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And away we go...

Saturday, June 20, 2009 09:10 | Eric Harrington

I had the pleasure of working with Albert Renteria while stationed at 3/1 in Pendleton in the early 90's. Like many of us, we lost contact over the years. I have been off of active duty since 1997 and he is retired. Those were some of the best days of my life.

 I am probably one of a few that can say I have been though "orientation" twice by Albert and each time I learn something new. <grin>

The initial orientation at 3/1 was more like a parent installing values and giving specific direction on how to be a man, how to do a good job and how to be a forward & positive thinker. Little did I know at the time that these values would help shape and mold my professional life as well as make me a better husband and dad.

With such a positive result from orientation #1, I could not help but be excited to experience a second session over 15 years later!

What sparked my interest in this program? A couple of things actually. First of all, I have worked with Albert so I know what he stands for and what he can do - even when the perception is full of odds. Secondly - the vision of his new organization.

"Our Vision Be the nations’ premier Veterans’ Business Resource Center, providing world-class services; anytime, anywhere"

This is the same approach we took when our team worked at 3/1 years ago and with this vision, we accomplished things that no other unit had done - ever! We also changed the way technology is used USMC wide. Don't take my word for it, give Albert a call and he will tell you all about it.

Where I am going with this you ask? Well, I know firsthand what can be accomplished with such a vision and if this is the vision for this new venture, I have no doubt SWVBRC will have a massive positive impact on our country - specifically our service men and women.

Admittedly, I am late posting my first blog. I hate excuses so I am not going to post any on here but I wanted to briefly talk about my "second" orientation with Albert, even though it was my "first" with regards to SWVBRC.

True to form, Albert and I were breaking new ground again together and I was the first remote orientation trial case which I have to say went very well. Albert was concerned with the lack of face to face time and I was concerned the message may be scattered a bit. As opposed to the face to face formats which preceded mine, we decided to get rolling on this sooner rather than later and conducted everything online.

Albert and I went though each step and openly discussed our thoughts and feelings at each phase. The content was very well organized and we were done in about 90 minutes.

Oddly enough, I had forgotten about "SWOT". I have used this approach in business but referred to it as something else and had some different twists in it. A big part of the orientation is to have an open discussion where we talk about SWOT and how it applies to you the person. Very important stuff to master if you are going to be successful at anything.

The #1 rule I keep is - be honest with yourself. There are many ways to approach this but SWOT gives you a nice format to help you.

Imagine how we could change the landscape if we could conduct even a simple orientation with every homeless vet by helping them take control over their lives by identifying their strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats?

I am a betting man - and I would be willing to bet one by one, we will!

Stay focused, and speak/think positive thoughts.

"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." - Proverbs 23:7


  • Saturday, June 20, 2009 07:04 | Derek Strauss

    I think we all utilize "SWOT" in some form or other everyday. Even in my profession of truck driving! Great post. I am looking forward to reading more.
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    • Saturday, June 20, 2009 07:41 | Eleanor Tobias
      Welcome aboard, Eric!!! It's obvious, reading your first entry, that you will be another positive force in helping our veterans, homeless or not. Thank you, in advance, for all you have done, and will be doing for SWVBRC!!! Fran
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      • Monday, June 22, 2009 04:48 | Eric Harrington
        Hi Fran. Thank you for responding to my first post. I look forward to exchanging ideas and sharing my experiences on here with you. If there is anything you - or anyone else needs, please do not hesitate to let me know.
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    • Saturday, June 20, 2009 14:45 | Eric Harrington
      Thanks buddy. I just posted a new one thanks to an idea you gave me. Let's peel back the skin a little and get to some real meat.

