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Daniel Boothe - Signed Articles of Agreement November 28, 2008, 2nd Learner

United States Marine Corps

This is my beginning to My Life, My Lineage, My First Paperback Book. I invite you to read my journey as I compose each chapter of the 14 Level Reintegration Program. My success is your success and our community's success. Thank you for your courage and support. To post comments you must register with our community. You can view this outline  I am using to map out my progess. Thank you for your comments, I value them.

  • Wednesday, April 17, 2013 11:38 | Daniel Boothe
    As experiences and time continue to shape my life, I am beginning to learn the value of surrounding and communicating with those with a noble and just cause. The more good you put around you, the better you will do and become. My only wish is that valued lessons like these would only come at a cheaper cost.

    I am back in Southeastern Indiana now pursuing a career that requires a finely tuned moral compass, hoping and praying my past regrets and mistakes do not strip this chance away..
  • Monday, January 26, 2009 16:21 | Daniel Boothe

    I am who I want to become.

    We continue to write the chapters of our life everyday. Unfortunately, we are all writing with pens instead of pencils. Without invisible ink or erasable pens, there are some chapters we all wish we could just leave out, but why leave out a piece of your life that has made you who you are today. These are the masterpieces that have influenced us the most and excluding certain chapters might hurt instead of help someone avoid making the mistake. Why feel ashamed of something you could feel proud. I like to think that your attitude could make any mistake an opportunity to succeed.

    Raised on a small tobacco farm in southern Indiana, I grew up surrounded by the value of hard work and the importance of family. Born in the very same hospital as my mother and with grandparents named Charlie-Bill and Billy-Bob, towns couldn’t come any smaller. I believe that my small-town roots have had a positive influence on my life, but ultimately I decide who I am and want I want to become. You can choose and you do have a choice.

    At a young age, my sister and I moved across the country with my mother after my parents divorced. I had the unique opportunity to consistently experience new places and meet new people, but I will always call the Ohio River Valley home. Moving everywhere from Pennsylvania to Texas, my mother worked hard to give us everything she could, sacrificing to give us a better life. Following years of moving around and returning home to settle down, my mother met the man that is now my step-father. Unlike most Cinderella-step-parent stories, my stepfather was an awesome influence in my life.

    My stepfather encouraged me to get involved in sports and as a result, I spent most of my high-school days wrestling and chasing girls, life was pretty simple for a testosterone-filled teenager. It wasn’t until my junior year that I began to look farther into my future.

    In February 2004, I enlisted in the Indiana Army Reserve in hopes to afford the opportunity to go to college. I finished off high school at nearly the top of my class and had more than one foot in the door jumping into college, but money was always tight.

    To be honest, I joined the military so that I might have a better life, to live the American dream everyone strives so hard for. Most people have some inspirational story on why they signed the dotted line, but I didn’t. As selfish as it sounds, I just wanted the chance to make something of myself, to go to school, get a job, and maybe one day settle down. I can say that I started off on a pretty good note though, getting accepted to Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

    In the fall of 2005 I enrolled in college, majoring in Philosophical Studies with an undecided minor torn between Psychology and Small Business Management. Purdue was filled with diversity, academic success, and a prestige everyone hopes to claim. In an attempt to capture a piece of that success, I pledged to become apart of the Phi Delta Theta brotherhood.

    Phi Delta Theta, the Indiana Theta Chapter, was a fraternity even the man who first stepped on the moon, Neil Armstrong, saw success in. Here I met society’s future leaders and am certain I will see them again as I strive to become successful. The fraternity life taught me the importance of camaraderie and gave me business-oriented skills that I will take with me for the rest of my life.

    Aside from the fraternity, I can say I always learned something new from my classes on campus. Initially, most of my classes were generalized and it wasn’t until my second year, that things started getting subject specific. Getting to study what intrigued me the most gave me hope allowed me to see a flicker of light at the end of the long tunnel.

    That flicker of light was quickly snuffed out.

