San Diego Veterans Magazine March 2024

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vietnam war veterns day

Women Veteran



Women in Blue


Veteran Sponsorship Initiative







Women Strengthen the U.S. Military Through Diversity


Vol. 7 • Number 3 • March 2024
2 / March 2024 Visit for more info. OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK 10:00 A.M. TO 4:30 P.M. / March 2024 3 Insured by NCUA. *Dollar value shown represents the results of the 2021 Navy Federal Member Giveback Study. The Member Giveback Study takes into consideration internal market analyses comparing Navy Federal products with industry national averages, as well as discounts, incentives, and other savings. © 2022 Navy Federal NFCU 14172-F (12-22) Visit to join. Missions Change. Ours Doesn’t. Serving All Veterans. You served our nation, and we’re proud to serve you. We’ll help you make the most of your money. Our members could earn and save $349* per year by banking with us. 14172-F_NFCU_Veterans_Eligibility_1_HP4C_8x5-0625_Dec2022_r1.indd 1 11/30/22 10:15 AM If you are a post-9/11 veteran or service member with a moderate to severe brain injury, spinal cord injury, or neurological condition that causes you to struggle with day-to-day living, Wounded Warrior Project® can provide the kind of high-touch services that will help you live life to the fullest and as independently as possible. PROGRAM INDEPENDENCE WOUNDED WARRIOR Sharona Young Learn more at

Welcome to San Diego Veterans Magazine!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(858) 275-4281

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San Diego Veterans Magazine 9528 Miramar Road, #41 San Diego, CA 92126
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 Publisher Editor-In-Chief Mike Miller Monthly Columns What’s Next Transition Eve Nasby • Kristin Hennessy Veterans in Business Barbara Eldridge Successful Transitioning Stories Dr. Julie Ducharme Risky Business Hadley Wood Franchise Frontline Rhonda Sanderson Real Talk: Mental Health Hope Phifer PTSD: Reclaiming Control Robert ‘Bob’ Cuyler, PhD TLC Caregiving Kie Copenhaver Art & Healing Amber Robinson Legal Eagle Kelly Bagla, Esq. Family Law Tana Landau, Esq. Midway Magic David Koontz Veterans Chamber Commerce Joe Molina Contributing Writers Wounded Warrior Project Disabled American Veterans (In-House) Correspondents Holly Shaffner
EDITOR’S / March 2024 5
2024 INSIDE THE ISSUE 7 Vietnam War Veterans Day 8 Midway Magic: Military Diversity 10 Why Women’s History is Important 12 Breaking Barriers 15 Women Veteran Alliance 18 Women in Blue 16 Women Military Veterans (CALVET) 20 Women Veteran Trailblazers 24 Real Talk: Attitude of Gratitude 26 PTSD: EMDR in Healing Trauma 28 Traumatic Brian Injury 30 Caregiving TLC: Got Sleep 33 Cannabis Legislation for Veterans 34 Transition to Civilian Life 35 Veteran Sponsorship Initiative 36 What’s Next: Tackle the Interview 38 HR: DEI Movement 40 Off-Base Transition Training 42 Veterans in Business: Getting Results 44 Legal Eagle: New Business Laws 48 Risky Business: Your Direction 51 She Talks: Entrepreneur Summit 52 Dancing Veterans in San Diego 53 San Diego Veterans Coalition 55 Veterans Association of North County 56 Benefits for Veterans 58 Careers in Law Enforcement 60 From Navy Sailor to SFPD 65 SDPD Ride Along - A Story of Two Marines
6 / March 2024 The Elizabeth Hospice cares deeply about the people who have dedicated their lives to protecting our safety and freedom
conflict and peacetime. As a leading hospice care provider in San Diego County and Southwest Riverside County, we are committed to helping ensure that veterans are aware of their healthcare options, feel appreciated, and receive the medical support and attention they need and deserve. 800-797-2050 | Caring for our veterans


March 29th is National Vietnam War Veterans Day

A day to unite in gratitude and honor of Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice.

Please join us March 26th at 9 a.m. at Miramar National Cemetery 5795 Nobel Drive, San Diego.

The guest speaker will be Col. Brendan P. Sullivan, Commanding Officer, 1st Marine Regiment. Colonel Sullivan's father served in Vietnam.

The Dept. of Veterans Affairs will be on site to discuss Veteran’s benefits.


the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the Memorial Walkway*

National Vietnam War Veterans Day

If you served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces (at any time) from November 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, regardless of location, then this day is for you – National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

Every year on March 29th, our country gives a long overdue THANK YOU and honors Vietnam veterans, and their families, for their service and sacrifice. Many may ask, “Why March 29th?” This date is significant because it was March 29, 1973, when the United States Military Assistance Command was disestablished, and the day the last U.S. combat troops departed Vietnam. Also, on and around this same day Hanoi released the last of its acknowledged prisoners of war.

Our nation can never forget the 58,000+ service members whose names are memorialized on the Vietnam Wall, or the 1,500+ service members who remain missing and unaccounted for.

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates there are more than 7 million U.S. Vietnam veterans living in America and abroad. Whether you served in-country, in-theater, or were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period, you were called to serve your country.

Here in San Diego County, it is estimated that approximately 60,000 Vietnam Veterans live among us. We should thank our veterans every day for defending our freedoms, but especially on this day, this generation of American men and women deserve two words – Thank you!

Please join us at Miramar National Cemetery on March 26th at 9 a.m. for a special ceremony to truly say thank you to you and your family. While you are on the cemetery grounds, please visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on our Memorial Walkway. / March 2024 7

Women Continue to Strengthen the U.S. Military Through Diversity

Women have been supporting the American military since the Revolutionary War, however, it would take nearly 140 years before females were allowed to officially serve in the U.S. Navy following the establishment of the Navy Nurse Corps in 1908.

Esther Voorhees Hasson, the first superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps, along with 19 other nurses, became known as the “Sacred Twenty.”

The Sacred Twenty made immediate contributions during World War I, not only in the training of field nurses and disease treatment, but also by developing education programs for other nurses.

Today, more than 2,500 active-duty and reserve naval nurses make up the Nurse Corps serving at medical commands throughout the United States, as well as on ships at sea and at bases around the world.

The evolution of the Nurse Corps over the past century reflects the progress made by women in virtually all job specialties in the military, including in the topmost positions of leadership. In November 2023, Adm. Lisa Franchetti became the first woman to be selected as the Chief of Naval Operations, the highest ranking officer in the U.S. Navy.

“The inclusion of women in the militaryis vital for a more diverse and effectivedefense force,” said retired Navy Captain Veronica Armstrong-Evans,a former Navy nurse and current member of the USS Midway Museum’sboard of directors. “Women bring unique skills, perspectives, and experiences that contribute to a well-rounded and adaptable military. Having women in the highest positions of leadership not only promotes equality but also demonstrates that merit and capability, regardless of gender, are recognized and valued.”

Armstrong-Evans, a native of Waycross, Ga., began her naval career in 1979 as a hospital corpsman. She joined the Navy Nurse Corps in 1992 after earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Norfolk State University.

The trailblazing impact of the first naval nurses more than a 100 years ago was inspirational throughout her four decades of service.

“The Sacred Twenty played a significant role in establishing the Navy Nurse Corps,” said ArmstrongEvans, who finished her 40 years of naval service as the Navy’s staff inspector for the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in the Office of the Medical Inspector General. “Their contributions to taking care of the sick and wounded sailors marked the beginning of women’s formal service in the U.S. Navy. I grew up wanting to be a nurse because of family members and a neighbor who were nurses. After learning more about the Navy Nurse Corps, it seemed a perfect way to continue service to my country.”

Success for women in the military has not come without difficulty. It’s taken steadfast determination and tenacity to overcome the obstacles they faced in striving to achieve a level playing field. While today women fill roles from staff duties to direct combat positions, it has not been an easiest road traveled.

“Most of the early challenges were because the military was changing and more women were in positions and environments traditionally filled by men,” said Armstrong-Evans, who has also been the chair of Midway’s committee on diversity, equity and inclusion over the last two years. “Communication and building trusting relationships were essential to accomplish its goals. I am pleased, especially as the roles are opening up with broader opportunities across all of the available career paths.”

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Since Armstrong-Evans joined the Navy, the percentage of women serving in the U.S. military has grown from just over eight percent in 1980, to more than 17 percent today. Although still a statistical minority, the voice of women in all service branches continues to strengthen.

“The value of diverse perspectives and skills foster inclusivity and break gender barriers within the armed forces,” said Armstrong-Evans, who is currently a field surveyor for The Joint Commission, the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting organization in American health care. “It is important for women to persist beyond the traditional boundaries to ensure equal opportunities and support for other women pursuing careers in all military sectors. This inclusive approach fosters stronger, more resilient armed forces capable of addressing complex challenges on a global scale.”

Although retired from the military since 2019, being associated with a successful naval museum as part of the Midway’s leadership team continues to provide Armstrong-Evans with the same level of pride that she enjoyed while on active duty.

