San Diego Veterans Magazine Sept 2020

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Vol. 2 Number 9 • September 2020

CJ Machado Patriotic Advocate

“My Life, My Joy” San Diego Veteran of the Month

Election Season



Covid Coaster RESEARCH Do Your Homework

What’s Next

Transition to Civilian Life / SEPTEMBER 2020


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Publisher Editor-In-Chief Mike Miller

Contributing Writers Holly Shaffner Veteran Advocate - Honor Flight SD

RanDee McLain, LCSW A Different Lens

Vicki Garcia

Enlisted to Entrepreneur

CJ Machado

SD Vets & Homeland Photojournalist

Kelly Bagla, Esq. Legal Eagle

Joe Molina Veterans Chamber of Commerce

Eve Nasby

What’s Next - Transitioning

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

Arts & Healing

Eva Stimson Veteran Advocate

Collaborative Organizations Team Rubicon - Bryan Prest VANC- Lori Boody / Michael Walsh • DAV • Father Joe’s Village • DOD • Shelter To Soldier • Give An Hour • UCSD • Courage To Call • • Veteran & “For Purpose” Organizations • Veteran Advocates & Guest Writers • And many more...

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

(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.

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6 San Diego Veteran of the Month 12 Marines in Flight Student Art Contest 14 CJ Machado - Patriotic Advocate 20 San Diego Fire-Rescue 22 Phoenix Rising 24 LENS: Covid Coaster 26 Real Talk: Suicide Prevention 28 HVGC - A Call To Action 34 Arts & Healing: “Artist Chato” 36 Legally Speaking: Mind Over Matter 38 What’s Next - Against All Odds 42 Prep Work Before an Interview 44 Enlisted to Entrepreneur - Strategic Business 46 Legal Eagle - Aftermath of COVID-19 48 Education our “New Field Gear” 50 VANC: Srptemeber 2020 52 Congressman Darrell Issa 54 Election Season 56 SDVC: Our Mission Cover Photo -CJ & Admiral Shelton Photo by Michael Kacmarcik / SEPTEMBER 2020


VETERAN OF THE MONTH San Diego - September 2020 By SDVM

Brad McKinley

Legacy of service to local communities Harnessing the sea and sun may seem like no small feat, but for our Veteran of the Month it’s just another day in the office. After serving our country in the Navy, he made a successful transition to managing solar farm projects, initially in Nevada before moving back to San Diego, where he continually gives back to his community. This September, we honor Machinist Mate First Class Brad McKinley, U.S. Navy, as our Veteran of the Month. We seek to honor the ways in which veterans have taken a legacy of service from within the Armed Forces, out into their local communities. As a young father without a college degree, Brad worked with a recruiter to find a niche where he could both serve his country and get started on a path towards engineering. In 1989, at the age of 23, he joined the U.S. Navy Nuclear Program. After two years of training, he served as a chemistry and radiological controls technician, where he maintained submarine nuclear reactors. Over the next 12 years, Brad found himself on regular six month deployments, sometimes in a submarine without sunlight for two months at a time. Neither Brad, nor his wife, were new to the way of life of service members. Their fathers had both served in different branches, his in the Army and hers in the Navy. What Brad wasn’t expecting, however, was the camaraderie that came with it. Spending months at a time on the submarine with 125 other servicemen led to close friendships that have lasted throughout Brad’s 19 years out of the service. After many years deployed on subs, he began a recruiting tour in San Diego. His time as a recruiter gave him great satisfaction, as he knew the promises he shared to young recruits about work ethic, friendships and skills gained through service, would always be upheld. He found joy in hearing from successful recruits who had found their calling in the Navy Nuclear Program. 6 / SEPTEMBER 2020

During that time, he was also able to earn his bachelor’s degree from National University, with the help of the Tuition Assistance, and later his master’s degree, with the GI Bill. Brad left the service in 2001 and transitioned into civilian life. He connected with military headhunters early on in his job search. “I highly recommend speaking with hiring agencies or ‘headhunters.’ They have experience in knowing which military skillsets transition to civilian jobs, the current hiring market and come at no cost to the service member,” advises Brad. By working with military headhunters, he connected with an energy provider in Boulder City, Nevada and began a new role in the energy industry. Although his background in energy engineering and his wealth of on-the-job assets that he gained from the Navy mirrored his new job, he encourages new veterans to remember “that what you did in the military is not what you have to do when you get out. You know how to be a hard worker.” Brad excelled in his role and was offered a project manager position back in San Diego. His current employer, one of the nation’s largest owner and operator of renewable energy generation, Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses (Con Edison CEB), has provided Brad with the support to continue to excel. It was important to Brad to know that his employer understood what it means to have served. “There are certain challenges that come with having served our country, specifically during the transition to civilian life. Con Edison CEB has a dedicated group that communicates regularly with veteran employees and connects newly hired veterans with a veteran mentor to help with the transition into the civilian workforce.” After his separation from the Navy, Brad’s desire to serve transitioned from service of country to service of community. In Nevada, he served with the local Rotary Club, Boulder City Veteran’s Home and Meals on Wheels.

Now, he dedicates his time to his church, St. James Lutheran, his wife’s childhood church. At St. James, Brad quickly assimilated and began to identify ways to contribute, leading him to his role as Treasurer.

Brad, along with other members of his church serve, on the Board of Directors for the nearby low-income senior living facility, St. James Plaza.

“I’ve been extremely blessed with a career that will support me and my wife as we age, but not everyone has been given that opportunity. St. James Plaza provides the necessary and vital resource of affordable housing to our senior community and I’m honored to support the organization,” said Brad. Brad still can’t go too far from the ocean, but now he enjoys it from the beautiful San Diego beaches, accompanied by his wife, children and grandchildren. He has continued a legacy of service from his father, which now continues with his son, a Marine Corp Staff Sergeant. We thank you, Brad, for your service to our country and your community! / SEPTEMBER 2020


A Veteran-led program serving our military-connected community‌including Active Duty, Veterans, National Guard, Reservists and their family members.

24/7 Access to Resources and Peer Support

Call 877-698-7838 or dial 2-1-1 Visit our website at 8 / SEPTEMBER 2020

Courage2Call @CourageToCall @CourageToCall / SEPTEMBER 2020


New Monument Honoring the F-14 Tomcat coming to San Diego The F-14 Tomcat ranks as one of the most famous military fighters in the world. The aircraft was made famous throughout the world during major news events in the 1980’s, it became iconic in the Hollywood film, TOP GUN — the highest grossing film in 1986. The F-14 became a symbol of America’s air superiority and was finally retired in 2006. Sadly, there was no public monument honoring the aviators who lost their lives flying this legendary airplane. Ret. Rear Admiral Fred Lewis, who flew the F-14 Tomcat corrected this neglect when he spearheaded an effort to commemorate the famed aircraft and launch a nonprofit organization, the F-14 Tomcat Monument Association. This 501(c)(3) organization went on to collect contributions so that the memorial could be donated to key cities where the iconic fighter was based.

“The F-14 Tomcat made it’s fleet introduction in San Diego in 1973. It was without doubt the best fighter plane to ever fly from the flight decks of Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers. F-14 squadrons operated out of NAS Miramar for thirty years and was the Nation’s frst line of defense against our adversaries around the globe. The Tomcat became a symbol of the strength of American people just as the legendary Spitfire did for the British nation during WWII. It is fitting that from a historical perspective we pay tribute to not only the machine but to the thousands of Americans who designed, maintained, and operated the Tomcat and especially to the sixty-eight aircrew who perished while flying the F-14.” -RADM “Bad” Fred Lewis 10 / SEPTEMBER 2020

There will be three monuments built; each costing an estimated $90,000. The site locations for their homes are Virginia Beach, VA, Pensacola, FL and San Diego, CA. This unique Tomcat monument will be a four-sided granite obelisk. Each laser-etched panels shows different images of the F-14 in action with brief descriptions of its service with one panel dedicated to the 68 people who lost their lives flying the mighty Tomcat. A list of donors will also be featured at the bottom of the panels. If you would like to contribute to the monument that will be in San Diego, go to the following website: Award winning Director Mark “Viz” Vizcarra of Speed and Angels Productions flew the F-14 Tomcat and is supporting the effort in his newly released documentary, Tomcat Tales -

Armed Forces Memorial Amphitheater

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

Please Contribute Today! Make the Vision a Reality

Armed Forces Memorial Amphitheater Any contribution amount counts!

Please go to and click on “Contribute” to donate to the Armed Forces Memorial Amphitheater. 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. / SEPTEMBER 2020


2020 Marines in Flight Student Art Contest

Marines in Flight Student Art Contest Winners Announced The Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation has announced the winners of its second annual Marines in Flight Student Art Contest. The annual art contest gives students in grades 6-12 a platform to express their artistic and creative skills while they learn about U.S. and aviation history as well as the contributions, courage and sacrifices of the individuals who designed, built and flew the iconic aircraft. Students in public, private and homeschools from throughout San Diego County were invited to submit artwork. Cash prizes were awarded for six winning pieces. Seven additional submissions were recognized with honorable mentions. Winners of the 2020 “Marines in Flight” Student Art Contest are: High School Division: 1st Place-Katharina Hass, Grade 11, Francis Parker School 2nd Place-Isabel Pope, Grade 9, Westview High School 3rd Place-Matthew Mahlow, Grade 10, Westview High School Middle School Division: 1st Place-Makena’aloha Garcia, Grade 7, Correia Middle School 2nd Place-Anastasia Birmingham, Grade 8, Correia Middle School 3rd Place-Jacob Beach, Grade 7, Correia Middle School Along with their artwork, students shared powerful insights and reflections on what inspired them to create the pieces they submitted. Several of the students depicted subjects important to their own family histories. 12 / SEPTEMBER 2020

A photo gallery of the winning artwork, explanation of the artwork submitted by each student and comments by the judges can be seen at: The winners were selected by a jury of professional artists including Gary Johnson, Lee Kromshroeder and Herb Prokse. Artwork was judged based on knowledge of the theme, creativity, and originality.

