicts to modern times, women steadfastly answered the call to serve, with increased participation in new roles whenever and wherever possible. Women have always exceeded the expectations of their military service; they now serve in more roles and in higher numbers than at any point in our history. In the next decade, we should expect to have the first woman Secretary of Defense, Chairwoman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and woman Secretary of the VA; three barriers women have yet to break through. History makes a clear case for the military skills and abilities of women; today, you don’t have to look far to find a woman who is breaking down barriers in military service. Women have exceeded expectations throughout our nation’s military and wartime history Even though they served in auxiliary roles throughout most of the country’s existence, women proved their courage and capability in a wide range of roles during wartime, including serving as cooks, clerks, couriers, nurses, and spies. According to the Military Women’s Memorial, women providing medical care and triage of wounded troops in the Spanish-American War was so highly valued that it led to the establishment of the Army Nurse Corps in 1901 and the Navy Nurse Corps in 1908. Further proof is evident in the long list of intrepid women who contributed to military intelligence and spycraft. Women such as Underground Railroad conductor and escaped slave Harriet Tubman, who spied for the Union Army; or famous entertainer Hedy Lamar, whose World War II era invention became the foundation for classified communications equipment and cellular phone technology.

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By the end of World War II, women had already proven themselves indispensable to the war effort The Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, passed in 1948, officially established women as part of the U.S. military and entitled them to veterans’ benefits, but heavily restricted their participation by capping the total percentage of who could serve, restricting the rank they could achieve and the jobs they could perform. In the decades that followed, women took every opportunity to enlist or commission into the armed forces, all while experiencing gender-specific restrictions on their promotions and job opportunities. During the first Gulf War, women again demonstrated their abilities during wartime, including as helicopter pilots. In 1991, Congress voted to repeal the 1948 restriction on women flying combat aircraft, though other combat restrictions remained. It should also be noted that the brave women serving in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, primarily as nurses, volunteered to serve, since women have never been included in the U.S. Military Draft. All military occupations are now open to women The 2013 repeal of the ban on women in combat, which opened all military occupations to women by 2016 was yet another opportunity that women quickly seized. To date, over fifty women have graduated from the U.S. Army Ranger School, which only began admitting women in 2015. According to the Department of Defense, among all women on active duty in 2019, 16 percent graduated from a military service academy, first opened to women in 1976; thousands of women have since graduated from the Air Force Academy, the Naval Academy, and West Point. The list of accomplishments and milestones achieved by military women over the last decade alone is significant and their numbers will continue to grow both in active duty and reserve units, and then as veterans. Throughout our history, women have demonstrated time and again their courage and dynamic abilities. We should expect nothing less than women at the helm of our military organizations in the years to come. Contact the California Department of Veterans Affairs to learn more about state and federal veterans benefits, and to learn how we support California’s 1.6 million veterans and their families. -

Celebrating Women’s History Month

Women Veterans Alliance is the premier national network focused on directly impacting the quality of life of women veterans. We do this successfully through transforming the way the community networks to bring people and programs directly together through a reliable and resourceful platform. Our vision is to CONNECT over 2 million Women Veterans (and our supporters) globally for the PURPOSE of sharing our gifts, talents, resources and experience. We are committed to creating a community that Equips, Empowers & Encourages women that have served our country with knowledge, resources, mentorship, and career opportunities to discover & fulfill their greatest potential. We have created a community both online and offline including local women veteran networking groups, community events and national conferences world-wide which provide opportunities to connect and grow. • Directory of Women Veteran Owned Business to promote or connect with local and global businesses. • Assist women that are looking to start or expand a business. • Allies directory of networking groups, meetups, support groups, veteran service organizations, councils and advisory committees that are specifically for women veterans • Comprehensive directory of resources for veterans • Online event calendar of nationwide events • Online store of items such as t-shirts, jewelry, hats, books, pins and more! • Our annual Signature event, The Unconference October 8-10th Tropicana Resort in Las Vegas • Wednesday Webinar Series with great information being shared each week.

& Organizations 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.

Visit us to get more information and to sign up for updates Stay connected follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedn, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.

San Diego Veteran Resources & Organizations available at:

Women Veterans Alliance is a woman, disabled veteran owned small business, that was founded in 2015, by Melissa A. Washington a Navy Veteran who saw a need to bring women veterans together to equip, empower and encourage each other.

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


San Diego Women Veterans Network By Holly Shaffner

For this Women’s History Month, we spotlight a local

nonprofit organization that supports women veterans. According to reports from 2019, there are about 240,000 military veterans in San Diego County and of those veterans, approximately 10-11% are women veterans. With around 25,000 female veterans in the county, the San Diego Women Veterans Network (SDWVN) has a big mission that can affect so many women. It all started with informal get togethers where women vets just wanted to meet their sisters and build camaraderie. Now, ten years later, the organization has become more formalized with planned events (preCOVID), applied for 501(c)3 nonprofit status, developed a website and social media platforms, and established a collaboration and network of service providers for the women veterans in the county. The founder and current President of the organization is U.S. Army veteran, Billiekai Boughton. She started the group when she felt that women vets were being ignored and their voices were not being heard. “We believe women vets are resilient and strong, and they deserve better,” said Boughton. The network has helped women vets who were living in their car, to helping women transition from active duty to civilian life by connecting them with services for jobs and resumes, to fulfilling their #1 request – to meet other women vets. There’s three ways the Network brings it all together: • Provide opportunities to create belonging and community for Women Veterans • Provide a forum for service providers to work together to become more effective and more efficient • Organize and host bridge events to bring the women veterans and service providers together In the past few years, the organization has hosted a Women’s Health Forum, wine tasting and painting events, monthly Women Warrior Walks, walked in the San Diego Veterans Day parade, volunteered with Operation Dress Code to give back to their fellow sisters, and had monthly meetings to develop new events. 18 / MARCH 2021

One of the best events they participated in (and got certified as peer leaders) was the nationally recognized program called WoVeN (Women Veterans Network). It is an 8-week program designed to enhance wellness, quality of life, family relationships, and career satisfaction by building strong connections among women Veterans.

So where is the local SDWVN headed in 2021? Well, a lot depends on the state of the pandemic and State and County Health and Safety restrictions. Prior to COVID, the SDWVN had a career forum planned for female veterans; that event is a goal for when it can safely be held. Their Women Warrior Walks will continue on the second Saturday of each month. The walk is about two hours around Lake Murray; it is family (and pet) friendly and a great way to meet fellow women vets. More info can be found on Meetup at: “I miss being with my sisters,” said Boughton. “We want to get back to live, in-person events so that we can continue to build relationships and thrive and grow.” For more information about the organization, go to: or follow them on Facebook @ SDVWN. If you know a San Diego County woman veteran who needs support, contact Billiekai Boughton directly at: or at (858) 822-5450. For more information about WoVeN, go to: / MARCH 2021


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All For Doll Xenia, Ohio or Bust!

Skytrooper D-Day Doll never misses an opportunity to honor our beloved veterans, especially those who served during WWII. This April 23-25, the Commemorative Air Force’s (CAF) D-Day Doll Inland Empire Wing (IEW) based out of Riverside, California has committed to travel to Xenia, Ohio to participate in Toccoa Original, Jim “Pee Wee” Martin’s 100th Birthday Jump Fest. D-Day Doll along with the CAF C-47 “That’s All Brother,” will drop WWII paratroop reenactors in honor of Pee Wee. “That’s All Brother” was the lead aircraft of the main group of paratroopers on D-Day, June 6, 1944. The event is expected to be the largest birthday tribute of 2021! Pee Wee’s 100th Birthday Jump Fest is a tribute to a member of the hailed 101st Airborne Division “Screaming Eagles,” who are still adorned as the WWII Liberators of Europe for freeing their citizens from Nazi Germany. “Pee Wee,” nicknamed for his small stature during training, parachuted in Normandy on D-Day, Operation Market Garden in Holland and survived the Battle of the Bulge.

Pee Wee served with G Company, 3rd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 101st Airborne Division. “We are honored to be part of Jim “Pee Wee” Martin’s 100th birthday celebration in Ohio this April. Pee Wee and veterans like him are deserving of our respect and gratitude for their war time service to the United States of America,” expressed IEW D-Day Doll’s, CAPT Stephen Rose. The remaining WWII “Screaming Eagles” will be in attendance, including Bob Izumi (97), Tom Rice (99), Dan McBride (97) and Vincent J. Speranza (96). “This may be the last time the WWII “Screaming Eagles” will be together due to COVID travel restrictions and we intend to honor them while they’re still with us,” expressed Dave Krasner, Founder of W and R Vets 501c3 organization which is hosting the event. Continued on next page > / MARCH 2021


The Commemorative Air Force’s Inland Empire Wing’s, D-Day Doll is a specialized paratroop variant (C-53D) of the DC-3 aircraft built during WWII to transport troops and cargo. D-Day Doll was built July 6, 1943 by Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, California. She was #138 in the production line and out of the 380 C-53 aircraft built, only 159 were D models like Doll. D-Day Doll carried troops and Gliders on D-Day during “Operation Overlord.” D-Day was the largest Allied invasion against Nazi Germany. Seventy-five years later, D-Day Doll was called to service once more; to return to Normandy and take part in the largest living historical event of our lifetime. She crossed the Atlantic and the English Channel led by the D-Day Squadron, an American fleet of 15 vintage DC-3’s/C-47’s to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Hundreds of parachutists in WWII period uniform were dropped during the ceremony. D-Day Doll’s amazing journey was documented in the films Libertas (released November 2019, Coronado Island Film Festival) and the highly anticipated D-Day Squadron documentary called Into Flight Once More, which is currently in post-production. Today, Doll continues to serve our community and our veterans in many commemorative ceremonies, dropping parachutists and participating in flyovers all over the world.