    During my second year at Purdue, life dealt me a poker player’s nightmare, the 7-2 split. My military-tuition assistance had been denied due to lack of state funds. It turns out that the Indiana Army Reserve utilizes a pooled fund for tuition assistance with a first-come first-serve policy. I had submitted my application with ample time, but my chain-of-command failed to process the application fast enough. This left me in a few words, up the creek without a paddle.

    I wasn’t about to return home and I was determined to stay independent and become successful. So I contacted my local Marine Corps recruiter out of spite. I was furious. I wanted to stick it to the Army anyway that I could. So after working with my recruiter, I found a loop hole in my contract with the Indiana Army Reserve. If I enlisted as an active-duty Marine, my reserve contract with Army was no longer valid. So on my 20th birthday I shipped to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California beginning the long, difficult, life-changing journey of becoming a United States Marine.

    I enlisted as a combat correspondent, or military journalist, and was assigned to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California as my first duty station. I began writing for Camp Pendleton’s Scout Newspaper, the same paper I write for today.

    While living in the barracks in 2006, I ran into problems. I began to drink constantly and carry on without a care. As a result, I ended up in legal trouble and was demoted because of my actions. Even though it felt like the world was coming down on me, if it wasn’t for these mistakes I would have never met the women that I love and am devoted to today, my wife.

    I probably wouldn’t be here today if it was for her. As a young man, we often think of marriage as a life-ending decision, a choice that prevents us from attaining all that we had once set out to accomplish.

    I can say from first-hand experience that my life has been nothing but better since. We have gone through arguments and glass-breaking fights, but we are still committed to each other till death do us part. Even my lowest of lows are better than being lost in a world all alone; in a world that wouldn’t miss you for a minute and would keep turning if you were here or not. As harsh as that sounds, it just goes to show that life really isn’t fair.

    Life must have spent some time on the pitcher’s mound with Greg Maddox though; with all the curve balls I have been thrown. If you asked me a year ago where I would be today, I wouldn’t have even come close to guessing right. Just recently another curve ball sliced through my strike zone when I found out my wife is pregnant. Am I ready? I never am, but you had better believe this kid is going to know how to knock even the best of Life’s pitches out of the park.

    Looking back on all that you have accomplished and the choices you’ve made are something we as a fast-paced society don’t do enough. Reflecting and reestablishing yourself is a tool everyone needs to use. This reflection is what the Greeks and Romans encouraged and what Southeast Asian cultures have developed religions around. The importance of this constant reflection is apparent throughout history and helps us learn even more from the mistakes we have already made.

    We can’t change the past and we can’t predict the future, but we can change how we handle our obstacles today. Every day is another chance to change your life. If I had the chance to live my life all over, I wouldn’t change a thing. My only regret is that I didn’t make the same mistakes sooner.

    I have made my share of mistakes in my life, we all have, but it is the understanding that these slip-ups make us who we are. Mistakes may become smaller or less frequent, but we are all human and are going to continue making them. It is not what we have done, but what we do to overcome.

    I feel like I have had a lifetime full of experiences. I don’t know everything, my wife could tell you that, but I feel like I have experienced a full helping, while asking for seconds of the harsh realities of life. They say wisdom comes with age, but no one said how old you had to be.

    As my story continues to unfold today, my recent experiences with the Southwest Veteran Business Center have become the cornerstone to any and all of my recent success. After writing and posting my first chapter of this novel, I was amazed at the response and support I received across the nation. Feeling the support of veterans and families from across the nation and hearing their responses encouraged me in ways I can not explain.

    Because of this support and everything that I have been so fortunate to have access to at the center, I have been able to accomplish personal goals and dreams otherwise unattainable.

    After only a few months of volunteering and involvement at the center, I was introduced to Dr. Richard Cloonan, a presidential-recognized dentist, fellow SWVBRC learner, and Vietnam veteran. Dr. Cloonan had recently started a corporation with a new product he invented and needed help marketing, so without hesitation I jumped on board.

