One Pedal at a Time

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Dan Hurd standing behind his bike which has several personal belongings tied to it.

Dan Hurd’s infectious smile and true contentment rests gently with him wherever he goes. But this hasn’t always been the case. There have been many days where the voices of fear, shame, depression, and anxiety have made it hard to smile and trust others.

The years of sexual abuse, PTSD from time served in the military, battling years of painful addictions, and struggling to ever have any real peace eventually lead to him believing this life just wasn’t worth living anymore.

After multiple failed suicide attempts, Hurd was invited to go on a weekend ride with friends that would inevitably change the course of his life forever. Here’s his personal account:

In 2017, I was in a dark place in life. I had tried to commit suicide for the third time and felt like my life was this dark void. After I was released from the hospital, I was in the stage of telling everyone I was better, but deep down, I still had no idea how to change my life or what direction to go in.

My best friend had tried for years to get me to go bicycling with him with no success. He was an avid rider and I never really had the motivation to join him. I rode motorcycles, and in my mind, it would be a downgrade.

This time though, for several reasons, I ended up taking him up on his offer. With nothing to lose, I decided to ride with him and two mutual friends. We rode 20 miles. It felt good in the moment but I still felt the same after. A few days later we rode again. This time 30 miles. Again, in the moment riding felt good, but this feeling of being in a void lingered. What changed everything was the third ride I took with him the following weekend. We took a 166-mile trip.

I remember in the first half falling asleep while riding and barely made it to our destination. What helped me get through was the encouragement of my friend, who told me, “stop worrying about what we’ve done and don’t worry about what we got left; it’s left, right, left, one pedal at a time.” After that trip everything changed.

I realized what got me through it wasn’t worrying about the past or the future but only living in the moment. Taking it “one pedal at a time” became my mantra and my turning point. Hearing that was like someone throwing a glow stick in the void. My void wasn’t as deep as I thought.

I fell in love with bicycling and started planning longer trips. I became addicted, but it was a better addiction then my past choices of alcohol and drugs.

After only a few months of riding, I knew that I needed to do something EPIC.

Cycling proved to be so transformational for Hurd that he decided to sell everything he had, get a bike and begin a journey around the country, visiting fellow veterans he had served with in the Navy. He traveled across 48 states in the continental United States. As the trip went along, it was obvious that it was meant to be more than just a trip to visit friends. The journey totaled 25,000 miles in about three years to raise awareness for suicide prevention. “Broken down on a daily basis that’s 22 miles a day, and that’s my dedication to service members that lose their battle every day to suicide,” Hurd said.

His deep passion to share his gift of cycling with others, along with his desire to raise awareness about suicide prevention, was how the One Pedal At A Time Movement was created.

Now after 20+ states and thousands of miles later, you’re invited to be a part of this journey and learn to take life, one petal at a time. Join the movement! #OPAATMOVEMENT

To learn more, visit: ridewithdanusa.com or opaatmovement.com

Post Military Education – 5 Questions You Should Ask Before Going Back to School

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Series with a female as a solidier in an United States Army uniform. Numerous props convey a variety of concepts.

Post Military Education – Going back to school is one of life’s big choices. And like all major decisions, it might feel a little overwhelming — particularly if you’re just starting to navigate the civilian world again after military service.

Make it a little easier by breaking your decision down into smaller steps. If you’re on the fence about whether to continue your education, here are five questions you can ask yourself before taking the leap back into school.

 Happy military student in camouflage uniform and graduate cap standing on copy space background

What is my goal? (Or what do I want to be when I grow up?) 

This one tops our list for a reason. Once you have an answer to this critical question, you can start working backwards. Before you commit money and time to returning to school, think about what you hope to achieve by continuing your post military education and where you see your civilian career taking you. You don’t want to take courses without an endgame in mind because then you might end up with classes you don’t need.