In order to help fund Doll’s journey from California to Xenia, Ohio (Pee Wee’s hometown), the “All For Doll” campaign was created by the 100th Birthday Jump Fest organizers. CJ Machado, veteran advocate, Homeland Magazine’s photojournalist, award-winning filmmaker and producer of the Libertas documentary is leading this campaign. “Our hope is to support those organizations that honor our veterans. D-Day Doll has served our country, our veterans and its citizens for over 75 years. We want to make certain she continues her tremendous work in preserving our history for generations to come,” stated CJ Machado. The “All for Doll” campaign will include commemorative watches from “The Lost Watch of D-Day” series honoring Doll’s service and Pee Wee’s 100th birthday, collector pinup art and all things related to D-Day Doll and her contributions to history. You can support the “All For Doll” campaign by shopping online at or If you would like to register as a parachutist or attend Pee Wee’s 100th Birthday Jump Fest, please visit: This event is FREE to the public. VIP packages and sponsorship are available. We will be following COVID-19 guidelines and all WWII guests have been encouraged to be vaccinated prior to attending.

For the 76th Anniversary of D-Day (June 6, 2020), Doll flew Honor Flight San Diego volunteers and WWII paratrooper Tom Rice over his hometown of Coronado, California. At 97 years of age, Rice parachuted with Tandem Jump Master, Art Shaffer of the Round Canopy Parachuting Team (RCPT) -USA for the 75th anniversary commemoration ceremony in Normandy, France. They landed in the town of Carentan on the same drop zone as Tom did on D-Day, 75 years earlier. His monumental jump received over 20 million views worldwide. “The Lost Watch of D-Day” is a tribute to Tom’s service, based on his D-Day experience. The Praesidus watch makers created an A-11 commemorative time piece, replicating the wristwatch Tom lost as he jumped out the door on D-Day. To learn more about “The Lost Watch of D-Day,” visit

Photo By: Pinup photographer, Greg Siller with and D-Day Doll Nose Art artist, Jerri Bergen at Contributors: Praesidus, author Bob Lewis, D-Day Experience, Kat Kuehn Designs

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Ladies Evening Gloves Kat Kuehn Designs

WWII Paratrooper Tom Rice’s “The Lost Watch of D-Day”

Parachute Dress by, Ingenieur et chercheur de soie - Robere V. Louis

Photographer, Greg Siller “Pin-Up Girl” CJ Machado D-Day Doll pilot, CAPT Stephen Rose / MARCH 2021


Take Me Home Huey By Holly Shaffner On March 29th, the United States will recognize National Vietnam War Veterans Day. On that day in 1973, Hanoi released the last of its acknowledged prisoners of war, and the last U.S. combat troops departed Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, more than 2.7 million American military members served. Of those, 58,000 Americans were killed and 1,585 are still missing. Returning home, many of these service members faced harsh public criticism and were not welcomed as war heroes compare to veterans from previous wars. In addition, they were often left alone with mental health challenges that followed their traumatic war experiences. Artist Steve Maloney created a unique project entitled Take Me Home Huey to honor all Vietnam veterans who served and to heighten awareness of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS). The heart of the four-part project is a stunning 47foot Huey helicopter that the artist sourced from a shattered U.S. Army helicopter - shot down in 1969 during a medevac mission in Vietnam - and transformed into a colorful work of art. The evolution of the artistic creation and the search for the surviving crew members is documented in an Emmy-award winning film and supported by a powerful song.

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By choosing a Huey helicopter, Maloney found a natural magnet for Vietnam veterans who remember the aircraft as a lifeline from combat zones into safety.

The artist wanted to share the transformed Huey helicopter and its mission with as many as possi-ble, so he traveled it for nearly three years around the country to 29 major museums and events in 13 different states. On exhibit, veterans felt an immediate connection with the aircraft and walked up to touch its sides. They recognized their squadron names and the call signs incorporated into the artwork and responded to the symbolic imagery woven into the piece. Many then opened up to share their stories of war and the continuous struggle with PTSD that they often face. “Art can inspire conversation and help those who are struggling with their invisible wounds to start talking about it”, said Maloney. The Take Me Home Huey sculpture has been donated and is on permanent exhibit at the Palm Springs Air Museum in California. However, the Take Me Home Huey project continues to find ways to help Vietnam veterans heal.

“The Take Me Home Huey Project gave me a chance to contribute to the healing of others and reunited me with the surviving member of my crew,” said Eric Berla, Medevac Pilot 15th Medevac Battalion, 1st Calvary, U.S Army. “I like all of us, carried my survivor guilt and other wounds for many years.” The newest part of the project is a 216-page hardcover book containing 180 stunning photos. It will be released on March 29th, in honor of National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

Continued on next page > / MARCH 2021


After touring the country, meeting veterans, veteran families, hearing their feedback and listening to their personal stories, this was the perfect opportunity to memorialize the project and its experiences. Through Maloney’s narrative, the book provides vital context for the entire project through interviews with the surviving medevac crewmen, other veterans, PTSD survivors, doctors, art thera-pists, and historians, including Joe Galloway, the official spokesperson of the national Vietnam War Commemoration. With the addition of personal stories from those touched by the artwork, the book adds a new dimension to the art of the war memorial and is a perfect capstone to the Take Me Home Huey project.

“Inspirational, impactful, and thought-provoking. … An emotional treasure of passion.”

Take Me Home Huey is dedicated to the 2,709,918 Americans who served in Vietnam.

- Robert V. “Bobby” McDonald, U.S. Navy veteran of the Vietnam War and member, Veteran Advisory Council, Orange County, CA

“I am honored to genuinely say Take Me Home Huey is the Proudest Thing I Have Done!” - Artist Steve Maloney The book can be pre-ordered for $45 and the artist is donating a portion of the book sales to art therapy programs for veterans.

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For questions, comments, or to collaborate, please email: To learn more about us, order the book, or film, go to:

TAKE ME HOME HUEY a multi-media project honoring American Heroes through Art

Now the project has been captured in a stunning book. Join us for LIVE STREAMING program hosted by singer & composer Jeanie Cunningham and museum director Fred Bell

VIRTUAL BOOK LAUNCH March 29, 2021 4 PM PST From the Palm Springs Air Museum - Interviews and Q&A is is a free online event. For more info go to: A portion of the proceeds from the book sales will be donated to beneet art therapy programs for veterans. / MARCH 2021


A Different Lens Mental Health Monthly By RanDee McLain, LCSW

Who is a Social Worker? What do they do? Do they take children away from unsafe living environments? Do help patients in hospitals get connected to benefits? Was it just me or was that the only thing we heard about social workers growing up? I was recently asked what a social worker does. What is a day in the life of a Social Worker like? Today, I negotiated a program move, edited multiple learning agreements for student interns, de-escalated a client, supervised staff, reviewed budget, spoke with court staff and so much more. All of this is aspects of social work. Social work is different every day. We are clinicians, advocates, policy makers, leaders, teachers and many other things. That is why I love the field of social work- it is such a broad field of practice. March is officially National Social Work Appreciation Month is the US. Let’s learn more about the amazing field of social work.

A primary responsibility of Social Workers is to promote the wellbeing of clients we serve. Famous Social Workers: • Jeanette Rankin-The first woman elected to the U.S. Congress. • Frances Perkins, a Social Worker, was the first woman to be appointed to the Cabinet of a U.S President. • Clara Barton- founded the American Red Cross in 1881 at the age of 60 and played a crucial role in shaping the organization. • Harry Hopkins- a close advisor to President Franklin Roosevelt, he helped create crucial New Deal programs like the Works Progress Administration and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. He authored the official charter for the American Association of Social Workers

Columbia University offered the first class on social work in the summer of 1898. Jane Addams is considered the pioneer of Social Work and is best known for establishing settlement houses in Chicago for immigrants in early 1900’s. She was the first woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and a known community organizer and peace activist.

