San Diego Veterans Magazine October 2021

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VETERANS Vol. 3 Number 10 • October 2021



Transition What’s next

Prep Work Before an Interview Five LinkedIn Tips Partnership to Assist Afghan Evacuees

San Diego

Veteran of the Month Employer’s Guide to COVID-19 Vaccination, Verifications, Exemptions

Battling Breat Cancer Deployment Mode



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1.5 Million Veterans & Growing You served our nation, and we’re proud to serve you. We’ll help you make the most of your money. Our members earn more and save more, on average $352 more per year, thanks to better rates and exclusive discounts.*

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BREAST CANCER IN YOUNG WOMEN Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. When cancer starts in the breast, it is called breast cancer. Except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women. Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 and older, but breast cancer also affects younger women. About 11% of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age. While breast cancer diagnosis and treatment are difficult for women of any age, younger women may find this experience overwhelming. / OCTOBER 2021


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

Download PTSD Coach to:

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

PTSD Coach is not meant to replace professional care.

Search “PTSD Coach”

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Golf Tournament - Friday, November 5, 2021 at Singing Hills Golf Resort

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

For more information and to register for the Golf Tournament & 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! / OCTOBER 2021




Publisher Editor-In-Chief Mike Miller

Contributing Writers Holly Shaffner Veteran Advocate

RanDee McLain, LCSW A Different Lens

Jenny Lynne Stroup Real Talk: Mental Health

Vicki Garcia

Enlisted to Entrepreneur

CJ Machado

SD Vets & Homeland Photojournalist

Kelly Bagla, Esq. Legal Eagle

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

Joe Molina

Veterans Chamber of Commerce

Eve Nasby

What’s Next - Transitioning

Amber Robinson Arts & Healing

Eva Stimson Veteran Advocate

Paul Falcone

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

Human Resources

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

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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 / OCTOBER 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 (Jessica Quezada) 12 Midway Magic - First U.S. Aircraft Carrier 17 Battling Breast Cancer 18 Partnership to Assist Afghan Evacuees 22 Real Talk: - Deployment Mode 24 LENS: Anxiety thru Transition 26 Arts & Healing - Suicide Advocacy and Theatre 28 Shelter to Soldier 30 What’s Next: Two Transitions 32 HR - Prep Work Before an Interview 34 Five LinkedIn Tips 36 Enlisted to Entrepreneur: Your Exit Strategy 38 Overcoming Transition Stress 40 Legal Eagle -Employer’s Guide 42 Healthcare Careers - A Perfect Fit 44 Legally Speaking - Divorce & Transition 52 SDVC - Wounded Warrior Homes 53 VANC - Announcements / OCTOBER 2021


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

Veteran of the Month Jessica Quezada, Marine Veteran As a teen Jessica Quezada was not the type you might imagine would join the Marines. Educated at the Booker T. Washington School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas, she was more creative than military conformist. But in 2013 she took the oath and became a Public Affairs combat correspondent.

Quezada excelled in her profession, enjoying the creative and intellectual challenge. Her duty stations and travels presented her with what she calls “expansive opportunities” in the Public Affairs realm. Admittedly not close with her family, Quezada says the Marines became her family.

But, Quezada’s service was not without its challenges. As a female Marine she often faced isolation as well as harassment. “I faced a lot of the ostracization that happens when you are a female Marine,” said Quezada. “I was often the only girl in my unit. I had to fight to maintain a sense of my own identity.” Unfortunately, the stress of service pushed Quezada to cope in the way many service members do, through alcohol. “There was a time when I relied heavily on alcohol,” said Quezada. As a Public Affairs Marine Quezada served as a photojournalist and marketing director in places like Quantico, Japan and eventually Orange County. Aside from her duty stations she traveled nation wide and throughout much of Southeast Asia. She jovially says being in the Marines is “one big juicy experience”. 8 / OCTOBER 2021

Eventually Quezada’s problem came full circle when she got a DUI after crashing her car into a tree. All of sudden the hard charging Marine she had worked hard to build was gone. Her identity was now more in limbo than ever before. It was then that she decided to turn exclusively to something she could count on; traveling.

“I found out it’s super expensive to make an app,” she said.

“I went to Columbia for a month,” said Quezada. “Traveling saved me from myself.” Quezada says that when she travels she feels like she is part of a larger family, a world family. She also says her travels have saved her from bad experiences she has sustained in the service such as sexual harassment, sexual assault and the death of family members.

So Quezada began to focus on creating a community and making personal choices that reflected what she wanted LiboRisk to be about. She bought a bus and spent from December to May of 2020, converting it into a liveable space. When she left the Marines in late 2020 she took up living in the bus. The motivation behind the lifestyle choice was to maintain a minimalist footprint, to always be in a state of motion and travel, to live what Quezada has begun to call the “LiboRisk Lifestyle”. That lifestyle is one that feeds the restless, troubled or hungry soul through a return to minimalism, the earth and being a well-traveled world citizen. Their motto is simple, “Inspiring Troops to Travel.”

After her trip to Columbia, Quezada began to wrap her mind around what she would like to do after service. She began working on LiboRisk, a project inspired from the term given to Marines like herself who may be “trouble” when given free time. “A liberty risk Marine is a Marine who, during liberty periods, is going to get themselves in trouble,” said Quezada. “They are intrepid, edgy and usually have a large knowledge of things you shouldn’t do.”

A pillar of LiboRisk is the environmental piece, which promotes eco-awareness during travel. Quezada has already teamed up with local nonprofit Recycle for Veterans to promote her message through partnered events. Together they seek to raise awareness about being a conscious earth citizen as well as an eco-conscious traveler. “We are not only about cool Instagram photos taken all over the world,” said Quezada. “We are also about leaving a mindful footprint everywhere we go.”

Quezeda knows those Marines aren’t really trouble, just highly curious people searching to be a part of something bigger than themselves outside of the uniform. Thus, she began the creative alchemy of turning her struggle-to-redemption through travel into a formula for others. Her first idea was an app which active duty, active reservists and veterans could use to locate travel arrangements which they would book through her.

Quezada shares a plethora of tips on how to be a more conscious traveler, such as choosing tour guides who are local and care about their environment. She also warns against animal touring, such as elephant riding or even bear hugging, which she saw in Indonesia. Continued on page 11 > / OCTOBER 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.


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




Support. Inspiration.


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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“The conditions animals are kept in for these types of attractions are abhorrent,” said Quezada. “Animals are caged, malnutritioned and there are usually no repercussions in their countries for that treatment.” Unfortunately, service members are often encouraged to participate in animal touring as part of their international experience when training in other countries. Quezada plans to work with the military to encourage more ethical activities when our armed forces are serving abroad. Right now, according to Quezada, the focus of LiboRisk is to continue to grow its rapidly expanding community through community events. She also educates and builds confidence through her website, which is full of useful tools such as travel documents, travel pointers and detailed information on any region you may be traveling to. “Traveling is medicinal,” said Quezada. “Narcotics, pills, alcohol and the VA will never help you in the same way as just going out into the world and exploring something new.”

“LiboRisk Lifestyle” A lifestyle that feeds the restless, troubled or hungry soul through a return to minimalism, the earth and being a well-traveled world citizen. Their motto is simple, “Inspiring Troops to Travel.” Quezeda’s next LiboRisk event is scheduled for Halloween. To learn more about LiboRisk go to You can also follow their Instagram at the handle @ liborisk for some beautiful photos of troops and vets traveling the world. / OCTOBER 2021


USS Midway was the First U.S. Aircraft Carrier to Call Japan Home Nearly five decades ago, in October 1973, the USS Midway became the first U.S. aircraft carrier to be permanently based in a foreign country. On the 48th anniversary of this historic occasion, former Midway crewmembers reflected on the unique experience of calling Yokosuka, Japan, their home away from home. “Living in Japan was great,” said Dan Woodward, who was a senior chief petty officer in Attack Squadron 56 (VA-56) assigned to Midway’s airwing in 1982. “The Japanese people were fun. Once a month, we would go eat at their house and they would eat at ours.”

