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Vol. 3 Number 11 • November 2021



SAN DIEGO Veteran of the Month

Transition What’s next




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

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Publisher Editor-In-Chief Mike Miller

Contributing Writers Holly Shaffner Veteran Advocate

RanDee McLain, LCSW A Different Lens

Jenny Lynne Stroup Real Talk: Mental Health

Vicki Garcia

Enlisted to Entrepreneur

CJ Machado

SD Vets & Homeland Photojournalist

Kelly Bagla, Esq. Legal Eagle

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

Joe Molina

Veterans Chamber of Commerce

Eve Nasby

What’s Next - Transitioning

Amber Robinson Arts & Healing

Eva Stimson Veteran Advocate

Paul Falcone

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

Human Resources

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

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

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

Mike Miller Editor-In-Chief 6 / NOVEMBER 2021

David Koontz Midway Magic

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


INSIDE THIS ISSUE 8 Veteran of the Month (Phil Kendro) 10 Midway Magic - Veterans Day Reflections 14 Fleet Week San Diego 16 Honor Flight San Diego Flies Again 18 The Guardian, an Honored Copilot 20 Designer of The Mural Wall 24 USO San Diego 26 This Veteran Found Hope 28 Real Talk: Timeless Hope 30 LENS: Veterans Day 32 Shelter to Soldier: Recovery Revitalization 35 Complementary Treatments for PTSD 37 Courage to Call 38 What’s Next: The Holy Grail 40 HR - Workplace Ethics 42 Facing The Storm 44 Transitioning is a Process 46 Evangel University 48 Business and Social Media 52 Legal Eagle - Veteran to Business Owner 54 Legally Speaking - Military & Divorce 56 Money Matters - Now or Later 58 Tunnel to Towers Foundation 60 SDVC - Military Order of the World Wars 62 VANC - Announcements / NOVEMBER 2021


VETERan of the month San Diego - November 2021 By Amber Robinson

Phil Kendro USMC Marine Veteran There are few veterans in this county who are as busy as Marine Veteran Phil Kendro. If you were to ask him why, he’ll give you the best answer. “It’s all to help others, to help my community and to be an example,” said Kendro. Kendro has a big, bad resume and is the perfect vet for this November’s Veteran of the Month. His time in service as a pilot was nothing short of boastful with his post-service work including working with Hollywood’s elite, coordinating San Diego and the country’s largest military events and maybe most importantly, working to bring San Diego’s veterans together in the name of camaraderie, getting a job and beer. After four years as part of ROTC at Pennsylvania State University on a Navy Scholarship, Kendro was commissioned into the U.S. Marine Corps as a pilot in 1995. During his time as a Marine officer Kendro served all over the world. After some time with a grounded fleet and then as a T34 instructor, Kendro left to serve overseas. In 2003 he deployed with a mixed company of Marines and Sailors to Kuwait, Iraq and took over multiple airfields during the invasion. The following year he returned to Iraq flying Harriers, which are short takeoff attack jets. “We took over four different airfields while we were there, flew missions for a few months and brought everyone home safely,” said Kendro. After Iraq Kendro ended up in Japan in a unique job where he got to teach air traffic controller and foreign air protocol to aviation units from all over the world. “In that job I got to work with Iraqis, the Thai, you name it,” said Kendro. “It was such a privilege to work with and teach people from literally everywhere.”

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Kendro served 22 years in the Marines before retiring to San Diego in 2018. During his two decades of service he was lucky enough to spend two tours in sunny Southern California. It was during these times he decided he and his family would live here after retirement. After service, much like many veterans, Kendro stumbled. “I struggled for about four months looking for work,” said Kendro. Kendro also said he felt lost without the daily structure of service. He began to worry how he would provide for his family and pay the bills without work. For Kendro it was a dark time. Luckily, Kendro finally found work, but now he uses that time of struggle as a way to reach out to other veterans who are in that same predicament. Another way Kendro reaches out to other vets is through San Diego’s Veteran Beer Club which he cofounder. “In 2016 myself, Brian and Kevin Cortes began brainstorming ways we could bring vets together to job network among other things,” said Kendro.

Later that year they linked up with Second Chance Beer Company and hosted their first event. Now, the Veterans Beer Club is one of the most well-known veteran gatherings in San Diego, offering free food and beer, business networking, VA home loan information and much more. They have hosted events all over San Diego county at various breweries. “There are about 140 breweries all over town,” said Kendro, “and we have hosted our event in about 55 to 60 of them.” Kendro says when you arrive at the event you are color coded. For instance, red means “I need a job”, blue means “I have a job but am looking”. “Or, you can just come and hang out,” said Kendro. “The most rewarding thing about our events is the camaraderie.” Kendro’s volunteerism for his fellow vets definitely doesn’t stop there. He is also one of the main coordinators for the Miramar Air Show, as well as the usual announcer. He is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial, helping to coordinate at least two major large-scale events with them a year, he helps to coordinate the San Diego Fleet Week Sea and Air Parade and lends his skills as a broadcaster to air shows and public events up and down the west coast, just to name a few of the things that keeps Kendro busy outside of his usual job.

Currently, that job allows this high-energy local icon the ability to work with Hollywood’s best as the Assistant Director of the Entertainment Media Liaison Office, otherwise known as LA Public Affairs. There he’s gotten the chance to advise, educate and coordinate military assets for a myriad of projects within the entertainment industry. “I’ve gotten to work with so many great networks and on so many great projects,” said Kendro. “ From game shows to multi-million dollar movies to working with Discovery, Science Channel, with Paramount and the WWE.” Like I said, he’s got one of those killer resumes. And the resume is still getting stacked. Kendro has got plans on top of plans for the future. As you can imagine, he’s not home much. But he believes the work he does for his community is worth it. Kendro is aware that volunteer efforts like his are what make our veteran community so strong.

That community servitude and respect for veterans is something he seeks to also instill in his kids, the youngest six, the oldest 9, who he takes to many of his events. Kendro proudly shares how his eldest, Brandon, was ableto meet local icon, WWII and Pearl Harbor survivor, Stu Hedley, at one of the many events he coordinates or hosts. “That is something he will never forget,” said Kendro. For Kendro, the sky’s the limit, literally. With his pilot background he still belongs to many flight organizations. So, if you are a vet and need a job, to connect with fellow vets or are just wanting to get above the clouds out here in sunny SoCal, you know who to call. We thank Phil Kendro for his service to his nation, his community, and his military brothers and sisters. / NOVEMBER 2021


Veterans Day Reflections Dating back to the Revolutionary War, more than 41 million Americans have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. However, it’s only been in the last 100 years that the United States has officially honored military veterans. It wasn’t until Nov. 11, 1919, the one-year anniversary of end of World War I, that Armistice Day was established to pay tribute to those who fought in the Great War. Seven years later, a congressional resolution made the day an annual observance and in 1938 it became a national holiday. President Dwight Eisenhower changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954 after lobbying efforts by various veterans’ support organizations that wanted to ensure that the country paid tribute to all of those who served. “It is fitting that we set aside a special day each year to honor our veterans and give nationwide expression of our esteem for them,” Eisenhower would later say in a proclamation. “Let us celebrate that day with appropriate ceremonies not only in tribute to our veterans but also in rededication to the cause of peace with honor throughout the world.”

This month, former USS Midway crewmembers reflected on the significance and importance of Veterans Day. “Recognizing veterans is a way of thanking them for their sacrifices, and they deserve our thanks,” said retired Capt. Larry Ernst, Midway’s last commanding officer. “If we do not remember, recognize and honor our veterans, then we may not have a next generation of veterans. If we do not have a next generation of young folks willing to sacrifice for our nation’s defense, then we may cease to be a nation.” 10 / NOVEMBER 2021

As a young lieutenant, retired Vice Adm. Paul Ilg flew A-4 Skyhawks from Midway’s flight deck with Attack Squadron 22 (VA-22) during combat deployments to Vietnam in the 1960s. He knows how important veterans have been in defending the freedoms all Americans cherish. “Our veterans and those now serving are responsible for us to continue to have free choice,” said Ilg, who was shot down over Laos in 1965 and spent two days evading the enemy before being rescued. “Freedom is not free and they have paid for our freedoms, some with their lives. We should continue to show appreciation and recognize our veterans.”

From 1982 to 1986, Dan Woodward served as an aviation ordnance senior chief with Attack Squadron 56 (VA-56) on board Midway. Having spent more than 26 years in the Navy, he has strong feelings about the significance of those who have served in the military.

“A veteran is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to the people of the United States for an amount up to and including his or her life,” said Woodward, who is now a safety supervisor at the USS Midway Museum. “That is honor and commitment to one’s country and fellow countrymen. There are too many people that no longer understand that fact.” As a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, retired Capt. Jack Ensch knows firsthand what it was like to lose his freedom. A radar intercept officer flying F-4 Phantoms with Fighter Squadron 161 (VF-161) assigned to Midway, Ensch spent more than seven months in two North Vietnamese military prison camps after being shot down in 1972. “Without the service of veterans throughout our nation’s history, we wouldn’t still have all the freedoms enumerated by our founding fathers in the Constitution,” said Ensch, who a is now a volunteer docent at the USS Midway Museum. “All veterans willingly put their lives on the line to protect and defend our country. Veterans are true patriots. They don’t serve any particular political party or individual group. They serve all Americans regardless of race, color, creed or political affiliation.” “While we go about our daily lives it is important to realize that every freedom we enjoy today was paid for by the members of our military, in times of conflict as well as peace,” said Doug Bohs, who was a fire control technician with Fighter Squadron 21 (VF-21) on Midway in the 1960s. “Their service and sacrifice has touched the lives of all Americans as well as millions of people all over the globe.” Since 1776, the United States has relied on the selfless service of those who have and continue to wear the uniform of the nation, and over the course of the last 245 years, nearly one and half million military members never made it home. “Many paid the ultimate sacrifice and many others sustained life-altering wounds while serving their fellow citizens in preserving our way of life,” said Ensch. “It’s not asking too much to set aside one day of the year to pause and reflect upon the many contributions and sacrifices all veterans have made to keep our country strong and free.” / NOVEMBER 2021


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FLEET WEEK SAN DIEGO By Larry Blumberg & Maggie Young America’s finest city will get a little finer this November when Fleet Week returns with live events to San Diego’s bay front. The annual event forged by a partnership between business, community, and military leaders celebrates the sea services through events that invite the public to come out and see what the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard do to support U.S. national defense. The majority of events kicks off Nov. 4, when the Navy and Coast Guard ships and Marine Equipment will arrive at Broadway Pier. An All active Duty Golf Tournament and a Sixteen team Softball Tournament that included military teams and teams of first responders were held in September and October. Fleet Week events will wrap up on Veterans Day Nov. 11 with the second annual Veterans Day Boat Parade on San Diego Harbor. “Our enlisted men and women come from many walks of life for one purpose,” said San Diego Fleet Week Foundation Associate Executive Director Maggie Young. “And that is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Their commitment to this ideal 14 / NOVEMBER 2021

requires them to leave their families and their homes, deploying to many parts of the world to keep all of us here safe. They do this for very little compensation, and Fleet Week San Diego is one of the ways that this community can thank them for their service. Respect for the commitment of enlisted service men and women has been a cornerstone of the San Diego Fleet Week Foundation’s efforts since its beginnings in 1997. The organization began as a volunteer group of business leaders and retired military personnel banding together to plan and coordinate events to celebrate the U.S. military. The foundation officially incorporated as a nonprofit in 2001 and is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year. “We’re really excited about our 2021 events,” said Maggie, who is responsible for producing and managing all the events. “There have been a lot of changes through the years and we’ve gained a lot of experience in putting on a great show. That experience is translating into what I believe is going to be one of our best ever Fleet Week’s here in San Diego.”

