Kirstie Ennis: Going “Full Throttle”

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Kirstie Ennis

By Brady Rhoades

Veteran Kirstie Ennis is one of the best Paralympian snowboarders in the world, and she’s also eying the seven great summits, recently climbing 19,341-foot Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa and 16,024-foot Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia. On one leg.

As a Marine Corps sergeant. in Afghanistan—a helicopter door gunner—she wrecked a leg when the helicopter she was in crashed. That leg was amputated above the knee in 2015.

Her jaw was destroyed, she lost teeth, she injured discs in her spine, and she suffered facial lacerations, traumatic brain injury, and PTSD.

In the process of undergoing more than 40 surgeries, she came to a realization, acquiring a come-to-terms toughness and wisdom that would help motivate her to train as a snowboarder for the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang County, in the Gangwon region of South Korea.

And to attempt to conquer the tallest peaks on all seven continents.

Countless times a day, she repeats one of her mantras: Stop worrying about what you lost. Look at what you’ve got. Or: What counts is what’s behind your rib cage and six inches between your ears.

She’s only 26, but her near-death experience offered an invaluable lesson on how precious time is.

“I go full throttle,” she said. “I come up with obnoxious goals and I go after them.”

It’s hard to believe that this fifth-gear athlete chasing Paralympian goals—and literally ascending historic heights for an above-the-knee-amputee mountain climber—spent months in hospital beds, nearly lifeless, filled with doubt, enveloped in depression. She wondered how she’d ever get around, go on. What would she do? Would she ever wear a dress again? Would anyone ever be attracted to her?

Idle time can be a wounded warrior’s worst enemy. Fathers can be their best friends.

“Dad said, ‘People in the Middle East couldn’t kill you, and now you’re going to collapse?'” she recalls. “The light went on and I said, ‘I made it home. Nobody owes me a damn thing.'”

Kirstie Ennis

Ennis had to mine for the toughness that is at her core, but her sense of humor? That comes effortlessly.

The same year her leg was amputated, she participated in the Walking with the Wounded event, in which wounded warriors trek 1,000 miles, ending at Buckingham Palace in London. Ennis left dozens of dog tags bearing the names of fallen comrades along the way. She also met Prince Harry, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.

Prince Harry, not one to shirk his duties, logged many miles during the event. At one point, he turned to Ennis and complained that his knee ached.

“I looked over and was like, ‘That’s (expletive) cute, really,’” Ennis said. Prince Harry cracked up.

Ennis and Prince Harry became fast friends. At the conclusion of her walk, she presented the final dog tag to him.

Their embrace was photographed and zoomed across the wires, making her a celebrity in a matter of minutes.

For her service to the country, Ennis has earned the NATO Medal, Combat Action Wings with three gold stars, National Defense Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Air Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Afghanistan National Campaign Medal, two Letters of Appreciation, Certificate of Commendation, and a Certificate of Appreciation.

But who says you can’t be uber-tough and sexy?

ESPN called, asking her to grace the cover of ESPN The Magazine‘s 2017 Body Issue, with rather risqué photos of her on the inside pages. They wanted her to climb Joshua Tree, sans clothes.

She had her doubts. But Ennis tends to run toward challenges, toward fear.

“I thought about it and considered the demographic and the people Kirstie Ennisthat would see it, and I realized that it wasn’t about me anymore,” she said. “Any man, woman, or child facing some sort of adversity has the potential to be inspired by these pictures of someone who has only been missing her leg for a few years go out and do things she wasn’t doing with two legs.”

Ennis appeared in the Body Issue, along with other great athletes, such as Javier Baez (baseball), A.J. Andrews (softball), and Malakai Fekitoa (rugby).

The daughter of two Marines, Ennis enlisted out of Florida when she was 17 years old, in 2008. She served for four years as a helicopter door gunner and airframes mechanic when disaster struck on June 23, 2012.

While on her second deployment in Afghanistan, Ennis’ CH-53D helicopter crashed in the Helmand Province.

Badly injured, she fought to remain on active duty but was medically retired in 2014. After her below-the-knee amputation on November 23, 2015, Ennis contracted the antibiotic-resistant MRSA and, because of a resulting infection, doctors were forced to remove her knee a month later.

“A below-the-knee amputation is night-and-day from above-the-knee,” she said. “You have to relearn everything. You’re basically a toddler.”

When she was told that surgeons would have to perform above-the-knee surgery, she said she “lost it.” She cried. She wailed.

“It’s one curveball after another,” she said.

She still struggles, emotionally. “I’d be lying if I said it’s easy,” she said.

Two years after her life-altering surgery, she’s adapted, and she’s developed coping skills, which is a critical component of recovery.

Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t.

Set lofty goals.

Stay busy.

And true to her military training, be of service to others.

“When I’m having a bad day, I help someone who’s missing three limbs,” she said. “There’s this common misconception about what strength is. In the grand scheme of things, we’re in this together. You have to realize that you have to turn to somebody.”

Some of her best days involving helping other wounded warriors—whether it be through her notoriety as a star Paralympian or simply visiting a hospital.

“I know I’m on a platform,” she said. “I want to inspire people to reach their potential.”

She recalls a wounded warrior uttering eight words that she’ll never forget and that make her journey—as harrowing as it has been—worth it.

“You inspired me to walk another 10 steps,” the woman said.