Dan Woodward

Jim Reily

The decision to forward deploy Midway to Japan was the result of an accord reached between the United States and Japan in August 1972. The move had strategic significance because it continuously positioned an aircraft carrier in the Western Pacific. Midway became the Navy’s on-call carrier. For Midway sailors, they referred to their operational status as always being at the “tip of the spear.” “I loved Japan, but to be honest, being the forwarddeployed carrier, our at-sea schedule was very busy,” said Cmdr. Keith Morris, who was an air traffic controller when he joined Midway in 1988. “I am proud to have been a part of something so great.” On average, U.S.-based naval ships spend roughly 25 percent of their time deployed overseas, while the ships based in Japan are operating in the waters from the Western Pacific to the Middle East nearly 70 percent of the time. 12 / OCTOBER 2021

Craig Dever

“While it was personally challenging being out of our homeport most of the time, professionally, it was the best job I’ve ever had,” said retired Capt. Jim Reily, who was Midway’s supply officer from 1989-1991 and is now directs the volunteer docent program at the museum. “I’d wake up in the morning knowing we would be doing important things defending freedom.”

The Navy has more than 20 ships currently based in Japan and sailors make up nearly one third of all U.S. military personnel stationed there. While the operational schedules for these forward-deployed naval forces are tremendously demanding, the opportunities to be immersed in a unique foreign culture are exceptional. Midway’s crew were the first to experience life in Japan as temporary residents.

“I enjoyed living in Yokosuka,” said Craig Dever, a dentist aboard Midway in the early 1980s. “I took advantage of a semester-long Japanese language course given on the ship. Wherever I went in Japan, the people were friendly, helpful and honest, and most everyone wanted to practice their English on me.” As their time off was often short-lived, Midway crewmembers tried to soak up as much of Japan as they could. Participating in local festivals and outdoor activities often rose to the top of the list of things to do, and more than few came back to the states as sushi lovers. “I learned a lot in Japan making lifetime memories,” said Bruce Cunningham, an aviation boatswain’s mate who served on Midway from 1990 to 1991. “It was an exciting and overwhelming experience. The curiosity we mutually had to learn of each other’s language and culture is what brought us together.” “Climbing Mount Fuji was a highlight,” said Woodward, a member of the museum’s safety team. “At each level, I got my walking stick branded in Japanese. Looking down on the clouds as the sun came up, what a sight to behold.” For Morris, while Japan was an unforgettable life experience, his favorite memory of being deployed overseas was a bit more personal. “With so many experiences on board the USS Midway, it is hard to single out just one,” said Morris, who now commands the Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facilities (FACSFAC) Jacksonville. “But if I had to pick one, it would be meeting my wife of now 33 years. She too was a sailor stationed in Japan and since I met her, my second day in there, we were inseparable.” The Navy continues to permanently base an aircraft carrier at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. When Midway returned to the states in 1991 to be decommissioned, she was relieved by the USS Independence. The USS Ronald Reagan is the fifth and current carrier to call Japan home. / OCTOBER 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. 14 / OCTOBER 2021

Honor Flight San Diego Homecoming Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021 - arrive by 2 p.m.

(Follow our American Airlines flight #9741 scheduled for 2:30 p.m.)

Family, Friends and Well-wishers…Let’s Give These Hometown Heroes the Homecoming They Deserve! Please join us at San Diego International Airport, Terminal 2, baggage claim. Show your patriotism and support by wearing red, white and blue and bring American flags and signs. ***As a reminder, masks are required inside the airport*** Military in uniform can be part of the “honor detail” and be the first to greet the veterans or help them get through the crowd.

Plan to carpool and arrive early as there may be 1,000 people there. Attendees should park in the Terminal 2 Parking Plaza. Parking will be free upon exiting and stating you attended the Honor Flight Homecoming.

You can follow us on Facebook @HonorFlightSanDiego and check out our website at: / OCTOBER 2021


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BREAST CANCER VA launches National Women Veterans Oncology System of Excellence By Ashleigh Byrnes


ver the past several years, studies have shown a significantly higher rate of certain cancers within veteran populations than nonveterans—among them, breast cancer. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 700 women veterans enrolled in VA health care are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. To address this need, the VA announced in October the establishment of the National Women Veterans Oncology System of Excellence in partnership with Duke and Baylor universities, as a means of leveraging a broad network of clinical knowledge and research to provide women veterans across the nation access to state-of-the-art oncology care and clinical trials. The women veteran population is growing, and as such, more cases of breast cancer—and other cancers unique to women—are likely to be diagnosed. The VA has made strides in its prevention program, including leading the nation in rates for mammography and instituting breast exam training programs for VA physicians who may not typically see many women patients, but the challenge in treating cancer often lies in proximity to the medical facility. “We have a number of medical centers, and 48 of those medical centers are associated with [National Cancer Institute] comprehensive cancer centers, but

that still is not a big enough network to cover the entire country,” said Dr. Michael J. Kelley, director of the VA’s national oncology program and professor of medicine at Duke University. “So now we’re switching from this concept of Centers of Excellence—or hubs—to a System of Excellence.” The system relies on programs like teleoncology (the application of telemedicine to oncology) to increase access to care wherever a patient is located, even if the physician is states away from the veteran. “Every veteran will have access to cutting-edge oncology care that will be delivered as close to them geographically as possible,” said Kelley. Additional plans are to develop national tumor boards; improve veterans’ access to clinical trials; prioritize co-recruiting efforts; and begin new joint research programs to improve and transform cancer prevention, treatment and overall health outcomes. “The women serving today are the ones who will be sitting in VA exam rooms in the coming decades, and they will carry with them an entire medical history of illness and injury,” said DAV (Disabled American Veterans) National Legislative Director Joy Ilem. “The VA must be prepared to help the growing number of women veterans diagnosed with breast cancer get the best care possible, so this System of Excellence partnership really comes at a crucial moment.” n / OCTOBER 2021


Wounded Warrior Project, American Red Cross Partner to Assist Afghan Evacuees By Paris Moulden, Wounded Warrior Project Photos provided by American Red Cross Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is showing its support for the American Red Cross by assisting Afghan evacuees in the United States and abroad. “It’s just about helping people,” said WWP International Alumni Manager Kristy Hogan, whose team has been working with the Red Cross in Germany to assist thousands of Afghan evacuees. It’s a sentiment shared by volunteers from WWP and the Red Cross. Following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in August, the U.S. began preparations to assist the tens of thousands of Afghan citizens who were evacuated from the country due to safety concerns. According to the International Rescue Committee, at least 263,000 Afghan civilians were affiliated with the

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U.S. mission in Afghanistan and tens of thousands were eligible for special immigrant visas because of their work alongside our military. “The U.S. military immediately reached out to the American Red Cross to help in this effort, because we’re a humanitarian leader, we have the largest volunteer base in the world, and additionally, they have us as a first stop for evacuees to receive relief items when they get off the plane because they recognize the universal symbol of the Red Cross,” said Emily Osment, global spokesperson for the American Red Cross.

