After serving in the Marine Corps for 8 years and as a police officer for 2 years, Brandon Prince received the unfortunate news that, due to a service-related disability, he could no longer serve his community as a police officer. Brandon took the news in typical Marine Corps fashion and simply turned to another of his passions – creating art pieces for people to enjoy. His wife, Nicole, is a partner in this wonderful enterprise.
Located in Upstate South Carolina, Deep South Creations offer personalized, custom woodworking, beautifully crafted and sure to last for years, becoming family heirlooms.
Veterans Referring Veterans
I met Brandon while presenting at one of the Veterans Referring Veterans’ Thursday night virtual “Happy Hours.” I joined the VRV several months ago as a veteran author. The VRV is a great online directory and networking tool for validated veteran-owned businesses of all kinds. It turned out that Brandon likes to read, and I ended up shipping him a copy of one of my books.
Loyal For Life
My stories are action-adventure yarns involving military or retired military personnel and being a dog lover, include K9s. One K9 character, a Belgian-Malinois Trident dog, named Ajax, has become a real favorite for many readers. Ajax is quite a heroic animal and saves the day on many dangerous missions. After seeing some of Brandon’s work, I decided I wanted something special as a tribute to Ajax and other “non-fictitious” K9 service members. I talked to Brandon and what he came up with really blew me away. I absolutely love it!
Once he was finished with the piece, Brandon contacted me for my shipping address. But after being socially-distanced for over a year and learning he was only a couple of hours away, I asked if he minded if I picked it up. He didn’t mind at all. It was an excuse for a nice little “road trip” and a chance to meet two wonderful people and fellow VRV members.
Brandon and Nicole at Deep South Creations turn out some stunning work. There are wooden flags, duty racks, cut-outs, signs, etc., all created onsite in the shop behind their house. Unfortunately, I can’t display them all here in this blog post, so you need to visit them on their website, Facebook page, or Instagram! Deep South Creations offers discounts to active duty, veterans, law enforcement, and other first responders.
Do yourself a favor and check out Deep South Creations, and support this amazing veteran-owned small business.
This evening I was walking back from taking out the trash when a group of 4 young boys (probably ages 10 to 14) came by riding their bicycles. They stopped, and one yelled at me, “Hey, mister.”
Here we go, I thought.
Then he just asked me, “Do you like bikes?”
I told him at one time I loved bikes and used to ride all over town on my Royce Union 10-speed with no hands … and I could ride a wheelie for forever! Then I laughed and told him, “But, that was long ago, though.”
Then another one of them asked, “How about skateboards?”
I laughed again and replied, “Do I look like I should be on a skateboard?” They all laughed at that. One said he was going to be the next Tony Hawk!
The one boy proceeded to tell me he did all kinds of tricks on his BMX bike and showed me how well he could ride a wheelie. It was pretty impressive, I must say.
We joked around for a few more minutes. Finally, one of the boys said that they needed to get going. So, I told them all to have a great evening. They waved and started off. Then one stopped and turned back to me.
“Are you a veteran?” he asked.
“I am,” I replied. I was wearing an R.E.D. T-shirt.
“Thank you for your service,” he stated. Then went on after his friends. I must admit I was surprised. He was maybe 13 …
Jenna Ridennhour is an Army veteran. She served a two-year enlistment with the United States Army as an optician. After completing her service period, Jenna continued working as an optician for 12 years in the civilian sector. Deciding to jumpstart her career, Jenna went back to school and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration in 2015. With her new BBA in hand, the entrepreneurial spirit kicked in, and a new business was born in February of 2020.
What this business offers …
Regal Reflections, LLC is based in Savanah, Georgia, and offers a unique way to create and share special memories of your events. Experience the ultimate “selfie” with the Mirror X Photo Mirror, a stunning 6-foot tall interactive, voice-guided photo booth that can be set up at your location. Packages include many options such as a personalized touch screen, a personalized overlay, a backdrop (if requested), props (both physical and/or digital), unlimited 4×6″ prints, a uniformed attendant, signing and stamping features, and texting/emailing capabilities.
