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At Ease August-September 2020

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ISSUE 22 SEPTEMBER 2020 At Ease M I D AT L A N T I C M I L I T A R Y L I F E THE GOAL IS TO LIVE UP TO THE ONES BEFORE US WHAT A GREAT CHALLENGE NIKI JENSEN CO FOUNDER OF WARRIOR FLASK WITH HER PATERNAL GRANDFATHER U S NAVY BAND Meet the best musicians from around the world NIKI JENSEN Warrior Flask mission encourages others to support the military FORCE BLUE Former special ops divers use their talents to save the planet

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A Catastrophically Injured Veteran and His Family Receive Their New Smart Home in Record Time Inspired to serve his country after the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001 CPL Melroy Cort enlisted in the USMC when he was just 19 years old He married his high school sweetheart Samantha just before his first deployment to Iraq in August 2005 CPL Cort s life changed forever when he tragically lost both of his legs after an IED blast four months later in December 2005 He also suffered permanent damage to his right hand a traumatic brain injury and PTSD Since then Cort and his wife have started a family that has grown to ten children In 2018 his family faced another sudden misfortune finding themselves homeless after an electrical fire damaged their home and destroyed most of their possessions Yes there s a lot of technology CPL Cort says of his new smart home It s nice to get your freedom back now I ll be able to access everything without being helped Fortunately for this family good people were ready to step in and get to work The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation teamed up with A Soldier s Journey Home to build a mortgage free smart home for the double amputee veteran and his family in Pickerington Ohio Remarkably the smart home was put together from the ground up in just 12 days by firefighters other first responders and veterans from all over the country The smart home was designed to meet CPL Cort s specific needs enabling him to live as independently as possible Cooking one of his passions has been made easier as the kitchen features both a stove that raises and lowers to wheelchair height and pull down cabinet shelving The home also contains oversized doorways wide hallways and smart bathrooms The home s thermostat and lights are controlled by a tablet or smartphone Tunnel to Towers enables our most catastrophically injured veterans to live more comfortably and independently through mortgage free custom designed smart homes with adaptive features for their specific injuries The Foundation also helps Gold Star and fallen first responder families with young children by providing mortgage free homes Tunnel to Towers was started when its founder Frank Siller lost his little brother Stephen on 9 11 Stephen was an FDNY firefighter and he loved keeping people safe The four brothers in the family had all taken a day off work that Tuesday to catch up and play a long overdue round of golf But when Stephen heard that the Twin Towers had been struck he rushed to do his duty When his path was blocked because the tunnel to Manhattan was closed to vehicles Stephen strapped 60 pounds of gear onto his back and ran on foot to Ground Zero Putting aside his own safety he prioritized helping others Stephen never saw his wife and five kids again The whole family was shaken and heartbroken Starting the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation was a way for the family to honor his sacrifice and to fulfill their duty to his brothers and sisters in service first responders and military service members here in the U S and women and men protecting our country abroad The Foundation is grateful for all who join them in their mission to do good for America s heroes and support the men and women who have given so much for us The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is a Combined Federal Campaign CFC approved charity Every year the Foundation achieves the highest rating four stars from Charity Navigator the nation s largest and most used evaluator of charities And 93 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to our programs Employees of the federal government have thousands of charitable choices Concerned about helping America s heroes like CPL Melroy Cort as well as children and families of fallen service members and first responders Make the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation your charity of choice Donate today using code 74047 or learn more by visiting www Tunnel2Towers org CFC Advertisement

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ARE YOU UPTOTHE Challenge The U S Secret Service is seeking the best and brightest If you have a commitment to excellence and are looking for a challenging and fulfilling career our distinguished federal law enforcement agency is seeking qualified individuals for the following career opportunities Find out more at www secretservice gov or call us at 888 813 USSS TTY 202 406 5370 EOE Special Agents APPLY AT go usa gov xpJFt URL is case sensitive Uniformed Division Officers APPLY AT go usa gov xpJFS URL is case sensitive

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CONTENTS 08 U S Navy Band members share their military stories PRESIDENT Jim Normandin DIRECTOR OF MILITARY PUBLICATIONS John Rives EDITOR Eli Wohlenhaus 14 18 24 30 Foundation provides mortgage free homes to fallen and severely injured Veterans and First Responders Force Blue members use military diving skills to save the planet A quick 10 with Niki Jensen Warrior Flask co founder Former Air Force Lt Col creates new lawn game INTERIM AD DIRECTOR Betsy Griffin SALES SUPERVISOR Ryan Ebaugh CREATIVE DIRECTOR Greg Mueller GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jennifer Helmer CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Christian Lilakos Glenda C Booth CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Alice Swan Glenda C Booth Patrick Chisholm Rich Monetti Richard Evans EDITORIAL CONTACT 240 801 2258 ADVERTISING CONTACT 301 848 0175 SUBSCRIPTIONS 410 770 4005 34 Former military people are exploring farm internship or apprentice programs Receive At Ease in the comfort of your own home with a simple phone call SUBMISSIONS info ateasemonthly com 29088 Airpark Drive Easton MD 21601 www dcmilitary com 6 38 First Ladies of Football land some great opportunities to support military 44 Treasure trove of COVID safe activities in Southern Maryland AT E A S E S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 At Ease is published by APG Media of Chesapeake No portion may be reproduced in whole or in part by any means including electronic retrieval systems without written permission from the publisher STAFF

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COME EXPLORE Editor of At Ease Magazine Eli Wohlenhaus Interact with At Ease on our social media platforms Facebook At Ease Monthly Instagram ateasemonthly Twitter DCMilitary Outdoors connection Some of my fondest memories growing up are of youth group trips to Colorado in the late summer Eight days of fun consisting of a long road trip mountain climbing white water rafting and various service projects On these trips my peers and I would feel more alive and more free It is no wonder that many organizations across the country utilize the great outdoors to help veterans military members and their families get a clear mind This was our theme this month and it couldn t be more appropriate given the circumstances we find ourselves in Several months ago I was afraid to write about COVID 19 for fear of my letter becoming irrelevant since our publications are finalized weeks before distribution Yet here we are Many of those same feelings of being trapped by everyday life are felt by veterans and members of the military who deal with traumatic and post traumatic stress when they are away from combat One of the most common and most successful ways to help those dealing with stress and anxiety caused by trauma is by connecting them with nature At Ease highlights that human connection with sports and outdoors which has provided many military members and veterans with some much needed freedom and peace of mind So for this issue I encourage you to step outside to read these stories Connect with nature and connect with others too Knollwood has a variety of apartment homes to suit every budget 1 bedrooms starting at 108K Surrounded by the beauty of Rock Creek Park there s always something to discover at Knollwood After walking the nearby trails with friends come home and unwind in your cozy apartment You ve got another big day tomorrow Home to U S Uniformed Service officers select high level federal workers GS 14 Apartments with fully applianced kitchens Fun social classes and events Innovative wellness programs Schedule a tour today KnollwoodCommunity org 202 870 5206 6200 Oregon Avenue NW Washington DC 20015 S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 AT E A S E 7

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FA M I LY H Q STEPPING INTO THE SPOTLIGHT Story by Alice Swan Submitted photos U S Navy Band members share their military music stories 8 AT E A S E S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0