Because of our longstanding relationship, the Red Cross reached out to WWP seeking volunteers to assist with the humanitarian efforts at Ramstein Air Base and Rhine Ordnance Barracks (ROB) in Germany and at several U.S. military bases. Efforts in Germany Kristy and the WWP team quickly got to work helping the Red Cross and the military in its mission at Ramstein. The team is used to responding quickly to meet needs since it supports service members who are medically evacuated from deployed locations. “The first couple of days was mostly our team just filling in wherever we needed to,” said Kristy, who assisted in handing out water and food to the evacuees — or travelers as they’re called at Ramstein — who waited long hours at the processing center after arriving. “They were tired; they were hungry; they were scared.” The WWP team in Germany, which also included Andrea Defibaugh and Layla Martinez, worked eight-to-12-hour days alongside Red Cross volunteers handing out food, water, hygiene kits, and baby supplies like diapers and milk. The team even purchased much-needed supplies and worked with active-duty service men and women to make the travelers feel at home as much as possible.

“This entire community sprang into action,” Kristy said. “They had it so well-organized, and they had so many volunteers who just offered up their time and donations.” The needs were great as many travelers arrived with just the clothes on their backs, said Defibaugh, who helped assist travelers at Ramstein and ROB. She said she was struck by the realization that people left behind everything and by the gravity of the operation. “It was an honor to be part of a team that so quickly responded to that crisis and provided support for such a meaningful and impactful mission,” Andrea said. “Everyone came together so quickly with such energy and focus to provide what was necessary, and it was amazing to see all the different pieces coming together to help.” The mission is ongoing, and the team is continuing to work with the Red Cross and the U.S. military to assist the more than 6,000 remaining travelers in temporary living areas on the base. “It was about helping each other and coming together as a community to support this incredible mission,” Kristy said. / OCTOBER 2021


Efforts in the U.S. While the Red Cross and WWP were aiding efforts in Germany, thousands of Afghan evacuees were also being relocated to military installations in the U.S., including Fort Bliss, Texas, and Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, prompting the Red Cross to ask WWP for volunteer assistance closer to home. WWP tapped into its Warriors to Work® program for volunteers for the operation. Initially, WWP sought out volunteers who had served in Afghanistan, but eventually opened it up to other post-9/11 warriors in the program, as well as to spouses and friends of the warrior, said WWP Financial Wellness Vice President Tom Kastner. Warrior Robert Neuterman answered the call. Robert had recently moved from Florida to Colorado and thought the timing was perfect. He also served in Afghanistan and felt particularly compelled to assist in the mission. “A lot of the guys over there assisted us at one time,” he said. “I just really wanted to help.” 20 / OCTOBER 2021

More than 200 WWP registered warriors have shown an interest in volunteering in the U.S. efforts. “Concurrent with leaving Afghanistan and the 20th anniversary of 9/11, this, I think, is a way to demonstrate some goodwill and to give warriors the opportunity to provide energy and efforts to a good cause,” Tom said. For Robert, the trip to Fort Bliss was something he’ll treasure. “It was a very humbling experience,” he said. “I’m blessed at my home, so being able to try and help them take those next steps in the next stage of their life, it was very rewarding.” A Perfect Pairing WWP and the Red Cross are no strangers to working together. The two nonprofits may have different missions overall, but both boast dedicated volunteers and the desire to help when needed.

After signing up to volunteer and completing the Red Cross’ vetting process, Robert traveled to Fort Bliss, and immediately began making an impact. As thousands of Afghan evacuees poured into the base needing supplies and aid, Robert’s military background in logistics kicked in. Robert said the initial process for delivering supplies wasn’t the most efficient, so he worked with organizers from the Red Cross to streamline the process. He immediately took on a leadership role as he, along with a Red Cross team leader and other volunteers, greatly increased the delivery of “comfort kits” to evacuees in just a couple of days. “The team I worked with was incredible,” Robert said. Aside from his connection to Afghanistan through his service, the mission really hit home for the father of four upon seeing the number of children who entered the base, scared and far from home. “My No. 1 priority is my family’s safety, and there were so many kids there,” said Robert, who was able to spend some of his minimal free time kicking around donated soccer balls with the young visitors.

“We depend on volunteers to carry out this mission,” Emily said. “What I saw, in particular overseas, was that a lot of military spouses and even Afghanistan war veterans raised their hand [to volunteer]. And they specifically shared with me they felt very attached to being a part of this mission. They really wanted to sign up because they knew the American Red Cross was working directly with evacuees. So, they wanted to have that face-to-face contact, and they felt very strongly about being the ones to support [the evacuees] as they came in and welcome them during this time of uncertainty.” Tom said WWP’s role in assisting the Afghan evacuees was mainly to support the Red Cross and its humanitarian aid mission. “This is a historic event in our time, and to be able to partner alongside Wounded Warrior Project, it doubles that impact,” Emily said. “It allows us to really provide those services to people in a real-time emergency — to people who need it immediately.” About Wounded Warrior Project Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more: / OCTOBER 2021


Real Talk: Mental Health By Jenny Lynne Stroup Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at VVSD

Deployment Mode

Deployment mode. It is a state of being that transcends all other abilities and enables me to detach from my deploying spouse and handle all the things. This mode takes over approximately a week to ten days before my spouse leaves. One by one all other faculties shut down and I become completely consumed by deployment mode. My ability to love and feel loved is limited, but my ability to simultaneously cook, clean, work, shuttle kids, redecorate the house, plan events, and take on extra volunteer positions increases exponentially. In short, it’s a defense mechanism, and it works every time. I lived the greater parts of 2010 through 2013 in deployment mode. My husband was either deployed, preparing to be deployed, or in school learning how to be deployed for most of those years. I became so accustomed to doing it all that I simply forgot what it was like to not live that way. Within twenty-five days of my husband’s arrival back on American soil my family packed up our belongings and moved seven hours north.

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Deployment mode. I didn’t have time to come out of it. We transitioned from one of life’s greatest stressors to another. The ability to reconnect and work as a team was not a luxury we had. I was operating in get it done mode, focused on the all the decisions I made alone: our new residence, our pack out date, what to pack in our personal vehicles, while he was operating in adjustment mode: living on Eastern Standard Time, being near me and our toddlers, being able to step outside without a full kit strapped to his chest.

While we did what we could to maintain connection and intimacy during the years of training and deployments, having to actually do that in person was much more difficult than I realized. I was not in the business of asking for help. I was not in the business of letting others in. I was most certainly not in the business of relinquishing control over the way our days went and how things were accomplished. Deployment mode: such a good and helpful way to live; until it isn’t. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that, then. I didn’t know that this defense mechanism that was triggered to protect me during deployments was not going to serve me well in the long run. Now I know that in these times of intense transition whether it be post deployments, PCSs, or from active duty to veteran status, there are a few things I need to do to protect my mental health. • Ask for help- from family, friends, neighbors • Let others in- sometimes this looks like actually letting people into your home to share a cup of coffee. Other times this looks like sharing some of what you are struggling with so they can help carry the load. • Relinquish control- having routines and systems are excellent strategies for a life well lived, but when those routines and systems are so rigid, they amp up anxiety and stress it may be time to reexamine them and let them go. • Remind myself that this period of transition is a season and seasons don’t last forever. Deployment mode is something that serves a purpose and has its place. It just doesn’t serve me well or need to have a place forever.

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


A Different Lens Mental Health Monthly By RanDee McLain

Anxiety Anxiety is the apprehensive uneasiness or nervousness usually around an impending event or action. That is a lot of words but what does it mean? Remember back to your first day of school…. did you stay up late with anticipation of what is to come? Was there some level of fear of the unknown? What about a big presentation at work? Did you pace back in forth in your kitchen repeating your speech over and over? All of these are ways anxiety makes its way in our life. We all experience anxiety on some level in our lives. Though some level of anxiety is normal it is when it negatively impacts your life and disrupts your daily functions that is truly a problem. That level of anxiety can be classified as a type of anxiety disorder ….but we will save that for another day. What we are discussing today is the normal everyday anxiety we face and ways to help mitigate it. As I sit here and write this column I think back to my own anxiety. I have a hectic day job of overseeing a large mental health clinic, do consulting work throughout the country and stay active in my community. I think just writing that gave me some level of anxiety…. but that is my life so how do I manage it and not let it manage me? Similarly, our service members transitioning out of the service often face a lot of anxiety. The fact is many of them this is their first time truly integrating into civilian life. Many of our transitioning service members went into the service at 18 – straight from mom’s house and into Uncle Sam’s house. They have never had to interview for a civilian job, translate skills and compete against people that have been doing this for years. So how do I manage my anxiety and how can our transitioning service members start to manage theirs?