 

Pro Soccer Player Becomes Army Officer

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1st Lt. Anthony Uriarte playing ball

By Sgt. Ian Ives

What would you give to serve your country? Would you turn down an opportunity to play a professional sport? Though soccer has always been a large part 1st Lt. Anthony Uriarte’s life, he declined multiple professional soccer contracts to follow his calling of being an officer in the United States Army.

Now a medical service officer with the 25th Sustainment Brigade, the 26-year-old Uriarte has led an interesting life due to his talent on the soccer field.

At the age of 15, Uriarte was selected to play on a team that would represent the United States on a tour of England and played many prestigious teams during the trip. Several years later, he found himself in college. “I was taking a physical education course and I remember this girl walking in, in an Army Combat Uniform one day, and I was like ‘What,'” said Uriarte. “At the time I didn’t know anything about the military, but I found it so interesting that you could be a student and be in the Army. She always came in on time, and acted very professional. I admired her for that.”

Recalling the female in ACU’s during his physical education class, Uriarte decided to research what the Reserve Officer Training Corps was. After looking at his options, Uriarte applied and was accepted into The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina.

After graduating in 2015 with a bachelor’s in political science with an emphasis on pre-law, Uriarte had to choose which branch of the Army he was going to commission into.

“One of my big things is figuring out what I can do to help other people,” said Uriarte. “So when I found out that I could commission as a medical service officer, I thought ‘That’s perfect.'”

After being commissioned and doing a year of gold-bar recruiting, Uriarte was stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division in 2016. While with the ‘Bronco’ brigade, he played on an Armed Forces Soccer team where a fellow player, who had played in All-Army Soccer before, suggested he try out for the team.

After being selected for the All-Army soccer team, Uriarte and his fellow players traveled to Fort 1st Lt. Anthony Uriarte playing ballBenning, Ga. to compete in the Armed Forces soccer tournament against the other branches of the military.

With 2017 came a new assignment in the form of an inter-post transfer to the 25th Sustainment Brigade and another year of All-Army Soccer. Tryouts were also different for Uriarte due to his selection the year prior, giving him an almost guaranteed position on the team.

“No matter what you tell yourself, no matter how much you prepare, when the referee blows that whistle… you’ll think to yourself, ‘Oh crap this is really happening!'” laughed Uriarte.

Since returning from the All-Army Team this year, Uriarte has begun coaching soccer for Hawaii Rush Youth Soccer for boys around the age of 15 years old. Coaching is something that Uriarte says he is becoming increasingly passionate about. He has even spoke with officials from Moanalua High School, Honolulu about becoming a coach for their soccer team.

“As unfortunate as it sounds we all have to get older,” said Uriarte. “Hopefully when my playing days over I will be able to step into a coaching position for All-Army. Even if I am not on the field playing, I can continue contributing in some way.”

Source: army.mil

10 Toughest Job Interview Questions — And How to Answer Successfully

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Interview questions

We’ve all been there—pleased that an interview was going really well until the interviewer threw out a real doozy of a question that you just don’t know how to answer. But you don’t have to panic.

We asked career coach Hallie Crawford to give us advice on how to answer the most difficult questions you’ve ever been asked. (Yes, we pulled them from real interviews.) Here’s how to answer each really well.

1. If your current employer had an anniversary party for you, what five words would be written on the cake to describe you?

While it may seem silly, “this question is designed to reveal how you think your manager perceives you,” Crawford says. “Before answering, ask yourself: how do your coworkers describe you? What did your manager commend you on recently?” With the answers to these questions in mind, “don’t be afraid to get a little creative with your reply,” Crawford says. But don’t be too verbose either. “You don’t want to give the impression that your anniversary cake would be too big,” she says, “so try and keep the words short and sweet.”

2. Who in history would you want to go to dinner with and why?

Before you answer this one, ask yourself whom you admire, past and present. “Perhaps a writer, an actor, a scientist, or even someone from your industry,” suggests Crawford. Then, consider, “what do you appreciate about their accomplishments? Why do they inspire you? Why do you feel that you would be friends? What would you want to discuss with them at dinner?” Crawford prompts you to ask yourself. “Use these elements when answering.”

3. Name a brand that represents you as a person.

Yep, not a brand you love—but one that embodies who you are. Now that’s a doozy. But it doesn’t have to be tough, Crawford says. “Think about your top personal values,” Crawford advises. “Now think about brands that also have those values. For example, if you value family and ethical practice, think about companies who are family-based, or create products for families who you know don’t do testing on animals, for example. Explain the values that you feel you share with the brand and why those values are important to you.”

4. Please describe an instance where you had to make a decision without all of the necessary information.

You came to the interview prepared, which means you have a list of accomplishments you can work from. Using an accomplishment for this question, “describe the situation and what information was missing and any measurable results achieved,” Crawford instructs. By using an accomplishment, you will show a hiring manager how you can persevere.

5. Sell me on one idea, and then sell me on the opposite of that idea.

“First of all, you want to think of an idea before you can start answering the question,” says Crawford. You may not have to come up with your own idea. “Ask the hiring manager if they have a specific idea in mind,” says Crawford. “If not, consider a recent idea that you discussed with your team or with coworkers. What was your position and why? What was the opposite position and why? Use those arguments. In this question, it is important that you sound convincing when presenting both ideas. This will provide insight into whether you are able to present ideas to your team—even if you don’t agree with the idea.”