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Michael Bayes When you think about the Navy Band and the history we ve been involved in since the 1920s it spurred us to keep on researching why the band was created and how it was created When the U S Navy kicks off its 245th birthday celebrations in October a big part of the local festivities will feature performances by the renowned U S Navy Band The Band is marking an anniversary of its own this year playing in its official status as The United States Navy Band for the 95th year In 1925 President Calvin Coolidge signed a law establishing the then Navy Yard Band as the official band of the country s Navy Through the nine decades that have since passed the Navy Band has been a part of the history of the nation and this area from greeting Charles Lindbergh after his transatlantic flight and welcoming Rear Adm Richard Byrd after his flight over the South Pole to accompanying Beyonce as she sang for President and Mrs Obama for their first dance at the 2009 inaugural ball noted Master Chief Musician Michael Bayes Bayes who serves as head drum major for the Ceremonial Band is also the organization s historian He took on that role in 2004 as renovation work was beginning on the 100 year old Sail Lofts the Navy Band was using at the Navy Yard in Washington D C I ve always loved history and have a master s degree in history education As we were planning the rededication of our building it catapulted the Band to create an archive of all the documents we found in the renovation and led me to become a historian explained Bayes When you think about the Navy Band and the history we ve been involved in since the 1920s it spurred us to keep on researching why the band was created and how it was created and document all the things we ve done in our history up to today Bayes added For example during the COVID 19 shutdown he was able to use his time to do a survey of all the Navy musicians on duty in Hawaii on December 7 1941 What I found is that there were heroic stories that come up in ship logs that we didn t know about until we started digging Now we can tell their stories This is one of the amazing parts of what we ve done since 2004 we ve uncovered that history and preserved that history and now we are able to tell people about it Bayes said It seems only fitting that this history lover was inspired to join a service band by his family history Bayes grandfather Harold Bayes was a member of the President s Own U S Marine Corps Band from 1932 until 1955 He was a very proud Marine and I remember him talking about going on tours playing for presidents and the soldiers coming home from World War II and Korea The more he talked about Michael Bayes family S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 AT E A S E 9

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it the more I felt drawn to military service Bayes shared I had a skill as a musician and I could use that skill like he did in service to our country After serving 23 years I know now what he felt telling those stories because I feel the same thing Whether influenced by a veteran family member like Bayes attending a service band performance or being guided by a chance phone call each of the 174 enlisted members of the Navy Band has made their own unique journey to this world class musical organization But only one current performer can say he has done ship time below decks Cory Parker Anything that s worth doing it s worth putting in the effort to do it Whatever your desire put the study time in to do your craft and set small attainable measurable goals to track your progress 10 AT E A S E S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 Musician 1st Class Cory Parker a member of the Navy Band s Cruisers singing group began his Navy career as a boatswain s mate fuels technician The Bolling Green Virginia native joined the Navy right out of high school in 2003 and his first assignment was on the USS Kitty Hawk out of Yokosuka Japan He was in the pump room which in the fuels community is one of the top jobs Parker explained We were responsible for getting fuel to all of the jets During this first assignment Parker said he used his free time to teach himself piano and improve his vocal skills When I first got there I went to the base chapel and used the piano with practice books I had ordered online When the ship was underway I would use the chapel on board playing and singing said Parker Any time I was off duty I went straight to the chapel opened up my books teaching myself to play the piano and sing All of this effort was designed to help Parker reach his ultimate goal performing with a Navy band My mom knew about the Navy music program and even took me to three auditions before I joined the Navy explained Parker His interest was fostered by the singing and musical theater work he had done growing up even attending the Orange County High School of the Arts in California for a year But I was unprepared for those auditions I didn t know anything about scales or sight reading some of the prerequisites for vocalists They told me I could sing but I couldn t read music which is needed for the military s music school His four years of practice on the Kitty Hawk paid off when he had a chance to audition with the 7th Fleet Band for the Armed Forces School of Music and was selected Following his time at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek Fort Story in Virginia Beach Parker began his first musical assignment with Navy Band New Orleans I was in a rock band that was also a recruiting tool touring local high schools We did a lot of videos and uploaded them to YouTube all the time he said Those videos caught the attention of the Navy Band in D C and they told my bandmates to tell me there was an opening and that they wanted me to audition I think what attracted them is that I am a person who likes to get out in the crowd and I m all about having fun which showed through on the videos Parker shared They saw my entertaining skills along with my vocal abilities Those skills won him the audition and Parker joined the Cruisers in 2011 For current Navy members who might be interested in the music school or other type of career change Parker said his advice is simple Anything that s worth doing it s worth putting in the effort to do it Whatever your desire put the study time in to do your craft and set small attainable measurable goals to track your progress

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David Hagee I can t imagine a better place to cultivate my skills as a trombone player and musician For Musician 1st Class David Hagee bass trombonist with the Navy Band s Commodores Jazz Ensemble it was going to be the start of an exciting career when he joined the Band in April of this year Fresh out of boot camp the Band s newest member saw his dream put on hold by a microscopic virus He may not have been doing live shows with his bandmates but they made him feel immediately welcome during the COVID 19 shutdown When I arrived in D C I had a lot of telephone conversations and video chats with various band members Hagee said They were super welcoming through the transition for my wife and me and it started to feel like home from early on I couldn t wait to perform live and make music with the colleagues and friends I made The Cincinnati Ohio native started playing trombone in the 5th grade I wanted to play in the middle school jazz band and my older brother nudged me in the direction of the trombone as a way in Hagee shared He said an inspiration for pursuing a military music career was his grandfather He served in the Army during WWII and he was very proud of his service to the country That was always apparent to me my siblings and my cousins and it stayed with me said Hagee Joining a service band to me seemed an excellent way to continue that tradition of serving the country with my unique talents of playing the trombone Hagee shared that one of his goals as a member of the Navy Band is to be the best trombone player he can be It feels already that it s a very positive and uplifting work environment for accomplishing that goal he said The best way to improve your skills is to surround yourself with people who are equally or more talented than you are and that is absolutely the culture in the Navy Band said Hagee Everyone here has high expectations and the highest level of professionalism and at the same time they are terrific human beings I can t imagine a better place to cultivate my skills as a trombone player and musician Michael Schmitz It was an honor to pay tribute to the veterans and the people who have sacrificed so much While welcoming its newest member the Navy Band said farewell to its longest serving musician this summer Master Chief Musician Michael Schmitz a trombone player with the concert and ceremonial bands retired in June after spending 30 years in the organization Though COVID 19 put his final live performances on hold Schmitz spent his last weeks with the Band producing some of the online content fans enjoyed the last few months Schmitz said that he taught high school band before joining the Navy Band in 1990 While his undergraduate music degree was in music education he went on to get a Master s in Performance because his passion was to perform I taught for six years but continued to practice and take lessons and eventually won a position with the Navy Band Schmitz shared What inspired his interest in a military music career My dad was a band director and used to take me to a music educators conference in Chicago and the military bands are always featured there Schmitz explained I saw them in high school and again in graduate school I knew those were great jobs That was something I set my sights on and decided to pursue He said the best part of being a military musician and what has kept him on active duty for 30 years were two things S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 AT E A S E 11