First, have a plan. Sounds simple right? Well, it is not always that easy. You may have known your entire career what was expected of you and what the result would be if you did/did not do the task at hand. It can be very different in the civilian world. Have a plan of what next steps are. They may change but at least you have somewhere to start. In the service, I had structure and felt lost when I came out. I had a plan to go back to school. Though, I did not know what I would do after that or even a major I would pursue I at least had a plan and a purpose. I would get up and go to school every day. That leads us to step two-baby steps. We do not have to map out the rest of our life right now. Sometimes it is a simple first step of just getting to school or work. Transition takes time and it is ok to start with small goals and work your way up to larger tasks. Step three, have a support system. It is important we all have someone or something to turn to in our times of difficulty. Many transitioning services members look for a mentor to help them along through the process. This can be a veteran that has already successfully transitioned out or anyone that is willing to take time and listen and be a support for you while navigating the difficult road called transition. Step four is self-care. Yes, I lean into my clinical side for this, but it is so important. We can not help others or even our selves if we do not properly take care of ourselves. You can do small things to recharge yourself like working out, being outdoors, playing with your dog, or being with family. Self-care is deeply personal to each person- find what is YOUR self-care. Transition for our service members is anxiety provoking but with a plan, baby steps, a great support system and a little self-care ….

You Got This! 24 / OCTOBER 2021 / OCTOBER 2021


Arts & Healing Arts for Military Veterans By Amber Robinson Marine Vet Finds Healing Through Suicide Advocacy and Theatre When Marine Veteran, actor, director and now film producer, Floyd Strayer entered the service in 1975, he only planned to stay four years. He came from a military background, his father and uncles serving. His namesake and uncle, Floyd Strayer I, even served in India Burma during World War II. Like many recruits before him, Strayer’s original plan was to serve just long enough to get the military education benefits.

Strayer went back to San Diego to re-enlist for more time in the Marines, so he could extend his time in Okinawa to five years. He was married in 1979 and then did a full 21 years in the engineering tech field before retiring in 1996. In those two decades Strayer finished his Bachelor’s degree as planned. He was able to finish his Master’s degree with the GI Bill and went back to working in engineering tech services at Miramar three years after retirement. Strayer’s first trips to foreign places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Djibouti came as a civilian. The main component of his work was now training and overseeing service members doing what he used to do. Life was great for Strayer. He was even able to visit his son multiple times in Kuwait during his where he was flying C23s for the Army on deployment. “They would take him off the flight schedule every time I came in,” said Strayer.

“My family didn’t have what it took to put me through college,” said Strayer. “So I joined the Marines.” A year into his service he was sent to Okinawa, Japan. “I fell in love with Japan,” said Strayer. “I loved my job there, the Japanese people, their culture and then I met my wife.”

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For Strayer, family was his grounding force and stood for everything he held dear. But in 1999 Strayer and his family were shaken when his brother took his own life. Several years later in 2006 his niece also took her life. Shortly after, his wife earned a stay at the Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital for Counseling and Mental Health when she tried to drink herself to death. It was then that Strayer decided to get help. “I realized I was very depressed,” said Strayer. “And I realized I had not grieved my brother’s suicide.”

Getting help was one of the best things Strayer could do for himself, he says. He was able to get into counseling and on to a stabilizing medication for his depression. With a new lease on life, Strayer began to go up for promotions at work. He completed the training and testing for and received two promotions. But, when he went up for his third promotion, things were different. “I blew it,” said Strayer. “So I began to go to Toastmasters meetings.”

those lost to suicide and raises awareness about suicide prevention and loss. The ride brings out a lot of veterans like Strayer who enjoy the space that Strayer creates for them. “We are giving people a safe space to come and talk,” he said. According to Strayer it is important for those who have suffered suicide loss to come together.

Toastmasters is an organization that helps its members build confidence through public speaking. A topic that Strayer frequented was the death of his brother. With his particular education and work credentials he soon began to speak to survivors of suicide loss. “I realized I could make it my message,” said Strayer. From public speaking Strayer soon moved to taking improv classes as a way to bring humor and warmth into his speaking. From there it seemed natural he should end up on a theatrical stage. “The Veterans Museum [at Balboa Park] was looking for someone to play a Spanish gypsy for a play put on by the North County Players,” said Strayer. From there Strayer was given the chance to play Mark Twain in an original play called “Mark Twain: A Christmas Carol”. Strayer began to take acting classes then landed a role in The American History Theater’s show, “The Diary of Anne Frank”, as Anne’s father. “I love being on stage,” said Strayer. “I love the live response and the challenge.” But, Strayer did not stop with live acting. His next challenge was to learn to edit video, then to direct and produce film projects. He put all his skills together recently to put a film into the San Diego GI Film Festival, called “Life After Oblivion”. The film follows the life of a military sniper who witnesses the death of a young Afghan boy at war. “It’s a movie about those ghosts we can bring home from combat ,” said Strayer. As for Strayer’s advocacy, that has morphed as well. For the last six years he has taken suicide awareness on the road annually with Motorcycle Ride for Life. San Diego Harley Davidson and El Cajon Harley Davidson have both hosted the event which honors

“It’s comforting to be with others who have gone through the same thing, had the same feelings as you,” said Strayer. “They need to hear, ‘no you’re not crazy, the feelings you are having are very real.” Strayer continues to speak to different groups about suicide awareness. Now, he is well-versed in the language of healing and spreads it as often as he can. He speaks with any veteran or military group that asks and plans to continue to spread awareness when and where he can. Although the death of his brother still gives him pain he seeks to use what he’s learned since and through the experience to help others. “Theatre has given me the platform to do this,” said Strayer. “Acting has given me the confidence to get up and speak out when needed, about the things that matter.” / OCTOBER 2021


Shelter to Soldier Graduates Service Dog with Distinguished 26-Year US Navy Career Veteran Karen Miller by Eva M. Stimson In 2015, Karen Miller (US Navy, Senior Chief Boatswain Mate, E8), applied to Shelter to Soldier (STS) to receive a service dog to help Karen alleviate medical conditions she was battling after multiple, consecutive tours she served in the US military over the span of 26 years. Karen was extremely grateful to be accepted into the STS program and declares that her dog Seven (sponsored by FINE Magazine and Schubach Aviation) was a lifesaver. Seven unfortunately succumbed to arthritis and retired her job as a psychiatric service dog, but STS quickly reassigned a new service dog to Karen named Grace (sponsored by the David C. Copley Foundation), who is full of energy and ambition to serve Karen’s needs. Karen explains, “Seven supported me for five years before arthritis made it hard for her to work, so she was retired and I was matched with Grace”. Karen has an illustrious military career defending the United States of America. She joined the Navy in August of 1987, and her first deployment was on a ship in 1988 during Operation Praying Mantis. She was then stationed there in 1991 on another ship during Desert Storm. Afterwards, she was assigned more ship deployments to the Gulf, plus counter-drug operations off the coast of Central America. Her shore duty stations included a tour as a Military Police Officer, Instructor and then general duty assignment. She was deployed to Afghanistan as an Individual Augmentee from March 2006 to June 2007, during which she was a part of a small, embedded training team that worked with the Afghan Army conducting training, patrols and leadership mentoring at a small ANA (Afghan National Army) base outside Kandahar Airfield. Karen officially retired from active military service in June of 2013. During her deployments, Karen experienced extreme trauma that affected her ability to cope with civilian life after military retirement. Regarding her military experience and subsequent inability to cope with post-military duty challenges due to PTS, Karen elaborates, “The military has changed so much over the many years that I have been in service… it was frustrating for someone like me to ask for help as I was so used to being in charge, but STS embraced my request. Thanks to my STS service dog Grace, I have been able to overcome some of the anguish I experienced. Grace is so disciplined…she responds to commands and she is very intuitive. She knows when I’m under stress and she has happy energy when I’m 28 / OCTOBER 2021

