Veterans-365

"Spreading the saltwater gospel"

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  • 19 Aug 2021 12:25 PM | Robert Quintana (Administrator)

    Help Keep Our Beaches and Waterways clean and Pollution Free

    After a storm, massive amounts of plastic and garbage washed up on the shores of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Sadly, this is an occurrence that happens after every storm. In just nine days, volunteers collected more than 520 tons of trash from the beach.

    Beyond the viral wave of garbage, our oceans, beaches and animals suffer from the everyday overuse and wrongfully disposal of plastic, trash, and many other pollutants. A report from WSPA found that between 5,700 and 13,500 whales are entangled by plastic marine debris each year, not to mention birds, turtles, fish, and other species affected by plastic marine debris.

    Our program, “Spreading the Saltwater Gospel” is 100% dependent on the beaches and ocean for our program to be successful. Littering, not cleaning up before your leave, trash dumped out at sea, etc., these are all things that severely hamper our mission and goals of the Spreading the Saltwater Gospel Program. We are asking everyone’s help to

    keep the beaches, waterways, and our oceans clean and safe with these simple gestures that make a big impact.

    1. Eat Sustainable Seafood

    Sustainable seafood relates to seafood caught or farmed in ways that consider the long-term impact on a species, the ocean, and the livelihood of fishing-dependent communities—it’s a practice of fishing that is focused on the longevity of the environment. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported three-quarters of the world’s fisheries are now overexploited, fully exploited, or significantly depleted. By opting to only eat sustainable seafood, you are helping to stop practices like bottom trawling (when boats drag nets along the floor of the ocean scooping up and killing everything in its path) and the use of explosives to float paralyzed or dead fish to the top of the ocean. Look for terms like “line caught,” “diver caught,” “sustainably caught,” or “sustainably harvested,” when buying seafood at a grocery store or restaurant.

    2. Dispose of Waste Responsibly

    Did you know the average person throws away 4.4 pounds of trash… per day? All of that garbage has to go somewhere, and when the landfill is full, a lot of debris tends to end up in the ocean, in our waterways, or on the beaches. Be aware of your daily waste and try to make cutbacks where possible, starting with what you buy at the grocery store. Be aware of how much food you actually need and the packaging that it comes in. Recycling isn’t limited to cans and plastic, when disposing of your used electronics, opt to trade them in instead of trashing them. Some companies, like Gazelle, will even pay you for your unwanted old cell phones. Get creative with your disposals; donate moving supplies to your nearest UPS store, donate old clothes to Goodwill or Salvation Army, use biodegradable products in your home. And, most importantly, be sure that what you are throwing away really is trash—find out what you can and can’t recycle, and then apply it to your daily life. Small steps really can make a big difference.

    3. Choose Ocean-Friendly Products

    What you wear on your body in the ocean ends up in the ocean permanently. Choose only ocean-safe, biodegradable products like Stream2Sea. They have sunscreen and shower products that are affordable and totally ocean safe! Additionally, many products contribute to harmful marine life practices. Avoid purchasing coral jewelry, tortoiseshell accessories (many of which are made from hawksbill turtle shells), and shark products.

    4. Reduce Your Plastic Usage

    You’ve seen the videos of divers swimming in masses of floating plastic off of our most loved beaches. Plastic waste often ends up entangling sea creatures, destroying habitats and killing hundreds of thousands of animals each year. Cutting back on your everyday usage may seem like a big responsibility (and an even bigger inconvenience). Start small and work your way up to larger efforts. Limit your plastic usage by simply carrying a reusable water bottle, using non-disposable containers for food instead of disposable plastics and taking your own grocery totes to the store rather than using plastic bags (many stores will now offer a discount for this).

    5. Lower Your Energy Consumption

    This may seem minimal, but when the whole population is combined, energy and waste have mass effects on the ocean. Be conscious of the power and energy you are using daily – do you leave a light on in your closet? Or the fan in your bathroom on for no reason? These seemingly small actions add up, not to mention increasing your power bill. Try making reasonable changes to your daily habits that have an effect on the ocean environment.

    6. Clean Up Your Beach

    Join a local initiative like what we have at Veterans-365 to clean up your beach, and if you don’t live on the beach, clean up any trash you find not where it’s supposed to be—in the trash or recycling bin broken up to do as little harm as possible. On beach vacations, make a point to help out the beach you cherish so much. Challenge yourself by picking up a certain amount of trash every day. A beach clean-up is also an excellent idea for team building, volunteer events and more. If you are interested in getting involved with our conservation efforts, please contact us by email: veterans365@gmail.com.

    7. Educate Yourself and Those Around You

    Everyone loves hearing about someone’s passion. When you’re passionate about something, it shows! Educate yourself on the ocean and its creatures. Develop a deep, personal love for Mother Ocean and keep her marine habitats pristine. Share your personal passion with others and be a genuine advocate for marine life and the oceans. Get involved in community organizations like your local aquarium or marine program, follow marine programs on social media, and share their mission with your friends and family. Chances are, you will see something amazing, learn important life lessons and breed passion for the ocean in other people too!

    8. Support Organizations Working to Protect the Ocean

    Saving the ocean is a global effort. Seek out local or regional organizations and support them. Your support doesn’t have to be monetary—volunteer your time, share their message, get involved. Support what you believe in with your daily actions.