Fleet Week has a rich history in San Diego and the foundation’s combined 24 years of hosting the annual celebration of the sea services. Many in the region consider San Diego to be the home of America’s first Fleet Week, which occurred in 1935, coinciding with the California Pacific International Exposition. The front page of the San Diego Union Tribune of the day reported the “arrival of a vast armada,” which consisted of more than 114 ships crewed by 63,000 officers and sailors. Led by U.S. Navy Admiral Joseph M. Reeves, the 1935 flotilla demonstrated America’s might in response to military buildup in Germany and Japan. This was the same year that Congress enacted the Neutrality Act, which President Franklin D. Roosevelt believed to be dangerous as it ignored the potential threat of rising autocratic regimes in Europe and Asia. This was not the first time that a U.S. president used the diplomatic deployment of Navy ships to highlight American sea power, though. In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt enacted a similar tactic with the sailing of the “Great White Fleet,” which was composed of 16 battleships and accompanying vessels making friendly stops around the globe with the intent to protect U.S. holdings abroad and enforce international treaties. San Diego was one of the “Great White Fleet’s” stops along the way. An article from the Naval History and Heritage Command written by Journalist 2nd Class Mike McKinney reads: “When the fleet pulled in on April 14, the sailors were greeted by thousands of enthusiastic residents as the great ships anchored off the Hotel del Coronado. Small boats of all descriptions surrounded the warships, and sailors were pelted with blossoms by ‘Flower Committees’ and filled to capacity with free lemonade by ‘Fruit Committees.’ For the next four days, San Diego celebrated, and the White Fleet sailors were given the royal treatment that ended only with the fleet’s departure for Los Angeles on April 18.” A lot has changed since then, and San Diego is now home port to 63 U.S. Navy ships, three major Marine Corps bases, and a robust Coast Guard element. While modern San Diego is no stranger to the sea services, the opportunity to get a public, up-close look at the military forces in the county is a rare occurrence, happening only a couple of times each year. “San Diego is definitely a military town,” said Bill Baugh a retired Army Colonel, who is the 2021 president of the San Diego Fleet Week Foundation. “We’re proud of the work our military men and women perform, both

in their service to our country and in our community, and we know that the people of San Diego join us in honoring and thanking these outstanding men and women.” In 2019, the last year for live events, more than 20,000 people visited Broadway Pier, where they had the opportunity to interact with Marine Corps field combat gear and participate in tours aboard the USS San Diego and USCGC Robert Ward. Navy divers were also on site in an interactive dive tank, as part of the Innovation Zone. Many of the 2019 events, including Navy and Coast Guard ship tours, Marine Corps static displays, the Enlisted Recognition Luncheon at Sea World hosted by USAA, The Innovation Zone and Student STEM Days sponsored by the Judith Campbell Educational and Community Foundation, and Military Family Day sponsored by Lincoln Military Housing will be back this November in addition to concerts featuring Tim Hurley and “Honey County” with Dani Rose and Sofie Lynn. The Veterans Day Boat Parade was a great success in 2020, and will be held again this year in lieu of the traditional Harbor Drive foot Parade. Over 100 pleasure boats will be decorated in Patriotic themes and transit San Diego Harbor starting at Shelter Island, passing Harbor Island and the Embarcadero before crossing over to Coronado in the vicinity of the Ferry Landing. In addition to the boats, there will be vintage Aircraft Flyovers, Sky Divers, and Search and Rescue demonstrations by the U.S. Coast Guard. There will be excellent viewing opportunities all along San Diego’s Bay front. “What better way to celebrate Veterans Day and the sailors, Marines, and coast guardsmen who have served and continue to serve our great county,” Baugh said. A complete schedule of Fleet Week events can be found online at Anyone interested in getting involved can also contact organizers via email or by phone at (619) 858-1545. Fleet Week San Diego is supported by the Port of San Diego’s Tidelands Activation Program, designed to bring the city’s dynamic waterfront alive with events that engage the community and inspire visitors to enjoy San Diego Bay. / NOVEMBER 2021


Honor Flight San Diego Flies Again

USMC Veteran Jack Cullari 16 / NOVEMBER 2021

Photo’s by: Holly Shaffner, Teri Simas, Lizzy Simas

By Holly Shaffner After two years and three postponed trips due to the COVID pandemic, Honor Flight San Diego returned to the skies. It was a three-day weekend in early October and the plane was filled with 94 Southern California veterans from every branch of service, including 28 WWII veterans, six veterans over the age of 100, and six female veterans! The veterans included men who are Silver, Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipients, one veteran who was part of the ship transport for the Marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, and there were survivors from the historical Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. The oldest female veteran at 102-years-young, U.S. Navy WAVE Winona Ruth Gunther, is a two-time book author and was given a Living Legend Award at the Military Women’s Memorial. The veterans were 75 to 104 years old, but during the whirlwind trip you would never know it. When the Honor Flight San Diego team leaders arrived at the airport at 0400, there was a veteran already waiting for them. Over the next 60 hours, the veterans, their guardians, and the Honor Flight team traveled to Washington, D.C. and back to San Diego. The trip included witnessing the changing of the guard ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, and visiting the World War II, Lincoln, Korea, Vietnam, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, Women in Service for America Memorials, and touring the National Navy and National Electronics Museums. For many of the veterans, the trip was much more than visiting memorials and museums. They bonded, connected, met new friends, and got some closure from their military experiences. After 18 months of isolation and lock down without being able to visit family and friends, this trip was EXACTLY what they needed.

These 94 veterans had a trip of a lifetime and the person leading the planning and logistics was Honor Flight San Diego Chairman, Julie Brightwell. For her, it was a momentous trip too – it was her 50th Honor Flight. Her adventures started in 2008 in Columbus, Ohio when she was the guardian for her U.S. Army father Earl Mann, who was a WWII veteran. Since then, she rose through the ranks from guardian to team leader, to Flight Director and Chairman of the nonprofit organization. She has enhanced the lives of thousands of senior veterans in her volunteer service to them and they thank her with hugs, kisses, and tears of emotion. Since 2010, Honor Flight San Diego has flown nearly 1,500 senior veterans on their “Tourof Honor”. The organization is one of about 130 independent hubs in the United States under the Honor Flight Network and one of the last hubs to still have large numbers of WWII veterans to go on the trip. Pending funding, the organization plans to take two flights in 2022 - they are actively looking for Southern California WWII and Korea veterans, and veterans from any era who have a terminal illness.

The finale of the weekend was arriving to 800+ wellwishers at the San Diego International Airport. As the veterans deplaned, they were greeted by Army, Air Force, and Navy ROTC cadets and cadre, and activeduty men and women who issued first salutes. The well-wishers wore patriotic attire, waved American Flags, and shook the veteran’s hands to thank them for their service. The homecoming was fit for a hero and emotions ran strong as they got the welcome home they may not have received after the war. “I will remember this weekend for the rest of my life,” said a veteran about the trip.

For more information or to get a senior veteran on their Honor Flight, call (800)655-6997 or go to: / NOVEMBER 2021


HONOR FLIGHT “The Guardian, an Honored Copilot”

By Susan St. John “We can’t all be heroes, because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by” is a quote by Will Rogers and inscribed on every Honor Flight San Diego Guardian’s t-shirt. It is the essence of the connection between the Guardian and the Heroes that the Guardian accompanies to our Nation’s Capital. Founded in 2005 by Earl Morse, Honor Flight Inc. began to take flight with volunteers flying small planes with World War II Veterans, our heroes, our national treasures, on board to see the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. Honor Flight and HonorAir joined forces to form the Honor Flight Network.

From the first notification, I made sure that all my paperwork required was current and up-to-date, and that I met all the training requirements to serve as an Honor Flight Guardian. Now it was time to meet my Hero, 91-year-old Korean War Veteran, Stanley Martinez of El Centro, California, who I would become very close to in the coming days. I called Stanley for our initial introduction over the phone and followed up with a subsequent phone call.

Over 245,178 heroes have traveled to our nation’s capital from over 130 Honor Flight hubs throughout the United States. San Diego happens to be one of those hubs which was founded in the summer of 2010 by Dave Smith. Honor Flight San Diego has flown over 1,400 WWII and Korean War Veterans to Washington, D.C. since their first flight in October 2010. The feeling brought me back to my days as company commander, when I was responsible for the health, wellbeing, and moral of my 208 soldiers and now I was being asked to be responsible for the health, wellbeing and moral of my assigned hero. Once you have served in the Armed Force that sense of “Duty, Honor, Country” never leaves you and those three hollowed words were about to be applied to ensure that this real-life hero was taken care of every step of the way, from “Wheels-Up” in San Diego to the homecoming reunion with his family at San Diego International Airport, terminal 2. As I mentioned earlier, I see things through a military lens, I immediately deemed this massive operation of transporting the largest ever Honor Flight San Diego in over two years with 93 WWII and Korean War Heroes, ranging from 85 to 105 years of age, with six over 100 years old and six female veterans, as “Operation Whirlwind Hero.” 18 / NOVEMBER 2021

Our first in person meeting occurred the night before our departure to Washington, D.C., on Thursday evening at the Holiday Inn Bayside. My wife, Susan and I greeted him, his wife, and his family members as they dined, we had a conversation with him and his family and then retired for the evening, knowing that there was a long and tiring day ahead of us with a 5-and-a-halfhour flight to Washington/Baltimore Airport. I would meet him in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Bayside the following morning where my duties of an Honor Flight San Diego Guardian would begin.

Born on May 6, 1930, in East Los Angeles, California during the depression, Stanley Martinez entered the United States Army in 1950. He was assigned as an Infantryman and went through Basic Combat Training at Camp Roberts, California, prior to being shipped overseas to Korea where war was being fought between North and South Korea. Upon arrival in Korea, Stanley was reassigned to be a tank driver with the 7th Infantry Division. He was promoted to Staff Sargent and was awarded two Bronze Stars Medals for his heroic service during the Korean War. At the end of the conflict in 1953, he returned to the United States where he settled in El Centro, California, with his family. Between the flights, the tours of the Memorials in our Nation’s Capital, our meals together, our on-and-off the bus, the swapping of life in the Army, the heartfelt feelings he had when he read his letters during “Mail Call” on the departure flight, and the return “Heroes Homecoming,” it became an overwhelming emotional experience for both of us that will last us both a lifetime. / NOVEMBER 2021


The Industrial Designer of The Mural Wall at the Korean War Memorial Reminds Us to Never Forget SD Vets Magazine had a chance to sit down with Visionary industrial designer Louis Nelson. The designer conceived and spent five years creating the Korean War Veterans Memorial mural in Washington, D.C. — a striking, unforgettable granite mural featuring the faces of those who served. Now, Nelson releases Mosaic: War Monument Mystery (Publicity Launch: November 11, 2021; Original Trade Paperback; ISBN: 978-1098366124), and examines how this war affected him and its veterans― then and now―leading to his design of its mural wall and a new addition. Designed as a counterpoint to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Nelson’s mural wall vibrantly honors the men and women who fought in America’s “Forgotten War.” In tandem with Frank Gaylord’s haunting steel sculptures, the wall forms a lasting tribute to both those who gave their lives and those who survived the brutal first salvo of the Cold War. SDVM: Tell us about yourself and your career as an internationally recognized,award-winning industrial designer and artist, and now author. Nelson: My career actually started in fourth or fifth grade at PS 166. I designed covers for my book reports. The assignment was simply to read books and write about them. A book report, but I decided my reports also needed covers. I can’t tell you why. I just did it. My teacher, Mrs. Flynn, liked the covers so much that she displayed them on the hallway bulletin boards. She said I’d get extra credit if I read more books, so I made more book covers, the likes of Robinson Crusoe and The Call of the Wild.

architect was on the phone. It seemed I had been waiting for this call my whole life. I’m invited to meet the Board. I blocked out a number of different directions to discuss. Finally, I decided to tell the group how this war affected my life and the decisions I made when I entered college, my design education, and the subsequent steps of my life—being in ROTC, the Army, learning to fly a helicopter, sent to West Germany when a wall was built in Berlin, effects of the Cuban Missile Crisis, returning to civilian life, graduate school and some of the highlights of my design career... SDVM: In MOSAIC, you discuss your personal process and intentions in designing the mural wall; please expand on the intricacies, motivations and controversies that accompany the building of memorials, especially those commemorating war. Nelson: There are four classic ways of commemorating service—three were already present on the National Mall. One is a representation of a great leader and a remembrance of a tragic and bloody war. Certainly, that is Lincoln and the Civil War. Another, like the one in my old neighborhood square—a list of names of the dead, an honor roll etched in black granite. That’s the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The third is a significant abstract symbol reflecting an individual, as is the obelisk for the Washington Monument and the Revolutionary War. The fourth way, the most universal, yet different and contrasting to the other three while touching the hearts of all families... a reflection of the person, a photograph of a loved one, in the place of honor at home, on your sideboard or your mantelpiece for all to see when you have visitors. This mural would be the Nation’s Mantelpiece.

