Thursday, November 21, 2013


Here is a guest post by Mitty Griffis Mirrer:

The death of a parent impacts the life of a child forever. A new hour-long documentary film -- GOLD STAR CHILDREN: TWO GENERATIONS SHARING LOSS AND HEALING -- takes an intimate look at American children who have lost a parent to war across two generations.

The film follows the parallel journeys of two generations of grieving children – recent war orphans who have lost parents serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and here at home with the now adult children who lost parents serving in Vietnam.

This touching and hopeful film brings together the voices of today with historical context, giving meaning and shape to how America understands those who pay the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country through the voices of the children and families they leave behind.

The term “gold star” children is based on the pin presented by the military at military funerals to the families of fallen troops. Documentary viewers will watch as children cry, laugh and share their experiences across two generations and find hope and healing.

The isolation carried by now adult children who lost a parent in Vietnam, and their struggle to understand the deaths of their fathers in a war that most Americans did not want to fight, is explored.

At the same time, children who have lost parents in today’s conflicts face a public that support the troops but feel like others can’t relate to their experiences as bereaved children.

I was inspired to produce and direct the hour-long documentary film after mentoring a child whose father was killed in Iraq.  My own father, US Marine CAPT William A. Griffis, III, died in the Vietnam War hours after my birth.

This is an untold story of our nation's children of war.  Ultimately, this is a story of hope.

You may view the trailer and then purchase the documentary GOLD STAR CHILDREN by downloading the film at

The downloads are a way of demonstrating to the documentary's distributors that there is a community that cares and wants this film.  Thank you for "casting your vote," if you will, by downloading GOLD STAR CHILDREN!

All profits go to the not-for-profit Gold Star Children organization, which continues the work giving our nation's military bereaved children a voice.

My hope is to be able to offer this film as a military resource for all newly bereaved military children and for our casualty assistance officers who must knock on the door.

Thank you for supporting the mission of creating community and awareness for our bereaved military children by purchasing the film at

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Animal Assisted Therapy Documentary HORSES AND HEROES Needs Your Help


Here is a guest post by Theresa Chaze on an important project:
Animal Assisted Therapy has been extremely effective for those who are physically and emotionally challenged, and it has become more widely used in cases of PTSD, especially for veterans.
Although almost any animal can be a healer, dogs and horses are the ones that are most commonly partnered with veterans. Dogs have the advantage of being accepted in both cities and rural areas. 

However, horses are known to better reflect the mood of the person handling them. This ability is helpful for PSTD patients to learn how to recognize their own feelings. In this way, they learn how to retrain their mind and body reacts to stressors.

The planned documentary HORSES AND HEROES will be hosted by veteran Barbara (Bobby) Kilgore. Enlisting in the United States Marine Corps in 1980, she served six years and was honorably discharged.  In 1995 she enlisted in the United States Army, from which she retired in October 2011.

Founded in 2001, Charity Hill Ranch specializes in Traumatic Brain Injury and rehabilitation utilizing all the assets a farm and horse have to offer. 

Christine O'Connell is a PATH International Certified Instructor of 10 years and specializes in Traumatic Brain Injury as well as being a Certified Brain Injury Specialist. Sarah Wilson is a Mental Health Specialist with a degree in psychology and education. She offers tutoring and program planning at the ranch.

Mid-Michigan Equestrian Center, Inc, which is located at Charity Hill Ranch, is a non-profit 501(c) (3) corporation that believes that riding and caring for horses profoundly affects the lives of people with disabilities and enables them to live a more fulfilling and complete life. The mission is to provide programs and services where “Love in Action” enables individual growth and achievement for people who have special needs, through an extraordinary partnership with horses and staff. 

Carefully trained and certified instructors work with clients to take advantage of every healing minute at the ranch. At-risk children develop healthy trust and relationships. Those with disabilities learn responsibility, develop communication skills and use this therapy as a way to create life-long passions.