paying attention to her. She makes me smile more often, and when I’m with her, she climbs on my lap and she’s doing that all on her own. She senses when I need her comfort.” 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. Karen elaborates, “I only went one time to the VA (Veteran’s Administration) for help, and I met with a young physician who had recently graduated…we had nothing in common, and he was unable to sympathize with my needs. I consider myself very fortunate to have seen some information about the STS program while I was visiting the Chula Vista Vet Center, where I was attending group and individual therapy sessions for PTS, after realizing that the VA could not provide the help I needed. My message to my fellow veterans is that the STS program is for everyone, and you’re never too old to ask for help. Those of us who have had longer tours never got the help we needed and it [stress] builds up over time. The amazing thing about STS is that they don’t care about your limitations or the length of your suffering…they are here to help, no matter what your age or rank.”

Shelter to Soldier Co 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

“Thanks to my STS service dog Grace, I have been able to overcome some of the anguish I experienced. Grace is so disciplined…she responds to commands and she is very intuitive.”

Karen & Grace

Karen & Seven / OCTOBER 2021


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

Two Transitions with “No Exit Plans” In this monthly article, we strive to help active military prepare for a successful transition to civilian life. We offer helpful tips from those who’ve transitioned, and a big part of this success is focused on planning. There’s planning how to figure out what job interests you. There’s planning how to interview, how to network, how to optimize your LInkedIn profile, and get a mentor. But what if the transition comes without planning? Here are 2 no-exit plan examples that surprisingly have happy endings. So, if you don’t plan, or if your transition decision comes suddenly, once again - you are not alone! The Journey of Faith Transition Reginald Screen spent nearly every waking (and sleeping) moment dreaming about being a pro basketball star. In addition to his love for the sport and his desire to be remarkably successful, his dream would allow him to care for his mother who had always taken care of him. However, a shattered ankle led to a shattered dream, ending his future sports career during his senior year of high school.

Soon after, an Air Force recruiter came to his school and brought Reginald on to a different type of team. He ended up forming lifelong friendships, while enjoying the travel and diversity that came with his military experience. A Leap of Faith “I wish I could say my exit from the military was well thought out and planned, but it wasn’t. It was a leap of faith as I just followed my fiancée, now wife of 31 years, to Atlanta with only the money I had from selling my unused leave back.” This leap of faith was also a realization that it was time for Reginald to find his calling for his next phase of life post-military. He shares a simple example in what this means: Take a Look Inside If you saw two bags and had to guess who owned them, you’d have to look inside. If you saw a stethoscope and a thermometer in one, you’d guess that a doctor owned it. If you saw a hammer and a level in another, you’d guess it was a construction worker. What this means is you must look inside yourself and see what tools and gifts have been given to you. Think about what you like to talk about all the time. What makes you happy? What do you think you do well? What do you think others think you do well? These answers will help you find your calling. For Reginald, he understood that his calling was in his faith and helping others. By following his true calling, he became a successful Pastor, coach and mentor to transitioning veterans. Reginald Screen says, “I’m a lover of God and people.” He is eager to connect with you to offer any advice he can as you transition. Transition from Hell? Vince Seropian served on the Ohio class Trident. He was excited to be one of the first four of the guided missile subs. He says, “Being there was Hell, but it was a good experience that trained me for life. “

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After enduring “hell on a submarine,” but taking valuable experience from it, he knew it was time to transition out. The Fear is Real Like many, Vince was scared to transition, as he was very good at being a Sailor and he enjoyed it. However, he felt he hit a ceiling and believed that there was more for him outside of the military. “The reality is that when you are in, you have a secure paycheck. You don’t need to think about when you can have free time or make decisions on what’s next. It’s all scheduled for you,” says Vince. Use Your Resources - Particularly Your GI Bill Vince, like Reginald, did not have an exit plan. He did a little networking and was fortunate to meet a veteran mentor who helped him into the financial planning industry. Getting experience in the civilian world under the tutelage of someone who both served and who was successful in civilian life was a God-send. Vince encourages you to use your GI bill. He leveraged the benefits towards a cyber security degree and the rest, as he says, is history. He met the Founder of Cyber Security company, SekureNation, Ron Shepard and the two forged a lasting partnership. His advice is to get trained by someone who has actually done the job you are looking to do, versus simply teaching theory on it. Real world experience leads to success, and SekureNation’s cyber security training program provided Vince with the hands-on experience to be successful there. Mindset Matters Vince says the right mindset is critical for transitioning success. “Be prepared to win the battle. In the military, you do not prepare to win or lose. You prepare to win. Do that with planning your next career and you will be successful. Find the mentors and training you need and go out there and win.“ For more information or help transitioning, contact Eve Nasby at, 619-244-3000 / OCTOBER 2021


Prep Work Before an Interview: Doing Your Homework By Paul Falcone Landing an interview is always inspiring because it presents new and exciting possibilities. Of course, you want to be yourself and comfortable sharing your life and military career experiences with a prospective employer, but the time you take to educate yourself about the organization in advance demonstrates respect and helps you stand out among your peers. “Informed Candidacy” is the concept that you’re well versed in the organization’s mission, role, and demographics. “Candidate Desire Factor” indicates your motivation to go the extra mile and learn about the company in advance of the interview, and all things being equal, often swings an offer decision in favor of those who prepare well and do their homework.

• Preparing for a Telephone Screening Interview Preparing appropriately can seem like a monumental task when it comes to research, but focusing on the basics is the best place to start. Create a one-sheet for yourself so that you’re armed with an organizational overview before your call begins. The info below can be gleaned from the Internet in about 20 minutes: - Company Name

• Year Founded

• Recognition / Awards

- Headquarters Location

• Primary Line of Business

• Website Address Findings

- Publicly Traded / Privately Held (Stock Ticker, if Public)

• Secondary Line(s) of Business

• LinkedIn Page Findings

- Annual Revenue

• Names of CEO, CFO, COO and Average Tenure

• Facebook Page Findings

- Employees

• Top Competitors

• Google Findings

This sheet can remain front and center in your leather folder for future. 32 / OCTOBER 2021


• Preparing for an In-Person or Second Round Interview Next, assuming your initial research investment paid off and the employer wants to schedule in-person or second round of interviews, you might want to learn more about the organization, both for your own self-confidence and to impress your upcoming interviewer. In those cases, research deeper using some of the following resources to find financial statements, credit reports, industry competitive information, and company snapshots: Publicly Traded Company Research Sites Zacks Investment Research ( Hoovers ( U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ( Bloomberg Businessweek ( Nonprofit Research Sites Guide Star ( Charity Navigator ( Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance ( Company Culture and Small, Privately Held Organization Sites Glassdoor ( PayScale ( ( Simply type the name of the organization you’re researching into the search bar, and you’ll get varying levels of information with specialty focuses. For example, the SEC’s Edgar database lists public company financial filings, while Bloomberg Businessweek targets recent company news and headlines. With your one-sheet Company Research Overview in hand, be sure to ask two or three “smart” interview questions before the conclusion of your meeting based on your research. You don’t have to overdo it, but it’s important that you let every interviewer know subtly that you went out of your way to research the organization in advance of your meeting. Your investment of time and energy will likely be very well received, especially since few candidates come armed with this level of data and market intelligence because they simply don’t know where to look to conduct their research. You can now make this one of your strategic advantages going forward. “Candidate, Know Thy Company” should remain a critical principle in every career candidate’s job search strategy because it’s front and center in every organization’s recruitment and selection efforts. / OCTOBER 2021