I do not often share this but I nearly gave up this profession three times in my first year of graduate school. I came from a military and law enforcement background. Additionally, I grew up in a fairly conservative part of the country. I found myself in California and at a very progressive school. I struggled with finding my place in the field and staying true to my values. I specifically recall a time I asked my best friend- what did I get myself into? This is too ‘hippy dippy’ for me. Ok the last part still makes me laugh- but I really struggled to find how I fit into social work.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world. NASW works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards for social workers, and to advance sound social policies.

I had an amazing professor who gave me the space to grow and find my place. She also taught me it was important to remain true to myself in the process. She was able to show me that my values were very much in alignment with the principles which social work is founded on.

Social Work has six ethical principles we follow as a profession:

I continue to learn and grow in my field every day. I am an advocate, leader, policy changer, teacher, clinician….I am a Social Worker.

• Service • Social Justice • Dignity and Worth of a person 28

• Importance of Human Relationships • Integrity • Competence / MARCH 2021

Take time to appreciate the Social Workers in your life! Happy Social Worker Appreciation Month!! / MARCH 2021



Last month, actor and philanthropist Gary Sinise and

his namesake foundation launched a cognitive health and mental wellness network providing transformative care to veterans and first responders experiencing posttraumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, and substance abuse: the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network. The network builds on the work of the Marcus Institute for Brain Health and the Boulder Crest Foundation’s Warrior PATHH (Progressive and Alternative Training for Healing Heroes) program. Twenty treatment sites will be established nationwide serving veterans, first responders, and their families. “When I formed the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011, it was rooted in a personal mission to provide support, raise spirits, and improve the mental wellness of our nation’s heroes and their families,” Gary Sinise said. “Always wanting to do more, as the foundation approaches its 10th anniversary this June, I am proud to announce the launch of the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network.” Sinise went on to say, “This cognitive health and mental wellness network will further expand our services to veterans and first responders experiencing posttraumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, and substance abuse to help heal the invisible wounds afflicting too many of our veterans and first responders, transforming struggle into strength, and lifelong post-traumatic growth.” The groundwork of the network was laid by philanthropists and co-founders of The Home Depot, Bernie Marcus, and Arthur M. Blank, who each invested $20 million from their personal foundations. “We’ve lost more veterans to suicide than we have on the battlefields of the Global War on Terror,” Bernie Marcus explained. “Our veterans and their families put their lives on the line for us, and they deserve the highest level of care available. The Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network is ready to serve our veterans suffering from the invisible wounds of war.” “I couldn’t be more pleased to partner with Bernie Marcus again to support a cause that’s important to both of us, the well-being of the individuals in our armed forces and our first responders,” Arthur Blank said. 30 / MARCH 2021

“We’ve found the perfect partner in the Gary Sinise Foundation to scale this idea into a national network that will provide cutting-edge care and improve the quality of life for our nation’s heroes in one of the most critical times in our history.” The network’s name comes from Arthurian legend: Avalon was the sanctuary where King Arthur was taken to heal physically and spiritually after being wounded in battle. In that spirit, the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network is designed to address and help heal the epidemic of “invisible wounds” that afflict veterans and first responders. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and post-traumatic stress (PTS) affect nearly 1 out of every 3 military personnel deployed to war zones since 2001. An estimated 30% of first responders also experience symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress. “Invisible wounds” and the changes in psychological health that accompany these conditions have visible manifestations including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicide. And this epidemic is not just affecting veterans and first responders but their families too. Unlike physical wounds, invisible wounds can be passed on from one generation to the next. The Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network expands on the Marcus Institute for Brain Health’s and Boulder Crest Foundation’s expertise and successes to create a nationwide, integrative traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress treatment and training network. By leveraging the science of posttraumatic growth — a framework that explains the positive transformation that can occur following trauma — the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network will empower veterans and first responders to cope with and overcome trauma. / MARCH 2021


Arts & Healing Arts for Military Veterans By Amber Robinson

Healing creative movement and dance reconnect body and mind As veterans leave the service and begin to live their lives again in the “real world”, many dealing with servicerelated trauma report feeling separated and isolated, cut off from the world around them. Much of that comes from leaving the military environment and simply being just that, much different than the civilians around them. But, there is a deeper level of disconnection and separation that happens not only socially, but within our very bodies when we hold trauma without releasing it. One way to release this trauma and begin to feel a part of the world again, is through dance and creative movement. What most don’t understand when dealing with trauma, is that it is not only stored in the subconscious mind and memory, but also in our physical tissues. Many trauma victims often report fatigue, pain and many other physical symptoms that they did not have prior to the trauma. That feeling of disconnection and isolation is not only in the mind, but in the body as well. Disassociation is a common occurrence during a traumatic event, but often we do not realize the feeling of not really being “with” our body continues on past the event. We may feel clumsy, not fully aware, confused and disjointed even when trying to play sports or even just step off the curb. These feelings are due to the discord between the body and mind connection.

The American Dance Therapy Association definition of dance/movement therapy is the “psychotherapeutic use of movement as a process that furthers the emotional, cognitive, social and physical integration of the individual.” According to Psychology Today, many therapists are now integrating different ways of addressing the trauma locked in the body as well as that locked in the mind. Many modalities exist, the trick is finding the one that works for you. But a fantastic one to consider is creative movement and dance. First and foremost, when getting started, you must remember creative movement and dance as therapy is not the same as just dance on it’s own. Dance is a creative art, with movements prescribed by a choreographer to entertain. Dance therapy does not require any training or memorization of steps, just a heartbeat and a willingness to move. Initially you will be asked to identify where in the body you may feel stress, anxiety, sadness or bodily pain. From there you may be asked to interpret the pain through small movements, or through whatever level of movement you are most comfortable. At first you may only be comfortable with small movements, stretching and doing these body scans. And that is ok! The first step is simply listening to the body. From there you can ascend to different exercises that allow you to move more, therefore releasing more of the negative energy held in your connective tissues. Utilizing movement and dance therapy is best facilitated by a professional expressive arts or movement and dance therapist. But, some of the ways you can get started on your own requires simply slowing down and starting to listen to the body. Take the time to find a quiet spot, sit, control your breathing and begin to be aware of where tension, pain or emotions seem to be held. Sit or stand and listen to music, and let the music guide you to move, even if it is small movements like lifting your arm to the tune, wiggling your toes or just nodding your head. The goal is to simply begin to “listen” to what your body has to say. To learn more about movement and dance therapy, you can go to the American Dance Therapy Association website at San Diego is also full of talented movement and dance therapists who can help you begin to reconnect your body and mind through this abstract, yet powerful therapy option.

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

Download PTSD Coach to:

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

PTSD Coach is not meant to replace professional care.

Search “PTSD Coach” / MARCH 2021


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

Strong. Confident. Really good under pressure. These words describe the female veterans, female service members, and female military spouses in my life. Each of these groups flexes those strengths in different ways on different days, but they are all defining characteristics that each embodies.

While being strong, confident, and really good under pressure took me far in my military life, learning to let my vulnerabilities show- to rely on a tribe of equally strong and confident women is what has made my life richer. Living in the tension of exuding both strength and vulnerability reminds me of a gym incident that left me with a scraped elbow, a bruised ego, and a reminder that I’m not meant to do life alone. At the end of a rather grueling class, the trainer had us do a “fun” exercise: handstands with the assistance of our TRX bands and a partner. Our partner was supposed to act as a spotter and assist the person doing the handstand by guiding her feet and legs into position. Said spotter was also supposed to catch you when you fall. My “fun” exercise ended in a dramatic swinging of the hooked-up leg into the person next to meas I tried desperately and failed to keep myself upright. My partner was not payingattention. Good news, the non-skid caught me. That’s the thing about non-skid, it’s intended to stop things from moving, and it does its job well. I came to a crashing halt on my left elbow. I stood up, brushed myself off, quickly scanning my body for signs of a crash landing, but mostly checking my pride. The ache in my elbow was nothing compared to the embarrassment I felt about not being able to catch myself. 34 / MARCH 2021

But that’s the thing. I wasn’t supposed to catch myself. No one is. No matter how strong, confident, and really good under pressure someone is, she doesn’t have to catch herself, to do life alone under her own strength and power. I am grateful to work in an environment that is full of strong, confident women, who do not leave their teammates to catch themselves on the non-skid that is life. They are excellent spotters. Not only for those of us who have the privilege of working with and for them, but also for their clients.

Because they are female veterans, military wives, and grown-up military daughters they are intimately familiar with both the frequency and ways military life asks women to flex their strength, confidence, and really good under pressure muscles. But they are most skilled at coming alongside someone who is willing to ask for help, to let her vulnerability show. As clinicians and staff at one of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics as part of Cohen Veterans Network, they know we cannot do this life alone and they make sure we don’t have to. They turn vulnerability, which can feel like a weakness, into the thing that propels us forward, returning us to our communities stronger, more confident, and better under pressure.