Jenna has spent years researching the industry and designing a system that ensures her clients receive a delightfully high-end experience. She takes great pleasure in providing an entertaining, memorable, and shareable experience for each client and their guests.
Whether you provide Regal Reflections with a list of your “must-haves” or you are drawing on her team’s wealth of experience, this veteran-owned business will make sure every single detail is perfect for your special event. Regal Reflections specializes in providing that personal touch that makes your event one that will be remembered and talked about for years to come.
So whether for a wedding, a birthday party, a holiday celebration, a conference, or a bar mitzvah … Regal Reflections has the tools to help easily capture and share those wonderful memories with all your friends and family … even virtually!
The Virtual Experience …
This is an amazing option and one I do have some personal experience with. Several weeks ago, the Veterans Referring Veterans network raised funds for a little boy named Lukas. Lukas, the son of a Marine veteran, was recently diagnosed with Leukemia. Regal Reflections played an amazing role, allowing those who contributed to the fundraiser and other well-wishers to send Lukas pictures created online “virtually,” so Lukas could see those who were pulling for him from his room in the hospital. I could not attend the actual event held at Four Brother Meadery in Festus, Missouri, because of a previous commitment. But I was still able to send Lukas a picture using this virtual photo booth. It was an amazing thing to see and be a part of.
This virtual photo booth experience can also be just the thing to share special memories with friends and family unable to share in activities during these uncertain times or those over extended distances.
So, please take a minute to check out Regal Reflections and see what this amazing lady veteran has to offer her clients. And support businesses run by those who were willing to put their lives on the line for us.
Check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here, and be sure to check out all my books on my Amazon Author’s Page! They do get great reviews!
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Today, a Veterans Referring Veterans social is being held at Four Brothers Mead in Festus, Missouri. Sadly, I was unable to attend due to a previous engagement. These are a great bunch of people.
A Silent Auction for a Great Cause
At this social, a silent auction is being held to raise money for Lukas, the young son of a Marine Corp veteran and the owner of True Allegiance Flag Co, who was recently diagnosed with Leukemia.
Rob, the owner of this amazing veteran-owned company, makes rustic wooden American flags you can proudly display in your home or office.
A signed set of my JD Cordell Action Series books was donated for this auction, as well as many other amazing products from veteran-owned businesses across the nation.
Lukas was taken to the local emergency room on Friday, October 16, 2020 for fever, bruising, and soreness. After blood work, it was discovered that Lukas’s platelets were extremely low and his white blood cell count was extremely high. The doctors decided to transport Lukas via ambulance to Children’s Hospital in St. Louis (2 hours away from home).
It was there, around 1:30am, October 17, 2020, that the doctors delivered the news to Lukas’s parents that he has Leukemia. It was determined they would immediately start a blood transfusion to get his platelet count up (which had dropped even lower since the previous test), then later on in the day decide which type of Leukemia he has and start chemotherapy Monday, October 19, 2020.
Later that day, it was determined that Lukas has Type B Leukemia (which apparently is the better of the two types). The plan to start chemotherapy Monday is still in place, and no surgery or radiation will be needed. He will also have a bone marrow biopsy and spinal type very soon. Lukas will be in the hospital for 2-3 weeks as of right now.
Jessie and Rob have 4 other children between the two of them that will be at home during this time. Jessie has two full time jobs, and Rob owns his own business making fantastic works of art out of wood. However, with them being two hour away from home and family, neither of them will be able to work during this time to provide for their family.
It is our hope to be able to raise enough money for lodging, gas money, food, and ALL bills while their little family undergoes this hardship. We know that our God is a mighty God and He will provide!! Thank you for taking the time out of your day to support this magnificent family!