We commend all the students who participated in the 2020 Marines in Flight Student Art Contest for their creative efforts and for their commitment to learning about their country’s history. The submissions were impressive and inspiring.” - Brigadier General Mike Aguilar (USMC-retired), Executive Director of the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation

About the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation The mission of the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation is to preserve the history of U.S. Marine Corps aviation, honor military service, and inspire in all generations an appreciation of America’s freedoms. The Foundation has established a collaboration with the Character Development Resource Center at the University of San Diego to provide lessons in U.S. history, leadership, character, patriotism, and aviation science. The Foundation supports the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum located at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. For more information call 858-693-1723 or visit

Winners of the 2020 “Marines in Flight” Student Art Contest

Katharina Hass - “1918 (DeHavilland DH-4)”

Makena’aloha Garcia - “Freedom in Color”

Isabel Pope - “Semper Fi”

Anastasia Birmingham - ”Women in Flight”

Matthew Mahlow - “The Spearhead”

Jacob Beach - “Protecting America” / SEPTEMBER 2020


Patriotic Advocate of the Month

CJ Machado

“My Life, My Joy” By Holly Shaffner Do you know someone who wishes there were more hours in the day, just so they can do more for veterans? If not, then I would like to introduce you to veteran advocate, photojournalist, and producer, CJ Machado. CJ grew up in San Diego and as a little girl she was aware of the privilege of being a First-Generation American Citizen. As an adult, her relentless patriotism stems from her gratitude and appreciation for her freedom. She clearly remembers the day it all started for her - the day she received a phone call from Germany about her deployed brother. Her brother, John D. Machado had enlisted as an infantryman in the U.S Army and served two tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan. While serving, John had a close call with death when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blew up underneath his military vehicle. CJ’s brother sustained a serious concussion, but fortunately he survived. When he returned home, he was like the thousands of men and women who come home changed. For John, he did not talk about a horrific incident that killed his friend, and that image which is burned in his memory still affects him today.

14 / SEPTEMBER 2020

Photo by Thomas Goisque

It was that initial phone call in 2013 that changed her life and from that day forward, CJ has made every effort to support those who sacrifice their lives on our behalf. Seeing how her brother suffers invoked a call to action, a call to service, and ignited her veteran advocacy. When asked why she does it, CJ said, “Veterans fought for my freedom so now I fight for them.” When you talk to CJ about her veteran projects, it is mind blowing all the events and projects she has been involved in, how many lives she has touched, how many military eras she has touched, and how many military organizations she has worked with. Even though she has never served in the military, she has the resume and connections of a senior military officer. One of her first San Diego projects was “Ride-4-Vets” to support veterans and veteran organizations that support our service members and military history. In 2015, she organized a motorcycle ride where riders stopped at museums and monuments throughout San Diego County. The honored guest was American educator, WWII veteran Bruce Heilman who was the National Spokesman of the Greatest Generations Foundation. Once she met Heilman, she helped to coordinate his ride to the Vietnam wall in Washington, D.C with American Legion Riders nationwide.

Her veteran advocacy shifted almost entirely to the “Greatest Generation” when she realized their stories needed to be documented before the aging veterans were all gone. In 2016, CJ undertook the “Forgotten Hero of the Forgotten War” project to honor and remember CAPT E. Royce Williams, USN, Retired. CAPT Williams shot down four MiGs while flying Combat Air Patrol above the USS Oriskany during the Korean War. That extraordinary engagement is the only documented attack made on the United States of America by Russia and was classified for 50 years! Many people believe that had it not been for Royce’s courageous defense, World War III would have been inevitable. CJ was captivated by Royce’s story and more so by his character as a human being. She was determined to recognize his heroism and in 2017 she produced a short film called, The Forgotten Hero of the Forgotten War. The film was selected for the GI Film Festival, nominated for eight awards, and was the winner of San Diego Film Week’s “Spirit of San Diego” award. You can watch it on Amazon. By the virtue of her work, she gets to have days that she will remember for the rest of her life. One of those days was February 16, 2019 when volunteers from the USS Midway Museum surprised and honored Royce on the flight deck. They presented four, large stamped MiGs on the side of the F9F Panther (the plane Royce flew on that mission) and his name on the aircraft.

CJ & Capt E. Royce Williams

When CJ looks back on that day, she says, “That will always be a monumental day in my mind, the day CAPT E. Royce Williams was recognized with a historical landmark. I knew then he would never be forgotten MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.” And on to 2019, when CJ trained with the WWII Airborne Demonstration Team to experience and document the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, the largest living historical event of our lifetime. Vintage C-47’s and paratroopers from across the world gathered to re-enact D-Day in Normandy France. She did the jump as well as WWII paratrooper Tom Rice who jumped in the same drop zone as he did on D-Day. Tom was 97 years old at the time! CJ produced the documentary called, LIBERTAS which documented Tom’s inspirational jump and that can be found at: Continued on page 15 > / SEPTEMBER 2020


We need your help to locate San Diego County World War II and Korea War Veterans for our upcoming 2021 trips. We want to honor them by taking them on a 3-day trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials built for their service and sacrifice. Since 2010, Honor Flight San Diego has taken over 1,400 veterans on this trip. Due to generous donors, the trip is no cost to the veteran.

“It was the best weekend of my life!� - WWII Veteran For more information, please call: (800) 655-6997 or email: 16 / SEPTEMBER 2020

In 2020, the world celebrated the 76th anniversary of D-Day in an initiative called, Freedom Rings Global. CJ helped to organize the global movement that commenced in Normandy, France by the Normandy Victory Museum (NVM). On June 6, 2020, church bells from across France rang at precisely 6:44 p.m. (for June 6, 1944) and crossed the world ringing in their respective time zones. The NVM requested that Tom Rice ring liberty bells in his hometown to celebrate France and America’s allegiance to freedom. In collaboration with the NVM and in support of Tom Rice, CJ and local San Diego nonprofit organizations, Honor Flight San Diego, and the San Diego Veterans Coalition, brought the initiative to Coronado, California. It was quite the undertaking but museums, veteran organizations, representatives and the remaining “Screaming Eagles” of the 101st Airborne Division across the country rang liberty bells in support. In San Diego, the USS Midway and Naval Air Station North Island participated in the global movement in celebration of democracy. So, what’s next for CJ? Well you know what they say how a rolling stone gathers no moss… In true CJ style, she has many irons in the fire. Her largest one is the upcoming release of a graphic novel called, Purple Foxes United (PFU). It is a Superhero military project that honors all servicemembers. The lead heroine, LT Williams, wears steel wings with dog tags as feathers to represent the MIA/POW’s still unaccounted from Vietnam.

Photo by Greg Siller

“ Veterans

Supporters can purchase the dog tags in honor or memory of their MIA/POW at: The PFU screenplay is available to view there and is available on Amazon.

fought for my freedom so now I fight for them.” CJ & Admiral Shelton PJoto by Michael Kacmarcik

In 2021, the Purple Foxes United graphic novel will be released in conjunction with Comic Con 2021. There will be a huge event to debut the project that will include veteran artists showcasing their work from the novel. Proceeds from the release event will benefit many veteran organizations, primarily Honor Flight San Diego.

- CJ Machado

As we wrap up our recognition of this extraordinary Veteran Advocate, I want to make note that all of CJ’s work in our military space is volunteer! She has a fulltime job that pays the bills but hasn’t made any money doing any of the projects since she started in 2015. It is her honor to work with military veterans. So, when you ask her again, WHY? She says, “My Life, My Joy.” / SEPTEMBER 2020




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

Resources Support Transition Community 18 / SEPTEMBER 2020


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Catch hand-picked films for, by, and about military and veterans. Tickets and information at Catch a film. Be inspired. Build community. GIFFSD returns May 18-23, 2021 GIFilmFestivalSanDiego | PRESENTED BY




KPBS is a public service of San Diego State University. / SEPTEMBER 2020


San Diego Fire-Rescue Department new

Behavioral Health and Wellness Program primed for success By Amber Robinson

This Summer as fires broke out across California, we watched our state’s brave firefighters work to tirelessly battle the blazes once again. Without these dedicated men and women each year, our state’s population would suffer exponential death and property damage, not to mention the miles upon miles of precious forest we would lose. Outside of this annual fight against California’s wildfires, our state and local firefighters do so much more yearly. They not only battle blazes and save lives, but also operate as first responders and life guards. They take good care of our communities and deserve to be taken care of in return. Taking care of firefighters has been the main goal of David Picone, Health and Wellness Officer for San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, since he set out to create a new Behavioral Wellness Program over a year ago. Before Picone began his work, the Fire Department wellness program didn’t offer much in the way of behavioral health for it’s rescue teams. “The health and safety officer prior to me was more focused on safety, cancer prevention and some aspects of injury investigation,” said Picone. 20 / SEPTEMBER 2020


Taking care of firefighters has been the main goal of David Picone, Health and Wellness Officer for San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, since he set out to create a new Behavioral Wellness Program over a year ago.

What Picone knew these hard working men and women really needed were ways to improve and maintain their mental well-being. So, he set about connecting the department with vital counseling services, and providing templates for peer-training to all the different departments. Now, after a year of working to build the program, three times the rescue personnel are accessing the program from when he began.