      This line of conversation can help educate people.
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  • Saturday, June 20, 2009 09:46 | Carol Grice
    Greetings Eriic and welcome to the team of those that will surely make a difference in getting our Veterans headed in the right direction. For the period of time I have been aquainted with Mr. Renteria I know only too well that he never fails to continue to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
    There are times when I think I go through some type of an orientation with him on a daily basis since I met him in April of 2001. He never cuts me any slack, but maybe he just likes to pick on the Navy. What say you Marine? Still he is a wonderful person and I so appreciate my aquaintence with him.
    I believe he enriches every life he touches.
    Anchors Aweigh!
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    • Saturday, June 20, 2009 14:47 | Eric Harrington
      Hi Carol. Thanks for the kind words. I had to chuckle at about the "daily basis" comment. Yep - That is Albert. If you are standing near a hook, he is going to put you on it! ;-)
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      • Saturday, June 20, 2009 16:49 | Carol Grice
        My dear Marine, I was married to a Marine so have an idea about how they think. But Marines under my care as a Navy Nurse also figured out how I think. I guess that is the reason while stationed here at Camp Pendleton my patients with love, nicknamed me "Gunny". I still have to laugh about that. It was indeed a huge compliment. That told me they thought I might just me about as tough as they were when it came to OK, this is how we are going to accomplish this task. I would look at them sweetly and then say "Sgt. you do understand me,Right?
        Fortunately I was married to a Marine so he was able to help me stay just a short jump ahead of any one that thought they might be able to out fox me. Each morning I would come to work wondering what my 40 Marine patients had dreamed up in the previous 16 hours to see if they could get the best of me. And so it went when finally one day I said "Hey Marines, you have been sleeping in the mud so much your brains are looking like they need some work, so now that you are between some nice clean hospital sheets, I will work on the rest of your attitude. I had more fun with our verbal exchanges and the outcome I would not give it up for the world. That was the best 20 years of my life. I dearly love our Marines. In my opinion Marines are capable of dealing with any task with a positive outcome. And it was likely the Marines that taught me to be tough and eventually nicknamed "Gunny" God Bless all of my Marines. Even Al Renteria. Don't laugh. We are best of friends. Indeed he is likely my best friend, but I will be careful to not get near a hook. Thanks for the tip.
        HUM! I wonder if anyone else knows what we are talking about.
        Semper Fi. from the Navy.
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  • Saturday, June 20, 2009 10:37 | Laurel Ho
    Welcome Eric! I guess Eleanor and Carol beat me to the punch in being the first to post :0) Knowing Carol, you have to get up pretty early to beat her! I like your "no excuses" statement, I saw a guy this morning with a Nike T Shirt that said just that, that's how we get things done. I can tell by your first post that you not only will gain from being involved with SWVBRC, we will be the beneficiaries of your positive can do attitude. Look forward to hearing more about your life experiences and how we can help. Happy Father's Day! Laurel
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    • Saturday, June 20, 2009 14:50 | Eric Harrington
      Thanks Laurel! Carol will beat me everytime then because oddly enough, I am not a morning person - unless I have to be. No one I know has yet to understand how I made it four years in the Marines and having to wake up so early. That is not my cup of tea.

      Looking forward to exchanging some progressive ideas with everyone on here. I am actually working on an interesting piece which I will keep secret but I think you will all get something from it.
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      • Wednesday, June 24, 2009 15:50 | Carol Grice
        Eric I admitted to Laurel that I had indeed slept till 0900 that particular morning.I agree with you about not being a morning person. After years in Nursing when I finally retired I made the decision that alarm clocks no longer had a place in my life. Once while engaged in a prevelance study at University of Nebraska Medical Center, regarding pressure sores and why they occur,I was informed I need to be on duty at 0500. My reaction which was not well taken was "Are you serious? The only time I get up that early if to catch a flight to some exciting place. I did however meet their demands as it was a clinical study and that just happened to be my clinical speciality. I guess my attitude was to do what was needed to make life better for others. I expect you are inclined to do the same thing. So if you have to be, I feel certain you will rise and shine.
        Have a great and positive week.
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  • Saturday, June 20, 2009 11:09 | Frank Mancini
    Welcome Eric,

    Although we have never met, it is interesting how this connection via SWVBRC brings us all closer to finding a solution to the various ills affecting all Veterans and be creative on the business challenges that all small business owners are faced with on a daily basis. It is rewarding to have a place where Veterans can have a positive impact on other Veterans lives and that by sharing their experience are contributing to the solution of various challenges.

    Similarly my experience with Al's approach and method to empowering oneself and stimulating personal growth has proved to place things into a positive perspective and a great positive experience.