Charity Hill Ranch is a proud member of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International. It is also a member of Horses for Heroes Inc. 

Based in Las Vegas and founded in 2006, the mission of Horses for Heroes is to make horseback riding affordable for, and accessible to, active duty servicemen and women, veterans, first responders, and their families.

A semi-scripted documentary, HORSES AND HEROES will create a greater awareness of Animal Assisted Therapy for civilians, military personnel, veterans, and their families. The goal is to create an understanding of how and why the therapy works, thereby giving those suffering from PTSD another therapeutic option.

Cosmos Productions has created a crowd funding campaign through Indiegogo to help with the development costs for HORSES AND HEROES. All the funds raised for will be used to pay for the development of the documentary.

If you are veteran or a family member of a vet, please contribute to this healing documentary so others may learn that there is a path to come all the way home.

The site address is at There are also product placement sponsorships available and opportunities for those who wish to help more by investing in HORSES AND HEROES.

To learn more visit Cosmos Production's website at


Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients on digital marketing opportunities. Read her book-related posts at

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

MilitaryOneSource Can Help Family Members of Military Personnel With PTSD

In recognition of Military Family Month -- Barbara Thompson, Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth  Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense  (Military Community and Family Policy), joined a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable on November 13th to discuss programs the Defense Department is using in order to help our nation's 2.9 million military families.

Because of my ongoing interest in helping to spread the word about people getting help for PTSD symptoms, I asked what happens if a family member calls MilitaryOneSource for help with getting military personnel to seek treatment for possible PTSD.

Ms. Thompson replied that licensed clinicians answer the phone and are able to advise family members on encouraging someone to seek help.  She said, “It is really okay to ask for help.”

If you are part of a military family and suspect someone needs help with PTSD, here are the phone numbers that you can use:

Contact a MilitaryOneSource consultant now at 800.342.9647
Military Crisis Line 800.273.TALK (8255)

DoD Safe Helpline Sexual Assault Support 877.995.5247

Click here to visit  the MilitaryOneSource site now.
P.S.  And if you want to read a fictional story that could help encourage people to seek help with possible PTSD, check out SOLOMON'S JUSTICE: A PTSD SHORT STORY available on Kindle at or read about PTSD at

And if you don't have a Kindle, you can get a free Kindle app for PC, Mac, etc. at


Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Military Discounts: A Guide to Saving When You Serve

Here is a guest post by Anna Kavich.  Republished with permission from

From fast food chains and flower delivery to travel and college tuition, you’d be surprised at how many companies offer discounts for those on active military duty and veterans. Considering their sacrifice to protect our country, it seems like the least we can do to say thanks.

According to, 93% of military personnel have a mortgage and 91% have at least one credit card. These looming monthly payments can be difficult to make – especially with members deployed all over the world with sparse communication.
In fact, the Center for Responsible Lending determined in 2005 that 20% of active military members had taken out a payday loan. With soldiers, veterans and military families struggling to make ends meet, it’s no surprise that discounts and offers are widely used. Check out our collection of top military discounts, including:
A word of advice, though, from Austin army spouse and graphic artist Kristen Burroughs: “Just be sure to check with any company before expecting to receive a good deal.”
Many stores and websites will offer a “military discount” that is actually much higher than the regularly advertised price. Though hard to fathom, military discount scams are actually a frequent occurrence. The Better Business Bureau Military Line warns against some of the most common cases. 