The program is open to all those who work under the fire department such as Emergency Medical Services personnel and Lifeguards. The program is also available to those who work for the department who are not rescue personnel, but office or admin employees, as well as family members of rescue and office staff. Some aspects of the new program now include therapy from a variety of different organizations, peer support and a Family Wellness Day created to educate new recruits. Therapy organizations that participate, such as Focus Psychological Services, are specifically trained for the unique culture of police, veterans and firefighters. These organizations have normal, outpatient services but can accommodate an inpatient stay if needed. “It’s just like going to a normal therapist,” said Picone. “But they are trained more specifically for the culture.” A peer within the program is a firefighter who has been trained to support his fellow firefighters in the event that they need a listening ear or an introduction to various resources. Picone says there are 50 or so peers for the city, with lifeguards and EMS all having their own peers now, too. Rescue personnel can see all trained peers on the new Behavioral Wellness website.

“But I remember the day I came home from work and saw the two soldiers at my neighbor’s door. I knew what was going on.” This started Cheselske on a 7-year stint of destructive behavior. His drinking evolved into alcoholism and his anger deepened. Finally in 2017 he approached his wife and admitted to her he was thinking of killing himself. “From there I then began my long road to recovery,” he said. But, little did he know that his resolve to get better would soon be tested. Shortly after his decision to get help, he found two young children while battling a structure fire. Although the children’s pulses were found at the scene, they later died in the hospital. “After that I just kind of lost it,” said Cheselske. “People could tell I was definitely not okay.”

“On that day we get them for a full eight hours,” said Picone. “During this time we hope to really instill in them that the job can be tough, but there are resources available to them. The first four hours of the day the new recruits are educated by themselves, with their families joining them during the last eight hours. Peers from the program come speak to the new recruits about what they have experienced and the ways those experiences have affected them. One of those peers is Captain Jared Cheselske, an Army veteran who has been with the department since 2002. Cheselske joined the Army in 1988 as an 11Bravo, or infantryman. He was assigned to the prestigious 101st Airborne Division and deployed in 1990 and 1991 as part of Desert Shield, then subsequently, Desert Storm. After leaving the service, Cheselske tried going back to school, worked odd jobs and began drinking more and dabbling in drugs. Always physically fit and a hard worker, he finally joined a Fire Department in 1995 and straightened out. But, on December 12, 2010, Cheselske’s long run with sobriety crumbled. On this day he found out a young neighbor from across the street had died in Iraq. Prior to his service Cheselske had told the young man about his time with the 101st Airborne and about his glory days as an infantryman. “I remember when I heard he had actually joined the Army as an infantryman and had gotten assigned to the 101st, I felt honored,” said Cheselske.

Because of his unstable state, he took time off work. But, because there was no behavioral health program at the time, he was not getting paid during his off time nor was he receiving any sort of help or support from the city or department for what he was going through. In Jan of 2018 he accepted an invitation to speak on a podcast called Mental Health Radio. He shared how there was just no support for firefighters. People within the department, from the city and the union had heard the podcast. David Picone called within the week to find out what was going on. Initially the city was reluctant to foot the bill for services for rescue personnel with PTSD. But, eventually, the city recognized Cheselske’s PTSD as an injury, opening the doorway for him and others to get the services needed. That, coupled with Picone’s determination to build the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department’s Behavioral Wellness Program has made a big change for our city’s rescue workers. Picone and Cheselske’s hope is to see the program continue to grow and thrive, along with our city’s brave firefighting men and women.

SDFD Information: / SEPTEMBER 2020


Phoenix Rising By Jamie Brown Flames and embers were shot like a blow torch across four residential blocks fueled by relentless winds. 41 homes were consumed, and 150 people displaced. The isolated desert town of 1,200 had few resources to deal with something of that magnitude. The residents? Some of the poorest not just in California, but in the nation. Most with no insurance or recourse for recovery. It is heartbreaking to consider and soul crushing to see. This was the scene on June 28 in the town of Niland, 45 miles north of Mexico, when a nearby palm grove caught fire. In the aftermath, the disaster response organization Team Rubicon stepped into the arena. The call went out to the Greyshirt (TR volunteer) community and was answered immediately by those built to serve. I had the privilege of spending five days in Niland with Team Rubicon documenting the story through photography. Having deployed to eight disasters with them, I have witnessed many incredible stories, but this one had elements that showed a deeper side of humanity that needed further telling.

August in one of the hottest places on earth. The first day’s high reached 109 degrees. Each subsequent day the temperature rose and by the fifth the high was 116 with little relief in sight. The team of 15-25 was on the ground by 06:00. The early hours focused on hand tool work before the extreme heat crept in. Back breaking, blister inducing work while outfitted with long sleeves, heavy boots, gloves, hardhats, and N95 masks. While those crews were managing their areas the heavy equipment teams were organizing the excavators, skid steers, and water buffaloes. By 09:00 the temperature was teasing 100 degrees. As the rhythm of the day developed crews were removing ash, contaminated soil, home debris, burned vehicles, concrete slabs once someone’s bedroom floor, and an assortment of unidentifiable debris. Work, sweat, hydrate. By 10:00 rotations had started, and Greyshirts were using air-conditioned trucks to cool off. Water buffaloes were pumping continuously to keep down the toxic ash clouds the HEOs were kicking up as they cleared the remnants of people’s lives.

Article Photos by Team Rubicon 22 / SEPTEMBER 2020

Greyshirts pulling heavy, industrial grade hoses through an almost post-apocalyptic landscape, the sun above actively trying to murder them. Work, sweat, hydrate. By lunch up to a dozen debris containers had been filled and (sporadically) replaced. The crews would break as the temperature was cresting 105 degrees having already cleared hundreds of tons of the fire’s victims. Work, sweat, hydrate, eat.

In the end Team Rubicon will have cleared thousands of tons of debris and ash leaving the lots toxin free and ready for the rebuilding of homes and lives. A community will begin to recover.

The day’s closing hours were brutal. They were tired and scorched, but unfazed. By 2:30 temperatures were climaxing and the ability to function safely exponentially deteriorated. But they pushed forward as the heat beat down from above and radiated up from below like a furnace. Work, sweat, hydrate. When they finally congregated back at the school that had been set up as a command center they were caked in a mix of ash, dirt, and sweat that permeated to the bone. Greyshirts were gray faces and exhausted bodies aching for a shower and rest. Rinse and repeat – day after day. What was missing at the end of the day was disillusion and complaint. Replaced, instead, with gratitude and acknowledgement for the days work. Somehow, after a day of work that you could not pay most people to do, those volunteers were smiling and joking and grateful for each other. Something that needs to be experienced to truly appreciate. The group that week were from every age, orientation, social, ethnic, religious, political group imaginable. Differences were set aside in the name of the mission and the results were astounding. Every person contributed at exactly the pace and capacity they were able. From the seemingly indestructible twenty-somethings to the steady and determined sixty-somethings, the work distribution balanced itself organically and was understood. Some were there for a few days, others a few weeks, all with a single goal - Get Everything Done. There was also the Command and General Staff. There was friendly banter about this leg of the team being in the air conditioning all day, but everyone understood the commitment required of those roles. The majority of whom were on location for the duration. Possibly a month. The day for most was 06:00-3:00 of work, sweat, hydrate. The C&G staff were up at 04:30 and closed out closer to 10:00 with little to no down time. They were keeping the machine running and providing the necessary continuity as Greyshirts rotated through the operation. It was every bit as challenging as being in the dirt.

About the Author: Jamie Brown is an Army Combat Veteran, TR Volunteer, and founder of Gitano Americano Photography. / SEPTEMBER 2020


A Different Lens Mental Health Monthly By RanDee McLain, LCSW

COVID COASTER I recently had a chance to catch up with my best friend. We started the conversation with simple pleasantries…. how are you? Her response was something I had not heard before. “Oh ya know riding the COVID Coaster!” I chuckled and asked her what she was talking about. She told me that she felt like she was riding a roller coaster of emotions daily with all things COVID19. I sat with that for a few moments and realized she was so right. The last 6 months have felt like an emotional roller coaster and we do not know when we will get off.


I think back to March when this all began. I was in Georgia training a new Veterans Treatment Court. I had not been able to watch or hear much of the news but the conversations at the training revolved around this new Corona virus and the possibility of businesses closing. My first reaction was…..this is an overreaction. I thought the team just wanted to get out of training early on a Friday. Our staff was pulled aside by the local court team and told that in fact the Georgia governor was closing down schools and businesses. We were encouraged to end our training early and get on the first flights out of Georgia. Wow…was this real? Is this really happening? I get back to California and my co-workers were a mix of super confused; anxious; scared and everything in between. There was so much unknown. You can catch it by touching…you can not catch it by touching; it is airborne …it is not airborne…..what about my job? My kids? Can I work remote? How will it impact client care? We were all figuring it out as we went. In our industry, pre-COVID, very little work was done remotely. The request for remote work was often denied and if granted was for very limited periods of time. All the sudden we are being told to go remote within hours. Did we have the equipment? How do I support my team and clients in this new environment?

24 / SEPTEMBER 2020

how are you?

After, the initial fear subsided, many people realized they could work remotely, and their jobs would continue. There seemed to be a sense of relief. People felt safer in an environment they could somewhat control- their homes. I noticed people happier and slightly less anxious. As my best friend said, this is awesome‌.I can ease into my day. That was short lived. Many people began to realize it may be harder to work from home. How do I juggle my kids doing remote learning, my own work and 5 people on the same internet? Social and physical isolation became a real concern. We had many people who didn’t leave the house for weeks and months. This brought on sadness and in some cases depression. Mental Health became a real concern as the time passed. After several weeks of stay at home order and self-quarantining we began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We were about to be off the watch list and businesses can reopen. This was the first glimpse of normalcy we had in several months. We were happy, nervous, and excited all at the same time. That too was short lived, as we were back on the watch list within weeks and businesses closed again. Currently, we just came of the watch list again and are in a period of waiting. Waiting to see if we remain off the list and can have some basic things like hair cuts and gyms. So yes, absolutely the last 6 months have been a COVID Coaster! We have experienced fear, stress, sadness, grief, anxiety, loneliness and so much more. It is important to recognize the challenging times and know you are not alone. During these times, it is important to check in with yourself and your friends. Make sure to do self-care and know the signs of mental health conditions and see help as needed. Stay safe!!