If you’re not sure of your goal, consider the skills you mastered in the military and how they might translate to a civilian career. Evaluate your strengths using a test, like with the CareerScope Assessment at the Department of Veterans to identify potential job courses. See a career counselor or find someone in your field of interest to meet with or even shadow for a day. But you don’t have to do any of this alone. The VA also offers free career and educational counseling to those who are about to leave the military or who have recently transitioned.

 Veteran African Man Person Education. Army Soldier - Post Military Education

What should I study?

Once you’ve decided on a career path, it’s time to choose a program of study for your post military education. If you want to work at VA, you can pick from just about any program. As the largest integrated health care system in the nation, we employ hundreds of thousands of clinical and non-clinical staff across the country. We have job opportunities across the spectrum of careers, not just in health care.

 

Where should I go to school?

There are thousands of colleges in the U.S., ranging from two-year technical schools to four-year liberal arts schools. Narrow down your list by finding a school that offers the program you’re interested in and is located nearby if you plan to attend in person. You might also want to consider a school with an active veteran community and resources for former military for post military education.

 The soldier's military tokens are on dollar bills. Concept: cost - Post Military Education

Can I afford it?

We want to make sure the answer to this question is a definitive yes. As a veteran, you may be eligible to receive funding for some or all of your college, graduate school or post military education training program through the GI Bill — not to mention the generous scholarships, loan repayment and reimbursement and partner programs with colleges and universities that are available to VA employees. The VA National Education for Employees Program (VANEEP) scholarship even pays your salary and tuition while you pursue clinical licensure.

 

Do I have time? 

Juggling a career, family life and school can be a delicate balancing act. Be sure you’re at the right place in your life to devote the time you need to your studies. It might be helpful to make a list of the time challenges you foresee and the resources you can put in place to help you manage them. Building this support system now can save you headaches down the road. At VA, you’ll find a culture of continuous learning with flexible work schedules, possible telework options and generous leave to help you manage going back to school.

 

Source: VAntagePoint Blog

 

The Journey Home

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Every year about 200,000 military service members transition from active duty to civilian life, with most of these valuable members of our communities experiencing significant and, at times, painful life changes.

While some return to their “home of record,” most will relocate to a new place offering meaningful employment or job-related education.

During reintegration, each veteran and their loved ones face unique challenges and circumstances. They need adaptable, customized support in vital areas, such as navigating VA services, education, employment, physical and emotional wellness, financial literacy and housing.

In 2018, the VA issued a report, The Military to Civilian Transition: A Review of Historical, Current, and Future Trends. More than 8,500 veterans, active-duty, National Guard and Reserve members and dependents identified their transition challenges:

  • Navigating VA programs, benefits and services 60%
  • Finding a job 55%
  • Adjusting to civilian culture 41%
  • Addressing financial challenges 40%
  • Applying military-learned skills to civilian life 39%

A Pew Research Center survey published in September 2019 indicates that 26 percent of veteran respondents found transitioning to civilian life was very or somewhat difficult. That percentage jumped to 48 percent for veterans who served after 9/11.

A military transitioning veteran at a job fair talking to a woman about future civilian employment
Photo Credit: 143d Sustainment Command

After years of high veteran unemployment, the tide appears to be turning, at least for finding a job. A Bureau of Labor Statistics report in April 2022 shows that veteran unemployment was 4.4 percent in 2021, compared with 5.3 percent for nonveterans. Unemployment for both white and Black veterans was lower than for their nonveteran counterparts. The picture continues to brighten, with veteran unemployment at 3.7 percent in April 2022, compared with 3.9 percent for the country.

Getting a job is just one challenge. Another challenge is keeping it or using it as a launchpad into a rewarding career. Pre-COVID-19 job attrition for veterans is alarming. Forty-three percent of veterans left their first civilian job within a year, and 80 percent before their second anniversary.

Civilian recruiters are increasingly better at matching a veteran’s former Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) in job placement. However, MOS assignment is driven not only by a service member’s Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) but also by the military’s needs.

In short, a veteran’s former MOS might not reflect current passions or career aspirations. Is there a way to improve job retention?