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serving the country in uniform and connecting with people The Navy Band lets you connect with people on different levels emotional intellectual even physical levels that no other occupation does I ve gotten to perform in the 48 contiguous states and foreign countries But when I look back the thing that sticks with me is the time that we spend in Arlington National Cemetery and the closure we give to people It was an honor to pay tribute to the veterans and the people who have sacrificed so much It is the most meaningful Haley Stiltner I m doing what I love while serving my country way we connect with people through this solemn duty at Arlington As he ends his time as a Navy musician Schmitz offered helpful advice for young people who are interested in pursuing a military music career Go all in be dedicated and keep working toward that goal he suggested It takes perseverance because it can take a while I didn t come in until age 29 I was teaching but still practicing and working with a goal of winning an audition You have to put the time in There are no shortcuts Banjo player Musician 1st Class Haley Stiltner knows firsthand there are no shortcuts to finding success She s been at her craft since the age of nine falling in love with what she calls a happy instrument when she was introduced to the banjo by her grandfather In fact she plays the banjo her grandparents bought for her 10th birthday each time she takes the stage with the Navy Band s Country Current ensemble A native of Windsor VA Stiltner said she took lessons for six months and then learned on her own getting her parents to take her to bluegrass festivals where she sat in on jam sessions with more seasoned musicians There wasn t much bluegrass where I am from but I would go to a local auto shop once a month where a bunch of older men would play and there was me this 11 year old girl playing banjo I learned from those fiddle players and I still love playing with fiddle players Stiltner shared Throughout those early years and while going to school at East Tennessee State University where she minored in bluegrass studies Stiltner kept honing her skills performing and jamming She landed a job with the Little Roy and Lizzy Show in 2016 and was touring with the popular bluegrass group when she got a fateful phone call from a friend I got a call from my friend Musician 1st Class Danny Stewart who is with the ensemble He said they had an opening and he told me to audition said Stiltner I submitted my application and auditioned on March 17 2017 St Patrick s Day It was intimidating to be there as a civilian with all of these people in their Navy uniforms but I got through it and they hired me the same day After boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes she joined Country Current as their very first female banjo player in the fall of 2017 The best part of being in the Navy Band has been connecting with veterans Stiltner shared Listening to their stories and being able to honor them in some small musical way is the amazing part of this whole journey she said Stiltner plans to stay with Country Current for as long as possible I m doing what I love while serving my country And I love being closer to my family and spending time with them as often as I can she said William Edwards Being close to family is a benefit Chief Musician William Edwards a baritone vocalist with the Navy Band s Sea Chanters chorus also enjoys The Bowie Maryland native shared that he learned about military bands as a member of the Maryland State Boychoir when they performed with the United States Air Force Band at Constitution Hall He still remembers how impressive the band sounded and the amazing voices of the chorus A graduate of Eleanor Roosevelt High School Edwards said he participated in the music programs there and went on to study music at State University of NY SUNY Geneseo in upstate New York Before joining the U S Navy Band his professional singing career had taken him all the way to Japan where he performed at Disney theme parks I was looking for something stable because I was on short term contracts and it was so far away from my family and home Edwards shared I started looking into the different military bands in D C since my family is in the area and a friend who was already in the Sea Chanters told me there was an opening for a bass baritone I pursued that opening and won the audition 12 AT E A S E S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0

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Elena Yakovleva To see the veterans stand especially those who have some difficulty is a very emotional moment We get to demonstrate Navy professionalism to audiences everywhere which is a real honor Musician 1st Class Elena Yakovleva piccolo player with the concert band is one of several international members of the organization Originally from Kaliningrad Russia she came to the United States in 2005 to further her musical studies At age 20 I moved to Germany to study flute after getting my bachelor s degree in Russia and I was there for 4 years Yakovleva shared My boyfriend had moved to America and I was looking at how I could move there but tuition prices were so high I happened to attend a workshop with American flute master Jeanne Baxtresser from Carnegie Mellon University I didn t know she was choosing international students to study with her on a full scholarship She picked me and when she told me I couldn t believe it it was a dream come true said Yakovleva She arrived in Pennsylvania in September 2005 to study with Baxtresser for one year and then went on to continue her flute and piccolo studies at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore MD After finishing her education in 2011 she began freelancing and auditioning with orchestras in the U S But as musicians know freelancing is really hard and I was looking for more stability Yakovleva shared A friend told me about the audition for a piccolo player with the Navy Band and I am forever grateful to her I called the band to be sure that I met the citizenship requirements and the age limit which was 34 and I was 34 Everything worked out perfectly After winning her audition with the Navy Concert Band Yakovleva started bootcamp in September 2015 While there she was offered the opportunity to apply for naturalization She became a U S citizen in an emotional ceremony the day before her graduation from boot camp Since joining the Navy Band in November 2015 Yakovleva said two things have been memorable experiences for her I was with the band for the Veterans Day performance in 2016 at the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery and heard President Obama give a speech said Yakovleva It was heartwarming to see all of the veterans and their reactions to the President s speech I could feel we were part of something special that day It is the same feeling I get at the end of every concert when we play the Armed Forces medley To see the veterans stand especially those who have some difficulty is a very emotional moment William Edwards Edwards has been with the Sea Chanters for almost 14 years now and has never regretted the decision to join the military It is a chance to serve my country in a way that takes advantage of a skill that I have In many ways we are musical ambassadors representing the Navy to people who don t often see our Navy in action We get to demonstrate Navy professionalism to audiences everywhere which is a real honor he explained Edwards said he looked forward to getting back to live performances following the COVID 19 shutdown especially the large outdoor concerts We ve been able to perform with the Boston Pops on July 4th which is truly epic Edwards shared But he also was anxious to get back to doing a truly special duty the Sea Chanters perform I appreciate the intimate moments we can offer for families at memorial services said Edwards When we can help families honor their loved ones at funerals those are the performances that stick with you The Navy Band is excited to create those special moments for fans once again According to Navy officials the Band is planning and ready for when public concerts and gatherings are possible Information on upcoming show schedules and links to videos of musical content the band members created during the COVID 19 shutdown and from previous concerts can be found at https www navyband navy mil S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 AT E A S E 13

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CONNECTING ELEMENT UNNEL T to OWERS T 9 11 foundation makes a run at providing mortgage free homes to fallen and severely injured Veterans and First Responders Story by Rich Monetti Photos courtesy of Tunnel to Towers 14 AT E A S E S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0

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tephen Siller lived a life of full purpose and it didn t surprise his brothers when he opted out of a family golf outing on September 11 2001 When the call came in Stephen refused to let a closed Brooklyn Battery Tunnel impede his flight to Ground Zero The 34 year old firefighter strapped on his heavy gear and huffed his way to the rescue efforts Unfortunately Siller did not survive the day Despite their sorrow his family quickly realized that they needed to honor Stephen s memory By December 2001 his six brothers and sisters got 501 c designation for Tunnel to Towers and aimed to provide mortgage free homes for severely injured vets and the families of fallen soldiers and first responders But an appropriate signature event was needed and the typical run or golf outing would not do according to Stephen s brother and Chairman CEO Frank Siller A light bulb went off while one of Stephen s friends Army Sergeant Billy Codd was brainstorming he suggested the same life saving run through the tunnel When God shines a light on something it s so bright and so clear remembered Siller That was exactly what we needed to do God wasn t the one who needed to sign off though The Mayor the Office of Emergency Management the Department of Transportation and the Brooklyn Tunnel had to be willing to shut down the entire 1 7 mile route to Ground Zero Siller began by talking with DOT commissioner Bob Ademenco and Stephen s heroics were the hook that he needed Ademenco gets up out of his chair comes around the table and hugs me We re going to get this thing done Siller remembers Ademenco saying Ademenco immediately got on the phone with Bridge and Tunnel and the hurdles were falling within the hour Of course word eventually got to Rudy Giuliani who initially said no But the commissioner of OEM put the ball in the mayor s court You tell him no Siller says conveying Richard Sheirer s words and five minutes later the mayor was onboard Rudy s wholehearted blessing continues and no matter the triumph the Sillers always fall back on cherishing their fallen brother saying He was our little miracle Unfortunately over the space of two years during his childhood both of Siller s parents died and the loss for the eight year old shaped him for better and worse Stephen learned that tomorrow is not guaranteed and he engaged in a lot of outrageous behavior according to Frank Siller S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 AT E A S E 15