    9. Enjoy the Ocean Responsibly

    Whether you enjoy lounging on the beach with a good read, or boating in the Gulf on the weekend, practice responsible fun in the ocean. Never throw anything into the ocean or overboard, be aware of the animals and marine life around you and never dispose of fuel in the ocean. For vacationers, opt for an eco-friendly resort on your next beach getaway, or research options that care for the environment. Many hotels offer a green movement that limits the use of detergents, chemicals and trash during daily housekeeping.

    10. Spread the Word

    Let other ocean and beach lovers know how simple it is to make a difference. Simply share this information with your friends, family, neighbors and social networks and lead by example to help everyone take small steps in the right direction.

    For more information on how you can help, contact Third Coast Veterans by visiting our website, www.veterans-365.com.


  • 19 Aug 2021 12:22 PM | Robert Quintana (Administrator)

    Harnessing the healing power of the ocean

    The sea has long enchanted mankind – perhaps through its unexplored mystery, awesome power and continual ability to provide useful resources. But I believe our connection runs deeper, and I am using it as a focus for healing our veterans and first responders.

    Veterans-365 has developed a program called “Spreading the Saltwater Gospel; Harnessing the Healing Powers of the Ocean” where we use fishing, conservation, and recreation all as a team building experience for our participants. When you sign up for the program, there is absolutely nothing institutional about it. Participant’s fish, play volleyball or other beach recreational sports, and become part of a team that helps keep our beaches and coastal waterways in a clean pristine state. The program helps people with mental health issues, disabilities by giving them an escape from the stresses of daily life: to ‘let go’; re-establish themselves with themselves, reconnect with their families and friends, and heal; all while finding a similar, deep relationship with the ocean.

    “I have been a product of the Saltwater Gospel since I was a child on family holidays spent on South Padre Island, Texas. I vividly remember getting up at dawn every morning and walking to the water’s edge just to stare out into the ocean. The energy I would receive back from the sea always gave me a peaceful feeling – there was a deep spiritual connection. I was listening to Mother Ocean’s call.

    I knew that meshing my passion to help our Veterans with my love for the ocean was the perfect move for me and so the Spreading the Saltwater Gospel Program was born.”

    Our program is designed to focus on the complete sensory immersion in your surroundings (the beach), this plays an important role in the healing process. From a holistic perspective, literally being submerged in the ocean plays a particularly powerful role in healing.

    “The basic premise of the Spreading the Saltwater Gospel Program is nature immersion, becoming completely wrapped up in the moment, to quit worrying about what the future may bring, and most importantly, forget about what the past has brought.

    So how does Spreading the Saltwater Gospel work and what sets it apart from other forms of nature immersed healing?

    “The Spreading the Saltwater Gospel Program is a combination of activities that are all ocean-centric and chosen to create balance through fostering the mind-body connection.” It focuses on team building, reconnecting with oneself and family, to restore lost camaraderie that was lost when the Veteran left the service, and to become a cohesive unit once again, both individually and as a group.

    “Fishing is at its core: learning to fish; improving fishing skills through the observation of experienced anglers; and listening to and feeling the ocean’s energy, Mother Ocean’s call. Forming a bond with the sea that only each individual has, it is their own.

    This is the perfect way to relax the mind, decompress, recharge and reduce stress. To slowly release the horrible side effects of war or whatever caused the issue each individual is facing and put it behind them for good. They are also learning and perfecting a skill that can be passed on to future generations.

    “With regards to working with individuals with mental health issues or physical disabilities, what is most important and what sets us apart from other programs, is that the ocean is a great leveler. It strips away the notion of ability or disability. In a sense, we are at her mercy, listening, learning, then reacting on her every word.

    “This is empowering for individuals who have been told that they are different or weaker, or whatever negative connotations that have been derived from their diagnosis, the ocean provides a level playing field for everyone to connect. From a purely therapeutic perspective, providing the Saltwater Gospel Program to individuals with mental health issues or physical disabilities is an amazingly powerful tool compared to short-lived, drug induced treatments from an institutional perspective. It enables an element of space, creativity and fun, which is often lacking in traditional institutional therapy options.”

    Another differentiating factor is humanity’s intrinsic connection to the ocean. Being Near, In, or On the Ocean Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do.

    The Spreading the Saltwater Gospel Program is a complete sensory immersion leaving us with no choice but to remain in the present, not to worry about the future, and not dwell on the past.

    “It is incredibly to know that the ocean can not only heal cuts with salt, but it has the ability to trigger a psychological state of calm and contentment. It can literally wash away the pain.”

    “The ocean provides perspective in a way that nothing else in nature can. It is constantly changing and shifting right before your eyes, which is engaging from both a physical and psychological perspective. It forces us to learn to quickly adapt and take in new information as the environment changes before us.

    “The ocean bombards us with multi-sensory stimulation, we feel the grains of sand, we taste and smell the salt, the wind rushes over our face and body, we hear the waves break and move and feel the water on our skin. It is complete sensory immersion leaving us with no choice but to remain in the present.

    It is this awakening of present state consciousness that is the element our program participants take with them, ingraining positive behavior modification which enables self-regulation. Spreading the Saltwater Gospel is not a one and done program. Participants are encouraged to keep coming back month after month to hone the skills they have developed, to learn new skills, and to become part of a much bigger family.