“I am in awe of being a member of the Midway board of directors, and having the opportunity to contribute to one of the top visitor attractions in San Diego and the country,” said Armstrong-Evans. “As a member of the museum’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee, I am elated to showcase the USS Midway as a museum with something for everyone. It is important to bring those who wouldn’t normally visit the ship on board so they learn about this amazing vessel and its contributions to U.S. history.” / March 2024 9
10 / March 2024 Celebrating Women’s History Month Maj. Gen. Marcelite J. Harris First African-American female General in the US Air Force

Why Women’s History is Important

Patriotism and the desire to serve one’s country in times of conflict have never been limited to men. Women have taken up the cause in one capacity or another since the Revolutionary War. And while the door to official military service may have been closed to many of them, women have always found a way to contribute. Some, such as Deborah Sampson or Cathay Williams, disguised themselves as men to fight. Others, like Molly Pitcher, served in an unofficial role, helping where they were needed.

March is Women’s History Month, and that means it’s time to celebrate important women in American history. We at the National Women’s History Alliance are, as you might expect, very busy this time of year. It is our mission to discover and share the stories of women in history and to change the dangerous perception that women in the past did not do anything worthwhile. We intend to “write women back into history.”

Many of these celebrations focus on the important “firsts,” such as the first woman to enlist as a nonnurse Naval Yeoman (Loretta Perfectus Walsh, 1917). Others celebrate the many first women to advance into higher ranks, such as the first woman promoted to Brig. General (Anna Mae Hays, 1970). Recognizing and celebrating these milestone achievements is crucial to creating a more complete understanding of American history.

Equally important, though, are the stories of the countless women whose service didn’t break down a barrier, but nonetheless contributed to the pressure for increased involvement of women. The women whose quiet dedication to country served as inspiration to countless others paved the way for more opportunities for those who came next.

In the Revolutionary Era, it is unknown how many women followed their soldier husbands and brothers, and whose work, though critical to military success, went unpaid and unrecognized. Coming after these women were the civilian nurses and spies who aided the Union during the Civil War.

And behind them were the hundreds of women serving officially in the Army Nurse Corps tending wounded and sick soldiers in the Spanish-American War.

Building on these successes were the women who enlisted during World War I, and again in World War II, serving in an increasingly wider range of duties like service pilots and maintenance workers.

When Maj. Gen. Marcelite J. Harris, was interviewed by Ebony Magazine in 1992, she spoke about being the first African-American female General in the US Air Force. “For me, being the first is just a matter of time.” She recognized the importance of acknowledging that her successes were built on the efforts of those who came before her. “They have done a tremendous job of opening doors and proving capabilities.”

If progress is a torch handed from one generation to the next, this torch has been moving forward since 1776, carried by laundresses and cooks, nurses and spies, pilots and soldiers. Each new generation of women has been inspired by the previous, adding their voices to the call for a fair chance to show their mettle. The brave women in today’s military themselves will be passing the torch to future generations, with the knowledge that the work they inherited from the generations before them will continue.

“ The value of knowing women’s stories is that it gives all of us—women and men, girls and boys—the power and inspiration to succeed.” / March 2024 11
1. First all-female C-130 crew to fly a combat mission 2. Molly Pitcher depicted in 1859 engraving - 3. Maj. Gen. Marcelite J. Harris First African-American female General in the US Air Force 2. 3. 1.
12 / March 2024 / March 2024 13 Continued on next page >
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Women Veterans Alliance is the leading national network dedicated to enhancing the lives of women veterans. Through innovative networking strategies, we facilitate direct connections between individuals and programs, revolutionizing community engagement in the process.

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

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

Our offerings include:

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

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

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

• A comprehensive resource directory for veterans.

• An online event calendar featuring nationwide events.

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

• Women Veterans Magazine

Women Veterans Alliance is a woman-owned, disabled veteran-owned small business, founded in 2015 by Navy Veteran Melissa A. Washington. Recognizing the need to unite women veterans and provide them with essential support, Melissa established our organization to equip, empower, and encourage each other on their journey.

Join us at to learn more and sign up for updates. Stay connected by following us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube. / March 2024 15
Ways to help us help her — Donate: One Time, Monthly, or Volunteer YOUR DONATION MAKES DREAMS BECOME A REALITY After being awarded the Melissa Washington Small Business Award in 2020, Jennifer was able to invest in critical resources to help grow her business and make her dreams of being a successful entrepreneur come true! MWSBA will now be awarded Quarterly. Visit website for more information. We have awarded over $21,000 to date! Celebrating Women’s History Month

Women Military Veterans in California Can Influence Decision-Making About Their Benefits

As one of more than 160,000 women veterans living in California, I know that my community of former U.S. servicemembers represents an important part of the state’s vast human mosaic. Now, the state agency dedicated to serving veterans, the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet), has launched the California Women Veterans Survey. This effort is designed to give women veterans across the Golden State a voice in how CalVet develops and delivers future services.

During my 26 years of service in the U.S. Air Force, I learned the value of strategic thinking, selflessness, resourcefulness, and team building that furthers our nation’s economic goals and safeguards our citizens here at home.

Women in military service must master not only technical aspects of their work but also navigate cultural environments that, in many instances, stubbornly resist the inclusion of women as equal partners—an unfortunate reality that persists today to varying degrees, even some 75 years after women were first officially allowed to enlist in the U.S. armed service branches.

California Women Veterans Can Shape Their Benefit Options

As the 21st century evolves, each year brings new economic, technological, educational, and social factors that are increasingly challenging for state residents to navigate. California veterans can be especially impacted by the fast-changing aspects of contemporary society. Women veterans transitioning out of active service can be acutely affected.

I know what it is like to transition from the military and not know what the next steps will be. But, I also had faith in my ability to define the terms of my re-entry into civilian life, reassuring myself that, I can do this. I have what it takes, I have prepared for this! Many women veterans re-entering civilian life anticipate that there will be obstacles, challenges, and roadblocks—but we also are resourceful, resilient, and revolutionary. In my case,

following tours in South Korea and Italy and deployment in Afghanistan, where my USAF unit supported Operation Enduring Freedom, I was fortunate to eventually land a career serving veterans at the county and state level here in California.

As former servicewomen transition from military to civilian lifestyle, women veterans typically face a set of conditions and challenges that are distinct from the experiences of male veterans, notably, several factors of American life that “traditionally” fall to women: Juggling caregiving responsibilities for children, grandchildren, or elderly parents, as well as landing and retaining fulfilling jobs in communities that often have changed dramatically during the time we were stationed elsewhere.

That is why CalVet is on this fact-finding mission. The survey seeks information on women's military experiences, transition out of service and their health status. It covers specific service experiences, awareness of state-based benefits and services, as well as inquiries about housing, healthcare, childcare, caregiver respite, employment needs, and basic demographic information. All survey responses are kept anonymous and confidential.

I’m confident that women veterans in California are eager to play a role in shaping the future of women’s services by completing the survey.

For more information on the survey visit

Virginia Wimmer is Deputy Secretary of the Women Veterans Division at CalVet. Ms. Wimmer served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force in Security Forces, cross-trained to Health Care Services Manager, and retired as a Senior Master Sergeant (E-8) in 2012.

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Women in Blue Luncheon Highlights the Importance of Gender Diversity in Policing

The San Diego Police Foundation convened regional business and community leaders to honor the achievements of San Diego Police Department (SDPD) female leaders and to elevate inclusion, leadership, and the empowerment of women. The 13th annual Women in Blue Luncheon: “HERstory,” was held on February 27, 2024, at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.

“Since the inception of the Women in Blue Initiative, SDPD has increased the number of female sworn officers to nearly 17%, exceeding the national average of 12%,” stated Sara Napoli, President, and CEO of the San Diego Police Foundation. “Yet, there is more effort and awareness needed to achieve gender parity, which is critical, as police departments operate best when they reflect the communities they serve.”

As part of a concerted effort to increase diversity within SDPD, Chief of Police David Nisleit signed the 30x30 Pledge, a national movement to advance the representation of women in all ranks of policing, with a specific goal of achieving 30% female recruits in training academies by 2030.

“Since SDPD leads the nation in the percentage of female officers in its ranks, we strongly believe that the Women in Blue Initiative has been and will continue to be critical to creating a more inclusive and diverse department,” said SDPD, Assistant Chief Sandra Albrektsen. “Research suggests that women officers excel in areas of seeking better outcomes for crime victims, especially violence against women, facilitating community policing, and de-escalating violent confrontations. Bringing the strengths of men and women together makes the department a better place to work, and therefore positively impacts the communities SDPD serves.”

This year’s Women in Blue Luncheon honored Assistant Chief Sandra Albrektsen with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the San Diego Police Department and the Women in Blue Initiative.

Chief Albrektsen has been a member of SDPD for over 41 years and has been the highest-ranking active-duty female officer since 2018. She is also a founding member of the Women Leaders in Law Enforcement. Chief Albrektsen oversees K9, SWAT, helicopters (ABLE), Data Services, Critical Incident Management Unit, and Operational Support, which supplies all equipment for officers. In the Regional Academy, she teaches Human Relations and Legal topics and operates as the Subject Matter Expert for Training and Development.