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


Campaign for inclusive


Dennis and Donna Joyner

Veterans, caregivers benefit from new initiative By Tom Jenkins


welve years ago, Donna Joyner had to make a difficult decision when her husband, Dennis, needed rotator cuff surgery on his shoulder. When his arm was put out of commission, Dennis—a triple amputee who was injured during his Army service in Vietnam— temporarily lost the use of his last remaining limb along with his ability to push his wheelchair. Donna, who worked for the DAV Department of Florida, chose to resign from her full-time position to take on the full-time role as her husband’s caregiver— a role she had already been performing throughout their 40 years of marriage. “It was really tough because that decision was made in about a day and there was no choice,” said Donna. “We

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just dealt with it. And, you know, at first I was furious. I had two years until I actually would get a pension, and everything went out the window. At first I was like, ‘Gee, what else?’ Then I thought of my husband whom I would do anything for. It’s just what you do.” For the next 12 years, the Joyners kept moving forward with no formal medical training and no means of compensation for Donna’s role as a caregiver, including her lost wages and retirement income. Dennis, a member of Chapter 16 in Orlando who served as DAV national commander from 1983 to 1984, not only personally knew the importance of having a family caregiver but also knew the struggle that thousands of others like them faced. The Joyners finally found relief last year. After years of helping DAV’s push for disabled veterans of all eras to be made eligible for the Department of Veterans

The expansion of the comprehensive caregiver program for families like Dennis and Donna Joyner has made a world of difference in their day-to-day lives and provided more peace of mind about the future.” —Joy Ilem, DAV national legislative director

Affairs’ Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers—the program that provides training for caregivers, along with a modest stipend and respite care, among other resources—the expansion of which began Oct. 1. On that date, in accordance with the VA MISSION Act of 2018, the VA began accepting program applications from Phase 1 veterans, those whose injuries or illness was incurred on or before May 7, 1975. For Dennis and Donna, the timeline from submitting their application to receipt of support services was a matter of weeks—and the program has already made a world of difference. “It provides a lot of different resources,” said Dennis. “It provides contact with the caregiver’s office in your area. You can call and talk with someone if you need advice, assistance, or they can help you figure out certain things.” In addition to an extensive training program, caregivers like Donna have answers and support for issues that have loomed over them for decades. “It was quite scary, not knowing what would happen to Dennis should something happen to me,” said Donna. “Thankfully, I did have family backing me up. However, I think of all the people that don’t have that, and where do they go? Now they have a resource to go to. Now, I can turn to the caregiver program and say, OK, we need some help in this direction.” “The expansion of the comprehensive caregiver program for families like Dennis and Donna Joyner has made a world of difference in their day-to-day lives and provided more peace of mind about the future,” said DAV National Legislative Director Joy Ilem. “This program provides needed training, support from VA

staff, and tips that remind caregivers it is important to take care of themselves so they can provide the best care for their veteran or loved one. Dennis can rest assured that if Donna is no longer able to care for him at some point, there are now other options. For Donna, just the acknowledgment and support this benefit brings helps her continue on in this critical role and feel like she is not alone anymore.” Along with the changes to the caregiver program, the Campaign for Inclusive Care, created to actively include caregivers in veterans’ medical care, will now begin to filter across the VA. The campaign, in partnership with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, aims to equip medical professionals with training to better support both veterans—specifically those receiving geriatric, polytrauma and traumatic brain injury care—and their caregivers. Veterans with a 70% or higher single or combined service-connected disability rating are considered eligible within the Campaign for Inclusive Care. For the Joyners, changes like these have been a long time coming, and despite the decades of financial difficulty and emotional strain, the support comes at a crucial time for them and for many veterans of Vietnam, Korea and World War II. “You take on a lot when you’re a caregiver,” said Donna. “I might be getting older, but I’m doing probably more than ever.” n

Learn More Online Learn more about the VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers at and the Campaign for Inclusive Care at Photo: Courtesy LA Rams (Nov 17, 2019) / MARCH 2021


Month of the Military Caregiver



HOMELAND / June 2015 / MARCH 2021

So often as caregivers, we are running so hard,

putting ourselves last, and not realizing we are burnt out until we fall ill. Or, we know we’re overwhelmed, but we accept it without question. What happens when the caregiver is down for the count - the wheels have a tendency to come off, don’t they? Make a promise to yourself to Check-In at least weekly. Better yet, do the same with a trusted caregiver or friend as an “accountability partner” so you don’t neglect to consider your own health. Ask these questions to start: · Am I eating well? Skipping meals, snacking too much? · Do I laugh each day? Red flag if you don’t find something amusing each day, even if you don’t laugh out loud. How many times do we text LOL, but not DO it? · Am I drinking enough water? Do I exist on coffee and soda instead? · Do I spend quiet time, reflective time, prayer, or meditation each day? · Am I sleeping well or enough? · Do I get exercise each day? · Do I interact with others each day? In-person is preferable, but at least by phone to hear a voice or online if all else fails. If you’re aware that you’re not checking in, or struggling when you do, we urge you to talk to someone professionally. Many physicians are only now realizing the strain caregivers carry and how to assist you, but it’s growing. Seek community resources such as faithbased counseling, or call Give An Hour (www. for cost-free help. Life is so precious and perhaps you cannot change your situation, but you can change aspects of taking care of you. Caregivers are the heartbeat of the family, and make the active choice to care for you. HOMELAND / June 2015 15 / MARCH 2021


WHAT’S NEXT Transition to Civilian Life By Eve Nasby

What’s in a Name?

Sure God created man before woman, but then again you always make a rough draft before creating the final masterpiece. —Anonymous

Transition is tough, particularly for women. This month we’re honoring our female veterans and sharing Kalem’s experience. Yes, Kalem is a woman. A veteran. And a success story. Up until she was 40, she hated her name. From Navy to Family to Reject Kalem joined the Navy at 17. Her dream was to become an Orthodontist. As a child of a single parent, the money wasn’t there. So, her Dad signed her papers to enlist, and she spent the next 4 years excelling as a logistics specialist in Guam.

The Logistical Problem of a Name Kalem was determined to fit in and enter into the civilian workforce. Given her experience from the Navy, she applied for logistics positions at Home Depot and other warehouses for which she was incredibly qualified. Unfortunately, no one agreed. Feeling rejected again, she took an evening shift at a local Target to get her feet wet in the civilian workforce. She still continued to submit endless applications, but had no success. Then, a lightbulb went off. “What if I left the Male/Female selection box on the application blank?” She did. And then immediately was invited in for an interview at a warehouse role. Kalem stood in the warehouse lobby for 45 minutes with her resume before anyone acknowledged her. They expected Kalem to be a man. Once they realized she wasn’t, they did a cursory interview and politely said they wouldn’t hire her. There weren’t women in their warehouse and she wasn’t going to be their first. No is Not an Option Discouraged but not backing down, she threw her shoulders back, looked them straight in the eye and confidently said, “Look. I’ll work for you for one week for free and I guarantee I’ll tap dance around all of your male employees.” Intrigued by her gutsy approach, and the free labor, they took her up on it. For that week she worked at Target, took care of her 3-year-old, and out-performed the men at the warehouse. They hired her, at an even higher pay rate than the original offer. When she arrived, they asked what her goals were. She looked at the supervisor and said, “I want your job”. Three months later, Kalem became the logistics supervisor.

She got married and had a baby. Then, she made the tough decision to exit the military and focus on being a wife to an active-duty spouse and mom. Sadly, that didn’t work out. She was rejected as a veteran in residency and a simple military spouse. She no longer felt connected to her community and was alone as a new mom. 40 / MARCH 2021

Kalem displayed strength and courage for 5 years at that job. When she left the company to care for her ailing mother-in-law, they called her weekly for a solid year for help. Kalem now works with ReBoot and helps set up seminars to help those in transition. Dave Grundies

Here’s Kalem’s advice for women in transition: 1. Getting Help Helps! Kalem is strong on the outside, but like many, struggles with depression. It stems from feeling like she didn’t fit in anywhere. But getting help helps! There is no shame in admitting you need help. If you need counseling, get counseling. If you need medicine, get medicine. If you’re a victim of sexual assault or discrimination, don’t be afraid to get help. She says, “Life was not meant to walk alone. Reach out. Get help. Get healed inside and out. Then you can proceed in transitioning in a healthy state of mind.” 2. Self Esteem Can Be Boosted Confidence is tough when you feel like a fish out of water. Kalem was always embarrassed by her name - mistaken for a man sight-unseen, which impacted her. Then, she was told that she was ugly and disgusting. So sadly, that’s how she felt and still struggles with self- esteem issues. She went to 8 seminars on self-esteem before finally understanding that she wasn’t defined by what others say about her. She learned to combat these negative thoughts with affirmations and by reflecting on her vision board. 3. Make Your Vision Reality A vision board is a physical reflection of your goals. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just create something that helps you keep your eyes on the positive and a positive future for you. Kalem’s has statements like, “I wish to have a home filled with my girls laughing and playing. I wish to have a job where I am appreciated, doing something I love.” When thoughts of depression or discouragement come, she just focuses on her board and it centers her. It’s her “genie in a bottle!” 4. Embrace Looking Like a Lady Transitioning into the civilian world means, no more fatigues as your go-to outfit. It can feel overwhelming and uncomfortable to suddenly have to dress the part. She says, “If you have a teenage fashionista under your roof, you’re in luck. If not, find an honest friend who knows how to create a wardrobe and hit the thrift stores. Wear your clothes for a few days and get used to them, and it will feel more natural and comfortable.” Cosmetics can be overwhelming. If you’re a makeup newbee, Kalem advises to just go to a department store and ask for help on makeup products and tips. You don’t have to buy anything. Or, just search YouTube for simple tutorials. A few small enhancement tweaks will boost selfesteem and help with interviewing and networking. 5. Share Your Story Her final words of wisdom are an encouragement to share your story. She mentions how powerful and empowering it is to share your story. For Kalem it makes her feel proud of where she has been and where she is going, even though she doesn’t know what tomorrow will bring. Her name is Kalem. And she loves her name. / MARCH 2021