The National Veterans Transition Services, Inc. (NVTSI), or REBOOT for short, a San Diego nonprofit focused on reintegration, is collaborating with the scientific community to develop and test Job-Set, a smart app providing veterans a chance to be matched with actual jobs they qualify for that they might not otherwise find or consider. Using an artificial intelligence-based algorithm to help a user build a profile based on 600+ attributes, Job-Set finds matches in a database of millions of jobs by capitalizing on O*NET, the Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL) program and the National Labor Exchange. Currently in beta testing, Job-Set is free for veteran and military spouse job seekers.

A military service member in camo carrying his daughter as he arrives home at an airport
Photo Source: Defense Visual Information Distribution Service

Reintegration delays cause problems. Homelessness, drug addiction, divorce and incarceration are symptoms of a disjointed support system for transitioning veterans. Today roughly 45,000 nonprofits and numerous federal, state and local government agencies offer support. Navigating through this huge network is both confusing and frustrating.

To help navigate the transition process, NVTSI recently transformed DoD’s Managing Your Transition Timeline manual into an app to help service members manage their transition as early as 24 months before their release. The app also connects users directly to participating local veteran service organizations for a warm hand-off.

In its White Paper After the Sea of Goodwill: A Collective Approach to Veteran Reintegration, published in October 2014, the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Office of Reintegration stated:

Written By Kate Karniouchina, Maurice Wilson and Jim Wong

“Now is the time to create a national structure — characterized by functional cooperation, cross-sector collaboration and an integrated network — to establish a no-wrong-door capacity that allows our country to reintegrate effectively veterans and their families as a matter of course.”

 

With this in mind, NVTSI created a prototype Center for Military Veterans Reintegration (CMVR). Designed to be owned and staffed by the local community, the first CMVR opened in Downey, Calif., in May 2022 as both a physical location and an electronic portal (Eco-Center) with easy access for veterans and their families in greater Los Angeles. The CMVR’s purpose is to spur public-private partnerships to streamline the journey home for veterans and ease the burden on loved ones.

A Strategic Partnership Gets Veterans in Film Production

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Tyler Perry, winner of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, poses in the press room during the Oscars

Since relocating to the former Fort McPherson Army base in Atlanta in 2015, Tyler Perry Studios has become an even-greater force in the entertainment and commercial production industry, promising enormous employment potential for military veterans in Georgia.

“Cooperation with this powerful studio at the center of Atlanta’s burgeoning place in motion picture, television and commercial production is huge for Vets2Set and provokes us to launch a major recruiting effort in the South,” reports David Cohen, president and co-founder of Vets2Set. “When employers enrolled in our organization search our database to staff a production, we want them to find production assistants matching their every need from Covid Compliance Officers to disciplined and well-trained veterans familiar with electronics, flying drones, driving trucks, security and construction, among other skills. The majority of our veterans live in New York and California, but the opportunities in the South are tremendous now thanks to Tyler Perry.”

Cohen hopes to recruit new candidates in the Atlanta area in part through cooperation with Vetlanta, an organization providing veterans with business networking services.

Chief Operating Officer of Tyler Perry Studios, Robert Boyd II and President of Original Programming, Angi Bones, spoke with Cohen to discuss how Vets2Set operates and within a few days, the studio was signed up and ready to hire.

Tyler Perry Studios occupies 330 acres in the city of Atlanta, offering 12 state-of-the-art sound studios and a large backlot with prepared sets for a baseball field, farmhouse, prison yard, bank and the White House, among others. Creative options are endless, and the opportunity for career development for veterans is extensive. Cooperation with Vets2Set is a logical extension of Tyler Perry’s commitments and successes as a writer, actor, producer, director and philanthropist. Tyler Perry Studios joins more than 200 other employers working with Vets2Set to launch military veterans in civilian careers in production. Other cooperating producers include Walt Disney Television, Warner Brothers, MLB Network, NBCUniversal, RSA Films, Shutterstock Studios and advertising agencies, including BBDO Atlanta.