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Thus going full throttle became a necessity Even so anyone who met Stephen came away thinking he was their best friend That s how he made everyone feel said Siller By age 19 the young man settled himself and decided that only a life of purpose would do He joined the FDNY in 1994 and the trek through the tunnel was the ultimate reflection of his commitment So with Stephen in mind the foundation s first order was obvious Before even helping any family we make sure we never forget the sacrifices said Siller Therefore 2500 West Point Cadets kick off the run and among the revelry the crowd waves photos of the 7 000 plus service members who have died since September 1th The thousands of 9 11 families in attendance also add to the festivities It s the most patriotic unique run in America said Siller We want to honor them all The last Sunday in September is set aside and 8 000 volunteers do their part The aftermath leaves plenty of time to get down to business This isn t just giving a family 10 000 said Siller This is paying off their mortgage or building a mortgage free home Nonetheless families can still be at a loss even when a loved one comes home Amputees and other severely injured vets are also among those served But fully realizing the impact four walls could actually have was left again to divine intervention John Ponte he s one of the miracles that happened to this foundation said Siller of his 2010 introduction to Ponte A construction professional Ponte took part in the first build and quadruple amputee Army Specialist Brendan Marrocco was the recipient Ponte who hails from the same hometown as Marrocco led the effort to specialize the home to Brendan s disability John does smart technology said Siller The house was outfitted to give Ponte a secure foothold with use of a touchscreen 16 AT E A S E S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 iPad control allowed him to turn on the stove turn the lights on and off open and close doors and shades raise and lower counters and cupboards control the temperature and even do laundry All these things we put in so they don t have to ask somebody else to help them said Siller At the same time common sense applies to the layout All rugs are removed hallways are widened and each bathroom is enlarged and fitted with benches and bars Who wants to ask someone to take care of them in the bathroom Siller asks rhetorically The first build also paved the way on another important front Marrocco initially hesitated because he wasn t sure where he wanted to live Frank quickly calmed his concern by telling him We want to build you a home wherever you want to live Siller made good on this promise The Staten Island home base certainly doesn t hamper their efforts and to date more than 100 smart homes have been built There are 70 Stephen Siller runs taking place throughout the spring and about 8 000 volunteers ready at the starting blocks Nineteen years later the nationwide cascade has Siller believing big We re going to be able to take care of every Gold Star Family that has a family left behind every one he emphasized Siller believes several years will do the trick but Tunnel to Towers is counting on us to shorten the wait The goodness of America had better take care of the greatness of America because the greatness of America are those who are willing to die for you and me he concluded

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The goodness of America had better take care of the greatness of America because the greatness of America are those who are willing to die for you and me ARMY GOLF RE OPENS TO ALL BECOME A MEMBER TODAY The Fort Belvoir Golf Club is among the nest military golf facili es in the world o ering a truly excep onal gol ng experience Join the Club and play one of our two championship 18 hole golf courses Membership Bonuses Priority Tee Time Bookings 20 O Prac ce Range Keys Unlimited Green Fees 2 Discount on Cart Fee Fort Belvoir Golf Club is the best golf membership value in Northern Virginia Contact us at FO IR O BELV RT 703 806 5878 fortbelvoirMWR G O B belvoir armymwr com LF CL U 8450 Beulah St Bldg 2920 Fort Belvoir VA 22060 Annual is de ned as April 1 2020 March 31 2021 Annual membership plan is unlimited green fees for the de ned golf year S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 AT E A S E 17

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H I G H S P E E D L OW D R AG Diving for a Cause Story by Glenda C Booth Contibuted photos M embers of the military train long and hard to be mission focused After serving most never lose their let s get things done attitude says Steve Gonzo Gonzalez Director of Operations at the SEAL Veterans Foundation Finding a new mission can be daunting especially after a long military career but one group has found a win win win situation They are members of Force Blue former special operations forces divers from all over the country and from all branches of service who use their military diving skills to save the planet Instead of diving with 200 pounds of gear to destroy a potentially dangerous target these divers help repair Mother Earth underwater Partnering with marine scientists they survey coral reef disease restore coral reefs catch diseased turtles and respond to hurricane damage among other missions In the military they removed obstacles that could interfere with amphibious landings With Force Blue they are helping the planet heal Some members quip that they have gone from deconstruction to reconstruction Force Blue divers win accolades from their partners They are strong and all in amazing shape very attuned to performing complex tasks underwater They have incredible 18 AT E A S E S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 dive skills that the average marine biologist lacks according to Jennifer Koss Director of the Coral Reef Conservation Program for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA Another partner Joanna Walczak with Florida s Department of Environmental Protection DEP is impressed with the passion they bring to the cause In November 2019 Sport Diver magazine named Force Blue one of the best scuba diving organizations for veterans

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Saving Turtles Jim Ritterhoff Force Blue s executive director and a founder has wrangled green sea turtles that have fibropapillomatosis a disabling disease that causes tumor growth on the turtles skin and eyes From low draft boats he jumps on or grabs the turtles and hauls them to the boat so that a veterinarian or scientist can take the turtle s blood and run diagnostic tests If a turtle is really sick the team may take it to a turtle hospital for a blood transfusion and or other treatments Rittenhoff calls green sea turtles the sentinels of the ocean community The Force Blue documentary film Resilience about their work as turtle saviors won the Audience Choice Award at South Carolina s 2019 Reedy Reels Film Festival Monitoring Disease Force Blue divers monitor stony coral tissue loss disease in the Florida Keys coral reefs We are like the smoke jumpers in the dive world says Ritterhoff This disease may be caused by bacteria and transmitted from coral to coral through direct contact and water circulation and can kill coral reefs according to a Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary fact sheet Walczak laments that this disease which started in the Miami area in 2014 is now in 95 percent of Florida s coral reefs and has spread to Caribbean reefs She describes it as a globally unprecedented disease outbreak impacting 22 of the state s 45 coral reef species Scientists are trying to determine the cause and find treatments with some success With Force Blue divers help they are giving the reefs medicine injecting a pharmaceutical compound that contains amoxicillin Divers cut breaks in the reefs like firebreaks in terrestrial forests and using special syringes shoot antibiotics on the corals lesions From December 2018 to June 2019 divers had 50 in water days and treated 4 000 coral lesions 20 AT E A S E S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0

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Restoring Coral Force Blue divers help repair damaged coral and plant new coral Hurricanes can do to the ocean floor what they do to the land ripping apart and breaking acres of coral If divers can get to it quickly they can save some and make repairs by clipping fragments from healthy coral or harvesting it from underwater nurseries and using epoxy cement nails and zip ties adhere pieces to solid substrate that has been cleaned of algae and detritus After one hurricane they cemented several thousand pounds of coral Why care about coral Coral covers less than one percent of the Earth s surface explains Koss but over 500 million people and 25 percent of marine species are dependent on coral at some point in their life cycle Coral provides ecosystem services like buffering coastal flooding providing habitat for fish and other marine life and supporting recreation and tourism Force Blue divers have removed marine debris like fish nets and lobster traps abandoned or broken loose by hurricanes They have speared lionfish an invasive species They have trained to do shark tagging Once conditions are safer post coronavirus they will help build oyster beds off Virginia s coast An Underwater Football Field The unlikely pairing of football and coral reef restoration came together for a special deployment at the National Football League s 2020 Super Bowl in Miami when Force Blue divers started a football field length coral reef restoration in Florida s Biscayne Bay dubbed 100 Yards of Hope in honor of football s 100th season They planted 100 pieces of staghorn coral to replicate an endzone and by February 2021 Tampa super bowl hopes to expand the project to football field size This project is a partnership with the NFL Florida s DEP the Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science the University of Miami s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science the Florida Aquarium the Ocean Conservancy and NOAA s Coral Reef Conservation Program At a kickoff press conference Florida Governor Ron DeSantis applauded the divers for helping promote awareness and protection of Florida s Coral Reef ecosystem By protecting and restoring Florida s coral reef we are protecting a state treasure Florida is not Florida without its coral reefs he said At the 2020 Superbowl fans called the divers ecowarriors and a model of caring S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 AT E A S E 21