Military Discount Scams:

       Higher priced loans – lenders promise false guarantees,  instant approval or no credit check.
  • Veteran buyout plans – cash payments are made in exchange for veteran benefits or pension payments that are actually lower than what the veteran is entitled to.
  • Fake rental properties – replicated photos advertise a non-existent property, and active members make security payments via wire transfer but never receive anything.
  • Misleading car sales – posted ads offer false discounts and soldiers make payments via wire transfer.
  • Expensive life insurance policies – solicitors make false statements about policy benefits and costs.
How does one avoid these sticky situations? “Discounts change by store and location all the time,” Burroughs said. “You learn how to ask.”
Burroughs has been saving here and there with military discounts for four years while her husband, Dave, has been a sergeant in the army. He is currently assigned to the air defense unit and has been deployed twice – once to Korea and then to Kuwait. They currently live in Killeen, a town about an hour outside of Austin where Fort Hood is located.
“I have a 68.9 mile commute every day to work in Austin,” said Burroughs. “I definitely take advantage of oil change discounts at Jiffy Lube and Firestone.” Burroughs and her husband also use an exclusive military discount on their Verizon phone bill as well as the occasional retail shopping experience. “Old Navy usually has a 10% off military discount in store on Mondays.”

What are the best military discounts?

Although shopping and utilities savings are great, Burroughs confirmed that the best deals she's found have been for travel. As you can imagine, military families spend a majority of their time circumventing the globe. Whether it’s to move to the next post or to visit far-away family, many like Burroughs are often on the go.

She said saving on airfare is huge and companies like Southwest, Delta, and American Airlines always offer military discounts. Burroughs also said that pretty much any hotel will offer a 10-20% discount.

Car rental is another top category for military discounts. Burroughs recalled a time when she and her husband were visiting family in Pennsylvania and needed to rent a car. It was going to cost a whopping $400 for the week, but with her USAA discount the total came to a much more affordable $150.
Although they don’t currently take advantage of too many restaurant or shopping military discounts, Burroughs said that this will definitely change when they have children.

“Especially with the back to school season, I can imagine using discounts to save money that we can put toward school supplies.”
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the digital marketing company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to utilize integrated online marketing. Read her book-related posts at

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

AAFMAA (American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association) Has Distinguished History

Here is a guest post from Winnifred Tse of AAFMAA:

The AAFMAA (American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association) has a long and distinguished history.   

Established on January 13, 1879, by a committee of army officers chaired by Lieutenant General (later Brigadier General) Roger Jones, Assistant Inspector General of the Army, the creation stems from the losses suffered at the Battle of Little Big Horn three years earlier. 
Traditionally, on the frontier, when a soldier died, the others left would "pass the hat" and take up a collection used to send to the deceased soldier’s family back East.  After the Battle of Little Big Horn, there were no surviving soldiers to pass the hat.  The army did not want this to happen again.

At the creation of AAFMAA (then Army Mutual Aid Association), the expressed purpose was “to aid the families of deceased members in a prompt, simple and substantial manner.”  Now, 134 years later, that is still at the core of all the AAFMAA does.

All ranks of Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard are eligible for membership – active duty, Guard/Reserve, retired and cadets/midshipmen at the service academies.
In addition, honorably discharged veterans in AZ, CT, FL, HI, MD, NC, OK, RI, SC and VA are eligible for membership and services.  AAFMAA’s signature Survivor Assistance Services are included with each member’s first life insurance policy. 

Also, the member benefits department provides valuable veterans affairs claims coordination services as well as maintains physical and digital vault storage for members’ most important and critical documents.

AAFMAA Wealth Management & Trust LLC provides financial planning, money management, and trust services. 

The membership is over 90,000 strong, with over 100,000 lives insured through the life insurance programs.  Insurance in force exceeds $25 billion and assets are in excess of $1 billion.

More information about AAFMAA and the services can be found at


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Please Support K9s for Warriors

Here is a very important guest post from veterinarian Patrick Mahaney:

Have you or your family, friends, or coworkers benefited from the companionship of a service dog? Those who have psychiatric conditions are seemingly the most in need, with military veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) being at high risk for self-harm, including suicide.

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs reports that every 65 minutes a veteran commits suicide, and the department identifies a strong correlation between PTSD and veterans who end their own lives. An alarming 755,200 veterans suffer from PTSD and 184 new cases are diagnosed every day.