The Rita Olson Legacy Scholarship was awarded to Detective Kelly Thibault-Hamill, a rising SDPD female leader, to support her educational and training pursuits. She shares what the Women in Blue Initiative means to her, “I think the Women in Blue Initiative empowers women in law enforcement and encourages them to support one another, rather than compete with one another. I have left the women’s conferences feeling better about myself, more confident, and wanting to help my fellow female colleagues and uplift them.”

The annual luncheon serves as the signature event of the Women in Blue Initiative, celebrating gender diversity in an occupation traditionally pursued by men and propelling the advancement and representation of women in policing. The “HERstory” event theme is a vibrant tribute to the Honor, Excellence, and Resilience embodied by our women in blue, shedding light on the remarkable women behind the uniform.

“The police officers of SDPD work tirelessly to ensure that our workplaces, schools, and communities are safe,” said Barbara Savaglio, Women in Blue Executive Cabinet Chair. “A growing number of those officers are women. This is an important trend that needs our support.”

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The Women in Blue Initiative provides funding for training, mentoring, collaboration, and networking opportunities for aspiring female leaders in law enforcement, including grants for women in blue to attend the national Women in Law Enforcement Leadership Symposium (WLLE). In 2023, the Police Foundation provided 50 scholarships for women in blue from SDPD to attend WLLE.

“I shared my journal from the (WLLE) conference with my teenage daughter,” said SDPD Detective Sergeant Jennifer Wadhams, who attended the WLLE conference with funding provided by the Police Foundation.

“As a parent, it is my job to empower my daughter to be prepared to face the world on her own with a strong moral compass, compassionate heart, and a resilient mindset. Our responsibilities are similar in our profession – empowering our team members to recognize their own strengths and to set high personal and professional standards for themselves.”

Move Women in Blue Forward:

Women in Blue is a fundraiser for the San Diego Police Foundation to support SDPD by cultivating positive community engagement and helping fund vital equipment and specialized training that ensures peace and safety for all. Proceeds from this event will propel the mission of the San Diego Police Foundation, including support for SDPD’s peer mentoring program, the Women’s Leadership Conference, efforts to recruit more females to the ranks of SDPD, the Women’s Recruiting Expo, as well as scholarshipsto empower women and inspire the next generation of women in blue

For more information on the event, please call (619) 232-2130 or visit our website

e San Diego Police Foundation’s annual Women in Blue Luncheon brings business and community leaders together to recognize the achievements of female leaders in the public safety sector and to celebrate gender diversity in an occupation traditionally pursued by men. Elevating inclusion, leadership, and the empowerment of women, the initiative propels the advancement and representation of women in policing.

Congratulations to Assistant Chief Sandra Albrektsen, the highest-ranking female o cer at the San Diego Police Department, who was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the Women in Blue Initiative and over 40 years of service.

Learn more about the Women in Blue Initiative at

Officers Katherine Jennings, Jasmin Rocha, & Jessica Bella attending the Women in Blue Luncheon

Women Veteran Trailblazers

March is Women's History Month, a time dedicated to honoring the extraordinary contributions of women across history. In observance of this significant occasion, we pay tribute to exceptional female veterans who have profoundly influenced the U.S. armed forces and society at large. From the Civil War era to the present day, these women have shattered barriers, showcasing unparalleled courage and resilience. Their unwavering dedication to their country has served as an inspiration to over 2.5 million women who have bravely served in the U.S. military.

Harriet Tubman

Freedom Fighter and Union Spy. She is not only famous for escaping slavery and later rescuing over 70 other slaves as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, but also made significant contributions to the Union during the Civil War. Serving as a cook, nurse, and spy, Tubman played a pivotal role in planning and executing daring military operations. Her bravery and ingenuity saved countless lives and earned her recognition as the first woman to lead a military expedition in American history, resulting in the emancipation of over 750 slaves. Her legacy as a freedom fighter and patriot continues to inspire generations to strive for justice and equality.

Sarah Emma Edmonds

Civil War Heroine and Spy. A Canadian by birth, she emigrated to the US leaving an abusive family home under the alias of Franklin Flint Thompson. She enlisted on May 25, 1861during the Civil War as a disguised Union soldier and spy participating in numerous battles and espionage missions, risking her life to support the Union cause. Her bravery and resourcefulness earned her the admiration of her comrades and secured her place in history as one of the few documented female soldiers of the Civil War.

Loretta Perfectus Walsh

First Female Enlistee. Following Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels' decision to allow women to join the U.S. Naval Reserve Force to address the challenge of mobilizing forces, she promptly seized the opportunity. On March 21, 1917, only two days later, she enlisted as a Chief Yeoman, heralding a new era of women's contributions to national defense beyond nursing roles. Her historic enlistment garnered extensive national attention and inspired a surge in enlistments, marking a significant milestone in gender equality in the military.

Sarah Keys Evans

Sarah Keys Evans was an African American Army veteran who was a major figure in the civil rights movement in the United States. Keys was invited to speak at the 1997 Dedication of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. In 2020, Roanoke Rapids declared August 1 to be "Sarah Keys Evans Day," and dedicated a mural depicting her story. The 117th United States Congress considered a bill awarding Keys with theCongressional Gold Medal.

Colonel Ruby Bradley

A Symbol of Resilience and fortitude. One of the most decorated women in military history, she endured 37 months as a Japanese prisoner during World War II, earning the title "Angels in Fatigues" alongside fellow imprisoned nurses. Despite enduring unimaginable hardships, she selflessly tended to the wounded, sacrificing her own well-being to alleviate the suffering of others. Bradley's remarkable service, reflected in 34 decorations and medals, embodies the indomitable spirit of the American soldier.

Army Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody

Leading with Distinction She made history as the first woman to achieve the rank of four-star general in the U.S. armed forces. Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Women's Army Corps in 1975, Dunwoody's illustrious career spanned over three decades, culminating in her role as commander of the Army Materiel Command. Under her leadership, the AMC revolutionized global logistics, ensuring that the joint force remained ready and supplied.

Army: Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester

A Trailblazer in Combat. She made history as the first woman to receive the Silver Star for her courageous actions in Iraq. Leading a counterattack against insurgents who ambushed her convoy, Hester displayed exceptional bravery under fire. Despite facing heavy machine-gun fire and mortar attacks, she fearlessly engaged the enemy. Her actions resulted in 27 insurgents killed, six wounded, one captured and every member of her unit surviving. Hester's valor and leadership epitomize the resilience and dedication of women in combat.

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Celebrating Women’s History Month

Col. Eileen Collins

Reaching for the Stars. Her lifelong passion for aviation propelled her to become the first woman to command a space shuttle mission. Joining the Air Force in 1979, Collins's exemplary career as a pilot and astronaut broke barriers and inspired generations of aspiring astronauts. Her historic command of Space Shuttle mission STS-93 in 1999 marked a milestone in space exploration and solidified her place in history as a pioneering figure in aerospace. Collins's achievements exemplify courage, determination, and the boundless potential of women in STEM fields.

Coast Guard: Sara Faulkner

Courage in the Face of Adversity. Sara Faulkner made history as the first female Coast Guard rescue swimmer, demonstrating unparalleled courage and skill in saving lives during Hurricane Katrina saving 48 lives in one night alongside her team. Faulkner's legacy serves as a reminder of the importance of supporting and empowering women in the military.

Air Force Col. Merryl Tengesdal

Soaring to New Heights. She defied expectations by becoming the first Black woman to fly the U-2 Dragon Lady spy plane in the Air Force. Transitioning from the Navy to the Air Force, Tengesdal's remarkable career exemplifies courage and perseverance. Flying missions in some of the world's most challenging environments, including Afghanistan and Iraq, she logged over 3,400 flight hours and 330 combat hours.

Bea Arthur

Breaking Ground in the Marine Corps. A Emmy & Tony Award-winning actress, best known for her iconic roles in "Maude" and "The Golden Girls,” who also made her mark as a trailblazer in the Marine Corps during World War II. Enlisting at the age of 21under her original name, Bernice Frankel, Arthur became one of the first members of the Women's Reserve. Serving as a truck driver and typist, she rose through the ranks to become a staff sergeant before her honorable discharge in 1945. Arthur's military service laid the foundation for her legendary career in entertainment, where she became a beloved figure and a celebrated advocate for veterans.

Kathleen Mae Bruyere

Captain Kathleen Mae Bruyere U.S. Navy, was one of the twelve women named by Time magazine as Time Person of the Year in 1975, representing American women (at the height of the feminist movement).

In May 1975, she became the first female officer in the Navy to serve as the flag secretary to an admiral commanding an operational staff. In 1977, Bruyere was one of six officers who sued the United States Secretary of the Navy and the United States Secretary of Defense over their being restricted from serving on combat aircraft and ships. This led to the 1948 Women's Armed Services Integration Act being struck down as unconstitutional. / March 2024 21

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

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& Support available at:
At San Diego Veterans Magazine you can find Veteran organizations and private nonprofits with resources for veterans that can help ease the process of attaining earned benefits, coping with the lasting effects of service-connected injuries and finding programs and services that meet your specific needs. Veteran Resources / March 2024 23

Real Talk: Mental Health

Practicing the Attitude of Gratitude in the Midst of Loneliness

Loneliness may appear like a plague, but with a shift in perspective, it is a safe landing for gratitude and solitude.