When staffing a shoot, cooperating producers have access to the contact details and skills profiles of hundreds of military veterans around the country. The Vets2Set database can be searched by zip code, state, city and skills. Producers then hire military veterans to fill already budgeted positions the same way they would hire any other production assistants. The contact between employer and veteran is direct. As a not-for-profit organization, Vets2Set takes no fees for developing and promoting use of its database but rather runs entirely on volunteer labor and donations from corporate sponsors and private donors.

Military veterans and media employers can enroll in this veteran employment program at vets2set.org. For further information contact pbernabeo@vets2set.org.

Source: Vets2Set

From Military to the Workforce: Building Your Resume

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black professional male smiling, giving the thumbs up sign

Resumes provide a historical snapshot of your experience, knowledge and skills. Recruiters should be able to review your resume and understand the work you have done, the length of your experience and your capabilities within a matter of minutes.

Resumes should encapsulate your experience as briefly as possible. Quantifying your experience can make them easier for recruiters to understand.

What’s in a resume? All good resumes include some standard information:

  • Contact information
  • Work experience
  • List of technical skills
  • Education
  • Job-related training
  • Languages
  • Affiliations
  • Professional publications
  • Honors and awards
  • Veterans’ preference
  • Level of clearance held

Contact Information

The first section of a cover letter should include your contact information, such as your name, address, preferred phone number and personal email address.

Work Experience

Your most recent experience should be listed first, and the rest of your experience should be listed in reverse chronological order. Experience typically includes the company or agency you worked for, the position you held, the dates you worked there and highlights of your responsibilities.

Unless you have not been working for very long, you have no reason to detail the jobs you held early in your career. Focus on your most recent and relevant positions.

Highlight any accomplishments or results of your work that will be relevant to the position, such as those that:

  • Required extra effort
  • You completed independently
  • Demonstrated expertise
  • Received recognition

These should emphasize results you produced, dollars generated or saved, percentage improvements in performance, the extent to which you exceeded goals in the past or organizational turnarounds you created.

List of Technical Skills

Technical skills can vary widely from methodologies to software or hardware. Technical skills do not often require explanation and can be listed by name; however, you must qualify your experience with each so that recruiters know your level of understanding of these skills. For example, a recruiter that is interested in process improvement will know about Six Sigma (a business management and process improvement methodology), so you will not have to explain it, but if you listed that, you should state what level belt you are and how long you have been practicing. The same rule applies to word processing and programming tools or hardware, such as servers.

Education

Your education information should only include pertinent facts such as:

  • Name of the institution where you earned your highest degree
  • City and state of the institution
  • Date you graduated or received the degree
  • Specific degree earned
  • Minors or double majors

If you attended college or a technical school but did not receive a degree, you should state how long you attended and your field of study. However, you must be clear that you did not receive a degree. If you did not attend college or a vocational school, you would include information about your high school education or GED. List your most recent degree first. If you are still enrolled in an institution, list it. Do not forget to include the anticipated date of graduation and the degree expected.

Job-Related Training

You have most likely received a significant amount of job-related training through the military. Provide details on the training and courses that you took throughout your career. List only the training that has enhanced your experience and skills, which will be of immense value in your new position. If the course title is not descriptive or is unfamiliar, summarize or briefly describe the course to potential resume evaluators. Don’t assume the resume evaluator will understand the terms in your resume. If there is any doubt, convey the meaning.

Languages

If you include languages on your resume, state your level of fluency (such as novice, intermediate or advanced). Do not overstate your level of proficiency. If your fluency is very limited, it is probably not worth listing the language.

Affiliations

Your professional affiliations can relate your past work and your current job profile if you are working in the same field. On a resume, they inform recruiters that you have a professional interest beyond your day-to-day job.

Emphasize current contributions and provide some details to explain your abilities within precise areas. It is recommended that you not include any political affiliations since hiring managers or an agency may fail to judge you enthusiastically. If you decide to include them anyway, be tactful in describing your involvement.

If you have a lot of affiliations on your resume, recruiters may view you as an overachiever. Consider including only the most relevant ones or splitting them into career-related and community-related categories.