SDVM: Your memoir MOSAIC: WAR MONUMENT MYSTERY details your industrial design work, notably the mural wall you designed for the Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC. How did you get involved in the assignment?

SDVM: When designing the memorial,what is the significance of the material sand technology used? How does the technology at the time differ from the tools you use today?

Nelson: Forty years and three months after the invasion of South Korea, they called. It was an early Autumn morning in 1990. Bill Lecky, a Washington, DC,

Nelson: I asked Coldspring’s team to produce a number of samples showing the variety of sizes of the “mezzotint dots” and the depth of the engraved

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“sandblasted” portrait. Constant refinements adjusted the “mezzotint” to carefully relate to the granular structure of the granite. SDVM: Please share how your time in the military impacted you personally, as well as professionally in your design for the mural wall, how you feel about the reception to the memorial when it was unveiled, and the long term impact the Memorial and Mural have on the legacy of Korean War Veterans? Nelson: Lives change at a memorial. Ideas change. I could already see it happening. “My” mural at the Korean War Veterans Memorial was transforming into “their” mural, “their” memorial—the Korean War Veterans and the American People. Throughout the morning, I listened to veterans telling their stories. A they stood in front of their mural, they told me they could feel the cold of the Korean winter, smell the gunfire and could now talk about this time. SDVM: Do you feel the memorial changed the way you look at architectural projects, and on a personal level, and on a personal level, what do you most admire about the Korean War Veterans Memorial? Nelson: David Halberstam reflects on the differences between the fifties and the sixties in relation to the United States, a country once a democracy turned empire, as he put it in The Next Century. His words seem so fitting when I see the two memorial walls, Korea and Vietnam. One, so moving yet so impersonal in its long list of names, showing loss, reflecting the dispassionate commitment of a group of men furthering their own needs for which America’s youth paid. The other, composed of faces of yesterday and conveys the

reasoned, heartbreaking commitment of the leaders and the men and women who served in a conflict too quickly forgotten at a time of migrating ethical standards—and yet a long way off from being settled. SDVM: What inspired you to write, Mosaic: War Monument Mystery, and what is the significance behind the title? Nelson: It was the time to see where I’ve been . . . how I’ve changed in these twenty-five years since the memorial’s dedication. How we’ve changed. What we’ve lived through and what we now face. Korea has changed, both the South and the North. The times will change them even more. The threat of Korea’s 1950 invasion has now, seventy years later, deepened. It’s still here, only more intimidating. Is this what happens when peace is not agreed on? When people walk away before the final moment? Could it signal that there will be more episodes to come. The Korean War of 1950 has shifted from our “Forgotten War” to this era’s “Seminal War”, hastened by Kim Jong-un’s continuing quest for the nuclear grail. SDVM: What do you want people to take away from Mosaic and hopefully from visiting the memorial? Nelson: We build memorials. Yet, the story is not about the memorial, but about the people of the memorial. Not about the stone and bronze, but about the blood. Not about the moment, but about endurance. Not of yesterday, but of tomorrow. Not of what happened, nor why it happened, but how we have changed and grown because of it. SDVM: Where can people buy your book and how can they connect with you? Nelson: Your local book dealer, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the BookBaby Bookshop.

Connect with Louis Nelson by email at: / NOVEMBER 2021


Happy Veterans Day!

From Honor Flight San Diego, we want to thank you for your service!

If you know a WWII or Korean War Veteran who has not been on their Honor Flight, we want them to go on our flight in 2022. There is no cost to the veteran. Please go to: to complete an application, send an email to or call (800) 655-6997 22 / NOVEMBER 2021

Armed Forces Memorial Amphitheater

A Vision for Miramar National Cemetery More than 20,000 veterans and their loved ones are interred at Miramar National Cemetery. The Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation holds services in the Flag Assembly Area on Memorial Day weekend and on Veterans Day to honor our veterans. The Flag Assembly Area has no permanent seating. The Support Foundation plans to build the Armed Forces Memorial Amphitheater with permanent guest seating in a beautifully landscaped setting. This will be the Support Foundation’s biggest project yet. Its cost—for construction and permanent maintenance—is estimated at $600,000 Contributions from corporations, veterans groups, civic organizations, local government, and the public are needed to make this vision reality at Miramar National Cemetery.

Please Contribute Today! Make the Vision a Reality

Armed Forces Memorial Amphitheater Any contribution amount counts!

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


USO San Diego – The Force Behind the Forces® USO San Diego, part of the global USO network, strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. Since 1941, the USO has been the nation’s leading organization to serve the men and women in the U.S. military, and their families, throughout their time in uniform. There are over 140,000 active-duty military personnel within 4,526 square miles of San Diego County. With the help of USO volunteers, USO San Diego supports our nation’s heroes and their families at five USO Centers including USO San Diego Neil Ash Airport Center, Liberty Station, San Diego Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), USO Camp Pendleton, and a warehouse facility. Through these centers and mobile outreach, USO San Diego serves as a ‘home away from home’ no matter where assignments take the men and women who serve our country. San Diego is home to six major military installations and more than 25 smaller installations within the region. From the moment service members join the armed forces, through their assignments and deployments, and as they transition back to their communities, the USO is always by their side, delivering impactful programming, entertainment, meal deliveries and other necessary resources.

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The USO responds to the needs of service members and their families via the following four pillars: UNITE | KEEPING THEM CONNECTED The USO nurtures and maintains strong bonds between service members, their families, and the community. Through programs focused on connection, strengthening, wellness, and resiliency, USO expresses America’s gratitude and commitment to service members and their families. USO San Diego programs and services include MilSpouse Connect, TeenTalk, MilKid Club and the Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program. DELIVER | ALWAYS BY THEIR SIDE The USO supports service members through outbound programming to reach troops training in isolated locations, on arduous missions, and those deployed to more remote areas around the world. Through expeditionary outreach support including care packages, snacks, holiday celebration items, and internet services provided throughout challenging deployments, the USO ensures service members stay connected. America is by their side, wherever their assignments take them. USO San Diego programs and services include the USO Mobile Programs, Mobile Farmers Market, Wednesday Night Dinner, Feed Our Heroes, Care Packages, Baby Showers, Holiday Toy Drives, and Homecoming/Deployment Support. ENTERTAIN | ENTERTAINING SERVICE MEMBERS & FAMILIES AROUND THE WORLD The USO brings entertainment, recreation, and celebrations to the doorsteps of service members and their families through a diverse range of activities. By providing programs that focus on America’s culture and pastimes, the USO brings a grateful nation closer to them in times of both separation and celebration. USO San Diego programs and services include Military Virtual Programming (MVP) Series, USO Show Troupe, Ticket Distributions, and other special programming offerings. TRANSITION | TRANSITIONING SERVICE MEMBERS & MILITARY SPOUSES The USO provides resources for service members, veterans, and military families throughout various transition points of their military service. From the moment their service begins through the time their service is complete – through voluntary separation, the wounds of service, or the ultimate sacrifice – those who serve, and their families, are supported with dignity and respect. USO San Diego programs and services include USO Pathfinder® Transitions, USO Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) San Diego, and Families of the Fallen.

The COVID-19 crisis greatly impacted the organization’s ability to perform “business as usual” – while demand for services increased, the USO temporarily lost the in-person support of local volunteers that serve as the vital backbone of the organization’s service delivery. Remaining committed to being agile and responsive to meet the evolving needs of service members and their families, the USO modified programming, which included increasing distribution of food and essential items to families in need and transitioning all in-person programming to online experiences. During the pandemic in 2020, USO San Diego provided support with over 250,000 total service instances, delivering impactful programming such as USO Pathfinder® Transition planning, Mobile Farmers Markets, MilSpouse Connect, MilKids Club, Teen Talk, Meal Delivery, Military Virtual Programming and vital support for troop movements. For 80 years, the USO has stood as the Force Behind the Forces®, leading the way to unite all Americans to actively express gratitude and support members of the military and their families, home and abroad. USO volunteers, donors and partners have stood up to help our service members and families by serving them a hot meal, keeping them entertained, and having a shoulder to lean on when times are tough. USO San Diego invites the local community to join us in giving more than thanks this holiday season. The USO is a private nonprofit organization, not a government agency. Programs and entertainment tours are made possible by the American people, support of corporate partners and the dedication of volunteers and staff. For more information about USO San Diego and to ‘Give More Than Thanks’, visit / NOVEMBER 2021


After 2 Suicide Attempts, This Veteran Found Hope Once Again & So Can You By: Steven Kuhn, Combat Veteran and Guest on Addiction Talk, an American Addiction Centers Show As a military combat veteran, I’ve lost more friends to suicide than I have in battle, and I know of many other vets who can say the same.

focusing on a clear mission with a rigid structure, suddenly there’s none. When you’re fighting for your country, there’s a higher purpose—you’re fighting for freedom and justice. But as a civilian, it’s hard to find that same sense of purpose in delivering the mail, working as a security guard or in some other routine job. In Iraq, I saved lives and helped people in their most desperate time of need and within a few short months, I was working as a door man at a bar in Berlin. It was demoralizing, and I felt lost. With no purpose, I also lost my sense of self-worth. In my uniform, everyone could see my rank, my medals earned—my value was clear because I literally wore it on my sleeve. But in civilian clothes, I felt like a nobody. One day I was working the door in Berlin and a kid passing by made the remark, “Look at this loser. He can’t even get a real job.” My mind was screaming “I’d just fought in a war!” I was battle scarred and even watched a friend die in my arms. Yet, here’s this kid running me down. And part of me thought he was right because I felt like a loser. Compounding the problem, no one understands the trauma of war. I can still vividly remember the day I was on patrol and tripped over a severed foot still inside a boot. To this day, the face of a young girl who came to our checkpoint outside of Basra still haunts me. She was burned over most of her body. After our medic bandaged her up, I gave her a piece of butterscotch candy, and she smiled. In that moment, that small gesture made her so happy. I think about her often but have no idea what happened to her after our exchange, or whether she even survived.