The reality of loneliness and solitude during active duty taught me to embrace gratitude. Since my time as a woman veteran, and with the support of other women veterans, I have had time to reflect and fine-tune my attitude of gratitude.

At my first duty assignment, I was welcomed by Texas's crisp, clean air. Most of my fellow trainees were new to the military, and we shared our training experience. I had not experienced deep loneliness here. After spending about a year there, I was ready to launch into my real job and implement the skills. With little hesitation, I signed up for South Korea as my duty assignment, and it was easy to push aside my sense of loneliness. I completed my training and ended my short stay in Texas. I did a PCS (Permanent Change of Station) move to South Korea. Returning to where I was born, I felt that I found my purpose.

My duty assignment to South Korea was a wish come true. I was working with the U.S. military and the South Korean counterparts. I used my Korean language skills and implemented my cultural perspective. With awareness of the uniqueness of my position, I remained open to learning and gaining knowledge. However, to much surprise, I was confronted with loneliness, which, at the time, was painfully isolating. My uniqueness led me to feel different from others. I attempted to connect and relate to my peers, yet I experienced limited common ground. Although I blended in on-base wearing my uniform and off-base wearing civilian clothes, I did not share the same experiences with many I encountered.

In South Korea, the nuances of gender expectations were bluntly exhibited, although with subtleness, that women had designated roles and expectations. Despite the pain of admitting it, I was stamped as too foreign among the Koreans and too Korean by U.S. military co-workers. The apparent labels prescribed started me on a journey of redefining my purpose. As Mark Twain said, "The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you figure out why."

My “why” was thwarted, and I PCS'd back home to California. When I returned, the loneliness and the “why” lingered incessantly over the years. I shied away from veteran events until I got to work with women veterans during the COVID-19 quarantine; I slowly shifted my perspective toward gratitude and began to see the things I was thankful for. Other women veterans echoed my experiences, and their treasured stories clarified my purpose. Their stories encouraged me to redefine my purpose as they shared how they gained wisdom, embraced solitude, and secured selfacceptance by spending time away from home and experiencing loneliness.

One of my favorite quotes is, "Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough!" (Oprah Winfrey).

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As a woman veteran, I seek opportunities to connect and relate to others. Spending time getting to know other women veterans, I can quickly identify conversations of gratitude. On that common ground, I'm trekking along those who share similar and unique paths as mine

When experiencing loneliness, make self-care a priority and embrace the love within through the below helpful self-love tips from Cohen Veterans Network (CVN), a 501(c)(3) national not-for-profit philanthropic organization for post 9/11 veterans, active duty service members and their families.

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

• Avoid negative thought spirals. When stressed or overwhelmed, we can go on a downward path of negative thoughts. Stop the spiral by asking yourself if the thought is a fact, something you can control, and is it serving you.

• Practice daily gratitude. Write down three different things you are thankful for each day. This can help remind us there is positivity in our lives and lessen the feeling of being overwhelmed by negativity.

• Prioritize friendships and connection. Spending time with those you love improves your overall health and helps to combat loneliness. Schedule a time to meet up with a friend at least once a month.

• Speak kindly to yourself. Remember, if you wouldn't treat a loved one or a friend unkindly, why are you treating yourself that way? Be your own best friend and speak encouraging words to yourself.

• Know you are not alone. Remember, everyone has their own internal struggles, even though you may not see them. There are many people who may also be feeling the way you do or not fully content with their situations, but don't show it.

For more information about the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics at VVSD and Cohen Veterans Network, visit / March 2024 25 Therapy for Veterans, Service Members, and their Families Cohen Clinics provide therapy to post-9/11 veterans, service members, and their families, including National Guard / Reserves. LEARN MORE 8885 Rio San Diego Dr. Suite 301 3609 Ocean Ranch Blvd. Suite 120 CVN Telehealth, face-to-face video therapy available statewide. 20800 Madrona Avenue, Suite C-100, Torrance, CA San Diego Oceanside Los Angeles our CALIFORNIA locations

PTSD: Reclaiming Control

Navigating PTSD Therapy: The Role of EMDR in Healing Trauma

We’ll continue our tour of talk therapies for PTSD this month, after our earlier discussions of Prolonged Exposure PE) and Cognitive Processing (CPT) therapies. Let's begin by examining EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy. This one is a bit more controversial since how it works is not well understood. Nevertheless, every successful therapy operates through various mechanisms, one of which involves establishing a trusting working relationship between client and therapist. EMDR has gained recognition as a validated therapy according to the VA's National Center for PTSD.

EMDR focuses on imagining rather than verbalizing traumatic situations and memories. The therapy begins with education and establishing both the therapeutic relationship and the plan for the individual. During recollecting a traumatic event, the therapist directs the client to focus on a reciprocal movement, typically tracking the therapist's finger. While imagining the trauma, the person pays attention to the emotions, thoughts, and bodily tension or distress that comes up. After the tension relaxes, the client and therapist will discuss and process the exercise. Typically, the therapy sessions are scheduled weekly for 30 to 90 days.

While some clients experience distress in evoking memories or images of their trauma, others find it a more manageable therapy than PE and CPT, which require actual verbalization or even live exposure to reminders of traumatic situations. The underlying theory suggests that both the body and mind become engaged in a process to 'detoxify' trauma associations, aiming to replace distress with a sense of calm. It's important to note that I'm not trained in this therapy, but I have highly please interview your prospective therapist to

be confident they have the training and experience in a specialized technique such as EMDR.

When embarking on the journey to start therapy, it's crucial to acknowledge that numerous factors, such as location, time constraints, financial considerations, or the availability of practitioners nearby, may limit our choices. Personal preference is also a factor, given that many individuals with PTSD tend to avoid therapies that directly involve revisiting their traumatic experiences. Even though our journals may contain ample evidence that exposure-based therapies have consistently strong evidence, a therapy can’t help someone who won’t start or can’t tolerate it. Seeking assistance from a wellqualified generalist is undoubtedly more beneficial than suffering in silence.

Individuals dealing with significant trauma may have other concerns that need addressing before tackling the trauma itself. Issues like depression, alcohol or substance use, and insomnia may be so pressing that they should be the initial focus of treatment. It’s not unusual for effective treatment to come in phases, with progress on the first issue paving the way for work on trauma next. Many programs, both outpatient and residential, for depression or addiction, will include trauma-focused therapy that is incorporated into an individual’s treatment plan.

Untreated PTSD often becomes chronic and damaging to physical as well as mental health. Coping by avoiding or numbing may provide temporary relief, but the long-term toll for the individual and family is real and significant. For those affected by PTSD, taking the first step involves breaking the silence and reaching out to a trusted resource in your life, such as your doctor, pastor, fellow veteran, or employee assistance program. Your source may vary, but please consider taking this step.

Next month, additional treatment options will be explored.

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

26 / March 2024 / March 2024 27
SEE Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder does not always allow the affected to seek help. Lend a hand and provide them with methods of help, listen and be a friend. At San Diego Veterans Magazine you can visit our website for all “Fighting PTSD” columns, and featured articles relating to mental health, symptoms, therapy and resources. Columns & Articles available at: San Diego Veterans Magazine - Fighting PTSD Resources. Support. Inspiration. San Diego Veterans Magazine works with veteran organizations & for-purpose institutions that help more than one million veterans in life-changing ways each year.
28 / March 2024 / March 2024 29

Got Sleep?

Better Sleep for Better Body and Brain Health.

Nap time. These were two dreaded words when I was growing up. I didn’t want to take a nap for fear I would miss something. I struggled against the nap, pleading my case with whomever would listen. Inevitably, the parent or babysitter would win, and I would be forced to take a nap.

What I wouldn’t give for nap time now, as an adult with a full-time job and an active life. The thought of curling up under my desk and getting some shut eye for 20-30 minutes each afternoon sounds heavenly. At this stage, I no longer fear missing out on something but rather I fear losing my job if the bosses were to find me sawing logs in my office. My, my, my how times and perspectives change as we age.

Sleep and the importance of it in our overall health has been in the spotlight recently. Numerous studies are being done to better understand why we sleep, how we sleep, when we sleep, and the consequences when we don’t sleep or don’t get enough sleep.

As we age, our circadian rhythm (our 24-hour daily cycle) changes which causes our sleep patterns to change. The change in our circadian rhythm can be due to a variety of factors: social, psychological, physical factors are the primary suspects. Physically, a location in our brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus begins to deteriorate. This deterioration causes a disruption in the circadian rhythm.

Psychologically, we may begin to deal with depression, anxiety, and grief which can alter sleep patterns. And socially, we often experience a reduction in close personal relationships – people move out of our lives, people die, newly diagnosed health conditions limit our ability to get out and experience the kinds of social interactions we once had.

A common myth is that as we age, we require less sleep. This could NOT be farther from the truth. The average adult requires 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night; and this number doesn’t change as we age. In fact, the need for 7 to 9 solid hours of sleep becomes imperative as we age because it is while we sleep that our bodies undergo a myriad of repairs, and our brains get “detoxed” and refreshed from the day’s activities. Information taken in during the day is either transferred to long-term memory (like where I parked the car last night) or removed all together. Somehow our miraculous and wonderful brains seemingly know what information to keep and what to discard.