    I have 2 passions in my life, living the Saltwater Gospel, and sharing the Saltwater Gospel to my Veteran brother’s and sister’s. God has given me the opportunity incorporate both as a way to help our Veterans and First Responders heal from whatever they are going through.


  • 19 Aug 2021 12:21 PM | Robert Quintana (Administrator)

    The Saltwater Gospel: How the Ocean Heals Body, Mind & Soul

    The ocean has a positive impact on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Spending time by the sea can improve mood levels and genuinely make you feel more alive. There is something indescribably relaxing and enjoyable about our feet being immersed in the soft sand, or being gently tossed about by the salty waves. Time by the ocean leaves you feeling awakened and cleansed – physically, emotionally and spiritually. The combination of sun, sea and sand is the most natural and easily accessible form of therapy available to us as human beings. Since ancient times we have been aware of the healing and transformational properties of the ocean and the mysterious draw that we have to the seaside.

    Studies have shown that living in coastal areas leads to an improved sense of physical health and wellbeing. Living by or on the ocean has been proven to induce a meditative state that makes us happier, healthier, calmer, more creative, and more capable of connection. This is just the beginning.

    Our affinity for water is even reflected in the near-universal attraction to the color blue. Marketing research has found that people tend to associate blue with qualities such as calmness, openness, depth and wisdom. With the human body made up of around 70% water, it seems that we do in fact belong to the sea.

    After reading and understanding what the “Saltwater Gospel” is, you will fully understand why we have chosen to use it as alternative natural healing. There is great healing power in the ocean, and once you get exposed to the Saltwater Gospel, life will never be the same.

    Here are some of the most significant benefits you receive from the ocean:

    – Boosts Immunity

    Ocean water assists in strengthening the body’s cellular immunity in remarkable ways. The number of red blood cells increases between 5 to 20 percent after a swim in the sea and the number of white blood cells increases even more. Seawater is fantastic for people with a weakened immune system, anemia, and high blood sugar levels. Ocean water strengthens the body against viruses, low defenses, bacteria and pathogens. Seawater is actually used in modern medicine on a large scale. The water from the ocean and our blood plasma are 98% identical. Our blood has an extra molecule of iron whereas seawater has an extra molecule of magnesium, and apart from this, all the molecules are identical. When immersed in warm seawater the body absorbs the minerals it needs through the skin. Marine-based medications have been developed to treat various issues, spanning from chronic pain to tumors.

    – Improves Skin, Inflammation & Infection

    Salt is naturally antibacterial and therefore time in the ocean immediately helps to heal any scrapes, cuts, sores or skin irritations. Salt water also contains a wide array of different vitamins and minerals which allow wounds to heal at a faster pace and reduce the swelling and redness associated with acne or other skin blemishes. The mineral salts in the water also team up with the healthy benefits of the sun to regenerate your skin from the outside in. As a result, ulcers, lupus and psoriasis are some of the skin diseases that can be easily assisted or cured with sea water. Salt water itself is detoxifying and helps pull impurities from the body and skin which inhibits bacterial growth and skin infections.

    – Improves Sleep

    The most common factors that inhibit sleep- stress, physical energy, pain, anxiety, hormonal imbalances and depression- are all addressed by time in the ocean. The ocean also helps normalize blood pressure which naturally assists with deep sleep. The ocean’s waves produce negative ions which accelerate our body’s ability to absorb oxygen and balance levels of serotonin; a chemical produced by the body that is related to mood and stress. Aside from the ocean itself, time in the sunshine, fresh air, movement and nature are all factors that help us to align with our natural rhythms and ease into a restful slumber.

    – Assists Pain Management

    -Ocean water can be a great natural medication for bone and muscle pain, arthritis, circulatory, and post-surgery issues. Researchers have recently discovered that the salt in the ocean helps reduce inflammation of the joints and the pain that occurs with arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The positive uplifting effects of being in the ocean have also been shown to elevate mood, balance the mind, and lessen the severity of pain in the body.

    – The Best Dose of Magnesium

    Every single cell in the human body requires adequate magnesium to function or it will perish. The ocean is one of the greatest sources of magnesium and it is often better to get magnesium trans dermally (through the skin) than via tablet form. Magnesium is also better absorbed alongside Vitamin D, which is also in abundance at the beach via the natural sunlight. Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body and is critical for muscle function, blood coagulation, and nutrient metabolism, among other things. Even being in ocean water for short periods of time allows your skin to absorb what it needs for good health.

    Emotional Health Benefits of the Ocean

    – Ocean Meditation and the ‘Blue Mind’

    Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist, has done extensive research on the oceans unique ability to induce a state of what he calls the “Blue Mind” in human beings. Blue Mind is a mildly meditative state characterized by calmness, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment. Nichols states that our brains are hardwired to react positively to salt water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and heal us on a deep level.  The ocean gently lures and seduces us into a mildly meditative state of calm focus and awareness. When we are by the ocean’s edge, our brains are held in a state of what Nichols calls a “soft fascination;” the brain is relaxed but focused. This unique state of mindfulness has been proven to have a number of benefits from lowering stress levels, to offering relief from mild anxiety, pain and depression, improving mental clarity and focus, and improving sleep quality.