Of course, we’ve all heard the statistics: Over 20 veterans commit suicide every day. These are decorated, accomplished leaders, men and women with families, friends and so much to offer. During their service, they were at the top of their game. But because of their combat wounds—mental and emotional as well as physical—they’re unable to cope with civilian life. I know because I was one of them. I spent months on the front lines during the Gulf War in Iraq. I was an excellent soldier, even earning the Bronze Star for my service. But when I left active duty at age 27, I struggled to find my place in the world and suffered from PTSD. While most people would assume returning to “normal life” would feel like a tremendous relief, it’s actually extremely hard. For veterans, civilian life is anything but normal. It’s chaos. After years of 26 / NOVEMBER 2021

It took over 18 years and two suicide attempts for me to finally realize I was my own worst enemy. I was so attached to my identity as a soldier that I couldn’t see myself as anything else. When I realized I had the power to change it—that my past didn’t have to dictate my future—it was incredibly liberating, and brought me down an entirely new path. If you’re a veteran who’s feeling lost, struggling to find your way, and/or suffering from PTSD and suicidal ideations, please know that there is hope. Here’s how I found the will to live again. Create your own reality. I see a lot of vets who wear t-shirts proudly declaring themselves a disabled veteran. They wear their trauma as a badge of honor because they think that’s their identity. And while I certainly don’t diminish their service or sacrifice, the truth is, that’s who they were, not who they are today. When you live in the past, it’s impossible

to move forward. You have everything you need inside you right now to create a better future. When you emit that frequency, that’s what you attract. Surround yourself with people who are moving forward. Change how you react to situations. See things from a different perspective—try to see yourself and your behavior through the eyes of your spouse or family members, for example. What would you tell yourself to do—stay stuck in the past and suffer or heal and move on? Talk about it. Most veterans don’t talk about their experiences because they don’t want to be a burden—no one really wants to hear about the horrors we’ve seen, right? For others, quiet equals strength, and sharing is a sign of weakness, which they’ve been conditioned to avoid at all costs. Admitting you’re having trouble dealing with things is not a moral failure. Like a pressure cooker, keeping it bottled up will only cause it to sometime explode. Literally no good comes from suffering in silence and trust me, there’s zero harm in admitting you need help. Talk to your spouse, a trusted friend or find a support group—anyone who will listen and help you move forward.


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Let go of survivor’s guilt. I talk to a lot of vets who feel tremendous guilt over their brothers and sisters who didn’t make it home. They feel it’s somehow their fault or that it should’ve been them who died instead. I completely understand that feeling because I too lost a friend as a result of friendly fire. As I watched him through my night vision goggles, I felt helpless and almost detached from the situation, like it was a movie. All I could think about was how it could have been me, and I felt selfish and ashamed for feeling that way. But if the roles were reversed, would you want your friends to feel guilty for the rest of their lives? Absolutely not. Remember that right now, those fallen brothers and sisters you miss so dearly are looking down on you saying, “Listen, we’re up here, but you’re still there—living. So go do it. And don’t screw it up.” We owe it to them to move on. We can’t let them down. While nothing can erase the trauma and scars of war, we can’t let the past define us. War is hell, and it’s already robbed us of so much. Don’t let it rob you of your present and future life, of the joy of feeling loved and appreciated by those around you. If you’re struggling with PTSD, suicidal thoughts or with simply finding your path in the civilian world, I urge you to get help. There are plenty of us who know exactly how you feel, and we can show you a different way to live where you no longer have to suffer in silence.

For veterans dealing with substance abuse, PTSD and other mental health disorders, our Salute to Recovery Program is designed specifically for you. Built on camaraderie, trust and evidence-based therapies, the program provides a place of healing among fellow veterans to get you on the path to recovery faster. Treatment includes: • Trauma Groups

• Relapse Prevention

• Emotion Regulation

• Motivational Interviewing

• Grief & Loss

• Cognitive Processing

• Pain Management

• EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

• Coping Skills • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

• 12-Step

• Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

• Art & Music Therapy

AdCare, Desert Hope, Recovery First, River Oaks, Sunrise House, Oxford, and Greenhouse are part of American Addiction Centers’ National Network of Treatment Centers. / NOVEMBER 2021


Real Talk: Mental Health By Leslie McCaddon,

Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at VVSD

Timeless Hope As a child I was surrounded by Veterans and their spouses and hardly noticed. My mother spoke of her childhood as a “Navy brat” with a sour bitterness rivaled only by her intense aversion to anything lemon flavored. The Navy, she often told us, was that awful thing that always took her beloved Daddy away from her for months at a time. In my earliest memories, the military in my family was more history and lore than it was a practical reality. In addition to my mom’s retired Master Chief father, I was vaguely aware that my Dad’s stepfather and biological father were WWII Army veterans. I would study their handsome pictures in uniform. But, they were as fantastical to me as a child as a framed photo of a celebrity. Something grand, but in the past and thus more ethereal than tangible. When I married a soldier I believed his military service was soon to be in our past too. We married on a sunny January day in southern California, 9 months before the world was shook by the events on 9/11. My husband wore a tux instead of his dress blues. My request, because I never dreamed the military was to become an actual way of life for us. My husband’s love for country and that country going to war, changed everything. He recommitted himself to the military before our first anniversary and by the time he died 11 years later, he had 19 years and 9 months in service to our country. What no one expected was how we would lose him. That we would lose him to suicide. And, that I would feel more lost, confused, and alone than I could have ever imagined. The week between my husband’s death and his funeral was a blur of flights across the pacific and wellmeaning deliveries of flowers and casseroles. 28 / NOVEMBER 2021

I answered my phone only when necessary. And, I almost didn’t answer my phone when one my of grandmother’s called. She was the second wife of my dad’s biological father. They had been married over 50 years and she’d always been my grandmother. Still, I almost didn’t answer. I’m so glad I did. What transpired between us was the kind of comradery that I’ve only ever known from fellow military wives and widows. And she, it would turn out, would be one of the first military widows to stand beside me and say, “I truly understand what you are going through.” And she did. In ways that came as a complete shock to me. I knew my grandmother had been married before and was a mother to two children from that marriage. I’m embarrassed to say that it had never occurred to me to ask where her first husband was. And, I’d picked up on some hesitancy from family members to discuss it. I assumed it was a contentious divorce of some kind, and knew that she’d gone on to have 3 more children with my grandfather and it was a very happy union. The morning my Grandma Ginny called me, she was calling to tell me that she, too, knew very personally the catastrophic loss of losing a military spouse to suicide. I learned more about my grandmother in our 30 minute conversation that day than I had my whole life. I learned of her grief. Her fear. Her pain. And, I felt deeply understood. She was the battle buddy who could meet me exactly where I was and tell me two things no one else really could, “I know how you feel” and “you will be alright.” My grandmother shared that months after her first husband died she found herself on her knees praying in church, angry with God. She said, she poured out her soul at his feet and He answered her. She said she had the distinct feeling that the Holy Spirit revealed to her that she was going to be alright. Grandma Ginny

confessed to me that although it brough some comfort, she was decidedly skeptical. “Honey,” my grandmother spoke softly. “I have another memory I want to share with you. It was when I was carrying your youngest aunt, I found myself on my knees in church again crying and praying.” She took a breath, her voice trembling. Clearly her memory was visceral and real to that very day. “I said to God, ‘Lord, you told me it was going to be alright!’” She paused again to catch her breath and stem her tears. “What you didn’t tell me was that it was going to be great!” In an instant, my grandmother transformed an illusory past and made it meaningful and actual for me. She undid a romanticized past and replaced it with her reality after WWII-- not returning soldiers kissing random strangers in the streets and a husband proud of his heroism. But, with a reality much like mine. A husband struggling with his mental health and with the perception that he had nowhere to turn for help. A husband who loved his wife and children, but couldn’t connect with them as he had once before. In one quiet, tearful, confession my grandmother reached across time and space –no longer a grandmother in her 80’s, but a knowing military spouse turned military widow-- and gave me what no one had been able to yet. My grandmother, still emotional about her trauma and loss half a century after she experienced it, gave me the gift of sharing that her story was difficult, but it didn’t end at it’s hardest moment. Rather, her pain served as a foundation to build a new future for herself and her children. In giving me the truth of her painful story, she gave me new courage for my own. She gave me the permission and power to share my story, too. She taught me, we must not only celebrate the Hollywood black and white versions of our Veteran’s histories. We must also embrace the whole, messy, complicated, and important stories of all the human beings who have selflessly served this country. So that we may remember in full color. So that we can learn from the past and bring mental health out of the shadows and into the healing light. So that like my grandmother, we may always offer each other the gift of unencumbered hope. Leslie McCaddon serves as part of the outreach team at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at VVSD. She is the Gold Star Widow of Army CPT Michael McCaddon, MD. To learn how therapy can help with mental health challenges, visit / NOVEMBER 2021


A Different Lens Mental Health Monthly By RanDee McLain

Veteran’s Day.

Other veterans may find the day a time to celebrate amongst their fellow veterans. It may be a joyous time with parades and social events for others. Veterans like myself like a day of reflection and being one with nature.

Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and in 1938 Nov. 11th became a national holiday. Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans who served their country during war or peacetime.

Veterans have each earned to celebrate in a way that represents and feel right to them.

What is it and what does it mean?

Over the years, I have heard many people mix up Memorial Day, Veterans Day, 4th of July and Armed Forces Day. Here is a quick break down of the holiday and what they mean. • Memorial Day: observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. • Veterans Day: November 11th- recognizes all who have served in the US Military • Armed Forces Day: the third Saturday in May to honor those currently serving in the US military. • 4th of July: holiday commemorating the Declaration of Independence of the United States Veteran’s Day is a day to honor all who have served our great nation. Though, the holiday is a day to celebrate all who have served that may look differently for each veteran. The holiday may evoke a wide range of emotions. Some veterans who have lost their brothers and sisters in arms may feel sad thinking of those that aren’t here to celebrate. There are veterans that the thoughts and memories of service may be painful.

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As I reflect on Veteran’s Day it brings up a lot of different emotions. The first emotion I feel is immense pride. I am proud to have worn the uniform. I am proud to say I have done my part and served my country. I proud to continue a legacy of military service like my great grandpa, grandpa, uncles, cousin and brother. I am thankful. I am thankful for the lessonsI learned. I grew up in my time in service. I learned to be selfless and the true meaning of honor, courage, and commitment. I am thankful for the brothers and sisters I servedwith and the lifelong friendships that were made. Veteran’s Day for me is a day of respite from my normally busy life. I devote much of my personal and professional life to our fellow veterans. Veteran’s Day is a special day I set aside to just be one with nature. I love to get outdoors, hike and clear my head. This year as we look forward to Veteran’s Day, think of it as more than a day off but a day to celebrate those that have served. Take time to talk to the veterans in your life and see how they want to celebrate their service. You may just learn something about that friend or family member.

Research Opportunity

PTSD Computer-Based Treatment Program We are currently enrolling veteran volunteers in a clinical research study to evaluate the effectiveness of a PTSD treatment for individuals who have non-combat related PTSD. Qualified candidates must:  Be a veteran aged 21-55 years old  Have symptoms of PTSD (for example, nightmares, anxiety, trouble concentrating, irritability)  Have experienced a trauma involving another person. Examples include: MST, assault, childhood adversity  Be able to complete an MRI

Eligible participants will receive all study related examinations. You will receive 8 weeks (16 sessions) of a novel computerized PTSD treatment regimen at no cost. You will also be reimbursed up to $300 for participation

For more information, please call: (858) 552-8585 x 2509 VA San Diego Healthcare System IRB NUMBER: H170098 IRB APPROVAL DATE: 01/28/2019 / NOVEMBER 2021


Purple Heart Medal Recipient, Shane Kruchten, Attributes Post-Combat Recovery Revitalization to Shelter to Soldier by Eva M. Stimson Marine Corps. Infantryman, Shane Kruchten, was deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom Invasion Force and was again deployed for an additional warfare tour back into Iraq during the second offensive. After his battle achievements, he was awarded the Purple Heart Medal (due to being wounded in action against the enemy), Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense

Ribbon, Sea Service Ribbon, OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) Service, Global War on Terrorism Medal, and Good Conduct Medal. His service to country did not come without severe medical repercussions. He was afflicted with a multitude of debilitating conditions (including PTS), and he eventually found assistance throught the STS psychiatric service dog program.