Good sleep hygiene involves, but is not limited to, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, turning off television and electronic devices before bedtime, getting at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, and limiting caffeine and alcohol intake each day. Create a comfortable and relaxing environment for sleep and then curl up and zzzzzzz. Your body and brain will thank you each morning!

Here’s to aging well.

30 / March 2024 CAREGIVING TLC / March 2024 31 Navigating your future may bring uncertainty. Aging Well Partners can help you discover your best path forward by empowering you with the vetted resources and trusted services that meet your specific needs. Your journey has a roadmap and we are here to help you find it. Proudly featuring our Certified Business Partners Free Consultation: 619.789.1839 Housekeeping Transportation Meal Prep Physical Therapy Aging in Place Assisted Living Memory Care Your Local Partners. Your Certified Senior Advisors™. Proudly featuring our Certified Business Partners Navigating your f uture may bring uncertainty. Aging Well Partners can help you discover your best path forward by empowering you with the vetted resources and trusted services that meet your specific needs. Your journey has a roadmap and we are here to help you find it Proudly featuring our ertified B e Consultation: 619.789.1839 ™ Your L cal Partners. Your Certified Senior Advisors Housekeeping Transportation Meal Prep Physical Therapy Aging in Place Assisted Living Memory Care ELEVATE YOUR GAME with iBOT Qualif ied veterans can receive an iBOT® at no charge to them under VA FSS #36F79721D0202. Contact Mobius Mobility to schedule your demo today.
“I’m happier with myself. Having been in therapy, period, has helped me be in a better place now.”
Rogelio “Roger” Rodriguez, Jr US Navy (1987 – 1993) US Air Force (1993 – 2013)

For more information visit:

32 / March 2024
PTSD treatment can turn your life around.

Proposed Federal Cannabis Legislation Aimed at Providing Access to Veterans

There has been a flurry of proposed, bipartisan federal cannabis legislation in recent years and some of these proposed bills directly address reforms that impact our Nation’s veterans. Below is a broad overview of a few of these proposed bills. While it is unclear whether any of these bills will become law in their current form, or any form, if any of them survive the legislative process, it would mark a major shift in U.S. cannabis policy as it relates to veterans.

States Reform Act of 2023

This bill would:

• allow former servicemembers and veterans that received other than honorable, bad conduct, or dishonorable discharges premised solely on certain nonviolent cannabis offenses to be entitled to petition and receive from a service branch discharge review board or the Board of Correction for Military Records an upgrade to a general discharge;

• make it unlawful for a veteran to be excluded from employment in the Federal Government solely because the veteran consumes or has consumed cannabis; and

• require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to authorize physicians and other health care providers of the Veterans Health Administration to provide to veterans who are residents of States with Stateapproved marijuana programs information regarding the participation of such veterans in such programs, recommend their participation in such programs or use of FDA-approved or designated State medical cannabis products as part of a course of Veterans Affairs treatment, or prescribe the use of FDA-approved or designated State medical cannabis products.

Veterans Equal Access Act

This bill would require the VA to authorize physicians and other health care providers employed by the VA to

provide recommendations and opinions to veterans who are residents of States with State marijuana programs regarding the participation of veterans in such State marijuana programs; and complete forms reflecting such recommendations and opinions.

Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act

This bill would make it lawful for:

• a veteran to use, possess, or transport medical marijuana in a State or on Indian land in accordance with the law of the applicable State or Indian Tribe;

• a physician to discuss with a veteran the use of medical marijuana as a treatment if the physician is in a State or on Indian land where the law of the applicable State or Indian Tribe authorizes the use, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, delivery, and transport of medical marijuana;

• a physician to recommend, complete forms for, or register veterans for participation in a treatment program involving medical marijuana that is approved by the law of the applicable State or Indian Tribe.

Veterans Cannabis Use for Safe Healing Act

This bill would:

• prohibit the VA from denying a veteran any benefit under the laws administered by the VA by reason of the veteran participating in a State-approved marijuana program;

• with respect to a veteran who is enrolled in the system of patient enrollment under section 1705 of title 38, United States Code, and participates in a State-approved marijuana program, the bill would require the VA to ensure that physicians and other health care providers of the Veterans Health Administration:

- discuss marijuana use with the veteran and adjust medical treatment plans accordingly;

- record such use in the medical records of the veteran; and

• require the VA to authorize physicians and other health care providers of the Veterans Health Administration to provide recommendations and opinions to veterans who are residents of States with State-approved marijuana programs regarding the participation of veterans in such programs.

A Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2023

This bill would require the VA to study the effects of cannabis on veterans who are enrolled in the VA health care system and have been diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or chronic pain. / March 2024 33

TRANSITION To Civilian Life

- Veteran Sponsorship Initiative Military to Civilian Life

- What's Next: Tackle the Interview Win the Job!

- HR: DEI Movement

- Off-Base Transition Training

- Business for Veterans: Get Results

- New CA Lawa Immediately

Affecting Business Owners in 2024

- Risky Business: Your Direction

- Women's Entrepreneur Summit

- Careers in Law Enforcement

Transitioning out of the Military into the Civilian Workforce?

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

34 / March 2024
March 2024 Issue

The Veteran Sponsorship Initiative

Supporting the Journey from Military to Civilian Life

The Veteran Sponsorship Initiative (VSI) is a public-private partnership between the Department of Veteran Affairs, the Department of Defense, the Department of Labor, national nonprofits, and community-based organizations. The program connects Transitioning Service Members (TSMs) with a volunteer sponsor in their new civilian community several months before the end of active duty. By facilitating a successful transition from military to civilian life, VSI helps prevent Veteran suicides.

The 12 months between the end of active military service and reintegration back into civilian life are the most stressful and dangerous for Veterans. They experience a threefold increase in rates of suicide during the first year after military service compared to other Veteran populations. Additionally, 70% of the population served by VSI is between 18-34 years old. This age is especially vulnerable during the first year after military service. The suicide rate for this age group has doubled over the past 13 years. Finally, research shows that two out of three Veterans who commit suicide do not have access to health care.

Volunteer sponsors undergo VA certified training that helps them support TSMs by connecting them with community and VA resources for health care, housing, employment, education, social and recreational activities, and filing claims for disability compensation.

VSI works closely with Onward Ops, a national nonprofit organization that recruits and supports volunteer sponsors nationwide. In turn, Onward Ops works with regional community partners to match TSMs with sponsors in their new community.

In the San Diego area, Onward Ops works with the San Diego Veterans Coalition which currently supports over 60 sponsors and continues to engage in the recruitment of new sponsors. Nationwide, the number of sponsors has grown to over 5,000.


Early research indicates that TSMs who work with a sponsor experience fewer reintegration difficulties and more social support. The latest research, currently under review, indicates that TSMs who work with a sponsor are 50% less likely to attempt suicide and 63% more likely to engage with VA health care than TSMs without a sponsor.

If you would like to learn more about VSI or becoming a volunteer sponsor, please contact John Fasano at To learn more about Onward Ops, please visit / March 2024 35


Transition to Civilian Life

Tackle the Interview and Win the Job!

Reflecting upon a hard-fought Super Bowl, we are reminded that in order to perform well in any game, you need to master both tactics and strategy. You must analyze your opponent and devise plays that will generate results. You must know when to run, pass, score and …even when to not score.

The same is true of interviewing. Preparing for an interview is akin to preparing for the big game. Because it IS a big game! You must be aware of what your interviewer is expecting. What questions will you face? How can you best answer them? Do you duck, dodge, carry or spin? You must have a clear understanding of the value you can bring to the team in the role you are applying for and the skills you possess. Just as no football player would show up at a tryout and claim to be able to play every position well, you should not go into an interview with a one-size-fits-all attitude.

Weighing in with an HR Professional

We were lucky enough to speak with Shaylae Dupris, an HR Professional who loves putting together great teams, and she had some wonderful advice on how to make sure you land the perfect job for you.

Shaylae has sat on both sides of the table, both as the interviewer and as the interviewee. She knows all too well how the interview process can cause both stress and anxiety for both the candidate and employer. She’s had the honor to sit across from, interview and speak with some of the best top talent and candidates this world has to offer. Although some organizations do put “profits over human capital,” they need qualified people to do the work. When looking at the final score, it’s the people who produce the profits. You are valuable!

Veterans are among the most qualified candidatesbut here’s the catch!

The reality is that most candidates, veterans included, do not know how to clearly and succinctly describe how their experience, background and skills translate into “added value” to the organization where they are applying. Shaylae notes, “Veterans are among the most qualified candidates that have ever come across my path as a HR professional. Nevertheless, the interview process can be intimidating at times and Human Resources practitioners are not trained or equipped enough to effectively interview candidates, let alone veteran candidates.”

Shaylae offers some insider tips to ensure a soaring success before, during and after the interview process.