HUMAN RESOURCES Transition to Business By Paul Falcone

Tough Conversations – Women’s Edition

Now if that title doesn’t grab your attention, I don’t

know what will! March is Women’s History Month in our editorial calendar, and this creates a great opportunity to shed some “corporate light” on an issue that sometimes leaves transitioning veterans wondering, how do I address tough situations in the corporate workplace relative to the military? Likewise, do women really have to change their natural styles to compete in corporate America? Having served in executive level roles in Fortune 500, international, non-profit, and union environments across the entertainment, healthcare/biotech, and financial services industries, I can say with 100% certainty that the Golden Rule we learned in the second grade still holds true: It’s not what you say but how you say it that counts. Following such a simple adage has made for many a great career. First, let’s get one thing clear: Kindness always wins. Most people want to associate themselves with leaders known for their competence, communication, and teambuilding skills. Kindness and respect get you there much quicker than any other path.

42 / MARCH 2021

So, don’t believe that you have to be mean or a “shark” to prosper in the corporate world. Be your natural self and practice kindness: all else will fall into place. Second, many leaders—male and female—practice avoidance in the workplace. It’s much easier to avoid problem situations rather than tackle them head on. Of course, you’ll want to choose your battles wisely, but sweeping things under the rug or otherwise hoping they fix themselves will typically only delay the inevitable and allow a problem to linger. When addressing problematic behavior, for example, adopt the words perception and perception management into your message. For example, you might say, “Regardless of your intentions, you may have inadvertently created a perception of being dismissive of other members of the team. I saw it myself today when you abruptly interrupted Sarah in the staff meeting. Perception is reality until proven otherwise. I have to hold you accountable for your own perception management just like I do myself and everyone else on the team. I want you to think about this from her perspective for a moment and let me know how you think she may have been feeling at that moment.”

Further, follow the axiom, What you want for yourself, give to another. A common question in executive coaching circles is, “Would you want to work for you?” Said another way, “If the whole company followed your lead, would you be happy with where you took it?” These types of questions often leave executives momentarily stunned because many haven’t ever reflected on what life must be like on the receiving end of their message or leadership style. And that’s the whole point of the exercise: raise your awareness about how you may be coming across and use this simple executive coaching exercise to think through who you choose to be relative to the concepts of leadership, communication, and team (AKA trust) building. Finally, recognize there are times where you’ll need to “show your teeth” and engage in corporate battle. When doing so, use guilt rather than anger as a human emotion leverage point. Anger is external and places 100% of the blame elsewhere. In comparison, guilt, in its healthiest form, helps people look internally and assume partial responsibility for a situation gone wrong. For example, replace “What were you thinking?” and “Why did you do that?” with “Share with me what you were considering when you were about to make that decision.” Follow up like this: “Diana, I wouldn’t have ever thought of addressing you that way in front of others because I respect you too much. I have to share with you that what you said in front of everyone felt embarrassing and really hurt. Did you really think that those were my intentions? How would you have felt if I spoke to you that way in front of the whole team?” The lesson? When in direct confrontation, give thought to how you can get the other person to respond, “Oh Paul, I didn’t mean any disrespect. I’m sorry if I somehow embarrassed you—that was never my intention.” And there you have it: partial responsibility for a situation gone wrong and a fixed problem without drama, histrionics, raised voices, or the like. These strategies, of course, aren’t gender bound. Which is the whole point of this article: great leaders are neither male nor female—they’re just great leaders. Don’t spend too much time thinking about fitting in as a female leader, be that as a manager or as an individual contributor: just be you, practice selfless leadership, and pay it forward. After all, the sign of a great leader doesn’t lie in the number of followers she has; it lies in her ability to create great leaders in turn.

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


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Evangel University:

Smith reflects, “I have spoken with countless chaplain candidates who attended other seminaries, and one thing is evident – AGTS chaplain candidates were significantly ahead of their peers from other seminaries. AGTS provides the best training, support, and education.”

Here to serve those who serve

We believe that the sacrifice and commitment of our nation’s service members should be recognized and rewarded. Evangel University has a connection with the military dating back to World War II. In fact, the very grounds upon which Evangel is built served as the O’Reilly General Hospital, an Army facility that opened in 1941 and treated more than 50,000 wounded soldiers. Serving our nation’s military members is a proud part of our heritage and a privilege we continue today. Educational opportunities designed with you in mind We are dedicated to thoughtfully supporting service members in their academic pursuits. Convenient fully online degrees are available, with multiple start dates throughout the year. Courses are delivered in five-week block formats with one course offered at a time. This flexible schedule is great for working adults with a busy life schedule. Graduate and seminary degrees are also available, including the premier Chaplaincy program offered through a Master of Divinity degree at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), embedded at Evangel University. This popular program has provided chaplaincy training to over 200 active duty service members. “AGTS is committed to preparing students for the next stage of their careers or ministries,” said Chaplain J.P. Smith, a 2016 AGTS graduate. “As a chaplain candidate at AGTS, I had the opportunity to conduct practical military training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, West Point, New York, and Fort Gordon, Georgia while gaining elective credits toward my degree program.”

46 / MARCH 2021

Customized support We also recognize the extensive training that active and veteran service members have received and as such, we award credit for armed services education and training from the Joint Services Transcript (JST), according to the recommendations of the American Council on Education. Our driving focus is to provide for the needs of service members as they pursue education in their area of choosing. The Admiral Vern Clark Veterans Center provides focused support to military families, including help with keeping track of required federal paperwork, connecting them with peers and mentors, and offering a comfortable place in which they can relax. The center provides a wide-open door for service members and their families to feel at-home and cared for while pursuing their educational goals. The Veteran’s Center Coordinator, Dane Moore, is a retired Master Sergeant and has used both Tuition Assistance and VA GI Bill benefits for many years.

“When I first started the VA process, I did not know where to start.” Moore said. “This is why we made easy to follow checklists that give veterans or dependents a step-by-step method to getting their well-deserved education benefits.”

TAKE YOUR BEST NEXT STEP Affordable and flexible options As a yellow ribbon approved school, Evangel’s goal is to make the process of receiving an education both affordable and flexible. Our online courses maintain the same level of rigor as any classroom-setting course, while providing students with a flexible schedule and setting. We accept military tuition assistance, and the Veterans Center coordinator is available for one-on-one customized support to help service members streamline the Veteran’s Administration (VA) and active-duty Tuition Assistance processes. We have a long history of training military chaplains and providing a wide range of educational degrees to service members. We are here to help you with your education goals.

Flexible online degree programs We accept military tuition assistance Yellow ribbon-approved


To learn more about Evangel’s military benefits or to apply, visit our website at / MARCH 2021



Debunking Entrepreneurial Myths There are numbers of misconceptions floating around about business ownership. Often this is the kind of thing your mother says to discourage you from taking the leap to financial independence. Or, they are the little worries that rattle around in your head to stop you from pursuing your destiny as an entrepreneur. Let’s Blow Up Some of Those Myths Right Now. 1. Entrepreneurs Are Following Their Dreams. Sometimes, but frequently not. Often the impulse to start a business comes from the inability to find a job. If you’ve been looking for a job for more than six months, I say dump that ordeal and start your own enterprise. 2. You Need A Lot Of Money To Start A Business. Of course, it depends on the type of business, but if you’re serious, you’ll find the money. Remember, Spike Lee started his first movie on credit cards. I started my business on a $2000 severance check 33 years ago. Today there are online options to find money like,, Kabbage. com, and Google “equity crowdfunding,” that enables broad groups of investors to fund startup companies and small businesses in return for equity.

4. You Have to Be Smart To Succeed As A Business Owner. If this were true, there would be no SEO consultants. Just kidding. It doesn’t take brains. It takes confidence, commitment, and persistence. A mentor is really advantageous. Good instincts help. Good decision-making skills are critical. 5. It Only Takes a Few Months to See Success. Well, maybe. It depends on how you define success. If you think you’re going to be rich in six months, think again. If you define success as learning a lot, getting focused, and starting to feel some traction, then that can certainly happen.