According to Shane, “The Shelter to Soldier team was amazing…no matter what point they [Shelter to Soldier] come into your life, they provide you an avenue to be paired with a trained service dog and they take the time to introduce you to suitable canine candidates. My service dog, Buddy is just like me; he was homeless and so was I at one time…and he has an amazing smile, which resonated with me. I was given the opportunity to meet additional dogs, but I told Graham (STS Founder/President) that this was the dog for me. Buddy gives me unconditional love and comfort, but he also loves my daughter. The greatest impact that Buddy has had on me is that he pulls me back into reality --- he realizes that I’m experiencing stress even before I know it. My lows aren’t lows for elongated periods of time over several days, rather they last for much shorter periods of time.” Buddy is a super sweet and spunky, young West Highland White Terrier Mix. He was adopted from El Cajon Animal Shelter under the sponsorship of the David C. Copley Foundation. He is the David C. Copley Foundation’s second (of three) sponsored dogs through the STS program. Shelter to Soldier’s team was very impressed with Shane’s eagerness to create a positive path forward in his life and paired him with a fellow-veteran STS Professional Trainer (Charley) who helped train Shane as a veteran-handler for Buddy. STS President, Graham Bloem recalls his introduction to Shane, “Shane was 32 / NOVEMBER 2021

eager to create a new path forward with the help of a service dog from our program and demonstrated the willingness to devote the time and effort to work with Buddy over the course of a year. Shane was very patient due to COVID restrictions and ultimately expressed gratitude and relief that we were able to alleviate his post-combat afflictions by graduating him this past June with Buddy, his forever companion. As we celebrate Veteran’s Day this month, I can truly say that Shane epitomizes the compassion and commitment that makes our US veterans extraordinary.” Shane is eternally grateful for the introduction to Buddy. Shane remarks, “Charley (STS Trainer) is a fellow veteran and as such, we became very good friends --- we saw eye-to-eye immediately; she understood my needs and she made sure I was ready and willing for training with Buddy.” Shane takes his devotion to all veterans to an elevated level by offering free membership to jiu jitsu lessons through his non-profit organization, Alliance Eastlake Foundation. He is so dedicated to his military brothers to such an extent that he has a list of fallen Iraqi Freedom heroes tattooed on his back. Shane states, “My military sacrifice was TIME…I got to walk in the world of other giants. Family members of those I have listed on my back have seen the photo and reached out to me for solace… I have a forever extended family through surviving family members and I sponsored one particular individual’s attendance at the Annual Marine Corps Ball as a result of one of those interactions.”

Photos courtesy of Shane Kruchten and Shelter to Soldier

When asked about his plans for the future, Shane has a new challenge that he is eager to meet. “I am embarking on a massive undertaking next year to host a free seminar in each of the 50 United states within 12 months/52 weeks regarding the positive impact jiu jitsu can have on the lives of veterans who struggle with post-combat afflictions.” The son of a German immigrant, Shane has innumerable awards as a result of his exemplary military experience including: San Diego Padres Military Appreciation Award, EPIC Fighting Perseverance Award for volunteer work with military, assistance with Armed Forces Entertainment to help troops overseas by teaching jiu jitsu, and Mission Volant (Veteran Adrenaline Therapy) by Skydiving with veterans throughout the country.

Shelter to Soldier (STS) is a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that adopts dogs from local shelters and trains them to become psychiatric service dogs for post-9/11 combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or other psychological injuries. STS has developed a unique model that encourages qualified veterans to apply to their program at no cost to them, and then pairing them with service trained shelter dogs. STS adopts dogs with an uncertain future and enrolls them in their comprehensive, yearlong training program to prepare them to comfort, console and support the healing process for combat veterans. Shelter to Soldier also adopts and trains Emotional Support Animals (ESA’s) for active duty military and veterans, and their Shelter to Soldier Canine Ambassadors therapy dog team provide visits of love and comfort to active duty military, veterans, their families and community partners throughout Southern California. Shelter to Soldier Founder, Graham Bloem, has been professionally training dogs for over 20 years and is the recipient of the American Red Cross Real Heroes Award, 10News Leadership Award, CBS8 News Change It Up Award, Honeywell Life Safety Award, and the 2016 Waggy Award. Shelter to Soldier is accredited by the Patriot’s Initiative. To learn more about veteran-support services provided by STS, call 760-870-5338 for a confidential interview regarding eligibility. To contribute to Shelter to Soldier’s mission as a corporate sponsor, individual donor or participate in a fundraising event, visit

San Diego Veteran Resources & Organizations

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

San Diego Veteran Resources & Organizations available at

San Diego Veterans Magazine

A Veterans Magazine for Veterans by Veterans / NOVEMBER 2021



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


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At San Diego Veterans Magazine you can visit our website for all current and past articles relating to PTSD, symptoms, resources and real stories of inspiration.

Resources & Articles available at:

The colors of gratitude

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Complementary and Alternative Treatments for PTSD By Gage Chu and Ariel Lang, PhD, MPH Those who live with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) know it is a condition that can be as physical as it is mental. When someone with PTSD recalls a traumatic event, the memories of that event don’t just live in their mind—their body responds to the memories, too. Past traumatic events are often perceived by the body as present threats, causing it to release “fight or flight” chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline. Physical responses like these can put people with PTSD in a state of “hyperarousal,” which some describe as being overly alert, on edge, or jumpy. These physical responses lie at the root of some of PTSD’s most painful and treatment-resistant symptoms, such as trouble sleeping or feeling irritable or on edge. Many with PTSD find relief from leading treatments like Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing Therapy (available at any VA and many community locations) to improve their symptoms. But, while these psychotherapeutic treatments are safe and often helpful, some Veterans may prefer interventions that focus on the connection between the mind and body.

By layering conventional and complementary treatment methods, Veterans may be able to address their own unique symptoms and improve their quality of life. Fortunately, recovery from PTSD is possible, and comprehensive, whole-health treatment options are available and in demand: 16-38% of Veterans say they’ve used complementary and alternative approaches in the past 12 months. Studies show that Veterans with PTSD may benefit from several different types of meditation, yoga and other exercise programs, and acupuncture. Here are some steps to follow if you would like to start… Step 1: Identify your options: talk to your provider or reach out to the VA about what kinds of programs are available and are a good fit for you. Beware of costly programs that make big promises. Step 2: Set a goal: many complementary treatments need to become part of your lifestyle. One or two days won’t tell you much, but one or two months might. Decide what is a fair test of its benefit for you. Step 3: Define success: pick a specific, measurable change that would let you know you are doing better. This might be “I’ll sleep at least 4 hours a night” or “I’ll lose my temper and yell less than once a week.” Step 4: Don’t get defeated. If the first thing you try doesn’t meet your needs go back to step 1…

VA Research: Exercise/Yoga for PTSD Participate from home. Includes 12 weeks of Yoga OR Strength and Flexibility Training online or livestreamed classes. Looking for veterans currently bothered by PTSD symptoms Compensation up to $250. For more information, please call the Research Coordinator at (858) 257-6003.

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Courage to Call Courage to Call is dedicated to improving mental wellness for Veterans, Active Duty, Reservists, National Guardsmen, and their families via countywide outreach and education, a 24/7 peer line, as well as individual short-term, solution focused preventionoriented plans. This program is led by veterans and their family members. What does Courage To Call provide? Every day in San Diego County, current and former service members and their families deal with the complex maze of issues that accompanies military life. Often times the most difficult problem is not knowing where to turn when you need help. Courage to Call is a free, confidential, veteran-staffed 24/7 helpline dedicated to assisting active duty military personnel, veterans, reservists, guard members, and their families, regardless of discharge status, through information, guidance, and referrals. We offer an optional deeper level of care with case management and can assign a veteran peer navigator to your case. These “Navigators” will help you navigate the resources and will advocate on your behalf. Types of assistance include

follow-up assistance, program enrollment and advocacy with the ultimate goal of providing enrollment assistance in the services they need. All Veteran Peer Navigators are trained social workers with the essential knowledge to provide resources and support to reduce stress and improve overall wellness.

• Access to resources or referrals • Employment services • Food, housing and shelter • Rent and utility assistance • Counseling/mental health services • Family and legal resources • VA and other benefits and information • Veterans transition services • Low-cost or no-cost recreation

Learn more about Peer Support, Peer Navigation and Training for Organizations visit If you are seeking help Call 1-877-698-7838 or dial 2-1-1 option 4 or visit our website at “Get Help”

PEER SUPPORT All Courage to Call Peer-Support Specialists have been in the military and understand the rigors of the military and military family life. Peer-Support Specialists provide a “first contact resolution” by ensuring that client needs are addressed to the best of their ability during their first contact with Courage to Call. PEER NAVIGATION Courage to Call Veteran Peer Navigators provide oneon-one peer support in navigating the service system through information and referrals, proactive check-in,

To contact us (877) 698-7838 COURAGE TO CALL – ONLINE DONATION Make your secure, tax-deductible donation today to Courage to Call. Help us continue to provide support to current and former service members and their families in San Diego County. Thank you for your generosity! / NOVEMBER 2021


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

If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail. But What About the Holy Grail? Are you planning to exit? Repeat the question. Are you PLANNING to exit? Here’s the deal. Transition causes obvious anxiety. What is anxiety? Fear of the unknown. Let’s start with this: you don’t know the unknown. But, you can start to figure out what you do know. Your Script isn’t Written for You So you’re thinking about transition. Or, ready to. What are those final steps across the blue line going to mean for you and your family? They’re steps to the next phase. Steps. One foot in front of the other. One thought-out idea leading to the next.

CALM! Ok, before you start stressing, don’t. You don’t have to do it perfectly. If Throne had to do it again, he says that he would have gotten his civilian credentials (Human Resources) years sooner, and built networks with nonmilitary and non-veteran communities sooner. Is this a fail? No. It’s a lesson shared. He reflects, “The military had a very 1950’s Sears and Roebuck mentality retirement system. You graduate from high school, invest 30 years, get a cake in the break room, a gold watch, pull out a rocking chair and enjoy your porch and lemonade for the rest of time.” Times Change

Now, the modern era shows the average tenure in a job is 2.7 years, not 30. What does this mean? You It’s easy to worry that this concept of transition may have to plan for that! Say you find something you think be a leap of faith into Indiana Jones’ vast abyss. (Don’t you love, but you don’t. Not a problem. Use those skills those end well?) Well, you have ole Indiana in you, but to your advantage. Move on! Continue! This is not a let’s not leave this to Hollywood. If it helps, Indiana start and stop. This is a journey. Jones was scripted and the character was told what to do - sorry to ruin that. And scene! Fact: Modern era also means that many get a degree Back to Reality Change is hard. The idea of transition can be straining on you and your family. The burning questions arise. “What is my purpose? What is my mission? Who am I without my military family?” Enter Chris Thorne, a retired Command Master Chief who spent 30 years of his life in the military. That’s a lot to change. He did it. And he has some wise words to share. In short, planning a transition takes planning. Are you preparing? Most in transition aren’t prepared for what’s next because they’re not viewing it as a natural progression. Thorne says “I see my fellow brothers and sisters thinking about their transition as a ‘stop and start’ evolution versus a smooth and well planned continuum. Start thinking about transition as your next logical step.”

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in their 30s or 40s. Why do they do this? Not to get “out of college,” but rather to transition their career. If you need the skills or the credentials, go for it! Plan ahead. Do you need the skills to advance and take you over the bridge? If so, plan for it! Ready for the Holy Grail? Thought we’d leave you with just that? Nope. Here’s the advice from Thorne:

1. Think of your military career as part of your life long career continuum. Leaving the military is a continuum of what is next and not a cliff you fall off when you get out. It is the flame that ignites what’s next. 2. Branch out and get nonmilitary mentors in addition to your military network. They’ll round you out. They will bridge the gap. Find them before you plan to leave.