6. If a coworker had an annoying habit, and it hindered your quality of work, how would you resolve it?

This may seem like a perplexing question, but it’s “designed to get to you how you deal with others,” explains Crawford. “Draw from a real-life experience if possible. What annoyed you? How did you resolve it? Is there a more effective way to handle the situation if it would happen again? Identify the annoying habit and then outline the steps you would take to try and resolve the situation while maintaining a good relationship with your coworker.”

7. What part of the newspaper do you read first? What does this say about you?

“This kind of question is asked to get to know you better as a person,” says Crawford. And while “at first glance, this seems a fairly easy question,” she says, it’s not. So, “before you answer, think about what genre of articles appeals to you: technology, fashion, current events,” Crawford advises. “Now determine if there is a way to link the genre that appeals to you as a professional. For example, if you are drawn to articles about technology, you could explain that your love of technology means that you enjoy learning new ways of doing things, you are open to change, and look to stay on top of current trends.”

8. Throw your resume aside and tell me what makes you you.

This is another question designed not to trip you up, Crawford says, but to get to know you better. “Keep in mind that they may have looked you up online and have your cover letter, so do your best not to just repeat something they have already read about you,” she says. “Instead, is there a background story about how you got into your industry? Can you explain your unique selling proposition—why you are unique in your industry? Or, you could explain your top three values and why they are important to you.”

9. What’s wrong with your past or current employer?

At all costs, “remember that you want to avoid bashing your current or past employer and the company,” warns Crawford. “This question is designed to find out why you are looking for a new job. Instead of focusing on them, focus on you. Are you looking for more career growth that what is offered where you currently work? Or a more challenging position?”

10. Tell me about the worst manager you ever had.

Before you bash your last boss, “remember that your hiring manager has your resume and knows where you have worked, so your managers won’t be completely anonymous,” warns Crawford. “However, you might explain a type of management style that wasn’t ideal for you. And if you haven’t had a bad manager, don’t make one up. Let the hiring manager know that you honestly have gotten along with your previous managers, and focus on how you are able to work with different personality and management styles.”

The article was originally posted on Glassdoor.com

Defense News Lists DynCorp International to 2018 Top 100

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DynCorp

McLean, VA – (August, 2018) – Defense News has included DynCorp International (DI) in its Top 100 for 2018 list, ranking DI at number 54 according to 2017 defense revenue figures.

In 2017, DI’s total defense revenue was $1.5 billion and made up 75 percent of the company’s total revenue for the year.

Data for the Top 100 list comes from information Defense News solicited from companies, companies’ annual reports and Defense News staff research.

About Defense News

Defense News provides the global defense community with the latest news and analysis on defense programs, policy, business and technology through its bureaus and reporters around the world. Their coverage circulates to top leaders and decision makers around the world.

About DynCorp International
DynCorp International is a leading global services provider offering unique, tailored solutions for an ever-changing world. Built on over seven decades of experience as a trusted partner to commercial, government and military customers, DI provides sophisticated aviation, logistics, training, intelligence and operational solutions wherever we are needed. DynCorp International is headquartered in McLean, Va. For more information, visit our blogs Inside DI or DI at Work or follow DynCorp International on Twitter.

From Service to Startup: Cars, Charity, and Community Service

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Gary-Peterson

Your first business plan. Your first employee. The training course that gives you an edge in the marketplace. Finding a mentor. Receiving the capital you need to expand your business. The turning point when long, hard hours begin to pay off in steady streams of income.

It’s the moment you realize you had an idea that worked—an idea you turned into a business. A dream that became reality.

Each of these pivotal moments—no matter how big or small—is a moment that matters in the veteran entrepreneurship journey. They represent growth, employment, service, delivery, and freedom.

In the United States, nearly one in 10 businesses—or approximately 2.5 million—are veteran-owned. These veteran-owned businesses contribute approximately $1.4 trillion to the nation’s total sales/receipts per year, making them a critical pillar of the American economy. The SBA works to empower these veteran entrepreneurs by providing the resources and access to opportunity required for business ownership. Since its inception in 2013, SBA’s Boots to Business (B2B) and Boots to Business Reboot program have served over 60,000 service members, veterans, and military spouses. From breweries and used car dealerships to software consulting and IT sales, these Boots to Business graduates have transitioned from service members to business owners.

Gary Peterson is a retired U.S. Air Force (USAF) Major and owner of One Community Auto in New Mexico. Peterson’s One Community Auto is the product of a lifelong passion for automobiles combined with his post-service mission of giving back to the community. Since its inception, the business has grown exponentially and was named one of SCORE’s 2017 Small Business Champions.

Bringing Business to Life

Peterson joined the Air Force out of high school and served approximately 23 years before retiring in Albuquerque. A few months after retiring, Peterson actually worked as a Business Advisor at his local Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) in Albuquerque.

“Gary Peterson is one of our most successful business owners,” said Richard Coffel, Director of the New Mexico VBOC. “Actually—he got the bug to start a business while working here at our VBOC as the Business Advisor. By helping other veterans, Gary saw how to conquer most of the challenges when starting a business and applied these newly learned traits to start his own small business.”

During his tenure as an advisor, Peterson decided to take the Boots to Business course, dusting off a business idea he had temporarily put on the shelf.

“I’d always been a huge car nut and had an affinity for fixing them up. Plus, I was a transportation and mechanical guy during my time with USAF,” said Peterson. “I loved community service and had this crazy business idea that combined the two. Taking Boots to Business—both the in-person and eight-week follow-on—helped me put my ideas together in a comprehensive business plan.”