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.

Resources. 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:



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

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month “If you say, ‘I should’ve jumped off the Exit 9 overpass when I had the chance,’ ever again, I will call someone.” Never in my life did I think those words would come out of my mouth, most especially to my husband. But I meant it. And I do mean it, even still today. It wasn’t a threat or an ultimatum. It was and is the truth. I spent an entire year of my life wondering if my husband would come home from war. And I spent the last several years wondering if he ever really did. Lots of words I never thought would be a part of our vocabulary: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Panic Attack, and mild Traumatic Brain Injury are now common vernacular at our house. I didn’t think that suicide was ever going to be one that was among them. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. And as a military spouse it is an awareness campaign that I wish I did not have such a connection with.

I wish the statistics of veteran suicide weren’t as staggering as they are. I wish that what are often referred to as the invisible wounds of war weren’t referred to as “invisible” because they are anything but. I wish that these wounds didn’t twist their tendrils into every facet of daily life and make someone believe that the world, his family, and his friends would be better off if he were dead. Because that is not the truth. Read that again. All the signs were there. The overeating, the under sleeping, the high anxiety and irritability. The isolation, the mood swings, the rage, and the belief that all of this was a burden too heavy for our family. They are easy to see now, on this side of all that pain. They weren’t so easy to see then. We had just moved across the country. He was in a very fast-paced, highstress environment. Any of the above symptoms could have been attributed to all of the external factors that were making life challenging, not to mention back-to-back deployments that preceded the move. Needless to say, it was easy to write it all off as a natural consequence of high stress driven by a lot of different factors. So what does “prevention” really look like? How do you know the difference between lots of life stress and suicidal ideations? When they say they’d rather not live than live like this, believe them. Believe them and enlist the help of friends, family, and community. Community made all the difference for me as I supported my loved one. It looked like having someone I could talk to about what was going on at my house. Community looked like having someone listen and ask if we needed help. It looked like a collective effort.

You are not alone 26 / SEPTEMBER 2020

It looked like a place where there wasn’t a stigma for me or my husband when either of us needed a place to talk. To not feel like we had a third-eye on our forehead, or that we would be shunned for having a difficult time.

Here are a couple of do’s and don’ts from the Defense Suicide Prevention Office that I’ve found to be useful when helping someone in a crisis, regardless of their affiliation as a service member or veteran: DO: • Be direct – talk openly about the issue. • Listen and allow the expression of feelings. • Be non-judgmental. Don’t debate right/wrong or the validity of feelings. • Get involved, be available, and show interest. • Offer the hope of alternatives, but not general reassurance such as, “It could be worse.” • Get them help from specialists. • Call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (and press 1) if you need help getting through the crisis. • Remember that people who receive treatment for mental health get better. Treatment works. DON’T: • Dare them to do it.

San Diego Veteran Resources & Organizations

• Act shocked, putting distance between you • Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Seek help. During the month of September, you can help combat stigma and raise awareness about suicide and suicide prevention, connect with people you know impacted by suicide, raise awareness, and share resources to help those at risk. And for those of you reading this who are still wondering - we are not better off without you around. You are not alone.

Jenny Lynne Stroup serves as the Outreach Coordinator for the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Veterans Village of San Diego. The Cohen Clinic at VVSD is one of 16 mental health clinics nationwide under Stamford-based 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. • The Cohen Clinic at VVSD • Targeted Treatments

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 / SEPTEMBER 2020


HVGC - A Call To Action Opioid Addiction and Suicide in Veterans

SDVM: How did 3 Marine Raiders becom ganjapreneurs? HVGC: We set off on a mission to combat the opioid and suicide epidemic plaguing our veterans through medical cannabis research. We believe that cannabis can be an important medicinal remedy for some of the ailments that plague veterans so becoming growers to provide them with products also created a revenue stream for us to help fund our research efforts. SDVM: What is the goal of your brand? HVGC: The primary goal of HVGC is to support medical cannabis research conducted by doctors and submit the data collected through research to the Veterans Affairs Committee and Congress with a determined focus to change the face of health care for our veterans. As we continue the journey, we look for every opportunity to educate others about the symptoms of post-traumatic stress, the issues that plague our nation’s heroes, along with the medical promises and agricultural properties of cannabis.

September is Suicide Awareness Month and veterans account for nearly a quarter of suicide deaths in the U.S. The incidence of substance abuse among veterans, coupled with symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress, has put this epidemic at crisis levels. Roughly 20 veterans commit suicide each day. And with the current pandemic, those numbers are growing. We launched HVGC in 2019 as a call to action on the issue of opioid addiction and suicide in veterans. As vets ourselves, we’re losing our fellow brothers and sisters at an alarming rate and we decided to act on our instincts to start a campaign focused on veteran medical cannabis research to combat many of the ailments that affect veterans specifically. If we can stop these afflictions in their tracks, we can reduce the rate of suicide among the veteran community. We hope to have some very exciting news to announce in the upcoming weeks that will have a major impact on the face of veteran health-care. 100% of our profits go directly to fund veteran medical cannabis research. San Diego Veterans Magazine had a chance to sit down with HVGC and learn more about their history, mission, and research to aid military veterans. Including combating PTS, Opioid and Suicide Prevention and more...

Q&A 28 / SEPTEMBER 2020

SDVM: Tell us about your work with NiaMedic HVGC: We connected with NiaMedic Healthcare and Research at a UCLA cannabis symposium where the need for more veteran medical cannabis research was discussed. We began working with NiaMedic to help create a study design to research the symptoms and treatment of post traumatic stress utilizing medical cannabis. Currently, the first study design is currently being reviewed by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) for approval. It is anticipated to be approved during the summer of 2020. NiaMedic is an Israel-based medical data company which uses its innovative medical & research protocols, data collection & analysis process to generate high quality clinical data of medical cannabis. Israel has been a world leader in cannabis research and NiaMedic has brought that experience with them to their US based facility. SDVM: What are you learning through your research about cannabis as a remedy to opioid addiction? HVGC: Our formal research is still in the early phases as we wait for the Institutional Review Board to approve our study and given us the approval to move forward with human trials. But our informal research with vets and non-vets supports our belief that by pairing the right cannabis strain, users can get relief from the symptoms of post-traumatic stress and calm to the chaos of everyday life. SDVM: Tell us about the Battle Brothers Program - a snapshot of the vision and where it is now

HVGC: There is a complex challenge facing our nation’s veterans: a striking number are taking their lives while the medical care offered through standard treatment facilities is often a prescription of addictive, opiate-based substances. The lack of community support and economic/ job opportunities is definitely a barrier for vets and this has both mental and physical impacts. Battle Brothers is an organization striving for change with a unique threefold approach to enriching the lives of veterans returning home from combat by focusing on their personal, medical and economic needs. SDVM: What’s on the horizon for HVGC and the Battle Brothers Program? HVGC: We’re intently focused on continuing the momentum of our research while also working on the launch of new THC products while preparing our CBD line to launch in late summer. We have also been refining an out-of-the-box tech approach to education that we developed in the early days of COVID-19. Since visiting retail stores can be difficult for many, we realized that we needed to create a way to educate patients virtually, without the need to physically visit a dispensary. Our solution was Virtual Patient Appreciation Days, or VirPAD™, which are a series of short, interactive educational videos that retail shops can play through their in-store video systems or on a mobile platform. It is a small footprint with a whole lot of information that’s an effective and efficient educational resource. SDVM: Tell me about your adult-use lineup. Do you only carry vape pens or do you also have flower and other methods of consumption? Any CBD only products in the works? HVGC: We currently have 6 strains of vape cartridges. These were cherry picked for the relief-based effects they provide and we’ve received outstanding feedback. We have a pure live resin vape cartridge and will soon launch THC:CBD 1:1. Small batch private farm pre-rolls will follow closely behind with an edible in the works for fall of 2020. We are also working on our CBD line, complete with an edible, topical cream, lip balm, and tinctures, and hope to have that launched nationally very soon. SDVM: Right now it looks like you’re SoCal based. Will the brand be expanding north? How can people find you or request your products in their area of California? HVGC: We’re headquartered in Southern California, but we service dispensaries throughout San Diego County, Los Angeles, Orange County, the desert region, and Northern California. The support we’ve received from the industry has been nothing short of phenomenal and we’re continuing to enter new retail spaces every week. For a full list of where HVGC can be found, please visit

Suicide Facts • Over 44,000 Americans die by suicide every year • Suicide is the 4th leading cause of death for people 18-65 • For every death by suicide, there are over 25 suicide attempts

Suicide can be prevented. It’s up to everyone to learn the warning signs and reach out and help those with suicidal thoughts and feelings. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-8255 Source: Centers for Disease Control / SEPTEMBER 2020



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

30 / SEPTEMBER 2020



I had a complete meltdown with PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder). I thought I was losing my mind. I’d never been out of control before, and it was hard to admit I needed help, but I wanted my old self back. I’ve gotten that and more. I’m strong. I’m healthy. I have tools, I have knowledge, and I have strength and courage to deal with it. I’m doing just fine. RON WHITCOMB SGT US ARMY 1968 - 1969 SQUAD LEADER, VIETNAM



32 / SEPTEMBER 2020 / SEPTEMBER 2020


Arts & Healing Arts for Military Veterans By Amber Robinson

Veteran Artist Spotlight: “Artist Chato” For this third consecutive San Diego Veteran Artist Spotlight I am featuring local artist and Navy veteran ​ Ruben Chato Hinojosa, Jr.​“Chato” as he is called, has become a well-known fine art creator in San Diego, acclaimed for his s​ culptures, eagles, wildlife, pets, military and First Responders art. He is a proudly enrolled tribal member of Lipan Apache Tribe Texas ​ #1691 t​ he Tcha”shka o’zahaye (Little Breech-Clout People), w ​ ho are Southern Athabaskan (Apachean).

