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Tuesday, April 14, 2009 23:58 | Robert McLeod

During my orientation, I was introduced to the South West Veterans Business Resource Center (SWVBRC), by Albert Renteria and Jeffrey Backus. It was great see Backus again; we had actually served together in the same unit for a couple of years, to include the first Gulf War.


During the orientation there were no handouts to read or take home. Instead of this there was sincere conversation between Albert, Jeff and myself. Albert and Jeff gave an explanation of SWVRBC and its purpose and mission. I really got the impression right from the start that Albert was sincere in his desire to help veterans. He believes that they hold a special place in society. He believes that America has invested heavily in its service members. And I whole heartedly believe this also.


As a senior unit leader, one my commanders would frequently reminded us that our Marines were the sons and daughters of the parents of America and we were charged with their care at this time. They (we) had given themselves (ourselves) completely to this nation. We were Marines and we had a responsibility to the American people to use all of our resources with this in mind, especially the sons and daughters of the parents of this country. Now maybe our communities have the responsibility to care and watch out for these men and women who have served. Those of us who willingly gave all of ourselves at one point in our lives, to this great big beautiful nation of ours. Why should we do this; Because we are a nation of communities that care about each other. This is one of our strengths.


A personal passion of Albert’s and one of the main goals of SWVBRC is to eradicate homelessness among veterans. During the orientation Albert talked about the homeless veteran population and that up to 40% of Americans homeless are veterans of Americas armed forces. This was a startling statistic to me. Why is it that such a disproportionate number of American homeless are veterans? This is a question that we need to find an answer to and make a change to this statistic.

As veterans, I believe we have a duty take responsibility for the fellow veterans in our community. And in the case of the homeless veteran, he is our brother or sister and deserves the opportunity for a hand up.  We need to reach out and offer a Veteran that hand up in whatever way we can.


Albert talked about involving communities to be responsible for the members of their community and how the SWVBRC can help with this. Veterans are not only a member of the community at large; they are also members of the veterans community. This is where we as veterans have the obligation and responsibility to help other veterans with their needs. One of the tools that the South West Veterans Business Resource Center has to help in this endeavor is the learners community blogs, (14 Level Reintegration Program). This is where a veteran puts down in his or her own words their own story. It will become their individual business plan that promotes the veteran and acts a blueprint to their own success. This blog in its totality will help the veteran chart their own goals and help them accomplish their goals. It is their reintegration plan. This is also where the community can find out what the veterans goals are. In this way, the community is able to learn how they can contribute to the veteran’s success. And in helping the veteran they are in turn helping their own community. I believe we are interconnected in this way.


During the first hour of the orientation I was asked to give a brief 10 to 15 minute overview of me. In a way it was a little embarrassing to be talking about myself. Because I was really here because at this point of my life, maybe I was looking for something to help get this old rock a moving and start some momentum again. So I understand the purpose of this self exploration.


This life that we have is one big journey. Sometimes people will get stuck along the way. And the longer that someone is stuck, the more leverage it can take to get that person moving. And like a good neighbor we can help to get them moving again. The whole concept of perpetual motion, once the rock starts moving, it can be hard to stop it. And it will just keep picking up speed and momentum. Well this momentum can be contagious; once we get moving we can reach out and help others along the way. In the business world, this equates to jobs and through jobs we can start to make a positive change in peoples lives. And if we can do this, then maybe we can reach out to the homeless veteran population and help them up.


I am here today writing this blog because I feel that I have a duty to do what I can to reach out to my fellow veterans, to the members of my community and do what I can. And I also believe that through the SWVBRC and the 14 Level Reintegration Program, I can help to better myself in this journey of writing my story and I made the commitment to do this.


In concept this all a very simple process, however…  To really be successful, this project is one that requires a lot of thought, soul searching and a willingness to compose our thoughts. This can be very uncomfortable, embarrassing and awkward. It is hard for me to talk about myself. And then to use this structure to take these thoughts and build ideas and to formulate a plan. And to take these thoughts, ideas and plans, put them on paper to help us organize ourselves and so that our communities can learn about us, as we learn about ourselves and grow. One of the techniques that Albert talked about during the orientation is to help us with this is; S.W.O.T. (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis.


I will be using the S.W.O.T. analysis in my next chapter or level of the SWVBRCenter’s 14 LEVELS OF REINTERGRATION. You can view the 14 Levels Of Reintegration outline by clicking on the outline link at the top of this page. We are using this outline to help organize and discuss who we are and where we would like to be and our plan to get there. We will use this to help map out in printed form, our journey. Our communities can use this to learn with us and to see they can better serve the veterans in their communities. This post is just the first level for me on my reintegration.


At the end of the orientation process the learners are asked to make a commitment. And if they decide to make the commitment, they are asked to sign the Learners Articles of Agreement. Later during a formal ceremony the articles are singed again. I believe that this process is designed to reinforce our commitment.