    – Grounding

    Grounding refers to the idea that our bodies are meant to come into contact with the Earth in its natural state on a regular basis. Positive electrons in the form of free radicals can build up in our bodies and direct contact with the Earth, which is a negative charge, balances this out. Our bodies and cells have electrical energy, and with the high prevalence of electromagnetic waves, Wi-Fi and mobile phones, it becomes easy to have a high amount of positive electrons build up in our bodies. As human beings, we are designed to spend time outdoors, and again, this has changed significantly over the last several decades. We tend to spend a great deal of time indoors and in shoes, rarely getting out into nature barefoot. While the modern world exposes us to unhealthy free radicals which erodes our body’s natural energy, when we are by the sea, we feel energized and relaxed at the same time as our body delights in its natural environment.

    – Disconnect to Reconnect

    In our everyday lives, we are constantly bombarded with sensory stimuli, whether from our devices, busy homes and offices, or hectic city streets. Our brains require downtime, yet we rarely get enough of it. Being around water gives the brain and the senses a rest from overstimulation. The ocean simplifies sounds, offering a white noise that literally drowns out other noise and distractions. Visual stimuli is also softened and lessened, offering an unfettered horizon that is free from the flashing distracting bombardment of visual stimuli that we are so acquainted with. The ocean offers us a delightful cognitive break because there’s simply less information to process. Our brains don’t shut down, they keep working, but in a different way that is more focused on simple awareness, creativity and spaciousness.

    – Compassion, Oneness & Connectivity

    Nichols also explains how the ocean places us in a very unique state of ‘awe.’ The emotion of awe invokes feelings of a connection to something beyond oneself, a sense of the vastness of the world and how we relate to it all. When we experience that feeling of awe, we feel a deeper sense of connection to ourselves, the world around us, and those we share the moment with. It shifts us from a place of ‘me,’ to a place of ‘we.’ It’s no coincidence that many of life’s most romantic moments take place by the water, and that we hold important ceremonies by water. Both in life and in death, we gather by the water in community whenever we can. This special feeling of connectivity that comes from the ocean has been scientifically proven to temper the ego, make us more compassionate, increase our sense of gratitude and make us more generous human beings.

    – Lowers Stress & Anxiety

    As human beings, we are naturally drawn to the water because it makes us feel calmer and more at ease.  For anyone who suffers from stress or anxiety, the ocean water offers a strong sense of tranquility and balance that can assist with both depression and anxiety. Studies have found that the sound pattern of waves and their harmonic frequency is in fact one of the most relaxing sounds that we can listen to. The sound can even mimic the sensation of being in the womb and listening to your mother’s heartbeat. While noises such as traffic and construction noise intensify the stress hormone cortisol, the calming sound of the ocean works the opposite way to decrease cortisol levels and have a positive effect on our overall health. Even listening to audio meditations of the waves, or looking at images of the sea have shown to induce a more relaxed state of being.

    – Creative Sparks

    In our always-busy, screen-saturated lives, we don’t give our minds much of a chance to rest and wander freely. But when we do, the mind switches into a different mode of engagement. This place of spaciousness in the mind is associated with daydreaming, imagination, memories, insight, awakenings and introspection. This mode of thought is extremely important for creativity, and when we turn off the active side of our brains for a moment, we often find that we suddenly come up with the insights and ideas that eluded us while we desperately racking our brains for the solution a moment earlier. Rather than switching off, the ocean invites the brain to enjoy a more restful state, and from here, you’re able to make those new or unusual connections. In the case of the ocean, switching off literally helps to switch us back on again.

    – Good Old Joy

    The final and perhaps most important point when it comes to health benefits of the ocean is happiness. When surrounded by nature, the carefree environment of the beach, and elements that scientifically contribute to your physical health, mood levels naturally rise. We know that it’s the simple things in life that bring us the most pleasure. Time spent frolicking in the waves, surfing the ocean currents, letting the white water tickle our toes, laying on the sand in the sunshine, taking long strolls along the shoreline- all of these actions increase our feelings of well-being and contentedness. After a day at the beach, or a beach-side vacation, we return home feeling renewed and refreshed, woozy with the joy that comes from the combination of sun-kissed skin, salty hair and sandy soles.

    The health benefits of the ocean are indeed very real. We have been aware of them long before science came in with the proof. In modern society, time in the ocean is becoming even more important than ever before. The benefits of the water offer a valuable way to offset the stresses of living and working in modern contexts. These huge bodies of saltwater are literally brimming with mysterious and wonderful ways to nourish and nurture body, mind and spirit.


  • 19 Aug 2021 12:20 PM | Robert Quintana (Administrator)

    Harnessing the Healing Powers of the Ocean

    What is the Saltwater Gospel? It is the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. It’s the smell of the salt air, the feel as the waves gently consume your body like a mother caresses her child. Its looking out over the vastness of the ocean then realizing just how small we are compared to the world on and under the sea. The Saltwater Gospel is what takes in every one of your senses all at one time. Listening to the call of Mother Ocean, then answering her call. That’s what the Saltwater Gospel is. Once you hear it, smell it, taste it, feel it, allow it to complete engulf your every sense, it becomes a religion to you.

    The “Spreading the Saltwater Gospel” program developed by Veterans-365, empowers veterans and all participants to clear their minds, decompress and reconnect with themselves and their family while learning and developing a lifelong skill that can be passed on to future generations.

    The program is very simple, and it is free to all. Participants sign up for the program, show up where we are holding it (at a local Texas beach), set up camp, then get involved with all the activities scheduled. Activities include fishing of course, beach volleyball, corn hole, Jeep rides, and many others. We have a separate program where we assemble teams and go out to various beaches and/or waterways and conduct cleanup efforts. All the activities are designed to give the veterans a sense of unit, a family of sorts, and they all focus on team building.