1. Confidence is key! Believe in yourself.

An integral factor in making a good impression in an interview is to remind yourself that whatever job you are applying for, you have specific abilities and credentials that other applicants don’t have. Repeat to yourself “Veterans are the most qualified candidates. I am a Veteran. I am a qualified candidate!” This mindset puts you in a better place to bargain for a higher salary. Make sure to stress your talents, such as teamwork, collaboration, leadership, critical thinking, and the capability to plan strategically under intense pressure, as things that make you stand out from the other jobseekers.

2. No one knows it all. Don’t pretend to!

It is essential to be wary of exhibiting the imposter syndrome/personality while presenting yourself to employers. Posing as an expert in all areas or a perfectionist will weaken your message and personal brand. Shaylae recalls that during interviews, she would often describe herself as a “jack of all trades”, meaning “I am capable of taking on a variety of tasks and carrying them out from start to finish.”

This kind of presentation can actually obstruct any attempts to acquire a good job. A Human Resources professional interviewing candidates isn’t seeking the perfect individual or someone who knows it all.

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They want a highly competent candidate who could add the most value to the post and someone who was confident and at ease to admit errors and how they got over them. If you were interviewing to be the star quarterback, you don’t need to tout your exceptional skills as a linebacker or a mascot!

3. There are different types of interviews in the process.

Know what they are. Shaylae strongly recommends you become aware of the various kinds of interviews employers use. Her go-to interview for an interviewee is the behavioral interview. This style of questioning focuses on a candidate’s past experiences to evaluate how they have managed distinct scenarios and applied abilities applicable to the position.

The best way for an individual to pass a behavioral interview is by using the STAR method. Here, STAR stands for situation, task, action, and result. The STAR technique is a systematic way to answer a behavioral based interview question by discussing the precise situation, task, action, and result of the situation you are describing. As an experienced candidate, this is the most ideal opportunity to provide clear and organized responses concerning your qualifications and skills.

Tackle the Interview and Win the Job!

Repeat to yourself “Veterans are the most qualified candidates.

I am a Veteran. I am a qualified candidate!”

As you are reaching across the end zone, deploying the tips that we share, please reach out to share your Lombardi moments!

We want to hear from you. Reach out to Eve at

Need help with your transition? Have questions? Link up with Eve on Linked In today. / March 2024 37


Transition to Business

What is the DEI Movement All About?

You’ve no doubt heard of diversity, equity, and inclusion (or DEI, for short). But there are many misunderstandings about what it is and what it represents. No, it’s not “affirmative action” like we saw in the 1970s. And it’s not simply a “nice to have” because it’s “the right thing to do.” It’s very much about inclusion and belonging, making it safe for all employees to do their best work every day with peace of mind. But that’s only one aspect of DEI. There are other key factors that make this “movement” a critical factor in any organization’s long-term strategic planning. Here’s a quick overview of why DEI has become and will remain so critically important to corporate America.

Millennial and Gen Z Demands

Gen-Y Millennials (43 and under) and Gen-Z Zoomers (25 and under) are the most studied generational cohorts in world history. Employers know their priorities and would be wise to direct their workforce planning and cultural enrichment efforts to accommodating their desires and goals, which include:

1. Diversity of thoughts, ideas, and voices

2. Career and professional development

3. An ethical employer and a management team that cares about employees personally

4. Work-life-family balance, control, and equilibrium

5. Corporate social responsibility and environmentalism

• The Ethical Imperative

Diversity and ethics in the workplace strive to make people of all socio-economic backgrounds feel comfortable and welcome within an organization. Ethics further promotes equality of opportunity among all employees or prospective workers to be hired and promoted based on merit—not race, gender, or creed. Ethical companies produce thoughtfully diverse and inclusive workplace communities that strengthen internal relationships with employees and external relationships with customer groups.

• Proven and Tested Business Results

Multiple studies show that organizations with diverse boards, leadership teams, and workforces continue to outperform companies with more homogeneous boards and senior executive constituents. In fact, according to McKinsey & Company, the most diverse companies outperform their less diverse peers by 36% in profitability ( While some of these and other findings have been challenged, respectable think tanks and universities continue to publish DEI success stories and support their importance.

• Demographic Shifts

The Baby Boom began after World War II in 1946 and ended in 1964 with the introduction of the birth control pill. 77 million babies were born over that 18-year period—some 10,000 per day. What occurred in 2011 garnered few headlines but was critical to America’s future labor supply: the first Baby Boomers turned 65, and from 2011 – 2029, 10,000 Americans per day retire. Combine this with the fact that the Baby Boom was followed by the “Baby Bust” (a.k.a. Gen X), a generation only roughly half its size, and you’ve got a formula for massive labor shortfalls. True, the Gen-Y Millennials are actually bigger than the Baby Boomers with 80 million constituents, but there will be a lag before they can fully replace aging Boomers.

• Falling Labor Force Participation Rates

COVID shone a light on talent scarcity, but a declining labor force participation rate adds significantly to the mix and will extend far beyond the pandemic. The labor force participation rate fell from 67% in 2000 to roughly 60% today and is projected to remain at that lower level through 2050.

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• Declining Global Birth Rates in Industrialized Nations

By 2050, advanced industrial countries will be losing population at a dramatic rate, making this a global phenomenon. While the world population hit eight billion for the first time in history on November 15, 2022, the majority of those births took place in underdeveloped, agricultural societies where newborns are needed to ensure the security of the parents as they age. As George Friedman pointed out in his New York Times bestseller, The Next Hundred Years, “living with underpopulation” will remain the norm for the remainder of this century. By the 2040s, many industrialized nations will be enticing tax-paying foreign workers to enter their borders. Some, like Japan and South Korea, have already begun offering foreign workers financial incentives and fast tracks to citizenship.

• A New Talent Pool

Today, underrepresented ethnic groups account for 30% of the total U.S. population. By 2060, they are expected to reach 60% of the population. These groups have historically been overlooked but have a growing amount of buying power. As such, a diverse talent pool increases the range of human capital available to American companies while also better reflecting the buying habits of a more diverse consumer base. This is likely the most critical benefit of diversity hiring: it represents a concrete and reasonable way to develop internal talent pools going forward.

We can expect to see a growing focus on “talent development” and “talent management” as a result. External “talent acquisition” will remain in demand, but wise organizations will look to “grow their own” by focusing their energies and dollars on developing talent rather than simply assuming that posting a job ad or even calling a headhunter will guarantee them superior results. There’s no doubt about it: tapping into underrepresented and diverse talent pools will likely be America’s lifeline moving forward into the 21st century. Wise employers will capture the opportunity by getting ahead of the game and developing a talent bench that reflects their customer base.

You can connect with Paul on LinkedIn at

Paul Falcone ( is a management trainer, executive coach, and bestselling author on hiring, performance management, and leadership development. / March 2024 39

Employment Focused Workshops to Help You Reach Your Goals

Perhaps you’re trudging back and forth to the same office or signing on for a day of work in a job that shows no sign of changing or improving: the long hours, the ongoing meetings, the lack of fulfillment. The job itself is mind-numbing; your talents forgotten and the potential you had in abundance when you first transitioned out of the military feels like it has been sucked out of you.

If you’re reading this and thinking, yeah, that is me, then the Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS) has just the thing for you.

DOL VETS has a new pilot program to help veterans, veterans currently serving in the National Guard and Reserve, and their spouses to take control of their careers.

The Off-Base Transition Training (OBTT) pilot program consists of ten two-hour workshops designed to help you to prepare to meet your employment goals. These no-cost workshops, both in-person and virtual offerings, will fit any schedule and can give you an advantage over your civilian counterparts.

The Workshops

Your Next Move: Your Next Move is designed to help anyone unsure of what they want to do next with their career. This workshop explores interest profiling, skills matching and general labor market information. It is designed to introduce the basic tools needed for career exploration and identification of high-demand occupations.

Marketing Yourself and Other

Job Search

Tactics: Marketing Yourself and Other Job Search

Tactics explains how essential it is to present skills, knowledge and abilities that meet the employer’s needs. This workshop provides proven tactics to help job seekers get noticed and hired.

Understanding Resume Essentials: Understanding Resume Essentials explains the importance of a wellstructured resume that highlights relevant skills and experience to potential employers. This workshop covers the elements of a resume and provides job seekers with techniques to create an effective document that employers will notice.

Creating Your Resume – Writing Workshop: Creating Your Resume – Writing Workshop builds on the Understanding Resume Essentials. During this workshop attendees will have time to craft an initial resume or revise a current one.

Interview Skills (virtual only): Interview Skills aims to provide attendees with the tools and confidence they need to ace a job interview. Learning how to prepare for an interview and practice answering questions will give attendees an advantage in landing a job. During this workshop, interview basics, potential questions and interview techniques are presented.

Federal Hiring (virtual only): Federal Hiring covers the basics of gaining federal employment. Veterans have a distinct advantage when applying for federal positions with veterans’ preference.

During this workshop, the basics of civil service, USAJobs, special hiring authorities and other resources for attendees’ federal job search are discussed.

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LinkedIn Profiles (virtual only): This workshop walks attendees through how to create a compelling LinkedIn profile that can be used to build a professional brand and highlight experience.