“I came on board as Gary’s replacement, and found him to be one of the most knowledgeable, hungry entrepreneurs I have had the pleasure of working with,” said Coffel. “He is constantly seeking higher and higher challenges.”

For Peterson, Boots to Business opened the door to several SBA resources that were integral to his business success.

“Before B2B, I didn’t fully understand how to operate and grow a business. B2B helped me start my business and most importantly, connect me with resources I needed in the startup phase—such as bookkeeping, financing, and marketing,” said Peterson. “It opened my eyes to what it takes to be a business owner. Once I decided to pursue business ownership, B2B gave me the direction I needed and the steps to take to get started.”

Peterson tapped into the SBA ecosystem, harnessing the power of SBA resource partners to make the most of his business concept. After connecting with the Albuquerque Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) (link is external), Peterson also developed relationships with the local Small Business Development Center (link is external) (SBDC), SCORE (link is external), SBA District Office, and the Procurement Technical Assistance Program (link is external) (PTAP). Peterson’s sister, who helps with front office operations, even leveraged the Women’s Business Center (link is external) on behalf of One Community Auto.

“B2B started this chain reaction of business networking for me,” said Peterson. “I’ve worked closely with my VBOC—in fact, they’re the ones who recommended SCORE’s Emerging Leaders course. All of the SBA resources have continued to mentor and provide me with the tools I need to grow.”

The One Community Auto Motto: Everybody Wins

A unique idea to say the least, One Community Auto is a used car dealership that raises money for local charities through refurbished car sales. Once One Community Auto receives a car donation—usually a rundown model—they refurbish and then sell the donated car at their Albuquerque retail lot. They characterize the business model as a win-win for every party involved.

“Generally, when charities go through auctions, they only receive 1-20% of the sale,” said Peterson. “When the charities go through us, they’re able to receive 55-60% of the car sale. The car donor receives a much higher tax deduction as well.”

In the end, the donor receives a higher tax deduction than they would via a traditional charity auction; the charity receives a higher percentage of the sale; and the new car owner purchases a vehicle for a lower price than they would from a traditional used car dealership.

2017 Small Business Champion and Beyond

When Peterson first started One Community Auto in 2013, he was the sole employee, had one charity partner, and a total year one revenue of $26,000. Within four years, his business has grown to partner with 16 local charities and employ five people (including one part-time veteran). Now a fully profitable business, Peterson intends to expand One Community Auto and its services across the state of New Mexico—ultimately aiming for a nationwide presence with franchise units in every state.

“Gary has utilized every resource available to him, including the VBOC, SBDC, and SCORE,” said Coffel. “He has learned so much in such a short time that we actually put him on a contract to teach the Boots to Business course at our military installations. His ability to relate to the young entrepreneurs at these classes has proven to be current real-time experiences that students can tremendously benefit from.”

For veterans seeking business ownership or self-employment, Peterson provides a few key takeaways from his own entrepreneurial journey.

  • Create a business plan as soon as possible. Even if the plan is preliminary, a one-page business model canvas helps you at least sketch out your ideas. “If you’re still taking courses, focus them on business-related topics like marketing, accounting, sales, public speaking and so on,” said Peterson.
  • Take advantage of all available resources. Get help early with resources, especially those offered by the SBA. “The easiest thing to do is get some help and mentorship through VBOC, SBDC (link is external), SCORE (link is external), and other similar organizations. They can guide you through everything you need to do to be successful,” said Peterson. “They want to see you succeed.”
  • Use your military experience to guide the way—and don’t forget to take care of yourself. “The military teaches you how to be mission-focused, disciplined, a problem solver, and also a team player,” said Peterson. “Most importantly, the military teaches you how to take care of yourself in order to withstand stress. Use what you learned to carry you through your business ownership journey.”

If you’re a veteran, service member—including National Guard and Reserve, or a military spouse interested in starting, purchasing, or growing a business, tap into OVBD’s resource network today. To learn more about Boots to Business, or to sign up to attend the next two-day course in your area, visit sba.gov/B2B.

Source: sba.gov

Wes Studi: ‘A True Warrior’

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Wes Studi-Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

By Brady Rhoades

Actor Wes Studi, who delivered a historic and stirring tribute to veterans at the 2018 Oscars, saw a generation of veterans return from Vietnam only to be cast aside by many of their countrymen and women.

He never wants to see that again.

That’s why the Vietnam veteran, who starred in Dances with Wolves, The Last of the Mohicans, and Hostiles visits military bases and attends Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) conventions.

“It’s almost intimidating because I don’t know exactly how it is for them,” he said. “I know what it was like for us… It was drummed into us to take care of yourself and take care of your buddies.”

And it’s why he urges citizens to support veterans.

“I think the thing you can do is be active politically and fix up the VA,” he said.

Back in March, Studi became the first Native American presenter at the Oscars.

“As a veteran, I am always appreciative when filmmakers bring to the screen stories of those who have served,” Studi said on stage. “Over 90 years of the Academy Awards, a number of movies with military themes have been honored at the Oscars. Let’s take a moment to pay tribute to these powerful films that shine a great spotlight on those who have fought for freedom around the world.”

Photo: BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Chief Phillip Whiteman Jr., Lynette Two Bulls, Byron Allen, Christian Bale, Carolyn Folks, Scott Cooper, Q’Orianka Kilchar, Rory Cochran and Wes Studi attends the premiere of “Hostiles” (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Audience members and viewers saw clips from famous films.