3. Get on LinkedIn. It’s not scary. It’s not judged. It’s just necessary. (Remember, you’re in modern times!) Start your profile as early as possible. Your military experience is relevant even before you’re thinking about transitioning. Do it at least 6 months prior if you can - and just start the glory of connecting. You will have a network with barely any effort! Thorne states reality in saying, “Understand that in the military, we are always decades behind the trends. There’s a massive push to get a degree. Sadly, people are getting graduate degrees just to say they have one, without a specific career focus. Make time to understand your career needs. Don’t get a Masters in National Security Studies if you want an HR job. It could actually hinder it.” X Never, Ever Marks the Spot Indiana Jones isn’t going to join you in your career search with a tattered map to lead the way. You now have personal choice in jobs, health insurance, budgets, locations, and how you create your destiny. Planning well will help you land a career doing what you love, including supportive people that you like, and a network for continued growth. It can be your Holy Grail if you plan to find it.

Chris Thorne is happy to connect with you to offer additional words of wisdom as you, or someone you know, is interested in learning more about transitioning successfully. Reach out to him via LinkedIn at


Transition to Civilian Life For more information or help transitioning, contact Eve Nasby at, or call 619-244-3000 / NOVEMBER 2021


HUMAN RESOURCES Transition to Business By Paul Falcone

Workplace Ethics: Making It Personal Excerpted from Paul’s newest book, Workplace Ethics: Mastering Ethical Leadership and Sustaining a Moral Workplace, to be released next spring by HarperCollins Leadership Much needs to be said about corporate America’s history, our laws, and our evolving workplace when it comes to ethics. But one thing’s for sure: over the past twenty years since Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) was passed in 2002, ethics has become a lot more personal and gone beyond mere compliance. Following is an excerpt from Paul’s soon-to-bereleased book that maps out how an ethical workplace was established and sustained from his days as head of HR at Nickelodeon. I was fortunate enough to serve as head of human resources for the Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank, California. I transferred to Nickelodeon after a number of years at its sister company, Paramount Pictures. Mark Taylor, Nickelodeon’s general manager and senior vice president, was likely the greatest leader I’ve ever worked for. Mark is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, but he brought Nick to a level of success where they became the number one children’s cable TV network—even ahead of Disney— during his reign. Mark knew all 500 employees by name, he practiced MBWA—management by walking around—was visible, maintained an open-door policy, knew the business inside and out, and made Nick the number one destination where animators wanted to work. SpongeBob Square Pants, Dora the Explorer, Avatar, and many other high-profile animation productions were humming away under the humble roof of that small studio on a nondescript corner across from the railroad tracks in that downtown Burbank neighborhood. 40 / NOVEMBER 2021

What Mark did especially well, however, occurred during the first week of employment. Once a month when we held new employee orientation, Mark scheduled about an hour to meet with each cohort of new hires in the main conference room. He wanted to get to know them personally, make sure they found in one another a special bond as new hires, and used the opportunity to share “Mark’s Big 8 Rules of the Road.” He shared how special the Nickelodeon family was and how he held each new hire accountable for perpetuating the culture that was so dear to him and everyone else. His “Big 8” focused on high quality, ethical behavior, personal accountability, mutual respect, and passion for your work. He included the importance of “true leadership,” whether you were in management or in an individual contributor role. And he handed out a one-sheet with these principles and mantras mapped out, with the byline: Strong Principles + Belief in People = Strong Leadership Mark was and still is an animation industry legend. How exciting for new hires—from animators to accountants to mail room staff and janitors—to spend time with him, feel his genuine concern for them and the organization, and assume responsibility for making his priorities theirs. But wait, there’s more! If the large group orientation took place on a Monday, a follow-up meeting on Wednesday occurred for anyone who was responsible for supervising people. Mark again had the opportunity to discuss the values one-sheet, this time focusing on his expectations of these new leaders in terms of sustaining a moral workplace, communication, teambuilding, and becoming a great leadership team. With this opportunity, however, he also focused on the negative consequences for not meeting these expectations and shared how he held the management team to a higher standard of accountability than everyone else. There was no doubt about it: everyone understood the culture that was so cherished, the values of the GM, and the expectations going forward in terms of performance, productivity, respect, and gratitude.

Oh yes, and there was always that eighth and final principle: fun. Granted, this was an animation studio, and most organizations won’t have as much discretion in implementing fun and creative activities like Nickelodeon, but Mark was a prankster. He kept the squirt guns in his office, arranged the holiday theme parties, and tried to outdo himself every year. As an HR professional, I could only sit back and watch in amazement as everything I wrote about in my books and articles came to life before my very eyes. If you’re a CEO, business owner, division or department head, or supervisor or team lead, share your values and your ethical expectations upfront and openly. State them proudly, give examples of how they work, and remind everyone that your culture is unique and worthy of honor. Add a permanent topical point to your staff meetings and employee gatherings, asking for recent examples that further your organization’s mission and values. Celebrate success. Lighten up and have fun, to the degree you can and that would be appropriate. Know that people will feel more secure when they understand what’s expected of them, when they can relate to you and your values as their leader, and when they appreciate the opportunity to join and remain part of a special family. Nickelodeon’s success soared under Mark Taylor’s leadership; tell your story about your history and culture proudly, set expectations surrounding ethics and morals, and raise the bar for all employees to perform at their highest level. It’s amazing how a simple philosophy—clearly expressed and modeled every day—can have such a tremendous impact on an organization. Great leadership can be yours, and making workplace ethics and values a core componentof your human capital strategy is likely the best place to start.

You can connect with Paul on LinkedIn at

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


Facing the Storm By Barbara Eldridge Are you falling prey to the relentless focus on what is going “wrong” in the economy? You are bombarded daily with information, in the newspaper, on TV, over the internet, and from the people around you; some times it is positive – “there are robust home values, or the stock market remains strong” and sometimes they are not – “gas prices have tanked, the economy is slowing”. As you begin to look toward 2022 you will have to choose what position you will take to plan your business. You might start by asking some tough questions. Do you recognize the need for change? Some business owners are researching new directions for their businesses, a whole new model, as some markets are disappearing. • re you prepared to look reality in the face? • Are you willing to change the way you do business – and change yourself? • Will you turn the plan into action? • Do you have the guts to take your business in new directions? Here is a road map that will get you to view your business through a lens that eliminates the distortions of everyday business. Let me warn you, you may not

like what you see. But if you are going to meet the year head on it is a necessary process. Let’s look at what a strategic plan could do for you. 1. Develop a statement of purpose. Why does your business exist? Sometimes why we started the business is not the same as why we continue to work it. Some people over the years have added staff, so that now there is room to travel more. There are those that started in business to support their family, and now are looking in new directions. 2. Conduct a SWOT analysis. This will help you evaluate your business’ internal strengths and weaknesses, along with the opportunities and threats you face in the market place. It will give you a basis for developing a plan. 3. Crystallize your thinking – Determine what specific long range goals you want for your business. It is never enough to just want more money. They should cover all aspects of the business. Perhaps even selling it. 4. Create benchmarks, with specific results for meeting those goals. It is easier to make adjustments along the way without losing sight of the long range goals. 5. Brainstorm strategies for reaching each of the results. There is more than one way to achieve a result, ask others for ideas. 6. Develop a Plan of Action. Plan the progressive steps, along with who will do what when. Nothing ever happens without action, but there is a world of difference between mere action and constructive action. 7. Be confident in yourself and your own abilities. Be determined to follow through on your plan, because without determination the plan will deteriorate. The 8th step is to track your progress. Write out your numbers (yes write), know your sales number, gross profit, cost of goods/time. It is a sure way of staying focused. The Challenge: You have the ability to choose your experience. Take the first step

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Transitioning is a Process – Take it Slow and Share it with Others By: Dr. Keita Franklin Whether a veteran has served in the military for 4 years or 25, transitioning into civilian life is often a difficult and stressful process. For a veteran, civilian transition is so much more than a change in vocation…it’s a change in identity. So much of a veteran’s identity is invested in their role as a soldier, sailor, airman marine, or guardian. Leaving the military can cause veterans to lose a sense of connection with this familiar identity. Who am I if I’m not a Colonel in the United States Army? What is my utility if I’m not putting my life on the line in defense of this Nation? Veterans often struggle with these and other existential questions during their transition to civilian life. This is why, it is important that we ensure veterans are prepared for such feeling and emotions well in advance of their transition. We need every veteran to understand that while we will remain eternally grateful for their service to this Nation, we also value and honor their many other roles. Their roles as a community member, a father, a son, a wife, sister, and so many others offer countless opportunities for veterans to continue their service while leveraging their unique skills, impeccable values, and unwavering commitment. The challenges veterans face when transitioning from military service to civilian life are many. Often for veterans who have worked in high-tempo operational environments for extended periods of time, can find it extremely difficult to “slow down” to the normal pace of civilian life. These veterans may interpret this slower pace as indicating they are not adding value to their new mission, or they may feel the activities involving these slower processes must not be important because it is not infused with wartime urgency, which they are accustomed. Other veterans may suppress their emotions tied to traumatic experiences while serving on active duty, mainly because they perceived the stigma of weakness when asking for help while on active duty. In many cases, the transition to civilian life will trigger debilitating emotions and there can be a delayed onset of symptoms related to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) surfacing all at once – making it overwhelming and seemingly insurmountable to overcome. In addition to triggering suppressed emotions, finding employment outside of the military can be a significant stressor – particularly when a veteran is asked to start at an entry level position. Some veterans question how well their skills acquired on active duty will transition to 44 / NOVEMBER 2021

the private sector, but they do not expect to start at the bottom. In some cases, veterans take a job because they need one, however, they are not happy or are left feeling unfulfilled by the work they do because they believe they are starting from scratch. In other cases, veterans crave the high-tempo operational work environments. The intensity of the military environment can cause a constant state of adrenaline for people – and service members often report not being able to find that same intensity in their civilian jobs, making them feel sluggish and unmotivated by their jobs.

Another issue veterans confront when transitioning from service is finding a new sense of mission. While on active duty, service members have a very strong sense of mission and belongingness, and as they prepare for transitioning, it is important to make sure they understand and appreciate their new mission in life. This means finding a meaningful job that brings them purpose, as well as a strong circle of friends or colleagues who they can rely on when civilian life becomes difficult to navigate. To make transitioning easier, service members need to take that sense of mission while on active duty and adjust it to their mission in civilian life. Veterans must understand that while their mission has changed, who they are, their personality, skills, values, and dedication, has not. Put simply, what made these veterans successful in the military, makes them equally valuable in their civilian roles. Finally, we must recognize that civilian transition is difficult not just for the transitioning member, but for the whole family. Spouses and kids of transitioning

veterans require time and guidance to adjust as well. Working with kids before this major life event occurs is essential, as well as ensuring spouses are prepared to adjust to civilian life. We must assist these families in obtaining suitable employment, adjusting to a new community, accessing services outside of the military community, and so much more. Transitioning is a difficult part of a service member’s life, however, there are ways to make it easier. Connecting with friends and family to aid in returning to civilian life, as well as communication with other service members who have similar experiences allows emotions to be shared and a solid team to rely on for support. Transitioning into civilian life is a process and not something that happens overnight. Taking it slow and being kind to yourself during the process can make it seem a little less daunting.



About the Author Dr. Keita Franklin serves as the Chief Clinical Officer at Loyal Source Government Services where she leads the company’s Behavior Health line of practice. Expanding Loyal Source’s already impressive service portfolio, she is responsible for designing, implementing, and overseeing contract mental health programs focused on prevention and treatment services for at-risk individuals. A nationally renowned suicide prevention expert, Dr. Franklin also serves as the Co-Director of the Columbia Lighthouse Project, a Columbia University NY State Psychiatric Institute initiative focused on reducing suicide risk. Prior to joining Loyal Source, Dr. Franklin worked extensively with military and Veteran populations serving in several senior positions within Headquarters, United States Marine Corps, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. In her role as Senior Executive Director, Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Department of Veteran Affairs, she led a U.S.-wide team of subject matter experts in the development and execution of a national public health program targeted toward advancing care for 20 million Veterans. Dr. Franklin is widely credited with implementing an innovative public health approach to suicide prevention in both the Department of Defense and the Department of Veteran Affairs.