Five LinkedIn Tips for Transitioning Military Veterans:

Five LinkedIn Tips By Sam Falcone

For veterans transitioning into the private sector workforce, the task of building an online and social presence can seem daunting. It’s easy to hesitate at the thought of building a digital portfolio through websites such as LinkedIn, but the truth is, those who are not taking full advantage of LinkedIn’s services are missing out on an incredibly powerful tool to advance their careers. As a LinkedIn and digital marketing strategist, I’ve seen outstanding LinkedIn profiles and not-so-memorable ones, but one thing’s for sure: LinkedIn represents your online resume and business card, your professional “best self.” Unlike other social media websites, LinkedIn is strictly business, and it’s the first place that prospective employers look once they’ve received your resume and are considering you for an interview. So, let’s take a few simple steps together to transition into the digital marketing and social media world, highlighting your greatest strengths and putting your experience in the best light. Whether you’re constructing a LinkedIn profile from scratch or dusting the cobwebs off of a previously inactive account, here are five easy steps to help enhance your LinkedIn profile and catch the eyes of recruiters and hiring managers. Step 1: Upload a Professional Photo LinkedIn automatically applies a generic avatar icon to newly established profiles, but profiles without your smiley (but professional) face have far fewer hits. You don’t have to spend money on a professional photographer for a formal headshot—instead, take a snapshot of yourself in professional business attire 34 / OCTOBER 2021

Establishing Your Online Presence is Easier Than You Think

(neck up only!) using your smart phone and upload it to your LinkedIn page. This one step alone will catapult the views you get and interest in the content that follows. Oh, and while you’re there, be sure to complete your “Contact Info” with as much information as possible—cell phone and email, primarily—to make it easy for prospective employers to contact you. Step 2: Customize Your LinkedIn URL Once you establish your account, LinkedIn will automatically assign an address (AKA “Universal Resource Locator,” or URL) to you. However, it will look like a scramble of letters and numbers that reflect random computer code. You’ll want to create what’s known as a “vanity URL” so that it closely matches your name and can easily be added to the top of your resume. For example, my vanity URL is samfalcone1, which makes it easy enough to find me and has a much cleaner and more professional look. (Feel free to send me an invite once you’re logged in to your LinkedIn account!) To learn how to customize your URL quickly and easily, click here: Step 3: Headline Just below your headshot is your LinkedIn headline, where you can use a call-to-action to catch a recruiter’s attention. Try something like this: “Military veteran transitioning into the private sector and looking for full-time employment” or equivalent. You can be more specific, for example, by writing: “Navy commander looking to transition into a private sector position in technical operations or engineering leadership.”

Whatever you decide, make sure you emphasize your goal of transitioning into a private sector career path. Likewise, let recruiters know you’re actively looking for work by following the steps in the attached LinkedIn article titled, “How to Flag Your LinkedIn Profile to Notify Recruiters you are OPEN to new Opportunities,” which you can find here: Step 4: The About and Experience Sections Think of the “About” section as your 60-second elevator pitch. Who are you and what’s important to you in finding your next employer? What leadership, communication, and technical skills will easily transfer to the private sector? What achievements and accommodations have you received that demonstrate how you stand out as a rarity among your peers? Likewise, in the “Experience” section, display your previous titles, reporting relationships, primary and secondary responsibilities, and the resulting achievements (unless they are classified or restricted, of course). In both sections, be sure to translate your military achievements into their civilian equivalents using a military translator tool like the one found at ( and similar sites. Step 5: Skills / Endorsements and Recommendations Finally, select the skills that you believe you’re best known for and encourage your peers and contacts to endorse you (and which you should, in turn, do for them). Categories include Industry Knowledge, Tools and Technologies, Interpersonal Skills, Foreign Languages, and others. Likewise, in the Recommendations section, ask others to write about how you’ve solved problems, led effectively, communicated through difficult times, and the like. If possible, ask your prior leaders, managers, and supervisors to endorse you here for the equivalent of an “online letter of recommendation.” Note that once you reach “500+ connections,” LinkedIn stops advertising the number of connections you have. So, whether you have 501 or 50,001, LinkedIn will only show “500+.” Therefore, make it your goal to reach the 500-connection mark over the next year or few years. Along with your personal contacts, your connections could include professionals in your industry or particular discipline, such as Human Resources, Finance, or Marketing, as well as like-minded veterans and connections made at external events. Look to LinkedIn to establish your online presence and serve as your job search calling card. It’s easier than you think, more fun that you might otherwise imagine, and well worth the effort. Sam Falcone is a Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategist in Chicago. / OCTOBER 2021



Your Exit Strategy It may seem strange to think about an exit strategy when you’re just a startup or in the early stage of building your business. But that is the exact right time to think of your exit. An exit plan can determine many decisions you might make for years before you sail off to Tahiti.

The Stage of Your Business Think of the stage of a business as if it is on a clock. • From midnight to 3am, you’re laying down the framework, inventing new products or ideas, building a brand, establishing a customer base. It’s all new and exciting full of promise.

How Do You Calculate the Value of a Business?

• From 3am to 6am, you’ve established your model, developed a successful marketing effort, hired your employees, and you’re humming along. At this point you figure you’ve got a lock on it and have stopped asked yourself “what the hell am I doing?”

Take a step back and look at the business you plan to sell from a buyer’s point of view. The simple answer to this question is, how much is the right buyer willing to pay?

• From 6am to 9am, you’re growing, you know what you’re doing, you’re starting to understand your place on the planet and feeling pretty confident. You’ve also attracted competition and copycats because nothing attracts copycats like success.

The answer can be complicated with a ton of different answers, depending on the context. 1. What stage is your business in? 2. Why would a buyer want your business? 3. Does your business have Strategic Value? 4. Does your business have an Asset Value? 5. What is the Revenue Value of your business? 6. What is the People Value of your business?

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• From 9am to 12noon, you’re government. You’re restrained by “we’ve always done it that way.” You’re rigid. You have policies. And you’ve developed internal issues like carrying a high debt load and overpaid employees. Strategic Value Your buyer wants to know what you bring to the deal. They’re not looking simply at your financials. They may be looking inside of their own organization and what they might need to spend to deliver what you’ve already created.

A larger organization may define your value because you may offer a solution to their organization faster than building it. I’m reminded of a small San Diego based company called Sucuri that was bought by GoDaddy, one of many small fries who were made millionaires overnight. Asset Value Your company may have assets that drive the value of a deal. Assets can include stuff that can be sold or converted to cash. This can include your brand, a well-established internet presence, equipment, and a significant customer base or multi-year contracts with vendors or clients. Seller owned real estate frequently can get folded into the agreement. Revenue Value Simply put, the question of how much the business is generating in profits. What is the trend, is growth fast or slow? Or are you losing money? Whatever you do, don’t cook the books to look more profitable than you actually are. I had a client who thought she was clever in the way she disclosed info and was sued once the deception was discovered. She lost. People Value Some buyers are looking at a company because of the staff that are it. The value of that business may be not so much about the revenues and more with its expertise. Or the value of the revenue is enhanced by the expertise of the employees that would come with the purchase.



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.

So those are four different ways that your value may be considered or calculated. You can see how your decisions now may impact your value in the long run. The value of your business is in the eye of the buyer, and it can be much more complicated than what you see here. A smart owner will work with a business broker who can bring potential buyers to the table and who is not emotionally involved in determining value.