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The Ocean Is Not an Obstacle Every year Force Blue conducts at least one twoweek training to bring new divers on board Trainees learn some marine science how to grow coral how to remove ghost gear and debris and other tasks from instructors scientists counselors and others In a pivot from their military training they learn that the ocean is not something to overcome but a natural resource that needs help preservation and restoration Force Blue treats the training sessions like the reserves they do not pay divers a stipend during the two weeks but they provide air fare accommodations and meals A New Mission Divers often recall the challenges they took on while in the military and the lingering desire for a mission after leaving the service Force Blue fills that void many say making them part of a team dedicated to mission again The don t quit attitude lives on and Force Blue diving gives them a sense of purpose Their work is a win win win for them for their partners and for the Earth Gonzalez sums it up I spent the majority of my career above and below the ocean I was trained to remove obstacles with demolition For Force Blue I m diving to repair It is very touching to repair Mother Earth for future generations For Information Force Blue is a 501 c 3 organization funded largely by donations and grants Visit https forceblueteam org 22 AT E A S E S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 It feels good to actually take the training that we had and implement into real world use That was one of the things I loved about the military We had a mission We had purpose There was something that we were doing every day and there was a reason behind it Geoff Reeves Force Blue diver and Navy SEAL

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MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center is a community hospital in Prince George s County and a part of the MedStar Health system We offer The MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center A primary stroke center The Women Newborns Center A cardiac catheterization lab Electrophysiology services Behavioral health Gastroenterology services A level II special care nursery MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center is a part of the renowned MedStar Heart Vascular Institute Cleveland Clinic Alliance 7503 Surratts Rd Clinton MD 20735 301 868 8000 PHONE MedStarSouthernMaryland org

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QU I C K 1 0 At Ease sits down for a quick ten with 24 AT E A S E S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0

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Warrior Flask co founder Niki Jensen i k i N S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 AT E A S E 25

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1 WHAT IS WARRIOR FLASK Warrior Flask is a double walled stainless steel water bottle that keeps your beverage cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12 hours Warrior Flask represents so much more than just water bottles though We represent a purpose Our mission is to not only provide a top notch product but to encourage others to support the ones who protect us and put their lives on the line for our safety and well being 2 WHAT INSPIRED WARRIOR FLASK Warrior Flask was inspired by the idea to show support for those under appreciated My husband Austin wanted to start a business and thought that stainless steel water bottles were great products I on the other hand wanted to not only start a business but to start a business with a purpose 26 We brainstormed and came up with a name and a mission to give back Many of my family members were in the military so I wanted to incorporate the military somehow We decided that for every bottle we would sell we would give one back to the military We came together and created the company as husband and wife We expanded the products to offer different colors red white and blue within the first year Within the years since then we have introduced many new products such as coolers wine tumblers beer koozies and growlers We also started to custom engrave the bottles offer limited editions and name customization 3 WHO DO YOU HONOR WITH WARRIOR FLASK Warrior Flask honors Veterans active duty military members law enforcement officers and first responders 5 WHAT IS THE MOST POPULAR PRODUCT Our most popular product is definitely our stainless steel water bottles This was our first product so we marketed this significantly In addition people find our bottles to be most useful and versatile 4 WHAT KIND OF PRODUCTS DO YOU SELL We started with two products Warrior Bottles and Warrior tumblers We initially only had two colors black and stainless steel and only a few different sizes of bottles and tumblers AT E A S E S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 6 ARE THERE ANY NEW PRODUCTS WARRIOR FLASK IS WORKING ON Yes we have many concepts in the works and plan on releasing a new product line very soon

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HAPPINESS IS Endless MOVE IN THIS FALL TOUR OUR DECORATED MODELS MOVE IN READY HOMES TODAY Ready for Fall savings We have Move In Ready Homes available in ALL of our Dream Finders Homes communities Visit our Models to learn more POSSIBILITIES Our Models are open Tuesday through Saturday 10am 6pm Sunday and Monday 12pm 6pm All other times by appointment 40 MARYLAND 1 NORTHERN VIRGINIA 5 TUSCARORA CREEK Single Family Homes from the Mid 300s BLUE RIDGE ESTATES Single Family Homes 00s from the 600 W K Street Purcellville VA 20132 1218 Lawler Drive Frederick MD 21702 Yellow Springs 70 MA RYL AND VIR GIN IA 27 1 15 97 2 2 40 Frederick Libert y Reser oir Wood villee Woodvill 70 27 15 355 3 3 340 340 70 Brunswickk Brunswic 27 Urbana 15 340 70 270 6 WOODLANDS AT GOOSE CREEK 42939 Running Creek Square Leesburg VA 20175 Frederick MD 21704 15 Townhomes from the Low 400s 103 Klee Alley Silver Spring MD 20906 11049 Blackburn Cove Manassas VA 20109 s rd y Mercerr Merce Dulles International Airport 50 190 Gre ay 50 29 495 267 m 28 ac 7 Silver Springg Sprin 267 190 1 Washington 15 66 7 Ronald Reagan Washington NationalAirport 695 4 Annan ale Alexandri 888 208 7665 OnlineInquiry DreamFindersHomes com DREAMFINDERSHOMES COM 2020 Dream Finders Homes LLC MHBR7985 A ND 95 495 295 66 50 Fairfax Fairf ax Centre ville 50 50 66 50 50 495 Bull Run CONTACT US TODAY 1 495 650 R iv e r 193 286 7 95 97 Hw to Townhomes from the Mid 500s le By Po 7 BLACKBURN TOWNHOMES rry 28 200 270 Ha 267 95 4 4 355 VIRGINIA 15 w en 4 GLENMONT METROCENTRE 112 MARYLAND 7 l Du 42956 Wild Willow Way Leesburg VA 20175 Rockville Rockvi lle r 8728 Shady Pines Drive Frederick MD 21704 6 29 200 Poto ma e Riv WOODLANDS AT GOOSE CREEK Single Family Homes from the High 600s Purcelvil le Leesburg Purcelville Wheaton Glenmon Wheat on Glenmo ntt Poolesvile 7 c Single Family Homes from the Low 500s Dayto n am ps 650 5 5 7 3 VILLAGES OF URBANA Ne wH 270 fax PkwCo u n y t y 5601 Tallyn Hunt Place 29 650 355 ve eA Townhomes from the Low 500s h ir Townhomes from the Low 300s 97 Fair 2 TALLYN RIDGE MA RYL AN VIR D GIN IA

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7 HOW INVOLVED IN MILITARY OR VETERAN NONPROFITS IS WARRIOR FLASK We are consistently giving back to veteran military nonprofits as well as VA s Periodically we will open up our submission link and many military and veteran nonprofits will apply to receive bottles for fundraisers etc in which we will add to our list 8 WHAT IS A GOAL YOU HAVE FOR THE FUTURE Our goal for the future is to keep doing what we are doing but on a larger scale We would like to be the preferred hydration container company within our industry and also expand to have a larger retail presence Currently we are not focused on retail 28 AT E A S E S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 whereas most of our sales are generated through our website and we have focused on utilizing social media to generate our sales Ideally we would like to be in every gun shop and have retail connections across the country 9 WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU ARE AT EASE Austin and I are very similar and enjoy a lot of the same activities which include shooting camping dirt biking skiing backpacking golfing and much more We are very active people and when we are not working we are always doing some sort of outdoor activity We work extremely long hours but we make time for the things we enjoy

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10 WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO GIVE A SHOUTOUT TO I would Like to give a shoutout to both of my grandfathers who served in the military My mom s dad served in the Air Force and my dad s dad served in the Navy They are some of the strongest and wisest men I know I am very thankful to call them my grandparents I also would like to give a shout out to my cousin Steven Stewart who inspired me at a very young age when he joined the Marines He has served multiple deployments and I always looked up to him when I was a little girl Thank you to all of the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect the American people Each and every one of you should be appreciated for your sacrifice n e v e St S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 AT E A S E 29