    There are over 20 million veterans in the United States, more than any other country in the world. When these men and women return from duty, they face a lot of challenges: adjusting to civilian life, finding a job, reconnecting with family and friends, re-establishing themselves as part of the community, and many others. For many, this also includes physical injuries that they will never fully recover from. However, for the majority, the biggest trauma is in the mind.

    PTSD, TBI, depression, and anxiety all take a heavy toll on the veterans. Around 13.5% of veterans suffer from PTSD alone. The government allocates billions of dollars to the mental health services for veterans, but traditional institutional forms of treatment don’t always work, and they are for the most part, a short-term fix.  Veterans-365 has developed a program called “Spreading the Saltwater Gospel” that combines the healing power of the ocean with team building activities to become the therapeutic method for our veterans and other participants. Activities include fishing, beach and coastal waterway conservation, and beach recreational activities, to name just a few.

    Being on or near the ocean provides major health benefits. But can this really combat PTSD? What makes it work? And most importantly, are people aware of just how effective it is? To find out more about the Spreading the Saltwater Gospel program, please contact us by email, veterans365@gmail.com. If you are interested in becoming a participant in the program, go to our website and sign up, www.veterans-365.com.

    Focus and Meditation

    Spreading the Saltwater Gospel is a program that helps veteran’s, first responders, and all participants recover from PTSD, TBI, and other mental health issues by using the healing powers of the ocean. As fishermen (women) and avid beach goers ourselves, we have experienced how being on or very near the ocean a much-needed break from their daily stress.

    Being on the beach is ideal-it’s a quiet place where one can free their mind, allowing the sights, sounds, and smells engulf them, and taking them to a place far away from their problems. There’s this whole interaction with nature. It’s just you and Mother Ocean, and you are 100% focused on everything she has to offer.

    The “Spreading the Saltwater Gospel” program let’s veterans and all participants focus on the moment, finding a sense of calm. This is something that anyone can benefit from, but it is especially helpful for people with a military mindset. Because they are mission-minded, they need something to focus on. Focusing on making a catch becomes their nest small mission. It gives them a way to unplug, something to focus on. And afterward, they have release. It may or may not be long-term, but they have a release, a new focus, a new bit of confidence, then they are ready for the next mission, the next catch.

    The ocean has a powerful meditative effect on the mind. It’s the idea of having to focus on something. Watching the pole, listening to the drag from the reel, setting the hook, all those things that you have to be very focused to do. It creates this very mindful, in-the-moment state. It ties into the theory of flow-the meeting of challenge and ability.

    All the activities that are part of the Spreading the Saltwater Gospel program are a challenge. The perception of meeting the challenge and being able to do it creates a flow state. It can help people reach mindfulness. You’re in the moment, you’re in control, you’re the one making it happen for as long or as short as you want.

    Flow, mindfulness, meditation-this may all sound a little new age, but it has been proven to improve a person’s wellbeing. Several things come together with our program, all of which help people find peace. They are in a natural environment. The beaches are beautiful, warm, inviting, and it helps people. It calms the mind. There’s also this very therapeutic, calming effect of the ocean, and the constant mesmerizing movement of the waves. There are just so many elements that all come together through the Spreading the Saltwater Gospel program.

    Restoring Lost Camaraderie

    One of the most powerful parts of the Spreading the Saltwater Gospel program has nothing to do with being near the ocean. Getting out and interacting with other veterans builds a sense of community, a safe place to talk. This is vital for people suffering from social anxiety, which goes hand in hand with PTSD. And its also something that many veterans really miss when they return to civilian life. When you ask our participants what it is about the Spreading the Saltwater Gospel, they find most helpful, it always comes down to the staff there and the camaraderie of the participants. They always talk about it and what they miss from being in the military.

    People with PTSD, anxiety, depression, they feel alone. They feel like they’re the only one who knows what they’re experiencing or going thru. Inherently they know that isn’t true, but that’s the way they feel.

    So, when we can bring together a group of individuals together that were all in the military and are all experiencing similar symptoms, they can, and probably will, talk about it. They can give each other advice, and they can realize that they aren’t alone and that they have this group of people that know how they feel and what they are going through. Building that sense of community and camaraderie is the number one priority for Veterans-365 and the Spreading the Saltwater Gospel program. This organization is designed to act as a mutual support network, where people can get together and socialize in a safe, stress-free environment. Fishing is just one part of the program.

    At the moment, we hold one weekend program a month starting on Thursday and ending on Sunday. Thursday is set up day where each participant sets up their campsite, whether it be a tent or an RV, and we try to keep each campsite within close proximity of each other. We get the volleyball net set up, and any other games that are there for the participants and their families to enjoy. Friday, we kick off the fishing tournament. Saturday holds the volleyball tournament the first half of the day, and the corn hole tournament the second half, then Sunday we hand out awards. Each night holds a different campfire supper followed by a campfire discussion where all sit around with one another and engage, sometimes to the wee hours of the morning. For a lot of them, it’s the first time they’ve been out of the house and talking to people who get it.

    Veterans-365 is also one of the only organizations that includes families in their programs. Family is vital in the healing process because to make long-lasting change, you must include the whole family.