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



Evangel University:

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

Here to serve those who serve

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

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

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

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

Flexible online degree programs We accept military tuition assistance

Yellow ribbon-approved


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


BUSINESS and SOCIAL MEDIA By Joseph Molina National Veterans Chamber of Commerce Anyone whose business is not yet on social media is missing out. Promoting your business on social media will be an essential skill that fosters the growth of your business. As social media grows and gathers people worldwide, it would be a shame to not reach out to such a large market. Be mindful, however, that social media promotion is quite different from real life, and you will need to figure out what works best for you. There are some strategies that will provide better results and generate more sales for your business. Social media can provide many benefits to a business. For example, social media provides a direct connection between you and your customer. A new brand using social media can reach out to millions of people with ease. The best approach on social media is to be consistent and creative with your business posts. Below are some specific suggestions for how to promote your business on social media. SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS To promote your business on social media, you must have an account on the social media platforms. They are many options, and you will need to decide which best suits your business. The platforms discussed in this article are all free and even offer paid advertising options. Twitter Twitter a very popular social media network that enables users to post short messages or “tweets”, as well as images, videos, and links. The Twitter interface allows any user across the globe to react to a post. In other words, Twitter is a great platform to reach out to customers all over the world. Most businesses use Twitter to post news, latest updates, and links to their website or sales page. LinkedIn LinkedIn on the other hand is a more professional social media platform, and content and interactions should be more formal. Rather than putting a business in touch with millions of potential customers, LinkedIn is a network of millions of professionals who connect to solve each other’s problems. On LinkedIn, you will reach out to both potential partners and skilled employees who will help boost your business. Facebook Facebook is obviously the world’s largest social network. I recommend establishing a presence on 48 / NOVEMBER 2021

Facebook first because 90% of your potential customers are users of this one platform. If you wish to bring your brand to life, make use of Facebook. Unlike some forms of social networks, Facebook offers greater freedom in the kinds of media you can post videos, images, links, etc. Facebook also offers a paid advertising service that will help market your business to thousands of people across the world. Instagram You might already know that Facebook has owned Instagram since 2012. Nevertheless, Instagram functions as a separate social network that focuses on the sharing of photos and videos. In that regard, Instagram has a lot in common with Twitter. Most of the photos and videos are public, and it is easy to get started by following other Instagram users with inspiring content and loyal, engaged followers. Instagram is great for both showcasing products and giving people a sense of the behind-the-scenes of your business. Pinterest Pinterest is a trendy, image-based social sharing site that many small businesses use to showcase their products with quality photographs. For consumers, Pinterest has become a web storefront to inspire, browse, and sometimes buy a wide array of products from trendy food to handicrafts. User Trends You’ll want to capitalize on trends that relate specifically to your business, your audience, and the social media platform. With these examples just mentioned, it would be more effective to include them in Instagram posts rather than using Facebook or LinkedIn. Using Paid Advertising Most social media networks sell advertising placements that allow business owners to run targeted campaigns. This strategy can require a significant investment, so it is wise to research and establish a budget before you develop and run your ads. The National Veterans Chamber of Commerce Radio Show • Would you like to Nominate a Hero? Let us know, and we will announce it on the show. • Would you like to share your story? Here is the REQUEST FORM. - • If you have any ideas or a project that you would like to Develop in collaboration with the National Veterans Chamber, send your ideas to:

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

FROM VETERAN TO BUSINESS OWNER Did you know out of the 27.9 million businesses in the United States, 2.45 million of them are owned by Veterans? 70% of American consumers are more likely to buy from a veteran owned business than from a business not owned by a veteran. Starting or running a business takes courage, discipline and dedication. It also takes knowing the legal aspects that could safe guard your hard work. Before starting, running or buying a business consider the following:

HAVE A BUSINESS PLAN. complete, thoughtful business plan is one of the most valuable tools in helping you reach your long-term goals. It gives your business direction, defines your objectives, maps out strategies to achieve your goals and helps you to manage possible bumps in the road. OBTAIN FINANCING. Whether you are starting a new business or buying an existing one, small businesses need money. If you or your spouse served in the military and would like to fund your small business, you can take advantage of a few different favorable loan options geared towards veterans.

70% of American consumers are more likely to buy from a veteran owned business than from a business not owned by a veteran.

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INCORPORATE YOUR BUSINESS. Many small business owners launch their companies as sole proprietorships in which they and their businesses are essentially one and the same. However, changing the format of a small business to a corporation or a limited liability company can offer a range of advantages for entrepreneurs. The advantages of incorporating a small business include:

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• Personal asset protection. Both corporations and limited liability companies allow owners to separate and protect their personal assets. • Additional credibility and name protection. Adding “Inc.” or “LLC” after your business name can add instant legitimacy and authority. Consumers, vendors and partners frequently prefer to do business with an incorporated company. • Perpetual existence. Corporations and limited liability companies can continue to exist even if ownership or management changes. Sole proprietorships and partnerships just end if an owner dies or leave the business. • Deductible expenses. Both corporations and limited liability companies may deduct normal business expenses, including salaries. • Compete for more contracts. Some businesses require vendors and contracting companies to be incorporated before they can compete for contracts. • Entice and hold employees with stock options. A corporation has an advantage in attracting talented employees by offering employees partial ownership in the business through stock options. Becoming a business owner, you control your own destiny, choose the people you work with, reap big rewards, challenge yourself, give back to the community, and you get to follow your passion. Knowing what you’re getting into is smart business because the responsibility of protecting your family and yourself falls on you.

Award-winning attorney, Kelly Bagla shows you how to avoid legal pitfalls FROM DAY ONE! The last thing an entrepreneur wants is to spend valuable time and resources on legal issues, which is why they often drop to the bottom of the pile. But this can be a COSTLY MISTAKE—and Go Legal Yourself is here to make sure it’s one you avoid. • • • •

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

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

Military and Divorce Normally, to file for divorce in the state of California, either you or your spouse must have lived in California for six months, as well as three months in the county you plan to file in—except in military divorces. In the case of a military divorce, one of the spouses must reside in the state or be stationed in the state of California. Domicile questions can be raised particularly when jurisdiction to divide military retirement is at issue. Domicile is where your legal residence is. It is residency with the intent to remain, the military’s term “Home of Record” is not necessarily the same state as your domicile.

Military marriages come with their own challenges. Military spouses can spend months or even years apart. As a result, divorce rates are higher among military service members than in civilians. Divorce is often an emotional stressful time for most people. If you are in the military, there are additional issues you will have to deal with. While the grounds for filing for divorce in California are the same for military service members and civilians, the procedures during a divorce can differ greatly for a military member versus a civilian going through the process particularly where the service member is deployed or stationed overseas. When it comes to a military divorce both federal law and California govern the process and division of property. Filing for Divorce If you are a service member, you will have to consider where to file. In a typical divorce, a spouse will file in the county where they live. In the case of service members, you and your spouse may be from one state, married in another, and are stationed elsewhere. For example, you may be from New Jersey, but you were stationed in Florida where you got married. Now you live in California so where do you file? 54 / NOVEMBER 2021

A lawyer can access domicile for you in deciding where to file for divorce by looking at what contacts and connections you have with a particular state or territory. These include your driver’s license, mailing address, voter registration, vehicle registrations, passport, any other ID cards or permits, and taxes. Domicile is important for division of military retirement. A state has jurisdiction to divide the military pension if: 1) the servicemember is a legal resident of the state; 2) the servicemember is residing in that state for reasons other than because of a military assignment; or 3) the servicemember consents to the jurisdiction of that state’s courts over the division of the pension. If a military spouse files for divorce in California but has a different domicile, that spouse must make a very important decision. That decision is whether or not to object to California having jurisdiction over dividing the member’s military retirement. What Happens if You are Deployed and Your Spouse Files? If you are active duty and deployed or stationed overseas, your duties may make it difficult for you to participate in a divorce proceeding immediately upon it being initiated by your spouse. Your spouse may also have difficulty trying to serve you while deployed or overseas.

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There are federal laws that protect the military service member who may be affected by their deployment or overseas assignment. If your military duty prevents you from being able to respond to a divorce action your spouse initiated, the Service Member’s Civil Relief Act prevents your spouse from holding you in default. Normally, if the responding party does not file a response in 30 days, they can be defaulted, and the divorce proceedings can move forward without their participation. In a military divorce, you are protected from a default under federal law if your active duty prevents you from participating. The Service Member’s Civil Relief Act also allows for the proceedings to be delayed for the duration of the service member’s active duty. You can waive the postponement if you would like for the proceedings to move forward. However, it would be wise to consult with an attorney to protect your rights throughout the divorce process while you are deployed or stationed overseas. There are other aspects of military divorce that differ from non-military divorce including issues surrounding the division of military retirements, survivor benefit plans, and military benefits. For these reasons, if you consult an attorney choose one who has expertise in military family law issues. Even if you and your spouse reach an amicable agreement and forego litigation, it is important to have an attorney with military family law expertise to ensure the proper language is included in your draft agreement.

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

This article is intended only for informational purposes and should not be taken as legal advice.

Legal Experts with Humanity / NOVEMBER 2021


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

Now or Later: Determining the Right Time to Buy Question: The housing market seems so crazy, is now the right time to buy or should I wait until later in 2022? Answer: This is a great question and while the answer varies somewhat depending on your personal financial picture, there are three important things to consider when you make the decision for your family. #1 Mortgage Rates: What are mortgage rates and where are they projected to go in the new year? In January 2021 the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate in the United States was 2.65%, making it the lowest rate in 50 years. As you might expect, it can’t stay that way. Analysts from both Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association expect home loan interest rates to go up in 2022. The MBA’s quarterly mortgage rate forecast projects the following increases: • Q4, 2021 — 3.7% • Q1, 2022 — 3.9% • Q2, 2022 — 4.1% • Q3, 2022 — 4.3% • Q4, 2022 — 4.4% While these are only projections, analysts agree an increase is on the way. For consumers, these seemingly small percentage increases equate to an increase in monthly mortgage payments, depending on the price of the home. The good news is, compared to mortgage trends over the last decade, these are still historically low rates even as they increase in 2022. The rates you see right now won’t last; they will stay low but remember — as they rise so does your mortgage payment.

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#2 Home Values: Will the price of homes rise? Will it be more advantageous to rent or own? While rates have dropped, home sales have soared and so have home values. The raging housing market may make some potential buyers shy away from entering the ring in hopes that the market will cool off and create more favorable buying conditions. It’s understandable to be cautious and a real estate agent who specializes in supporting military families can help simplify the process if you do decide to consider it. But because it’s still a seller’s market, it’s unreasonable to expect competition to decrease and home prices to dip. According to CoreLogic, real estate will still appreciate at a faster-than-average rate through late 2021. Home prices nationwide from 2020 to 2021 increased by 18.1%, marking the largest annual gain in home prices in 45 years. A recent report from Zillow suggests more of the same, with home values projected to climb by double digits by summer 2022. That presents an opportunity for homebuyers to benefit from this surge and gain value from their investment faster when combined with low interest rates if they can make a move sooner rather than later.

Likewise, renters should consider rental projections in their area to see if it makes more financial sense to buy. Rent growth in 2021 so far is outpacing prepandemic averages in 98 of the nation’s 100 largest cities, with most seeing double digit increases. When comparing rental payments to mortgage payments at the low interest rates and the projected increases in home values, renters may be surprised that they can own a home for the cost of renting. This is particularly true when using a VA loan, which includes these benefits: • May not need a down payment • No maximum loan limit *county/city loan limits do apply • Typically provides lower interest rates than Conventional or FHA financing • Lower closing costs • Qualify with lower credit scores and higher debt to income ratios than other loan types • No monthly mortgage insurance • Use your VA loan multiple times #3 BAH Allowance: The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is set based on a servicemember’s duty location. Each year that BAH is adjusted to reflect housing costs and align with the market. The 2021 BAH average increase was 2.9% and the projected increase for 2022 is set to 2.7%. Historically, the BAH increase over the last several years has ranged from less than 1% to 2.5%. These healthy BAH increases can help give military families the best opportunity to buy. Phil Jawny is a professional lender with 20 years of experience in the business and the founder of GoVA Loans. His industry knowledge is extensive, spanning from loan reorganization to selling and managing VA Loans. Phil has a passion for serving military families. His goal is simple — to help make the loan process easier for families so they can get the loans they deserve and build wealth through real estate without the hassle.