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CONNECTING ELEMENT WHEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS ALL FUN GAMES Story by Patrick Chisholm Submitted Photos S erving active duty in a combat zone in the Middle East one is often prompted to reflect on the fond memories back home For Matt Butler those memories included the many hours he spent playing lawn games in the backyard both as a kid and as an adult He pondered it so thoroughly that he came up with an idea for a new lawn game Rollors Rollors consists of wooden disks with a flat edge that players roll to try to come as close as possible to a pyramid shaped pin It combines elements of horseshoes bocce ball and lawn bowling Those games have been out for over a century and bocce ball since Roman times said Butler I just felt there should be something new So while on a deployment I started conceiving an idea of an outdoor game He was deployed ten times the majority of the time flying combat operations over Iraq and Afghanistan in the Joint STARS reconnaissance aircraft In 2018 he retired from the Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel Once while on R R he started prototyping what he envisioned through crafting game pieces with wood Then while stationed in Italy he took a woodworking class In Italy the game of bocce ball is popular All of those things kind of came together to conceive of the game Rollors he related A lot of times I get people who say Hey this is bocce ball But it s not because bocce ball is a ball This is a disc with numbers Then other people say it s horseshoes But I say horseshoes is a tossing 30 AT E A S E S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0

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game This is a rolling game Rollors is the love child of about six or seven different games Butler combined what he thought were the best elements of those games into this new game After prototyping some sets he showed them to friends who enjoyed playing the game Sensing an interest he had dozens of sets made selling about 50 of them at a church craft fair in Destin Florida where he lived and still resides That was in 2010 32 AT E A S E S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 He manufactured the components in his garage after work while his wife helped out with wholesaling orders and customer service To date he has sold about 85 000 units and he supplies the game to about 600 different retailers Butler also works with others to help bring their product ideas to market A lot of people will submit ideas for new games anywhere from board games to outdoor games One product is for score keeping Tally Tumbler is a cup and a scoring device in one Around the perimeter of the stainless steel tumbler are rings with numbers that can be rotated to keep score of whatever game one is playing such as golf tennis or a yard game Many if not most of Butler s employees are connected in some way to the military veterans spouses and sons and daughters of service members They live in various locations COVID 19 has people working from home I ve kind of been doing that for the past five years Because usually whoever s in the military has to move from base to base And then the other spouse has to lose their job or give that up and so that s why I just look at them as an untapped resource Butler s background wasn t in business it was in physics and computer science But the process of bringing Rollors to market has taught him plenty about business so much so that he now teaches courses in entrepreneurship Back then I just didn t know much about business I was just progressing with the company and moving forward I had mentorship from other people either in the military or in retail It was a long learning process because a new topic would come up or the law would come up for example I had a retailer that said Hey I

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really enjoy this What s your wholesale on the game And I thought I don t even really know what that means So I ve had a lot of mentors along the way who ve said Here s where you need to get your cost of goods Matt Here s where you need to get wholesale margins Here s how to advertise these types of things Selling a simple lawn game is harder than it looks My wife will look at my phone once in a while and she s like Man you re the most boring person here I ve got pictures of the bottom of boxes and different retail packaging because there s so much that goes into it that people don t know Like if I were to ask you you need to put a UPC code on something Where do you even start with that It s a journey just to figure that out And what are the safety requirements that you need in this category It s sporting goods Is there safety testing And the answer is yes a bunch of different things But each one of those is kind of a different journey that you need to have to get a product to market Now Butler mentors others in the ways of business He teaches entrepreneurship on a part time basis through the Small Business Administration s Boots to Business program It s a two day boot camp on things from finance to marketing to problem solving to basically what entrepreneurship is about He has taught the class at many military bases and with COVID 19 he now teaches it online Even if someone took the course and didn t become an entrepreneur it s still a success because it means they didn t spend time and money on trying to start something when they just didn t have the means or the heart or the know how So it s a good program for everyone For budding entrepreneurs Butler s main advice is to just get started I ve run across too many people that will just sit on an idea You ve got to move yourself forward Take the Boots to Business course You can even take it after you separate from the military He says there are many other online resources for military entrepreneurs A prominent one is the Institute for Veterans and Military Families It provides military veterans and spouses entrepreneurship education at no charge It s free education paid for through donations through other companies through people just wanting to see veterans and spouses succeed With a deal like that you could turn your pipe dream into the next big thing S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 AT E A S E 33

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O F F BA S E Military Service Farming A Good Fit Story by Glenda C Booth You might tend to pastured chickens clean eggs move cattle to a new field plant tomatoes or drive a tractor You might learn about crop rotation composting and pest management It s all about learning to farm 34 AT E A S E S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0

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S ome former military people are exploring farm internship or apprentice programs to decide if farming is their thing or when they ve already decided to pursue farming to learn how to make it productive and profitable Two Virginia programs Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture near Alexandria and Whiffletree Farm near Warrenton offer several options Farming can be a rewarding and challenging next chapter after military service It s a two way street because ex military people are a great fit for farming maintains Pamela Hess Arcadia s Executive Director and farming benefits from veterans Veterans bring the ability to plan adapt and work in challenging physical circumstances Nothing thrown at them will be worse than a day in boot camp or Iraq offers Hess And she stresses that veterans are emotionally and physically tough and often have useful skills like carpentry mechanics and electricity They don t freak out over excitement which she says can be an everyday hiccup on a farm What does farming bring to veterans After a career of taking orders they can be in charge Many former military people don t want to sit at a computer all day They enjoy being outside and want to tap their entrepreneurial drive Farming can be therapeutic especially for vets with post traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury Hess believes Most vets who are reinventing themselves want meaningful work and want to make the world better and to continue in public service Being a steward of the land is a public service she asserts Patience and Planning Captain Michael J Trost is an affirmation of that perspective After 32 years in the Army including a stint in Afghanistan in 2018 he went through Arcadia s training program and then with his wife Stephanie started the 25 acre Pokeadot Hops and Garden in Madisonville Tennessee They grow hops vegetables and mushrooms and produce honey soaps and eggs He has applied many of the skills he learned in the Army to farming Being creative to fix a problem in a combat zone is directly related to fixing a tractor Cool heads prevail in a combat zone and on the farm Hard work and completing the mission made working long hours on the farm no problem Michael says Michael recalls getting a big lesson in patience and perseverance when he spent two years at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center recovering from five gunshot wounds from a PKM machine Photo by Glenda C Booth Jesse Straight raises pastured cattle on Whiffletree Farm Photo by Laura McDonald Jim Waggener with Elena Myer identify a plant at Occoquan Regional Park Fairfax County Virginia gun He had to have his leg amputated and his right hand rebuilt using his right big toe Patience and perseverance are needed every day on our farm he remarks Barbara and Dewey Haines retired from the Army where she was a logistics officer and he was a military police officer On Hidden Spring Family Farm in Palmyra Virginia they are now working on infrastructure repairing fences rehabilitating pastures creating garden beds and putting in berry plants In a few years they will keep bees and grow berries vegetables and flowers raise pastured poultry and eventually add cows and goats Arcadia s training program helped them develop a farming plan and find resources Our military experience directly relates to what we are doing in that we are doing a lot of research and planning just like we would have done prior to a field exercise or deployment explains Barbara We have the discipline to get up and do the things that need to be done when they need to be done After each new experience we conduct a mini after action review to see what went right and what we should change After multiple deployments Jordan Green left the Marines in 2009 and apprenticed for one year at Polyface Farm near Staunton Virginia He now runs the 200 acre J L Green Farm in Edinburg Virginia with his wife Laura They raise animals entirely on pastures and in harmony with nature says Jordan Their products include pasture raised poultry forest fed pork and grass fed beef S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 AT E A S E 35