    Our program is very low key. Bring the family, hang out, fish, play some games, but most importantly, have fun. It’s like going to a big family outing at the beach. Everyone has something to do, and it’s just calming, it’s therapeutic, and most of all, IT’S FUN. This program is meant to be one that is cherished and remembered for a lifetime.

    Exercise for All

    Conditions like post-traumatic stress can have a serious impact on the body as well as the mind. Even just leaving the house can become a major challenge, making it tough to stay fit. This is why people with PTSD are more likely to be overweight. The Spreading the Saltwater Gospel program can be a great way to get back some of that fitness attitude.

    There is an important physical aspect of this program, you’re getting out, walking up and down the beach (or pier), carrying your gear and equipment, playing volleyball and other physically demanding games-that’s a lot of physical work that you don’t realize is happening. Even casting. Casting takes work, its not hard work, but if you do it 100 or more times in a day, it’s going to work muscles that haven’t been worked in a while.

    The activities associated with our program are activities everyone can enjoy. And getting out and seeing that they can do it gives the veterans and all participants a much-needed confidence boost.

    They get out there. They start doing that bit of exercise. For a lot of them, it may be the first they’ve done in a very long time. They realize they can do it, which gives them the confidence to continue on.

    Another reason it’s so effective is that it’s easy to do. You can have limited mobility, you can have a disability, it doesn’t matter. It levels the playing field.

    Quick Relief, Lasting Benefit

    Anyone who’s been fishing or has been to the beach knows how relaxing it can be. The question is: Is this a Band-Aid, a short-term fix, or can it have a more lasting impact on peoples’ mental state? Well, actually it can be both:

    “For individuals that only do it for those 3 or 4 days a month once or twice a year, it’s a short-lived impact. But for those individuals that become more engaged, it’s a lifelong pursuit. It’s something that any age, any ability, anybody can do. That’s another big positive for the Saltwater Gospel, it’s something that you can always continue practice and grow.

    Our events and programs are not an organized retreat by any means, it’s a program that absolutely changes the lives of those participating, something that people can keep doing long after they leave us, and something they can pass on to future generations. Even without that social aspect of being around other veterans, they still get all the benefits that the Saltwater Gospel brings. They have a new hobby, a new passion, and for some people, even a new job.

    We hope that for some of the veterans going through our program, that this becomes their career, their passion as it is ours, one they want to share with other people. Granted, this program isn’t for everyone, but it is definitely a path that can lead to many other opportunities.

    Our goal is that the participants keep coming back month after month, and after a while, they buy their own gear and equipment, their own fishing rods and reels and start bringing it to the program, this frees up our gear and equipment for a new participant. Then they want to get actively involved with the program and become volunteers or become part of the leadership team for Veterans-365. Once this happens, we know our program is a success because the veteran has taken the next step and is moving on along the path to healing.

    This path is a journey and takes a long time, but with the help of this program and the magnificent healing powers of the ocean, they can stay focused. They will always have a spot in the Spreading the Saltwater Gospel program. After a while, Spreading the Saltwater Gospel will become more widely well know, more accepted. People will begin to understand the real power and benefits of the sea and all that Mother Ocean has to offer.


  • 19 Aug 2021 12:19 PM | Robert Quintana (Administrator)

    Saltwater Gospel is the complete and total immersion of every single one of your sense. There is no books you can read, no scripture to memorize, no classes you can take to learn it. The Saltwater Gospel does not involve the open teaching of biblical scripture or lessons, though faith plays a large part in the Saltwater Gospel learning curve. Faith in what the ocean has to offer you, faith in ourselves as students of the Saltwater Gospel. There are no teachers, administrators, counselors, therapists, doctors or any other medical staff, only students. We are all the students of Mother Ocean’s curriculum. Once you have completely immersed yourself in the core of what the Saltwater Gospel truly means, life takes on new meaning. Things like stress, depression, anxiety, even thoughts of suicide will dissolve away leaving you with a renewed and reconnected mental state of mind. Yeap, the ocean can definitely quickly become your new “Happy Place”.

    This is why we at Veterans-365 have developed the “Spreading the Saltwater Gospel” Program. We have heard from o large number of veterans and first responders about how the healing properties that can be found in the ocean and on the beach are healing Veterans and First Responders, freeing them from the horrors of PTSD, TBI, depression, anxiety and thoughts of taking their own lives. The rejuvenating powers of Mother Ocean have also been known to help the homeless get off the streets, though how, well, I really don’t know unless it is the oceans ability to recreate you mentally where you are able to handle and resolve your homeless situation. Participants in the “Spreading the Saltwater Gospel” Program are learning to re-establish themselves in their communities, re-connect with their friends and family, learning to lead normal healthy lives without the need of institutional, drugged up treatment.

    Veterans-365 has teamed up with Veterans Fishing For Fun and SE Texas Veterans to find as many Veterans and First Responders that need our help and introducing them to the Saltwater Gospel, along with searching for and finding those individuals that would like to volunteer with our organizations, or just simply want to financially support the program. Either way, we need the help of the members of our communities. Go to www.veterans-365.com and sign up to be a volunteer, or to make a donation to the Spreading the Saltwater Gospel Program.

    Listen to Mother Ocean’s voice, learn what she has to teach you, and live the Saltwater Gospel life.

    To learn more about SE Texas Veterans and Veterans Fishing For Fun, please visit their facebook pages listed below.