Chato left the service with a new drive to further bolster his creativity and art. Highly creative from a young age, as a child he remembers a conversation at a sacred site with a golden eagle who said it was his spirit guide. This majestic bird advised him to be one with nature, only then would he find his true strength. After this experience, little Chato felt inspired and sought to express what he saw and felt. “Back at home I painted a mural of wildlife with my chalks from school on my bedroom wall, to the huge amazement of my family,” he said. “I still remember my Father’s proud energy!”

Chato joined the Navy in 1988 as a Engineer at the age of 23, after he was inspired to serve by a World War II veteran. While working on an offshore platform as a welding assistant, Chato witnessed a fellow welder fall into the ocean during a work accident. Without thinking, Chato jumped 20 feet downward into an equipment basket which he rode down, slamming into a cold January ocean to help his fellow welder. The only other man to act as quickly was a Vietnam veteran who worked on the platform as well. Between Chato and he, they were able to bring the worker to safety. After this rescue, the owner of the offshore platform, a World War II Navy Veteran named Mr. Johnson, pulled Chato aside. “I can pay anyone to do the job you are doing,” Johnson said, “but I cannot pay someone to do what you just did, young man. You should consider joining the military.” Chato took Johnson up on his advice and joined the United States Navy soon after. He served for almost ten years, in various capacities, from engineering to amphibious​operations to serving on special boat teams. He also served in the Gulf War, Gulf Shield and Gulf Storm. Chato feels he has been blessed to have such a diverse path with so many different opportunities. “This naval adventure encompassed with other military branches was an educational experience of a lifetime that engraved a military bond of brotherhood in me which is irreplaceable,” said


Majestic / SEPTEMBER 2020

Therefore, after the service Chato poured himself back into the world of art. He used his GI Bill to further his arts education in both fine art and music. He attended both Golden West College and Mesa College in California during and after service, his majors being Fine Art, Honors Art History, Honors World Music and Foreign Language. He was also the recipient of the prestigious Rosa Parks Music Scholarship in 2001 (American Indian Flutes). Post college, he was selected as the 2 ​ 018 California State Capitol Native American Day Artist​. And, most recently, was selected to display his art at the S ​ an Diego Museum of Contemporary Arts​, for Veteran’s Day 2019. Chato says his art post service can be described in one word, “Nalwodi”, which means strength in Apache. He believes that life must be a balance of strength and happiness, a strength he would need to test when he had to undergo brain surgery on April 24, 2012. During this surgery he experienced what many may classify a near-death experience. “I was on a great White Spirit Eagle who said ‘I am ​itsa’​as we were flying into the brightest light ever conceived,” said Chato. “But​itsa’​brought me back down onto nature, then said ‘it’s not your time.” Because of his visions of eagles, much of Chato’s work is of eagles. His first painting in 1999 of an eagle and his first eagle sculpture in 2000 began what he calls his “Nalwodi Series”. In 2017 he introduced his “Happiness Series”, a collection of puppies and hummingbirds which Chato feels are nature’s “messengers of joy”. As an Apache, he feels his creativity and balance of strength and happiness comes from his heritage and his deep connection to nature. Despite the darkness he has suffered in his life from generational and personal trauma, art and the joy of life continues to inspire him and buoy him on. “Art and creativity is like a warm morning sunrise upon my face as it brings a spiritual joy deep within my heart,” said Chato. “It is both a healing and essential balance for me on a daily basis. This is my strength to heal from a negative past and walk into the light ahead of me.” Aside from creating beautiful art, Chato is also an actor, writer, storyteller and seeks to advocate for his fellow veterans and those who suffer with disabilities. He deeply believes in the power of art to inspire, heal and build a better world. To learn more about Chato’s many talents, art and vision, visit his website at w ​ / SEPTEMBER 2020


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

MIND OVER MATTER Don’t Let Divorce Derail You

Did you know divorce is a risk factor for suicide? Divorced people are 2.4 times more likely to commit suicide than their married counterparts. That’s some intense data, especially considering taking care of your mental health can be a big task on a good day. During a divorce it can get downright impossible. The good news is that if you know what to look out for you can make a plan to stay on top of your emotional wellbeing before things start to slide downhill. If you’re going through a divorce, watch out for these issues in yourself and apply the associated action items to get yourself back in tip-top shape as soon as possible.

PROBLEM - You Feel Alone: Deciding to get a divorce can leave you feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious. You might feel at a complete loss for what to do next or like there is no way forward. These feelings are normal, but you don’t have to let them stick around. ACTION ITEM: Ask for assistance! Even during a divorce there are always people who are willing to help. You might seek counseling from a therapist who has experience with military families, or maybe a support group is more your speed. If you’re a parent, you could join a parenting group to help you get out of the house. And don’t be afraid to seek other forms of help in your community; check with friends, your local house of worship, and family to find options you may have overlooked. PROBLEM – You’re Finding it Difficult to Cope: Most people thrive on routine and going through a divorce can upset the delicate balance that is our day to day lives. If you’re feeling scattered and disorganized - or perhaps alienated from old activities - there are ways to feel better.

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ACTION ITEM: Even the biggest problems in life are solved one step at a time. Don’t try to do too much at once or set unrealistic expectations for yourself. Remember that you’re going through something life-changing, and even the smallest efforts should be celebrated. To decrease stress, try to exercise daily or start a journal to put your feelings to paper. Start a new hobby to keep you busy or volunteer to help people in need. And don’t forget to give yourself a break when you need it – slow and steady wins the race. PROBLEM – You No Longer Qualify for Base Housing: If you’re a military spouse getting a divorce, you might be facing a shocking reality: the loss of your home. Each branch of the military has their own policies regarding the requirements of service members to support family members during a separation, so it can be difficult to know where you stand. ACTION ITEM: It’s easy to get overwhelmed when searching through information online. Instead reach out by telephone to the base legal department to better understand your rights. A military family law attorney should also be able to advise you on this, and many offer free consultations.

PROBLEM – You’re Afraid of Losing Your Kids While Deployed: Like all parents, your first thoughts in a divorce turn to one place: your kids. Dealing with the uncertainty of custody arrangements in a dissolved military marriage can be complicated, especially if one of the parents is deployed. Thankfully, both the military and the state of California have laws in place to protect the wellbeing of your children, no matter what.

ACTION ITEM: The Service Members’ Civil Relief Act provides protections for military members, including for custody issues. This act mandates a ‘stay’ on legal action involving active duty military service members for the first 90 days of their deployment, after which the case is governed under California law. In California, the Court does not view active duty alone as enough reason to change a custody order, so any changes made while a parent is deployed are likely to be temporary. As with any law there are exceptions, such as in cases with family visitation issues and in cases where the child’s welfare is at stake. A good family law attorney will be able to tell advise you further. At the end of the day, divorce is never easy. Being in the military can make it even more complicated. But you owe it to yourself, your family, and your friends to never give up. Even in your darkest moments you are never truly alone. If you’re experiencing thoughts of depression or suicide, reach out to your doctor or the National Suicide Prevention hotline (at 1-800-273-8255) right away.

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.

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WHAT’S NEXT Transition to Civilian Life By Eve Nasby

Taking a Step Back to Move Forward: How One Marine Tackled Transition Against All Odds Aaron, a son of two Marines, served as a Marine Drill Instructor. During his decade of service, he traveled the world and built Marines. He also gave his everything. Aaron’s commitment and dedication to the service also came with sacrificing both his physical and mental health to the point that he was no longer sustainable. At age 29, with a family and another baby on the way, Aaron knew it was time to transition out of his duties in the military and into the workforce.

With this newfound camaraderie, he found himself thriving in the on-campus Student Veterans Organization and quickly became a leader in the group. This served as the foundation and motivation to make other changes towards accomplishing his goals. Next, he realized his major wasn’t suiting him, so he changed from Economics to IT and suddenly began to thrive. Studying something he loved allowed his perspective to change for the better.

Aaron thought he was ready. He had been a successful and motivated Marine and was financially prepared to go back to college with the help of the GI Bill. The thought of finishing his education and entering the workforce seemed like a simple enough transition of which he’d given plenty of preparation. However, once he plunged straight into college alongside the 19-20-year-old Gen Z’ers, he found that he wasn’t prepared to handle the effects of the aftermath of his years dedicated to service. His previous life as a Drill Instructor took a toll on his body. He was hobbling around campus with a cane in constant pain. He suffered from PTSD. He took antidepressants, which made it difficult for him to stay focused on classes. He had 10 years and a lifetime worth of accomplishments on these classmates, but couldn’t keep up with any of them. This former “Superman” who had seen the world and built Marines was now sitting in a room surrounded by seemingly non-motivated kids who did just enough to get by. This was not the Marine Corps style he was used to living. He missed the camaraderie from the Corps. He said, “It took a couple of years to tone myself down.” This mental transition led to him actively finding people on campus that shared his work ethic and views.