Professional Publications

List your publications in reverse chronological order. Only list those publications that relate directly to your career goal or the position you are applying for. Potential employers may attempt to track down your publication, so make sure the titles and your authorship are verifiable before including them.

References

Be prepared to provide references if requested. References are typically people who can verify your employment and vouch for your performance. A potential employer always thinks that a provided resume is up-to-date. If your references are not up-to-date when the resume is reviewed, your out-of-date list may harm your credibility or frustrate your recruiter.

Honors and Awards

Awards can tell a potential employer that previous employers or other organizations valued your accomplishments. The fact that you or your team received formal recognition for your efforts is a good indicator of your skills and work ethic.

Additional Information

Any information that does not fit in the other resume subject areas but is worth highlighting for a recruiter because of its relevance to the position or because it helps you stand out as a qualified candidate can go in this catch-all area.

Source: VA for Vets

Veteran Kayla Blood Takes on Monster Jam World Finals® in Soldier Fortune®

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Kayla Blood in soldier uniform smiling

A mom, Monster Jam® driver and military veteran, Kayla Blood is a force to be reckoned with. She proudly served in the Louisiana Army National Guard for six years and now brings her tenacity to the dirt, competing in Monster Jam competitions around the world.

Kayla competes in Soldier Fortune®, a camo-clad, tank-inspired Monster Jam truck dedicated to the thousands of men and women in the U.S. Military around the world. During her six years of service in the Louisiana National Guard, Kayla served full-time in Force Protection. Just as her unit received word of deployment to Afghanistan, Kayla learned she was pregnant with her son and had to stay home in Louisiana. While she wanted to serve overseas, her son is her greatest blessing, and the Guard helped lead her to so many great experiences.

Kayla is also the first female National Guard veteran driver for Monster Jam, crashing through glass ceilings as she competes in a male-dominated sport. Kayla never turns down a competition, and her signature move if an attempt goes awry? Military pushups on the wreckage.

“I want to win fair and square,” says Kayla on competing against men. “I love being able to show little girls watching that they can do whatever they set out to do and to never back down from a challenge.”

Kayla Blood took her fiercely competitive talents to Monster Jam World Finals®, the series marquee event, which took place in Orlando May 21-22, 2022. Each year, Monster Jam World Finals highlights the best of the best in Skills, Racing, High Jump and Freestyle competitions. Drivers pull out their best moves and risk it all for the championship title.

“It’s truly an honor to drive Soldier Fortune in competitions around the world and to have done so at Monster Jam World Finals,” says Kayla. “Representing the brave men and women who have served the United States is a something I take great pride in doing.”

For more information on Monster Jam World Finals and Kayla Blood, visit MonsterJam.com/WorldFinals.

Can soldiers consume CBD energy drinks?

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U.S. Soldier drinking Rockstar beverage with hemp leaves in the background

by Sarah Sicard, MilitaryTimes

Rockstar has become the latest in a string of energy drink companies to add a hemp-infused beverage to their offerings, so consumers can chill out while they rage.

But soldiers beware, these drinks have a slim chance of causing you to pop positive on a drug test.

“A single use of some hemp products may result in a positive drug test result for THC,” Matt Leonard, Army spokesperson, told Military Times.

“[Regulation] AR 600-85 prohibits soldiers from using products made or derived from hemp, including CBD, regardless of the product’s claimed or actual THC concentration and whether such product may be lawfully bought, sold, or used in the civilian marketplace,” Leonard said.

Hemp plants contain more cannabidiol (CBD) than cannabis, which contains more tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Although it’s unlikely, there’s no guarantee that hemp or CBD users will avoid showing positive for THC, which is what the Army tests.

“No test currently exists to identify the source of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in a urine sample to determine if it was derived from illegal marijuana, or other products such as hemp energy drinks or Cannabidiol (CBD) infused products,” Leonard added.

“Hence, to protect the integrity of the Army’s drug testing program the only type of hemp products authorized within the Army Substance Abuse Program, Army Regulation (AR) 600-85 are those used as a durable good (eg. rope or clothing).”