LinkedIn Job Search (virtual only): This workshop explains how to proactively use LinkedIn for job searches and pulls back the curtain to show how recruiters use LinkedIn to find potential employees, which you can use in your employment opportunities.

Salary Negotiations (virtual only): Salary Negotiations explores the tools and techniques to handle salary negotiations. This workshop is designed to take the mystery out of salary negotiation and walks attendees through how to conduct salary research to position yourself effectively during negotiation.

Employment Rights (virtual only): Employment Rights cover basic employment protections as well as those protections specific to veterans. It provides essential information on the American Disabilities Act, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act. Information on reasonable accommodations and selfadvocacy will also be presented.

Thinking about changing careers? It’s time to find your passion and make that your priority.

OBTT will help you reach your employment and career goals. You served, you earned it; find your next victory with OBTT.

Explore and register for OBTT in-person or virtual workshops online at: / March 2024 41


Are You Getting the Results You Want?

Persuasion is arguably the single most important business tool, yet according to Russell H. Granger in his book, “The 7 Triggers to Yes”, …” few understand persuasion or use it effectively.” He says, “Success, perhaps survival, for you and your business hinges primarily on this one skill: the power of persuasion-the ability to persuade people to say yes, to willingly concur or follow directions or act on your behalf.”

In this challenging business environment, you need to diligently dig down to the truth about your skill in communicating and/or your lack of persuasive skills. Now more than ever, you must make the necessary adjustments to survive--even thrive.

How would you rate your persuasion skills? Perhaps you have great people skills, but does that lead you to the end results you want when you are engaged with a potential customer, an employee or leading a group? So much has been discovered about how you can now successfully lead potential clients/customers to a shared conclusion. New scientifically documented data on how the brain processes decision making information can help you become more consciously competent when dealing with people.

There was a saying I learned many years ago about the sales process that said “selling ain’t telling, it’s asking questions”. I think we can all agree that we don’t want to be told about a product or service but respond well when someone spends the time to really understand what we want and why it is important to us. The key here is good listening skills. Do you understand the difference talking, telling and communicating? Effective, Successful, result-oriented, persuasive communication is far different from the day-to-day version – it takes Knowledge, thought, planning and execution.

True communication is not what the sender intends to communicate; it is what the receiver understands. Whatever the other person thinks he heard and what he thinks you meant, that is what is communicated. What YOU intended has little relevancy to the real world of communication.

“All business communication aims to achieve a result. When successful, it moves its audience to do something – to buy a product, change a behavior, support a plan or adopt a point of view”, wrote, Michael Hattersley, a professor at the Harvard Business School.

We all want our communications to produce results, even if it is just to be “heard”. In a slower economy, the quality of our internal and external communication needs to be at an all time high. Where can you strengthen your communication skills? With customers/ clients it can mean more consistent, loyal business interactions.

Harvard Business School research found that a 5% increase in customer loyalty can lead to 40%-90% increases in the lifetime value of customer relationships. With employees it can mean higher productivity and a true by-in to the companies’ vision and mission.


42 / March 2024
Mind Masters an organization that provides business owners a proven, repeatable process that keeps the focus on the business of success. She can be reached at 858-467-9091 or visit
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Our sports managements program supports professionals striving to become leaders in the exciting athletics field. Enrolled students can complete coursework entirely online while receiving guidance from high level coaches, retired pros, and sports industry experts.

Launching your business in Sports Leadership Principles in Sports Strategic Communication in Sports Ethics in Sports Game within the Game

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This program is transferable with our University partners for credit. For more info email / March 2024 43

legal Eagle

Straight-forward legal tips for Military and Veteran Business Owners




Two new California laws directly affecting business owners went into effect on January 1, 2024. California has strengthened the prohibition against noncompete and nonsolicitation agreements, which also posse potential liability for employers who require their employees to sign noncompete agreements or attempt to enforce existing noncompete agreements against former employees.

Assembly Bill 1076 states that it is unlawful to include noncompete and nonsolicitation clauses in employment contracts, or to require an employee to enter into a noncompete agreement that does not satisfy an exception under California law.

Senate Bill 699 makes it a civil violation for employers to even attempt to enforce a void noncompete or Nonsolicitation provision regardless of where and when the contract was signed.

Although the new laws raise questions that the courts will likely be called upon to answer, a few things are relatively certain. Except for certain narrow statutory exceptions, employers cannot use noncompete agreements or similar restricted covenants to prevent former employees from competing against or soliciting the employer’s customers.

Except for certain narrow statutory exceptions, employers very likely cannot use noncompete agreements or similar restrictive covenants to prevent former employees from soliciting their current employees.

Entering into or even attempting to enforce a void noncompete or nonsolicitation provision in California may entitle affected employees to injunctive relief, actual damages, or both, and potentially attorneys’ fees and costs if the employee prevails.

By February 14, 2024, employers must notify current employees and former employees (employed after January 1, 2022), who the employer required to sign noncompete or nonsolicitation provisions that those provisions are void under California law. The notice must be sent to the last known address of the employee or former employee and to their email address. Failure to provide such notice constitutes an act of unfair competition and is subject to a penalty of $2,500 for each violation. If you have not yet notified the former employees, you must do so immediately before penalties are imposed.

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

For more information on how to legally start and grow your business schedule your consultation here

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.

44 / March 2024 / March 2024 45
46 / March 2024 Become a certified IT professional in 15 weeks with no prior experience necessary! Talk to our friendly veterans admissions counselor today! • GI Bill & MyCAA Approved • Flexible Schedule • Online & In-person Hybrid Classes • Small Class Size • Hands-on Training • Lifelong Job Placement and Career Counseling • Technical Support Specialist • IT Support Technician • Network Administrator • Network Analyst • Systems Administrator Why ICOHS College? Career Outcomes: The median IT job salary in the US was about $88,000 last year. READY TO TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR CAREER? (858)581-9460

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L E A R N M O R E / March 2024 47
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Insurance Info & Risk Management Tips

“The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer/statesman

As businesses grow and evolve, many things happen at once and often, things happen so quickly it is hard to really appreciate how exciting business ownership can be. One moment you are at your living room table, crafting out your new business plan, borrowing money to fund it, hiring marketing people to brand it and the next moment you have 5 employees working around your dining room table wondering if you will be providing dinner! That may sound extreme, but it happens more than you think and for good reason.

Business growth is multi-faceted and includes internal growth and external growth. External growth, i.e., physically committing to a larger space, can be daunting and confusing. It requires meeting with seasoned commercial real estate leasing agents and looking over long-form legal agreements that can read like a foreign language and feel overwhelming to a new entrepreneur.

Tenant Leases are a part of growing your business and navigating through them just requires a few tips. Here are a few tips to help you navigate through this process:

• The Lease will likely offer a significant discount for a longer lease term. Be careful with this and look this over closely. If you need to break the lease term early, make sure you understand the ramifications. If you had to leave early, could you sub-lease to another party? Are there fees associated with early termination? Would you be on the hook for the entire length of the lease

regardless of your reason? This is extremely important to know before signing a lengthy lease.

• The Lease will likely require you to provide insurance for the premise. The insurance requirements can vary in coverage, limits and endorsements depending on the landlord requirements and this should be provided to you before you sign the lease. Sometimes, they will require something your policy does not already cover, and you will need to pay more premium to comply with their requirements. Tenant Insurance is simply an insurance policy for your business that includes coverage for the leased space. It can be written as a premise only policy which would cover the space leased or it can be written as a business owners policy (BOP) which would cover the premise and also your business property such as your computers, equipment, furniture, and other business owner coverages that might be applicable to your operations. Send the requirements over to your Insurance Broker and have a conversation about the required coverage and your exposures.

• Before leasing a space, make sure the Landlord is up to code on their building requirements such as fire sprinklers, smoke alarms, theft alarm systems (if they have them), ADA ramps and accommodations, etc. Their lack of attention to compliance can cause problems in your obtaining proper insurance coverage, a higher premium, or sometimes the carrier declining to cover the space entirely.

• Depending on the market and how many available properties to lease are available in your area, you should be able to negotiate some tenant improvements before you move in that the landlord would cover. Do some research and make sure you check alternate properties in your area for comparison.

• Always keep records of your signed lease and conversations with your real estate agent.

Business growth is a wonderful feeling, but it can cause some stress and having a few people on your side to assist with this helps. Reach out to your business insurance broker, your legal advisor, and a commercial real estate advisor to assist you.

Please reach out to me at: with any business insurance or risk management questions.

48 / March 2024
RISKY BUSINESS / March 2024 49 ENROLL NOW AT WFW.ORG Workshops for Warriors is a nonprofit school that provides veterans and transitioning service members with hands-on training and nationallyrecognized credentials in CNC machining, CAD/CAM programming, and welding. Our students earn credentials that open doors to jobs anywhere in the U.S. Call us at (619) 550-1620. CAD/CAM Programming CNC Machining Welding DoD SkillBridge Organization BEFORE SERVED HONORABLY. AFTER EARNED A CAREER IN JUST 4 MONTHS.
50 / March 2024



Dynamic Speakers, Panels, Workshops, Networking, Product Pitch Contest, and so much more




APRIL 27-28, 2024


We are excited to invite all women inventors and innovators to submit their innovative products for an opportunity to be recognized, celebrated, and awarded for their exceptional contributions in this burgeoning business space This unique opportunity was designed to highlight the remarkable achievements of women in the field of invention and entrepreneurship


Lead and Empower Her She Talks, in partnership with the BoldSKY Foundation, are proud to announce the first of its kind Women’s Product Entrepreneur & Inventor Summit. The trends are changing in the product world. Women who previously would have kept their innovative ideas to themselves are now rising up and bringing their product ideas to light. And we are here for them!