The 90th annual Academy Awards were memorable for many reasons, but the most talked-about moment might have been when Studi, who is Cherokee, concluded his address in Cherokee.

Veterans appreciated it. Native Americans appreciated it. Veterans who are Native Americans really appreciated it.

“Both groups hadn’t gotten much mention at the Oscars,” said Studi, 70. “Some people feel like they’ve been forgotten, left out of the process.”

Studi was inundated with emails and letters. Social media erupted. One woman on Twitter said, “A proud moment and true role model for our youth … a true warrior.”

Wes Studi was born in a Cherokee family in Nofire Hollow, Oklahoma, a rural area in eastern Oklahoma, where Cherokees have lived since the Trail of Tears. He is the son a housekeeper and a ranch hand. Until he attended elementary school, he spoke only Cherokee. He attended Chilocco Indian Agricultural School for high school and graduated in 1964; his vocational major was in dry cleaning.

At 17, Studi enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard and worked through Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training at Ft. Polk, Louisiana.

Studi volunteered for active service and went to Vietnam with A Company of the 3rd Battalion 39th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. He served 12 months in Vietnam.

Those 12 months changed his life.

“I discovered what being in combat is,” he said. “What sticks out most is you’re with your buddies and you’re going to take care of each other.”

He remembers the terror and violence of war, but also the natural beauty of Vietnam and the joys of friendship.

“There’s a resilient spirit in human nature,” he said. “You’re going to enjoy yourself no matter the situation.”

He also recalls that the U.S. military could not have cared less about his—or anyone else’s—ethnicity. He was a soldier.

“I was treated well,” he said. “The fact that I was Cherokee didn’t have anything to do with anything.”

Photo: ORLANDO, FL Wes Studi, Joel David Moore, Sam Worthington, Stephen Lang, James Cameron, Zoe Saldana, C. C. H. Pounder, Sigourney Weaver and Laz Alonso attends the Pandora The World Of Avatar Dedication (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)

After his discharge, he became an activist for Native American causes and tried making a living in many ways, including bull riding. In hindsight, he realizes that the war had awakened in him the need to confront fear and to feel the rush of adrenaline that comes with conquering your fears.

A friend convinced him to get involved in community theater. It didn’t take much coaxing. Theater was a good place to meet women, his friend told him. It turned out to offer even more than that.

“What I saw in community theater was you could learn your lines and do rehearsals and all of that, but finally opening night shows up and you’re in the wings and I rediscovered that huge wall of fear,” he said. “And to me, that provided excitement.”

It took him years of toil and sweat, but he broke into Hollywood with a role in The Trial of Standing Bear in 1988. His acting career had lifted from the launch-pad. His star burst brightly in the 1990s; movie-goers came to know him as a proud and fierce warrior in Dances and Mohicans.

Thirty years after making his screen debut, Studi was standing in front of 50 million-plus viewers, worldwide, at the Oscars.

He was coming off the 2017 release of Hostiles, in which he plays Chief Yellow Hawk, an aging, ailing Cheyenne warrior who—sometime in the 1890s—is escorted back to his tribal home in Montana by Capt. Joseph Blocker, played by actor Christian Bale.

Michael Ordona of Common Sense Media reviewed the movie and was impressed by one unexpected aspect of it.

“The most original thing about Hostiles is its rare depiction of PTSD in the Old West,” Ordona wrote. “Here, Bale and his lieutenant (Rory Cochrane) play soldiers who’ve been at it too long, seen too much, and done too many things they can’t really justify. When one confesses he’s got ‘the melancholia,’ it’s dismissed out of hand—just as the idea that war and a life of violence can cause injuries that can’t be seen wasn’t widely accepted until fairly recently. As Blocker, Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) and Rosalie share dangers and develop trust, the film’s theme of how a traumatic existence can change people—and yet the good in them might still prevail—becomes clear.”

According to the Wounded Warrior Project, about 400,000 veterans of battles in Afghanistan and Iraq live with the invisible wounds of war, including combat stress, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), depression and PTSD. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs has conducted studies that show there are 22 veteran suicides a day, or about 8,000 a year.

We’ve come a long way since the Old West. But we’ve got a long way to go, Studi said. “We’ve got to find assistance for people with PTSD and other conditions,” he said.

He added that we’ve got to do more than thank veterans for their service (although that’s always appreciated). Veterans, especially those who’ve been wounded and traumatized, need above all hope, and hope is realized when they see marked improvements in their lives.

“It’s pretty simple,” he said. “Support anything that has to do with the betterment of veterans.”

 

LEGOLAND California Offers free military admission in August

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Legoland entrance

ACTIVE U.S. MILITARY PLAYS FREE IN AUGUST! As a “THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!” LEGOLAND® California Resort is inviting all active U.S. Military personnel to receive FREE unlimited admission to LEGOLAND®, SEA LIFE Aquarium and LEGOLAND Water Park!

LEGO® City: Deep Sea Adventure ride has a new fleet of submarines and the resort invites you to ride the 22,000 pound sea vessels. To redeem, visit any LEGOLAND California Resort ticket booth or guest service window to show your active duty U.S. Military ID and receive one same day, 1-Day Resort Hopper ticket.

Feel free to visit as many times as you’d like in the month of August!