So soldiers should avoid the hemp, unless you’re taking up twine-braiding or decide go on a hippie handmade hemp clothing bender. But it seems easy enough to abstain. These drinks aren’t exactly designed to keep the average soldier awake on duty.

Rockstar Unplugged, which comes in three flavors — blueberry, passion fruit and raspberry cucumber — isn’t meant to keep an exhausted person alert.

Click here to read the complete article posted on Yahoo!News.

Arkansas veterans honored as motorcyclists travel cross country

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motorcyclists honor veterans in Arkansas

By Jade Jackson, THV11

RUSSELLVILLE, Arkansas — A large American flag hung by the local fire department blows with the wind as motorcyclists ride over a hill to the River Valley Veterans Memorial Park in Russellville.

They are riding as part of ‘Run for the Wall’, and are stopping to rest and eat at the memorial park along their journey. ‘Run for the Wall’ is an annual motorcycle ride in the United States that features parades around the country supporting Veterans and patriots traveling from Ontario, California to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C.

They ride across the country to remember those Veterans missing in action, killed in action, or others who are prisoners of war.

Their ride through Arkansas counts as day 5 for them traveling from the West Coast to the east. While resting, they also honored the veterans remembered at the memorial.

“It’s the longest and hardest ride through the entire journey. We have a lot of miles to put in,” said Christina Roulston, the Arkansas state coordinator for ‘Run for the Wall’.

Roulston said the stop in Russellville is a new one. They usually stop for lunch in Coal Hill, Arkansas but the usual organization they work with has veterans who are aging and dealing with health problems. So unfortunately they weren’t able to feed them this year.

Click here to read the full article on THV11.

New Minnesota Veterans Law promises to ‘protect and support’ those who served

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A man wearing appearing with half civilian clothing and the other half of a military uniform

By Dana Thiede, Kare 11 NBC

Vowing to make good on Minnesota’s duty to “protect and support” those who have served in the military, Governor Tim Walz on Tuesday signed the new state Veterans Bill into law.

The legislation, which passed through both the House and Senate nearly unanimously, was written to end and prevent future veteran homelessness, fund veterans’ homes and cemeteries around the state, and award bonuses to Gold Star families who have sacrificed while their loved ones were serving.

“This bill makes good on our duty to protect and support our veterans during and after their service – and it demonstrates that we can come together in a bipartisan way to honor the sacrifices of our veterans and their families,” said Governor Walz in a released statement. “As a 24-year veteran of the National Guard, this is a bill that’s close to my heart. I know that this is going to have a real impact for our veterans and I’m proud to sign it into law.”

The new Veterans Law includes:

  • $5.4 million that will fund a grant to provide assistance to veterans and former service members and their families who are homeless or in danger of homelessness.
  • $1.7 million annually to fund temporary housing options for vets experiencing homelessness and to increase outreach activities to end homelessness.
  • $10.3 million in fiscal year 2022 and $16.5 million in 2023 for the design, construction, furnishing, and equipping of new veterans homes to support vets in Bemidji, Montevideo, and Preston, Minnesota.
  • Nearly $25 million in fiscal year 2023 to fund service bonuses to post 9/11 era vets and Gold Star families.

“Minnesota’s more than 304,000 Veterans know that their voices were heard and their service honored with the historic passing of this first-ever Veterans Omnibus Bill,” said Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Larry Herke.

Along with support for Minnesota’s veterans, the new Veterans Law also provides $4 million for enlistment incentives designed to retain trained and ready members of the Minnesota National Guard over fiscal years 2023-2025.

Click here to read the full article on Kare 11 NBC.

Military Makeover: Meet Our New Military Makeover Family

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Military couple pose together with red white and blue cutain backdrop with a Military Makeover logo inserted above left

On our special milestone 30th Military Makeover, we are proud to be honoring not one, but two deserving veterans on our upcoming season, and a love story unlike any we’ve told before!