Even more impressively, Aaron decided to quit all of his meds. Cold turkey. Withdraws and all, Aaron graduated with a 3.4 and is now pursuing a graduate degree. Aaron never gave up. He was up against many personal odds,and it took him over 300 application submissions before finally landing an IT job that suited him. While the process was grueling and frustrating, he gained some invaluable learnings along the way. He credits his journey to success and in landing this job to the following key takeaways:

Dave Grundies

38 / SEPTEMBER 2020

1. Get Connected Reach out to someone. Have someone to talk to. Find groups to join. Camaraderie is an essential support system, and it helps you stay mentally positive. The Student Veterans organization gave him the foundation and strength to make other necessary changes. He also joined the university’s IT professional group and quickly found his roots with a team of likeminded and driven people versus living a stagnant college lifestyle. 2. Be the Right Fit Make sure you’re matching yourself to the job before submitting your resume. It’s your job to show the hiring manager that you’re a fit. Look at the “Preferred Qualifications” listed in the job description, and make sure those are also listed at the top of your resume as YOUR qualifications. 3. Interview with the STAR method. It’s easy to ramble or not sound succinct when answering interview questions. The STAR method is a simple format that stands for “Situation, Task, Action, Result” that keeps you focused, clear, and results-oriented. 4. Don’t give up. It sounds simple, but it isn’t. Just don’t quit. When Aaron transitioned out, he could barely walk. Mentally and physically, he was spent, but he didn’t give up. Neither should you. 5. Be prepared to take a step back. Aaron came out of the Marines as a leader’s leader, but then started at ground zero in his education. Instead of focusing on strategic classes, he pivoted to tactical ones to help him successfully learn a new trade. Now he’s ready to lead in that field. 6. Take a DISC assessment or personality test. Knowing your own strengths, weaknesses, and communication style is vital in all aspects of life. Aaron said “these tests help you to look deeply inward and know what weaknesses you need to improve upon. We are good at pointing out each other’s flaws but not our own.” There are a variety of free (and confidential) online personality tests. Knowing yourself helps you be your best self.

7. Get Out The hardest thing is to get out and talk to people. Don’t sit inside. Don’t procrastinate. Go hang out with someone and feel what you felt when you were in the military. Meet up with like-minded people. Find a career counselor or mental health counselor to help you through this journey. The transition from active duty is tough. While the military security blanket offsets some of the physical and emotional stress of being in the service during that time, it disappears once you receive your DD214. It’s challenging to lose that security blanket while taking physical and emotional pain with you after the transition. Following Aaron’s tips will help you succeed as you transition.

WHAT’S NEXT 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 down right depressing, demotivating and you may feel totally disillusioned. This column is dedicated to you and to helping you succeed in your transition. Eve is a seasoned recruiting executive and business owner. She is driven to help people find the right job for and to help companies find the right talent. She is especially passionate about helping military professionals transition into the civilian workforce. If you need help with your career transition, connect with her on LinkedIn.

For advice, tips and programs you can read Eve’s monthly column at: / SEPTEMBER 2020


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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. 42 / SEPTEMBER 2020


• 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. / SEPTEMBER 2020



7 Strategic Business Pivots to Make During Covid-19 Let’s start from the beginning…your mindset. If you panic, all really could be lost. But, if you get control of your point of view, you may be able to see the opportunities Covid-19 presents. President John F. Kennedy, in Indianapolis on April 12, 1959, in a speech incorrectly said, “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity.” That sounds great. Easy to remember and catchy. So, we will hang on to it to propel us forward and if we say it often enough it at least it is comforting. Nothing is going to go back to “normal.” Nothing will be the same. So, let’s look for opportunities hiding in plain sight. Everything is Temporary An economic downturn especially with a plague that devastates the business world, is like a forest fire. It burns off all the deadwood and marginal players, leaving a space for you to thrive. As painful as it can be, it does not last forever. It will, sooner or later, get beaten down and no longer be a major obsession. 1. Think Creatively. Most business owners, including me, have our heads filled with the noise of keeping cash flow going and serving our customers. With this requirement to isolate ourselves, use this time to set your mind free. Keep a notebook. Sit under a tree and empty your head. See what comes up and write it down. Keep that notebook on your nightstand too. You’re at your most creative just before you fall asleep. 2. Start Planning. The coronavirus epidemic has created many challenges for businesses. This means your business needs a plan so you can prepare for future growth and success. Now is the time to perform competitive research. Pivot to meet the potential needs of your customers and wrap your business strategy around their needs. I suggest you join the California Veterans Chamber of Commerce. ( for FREE, go to the Tools page and use the Business Power Tool management system to gather all your work on one dashboard. 44 / SEPTEMBER 2020

3. Communicate. Can you manage to stay open with different hours? Can you create special hours for seniors and other highrisk customers to shop safely with fewer customers? Post this on your website and social media, especially your Google Business listing. Ask your customers for advice on what they need. People want to know how your business has changed because of the virus. Assure them their health and safety are your #1 concern. Tell them what you’re doing to ensure a safe shopping experience. Start selling your most popular products online. Offer curbside pickup if appropriate. 4. Pivot to Meet the New Needs of Your Customers. Quarantine at home generates unique new needs for your customers. What can you do to address this crazy situation? It may be that their needs have not changed, just their ability to come to you. Are you offering pick up or delivery? Let customers know what you are doing to accommodate them during this new, and hopefully temporary, normal. Look what car dealerships have done with delivering new cars to buyers. 5. Implement New Technologies. is the best thing to ever happen during an epidemic. With Zoom you can have “in-person” meetings without ever getting up from your computer. is “a channel is a place for everything related to a project, topic or team. Everyone in a channel sees the same messages and stays on the same page.”

Starting a Business as a Veteran? helps you to find information faster, and share ideas with anyone. Keep meeting notes, web pages, projects, and to-do lists. Evernote. com allows you to create and share notes and files in real time, so your team always has the latest updates. breaks up your work into separate projects. Each project contains everything related to the work at hand; all the people involved, every discussion, every document, file, task, important date, etc. 6. Learn a New Skill. Do you want to learn to use Instagram? Master your video marketing skills. Training videos abound on YouTube. Learn a new language. allows you to learn a new language for free by far the most popular language learning program for smartphones. It’s used by 300 million people all over the world. One of the great things about Duolingo is that it has made language learning accessible to everyone. Signups for Duolingo has surged during the epidemic. So, jump on board. 7. Package Your Expertise. Package up that knowledge in your head and turn it into a booklet on This cool site allows you to make a brochure, booklet, flyer, or whatever. Get creative. Have a restaurant? How about a cookbook? Car repair expert? Make a booklet for car repair novices. You can then make it go live, push it out on social media, send it as an email, etc. This is mucho fun to work with. Now you might have the time to do it. You can see my Start Up and Take Off at

Vicki Garcia is the Co-Founder of Operation Vetrepreneur & President of Marketing Impressions, a 30+ -year- old marketing consulting firm. Apply to join Operation Vetrepreneur’s FREE one-on-one mentoring at Join the California Veterans Chamber of Commerce for FREE at Email Vicki with column ideas at

The transition from military service to civilian life can be a difficult one, especially when it comes to your career. That’s why a growing number of veterans choose to forge their own path and become entrepreneurs after leaving the Armed Forces. While starting a business comes with numerous challenges, former service members do have one distinct advantage: the veteran community. “The strength and power of veteran entrepreneurs comes from other veteran entrepreneurs” Unlike most highly competitive entrepreneurial environments, veteran entrepreneurs share information much more easily. If you or someone you know is a veteran looking to start a business, please feel free to contact Vicki Garcia. Vicki is the Co-Founder of Operation Vetrepreneur & President of Marketing Impressions, a 33+ -year- old marketing consulting firm. If you want support for starting up a business, email her at For advice, tips and programs you can read Vicki’s monthly column at SD Vets Magazine.



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

STARTING A BUSINESS IN AFTERMATH OF COVID-19 We are living during a strange time in history. In a matter of a few short months, our way of life has changed on a global scale. Businesses have had to change the way they operate in response to the coronavirus epidemic and it is certain that because of these changes things will never be the same. So, what does this mean for entrepreneurs who wish to start a business? Should they even bother taking such a risk during these times? As a general observation, there is a spike in new business and innovation after each global financial crisis. This happened after 9/11, and the 2008 recession, and even the great depression in the 1920s. Each spawned new business and introduced an innovation that changed our way of life as a result of having to adapt. Social media and e-commerce came after 9/11, the gig economy introduced ride-sharing, co-working space, and online payments after the rescission.

46 / SEPTEMBER 2020

As a result of COVID-19, the needs of the market have changed and businesses that aim to begin during this time must look at factors that could impact how they serve their potential customers. This begins by conducting an extensive analysis of the market to find indicators that could affect how the industry has changed. For instance, retailers must now take a hard look at e-commerce as part of their business model. Due to the staying at home directives, many people who had never done so before started shopping and interacting online. Restaurants that did not have pickup or delivery options before quickly saw the need to adapt that process into their model. New businesses must take a look at their own industry markets and understand how COVID-19 has affected the way business is conducted and adapt that process into their model if they wish to succeed.

Across all industries, social distancing has made changes with how customers and businesses interact. Safety practices dictated by the CDC are now front and center. Managers and owners are providing better training and safety guidelines for their employees. New businesses must also include this in their operations and sales plans if they are to confirm to new social guidelines.


TIPS FOR STARTING A BUSINESS AFTER COVID-19: A digital first strategy will be the key for any new business looking to launch in the near future. Consider the following as you formulate your strategy: • Prioritize a strong digital band identity • Focus on good SEO practices • Leverage technology to create more personalized online experiences • Create a communication plan before you launch • Create website terms and conditions

From Start-up to Successful — Everything your company needs to protect its assets The GO LEGAL YOURSELF® STARTUP ESSENTIALS PACKAGE contains ALL of the specialized legal contracts at an outstanding value.