K9s for Warriors is a organization that rescues dogs and trains them to be service animals for veterans with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. The dogs chosen to be part of K9s for Warriors are saved from shelter-based euthanasia and trained to meet Canine Good Citizen standards before being paired with their warriors.

Animal Fair’s Wendy Diamond has championed the K9s for Warriors cause and is hosting the Bark Business Benefit Tour, a series of awareness and fundraising events in multiple cities across the U.S. Diamond’s efforts have attracted support from Halo Purely For Pets (Ellen DeGeneres's pet food company), American Express Open, Loews hotels, and Omni hotels.

Diamond (and I) hope you will inspire your troops (friends, family, etc.) to join our fundraiser, attend the L.A. Bark Breakfast Benefit (Saturday, October 5, at 10 a.m. at the Omni — Downtown Los Angeles), and help a Los Angeles-based veteran with PTSD participate in the K9s for Warriors program.

K9s for Warriors donates 94 percent of every dollar received directly to the veterans and their service dogs. The remaining 6 percent is used on fundraising and overhead.

I’ve started my own Crowdrise fundraising page, Help Fund a Military Veteran's Service Dog Through K9s for Warriors, in anticipation of the upcoming Los Angeles event. Please join me at the event by donating $116 for your ticket. If you can’t attend, please contribute any amount within your budget ($20, $40, $100, etc.).

If you can’t afford to donate, please help spread the word and direct those who can help our cause by posting on your social media channels (e.g., Facebook, Twitter etc.) via this link: Help Fund a Military Veteran's Service Dog Through K9s for Warriors

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Help Support a Short Film About Undiagnosed PTSD

Here is a guest post from Anak Rabanal, an LA-based filmmaker in the process of putting together a narrative short film, "Dwell Time," that explores the ramifications of undiagnosed PTSD and moral injury coupled with the practice of repeated deployments on service personnel and their family relationships.

By making "Dwell Time," we aim to increase awareness amongst the narrative film watching audience that there is a national need to formulate solutions and effective therapies for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with the "invisible wounds" of PTSD, major depression, moral injury and TBI.
Our team has spoken with multiple returning veterans who have expressed a strong desire to see their "reintegration" stories in media such as film since to share and externalize what so many suffer silently and unseen.
To bring this project to life, we have a talented and seasoned cast and crew including Riley Smith (90210, 24, Freaks and Geeks) as Johnny and Heather Mazur (Pretty Little Liars, Crash) as his deceased wife, Betsy. Our DP, Nadia Baptista, is an award-winning cinematographer whose work has been recognized at festivals such as Le Festival International du Court Metrage de Clermont-Ferrand.

"Dwell Time" follows U.S. Army Captain John "Johnny" Mayweather, who is suffering from undiagnosed PTSD and coping with the unexpected death of his wife, as he takes the final steps towards redeployment.  Johnny battles to maintain a veneer of self-possession and to control his increasingly dissociative perception of reality.  Life now lacks the emotional and spiritual pole star that was his wife, Betsy.

Rudderless and fractured, he obliterates his grief with self destructive behaviors to escape the memories of war that haunt him.  Ultimately, he seeks to return to the only place that offers any semblance of order -- the front.  

Here is the link to the page for the Indiegogo campaign, which runs through September 6th, at which you can contribute funds to produce this film:

And here is a link to the teaser shot in order to give potential backers a taste of the feel and look of the short film:

Regarding the title of the film:

Dwell time is a well-known expression.  It's the term used by the military and military personnel to describe the time period between deployments during which military personnel are supposed to rest, recharge and reconnect with friends and family.

Until around 2011, the issue of the length of dwell times was one of contention.  Personnel were receiving only up to a year of dwell time for up to 15 months of boots on the ground.

In 2011, military command recognized the absolute need to increase dwell time and adopted a policy that is slowly being put into place -- two years of dwell time for every year deployed.  This is, at least, for the army.  The other branches of the military have other time structures for dwell time allotments.


Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to utilize online marketing to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at