    SE Texas Veterans https://www.facebook.com/groups/setxveteransassociation

    Veterans Fishing For Fun https://www.facebook.com/groups/288739258320600


  • 11 Aug 2021 12:27 PM | Robert Quintana (Administrator)

    The White House is not being honest about how bad things are in Afghanistan  

      White House pronouncements about Afghanistan are quickly reaching the same level of absurdity of the “Five O’Clock Follies” press briefings from Saigon during the Vietnam War.

      As the Taliban consolidate their conquest of northern Afghanistan in preparation for an expected assault on Kabul, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki continues to insist that the Taliban are interested in a negotiated peace that falls short of total victory.

      “Ultimately, our view is that the Afghan National Security Defense Forces has the equipment, numbers, and training to fight back, which will strengthen their position at the negotiating table,” Psaki told reporters at a Tuesday White House news briefing. “We believe there’s a political process – that’s the only process that will successfully bring peace and stability to Afghanistan.”

      The truth is if there ever was a chance for the Taliban to agree to a ceasefire, let alone a peace settlement, it evaporated after the United States agreed in February 2020 that it would leave Afghanistan and then-President Donald Trump made abundantly clear that the drawdown would not be slowed by the Taliban’s offensive against Afghan troops and police.

      FILE – In this Nov. 3, 2015 file photo, Afghan Taliban fighters listen to Mullah Mohammed Rasool, the newly-elected leader of a breakaway faction of the Taliban, in Farah province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo, File)

      In fact, both the Washington Post and Reuters are reporting that the Taliban could besiege Kabul in the next 30 days and ultimately take control of the Afghan capital city in three months. U.S. government officials have not explained why the Taliban would want to sit down at the negotiating table when they clearly can hear the Afghan government’s death rattle.

      The notion that the Afghan troops and police have the training and equipment to fight back also ignores the legion of problems with the Afghan security forces that have been documented by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction’s office. The vaunted Afghan Air Force is collapsing with the loss of contractor maintainers – as everyone saw coming – and Afghan commandos are being called upon to do most of the fighting.

      President Joe Biden has continually expressed confidence in the Afghan security forces, which supposedly number more than 300,000 troops and police officers.

      “I’ll insist we continue to keep the commitments we made of providing close air support, making sure that their air force functions and is operable, resupplying their forces with food and equipment, and paying all their salaries,” Biden told reporters Tuesday at the White House. “But they’ve got to want to fight. They have outnumbered the Taliban.”

      Afghan Commando honor graduates march during a graduation ceremony Feb. 13, 2014, on Camp Commando near Kabul Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jared Gehmann)

      Biden’s comments show that he either doesn’t know or is choosing to ignore the fact that the Afghan security forces have long been plagued by “ghost soldiers,” who exist only on paper and artificially increase their end-strength.

      It appears the Biden administration has learned nothing from 2014, when a small group of fighters from the Islamic State terrorist group launched an offensive that conquered most of northern Iraq including Mosul, the country’s largest city. Although ISIS was vastly outnumbered, four Iraqi divisions disintegrated amid the onslaught.

      Indeed, it feels as if 2014 is playing out again, this time in Afghanistan, where an Afghan army corps based on the edge of Kunduz surrendered to the Taliban on Wednesday, according to the Washington Post.

      The Taliban now control nine of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals and Kandahar, the country’s second largest city, is cut off and under siege.

      FILE PHOTO: – A man standing on Afghanistan’s side of the border holds a Taliban flag as people walk towards a border crossing point in Pakistan’s border town of Chaman on July 17, 2021, after Pakistan partially reopened its southern crossing with Afghanistan, shut off since the Taliban seized control of the strategic border town on the other side. (Photo by Banaras KHAN / AFP) (Photo by BANARAS KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

      But Ryan Crocker, who served as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012, noted that the Taliban have their own problems to deal with.

      “They are not the Wehrmacht,” Crocker said. “They have to hold what they take. So it may be that a grinding civil war is a more likely outcome than the swift fall of Kabul. In that case the violence and bloodshed could rise to horrific levels.”

      Crocker argued that Biden now owns Trump’s ‘disastrous Afghan policy,’ and the consequences of the United States’ failure will extend beyond Afghanistan’s borders. Pakistan, for example, will feel vindicated for continuing to support the Taliban. 

      hmm let’s hear more about these so-called “mutual goals" https://t.co/DMUvSMBqai

      — Paul Szoldra (@PaulSzoldra) August 9, 2021

      Meanwhile, the Taliban are proclaiming that they have defeated the American infidels, and that will be a boost to terrorist groups around the world, he said. The Taliban have shown that violent jihad works and America’s reputation as a reliable ally has been “shredded.”

      And the Afghans who have supported the United States over the past 20 years, especially Afghan women whom American officials urged to step forward, will pay a terrible cost for risking their lives to support the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, Crocker said.

      “So, Afghanistan isn’t going to go away anytime soon as a presidential issue,” Crocker said. “But the Biden Administration will have to deal with it on a much less favorable basis than before the president’s ill-considered decision.”


    1. 7 Aug 2021 7:19 AM | Robert Quintana (Administrator)

      Washington, D.C. (WRBL) – Veterans Affairs will be introducing new discounts and additional disability claims.

      Veterans, military members, families, caregivers and survivors will be eligible to receive 10% off at Microsoft and Zappos. An all inclusive list of discounts can be found here.