• Create website privacy policies • Create website disclaimers BUSINESS CATEGORIES THAT HAVE GROWN DURING COVID-19: When thinking of starting your new business during this time, you may want to focus on some of the businesses categories that have soared during the pandemic:


Traditional Law Firm

Legal Zoom®

Online Legal Document Services

• Articles of Incorporation

• Bylaws

• Home improvement

• State Incorporation Resolution

• Fitness and health

• Organizational Meeting Minutes

• Pet products

• Founder’s Stock Purchase Agreement

• Home beauty products

• Form SS-4 Employer Identification

• Promissory Note

• Service Agreement/Client Agreement

• Independent Contractor Agreement

• Website Terms of Use

• Website Privacy Policy

• Website Disclaimer

• Gaming

For more information on how to legally start and grow your business please visit my website at Disclaimer: This information is made available by Bagla Law Firm, APC for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, and not to provide specific legal advice. This information should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

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Veterans Chamber of Commerce By Joseph Molina

Education our “New Field Gear” One thing remains true - getting the right education and or training is ultimately essential to remain competitive in almost every field. That is especially true in uncertain economic times when demand or positions available are low. Military and Veterans: We as Veterans have some awesome incentives when it comes to education. The key is to know what we want to pursue since the opportunities are plenty, but we must know where to look or who to ask. In this article, we will take a look at some of the opportunities available to veterans.

When it Comes to Degrees: To be and to remain relevant and competitive in the job market, veterans need to get the right type of education matching the education with the desired career. Below are some popular degrees: • Engineering: This is popular for many reasons; Engineering jobs in the US are projected to continue to be in high demand specially in the area of new technologies. If you have technical aptitude and enjoy math, engineering may be the perfect option. • Criminal Justice: Choosing a criminal justice degree will ensure a smooth transition to the civilian job environment as it holds similar structure and culture as when in the military. Having a military background in this field is definitely a big plus. • Information Security: The need for professionals in information technology or IT security has grown rapidly since digital activity has become more sophisticated. This has created a need for people in this field. This industry is in dire need of qualified candidates with the right certifications. What about Universities and Colleges? We must realize that some universities and colleges are known to have more veterans or military than others. The National Veterans Chamber of Commerce is working on identifying those institutions who are supportive and who offer a more pro-military proveteran culture, scholarships for Veterans and Military spouses, and a more flexible academic schedule to accommodate a demanding military lifestyle. Below is a list of some of the institutions that the National Veterans Chamber has identified as Pro-Military (this is a reduced and partial list only): • Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio: Named as the best university for veterans by Military Times, the university is known for a streamlined process for easy enrolment of the military. • Sabio: Sabio offers Coding, Web development and with one of the best programs – ZERO payment for the program until students become employed.

48 / SEPTEMBER 2020

Once you score a job, your first year’s monthly payments will be $199 monthly. If you are ever unemployed, you can suspend your monthly payments without your credit taking a hit. The program offers state-of-the-art technical training that is sure to help you become a professional. Sabio also offers an Entrepreneurship Grant for students who also want to do work on the side as independent contractors. The grant covers all startup fees. Want to know more about this program? Just send me an email: • California State University (CSU), San Bernardino, California: A widely held opinion by US Veterans’ Magazine, The Military Friendly, and The Military Times is that CSU, San Bernardino organises activities that are beneficial and fun for Veterans such as, Tuesday evening veterans support groups, and a veteran resource fair. • Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The university supports pro-military organizations and events like the Drexel Veterans Association, The Yellow Ribbon Fund and The Drexel Veterans Task Force. • Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois: They offer qualifying Veterans a place in the university. The university supports a Veterans Magazines, and a Veterans Club. • Other universities and colleges we found that attract veterans: - Fordham University, New York, New York - Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida - University of California, LA - Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona Partial list of education programs that also welcome spouses. Veteran spouses are eligible for education programs to spouses seeking a degree or for advancing a career. These education assistance programs are offered by each branch of the military for spouses. Below are just some of the educational programs: • The GI Bill: GI Bill may be transferred to a veteran spouse or child provided guidelines are followed by service member. Counsellors at Trade Schools, Universities and/or Community Colleges are equipped to answer detailed questions on availability on all of these programs. • Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA) Supplemental Education Grants: This program offers financial assistance to veteran family members to help off-set certain costs to either obtaining a college degree or a vocational training certificate.

• Air Force Family Members: Air Force Aid Society General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program. This grant is described as “the centrepiece” of Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) education programs, offering need-based education grants to qualifying Air Force dependents. • Army Emergency Relief Spouse Education Assistance Program: This is a need-based scholarship program which enables the veteran’s spouse to obtain an undergraduate degree. If they meet the criteria. • Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) Education Assistance Program: This education assistance program is in the form on interest-free loans that range from $500 to $3000 per year for both spouses of active service members and veterans. In summary: Education Degree based or certifications is becoming even more crucial to the success of transitioning military. As we transition into the civilian market, it becomes obvious that education, training, skills, certificates are our “New Gear” – It is still up to us to know which direction we need to take in order for this New Gear to be useful to us. Definitely shop around when it comes to education, ask questions, get involve in Internships and definitely participate in the skillsbridge program.

The Veterans Chamber of Commerce Radio Show • Would you like to recognize a Hero in your Community? Let us know and we will announce it on the show. • Would you like to share your story?

Be our guest on the show. Visit our REQUEST FORM ( just fill it out and send it to us. If you have any ideas or project that you would like to see developed by the Veterans Chamber send your / SEPTEMBER 2020


“The men and women who serve our Nation deserve our support — Today, Tomorrow, Always —”

September 2020 We will continue to distribute food and diapers to our North County community until there is no need. Our next food distribution is scheduled for the Second Friday in September from 1pm to 4pm. Check it out or sign up at:


Back to School

Well, another month is in the can and as this is written, September is but a weekend away. This Corona Virus has been effective at shutting down a lot of programs and services for veterans. Schools are trying to figure out how to teach their students and parents are considering going back to work. A lot has changed over the last several months and not much of it good. Sometimes the good that is happening just needs to be shared. Happily, we can report that, the groups that come together under our VANC roof in Oceanside, have successfully distributed food to over 10,000 active duty and veteran families during this time, 83% active duty. We have provided over 150 thousand diapers while amassing over 17,000 man hours of volunteer work serving our military community. We have been joined by our political representatives from city, county and State and from both sides of the aisle. We have worked side by side with local groups and individuals who just wanted to make a difference. And what a difference indeed. 50 / SEPTEMBER 2020

We are really looking forward to our Annual Golf Tournament at the Marine Memorial Golf Course on Camp Pendleton being held on Friday October 23. This tournament is open to the public giving everyone the opportunity to golf on the exclusive and beautiful Marine Memorial Golf Course. Check it out or sign up at A special shout out this month to one of VANC membership groups Team Rubicon, who completed a project in Niland, CA on time and on schedule. On June 28th Niland, CA suffered a fire that burned down 46 homes in that town. Team Rubicon, in support of Imperial County, delivered 52 Greyshirts, multiple heavy equipment teams and a sawyer team to Niland. The Team filled 300 debris bins, removed 4,120 tons of debris, prepared 35 home sites for future homes. They completed the project in three weeks in an effort worth over $1.65 million in cost savings. GO TEAM! / SEPTEMBER 2020


Congressman Darrell Issa

U.S. Patriot and Military/Veteran Advocate - by Eva M. Stimson “To me, the most effective form of legislation relies on how we treat our active military members”

A native of the Midwest (Cleveland, Ohio), Darrell Issa descended from immigrants who landed in the U.S. from the Christian section of North Lebanon. His grandparents instilled the strong values and patriotism they came to embrace in the new world in Darrell, which created a strong foundation for his commitment to serving others. Many years later, Issa received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Although his nominator for this prestigious award remains a mystery to this day, he has certain notions. Issa states, “I was on a tugboat to Ellis Island to receive the award with a fellow recipient who just happened to be the actor, Steven Segal, and we shared a conversation that our nominators were unbeknownst to us both. I have an inkling that my nomination was submitted by a wonderful individual who was the founder of a nonprofit organization that I contributed to many years ago, but to this day, I do not know that for sure.” Upon completion of his ROTC scholarship college education, Issa enlisted in the US Army, following a military-branch tradition perpetuated by his father and uncles. He served in the Army as a Bomb Disposal Technician, Tank Platoon Commander and Computer R & D Specialist. He attained the rank of Captain during his enlistment, then went on to start his own business, in Vista, California, Directed Electronics Inc. He has since sold the company, however remains active in it’s charitable foundation. 52 / SEPTEMBER 2020

When asked about his motivation to enter politics, Issa remarked, “I’m no exception…one never knows the progression of leaving the Army. I started my own business and became involved in trade organizations, then quickly found out that if you want to effect change, you have to enlist the support of your Congressman. I ended up being a citizen lobbyist, then took it to the next level to campaign for Congress myself, after many of my colleagues suggested I run for office. I had a strong desire to serve the public, and I was further encouraged by endorsements from esteemed individuals such as Governor Wilson, among many others. As a Congressman, I represented one of the largest Marine bases in the country, and that has been one of my most memorable career highlights.” Issa has always wanted to serve the U.S. in two ways; through public service for the benefit of older citizens and the military. His early military experience taught him that youthful energy in the armed services trains one to take risks, such as jumping out of moving aircraft, but that at a certain age, one needs to adjust activities that fit existing physical agility. It was this realization that inspired him to advocate for the needs of active military members and U.S. veterans in Congress. Issa explains, “To me, the most effective form of legislation relies on how we treat our active military members…keeping our military strong is one of the most important things for our country. Supporting the needs of our active military sets us up on how we look at PTSD and TBI with our veterans and how we can better help them cope with their afflictions. As a Congressman, I’m always looking for solutions…in every Congress, there’s always some sort of a reasonable proposal, such as the “Choice Act”. There is no flawless legislation, but we’re always seeking a correction for particular sectors that are being treated unfairly. If we address the root of the situation regarding current needs, we can often find a better solution to address the circumstances of future outcomes. My office has consistently worked on veteran commendation cases that have been overlooked by previous administrations for posthumous battle achievements. I’m proud to have recognized several of our distinguished veterans for Purple Heart awards related to WWII and Korean War service, even when family members are the only living link to accepting the award. For this reason, I am honored and humbled to be an active part of the process.” For additional information, visit online or call (760) 598-3535. / SEPTEMBER 2020


Election Season Do’s and Don’ts for DOD Personnel By Katie Lange, DOD NEWS

It’s election season again – that time when federal, state and local political campaigns kick into high gear. Whether you’re extremely involved in politics or you aren’t even registered to vote, the Defense Department has expectations for the way its military service members and civilian employees conduct themselves during this time.