6. There’s Too Much Competition. Wrong. There’s enough business for everyone, unless you’re a big baby and want an empty play pen. In fact, no competition should be a red flag. Maybe nobody wants what you’re selling? Study your competition and figuring out how to do it better. Google “how to spy on my competition” for a mind-blowing surprise. 7. Build It and They Will Come. Not. Just because you thought it up, and created a website, they will not necessarily beat a path to your door. Take a couple of marketing courses and learn the ropes. Don’t think you can accomplish all your marketing through social media either. Look up “Lean Startups,” in a past issue to tell you how to build it so they will come. 8. I Have to Wait Until The Time Is Right. This is the procrastinator’s mantra. The time is never perfect. Many successful entrepreneurs started their businesses before they were discharged from the military, or while they still had a job. 9. I Don’t Have Enough Time to Start And Run A Business. Yes, you do. If you love what you’re doing, the time will fly by. Self-discipline in business ownership is very important.

3. It’s Lonely at The Top. Hardly. There are zillions of networking groups, Meetups, classes, and coaches just 10. I Can Hire Someone to Sell For Me. Big mistake. Find out what your customers want first before you itching to support you. Many have moved online due to Sales are the life’s blood of every business. If you hand build a whole company around what you think your the epidemic. Become part of the small business owner that over to someone else, you could be in for a nasty customers community. You’llwant. be amazed at how many friends and surprise. Don’t train your competitor. If you don’t like mentors you will find. 48 / MARCH 2021

selling, go to my booklet “Selling for People Who Don’t Like Selling” 11. I Need A Partner. OMG! A partnership is like a marriage, without the good parts, which I don’t need to explain. You are liable for everything your partner does, which includes if they run over a kid during a business trip. Eighty percent (80%) of partnerships fail. Worst of all, when partnerships go bad, it destroys everything you’ve worked for. When partnerships crash it can get really painful. So, be careful! 12. I’ll Be Able to Write Everything Off. That kind of thinking can get you audited. Deductible expenses are plentiful, but you need the advice of a pro. Check out on Entrepreneur Magazine’s website. 13. I Will Be Able to Get A Government Grant to Start My Business. MAYBE. Because of the pandemic there are serious amounts of money coming down from the feds and state to jumpstart small businesses. You’ll never get rich working for someone else. This is an entrepreneurial world. Small business is the backbone of our economy. Be smart and you will succeed.

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

Vicki Garcia is the Co-Founder of Operation Vetrepreneur (under National Veterans Transition Services) & President of Marketing Impressions, a 33-year-old marketing firm. Look for trusted advisors at



Veterans Chamber of Commerce By Joseph Molina

The Importance of Education Education is important. Schooling is one thing, while education is another. But due to this misconception, some people have abandoned both. Education is fundamental. No one starts knowing or comes into this life already educated. Every successful person went through some form of training that educated them and shaped them for their trade. Education is about learning. What type of education we choose makes a world of difference? The type and or level of education to land a job is going to be different from the level of education needed to have a Career or a profession. Some may choose to have a job while others may choose to have a career or profession. What is the difference? A job is something we do; a career or profession defines who we are. For example, we may choose to become a lawyer that is a career or profession it defines the person, or a Doctor or a Dentist. It is important that we first clearly identify what we are looking for and what we expect as an outcome. We should have a 100% match between what we want and what we are willing to commit to obtain it.

50 / MARCH 2021

For example: A bachelor’s degree in Psychology is not enough to be a Psychologist Generally, there is no limit to how educated one can be. We are always learning. The human brain is always learning. That’s how we learn to survive and avoid danger. You can be as educated as you want. Whether you are in school or not. However, because we are social beings, the easiest (and best) way to get educated in an encouraging environment is schooling. The healthy competitive environment, the fun extra-curricular activities, the possibility of forming and developing real meaningful relationships, gaining perspective from professionals and participating in internships are some of the advantages of going to school. All are essential life skills one needs to be useful to society. From exposing you to better opportunities, to empowering you, giving you a chance to live a better life, developing relevant life problem-solving skills, these are some of the benefits of education. Education empowers you to be a better person, to make the most of your potentials, and to live a more fulfilled life.

The Top 5 Universities

The small size is not the only unusual feature about the institution. There is a customary cookie break taken every Thursday by physicists and their students.

1. University of Oxford The University of Oxford has come out on top for the fifth year running and remains one of the most prestigious universities in the UK. It comes as little surprise because it is the UK’s oldest university and one of the best known in the world. Currently, the University of Oxford is home to more than 20,000 students, where the number of undergraduates and postgraduates are almost equal. Due to the excellence of education, about 95% of graduates at Oxford are directly employed or in postgraduate studies within 6 months after graduation. Admission into Oxford is very competitive. The university averages five persons for every place. That is, for every one that got admitted, four more persons lost the admission. The University operates a very inclusive institution which employs staff from just under 100 countries and foreign citizens make up about 40 per cent of the student and academic body. 2. Stanford University Stanford University is synonymous with Silicon Valley because of its part in the development and it has also produced many entrepreneurs and start-ups. Students who attend Stanford go on to achieve great things (17 Nobel laureates are affiliated with Stanford). The large campus accommodates about 700 university buildings, alongside museums, gardens and recreational centres. The university is home to nearly 18,000 students both undergraduates and postgraduate students. 3. Harvard University Established in 1636, Harvard University is one of the oldest universities in the world, and arguably the most popular. For nine consecutive years, it has topped the Times Higher Education Reputation Ranking and is also part of the Ivy League - a group of eight private universities in the US, which are highly regarded. The stats speak for themselves: Harvard University is connected to more than 45 Nobel laureates, at least 30 heads of state and 48 Pulitzer prize-winners. Some our US presidents received honorary degrees from Harvard. 4. California Institute of Technology California Institute of Technology embodies the axiom that less is more. The most striking features of Caltech is its small size, home to only about 1,000 undergraduates and 1,250 postgraduates. Caltech aims to nurture an interdisciplinary environment where students learn about the most challenging and fundamental scientific or technological problems.


5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The first architecture classes in the US were taught at MIT. Founded in the mid-19th century and is reputed to always provide financial aid to students on a needed basis. Admission to the university is extremely selective, only 8 per cent of applicants won a place in the graduating class of 2019. Graduates are employed by top companies, including Google, Amazon and Apple.


Other notable universities where you can get educated include: 6. Princeton University 7. Columbia University 8. John Hopkins University 9. University of Chicago 10. Yale University The goal is to keep learning, to keep getting better. That’s how we grow. By always learning we become better positioned to compete in the job market. One of the best ways to attend a higher education is through the Military. The Military provides a way for service members to attend school while in service and allows for participating Universities to offer College Credit for based on MOS. Every military installation has an Education Center where these participating Universities are housed. The major advantage of using the Military to achieve a higher level of education is that regardless where the service members is the “University of Record” will accept college credit from other institutions. It’s education and training that gives the job knowledge and skills we need to stand out in the job market. In Summary: Education is a critical part of landing a job and an important component of Professional Development. Having a degree will most likely set you apart and it tells HR or the interviewing manager that you have the knowledge to do the job. We understand that having a degree is not a Job-Guarantee, but we also know that having one will increase our chances.

The Veterans Chamber of Commerce Radio Show • Would you like to Nominate a Hero? Let us know and we will announce it on the show. • If you have any ideas or project that you would like to see Developed by the Veterans Chamber send your idea to: • Would you like to share your story? Be our guest on the show – Complete the REQUEST FORM. Request Form - / MARCH 2021


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

MINIMUM WAGE LAW IN CALIFORNIA MINIMUM WAGE CANNOT BE WAIVED A California employer must pay the California minimum wage to employees even if an employee agrees to work for less. An employment agreement that attempts to pay an employee at a lower than the minimum wage is unlawful and will not be enforced.

With the new year comes new laws and the one that every employer needs to know is the minimum wage increase in California. The minimum wage is the minimum hourly rate that nearly all California employees must be paid for their work by law. In California, the applicable minimum wage depends on the size of the employer. STATE MINIMUM WAGE California law establishes annual increases in the minimum wage until 2023. The increases are scheduled to take effect on January 1st each year. On January 1, 2021, California’s minimum wage became $13.00 per hour for employees that work for employers with 25 or fewer employees, and $14.00 per hour for larger employers. LOCAL MINIMUM WAGES The California Constitution allows local governments to set a minimum wage, applicable within the government’s jurisdiction, that is higher than the state minimum wage. Several cities and counties have enacted ordinances that set a higher minimum wage for some or all employees who work within the boundaries of the local government. Several of California’s larges cities’ current minimum wage rates range from $14.00 per hour to $16.00 per hour. 52 / MARCH 2021

MINIMUM WAGE AND INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS California’s minimum wage law applies only to employers and thus only protects employees. It does NOT protect independent contractors.