3  Easy Ways to Buy U.S. Military Friends & Family Tickets:

All non-acitve U.S. Military, plus friends & family can purchase 3-Day LEGOLAND Resort Hoppers for less than $29 per day!

  • Visit your Military Ticket Office located on Military bases – Best Rate!
  • Purchase online at LEGOLAND.com/Military – Save up to 50%
  • Go to a LEGOLAND California ticket booth – Save up to 10%

Visit Legoland.com/california for all the details.

Larry Broughton: Warrior in the Boardroom—Meditation for Beginners

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Meditation

You may think meditation is just for crossed legged gurus or new-age followers, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Anyone (and everyone) can meditate, and derive its many mental, physical, and spiritual health benefits.

Mediation has been practiced for thousands of years, and has become a vital part of the lives of many professional athletes, CEOs, hardened military veterans, and parents alike because of its many benefits. During meditation, you develop intentional focus—minimizing random thoughts about the past or future. Meditation can help with concentration, relaxation, inner peace, stress reduction and fatigue. Because it may also help reduce blood pressure, relieve anxiety, depression, pain and insomnia, many current service members and transitioning veterans are finding mediation to be a valuable tool to combat the rigors of everyday life, in and out of uniform.

Meditation is a combination of focus and relaxation (not strictly one or the other). Those who practice the art of meditation say they come away with a greater level of concentration, awareness, positivity, and restful nature throughout the day. The more you practice mediation, the quicker you can tap into that feeling of bliss … and the more likely you’ll find peace throughout your busy day.

There’s no need to go to a yoga center or seek out a teacher. You just need a quiet place in your home, or maybe even your office with the door closed. There are many ways to meditate, but the simplest approach is often the best, and that means taking away the negative thoughts that intrude on a positive attitude, and replacing the negative with the positive. The goal is to achieve calmness and focus, and with consistent practice, it will happen.

An overwhelming number of leaders and high-achievers suffer from stress, and meditation is a good way to reduce it. Stress interferes with concentration and actually makes you sick, but meditation is the perfect way to cope with it. When we clear the clutter of stress from our mind, we’re able to focus more and be calm.

You don’t have to have total silence during your period of meditation, and it doesn’t have to be a long time. Ten or 15 minutes will do, but go as long as practical and makes you feel good (six minutes works for me each day as part of my morning routine). If you’ve never meditated before, start with two minutes, and work your way up in 30- or 60-second increments each day. Some folks have never tried to silence their mind or thoughts in the past, and may find this “exercise” to be uncomfortable or difficult at first. But, like anything new, give it a chance, and stick to it for 30 days … I promise you’ll find it well worth your time and effort.

Your level of silence is up to you. Some prefer to shut out all audible and visible stimuli. Some like to have soothing music in the background. Some like to be in total darkness, while others like to sit near a sunlit window. And, yes, one or two scented candles could be used.

No need to worry about twisting your body into a pretzel during meditation. Find a position that’s comfortable for you. The goal isn’t discomfort. It’s peace of mind. But not sleep. If you find yourself drifting off to sleep, realize that this isn’t meditation, nor the goal. A good posture helps, whether standing or sitting. It aids in breathing.

Clothes should be loose and comfortable to aid in circulation.

Where does the mantra, or humming come in? Repeating the one-syllable words like “Om” or “hummm” helps clear your mind and focus your thoughts on the meditation itself. It’s hard to think of other distractions when you’re concentrating on repeating your mantra.

“Om” is said to represent the one-ness of all creation, including the heavens, earth and underworld.

If you want to take a class with others, you can; but if you’re the self-starter type, you can find many guided mediations on YouTube that fit your style and level of comfort.

What’s been your experience with mediation? Are you up to a 30-day mediation challenge? Let me know about your experience.

La Fleet Week 2018 Navy Film Festival To Celebrate 100 Years Of Navy In Hollywood

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Fleet Week 2018

SAN PEDRO, Calif. – Featuring black-and-white to modern-era films, LA Fleet Week® 2018 presented by Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime Video will include a Labor Day Weekend Navy Film Festival at the iconic Warner Grand Theatre in downtown San Pedro. 

The Festival will celebrate the century-long relationship between the US Navy and the world-renowned film industry that has brought military life, storylines and battle realities to the big screen since 1918.

“This Festival marks a milestone for the US Navy and Hollywood, highlighting the ways that movies have—and will continue to—shape what we think about the military, as well as the men and women who serve,” said US Navy retired Rear Admiral Mike Shatynski, co-founder and board member of the LA Fleet Week Foundation. “As a kid growing up in LA, military-themed movies definitely were something that influenced my decision to serve my country and see the world.”

The festival will also commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Fleet Combat Camera units, groups of service personnel assigned to filming and documenting the history and activities of the US Navy and other branches.  Since World War II, Combat Camera footage has been featured in Hollywood movies and Navy documentaries, and used for military training and educational purposes. The Festival will honor the Navy’s Combat Camera unit, which is slated to be decommissioned this year.

The film festival will screen six different classic films from Sept. 1-3 at the historic Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, with each night featuring a different theme. The first film each night will be shown at 5:00 p.m. and the second at 8:15 p.m. The first episode of the new series “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” will be shown between each feature film, compliments of Amazon Prime Video.