    Thank you for sharing.
    Best wishes,
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    • Saturday, June 20, 2009 14:53 | Eric Harrington
      Thank you Frank. I apprecaite you taking time our of your day to drop a comment on here. SMB's do not have it easy for sure. If there is any group that needs to band together and share information - it is us, and that is just what I intend to do!
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  • Sunday, June 21, 2009 16:34 | Albert LaJeunesse
    Very well put Eric. If we had more people think in the manner you do and act the same way the world will be a better place. I can say that it is programs like SWVBRC that make this a reality and Al certainly has a vision.
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    • Monday, June 22, 2009 04:51 | Eric Harrington
      Hi Albert. I think of this just like my startup business. Actually, I think of them all like planting a crop. If you expect a harvest, you have to plant seeds, water it, give it sun, turn the soil and care for it all of the time. Pretty soon, some very good things begin to grow from what was once nothing and can now be used.

      That is exatcly what we are all doing. Planting seeds. The more we plant and take care, the bigger the harvest!
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  • Tuesday, June 23, 2009 04:21 | Rachel Cassady
    Eric, I am so proud of your efforts to help with this cause. Your focus and dedication to everything you do is amazing. You are the man you are today because of your experiences in the military, and giving back this way is incredible. If I can help in any way, just let me know. Our Vets are never given the respect and care that they deserve.

    I'll never forget how proud I was the day you graduated at MCRD! I even bought a t-shirt that said, "My Brother, One of the Few, the Proud, a Marine"! May God Bless your efforts beyond measure. Love, Sis
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    • Wednesday, June 24, 2009 03:25 | Eric Harrington
      Thanks Sis! I am so happy you took some time to register and post a comment on here. Efforts like this are a "one at a time" deal but the word can spread quickly. As time permits, I encourage you to read some other service members blogs and hear what they have to say. I have enjoyed the reading and it is time people realized what solid people we have out there that do their very best day in and day out. Love you!
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  • Tuesday, June 23, 2009 12:37 | Frank Ritchotte
    Hi Eric,
    I am not a veteran but as an American I appreciate and respect all of our veterans. That was a great post as was your piece on homelessness. Having worked with you and having known you for several years the thoughtfulness that you put into your writing is no surprise to me. We all move on to new adventures in life but the friends we make along the way are the mile markers we look back on to appreciate all we have seen and done. Keep up the great work man!
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    • Wednesday, June 24, 2009 03:35 | Eric Harrington
      Frank, thank you so much for everything you have done. Taking the time to register and post a comment means more to this cause than you will know. If you know others who would like to get involved and read these stories and interact with the Vets on here, please pass on the god word.

      Miss working with you buddy. Of the few thousand people at Avid, you were the best Frank. Ill catch up with you soon.
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    • Wednesday, June 24, 2009 03:36 | Eric Harrington
      Frank, thank you so much for everything you have done. Taking the time to register and post a comment means more to this cause than you will know. If you know others who would like to get involved and read these stories and interact with the Vets on here, please pass on the god word.

      Miss working with you buddy. Of the few thousand people at Avid, you were the best Frank. Ill catch up with you soon.
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  • Sunday, September 20, 2009 16:05 | Taffy Dalby
    First, thank you for your service to America! I appreciate your hard work and drive to achieve all that is awaiting you. A post to this process of SWVBRC is:

    "for lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisors make a victory sure" Pro 11:14.

    By great wisdom and advice, Al Renteria has made a way for returning vets to make a living and retain their well deserved esteem.
    I hope that you'll work his plan and gain victory in these trying times for he has
    has put into place a way for a man to gain employment and and use his gifts effectively.
    Al was my boss as well so I know you are in good hands! Praying for much success,
    Taffy Dalby RN
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DOD Welcome home-small.jpg A welcoming home for our Troops.

Welcoming home our men and women doesn't end after the crowd disperses, it MUST continue on for the life of the Veteran! They've served us, now we will serve them with programs that work so they reintegrate into society.

We are a national public benefit nonprofit organization that educates American Communities about best practices to serve Veterans.  We honor their service by empowering Veterans to apply their training and skills to successfully transition to productive careers and enterprises.

We provide free vocational training 24/7 to all of our members through our website, in addition to local events.  We believe the tenet that American Communities are the ultimate beneficiaries when Veterans claim their benefits and invest in productive endeavors.

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