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Learning at Arcadia Farm Located on the historic Woodlawn Estate land once owned by George Washington and now surrounded on three sides by Fort Belvoir Arcadia has trained over 100 veterans on several tracks In the Veteran Farmer Reserve Program interns attend sessions one weekend a month for a year and do 40 hours of hands on farm work at Arcadia like working in the greenhouse and using farm tools Classroom instruction covers topics like pest control and marketing The Veteran Farm Fellowship is a nine month training program at Arcadia where trainees receive farm and nutrition education and are guided by professional farmer mentors They learn to prepare a business plan Arcadia staff also try to help identify land suitable for farming where aspiring farmers can begin their own farms Arcadia also offers a veteran farm incubator on site to help new farmers launch their farm business Aspiring farmers have real experience running their own mini farm a cautious low risk approach that can save money and headaches before they invest in land and heavy equipment If they fail we want them to fail when at low risk financially explains Hess Arcadia also teaches farming s business side topics like insurance land assessment and accounting Photo courtesy of Arcadia Farm Then Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Veteran Farmer Jennie Haskamp pictured when Mattis came to speak to the Veteran Class of 2018 Photo by Jennie Haskamp Veteran Farmer Rich Faucher working for service hours on Arcadia s production farm in 2019 36 AT E A S E S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 Photo courtesy of Arcadia Farm VFP field trip to a Perfect Day Farm

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Photo by Glenda C Booth The farm store at Whiffletree Farm where trainees help out Photo by Glenda C Booth Jesse Straight raises pastured chickens on Whiffletree Farm mimicking the natural way wild chickens would eat and thrive Learning at Whiffletree Farm Jesse Straight husband and father of eight offers four month internships from April through July and August through November at Whiffletree Farm and his farm store accepting people with an excellent attitude and great work ethic he says We are looking for a person who is cheerful tidy professional honest very willing to receive constructive criticism and desires to do the work excellently and quickly Farmers in training learn to raise pastured chickens laying hens turkeys pigs and cows Committed to sustainable agriculture Straight pays attention to how nature works and avoids using antibiotics chemicals hormones genetically modified feed and chemical dewormers Army veteran David Yost interned at Whiffletree to figure out if it s something I want to do One of the first things he learned was that the chickens like cowpies because of all the bugs Straight who says he s made mistakes also teaches the business end of farming skills like pitching products to chefs accounting and financing He s had about 40 interns over 11 years 10 of whom were ex military Interns need to do just about anything he stresses but his goal is for you to leave knowing the farm and business model to set you up well to start your own business Farming like military service is not for the faint of heart Straight reminds prospective farmers that We work hard Fifty to 55 hours per week is normal 6 00 a m to 5 30 p m Monday through Saturday with 45 minute breaks for breakfast and lunch and one and a partial weekday off And he adds I want to do a really good job leave our piece of the world better This is the best kind of farming Hess touts her former military farmer trainees I continue because the vets who go through our program say it changed their lives After the military some felt aimless and now they really have a purpose They are vital again she says proudly Photo by Glenda C Booth On Whiffletree Farm Army veteran David Yost moves a fence so the chickens will move to a new field for foraging Information Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture www arcadiafood org Whiffletree Farm www whiffletreefarmva com U S Department of Agriculture New Farmers Navigator https newfarmers usda gov veterans Eager Farmer connects people with farms www eagerfarmer com S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 AT E A S E 37

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FA M I LY H Q FIRST LADIES OF FOOTBALL ASHLEY M NFL Cheerleader for the Washington Football Team 38 AT E A S E S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 Photos by Christian Lilakos and submitted from team Ashley has been around the military her entire life Now as a cheerleader in the National Football League she has the opportunity to continue to give back to a community she owes so much to through partnerships with Armed Forces Entertainment and the Washington Football Team

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AE How long have you been a member of the First Ladies of Football Ashley This is my 3rd season as a Washington Football Team Cheerleader AE What connection do you have to the military Ashley My most immediate connection to the military is my father After graduating from the United States Naval Academy he served 30 years as a Navy SEAL and retired as an 06 Captain does that connection AE What mean to you Ashley Growing up in a military family I have always been a vocal supporter of our military I grew up in the suburbs of Virginia Beach which is a predominantly military population so I would say it has always been a huge part of my identity I am so proud as one can imagine of my dad and his career both while active duty and now retired His drive for excellence and dedication to our country and family are the utmost respectable S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 AT E A S E 39

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AE In what ways are you able to support our Armed Forces Ashley I have been able to support our Armed Forces in a few different manners After retiring from active duty my dad has remained a part of the SEAL Team Community through the UDTSEAL Association He currently works as the Executive Director of the UDT SEAL Association and SEAL Veterans Foundation in Virginia Beach Their joint mission is to raise funds to benefit the wellbeing of active retired and legacy members and their families It is truly a family effort at times with my mother being the AE UDT SEAL Store director and my brother and I helping out in any possible way over the past 11 years My favorite way to give back and support active duty military and personnel is through Military Appreciation tours with Armed Forces Entertainment Throughout the season we also have opportunities to make appearances at Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda MD I had the honor of attending the Walter Reed Holiday Party and Super Bowl party a few years ago and had a chance to sit down and talk to many wounded soldiers and their families Each were amazing events that brought us all together for some fun and fellowship What does Salute to Service mean to you Ashley The NFL s promise to support our troops is a dream partnership in my opinion For those that do not know the NFL donates for every point scored through the Salute To Service month each year since 2011 Donations are also made from sales with the NFL Salute to Service Merchandise I am proud to be a small part of the NFLs mission to support and fund programs that positively impact veteran and active duty military and families AE What is your favorite part of the Salute to Service month Ashley By far my favorite part of Salute to Service month is when we have our home Military Appreciation Game Everything on game day is in the Salute to Service Theme to include our dance songs uniforms and game day appearances There is a sense of community and pride for our country and armed forces on display during the Salute to Service game and I genuinely look forward to it each season AE How have you gotten to honor the military as a First Lady of Football Ashley As mentioned I have had many opportunities as a First Lady to honor our military members and families From our military tours and appearances at Walter Reed hospital I consider myself incredibly lucky each time I am able to spend time with our service men and women and their families 40 AT E A S E S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0

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AE Where are some places you ve gotten to go through your partnership with the AFE Ashley By far my favorite part of Salute to Service month is when we have our home Military Appreciation Game Everything on game day is in the Salute to Service Theme to include our dance songs uniforms and game day appearances There is a sense of community and pride for our country and armed forces on display during the Salute to Service game and I genuinely look forward to it each season AE What kind of an impact do your visits have Ashley Most importantly our visits overseas are to bring a piece of home and entertainment to the men and women we encounter Each tour is different in nature but usually consists of base tours dining in the facilities with troops learning about their lives and careers and a variety show each night Our hope during each visit is that we leave a sense of joy and renewed energy to everyone we are privileged to meet One of the best feelings in the world is wrapping up our variety show in front of hundreds of military men women and sometimes families to a standing ovation after dancing Proud to be an American It is the final routine of our show that has been the finale on every tour since the late 90s Picture the crowd singing and swaying along and filling the most times desert air with a sense of community gathering and patriotism AE Moving forward what is something you hope to accomplish as a supporter of the military Ashley I will always remain an advocate for our military men and women In my First Ladies of Football 2019 Magazine Article I wrote about how I want to use my platform as a cheerleader to give back to our military I had considered joining the armed forces upon graduating from Virginia Tech with my business degrees but first wanted to pursue my dream of being an NFL Cheerleader The ability to continue to live out my dream while also giving back in various ways is the most fulfilling part of the job for me S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 AT E A S E 41

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Seeing is BELIEVING NEW APARTMENTS COMING IN 2021 Falcons Landing is proud to announce The Terrace Homes With the best features of apartment and cottage living The Terrace Homes offer a new take on Independent Living for military officers who have honorably served and senior level federal employees No matter how you spend your days Falcons Landing gives you the freedom to relish in all the activities that define who you are ACT FAST Call 703 263 8908 before the last 12 Terrace Homes apartments are reserved FalconsLanding org 20522 Falcons Landing Circle Potomac Falls VA 20165 Falcons Landing is proud to be a non profit Life Plan Community