FILM FESTIVAL SCHEDULE
·        Saturday, Sept. 1 – Marine Corps Night
o   “Sands of Iwo Jima” – John Wayne WWII classic, 1949
o   Battle: Los Angeles” – Marine Corps versus aliens in Los Angeles, 2011

·        Sunday, Sept. 2 – Navy Air Night
o   “Hell Divers” – Classic fighter pilot film starring Clark Gable and Wallace Beery, filmed aboard first aircraft carriers, 1931
o   “Top Gun” – Modern-day fighter pilot classic starring Tom Cruise, filmed aboard carriers with full Navy cooperation, 1986

·        Monday, Sept. 3 – Navy Ships & Subs
o   “Mister Roberts” – Classic comedy starring Henry Fonda, Jack Lemmon and James Cagney about a Navy cargo ship serving in the South Pacific in the waning days of WWII, 1955
o   “Hunt for Red October” – American espionage thriller adapted from the Tom Clancy best-selling novel, 1990

Ticket sales start each day at 4:00 p.m., with doors opening at 4:30 p.m.  Admission is free for all active military, veterans and children under three years, and $5.00 (cash only) for all others. For theater location, details and most up-to-date information, visit lafleetweek.com.

Since its first venture into Hollywood more than a century ago, the US Navy has been recognized with three Academy awards for films it has produced, including Best Documentary Feature (“The Battle of Midway”) and Best Documentary Short Subject (“December 7th”) in 1943, and Best Documentary Feature (“The Fighting Lady”) in 1945.

About LA Fleet Week® 2018 presented by “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” on Amazon Prime Video
LA Fleet Week is an annual, multi-day celebration of our nation’s Sea Services held on the LA Waterfront at the Port of Los Angeles.  Free to the public, the Labor Day Weekend event features public ship tours, military displays, equipment demonstrations, live entertainment, a kids’ STEM Expo, aerial demonstrations, the LA Fleet Week® 2018 Navy Film Festival, the 10th Annual Conquer the Bridge Labor Day morning 5.3-mile walk/run over the Vincent Thomas Bridge, the LA Fleet Week 5 on 5 Basketball Tournament, and a Galley Wars presented by Princess Cruises culinary cook-off competition between Sailor, Marine, Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy teams.

LA Fleet Week is organized by the LA Fleet Week Foundation, in partnership with the Port of Los Angeles and City of Los Angeles.  Other LA Fleet Week 2018 sponsors include Amazon Prime Video, the Annenberg Foundation, Outfront Media, Delta Air Lines, Bob Hope USO, American Legion Post, Battleship IOWA, Princess Cruises, Andeavor, Clyde & Co., Providence Little Company of Mary, Sam’s Club and South Coast Plaza.

For more information, visit lafleetweek.org

2018 Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year overcomes invisible injuries to help fellow veterans, community

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DAV's Callie Rios-Disabled Veteran of the Year

Transforming adversity into a life of service, “Callie brings heart. And brings kindness to the chapter. She helps bring unity, helps bring some of the glue of the organization together.”

By Charity Edgar

When Callie Rios joined the military, she took an oath to defend her country and was prepared to face any enemy on behalf of the nation.

But she never expected to be attacked by a fellow soldier.

“I joined the military because I was a single parent, and I was looking for better job opportunities, a better life for my child,” explained Rios of her decision to enlist at age 18. “I followed in my family’s footsteps and became the first female in my family to join the military.”

Rios’ first duty station was in South Korea, and she thrived in the Army. But life was about to change drastically when she returned stateside.

“There was a turning point in my military career at Fort Knox when I was the victim of a sexual assault,” recalled Rios. “It really changed my perspective. I did not really find much support in my unit; I didn’t really find much support anywhere. It was a very lonely time for me.

“I came back out of it, and now I’m ready to help other women who were in the same situation as I was.” Rios is active in DAV Chapter 58 in Midland, Texas, serving as the junior vice commander.

“Callie brings heart. And brings kindness to the chapter,” said Chris Molsbee, the chapter’s senior vice commander. “[She] helps bring unity, helps bring some of the glue of the organization together.”

Molsbee emphasized that having Rios onboard has been critical for engaging other women veterans. He also commended her volunteer efforts.

“As the junior vice commander of the chapter, she is an intricate part of all of the charity events that we do,” said Molsbee.

In 2017, the chapter raised the most funds nationwide—more than $40,000—during Golden Corral’s Military Appreciation Night at the restaurant location in neighboring Odessa.

Rios is especially proud of her efforts to support fellow women veterans and military sexual trauma survivors. In 2017, Rios spearheaded a women veterans conference, Heroes in Heels, sponsored by the chapter. Incorporating mental health practitioners for former servicewomen with invisible wounds was an event priority.

“During our last year’s conference we had clinicians here that could talk to first responders, that could talk to veterans and kind of give them some insight on where they can get help and how they can get help,” explained Rios, who previously served as a deputy sheriff, patrolman and public safety officer in her civilian career.

“They also got to see some of us female veterans out there just rocking it, making sure everybody is taken care of, working toward a better future for all of our veterans,” she added. “It shows them there’s good things, there’s still good people, there’s still good things in life to be had.”

Rios understands firsthand how difficult it can be to overcome injuries that are invisible to everyone Callie Rios-Disabled Veteran of the Yearelse. She channels the trauma she sustained in the Army into supporting fellow veterans. This personal experience is what drives her commitment to ensuring others don’t hesitate to seek out mental health assistance.

Rios also invests a lot of time at Midland College. Previously a student veteran, Rios now holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, so she understands the unique challenges former service members face on campus.