Importantly, however, the fact that an employer labels a worker as being an independent contractor does not necessarily mean that the worker is not an employee. Whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee will depend on several factors, including the degree of control that the employer exercises over the work performance.

For more information on how to legally protect your business please pick up a copy of my bestselling book: ‘Second Edition Go Legal Yourself’ on Amazon or visit my website at

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

Go Legal Yourself!

Kelly Bagla, Esq.






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Do-it-Yourself Legal Protection is Here! / MARCH 2021


Money Matters

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

Getting Your Credit on the Right Track Question: I’m unsure about how my credit score will impact my ability to get loans in the future. How can I get started repairing my credit and how long will it take to see improvement? Answer: It’s true - a three-digit number can make or break you when it comes to buying a car or home or getting any other line of credit. Your credit score is essentially your financial resume. It summarizes your credit risk for potential lenders, based on a snapshot of your credit report. The good news is, it’s not a fixed mark. There are a lot of ways to impact your credit score and improve your report. And doing so, sooner rather than later, could save you thousands of dollars in interest the next time you apply for a loan. Know Your Score The first place to start is to get a copy of your credit report to see a detailed breakdown of the debts and potential infractions that are affecting your score. There are three credit bureaus that maintain credit records: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can access free services and a free copy of your credit report at You should not pay a fee for monitoring your credit. Every lender has a slightly different requirement for credit scores, but here is the breakdown of ranges:






721 - 740

Very Good

681 - 700


641 - 680


620 - 640

(needed for loan eligibility)



601 - 619

Very Bad

300 - 600 / MARCH 2021

Ideally you want to be in the top two categories to get the best rates and have more opportunities to secure a loan. If you aren’t there yet, there are options. Go Solo or Lean on a Credit Repair Agent Credit repair is the process of fixing poor credit and depending on your profile, this process can be easily managed by an individual or may require outside help. Repairing your own credit can be labor intensive and involves going through your credit history and disputing claims that may be irrelevant or inaccurate. It is doable on your own if you have the time and energy and if not, credit repair services charge about $100 per month to do the same thing. That said, a legitimate credit repair company can help you remove inaccurate credit information from your report with the goal of increasing your credit score. Inaccuracies can occur when creditors report incorrect information to the credit bureau. While hiring a third party can be a good option for many, be aware of scams on the internet and ensure that you are working with a legitimate credit repair company. Get a Game Plan Whether you go about it on your own or work with an outside party, it’s important to have a game plan. Loan consultants, like my team at GoVA Loans, can run simulators to determine what changes you can make to impact your score so that you have a personal plan of attack customized to your situation. This can help you decide what actions matter most, including disputing charges or consolidating debt to improve your credit card balances. Fix Inaccuracies Even credit reports have mistakes. It’s important to determine what, if any, items can be disputed. Disputable items may include: recorded late payments, address and name inaccuracies, duplicate reporting of an item, or suspected fraud/identity theft. Sample dispute letters can be found online and modified for your purposes. You can send these dispute letters to the credit reporting agencies with your request for correction/deletion.

It’s ideal to use certified mail for this kind of correspondence. Typically, disputes are processed within 30 days. Keep Your Balances Under 50% It’s important to keep your credit balances low, and avoid going over 50% of your limit. If you are currently over that threshold, you can look at consolidating credit cards or loans to get your credit utilization under 50% and generally use less of your credit lines. You can also reach out to larger creditors on your report to come up with a payment schedule that helps you pay down any larger lines of credit in a reasonable timeframe and keep collection issues down. 30 Days Can Change A Lot If you are worried about a less than ideal credit score but serious about improving your overall report, you are well positioned to make quick gains. Someone with a lower score can make gains quicker than someone with a strong credit history. By paying your bills on time, using less of your available credit and cleaning up any inaccuracies, you can make positive gains in as little as 30 days. Still have questions? Our experts are here to serve you with free credit counseling to support you on your journey to improving credit. Contact us at

Change Your Financial Outlook in 2021 Phil Jawny is a professional lender with nearly 20 years of experience in the business and the founder of GoVA Loans. is industry knowledge is extensive, spanning from loan reorganization to commercial mortgages to, most importantly, selling and managing VA Loans. Phil has a passion for serving military families. His goal is simple — to help make the loan process simpler for families so they can get the loans they deserve and build wealth through real estate without the hassle. To get ongoing advice or to submit a question for the “Money Matters” column, visit Govaloans or follow @GoVALoans on Instagram & Twitter.

Put Your VA Loan Benefit to Work! Are you taking advantage of all your VA benefits? Our team of experts is here to share advice and guide you down the path toward financial stability. Start the new year off right with a conversation that will set you on the best financial path! So what are you waiting for? Contact us today! @GoVALoans (833) 825-6261 / MARCH 2021


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

When a Parent becomes a Caregiver: What You Need to Know About Adult Disabled Child Support

An order for adult disabled child support can last for most of the child’s life. Simply having a disability that makes it harder to find or maintain employment is not enough to satisfy the element of incapacitated from earning a living. The adult child must have an inability to be selfsupporting because of their mental or physical disability or there must exist proof of an inability to find work because of factors beyond the child’s control. We all know that a parent has a duty to support his or her minor child. Usually, court-ordered child support ends when a child turns 18 years old unless the child is still a full-time high school student, in which case child support ends when they graduate or turn 19, whichever occurs first. But what happens if you have a special needs or disabled child who is over the age of 18? Many special needs children may not be capable of selfsupport and require care into adulthood. Can a parent be required to financially support a child who has reached the age of majority? California law allows child support to continue if the child is “incapacitated from earning a living” on their own and is left “without sufficient means” to support themselves. In this situation, both parents have a duty to support the adult disabled child to the extent of their ability to do so. There is no timeline or set date for termination of adult disabled child support. 56 / MARCH 2021

If the child is responsible for his or her own incapacitation, he or she may not be eligible for continued financial support. If parents disagree on whether the child is incapacitated from earning a living, an independent medical exam may be necessary to confirm the mental or physical disability in order to obtain a court order for adult disabled child support. Whether an adult disabled child is without sufficient means is examined in terms of the likelihood they will become a public charge and reliant on public benefits. That is because the purpose of the law is to protect the public from the burden of supporting a person whose parents can do so. How is child support determined for an adult disabled child? The courts calculate child support for an adult disabled child in the same manner that they do for minor children. They utilize the statewide uniform child support guidelines.

The two main factors that go into this calculation are how much each parent spends on the adult disabled child and the incomes of each parent. However, there are other factors that go into the calculation as well, such as certain tax deductions and each parent’s tax filing status. The court can adapt or depart from the guideline formula when warranted by the special circumstances of disabled adult children or their parents.

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The court also has the discretion to reduce the amount of adult disabled child support based on the child’s independent income or assets. For example, if an adult disabled child is living in a residential treatment facility, the Court can reduce the guideline amount of child support by taking into consideration any public assistance payments received for the adult child’s tuition, room, and board at the facility. In addition, an adult disabled child may be receiving Social Security insurance benefits. An adult disabled child’s Social Security insurance benefit are primarily intended for the support of the child. For instance, if the non-custodial parent has an adult disabled child support obligation of $1,000 per month and the child is receiving $500 in Social Security insurance benefits, then the non-custodial parent would pay $500 per month in child support if the court ordered a direct credit for the $500 Social Security benefit. Who is the child support paid to if you have an adult disabled child? In some cases, such as when the child continues to reside with one parent, the paying parent can make the payments to the receiving parent. However, if the adult child lives in a residential care facility, the parent might be obligated to make the payments directly to their child. Divorce is rarely easy for anyone, but for the parents of a disabled adult child, it can be even more complicated due to the complexities of adult disabled child support. As in all child support cases, if the parents can come to an agreement regarding the support of a special needs’ child, they can resolve the issue of who will provide for the child after he or she turns eighteen.

For more information about how we can help with your military divorce or case involving adult disabled children, check out our website: or call (858) 720-8250 and ask to speak with military family law attorney Tana Landau.

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

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

Legal Experts with Humanity / MARCH 2021


Shelter to Soldier Graduates Two Service Dogs and Pairs with Combat Veteran Recipients - By Eva M. Stimson Shelter to Soldier continues to perpetuate its mission of rescuing shelter dogs, training them and pairing them with qualified veteran-recipients, demonstrated by two of their most recent graduations. The success stories of veteran Angelito F. Bautista (US Navy Ret.) and his service dog, Halia (sponsored by Northrop Grumman), along with Dustin Potash (US Army Ret.) and his service dog Nigel (sponsored by UNITE Doggy ‘Poo), serve as an inspiration to all veterans who hope for a better future.