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

Of course, there are always internet sites that can help. and are just two, but there are probably more.

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

Vicki Garcia is the owner of a marketing firm for over 33 plus years and has worked with veteran entrepreneurs for many years. She is the author of Power Focus, The Little Book of Digital Marketing, and My Startup Journal, which can be found on If you would like any of these books for free, please email her at

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



Overcoming Transition Stress by: Joseph Molina National Veterans Chamber of Commerce

time to come to fruition, and pay more attention to the little pixels of today. Focus on short term achievements that could be accomplished in a day, a week maybe a month.

We often think ourselves that ‘change is the only constant thing in life’, these changes usually Play tricks on us, and often messes with our minds, actions, and inactions. However, transitions do happen regardless of how ‘prepared or unprepared we are’. Life makes sure we transition from childhood to teenage hood, adulthood, marriage, parenthood, careers, etc.

Exercise some more

Thankfully, we don’t have to be knocked down by the stress of each of these phases. Here are tips to help us overcome transition stress:


Moving away from Self Denial Like many of us, the scariest part of transitions is probably the thought of losing control over possible outcomes. Rather than engaging in self-denial or trying to wish the reality away, a better response is to accept or admit how vulnerable we really feel. The acceptance that we are in a transitioning process is powerful and helps us create a sense of freedom and opens our minds to new ways of looking at possible options. Doing so also helps put in better perspective the related feelings of anxiety, crippling fear and in many cases feelings of feelings of uncertainty. Leverage on Past When dealing with transition stress, ‘what is past is never truly in the past’. Moving on to a new phase doesn’t automatically erase past memories or experiences. In fact, they are very present in the new phase, but these experiences could serve as leverage as we work on dealing with the transition. It is always best to reminisce on the successes enjoyed in the past. How did we achieve them? What challenges were successfully overcome? Let each positive memory create a blueprint that will navigate through your new phase and your new adventure. Taking Each Day in Stride Every day in a new phase has its fair share of challenges. The one great thing is that “The future isn’t set in stone” the future is for us to shape and create our new reality. Transition stress could be reduced by removing the sense of expectations that we have placed on us. We also want to move from focusing on the large picture, and setting goals that will take a long 38 / OCTOBER 2021

More than just keeping our body in shape, exercising routinely is one great way to relief stress. Exercise, especially aerobic exercises not only stimulate the release of endorphins which elevates our mood. It also reduces the level of stress-induced hormones like adrenalin and cortisol.

Often the first thing that transition stress robs us of, healthy sleeping habits are very central to our physical and mental health. Knowing this, we should take proactive steps in rekindling our romance with sleep. We can begin by creating a new sleeping routine, restricting exercises to day time, avoiding long naps during the day, and more importantly, put off or keep electronic device out of our sleeping area, (this last one is hard to do for many of us). Expect and plan for transition Going through life without expecting detours or changes is no way possible and not the way life works. The only constant is that changes are taking place, that new environments need to be conquer, and that life is one exiting journey with many stops. Having back up plans is important; it helps to create a “safe sensation” a sense that we can focus on moving forward and feel that we are more in control and work to ensure that we not just get by but thrive. ‘Life as we know it’ will always change. Transitory periods will ever characterise our life and be part of us. We may not control or have a choice on when change will come, but we can decide how we approach the change once arrives. 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? Then, be our guest on the show. • If you have any ideas or a project that you would like to Develope in collaboration with the National Veterans Chamber, send your ideas to:

THE FIRST TIME MANAGER Certificate Start your Next Job as a Supervisor Certificate Provides the Tools to Effectively Motivate, Empower, Delegate and Connect with Employees

Congratulations to Mark Maes for his Patriotic Contribution to the 9/11 event Mark Maes Corona California Mark Maes is the CEO of Mark Maes and Associates, a company dedicated to building success for Executives. If you enjoy helping your organization achieve employee success and want to bring the best talent to your organization contact Mark Maes for a complementary Corporate Assessment. / OCTOBER 2021


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

Employer’s Guide to COVID-19 Vaccination, Verifications, Exemptions

The world has been turned on its axis over the last 17 or so months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Small businesses have been hit particularly hard and will continue to be harmed with the new surges in infections caused by the delta variant as employers face pressing questions about worker vaccination requirements. I discuss some of these questions below addressing vaccination policies, vaccine exemptions, and vaccine verifications. Can an employer require employees be vaccinated before working in person? Recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued guidance stating that implementing mandatory COVID vaccination policies is permissible, as long as the employer does not violate federal discrimination rules around disability and religion. Is it legal to fire employees because they refuse to get vaccinated or show proof of vaccination?

Can employers require employees get tested for COVID-19?

If an employee has a valid “Vaccine Exemption Form” on file, the employer should consult an attorney before firing the employee for refusing to get vaccinated. Depending on the situation, it could violate state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination. Requesting proof of vaccination, in general, is legal, but employers need to be mindful of the employee’s privacy and not to collect any other unnecessary medical information.

Yes, the CDC and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have extensive guidelines on how businesses can monitor employees for symptoms and test employees. Employers can only test employees by a viral test that shows whether a person is currently infected.

How can employers screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms? Employers can screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms before they enter the workplace by: • Asking if they have any COVID-19 symptoms, such as cough, fever, shortness of breath. • Asking if they have been around anyone with COVID-19 symptoms. • Taking their temperatures before they enter the workplace. 40 / OCTOBER 2021

Can employees refuse to come back to work for fear of infection? The Occupational Safety and Health Act protects employees refusing to return to the workplace if they reasonably believe they are in “imminent danger” of contracting the virus. To take advantage of this protection, employees cannot be generally scared of getting the COVID virus but must specifically prove this fear. If there is no imminent danger, and the employee still refuses to return to work that employee is not entitle to pay.

What is recommended to include in a workplace vaccination policy? Part of your employee communication should consist of a written workplace vaccination policy, whether you decide to mandate vaccinations or not. Use clear and direct language about vaccination requirements, exemptions, and reasonable accommodations, such as social distancing, working remotely, or using paid leave.

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Also, lay out the consequences of not following the policies, such as termination of employment. However, when drafting your policies be sure to consider all applicable federal and state laws. How should employers evaluate vaccine exemptions? As a small business employer, if an employee tells you that they cannot receive the vaccination because of a disability or religious belief, you should first determine if your business is subject to the requirements of the ADA and Title VII, and if it is, follow the legal requirements and guidance of both. Can an employer require verification of vaccination due to COVID-19 concerns? Employers can ask if employees have been vaccinated, even requiring proof of vaccination through selfattestation or a COVID-19 vaccination record card or passport according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s recent guidance. This topic is hotly debated and many employers are concerned about privacy issues. Limit the questions to COVID-19 related concerns and not to ask questions about the employee’s health in general.

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Healthcare Careers: A Perfect Fit for Military and Civilian Life By Stephanie Lee, Air Force Veteran & Enrollment Manager, CareerStep Sometimes, the sense of division between life in the military and life as a civilian feels like a vast chasm. In fact, for military families, this sense of division joins a long list of challenges that specifically impact the men and women who sacrifice so much for the country. These challenges couldn’t be more apparent than when it comes to finding a post-military career or one that is flexible enough to align with military spouses’ unique needs—a career that checks all the right boxes: satisfaction, security, and stability. Finding industries and employers that understand the skills of veterans and their families can seem like an uphill climb at times, and it shows. For example, the unemployment rate for veterans rose to 6.5% in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Reasons for this vary, but one contributing factor could be that lessons learned under the harsh conditions of combat don’t always translate to private-sector jobs. And for military spouses—60% of which say they’re looking for full- or part-time work—finding a profession that’s both portable and in-demand is increasingly difficult.