“She reaches out to people. She doesn’t sit back and wait for them to call her,” said Kay Schipper, an Air Force veteran and the VA coordinator for Midland College. “She’s always been there when I’ve called her when I’ve had a need, or a student [veteran]’s having a need.” Navy veteran Daniel Ortega agreed.

“Any program that DAV can touch to help the veterans lives improve, she’s all over it. It doesn’t take anything but a phone call to get her attention and to get her involved in that veteran’s life,” said Ortega, a graduate turned employee at the college.

Rios’ dedication to giving back extends beyond serving her fellow veterans. She also supports her community as a volunteer in the Texas State Guard, a military force that supports humanitarian missions throughout the state by augmenting the Texas Army National Guard and Texas Air National Guard.

After an honorable discharge from the Army, Rios found herself missing the sense of belonging she had found in the military.

“I was looking for something to help me transition to civilian life, and the Texas State Guard gave me a home,” she said.

“[Staff] Sgt. Rios has almost nine years in the Texas State Guard, which speaks to her volunteerism,” said Col. Jeremy Franklin, who commands the 39th Regiment. “Sgt. Rios actually deployed in response to Hurricane Harvey. She worked in an American Red Cross shelter operation. She also served in a pod, which is where we dispense supplies to civilians impacted by the disaster.”

There is another group of people who benefit from Rios’ dedication to giving back: her kids. “I think volunteering sets an example for them,” said Rios. “They see me do it, they want to do it, and it gives them more exposure to other people, and it also teaches them values.”

“I am proud to honor Callie for her commitment to veterans, her family, local community, Texas and the nation,” said DAV National Commander Delphine Metcalf-Foster. “Her resilience as a survivor of military sexual trauma and commitment to supporting men and women battling invisible injuries undoubtedly provides inspiration to our fellow injured veterans and their families. Her humble spirit and positive attitude are living testaments to DAV’s mission of empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity.”

“I volunteer and I give back so much because I love people,” Rios stated. “If they can find a piece of my story that connects with them and helps them in any kind of way, it’s worth it for me.”

 

Hankook Tire Hosts DAV Honorees at 2018 MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard

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DAV MLB Attendees at baseball park

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Master Sergeant Jeff Johnson and Captain Jonathan Moak have at least two things in common: First, they’re avid baseball fans. Second – and more importantly – they serve in the United States military.

Photo Left to right: Master Sergeant Jeff Johnson, Deonne Johnson, Captain Jonathan Moak.

Hankook Tire America Corp., the Official Tire of Major League Baseball, thanked Johnson and Moak for their service by hosting them as honored guests at the 2018 MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday, July 17 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

The rapidly growing global tire company welcomed Moak, Johnson and Johnson’s wife, Deonne, as part of its relationship with DAV [Disabled American Veterans], which selected the honorees. Hankook also invited its special guests to spend time in its suite, where they spoke with company leadership and met Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr.

“The game was fantastic,” said Johnson, a resident of La Plata, Maryland who has served as an Aircraft Ordinance Specialist and Flight Chief in the United States Air National Guard. “Having the opportunity to see the best players up close like this is, of course, wonderful.”

Moak, a Captain in the United States Army Reserve from Alexandria, Virginia, agreed.

“The experience was incredible, and visiting the suite hosted by Hankook Tire America Corp. leadership was a very special time,” Moak said.

Johnson’s 20-year Air Force career includes three tours in Iraq and stints in Turkey, Curacao and at bases across the United States. Moak deployed as an Infantry Officer in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and recently transitioned to the Individual Ready Reserve after 13 years of service. Both are DAV members who ardently believe in the organization’s mission.

“DAV provides the connection for veterans to the benefits earned through service to country,” said Moak. “DAV helps vets transition to civilian life and gives the resources and tools necessary to do so.”

“My experience with [DAV] as I am transitioning to retirement has been exceptional,” Johnson said. “They provide highly knowledgeable professionals, free of charge, to help separating military members get all required information squared away and confirm we can access the benefits and services we’ve earned.”

The ticket giveaway is one of many ways Hankook Tire America Corp. is serving DAV in 2018. The company is partnering with tire dealers to host 12 mobile service stops, gave $175,000 to the organization and will sponsor a new seven-passenger DAV Transportation Network vehicle that will drive Nashville-area veterans to their medical appointments.

“Hankook Tire was delighted to host these courageous guests at the 2018 MLB All-Star Game,” said Wes Boling, Public Relations Manager for Hankook Tire America Corp. “As we enter our fourth year of partnership with DAV, we are honored to have an opportunity to serve those who have served us.”

To learn more about Hankook Tire’s relationship with DAV, visit www.dav.org/hankook.

About Hankook Tire America Corp.

Hankook Tire America Corp. is a growing leader in the U.S. tire market, leveraging investments in technology, manufacturing and marketing to deliver high-quality, reliable products that are safer for consumers and the environment. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, Hankook America markets and distributes a complete line of high-performance and ultra-high-performance passenger tires, light truck and SUV tires as well as medium truck and bus tires in the United States. Hankook Tire America is a subsidiary of Hankook Tire Co., Ltd., a Forbes Global 2000 company headquartered in Seoul, Korea, and led by President and CEO Hyun Bum Cho.

About DAV

DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; providing employment resources to veterans and their families and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a non-profit organization with more than 1 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932. Learn more at dav.org.