Signage DOD personnel can put their favorite party, cause or candidate’s bumper sticker on their car, but no large political signs, banners or posters can be displayed on their car or home. This includes those who live on a military installation in a privatized housing development. Prohibited Activities Service members and civilian employees are to refrain from partisan political activities. Any political activity they take part in should – as stated above -clearly avoid implying DOD sponsorship, approval or endorsement of a candidate, campaign or cause.

Here are some of the most notable guidelines: Voting Active-duty military and civilian employees are encouraged to take part in their civic duty by voting. In fact, DOD voting assistance is provided through the Federal Voting Assistance Program. Attending Events Service members can attend rallies, debates, conventions, political club meetings and fundraising events – but only as a spectator.Members of the Armed Forces – active-duty, Reserve or retired – cannot wear their uniforms at these events, unless they’re members of the color guard at a national convention. Opinions/Donations DOD employees are also allowed to make personal monetary donations and express their personal opinions on candidates and issues, but service members just can’t do so as a representative of the Armed Forces. Employees can write letters to the editor of a news outlet expressing their personal views -- as long as they’re not part of an organized letter-writing campaign or are soliciting votes for a party, cause or candidate. Most importantly, the letter must make it clear that the views expressed are solely the writer’s and NOT those of the DOD. 54 / SEPTEMBER 2020

Prohibited activities include: • Campaigning for a candidate • Soliciting contributions • Marching in a partisan parade • Writing signed partisan political articles, letters or endorsements in an attempt to solicit votes • Performing any duty for a political committee or candidate during a campaign

Social Media Your actions online can affect your career and the DOD just as much as they can in person. That’s why the department also issues guidelines for active-duty service members, active-duty National Guardsmen and federal employees. DOD employees are allowed to express their own views on issues and candidates, like in a letter to a news outlet. However, if they are identified on their account as active-duty, the post MUST say that the views expressed are their own and not those of the DOD.

When Can Candidates or Officials Visit Military Facilities? Political candidates and other elected or appointed officials may access DOD installations and facilities to conduct official business or various other activities. However, they are NOT allowed to engage in campaign or electionrelated activities, including:

DOD personnel shouldn’t participate in partisan political activities online, either, which includes posting direct links to a political party, candidate, campaign, group or cause. That’s considered the equivalent of distributing literature on behalf of those entities, which is prohibited.

Similarly, service members and civilian employees can “friend,” “follow” or “like” a political party, candidate or cause, but they can’t engage in political activities on those pages. For example, they can’t suggest that others “like,” “friend” or “follow” that page, and they can’t forward an invitation or solicitation from that page to others. Active-duty members are subject to additional restrictions based on Joint Ethics Regulations, the Uniform Code of Military Justice and service-specific rules. Service member who aren’t on active-duty are NOT subject to the above restrictions, but they are required to make it clear that their actions are their own and not endorsed, approved or sponsored by the DOD.

• Town hall meetings • Speeches • Public assemblies • Fundraisers • News conferences • Post-election celebrations or concession addresses This restriction applies to overseas installations and areas under control of U.S. military combat or peacekeeping forces. For more in-depth do’s and don’ts concerning political activities, check out DOD Directive 1344.10. / SEPTEMBER 2020


Servicing Veterans and Their Families Over 150 unique member and participating organizations, businesses, and agencies - united in one goal!

September 2020 We are proud to work alongside a wide variety of non-profit and for-profit organizations, as well as governmental agencies and civic minded individuals.

Our Mission The SDVC is a catalyst that inspires collaboration and cooperation among service partners to deliver premier support for Veterans in the San Diego region. At the SDVC we have found that collaboration is the key to addressing the needs of San Diego Veterans, their families and significant others. Background The San Diego Veterans Coalition was organized in 2009 and incorporated as a non-profit in 2012. Using the Collective Impact Model, SDVC is a premier San Diego County-wide monthly convener of over 150 unique member and participating organizations, businesses, and agencies, as well as convening many of that body in our four action groups, and other activities and events. The Collective Impact Model is based on leveraging relationships with other veteran and family serving organizations so that we may provide veterans and their families with a complete array of services and other opportunities. Many of the organizations that belong to SDVC specialize in one field (education, housing, employment, healthcare). Knowing what services each other provides, we can offer comprehensive support to our local Veteran community. 56 / SEPTEMBER 2020

Our Purpose The purpose of the San Diego Veterans Coalition (SDVC) is to serve the needs of San Diego regional Veterans, their families and significant others. We intend to improve collaboration and coordination among community service providers in all sectors (non-profit, county, state, federal, informal councils, Veteran groups) so that delivery of services is more comprehensive and Veteran Family-centric. Our Vision The vision of the SDVC is to honor the nation’s commitment to veterans, their families and significant others by leading collaboration among all potential partners, making the San Diego region a national model for a comprehensive, integrated system of community services. JOIN US The San Diego Veterans Coalition would like to get to know you and your organization! If you provide services to Veterans, their spouses, or families, please join us! Community members may attend SDVC events and meetings for free. If you’d like to apply to be an official SDVC member, please complete the Membership Form. Thank you for your interest! Meeting are the First Friday of each Month Join Zoom Meeting here Meeting ID: 940 0040 8025 Password: 041274

California Complete Count Census 2020 SDVC members support organizations serving military and veterans, their spouses and families.

Spouses Count Children Count Families Count Veterans Count / SEPTEMBER 2020


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What’s Happening? • Community Events • Community Press Releases • Entertainment & more... Military & Veteran Organizations • Post Your Events • Upcoming Programs • Resources & more...

GET CONNECTED! A Veterans Magazine for Veterans by Veterans Visit SD Vets today at: For details contact us (858) 275-4281

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www.SanDiegoVeterans - Publishing Date – The 1st of each month. - Space Reservation Deadline – Mid Month (Call for monthly details)

INSIDE THE ISSUES * Editorial Content Each Month Includes the following: • Monthly Featured Editorial Support, resources, inspiration and human interest articles from contributing veteran organizations throughout the country.

Join Us In 2020 San Diego’s BEST resource for San Diego veterans, transitioning military personnel, active military, military families & veteran organizations


• Veterans In Transition Educational Opportunities, Recruiting Civilian Jobs, Articles, Jobs for Vets, Careers in Law Enforcement & Veteran Entrepreneurship • HEALTHCARE Fighting PTSD, Healthcare , Research, Studies & more • Monthly Calendar Information Military & National Holidays, Including Events ( Airshow, Military/Veteran Film Festivals, Feet Week, City Job Fairs, EDU Seminars,Workshops etc...) • SD Vets Columns Transition, Financial, Legal, Health, Veteran Life, Arts, & more... • Community Endorsements Supporting businesses, organizations, educational institutions, community services and promotions for veterans, military personnel & military families. / SEPTEMBER 2020 - (858) 275-4281 -

2020 Editorial Calendar & Themes • JANUARY

Veterans Life 2020 Military, Veterans and Families 2020 Health 2020


Adaptive Sports Transition / Education Military Spouse & Family


Women’s History Month Brain Injury Awareness Month Month of the Military Caregiver


Month of the Military Child Transition - Health - Service


Memorial Day Issue National Military Appreciation Month


PTSD Awareness Month Mental Health Programs - Clinics

Editorial Additions July - Dec 2020 * Starting July 2020 - Added focus on health education & transition for active military and veterans to combatthe challenge of transitioning due to the effects of COVID-19


Independence Day Disabled Veterans Health - Transitioning to Civilian Life GI Bill - Education - Workshops & Guides Careers - Entrepreneurship


Summer Issue Purple Heart Day Tribute To Service Dogs Health - Transitioning to Civilian Life GI Bill - Education - Workshops & Guides Careers - Entrepreneurship


9/11 “Never Forget” Gold Star Mother’s Day National Suicide Prevention Month Health - Transitioning to Civilian Life GI Bill - Education - Workshops & Guides Careers - Entrepreneurship


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Holiday Issue / BEST of 2020 Pearl Harbor Remembrance Wreaths Across America Health - Transitioning to Civilian Life GI Bill - Education - Workshops & Guides Careers - Entrepreneurship

/ SEPTEMBER 2020 63 - (858) 275-4281 -

64 / SEPTEMBER 2020 / SEPTEMBER 2020


Welcome Aboard!


Volunteer Opportunities Now Available!

910 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 544-9600 •

66 / SEPTEMBER 2020