    There are only a few times in our lives we have opportunities that sound to good to be true, and this was one of them. I immediately started visiting with Dr. Cloonan at his plant in hopes of not only developing a strategy, but generating profit. This is what I wanted to do someday, create my own business, learn the inner workings of a corporation and be successful.

    Only months later, we developed a marketing strategy and began penetrating the market. The experiences are priceless and the knowledge is endless and all because of a little center in Fallbrook, California called the Southwest Veteran Business Resource Center.

    The center has been a family away from home, a band of brothers that guiding me through thick and thin, and has been the unwavering cornerstone in a world full of devastating storms.

    Answering the question, "Who am I?" is something most of us will spend our whole life figuring out. I can’t change who I was, or the mistakes I’ve made, but I can look back and try to learn something new from each mistake.

    Who am I? I am a future father, a loving husband, and a United States Marine.

  • Thursday, December 04, 2008 19:34 | Daniel Boothe

    For 28 years the Berlin wall stood as a symbol of division, separating Europe from neighboring communist suppression.  The 96-mile wall isolated mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters that wanted nothing more than to be with the ones they cared so much for. Resistance from East Berlin finally crushed that barrier on October 3, 1990 reunifying broken families and long lost friends.

    Following in their footsteps some odd 18 years later, our nation demolished a barricade that prevented 90 percent of Americans, who have pledged support for members of the Armed Forces, from expressing their unwavering gratitude.

    On November 1, 2008, the founding of the Southwest Business Resource Center crushed that barrier empowering and challenging communities to do more than band-aid a national concern with a yellow ribbon on the back of their car.

    Expecting pages of paperwork on a broken clipboard and handouts that might last through the week, the SWBRC orientation introduced me to a unique opportunity that I can only hope others might find.

    I stumbled across the center while covering the grand opening as an article for my newspaper. Stumbled is the wrong word. Saying the word stumbled makes it sound like it might have been chance or a mistake, but everything I soon learned and am so fortunate to know was because of one opportunity I didn’t step right over.

    After returning to the center curious and off the clock, I was greeted with a smile and a handshake from a tall middle-aged man I had never met, but felt compelled to know. I stepped into the 500-square-foot center with new laptops on every table. The Starbucks-like atmosphere almost opposite of the veteran-center waiting room I had imagined. We sat down and he introduced himself as Albert Renteria, founder and chief executive officer of the SWVBRC. Right away he started asking questions about me. He wanted to know about the personal goals I had in life and how I was planning to get there. He wanted to know more about what I wanted; now why would a CEO of any organization want to know more about me?

    I gave him a brief rundown of my life leaving out anything I felt uncomfortable discussing or felt he didn’t need to know. He proceeded to tell me about a dream he had eight years ago. This dream was the unparallel opportunity veteran’s could find at the SWVBRC and what the center can offer former and active service members. I came in with the mentality that I, a 22-year-old active-duty Marine, might benefit from the center, but just moments into his explanation of marketing and business-oriented learning my mentality changed from might to will.

    He began to talk more about what you can offer yourself and a lot less of what the center can give you. It was then I realized that the center was just a place to facilitate personal growth. His clarification led me to believe that the organization was more of a support system than just another non-profit charity. The idea was that participants in the program would forever be a part of an organization that wants to help in every facet of your life. “From cradle to grave,” said Albert.

    We moved the discussion into the cozy conference room, adjacent to the main computer lab you first step into. Dry-erase boards and cardboard cut-outs filled most of the available space on the oak table filled with business models and what I later learned to be techniques I could use to further myself and become more successful in life.

    I was amazed at how someone I knew for only a few moments would care as much as he did, but I wasn’t prepared for the curve ball coming next.

    He began to pry into the uncomfortable asking personal questions about into my past. I immediately felt uneasy and was caught completely off-guard. I wasn’t prepared for this. I felt almost like leaving right then, but for some strange reason, I stayed. I answered his questions and swallowed a big spoonful of humility.  Even though it was uncomfortable, Albert made it clear to me that it is impossible to help someone unless you know what problems they have had or are having. He clarified that that life is about overcoming and addressing uncomfortable feelings, not so he could hear about them, but so you could learn from them. He called it identifying your weakness. He offered personal advice and unique guidance how to go about solving my problems. Right then, I started to feel that success, my success, was closer than I had ever imagined and that the program is going to be my key help to unlock my personal goals, if you let it.