The Women’s Product Entrepreneur & Inventor Summit was created by women with a great product ideas, for women with great product ideas

This Summit is designed to not only provide actionable advice and time and money-saving direction that will move the needle forward on any product-focused business, but it also offers women an opportunity to pitch their great ideas to a live audience and a panel of esteemed judges

COME BE EMPOWERED! / March 2024 51

Dancing Veterans San Diego

Established in September 2021,the goal of Dancing Veterans San Diego has been to aid veterans, service members, and their families primarily with brain injuries and trauma by using dancing as a means of coping and possibly healing while promoting a healthy community within the group.

Dr. Robert Morgan, founder and director, had experienced a similar experience while working through rehabilitation during his enlistment at Naval Medical Center San Diego. He decided, a few years after leaving the US Navy, to develop his own program outside of the military. While communing with other veterans and service members within the San Diego Latin dancing community, there was a realization that there was a lack of a program of this nature within our San Diego community. The mission of Dancing Veterans San Diego states, “Providing a space for veterans and service members in the San Diego region suffering from PTSD and brain injury—a safe space to process and heal through dance and movement.”

Many have spoken about the importance of moving the body and its benefits to the human body. Participants in the program have explained through their own continuous participation in the program the benefits they have been experiencing, which cover physical, emotional, and mental. Though the scope of the organization seems to go as far as service members, families of service members, and veterans, individuals outside of the scope are welcomed to participate as a means of integrating both the San Diego community and military participants, aiding reintegration into the wider community, and allowing both communities to commune.

Since the inception of this organization in 2021, Infinity Dance Studio in Kearney Mesa has played a pivotal role for the organization, as they are the only dance studio that has opened doors to the organization. Additionally, due to the generosity and location of the studio, the organization has also attracted over 200 participants to the program. Dancing Veterans San Diego has done numerous collaborations with other non-profits associated with veterans, service members, and their families, such as Vet Art, Always Ready, the San Diego Veterans Employment Committee, Courage to Call, the San Diego Veterans Coalition, and others.

There have also been some community collaborations with dance companies such as Melomano Dance Company, The Salsa Beat, and Latin Rhythm Society.

Currently, only salsa and bachata classes are offered by the organization and taught by world-class instructors within the genre. There are a few participants, along with the founder, who perform at the professional and semiprofessional levels, either on behalf of the organization or on local dance teams. Dancing Veterans San Diego hosts classes for six-week intervals and currently holds two levels of classes: level one, which focuses on foundational movements and techniques, and level two, which is a more challenging class for individuals wanting to challenge themselves.

The next six-week series of classes will be from March 3rd to April 7th at Infinity Dance Studio, 7243 Engineer Rd. B., San Diego, CA 92111, between 12 PM and 2 PM

For more information please visit:

52 / March 2024



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

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











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

ONWARD OPS Sponsors all complete a VA-Certified Sponsor Training Course and the Community Integration Coordinators are all validated as best-in-class, trusted, and capable partners in their local region. Our national network, working with the department of defense, the department of veterans affairs, and the department of labor, brings a team together in one common mission: to securely provide the information and relationships needed to help every transitioning service member successfully make the journey out of the military and into civilian life. / March 2024 53

MOWW San Diego Chapter

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outreach events and activities

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

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

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

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

• Partnering with many community veteran groups.

For more information please visit our website at:

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

Please feel free to contact us:

Debbie Kash

Kathleen Winchester

54 / March 2024


to the Veterans Association of North County


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


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


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


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

WE LOVE OUR ASSOCIATION MEMBERS AND THEY’RE HERE FOR YOU TOO. VANC is open to all military, veterans and friends of the military. If you would like to become a Veterans Association member, Contact Lori at to learn more. / March 2024 55

Veterans Chamber of Commerce

Great Benefit for Veterans

“Transitioning to a Supervisory Role”

As the corporate landscape evolves, organizations are increasingly recognizing the unique skill set and valuable experiences that military veterans bring to the workplace. One noteworthy avenue where veterans can make a significant impact is in assuming supervisory roles. The transition from military service to a leadership position in the civilian workforce not only benefits the individual veteran but also adds immeasurable value to the organizations fortunate enough to harness their leadership prowess.

Effective Communication Skills: Veterans, having honed their communication skills in high-stakes environments, possess a clarity and precision that is indispensable in a supervisory role. The ability to convey complex information succinctly and make decisions under pressure is a skill set cultivated in the military, translating seamlessly to leadership positions.

Adaptability and Problem-Solving: Military service instills a remarkable adaptability and resilience in veterans. The capacity to navigate unforeseen challenges and find effective solutions is a hallmark of military training. Veterans, as supervisors, can leverage this aptitude to guide their teams through dynamic situations and foster a culture of innovation and problem-solving.

Discipline and Accountability: Veterans bring an ingrained sense of discipline and accountability to the workplace. With a strong work ethic and commitment to excellence, they set a standard that resonates throughout their teams. Supervisors with military backgrounds are adept at fostering a culture of accountability, inspiring their teams to meet and exceed organizational expectations.

Leadership by Example: Having experienced leadership from both sides—being led and leading others— veterans understand the importance of setting an example. They are more likely to lead by demonstration, showcasing the values and work ethic they expect from their teams. This fosters a positive and productive work environment, enhancing overall team cohesion.

Crisis Management Expertise: Veterans are accustomed to operating in high-stress environments where split-second decisions can have profound consequences. This unique experience equips them with crisis management skills that are invaluable in supervisory roles. Their ability to stay calm under pressure can be a guiding force during challenging times for the organization.

Diversity and Inclusion Advocacy: Veterans often serve in diverse and multicultural environments during their military careers. This exposure fosters an appreciation for diversity and inclusion. Veterans as supervisors can champion these principles, contributing to a workplace culture that celebrates differences, fosters collaboration, and promotes equal opportunities.


The transition from military service to a supervisory role offers numerous benefits for veterans and the organizations fortunate enough to harness their leadership potential. With a wealth of skills ranging from effective communication to crisis management, veterans bring a unique and valuable perspective to the corporate world. By recognizing and tapping into these attributes, organizations can not only support the successful transition of veterans but also cultivate a workplace culture that thrives on the principles of leadership, accountability, and inclusivity. As veterans ascend to supervisory positions, they become catalysts for positive change, shaping the future success of both themselves and the organizations they lead.


If you would like to advance as a supervisor in your current job, The National Veterans Chamber’s Leadership Certificate maybe a great option for you. Email us to for more information at

*Disclaimer: This is for informational purposes only and based solely on my personal experience. Make sure you contact a qualified Attorney to actually create living trust for your family.

56 / March 2024 / March 2024 57 Navigating the resources available to veterans can be confusing, 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. Resources & Organizations available at: Veteran Resources & Organizations HOUSING FOR HEROES The American Dream Project VA HOMES MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE FREE HOME BUYING CLASS FREE RESOURCES VA HOMES EXPERTS
Home pricing No down/ No PMI are great advantages for Veterans
Help with Mortgage Payments? Yes, we help Families work together to purchase a home
How can I make Money with my purchase? Your property can make extra cash by renting to fellow Veterans Rent is paid by the VA Problems / Solutions Cell : 949-295-4300 BULLOCK.RE.BROKEROFFICE@GMAIL.COM Why we do this We believe each Military/Veteran Family should own their Own Home

Opportunities in Law Enforcement

You’ve served your country, now serve your community!

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

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

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

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

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

58 / March 2024 / March 2024 59 Veterans! Join Our Team CHANGE Be the SFPD Salary $103,116 - $147,628 TEXT “JoinSFPD” to (415) 704-3688

SDPD Ride Along: A Story of Two Marines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

60 / March 2024
Officer Sean Bunch Officer Mark Wright

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continued on next page > / March 2024 61

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

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

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

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

62 / March 2024
SDPD Ride Along
For more information visit or email us at SDPD NOW HIRING
Officer Sean Bunch - Amber Robinson (SDVM) - Officer Mark Wright / March 2024 63

From Navy Sailor to San Francisco Police Officer

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

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

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

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

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

“Being able to talk to people, figure out what they are going through, and what they need is a huge portion of the job. I enjoy interacting with the public, and engaging in what I call verbal judo.”
64 / March 2024
- Officer Cindy Ovares

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To learn more about the San Francisco Police Department, or to connect with recruiter, go to: / March 2024 65
66 / March 2024 / March 2024 67 San Diego Veterans Magazine A Veterans Magazine by Veterans for Veterans Resources Support Transition HEALTH Community Voted 2020, 2021, 2022 & 2023 Best San Diego resource, support magazine for veterans, transitioning military personnel, active military, military families & veteran organizations
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