Childhood sweethearts, Justin and Kristie Ziegler, first met in 8h grade in South Florida. Fast forward to the 10th grade, Justin joined the same cheerleading team Kristie was already a part of, they ended up spending hours and hours training together. The team’s coach noticed the chemistry and encouraged them to go on a date together. The couple have been together ever since – supporting one another through each of their hardships and challenges, and even decided to join the Air Force together.

Justin and Kristie married just before Kristie left for basic training in 2003. They were stationed together at Travis Air Force Base in California.

Staff Sergeant Justin Ziegler was assigned to the 60th CES Wing as a Fire Protection Technician. He was soon deployed to Afghanistan to support “Operation Enduring Freedom”. Justin was immediately responsible for the safety of over 2000 troops, as well as over $750 million worth of Aircraft.

Justin’s duties as a Lead EMT and Crew Chief within the fire department, whether on deployment or at Travis Air Force Base, involved being a 1st Responder to medical emergencies which often resulted in encountering traumatic and stressful events; from car accidents and cardiac arrests, to shootings, house fires and wildland fires. Being a first responder to all medical emergencies, including suicides of fellow troop members, took a heavy toll on Justin and opened his eyes to the crippling levels of stress, trauma and PTSD that military service members experience.

Senior Airman Kristie Ziegler quickly emerged as a rising star and natural leader after completing her formal training as a Dietary Technician, and was awarded Airman of the year in 2006 for her dedicated service. When Kristie deployed to Bagram Air Force base in Afghanistan her role would change dramatically, providing treatment to soldiers wounded in battle, as well as local civilians who had been wounded or hurt. One of the hardest and most heartbreaking struggles of her career was treating young children who had been injured in bombings; witnessing sights no human on this planet should ever be forced to endure.

Life as a young married couple together in the military was challenging for Justin and Kristie, with deployments separating them from one another for long periods, and both witnessing many tragic events and loss of life. While they still struggle with PTSD, the support and love they give one another has provided the foundation for a loving home for their two children and pets.

For our landmark 30th Military Makeover, and with the support of our devoted partners, we cannot wait to provide a “forever home” for two heroic and deserving military veterans!

Tune in to Military Makeover Thurs. & Fri. at 7:30 a.m. (ET/PT)

The before and after photos will be posted after the Big Reveal, so you will see the family reaction to their newly updated home. Stay tuned!

About the Hosts

Montel Williams: Montel began his professional career in the United States Marine Corps, becoming the first black Marine selected to the Naval Academy Prep School to then go on to graduate from the United States Naval Academy. Williams earned a degree in general engineering and a minor in international security affairs and served in the military for a total of 22 years. He is best known as the Emmy Award-winning host of The Montel Williams Show, which aired nationally for seventeen years. Along with being a New York Times bestselling author, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Montel is a passionate advocate for veterans, education and health. He serves on the board of directors for the Fisher House Foundation and the Anne Romney Center for Neurological Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Montel is thrilled to be a part of Military Makeover, relishing the opportunity to give back to his fellow veterans.

Art Edmonds:  Art Edmonds is a TV host, spokesperson and voiceover talent with over 17 years of experience. He is currently best known as the co-host of the TV series Military Makeover.

Since the show’s inception, Edmonds teamed with the late, great R.Lee Ermey, famed character actor and veteran, to give a complete home makeover to a deserving wounded U.S. veteran and his family. Now Art serves on the series alongside talk show legend and prominent veteran advocate Montel Williams to give back to our service men and women.

Art’s prominent narration credits includes three seasons on the Nat Geo Wild top-rated series Swamp Men for three seasons, docudrama series Planet Xtreme on The Weather Channel and two seasons on the Nat Geo Wild series Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER.

Jennifer Bertrand: Jennifer Bertrand is best known as the winner of HGTV’s popular series Design Star, drawing over 5 million viewers thanks to her no-nonsense, accessible approach to making positive and impactful design changes without breaking the bank. After taking the competition by storm, Jennifer moved on to host her own show, Paint Over! with Jennifer Bertrand, featuring families in transition and in desperate need of help.