Change Your Financial Outlook in 2022 Put Your VA Loan Benefit to Work! Are you taking advantage of all your VA benefits? Our team of experts is here to share advice and guide you down the path toward financial stability. One conversation can set you on the best financial path. So what are you waiting for? Contact us today!

To get ongoing advice or to submit a question for the “Money Matters” column, visit or follow @ GoVALoans on Instagram & Twitter.

Source:,, The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC)’s Rent Payment Tracker @GoVALoans (833) 825-6261 / NOVEMBER 2021


Tunnel to Towers Foundation to Read Names of U.S. Troops Killed in the War on Terror

“We’ll be reading those more than 7,000 names on Veterans Day for the first time ever,” he said. “We do it because as a nation, we must acknowledge these great national heroes, because it is right, it is just, and it is about time that we did it.”

In front of the Lincoln Memorial on Veterans Day, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation is holding a ceremony to read aloud the more than 7,000 names of U.S. soldiers who lost their lives in the War on Terror, America’s response to September 11, 2001. The recognition by name of these heroes has never been attempted by any organization.

Siller started the Foundation after losing his youngest brother, Fire Department of New York City Firefighter Stephen Siller, on 9/11. Stephen strapped 60 pounds of fire gear on his back and ran through the then Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the Twin Towers, where he gave his life while saving others.

Many men and women signed up to serve and protect our nation after 9/11, when the largest terrorist attack to ever take place on U.S. soil killed 2,977 people, which included first responders and civilians. Many men and women who saw what happened on that fateful day joined our military, putting their lives on the line to protect and defend our nation and its values. The reading will take place at the Lincoln Memorial in the nation’s capital, and the ceremony is expected to last several hours. “We at the Tunnel to Towers Foundation believe it is our responsibility and our honor to make sure that we never forget their sacrifice and the sacrifice made by so many other families,” said the Foundation’s CEO Frank Siller.

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“He wanted to help people, he wanted to serve, he wanted to save,” Siller said. “Many of our men and women who saw that signed up to serve America, to protect America to make sure it didn’t happen again, on our homeland…Some of those men and women paid a big price.” Four Gold Star widows, who have had their mortgages paid off by Tunnel to Towers, and two smart home recipients were in attendance for the June 17 press conference announcing the ceremony. “Each of these names hold a story and legacy of ultimate sacrifice…” said Gold Star widow Carmela Raguso, “…and love for one’s country. They will truly never be gone by saying their names.”

Because the American military is 100% voluntary, none of the servicemembers who laid down their lives for our liberties had to enlist and serve. “All of these men and women chose to go — they chose to be there, chose to fight for our freedom,” asserted Gold Star widow Shannon Slutman. Every single day is Memorial Day and Veterans Day for Gold Star families, and it is time we honor all those who laid down their lives in the last 20 years for our Constitutional liberties. United States Marine Corps Sgt. Rob Jones, a Tunnel to Towers smart home recipient, elaborated on the loss that we share as a nation: “When I think about all of the servicemembers who have sacrificed their lives for this country, I am actually filled with sadness, but at the same time I am thankful; I am thankful that I live in a country that has millions of people in it who are willing to sacrifice their lives for this country...I’m thankful that I live in a country that recognizes the gravity of this sacrifice.” Sgt. Jones’ most important message to attendees was that, “All Americans should strive to live a life every day that is worthy of this sacrifice.” Reading aloud the 7,000+ names of heroes marks a new Tunnel to Towers annual tradition.

Tunnel to Towers Reading of the Names / Veterans Day November 11, 2021 at 8AM (EST) The Tunnel to Towers Foundation reads the names of the more than 7,000 fallen American soldiers who served in our military ranks and sacrificed all, following the attack on our nation on 9/11. Go to to watch the livestream.

San Diego Community News What’s Happening? • Community Events • Community Press Releases • Entertainment & more... Military & Veteran Organizations • Post Your Events • Upcoming Programs • Resources - Donations - Inspirations

GET CONNECTED! A Veterans Magazine for Veterans by Veterans Visit SD Vets Today at

San Diego Veterans Magazine Your best source for San Diego military, veteran breaking and local news, press releases, community events, media, entertainment and more… / NOVEMBER 2021


The San Diego Veterans Coalition Proudly Supports the Military Order of the World Wars The Military Order of the World Wars is a premier Veterans Service Organization whose motto is, “It is nobler to serve than to be served.” MOWW was founded at the behest of General of the Armies John J. “Blackjack” Pershing 1919 to promote good citizenship, patriotic education, and military and public service. The purpose of the Order is found in the 9 tenets described in the MOWW Preamble. TO CHERISH THE MEMORIES AND ASSOCIATIONS OF THE WORLD WARS WAGED FOR HUMANITY TO INCULCATE AND STIMULATE LOVE OF OUR COUNTRY AND FLAG TO PROMOTE AND FURTHER PATRIOTIC EDUCATION IN OUR NATION EVER TO MAINTAIN LAW AND ORDER, AND TO DEFEND THE HONOR, INTEGRITY, AND SUPREMACY OF OUR NATIONAL GOVERNMENT AND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES TO FOSTER FRATERNAL RELATIONS AMONG ALL BRANCHES OF THE ARMED FORCES TO PROMOTE THE CULTIVATION OF MILITARY, NAVAL, AND AIR SCIENCE AND THE ADOPTION OF A CONSISTENT AND SUITABLE POLICY OF NATIONAL SECURITY FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TO ACQUIRE AND PRESERVE RECORDS OF INDIVIDUAL SERVICES TO ENCOURAGE AND ASSIST IN THE HOLDING OF COMMEMORATIONS AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF MEMORIALS OF THE WORLD WARS TO TRANSMIT ALL THESE IDEALS TO POSTERITY; UNDER GOD AND FOR OUR COUNTRY, WE UNITE TO ESTABLISH MOWW chapters provide opportunities to support veterans of all ranks and service, youth patriotic education, college ROTC and high school JROTC, Scouting, monuments and memorials, law and order, national and homeland security programs, and inculcate and stimulate love of our country and flag. 60 / NOVEMBER 2021

The Order is present throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands via its chapters and geographically proximate to the residences of Companions (members). These geographic areas organized into regions, which are comprised of chapters. These chapters a serve the veterans, youth, first responders and others in the local communities via their education, recognition, public speaker and community support outreach programs. The Military Order of the World Wars uses Resolutions of Cooperation to formalize partnerships with like-minded organizations, e.g., the National Sojourners, Joe Foss Institute, Boy Scouts of America, Pershing Rifles Group. These resolutions support a range of collaborative activities--from youth education to recognition of excellence. These resolutions and memoranda correspond with the Order’s outreach programs in Youth Leadership Conferences, scouting, Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and Junior JROTC, and more. They also involve MOWW’s recognition programs involving scouts, students, cadets, and individuals and organizations from the local communities. MOWW serves America’s youth by hosting Youth Leadership Conference (YLC) programs throughout the United States—many at little or no cost to high school students attending. These students receive patriotic education on leadership in a free society, free enterprise system concepts, principles of democracy, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and civic responsibilities associated with preserving American rights and freedoms. Students also develop speaking, writing and leadership skills, which contributes to them being better citizens and future leaders. MOWW’s YLC curriculum satisfies the National Association of Secondary School Principals’ (NASSP) academic and program requirements. MOWW also sponsors awards programs for Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and Junior ROTC cadets (JROTC), the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and the Girl Scouts of the USA (GS-USA). Additionally, MOWW formally honors those who excel in the national security, homeland security, and law and order arenas. Finally, MOWW hosts “Massing of Colors” ceremonies in conjunction with Flag Day, the Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Veterans Day. The Military Order of the World Wars is a strong, vibrant and exemplary supporter of the veteran’s community in San Diego and a proud member of the SDVC. For additional information, please visit

Military Order of the World Wars / NOVEMBER 2021


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5/10k Trail Run - Saturday, November 6, 2021 at Sycuan Casino Resort

For more information and to register for the 5/10k Trail Run go to Walk for the Fallen aims to honor American veterans while raising awareness about the struggles they often face after serving, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Suicide. Walk for the Fallen has partnered with Sycuan Casino Resort and proceeds will benefit Veterans Association of North County, and All Star Vets,

Your Support Makes A Difference! / NOVEMBER 2021


Back to Better: Mental Health Care for Veterans, Service Members, & their Families

Cohen Clinics provide therapy for anxiety, depression, PTSD, and transitional issues for post-9/11 veterans, service members, and military families, including National Guard / Reserves. CVN Telehealth, face-to-face video therapy available.

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Support the Cohen Clinic Your donations help provide high-quality mental health care to veterans, service members, their families.

Make a gift today:


MILITARY, VETERAN AND FAMILIES ADVISORY COUNCIL As part of his efforts to improve quality of life for all San Diegans, Mayor Todd Gloria is proud to announce the formation of the Military, Veteran and Families Advisory Council with the goal of making San Diego the most welcoming city in the nation for the military, veterans and their families.

As their first formal action, the Council will provide a list of recommendations to the Mayor to help actively support the local military, veterans, and their families.

Made up of eight females and seven males, the group includes representation from each service branch, as well as The advisory council will representatives meet quarterly, review spanning the the City of San Diego’s continuum of those with current policies and lived experiences, procedures and including a transitioning propose new active duty to veteran opportunities for the status representative, City to connect, mobilize veteran small business and empower San owner, a military Diego’s Veteran and spouse, and a veteran military communities, as and military family well as their caregivers. caregiver.

Keshia Javis-Jones

Jodie Grenier

Holly Shaffner

Jack Harkins

Dixon Smith

Brittany Fuller

Ashish Yosh Kakkad

Randee McLain

Adam Heyde

Leo Tanaka

Pegah Parsi

Jim Gruny

Nina Sughrue Hutton

Cinnamon Clark

Shawn VanDiver / NOVEMBER 2021


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Veterans Day Celebration on the USS Midway Museum

Third Squad: Marine Veterans and the American Experience in Afghanistan J Woods


oin us for an important Veterans Day conversation on the American war in Afghanistan with two U.S. Marines who fought there and the journalist who embedded with them. In July 2011, Marines John Bohlinger and Manuel Mendoza met Iraq veteran and journalist Elliott Woods at Patrol Base Fires in Sangin, Afghanistan, during one of the most violent phases of the 20-year war. Ten years later, Woods reconnected with Bohlinger, Mendoza, and the rest of their squad to record interviews about coming home to a country that had largely forgotten about the war. On Nov. 11 in the hangar bay on the USS Midway Museum, SDSU military history professor Gregory Daddis will lead a discussion about the war and homecoming centered on clips from “Third Squad,” a 12-part podcast hosted by Woods and produced by Airloom Media.

PANELISTS Elliott Woods, U.S. Army Veteran, Co-creator of “Third Squad” Podcast Manuel Mendoza, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran John Bohlinger, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran


MODERATOR Gregory A. Daddis, USS Midway Chair in Modern U.S. Military History at SDSU


Thursday, Nov. 11 Daddis

6:30-8 p.m.

USS Midway Museum, Downtown San Diego For details, visit Presented by San Diego State University and the USS Midway Museum, and sponsored by USAA and the National Endowment for the Humanities. “Third Squad” is on the iHeart App or wherever you get your podcasts. / NOVEMBER 2021



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

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

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

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Resources Support Transition HEALTH Community

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

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