However, there is hope and there are opportunities. First, it’s important to consider key reasons why a career in healthcare—the fastest-growing sector in the U.S. economy according to BLS data—might just be what bridges that expansive gap between military and civilian life. 1. Meaningful Work Most who enter the military are looking for fulfilling work—an opportunity to make a difference. A real difference. But few civilian careers allow veterans to make as much of a difference as those found in healthcare. That’s because working in this particular field, regardless of the role, provides the opportunity to impact peoples’ lives in profound ways. From mending wounds and healing minds to saving lives, the difference healthcare workers make is undeniable. 2. Transferable Skills There’s a reason healthcare is an overwhelmingly popular career choice for veterans and their spouses: it’s an industry in which military-specific skills are undeniably relevant. Creative problem solving, adaptability, and effective communication—they’re all valuable skills that healthcare organizations can’t ignore if they want to provide the best possible service and care to their patients. And they’re all skills that veterans and their spouses already possess. 3. In-Demand Careers People need healthcare. In turn, the industry needs people willing to step up to the proverbial plate.

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Economic and labor experts believe we need to hire 2.3 million new healthcare workers by 2025 if we’re going to keep pace with the needs of our aging population. But a persistent shortage of skilled workers with exceptional knowledge and training means hundreds of thousands of positions will remain unfilled. Home health aides, medical assistants, lab technicians, and more are all in high demand. 4. Portable Jobs For a working military spouse, it can be difficult to cultivate a strong professional network, and when the time comes to pack up and move to a new city, the wrong vocation can leave even the most talented pro scrambling to start over. That’s why job portability is so important. Healthcare training provides the skills and certifications that employers are looking for in highgrowth, high-demand fields in virtually every city in the entire world. Supportive Training for Success These days, there are multiple training options for learners to pave their road to success. These organizations often have hiring network relationships, so it’s important to keep in contact and inform them when certification is achieved. It’s especially important for members of the healthcare sector to be fully qualified and properly trained. An early step is to start by choosing a specific discipline and then find a provider that can help learners develop the concrete job skills employers are looking for. The good news is that there’s a significant amount of trusted providers who specialize in transforming entrylevel learners into high-performing, certified healthcare professionals. And they all do this with expansive catalogs of fully online career training programs that are fast, portable, and eligible for military education grants—often covering up to 100% of the cost.

Healthcare Training For Your Next Phase of Life Our online training programs are approved for military education funding—all designed to help military members and their spouses build skills and thrive in careers that are portable, in-demand, and rewarding. Start training today so you can be prepared for meaningful work tomorrow.

Finding the right fit takes a little time and it is important to explore the possibilities. Doing the research is crucial as it can improve the learning experience—and potentially lead to faster employment. Deciding to pursue a career in healthcare is a fulfilling and viable option for veterans and their spouses. About the Author: Stephanie Lee served in the Air Force for 11 years as a Munitions Systems Craftsman. She now serves as an Enrollment Manager for CareerStep, (, the Allied Health training division of Carrus. (

For more information, call (877) 201-3470 or visit / OCTOBER 2021


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

Divorce And A Better Transition

No one enters a marriage expecting it to fail. As such, divorce can be one of the most difficult processes for people and their families to go through. It can be emotionally and financially impactful, and it is not uncommon for individuals to be emotionally driven through the divorce process. However, a high conflict divorce can cost massive legal fees and have a lasting, negative impact on your children. As you move from a two parent to a one parent household, there are ways to manage your divorce that will lead to a smoother transition.

If you are having difficulty managing your emotions and keeping them out of your divorce, seek counseling or therapy sooner rather than later. 2) Use Mediation or the Collaborative Divorce Process: Utilizing mediation can help you settle your divorce issues before you enter into contentious litigation which costs far more in fees. This not only will aid a more peaceful transition but can ultimately save you from a devastating financial impact. The Collaborative Divorce process can be beneficial because it gives you a team of professionals to help make important legal and financial decisions during your divorce. Divorce can often leave people feeling like they have no control, but utilizing mediation or the collaborative divorce process give you control over how you transition and what your financial future looks like. If you choose the litigation path, you give control to the Judge to Another benefit of mediation and the collaborative divorce process is you have some control over how fast your divorce proceeds. With litigation, you are at the mercy of the back logs of courts which has been made worse by the current pandemic. make the decisions and you are left dealing with the consequences.

Here are some tips on how to make your divorce a healthier separation and better transition for you and your children.

3) Be Forthright About Financials: Be honest about your assets and debts. Do not try to hide money from your spouse or materially misrepresent your finances. The dissolution process centers in a large part around your finances, and this information is all discoverable. If you try to hide or misrepresent information, you will unnecessarily increase your attorney fees and complicate the process. Your goal is for a better transition, not a more complicated one.

1) Make De-Escalation of Conflict A Priority: Don’t make decisions fueled by emotion. Divorce is a volatile situation in the majority of cases. One or both sides harbor negative feelings toward the other parent as a result of the breakdown in the relationship. Do not carry those feelings into your divorce negotiations or coparenting relationship. As much as possible, emotions should be left out of your divorce. The more you bring emotions into your decisions, the more contentious your divorce will likely be.

4) Treat Your Coparent Like a Business Partner: Those who benefit most from an amicable transition are your children. It is important to be cognizant of the effect that your emotions during a divorce can have on your relationship with the other coparent and ultimately your children. Handling your emotions in a constructive way is the best way to move forward during a divorce. This means putting aside how you personally feel about the other coparent and treating them like a business partner. Let the past be the past. Remember to always

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be courteous, communicate in a timely fashion, don’t bad mouth the other parent, and keep them informed regarding your children when they are in your care. The more desirable behavior you model in your relationship with the other coparent, the better off your children will be emotionally and the easier the transition will be for them. It is hard enough for children dealing with the changes that come with divorce, let alone when they are placed in the middle of a battle between their parents.

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5) Be Prepared to Make Concessions: Do not go into your dissolution matter seeking to destroy your former spouse or having to win on every issue. When you refuse to budge on anything, you prolong your divorce and ensure that you will end up down a costly litigation path. Negotiations involve a give and take. If you unreasonably dig in your heels, then expect to litigate away any assets you do have. You can also expect the other person to react accordingly which can damage any coparent relationship you may have when children are involved. 6) Choose a Lawyer Who is Settlement Oriented: We all know the reputation attorneys have. Contrary to popular opinion, most good family law attorneys are not out for your money. However, there are those who are more litigation oriented and those who are more mediation and settlement oriented. Do your research and consult with more than one attorney to find someone who is the right fit for you. Discuss with them your dispute resolution options and start on resolution of your issues as soon as you feel comfortable. For some people, uncertainty and time can lead to assumptions that do more harm than good. Open the door to negotiations as soon as reasonably possible.

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Call 858-720-8250 or visit to schedule a free consultation. Flat-fee law packages available. For more information about pets 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.

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Who is Wounded Warrior Homes And What Do They Do? Wounded Warrior Homes, Inc., is a San Marcos, California based 501(c)3 non- profit whose mission is to provide transitional housing and re-integrative services to post 9/11 veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The SDVC is a Proud Supporter of Wounded Warrior Homes

Wounded Warrior Homes’ vision is to facilitate the transition from wounded warrior to successful civilian, for all the veterans we help. Their values encompass support and service, compassion, collaboration, integrity, competence and respect for the dignity of each person. Diversity and Inclusion Wounded Warrior Homes’ vision and mission reflect thier fundamental belief that all people belong and deserve fairness, justice, and inclusivity.

They celebrate the visible and invisible qualities that make each person unique, including race, gender, age, sexuality, ability, religion, national origin, gender and other identities. Wounded Warrior Homes is committed to aligning thier culture and business practices to be a beacon of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging for all people. / OCTOBER 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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