Another unique well thought out feature of the SWVBRC is the intimate size of this 500 square foot office and the sought after size of future offices. The whole business model of the SWVBRC was made to be easily replicated.  This is a good feature and makes it so the Center can expand and reach more veterans and more communities across our nation.

I have only been a learner at the SWVBRC for a short period of time. But in this time I have met some exceptional people. And everybody that I have met has been absolutely supportive to everyone at the Center. The Center has brought in John Culea a former popular news anchor in San Diego and current advisor to County Supervisor Bill Horn. John Culea used his experience and skill to present several 2 hour periods of hands on instruction in public speaking and writing. I have also been involved with other learners in the research and process in bidding on a couple of contracts with local government. I attended a regional veterans group meeting where coordination is made with other groups who are providing assistant to veterans. So as you can see there is a lot of things that are happening at the SWVBRC and the support is here for the veteran.


  • Tuesday, April 14, 2009 08:51 | Jeffrey Backus
    Mr McLeod, it was good to re-connect with you after all those years. Thank you for your service and for taking the time to post your orientation chapter. I enjoyed reading your introduction to the Fallbrook Southwest Veterans Business Resource Center.
    Link  •  Reply
  • Tuesday, April 14, 2009 09:08 | LeRoy Scheller Jr
    Thank you for your story and the time you spent writing it. I look forward to reading additional chapters of your life.
    Link  •  Reply
  • Thursday, April 23, 2009 10:30 | Chris Thayer
    Dear Mr. McLeod, I enjoyed reading your blog and it is interesting to me how so many of you have connected recently from working together in the past. You are an excellent writer and express yourself so well. You may be giving Dan Boothe a run for his money in the writing department!

    I thought I read in one of your comments that you also worked with the Amtrak amphibious group. Did I remember that right? I helped host a Christmas party for 3rd-trak at Camp Pendleton Christmas of 2007 and one of the privileges was meeting several of the Marines and their families in that unit and having a tour of the vehicles. I was dwarfed by the size of these huge machines. I was also curious how they worked in the desert and I learned "very well- no water required!"

    God Bless you for you service to our country and for the work you are doing to support SWVBRC center and our great veterans. I am grateful for all your sacrifices and contributions that you have made to protect our country's freedom and safety. God Bless you, chris
    Link  •  Reply
  • Wednesday, April 29, 2009 16:57 | Deleted user
    Robert. You will be a great asset to SWVBRC and will be able to reach out and help your fellow veterans that need that encouragement and direction
    Link  •  Reply
    • Friday, May 29, 2009 10:46 | Eleanor Tobias
      I wholeheartedly agree with all of the above comments, however I would still like to know more about YOU, and other parts of your life. Your dedication to the Marine Corps and veterans does tell a lot about a certain area of your personality, but, that is only a part of what I consider a very interesting person.

      Congratulations on your decision to register and serve in behalf of all veterans. Bless you! Fran
      Link  •  Reply
  • Thursday, June 04, 2009 03:58 | Roger Reed
    Hey Scott, How are you and your Wife doing
    ?? Sorry so late with my comments on your blog, we have been really busy right?? I remeber seeing you at the VANC meeting and your great interview on tape. We also had a very productive meeting at the San Diego County BuyNet bid Conferences. SWVBRC Corporate Community Organizer Frances Lowe and I are hoping to document more of that type of activity to help our Veteran Business Learners get a leg up on the bidding process.
    Well we will touch base soon I am sure, till then enjoy your work at the VA and tell the wife Hello from me and Cece.
    Take care Devil Dog, Roger out.
    Link  •  Reply
  • Saturday, June 20, 2009 10:53 | Laurel Ho
    Great to have you here. You really have a grasp on what this is all about and what Al's passion is. Come on, talk about yourself, we really want to hear it! :) This is a fantastic start to your blog. It is so great also to see people re connecting after years and all coming together for the same purpose. Catch ya next time. Laurel
    Link  •  Reply
  • Tuesday, June 30, 2009 21:33 | Tracy Perry
    Thank you for your time and service. I enjoyed reading your story and look forward to reading more about your journey. Life truly is isn't it.

    Tracy Perry, St. Thomas US, Virgin Islands (formerly of Carlsbad!)
    Link  •  Reply
  • Saturday, July 25, 2009 19:39 | Deleted user
    Mr McLeod, What a fabulous start to your blog. You write well and am looking forward to hearing more of your life. Hope also to meet you at the next Learner meeting.
    Link  •  Reply

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.

The SWVBRC enlists the support of members of local Communities like you to increase Veteran awareness of the value of obtaining a VA card and receiving earned benefits.

Sponsorships, donations, volunteers and support from communities like yours enable us to reach out to Veterans and empower them to transition back into successful, productive enterprises that ultimately benefit all Americans and support future generations.

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