I know a lot of people are having a tough time right now, but …
Last night was another Veteran Referring Veterans Happy Hour hosted by Justin, our peerless leader! I really have been getting a lot from these happy hour discussions. But to be honest, last night, I nearly skipped the session because of the topic. The presentation would be from a veteran-owned CBD company, and I simply was not a fan of what I considered the whole CBD fad.
But finally deciding not to skip the happy hour, I grabbed a cold one and joined the Zoom session. And now, I have to man-up and admit I was wrong in my initial judgment. This became a prime example of why “keeping an open mind” can be such a great concept.
About CBD Path
CBD Path is a company founded by Mike and Claudia Donnelly. Mike served his country as a Navy SEAL for nearly a decade. As you can imagine, Mike understands full well what it means to put a lot of extremely rigorous mileage on your body, as well as the benefit of maintaining your health, strength, and wellbeing.
Both Mike and Claudia are amazing people, and I was immediately struck by the sincerity and honesty of their presentation. Mike joked that Claudia was the brains of the outfit, and he was the brawn. Mike had already started several businesses, being a self-described serial entrepreneur. He is also very active, giving back to the veteran community by serving as a board member for the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum and the Trident House. Mike also volunteers throughout the year in fundraising events across the country to raise money for the families of fallen SEALs. When he isn’t working or volunteering, Mike works out, extremely committed to a lifestyle of health, fitness, and training.
Mike and Claudia had seen first-hand the effects of prolonged combat duty on their friends, fellow SEALs, and other veterans. These effects included PTSD, anxiety, depression, amputated limbs, burns, insomnia, among others. Over time they began to also hear about some of their friends and other veterans having some success alleviating their symptoms with CBD products.
Claudia began to do some serious research.
Mike described a fellow SEAL who’d lost limbs and suffered from PTSD and chronic pain, and who experienced real relief from using CBD oil.
Another friend (also a SEAL) has a son who had lost a limb in a bad motorcycle accident, had undergone several surgeries, and suffered a great deal of pain from the damage, and who experienced real relief from CBD.
Friends called in tears, when their son, who hadn’t slept a wink in many weeks, got several hours of real sleep after trying a CBD product.
While CBD is certainly not a miracle drug and is not for everyone and everything, it does have a real history of success if you know where to look.
And even aspirin does not work for everyone.
Here are some things I did not know.
Most of the research available on CBD products and health is found in Israel and Australia. Both of these countries have done a great deal of research on this topic … including using CBD products to treat children with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, or PTSD associated with abuse. The US is woefully behind in this area.
CBD was a commonly used treatment for ailments until about 100 years ago, just about the time “big pharma” began to emerge. I guess it could be coincidental, but if you can grow it in your back yard, they can’t control it or make a profit from it.
There are several types of CBD products available.
Full Spectrum vs Isolate
Not all CBD is the same. Mike and Claudia offer both full-spectrum CBD products and CBD isolate products. Full-spectrum CBD is CBD also containing trace amounts of other naturally occurring cannabinoids (CBG, CBC, CBN, THC < 0.3%), terpenes, and flavonoids found in the hemp plant. These individual components are believed to work together in a phenomenon called the entourage effect, potentially boosting CBD’s natural therapeutic effects.
Some people find that full-spectrum works best for them, while others prefer isolate. If one isn’t quite getting the job done, you may have better results with the other.
CBD is referred to as a “promiscuous” molecule because it acts upon several different non-psychoactive pathways in the body: the TRPV channels, GABA receptors, 5HT1A (serotonin) receptors. It is also called “biphasic” because in different dosages it can have different effects.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production, sale, and consumption of hemp and hemp-derived compounds like CBD. In order to be classified as hemp and not as cannabis (they are genetically the same species), a plant has to be tested by a third-party lab and proven to contain les than 0.3% THC content.
So, in other words, CBD is not pot!
More about CBD Path
CBD Path is a company that manufactures and distributes only the best quality CBD (this is not 7-eleven CBD) to its customers. Their products are all produced in certified hemp manufacturing facilities. They offer advice, support, and education. Each product they sell has a QR code on the label you can scan to verify the source of the hemp and the certificates of analysis.