Lito and Halia

Shelter to Soldier (STS) is a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that adopts dogs from local shelters and trains them to become psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or other psychological injuries. STS has developed a unique model that encourages qualified veterans to apply to their program at no cost to them, then pairing them with service trained shelter dogs. Shelter to Soldier adopts dogs who might otherwise be forgotten and who have been enrolled in a comprehensive, year-long training program to prepare them to comfort, console and support the healing process for combat veterans. As Angelito (“Lito”) Bautista explains, “I had a very pleasant experience during my application process with Shelter to Soldier. The pairing process [with my service dog] is definitely one of the most memorable experiences for me about the program. 58 / MARCH 2021

Nigel and Dustin

I was given the opportunity to interact with several dogs, after which it was apparent and validated by my trainer that Halia was my match. On December 24, 2020 (Christmas eve), official transfer of Halia’s adoption was finalized. Since then, Halia has provided so much joy, and not only to me and my family, but friends, neighbors, co-workers and our community. and not only to me and my family, but friends, neighbors, coworkers and our community. Today, Halia and I continue our journey…she has allowed me to see the world from a much more grounded point of view. So much improvement and good has happened since having Halia in my life.” Nigel the service dog’s handler and STS veteranrecipient, Dustin Potash, recounts his experience, “When my first service dog suddenly passed away from cancer, I was in a panic to find another one. I was diagnosed with PTSD after my first deployment in Iraq 2003-2004. I was part of the initial invasion with the 101st airborne division.

It wasn’t until 2013 when I realized that I needed help with my PTSD and my symptoms associated with it: depression, anxiety, hypervigilence, panic attacks, fear of going out, and short-term memory loss. I tried going to counseling and using medications but nothing worked. Then I found STS. I filled out the application and [within] 24 hours a veteran advocate reached out to me. Finally there was a light at the end of the tunnel. It took about 3 weeks to go through the application process and within a month I was meeting my first dogs. I had some connection with a couple of dogs but nothing that sparked. A week later my life would completely change. I was waiting in the top yard for my trainer Charley to bring in another dog to meet. In walked Nigel and it was instant. This was my dog. We would grow with each other. Nigel and I have since completed the [STS] program and my PTSD symptoms have been mitigated once again. I am able to enjoy my life and not live in fear.” Dustin is currently enrolled in school to earn his doctorate of strategic leadership, with Nigel by his side during his classes. It is estimated that an average of 20 veterans lose their lives to suicide every day in the United States, and in 2018 alone, 6317 veterans took their lives. Shelter to Soldier is committed to making an impact on these devastating statistics by providing hope through the companionship of a psychiatric service dog who provides non-judgmental, 24/7 support and motivation to veterans otherwise debilitated by mental illness. Nationwide, an average of 1800 shelter dogs are euthanized every day and STS offers a viable alternative of saving a pup’s life by providing him/her with a new purpose. Shelter to Soldier Co Founder, Graham Bloem has been professionally Lito training and dogs Haliafor over 15 years and is the recipient of the American Red Cross Real Heroes Award, 10News Leadership Award, CBS8 News Change It Up Award, Honeywell Life Safety Award, and the 2016 Waggy Award.

Shelter to Soldier is accredited by the Patriot’s Initiative. To learn more about veteran-support services provided by STS, call 760-870-5338 for a confidential interview regarding eligibility. To contribute to Shelter to Soldier’s mission as a corporate sponsor, individual donor or participate in a fundraising event, visit

Join Us In 2021 San Diego

Veterans Magazine Voted 2019 & 2020 Best San Diego resource, support magazine for veterans, transitioning military personnel, active military, military families & veteran organizations

GET CONNECTED! A Veterans Magazine for Veterans by Veterans

(858) 275-4281 / MARCH 2021


Martch 2021

The San Diego Veterans Coalition partners with Homes For Our Troops on behalf of Severely Disabled Veterans/

ensure that the Veteran is set up for long-term success as a homeowner. To improve HFOT’s post home delivery support, they continue to expand their network of nonprofits, corporations, and government entities to provide assistance with employment, education, training, health, and other issues. HFOT strives to provide the linkage between the Veteran and the assistance he or she needs. Other differences include a comprehensive selection process, HFOT builds where the Veteran wants to live, and nearly 90 cents of every dollar spent has gone directly to program services for Veterans. BUILDING HOMES AND REBUILDING LIVES HFOT builds homes as a pivotal point for these Veterans to rebuild their lives, and once again become highly productive members of society. Despite their life-altering injuries, many of these Veterans have embarked on new careers, completed their college degrees, or started families. Empowered by the freedom a donated specially adapted custom home brings, these Veterans can now focus on their recovery and returning to their life’s work of serving others. Many have embraced their roles as motivational speakers, sharing their messages of persevering through tragedy with groups and classrooms around the country; others take to a national platform to promote awareness of Veteran suicide, homelessness and PTSD.

ABOUT HOMES FOR OUR TROOPS Homes For Our Troops (HFOT) is a publicly funded 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that builds and donates specially adapted custom homes nationwide for severely injured post-9/11 Veterans, to enable them to rebuild their lives. Most of these Veterans have sustained injuries including multiple limb amputations, partial or full paralysis, and/or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). These homes restore some of the freedom and independence these Veterans sacrificed while defending our country, and enable them to focus on their family, recovery, and rebuilding their lives. Since its inception in 2004, nearly 90 cents out of every dollar spent has gone directly to program services for Veterans. HFOT builds these homes where the Veteran chooses to live, and continues its relationship with the Veterans after home delivery to assist them with rebuilding their lives. WHAT MAKES HFOT DIFFERENT? HFOT’s tag line is “Building Homes, Rebuilding Lives”. Rebuilding Lives is the most important aspect of their mission, therefore, HFOT stays with the Veterans after home delivery. Homes For Our Troops provides a probono financial planner for three years to assist in financial planning and household budgeting, in addition to homeownership education and warranty coverage to 60 / MARCH 2021

BUILDING ON SUCCESS Since 2004, HFOT has built over 313 specially adapted homes nationwide. Their goal is to build a home for every Veteran who qualifies for a specially adapted custom home. TOP RATED CHARITY Homes For Our Troops receives the highest possible rating of 4 stars from Charity Navigator and has an A rating with Charity Watch. Additionally, HFOT is a platinum-level Guidestar participant, demonstrating its commitment to transparency, and meets all 20 criteria of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance. HFOT’S CORE VALUES: C.A.R.E.S. Homes For Our Troops Core Values reaffirm their commitment to the Veterans they are privileged to serve, as well as their donors, volunteers and supporters. The HFOT staff is dedicated to these values: COMMITMENT, ACCOUNTABILITY, RESPECT, EXCELLENCE, and SERVICE. Homes For Our Troops is a steadfast and significant supporter of the veteran’s community in San Diego County and a proud member of the SDVC. For additional information, please visit

Homes For Our Troops / MARCH 2021




Resources Support Transition HEALTH Community

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

Voted 2019 & 2020 Best San Diego resource, support magazine for veterans, transitioning military personnel, active military, military families & veteran organizations 62 / MARCH 2021 / MARCH 2021


Southern Caregiver Resource Center Caring for those who care for others

Are you caring for someone with memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer's? Then the REACH2CAREGIVERS program is for you! This series is offered FREE and virtually to family caregivers to better understand memory loss, develop communication skills, learn stress management techniques and how to better care for yourself and your loved one. You don't have to do caregiving alone! Sign up today for our REACH2CAREGIVERS online class at Southern Caregiver Resource Center has been offering services FREE direct services to the community for over 33 years. Our team of highly qualified professional staff supports families through a comprehensive inventory of programs and services.

Southern Caregiver Resource Center (800) 827-1008 or (858) 268-4432 I

BrainLineMilitary / BrainLine

64 / MARCH 2021

San Diego Women Veterans Network Building community for women warriors

During Women’s History Month We Salute our Women in Blue!

Caring for our veterans. The Elizabeth Hospice is proud to be a We Honor Veterans Level 5 Partner, the highest level of national distinction.

Women in Blue For more information about our public safety mission, or to make a gift in honor of our women in blue, visit

800.797.2050 | / MARCH 2021


HIRE THE BEST AT NO RISK Employers LOVE Hiring Veterans!

A Veteran Owned Business Proudly Supporting Veterans, Military Spouses and Active Duty Military looking for work and employers needing great workers.

All-inclusive company memberships starting at $100/month provide: • Immediate access to quality talent • Unbeatable rates with no hidden costs • Unlimited job postings, unlimited use of local recruiters • Hire quickly with one click • Hire as permanent employee at any time with no rollover fee • Built in quality control & background checks • Hire on to our payroll to avoid risks and costs or put your current employees / temps on our payroll - no liability, no cost of turnover

Join the Band of Hands Network to Start Hiring Talent at No Risk TODAY! 66

Contact Eve Nasby, President of Band of Hands and passionate military supporter to learn more and get started. / MARCH 2021 / MARCH 2021


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

It’s time to take advantage.

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

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

68 / MARCH 2021

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