Bertrand currently is the designer on the series Military Makeover, airing on Lifetime TV, and has appeared in countless media outlets such as USA TodayThe New York Post, Rachel Ray Magazine, Life & Style Magazine, InStyle Magazine and is a frequent contributor to NBC.

Read more at MilitaryMakeover.TV

2022 Hot Jobs for Veterans

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black female soldier using laptop with apply now page appearing on screen with her military experience

By Natalie Rodgers

It’s a new year, and with the many social and economic changes from the last two years, many veterans are looking for a fresh start in 2022. While veterans are equipped to work in just about any job position, there are a few job fields that could change your 2022 for the better. Here are some of this year’s most popular hot jobs:

Healthcare

If you already have medical experience from your time in the field, healthcare may be the perfect option. Veterans with medical training are properly equipped to work in a variety of different positions in the medical field. They are even at an advantage for opportunities to sharpen their skills for a higher-paying position through veteran-supported programs and the perks of the GI Bill. Some of the most popular jobs in the medical field amongst veterans are:

  • Physicians Assistants: $96,000 per year
  • Registered Nurses: $73,000 per year
  • Chiropractic Care: $71,454 per year
  • Radiologic or Cardiovascular Technologist: $50,000-$61,000 per year
  • Medical Lab Technician: $45,000 per year

Federal Jobs

Federal organizations not only want to hire veterans but actively seek them out. They are already aware of the skillsets, mindsets, and needs of veterans transitioning into work and are willing to provide any additional, necessary training that veterans may need. Government jobs also tend to come with great benefits, solid routines and sturdy pay. There are many kinds of government jobs across organizations such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Parks and Recreation, the Department of Transportation and more.

  • Transportation Specialist: $83,748 per year
  • Police Officer: $61,936 per year
  • Social Worker: $54,923 per year
  • Firefighter: $51,368 per year
  • Substance Abuse Counselor: $41,610 per year

Outdoors Work

Veterans have a long track record of working outdoor jobs, from park security and landscaping to working with animals. While many like the idea of working indoors or in an office, many veterans prefer to be in an open, outdoor space. This environment can be especially helpful for veterans with PTSD, depression or other mental conditions.

  • Landscape Designer: $64,307 per year
  • Land Surveyor: $63,094 per year
  • Park Ranger: $51,481 per year
  • Veterinary Technician: $43,964 per year
  • Farm Hand: $35,296 per year

Skilled Trades

Learning a trade is one of the most popular options for veterans transitioning into civilian life. It provides them an opportunity to work with their hands, expand on their skill set, and utilize tactics they already know from the field. There is also an abundance of programs and organizations specializing in trade training specifically catered to veterans.

  • Electrician: $60,906 per year
  • Plumber: $60,848 per year
  • Auto Mechanic: $46,309 per year
  • Carpenter: $45,068 per year
  • Commercial Driver: $40,877 per year

Education

Veterans are used to environments where they must lead, learn fast, adapt quickly, and teach others how to do the same. As the educational system continues to change, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, veterans are excellent candidates as teachers on every level. Educational occupations usually require additional certifications but are generally gained in shorter periods and with assistance from military benefits.

  • Special Education Teacher: $56,914 per year
  • Elementary School Teacher: $54,102 per year
  • Middle School Teacher: $53,825 per year
  • High School Teacher: $52,481 per year
  • Vocational School Teacher: $50,881 per year

No matter what field you’re pursuing this year, remember that your military experience has equipped you for an array of jobs, and the right fit for you is just around the corner.

Sources: Glassdoor, Trade-schools.net, Healthcare Daily Online

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Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  3. Multiple Hire GI Hiring Events During June-December!
    June 21, 2022 - December 8, 2022
  4. REBOOT WORKSHOP – VIRTUAL
    September 12, 2022 @ 8:00 am - January 20, 2023 @ 5:00 pm
  5. Americas Warrior Partnership 9th Annual Symposium
    October 4, 2022 - October 6, 2022