They did not just jump on the bandwagon, they are doing it for the right reason and in the right way.
Visit their great website to learn more and check out all the information available.
After this presentation, I had a very different view of CBD and its uses as a health and wellness supplement. But it is very much a “buyer beware” market with many unscrupulous distributors jumping on the CBD wagon with inferior products. If you find CBD is something you are considering trying, these are definitely the folks you will want to talk to right here!
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As you know, I recently discovered an organization called Veterans Referring Veterans. This group exists to help veterans support and promote each other’s business and reach new customers through online networking. I have been delighted with what I have seen so far.
Thursday night “Happy Hour”
Each Thursday night, we have a Happy Hour with a veteran presenting something about his or her business, followed by open questions and discussion. I have met veterans who run companies selling maple syrup, clothing, metal-working projects, jewelry, and wood-working products. I met the author of a series of children’s books. And I have met financial, marketing, business consultants, personal coaches … you name it.
I even met a veteran who’s father is a famous wood-worker who did a great deal of wood carving for Disney and who has carvings all over the world, many ordered by well-known celebrities. He did not follow in his father’s footsteps, however. He is the children’s book author I mentioned above. The point is, I have meant some fascinating people.
Last week, the presenter was a member of the Four Brothers Mead business partnership. This team, consisting of two blood brothers, a brother-by-marriage, and a brother-by-combat, decided to make mead for family gatherings. They really got into it and came up with an excellent product. Demand increased, and they decided to go for it. It is a great story.
These guys, at least two of Nordic ancestry, follow the same recipe that has been used to make mead for over a thousand years. They use all local honey and no artificial ingredients. They do offer flavored varieties, such as blackberry, to which they add a few, you guessed it, actual blackberries. They offer a maple version, the one I ordered, to which they add just a little maple syrup from a veteran-owned maple farm in Vermont (but that is the subject of a future blog post). And it is simply outstanding!
They will soon be offering a bourbon-flavored version. Nothing added – just aged in old charred-oak bourbon barrels. Being an aficionado of good bourbon, I can’t wait for this one to come out.
Anyway, if you want to try something different, I can definitely recommend the YGGDRASIL SAP! And, if it is any kind of an indicator, the other versions will be excellent as well.
Sign up for my monthly newsletter …
Yes, I do have an author’s newsletter! Would you like to keep up with new releases, writing tips, upcoming events, freebies, and bonus content? Then you can sign up by clicking here! And, I promise, no spam!
Check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here, and be sure to check out my books by clicking here! They do get great reviews!
Founded by a veteran, Justin Clark, after being medically retired from the military, the mission of Veterans Referring Veterans is to become a trusted partner with veterans who own businesses and to provide a web-based directory where consumers can connect with and select veteran-owned companies. But it is so much more than that!
How does it work?
I have been intrigued by this organization for some time seeing their posts on both Instagram and Facebook. Justin Clark hosts “Happy Hours” every Thursday night via the group on Facebook, where veteran-owned businesses are highlighted. This week the featured company will be Four Brothers Mead. These four veteran brothers based in Missouri make a Viking era honey-based wine known as Mead. They wanted to produce the best Old World Mead by using only superior, locally harvested pure honey. I have yet to try it, but by several accounts, they have succeeded.
I joined after participating in a happy hour in which a veteran who now writes children’s books was highlighted.
Veterans Referring Veterans is very active on social media including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. There is also a VRV podcast.
If you are interested in learning a bit more, here is a video clip explaining what Veterans Referring Veterans is all about.
So what is the catch?
Well, there really is none. Joining is very affordable. You can design your own profile and upload images. You join in on “happy hours” and other events, meet other veteran business owners, and help spread the word for each other. If you choose you, you can also travel to larger events in other locations. VRV is now in 24 states and even Germany. The growth has been incredible.