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Tom Gaffney I Senior Loan Officer NMLS ID 182206 703 307 5877 tgaffney fhmtg com www GaffneyLoans com West Park l rom the Mid 200 s 1609 Tydings Park Road l rederick MD 21703 SALES INTEGRITVMMW COM 301 215 1403 First Heritage Mortgage LLC 3201 Jennantown Road Suite 800 Fairfax VA 22030 First He1itage Mortgi3ge LLC I Company NMLS ID 86548 www nmlscons 1meraccess org This is an advertisement and not a rantee of lending Teims and Conditions apply All __ app1wals subject to underwriting guidelines Prepared 099 05 2018 9 30 20 L J Of ltOlllfVIUT INTE fiTilil1 TY Closing Costs paid when using First Heritage Mortgage and does not include pre paids Pricing and tenns may change please speak with Loan Officer

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VETERAN S CORNER I am a six year Veteran of the U S Navy and I have been a DoD Contractor for the past 11 years working as a Quality Assurance Representative on MV 22B and CMV 22B Aircraft I am a Veterans Affairs accredited claims agent able to help prepare present and prosecute claims for VA benefits I am a husband of 16 years and I have three wonderful children I am currently living in Southern Maryland Richard Evans Story by Richard Evans ummer is usually the time of the year where everyone gets out of the house and explores Whether it be mountains trails or amusement parks we see an influx of participation in outdoor activities in the summertime With recent lifestyle changes due to COVID 19 families may not feel there are many chances to get out of the house and into nature but there is a little known treasure cove of activities in southern Maryland that can get you and your family outside and into some interesting nature filled fun all while being safe Greenwell Foundation is a 501 c 3 nonprofit organization located at Greenwell State Park in Hollywood MD The foundation has enough outdoor activities to keep you busy for the entire summer and they can accommodate people with disabilities They clean all their equipment before and after each use and they welcome volunteers Greenwell is a well established supporter of veterans in the community Their newest program Nominate a Hero recognizes active duty military members and veterans for their work during this pandemic and it allows them to participate in one of their activities at a discounted and or free rate There are a plethora of benefits to getting outdoors in nature We all have heard how sunlight boosts your immune system enhances creativity increases focus and improves vision but did you know that it also helps with mental health Researchers at the University of Utah have recently reviewed the relationship between participating in outdoor activities and mental health Those studies have shown a positive mental health outcome in people who spend more time outdoors including a curtailment in anxiety and stress for people of all age groups This is not to say that going outdoors and being amid nature will cure mental health disorders but it will help build a more optimistic view of life 1 At Greenwell Foundation guided hikes are offered for groups up to eight people to explore the park Your guide will show you the ins and outs during your hike and give invaluable knowledge of the location and the nature experienced along the way Also offered at Greenwell is the Science Technology Engineering Art and Math STEAM program which allows children to get their hands dirty with experiments demonstrations and activities Children will utilize materials from the natural surroundings at the park resulting in creations like dams bridges and streams Think of this as a crash course into nature explaining something as simple as learning about wildlife and plants and as intricate as chemistry If being around water is your cup of tea the foundation has it covered One water activity they offer is a daily hour long kayaking lesson Your instructor will teach you how to paddle correctly show you the necessary posture and demonstrate how to launch and recover your kayak If you feel comfortable you can try out a two hour guided tour on your kayak or even go fishing along the smooth Patuxent River Your guide will take you through the inlets and beaches and show you the wildlife on the river that Greenwell State Park has to offer Perhaps the most important feature the foundation has to offer is its equestrian program Mental health experts around the world have recently discovered the many benefits of interacting with horses for therapeutic purposes Equine assisted activities and therapy EAAT have proven invaluable to veterans with post traumatic stress disorder Equine therapy is recognized by the Veterans Health Administration as a valuable health resource to veterans Greenwell Foundation offers the Horse Connection Experience which offers an equine escape This adventure allows you to build on emotional and social well being by learning the fundamentals of horses including learning about the different breeds and what they can do watching feeding and grooming them and showing how to interact with them You can bring a family of up to 10 for this one hour experience with up to four horses to share between group members There are opportunities to ride horses around their arena or if you care to venture further there are trail rides for up to two hours in time Horseback riding and carriage driving is taught and if you were interested in the guided hikes mentioned above they have a hike where they will bring along a pony to carry items for you A vital part of these experiences is that the equipment needed like helmets carriages and saddles for horse rides or paddles and kayaks can all be provided at the park You do not have to bring anything except excitement The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International certifies the instructors that guide you with your horse ventures If you find yourself intrigued by what is offered and want to come down to Southern Maryland go online and schedule an activity Tell them Richard sent you 1 N Qwynne Lackey Deborah A Tysor G David McNay Leah Joyner Kensey H Baker Camilla Hodge 2019 Mental health benefits of nature based recreation a systematic review Annals of Leisure Research DOI 10 1080 11745398 2019 1655459 44 AT E A S E S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0

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MADE FOR THE MILITARY For nearly 100 years we ve served military members We not only understand your needs we share your values You ll see it in our products and services tailored for military life Join USAA USAA COM JOIN or call 800 531 8521 No Department of Defense or government agency endorsement Member eligibility and product restrictions apply and are subject to change USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its affiliates 2019 USAA 266289 1019 S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 AT E A S E 45

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COMING UP Jack s Car Wash is a veteran owned and operated business located in Fredericksburg VA Suzanne Denault and Mike Esher are retired Denault and reservist Esher U S Marine Corps officers They are the husband and wife team who while stationed in San Diego CA dreamed of starting a family owned business This dream became a reality when they were transferred to the Marine Corps Base at Quantico VA We were transferred to Quantico I was offered an early retirement and Mike had transitioned to the Reserves We knew this is where we wanted to retire and make sure that our children would attend good schools This area was a better opportunity to establish a business Denault said TO SOME YOUR HELP MEANS EVERYTHING Hunger takes many forms Hunger for food hunger for affordable housing hunger for jobs hunger for hope For those who hunger for a fresh start you can make a difference Help SOME restore hope and dignity one person at a time To make a tax deductible contribution to SOME call 202 797 8806 or go to www some org Please designate SOME CFC 74405 United Way 818 46 AT E A S E S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0

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THEY CHOSE INGLESIDE Coming here at this time was perfect for us and is probably tthe best decision we have ever made It is less important how we feel today as compared to our feelings that as we approach the unknowns of the future we will be safe and protected INGLESIDE AT KING FARM www ikfmd org events OFFERING THE AREA S NEWEST AND SPACIOUS APARTMENT HOMES IN ROCKVILLE MD Ingleside at Rock Creek has made me feel protected All my basic needs are taken care of and most importantly I feel that there is an entire community that wants to assure my health and happiness INGLESIDE AT ROCK CREEK www ircdc org events THE PERFECT BALANCE FOR STYLISH RETIREMENT LIVING IN WASHINGTON DC We have been here for 5 years and never once questioned whether we did the right thing Yes we were young when we moved in but it has been a very good move WESTMINSTER AT LAKE RIDGE www wlrva org events NESTLED AGAINST THE NATURAL FORESTED BEAUTY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA Sign up for your personal virtual session today AN OFIT LIFE PLAN COMMUNITY CALL 202 360 4701

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ONLINE COURSES ee LEARN ONLINE HERE FOR YOU Call 877 275 8682 or visit UMGC EDU Effective July 1 2019 University of Maryland University College UMUC changed its name to University of Maryland Global Campus UMGC 2020 University of Maryland Global Campus