    Albert said it wasn’t that long ago that he had a vision of an organization that would empower communities and that nothing is impossible. His vision of the SWVBRC provided communities with ability to offer unique support and resources to veterans. The explanation was centered on the idea that communities are the key to ending homeless-neglected veterans. Stating that every veteran, including myself, joined the military to protect the very community we were once born and raised in. Deep down, ever service member enlists to fight for a family back home and a community that made them the person they are today, said Albert.

    After spending only a short time with this charismatic man, I found truth in his words and began understanding what an asset the center could become to my personal success. But what support do veterans see today after coming home? Communities have the will and urge to support their veterans but lack the means of conveying that support.

    Albert shuffled through some cardboard cut-outs and pulled out an upside down pyramid, introducing me to the 14-step program that the SWVBRC uses as a tool. The pyramid helps veterans identify who they are, what they want, and how to achieve their personal goals in life. The pyramid-shaped questionnaire consisted of 14 topics, one at each level that veterans answer in a personal novel. The novel is meant to document your history and experiences helping future SWVBRC veterans learn and build personal success. Albert referred to it as knowledge harvesting.

    In addition to the personally guided self improvement discussions, the pyramid program facilitates veterans helping themselves. Albert mentioned that the organization is willing to even pay stipends upon completion of each level. The organization also requires participants to sign a 9-line contract reiterating that the SWVBRC is all about veterans helping themselves.

    Together we began discussing the mission statement, guiding principles, and the vision of SWVBRC. I was still surprised that he wanted to hear about what I thought and what the statement meant to me. It was as if he wanted to hear what I was going to say to learn from it. Why would a man who started the organization and designed the principles want me to critique them? I later learned another positive principle that wasn’t written down, but was lived by Albert as a personal point of pride.

    Albert stated that we can always learn something new from someone, always. This was a principle I had already understood in my life, but wished I followed more. I was comforted that Albert shared my personal point of view that we can always learn from one another, and if you assume you can’t, you already have something else to learn.

    In this initial orientation, we also discussed identifying personal strengths along with weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Again, I was surprised that someone else would sit down, one on one, and discuss how I can become more successful in life dedicating time energy and resources just so I might thrive.

    Coming from a small town, with neighbors that still drive horse and buggies, I know that my life experiences will be a little different than others. Personally, I have derived a lot of my values and strengths from that small town in southern Indiana. Even Marcus Cicero, roman scholar and politician, is famous for understanding the importance of “knowing thyself”.  After spending a moment or two contemplating, I began identifying specific strengths that I possess. My strengths include being:

    Intrapersonal: Can relate and communicate exceptionally with others.

    Determined: If I don’t know, I will.

    Adaptable: Can adapt, overcome, and work with anything.

    Identifying particular points of weakness is just as essential, if not more important as understanding strengths. My points of weakness that I am trying to overcome include being:

    Naïve: To know everything is to know nothing.

    Detailed: Perfection is not always efficient.

    Biased: I only know what I have experienced.

    After identifying more about myself and the obstacles I must overcome, I had already begun the long journey or personal success and self improvement. This voyage is one I am eager to start and believe the organization can facilitate.

    There we were, just the two of us, sitting at a conference room discussing an organization I already knew would become a larger portion of my life and how we can grow together reaching out to more communities and in turn helping that many more veterans. After spending all this time with Albert I began to understand more of this man’s dream. A dream that the Southwest Veterans’ Business Resource Center would become available to every community around the world offering the highest level of support to veterans.

    Nearly four hours after our initial handshake, we wrapped our meeting up and agreed to meet again. I went home and thought about what I got out of my experience with Albert. I began writing about how it made me feel and what I thought, soon enough I was already writing my orientation and introduction to the 14-step program beginning my novel with everything you just read.

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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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