      Fort Benning’s 1st Lt. Amber English wins gold at Tokyo Olympics 

      In addition, Veterans Affairs are now processing disability claims for specific and conditional matters.

      ADVERTISING

      Claims for asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis on a speculative basis based on particular exposures during military service in Southwest Asia and other specific areas.

      Those with symptoms must of manifested within 10 years of military service for disability qualification.

      ‘For me, the war is over’: Veteran meets daughter he left behind in Vietnam 50 years ago 

      Veterans who served in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria, and Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War, from September 19, 2001, to the present or the Southwest Asia theater of operations from August 2, 1990, to the present will be included in the expanded benefits.

      Veterans with pending claims at this time are not required to do anything else and a decision notice will be sent after completion of the review.

      For more information on the new presumptive conditions, visit our website at Airborne Hazards and Burn Pit Exposures – Public Health (va.gov).  To apply for benefits, Veterans and survivors may visit VA.gov or call toll-free at 800-827-1000.


    2. 9 Jun 2021 6:31 AM | Robert Quintana (Administrator)

      Two months after the Army recognized a breakdown in its tuition assistance program, many soldiers are saying that little progress has been made in helping them pay for classes and complete their educational goals.

      The Army Tuition Assistance program is meant to help pay for “voluntary off-duty civilian education programs,” and is available to all soldiers. But according to Military Times, the service ran into an issue when it was switching from a system called GoArmyEd to a new platform known as ArmyIgnitED. 

      Maj. Ashley Bain, a spokeswoman for Army University, said in an email on Tuesday that ArmyIgnitED was expected to go live on March 8, but “problems with the transfer of many years of legacy data … prevented that launch.”

      Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston also addressed the issue on Twitter in April, saying the Army is “doing everything we can to get the system back online.” 

      He urged soldiers to “continue to be patient as we expect to have the technical [issues] with the program resolved within the next couple of weeks.” Bain told Military Times that the goal was to have the new system up and running “in time for soldiers to enroll in May classes.” 

      Now it’s June, and many soldiers are still running into problems trying to determine how the Army will pay for their classes and how they’re supposed to continue their education. It’s unclear exactly how many soldiers are being impacted by the ArmyIgnitED issues, but the system’s website says there are over 100,000 soldiers enrolled in the program.

      A May 3 Facebook post from ArmyIgnitED has over 200 comments from people asking for help, clarification, updates, or generally sharing their frustrations about the program. 

      “I never thought I would potentially end up in education debt in the Army,” said one man who claimed he could owe over $1,500 for his courses. “I [might] as well have left years ago.” 

      Another man said he completed his degree on May 12 and has paid his portion of the tuition, but the Army hasn’t paid for two classes under the ArmyIgnitED system. His diploma is being “held up because the payment has not been made,” he said. 

      A month ago, someone else commented that he’d finished two classes two weeks prior and his school was still waiting for payment from the Army. 

      “I registered for those classes on GoArmyEd 11 weeks ago, and still no payment,” the person said. They commented again on Monday that in the month since their original comment, “nothing has happened.”

      A lengthy post on the Army Reddit community said there are “classes going back to December that aren’t being paid,” and soldiers are running into problems not being able to register for courses, and are receiving bills from the school. Bain said on Tuesday that soldiers “should not be incurring tuition costs,” pointing to the Army’s exception to policy — essentially an “IOU” for colleges and universities. 

      A post on Facebook from Fort Riley Educational Services said the exception to policy is a place-holder of sorts for the course’s tuition, and “is in place so when the system is up, soldiers will be able to submit a waiver request for [tuition assistance] to cover those courses.”

      But the Army will “not reimburse soldiers directly” after they submit a waiver request, the Army IgnitED Facebook page said, and instead will “pay schools that invoice the Army … and the school will refund the soldier in accordance to their refund policy.” 

      Bain confirmed on Tuesday that the exception to policy allows soldiers to enroll in classes directly through their school, and the schools would then bill the Army for those classes. She said the process has been in place except for eight days in April during which it was suspended “to acquire some visibility with enrollments.” 

      “We know it’s working because over 81K Soldiers have enrolled in over 255,500 classes this fiscal year,” Bain said. “The Soldiers who are experiencing issues should reach out to their assigned Education Center/Office.” 

      But the Reddit post said that in these cases, “soldiers are the ones on the hook, on paper, for these courses. It’s no surprise there is hesitancy to believe the Army totally will have their back on this one.” 

      Bain said it’s likely that the tuition program won’t be fully functional — as in, able to operate without the exception to policy in place — until early in the fourth quarter of this fiscal year, which begins on July 1. But the longer the issue persists the more soldiers believe they are being screwed, leading to some taking issue with the Army’s “People First” strategy, saying the breakdown in tuition assistance undercuts the service’s dedication to helping soldiers.

      “I will tweet at every single commander who uses the hashtag #peoplefirst,” one person said on Reddit. “Every. Single. One.”

      Featured photo: U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Ashley Murray, (left) a volunteer instructor assigned to 210 Brigade Support Battalion, 2/10 Security Forces Assistance Brigade, Forward Operating Base Sharana, Afghanistan, explains an arithmetic problem to soldiers attending the Functional Academic Skills and General Technical improvement class held at the FOB Sharana education center, April 12, 2013. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Mark A. Moore II – 2/10 Security Forces Assistance Brigade)


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