Veterans Day 11/11/2019

Veterans Day 2019

Thank You For Serving
This Veterans Day TeamVetCV and all of our Patriot Partners want to thank you for your service. This morning I saw an email from USAA CEO Stuart Parker about writing a “V” on your hand and add the initials of a veteran you want to honor along with a couple of links you might use if you want to give back:

  1. donating a wish-list item to Operation Gratitude, which sends care packages to those who serve
  2. USAA’s HonorThroughAction Challenge

Show your thanks to those who serve, our Veterans, and the families who serve with them this Veterans Day. On behalf of Team VetCV, thank you for allowing us to serve you. Please keep your ideas coming as we continue our mission to support your needs.

 

VetCV Recognized by the Department of Labor (DoL) as a HIRE VETS Platinum Medallion Award Winner.

VetCV was recognized yesterday by the Department of Labor (DoL) as a HIRE VETS Platinum medallion award winner.  The awards recognize job creators for their leadership in recruiting, employing, and retaining America’s veterans.

In 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed into law the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing (HIRE) American Military Veterans Act, creating the HIRE Vets Medallion Program.

“America’s veterans are proven leaders who bring skills, dedication, and determination to our nation’s workforce,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “To earn a HIRE Vets Medallion Award, job creators must demonstrate a solid commitment to providing veterans with the opportunity to build a meaningful career. This program recognizes a standard for excellence in veterans hiring, and helps veterans identify employers who are committed to advancing veterans in the workplace.”

The Department of Labor recognized 238 companies across the nation including large, medium and small businesses.  Sixteen companies from the State of Florida were recognized and only four were awarded Platinum.

VetCV is a tech company that has built a free highly secure online “personal data-vault” software platform to support our Nation’s 23.9 million active US military and Veterans as well as their 46 million family members. VetCV will grow into a place where they will have a voice and will be heard. VetCV helps Veterans and their family’s transition to civilian life in two major ways: First by personalizing and matching them to patriotic employers that understand the value of service and genuinely want to hire them “right now!” And second, connecting and navigating them to the healthcare, VA benefits, and other important resources, quickly and in real time. Users can also safely store and control their most important documents related to their careers, healthcare, military service, and family so they can get to them where and when they need them.

“Successful transition starts with making sure people can support their families, that usually means getting a great job, and keeping it, so that’s where we start too. With more than 240,000 job postings already, people can join their next team. Veterans helping Veterans is the core of what are trying to do. We have lots of plans in store, but we are off to a really good start with what we have built so far. This HIRE Vets Platinum Award means a lot to us because it validates our mission here.” said Niels Andersen, VetCV President & CEO.

How to Build Credit

The key to building credit is simple. It takes time, discipline, and the right banking institution for your needs. It’s easier to get started with building your credit than it is to bring up bad credit. Managing debt is a big responsibility so setting yourself up for success is very important.

Credit Cards

  1. The very first step to building credit is to open your first credit card account. Check out our blog post to see whether you should look at using a bank or a credit union. The best way to use your first credit card is for payments that you already make such as gas and groceries. Pay off the balance immediately and in full every month. If you can’t get approved for a credit card, look into getting a secured credit card. A secured credit card is typically tied to a savings account giving you a limit of the balance or a percentage of it. Be sure to ask whether the secured credit card will be considered in your credit report or if it will open the possibility of getting a credit card in the future.
  2. Another option is becoming an authorized user or opening a joint account with someone who already has good credit. The liability of payments is then on both individuals so people with good credit may not be as willing to do this since any missed or late payments will affect their credit score as well.
  3. Part of your credit score is the ratio of credit limit and utilization. The goal is to use under 30% of your credit limit so lenders can see you are responsible with credit. The best way to build credit is to keep to these guidelines of using under 30% and every 6 months, if you have followed this guideline, ask for an increase on your credit limit from your lender. Make sure you don’t increase your spending over 30% or that will have a negative impact on your credit.
  4. If you are an avid shopper, and a store you frequent offers a store credit card, consider applying for one. If you would be spending money at this store anyway, use their card, make the payment in full right after, and build credit.

Loans

  1. If you have a student loan, this payment is reported to the credit bureaus so the easiest way to build credit is to make your payments on time every month.
  2. Auto loans are one of the easiest types of loans to receive and is also included in your credit history. The tricky part is finding good interest rates and terms. Once you find the right lender, make your payments every month and watch your credit score increase. Similar to credit cards, you may need a co-signer to buy a vehicle which puts the burden on them if you don’t make payments. Also, talk to your credit Union or bank first to see if they will give you the loan. Interest rates from your dealer can be extremely high so be careful. Here are a few facts you should know about buying a car from Military.com, a quick “Need to Know” for you.
  3. A home mortgage may also be hard to obtain, but if you have purchased a home, payments made will begin to build credit for you. Military Times has  a great article on what you need to know about a VA loan.

Asking for Credit

  1. If you’re just starting to build credit and have never had any lines of credit (cards, loans, etc), but have rented your home, paid for utilities, made cable/internet payments, or others, you may be able to use this as proof. Contact your landlord, utilities company, and others to report your on-time payments because it is optional for them to do so, but could help when you apply in person for credit.

Information on your credit report that can influence your credit scores includes:

  1. Payment history
  2. Credit utilization ratio
  3. Types of credit used
  4. How long you’ve been using credit
  5. Total balances on all debts you owe
  6. Public records like tax liens or bankruptcies
  7. The number and recency of credit accounts you’ve applied for

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Transitioning from the military

Our VetCV Team Members Talk About Transitioning from the Military

We sat down with our VetCV team members to ask them some questions about transitioning from the military. Find out what they went through and learn how soon you should start planning for your future.

Wesley Easton

United States Army, Sept. 2011 – Sept. 2018, E-4, Specialist

Q. When did you start planning your transition from the military? What were some of the decisions you had to make while still on active-duty that affected your future?

Being in the National Guard, we had many senior non-commissioned officers who were always telling us to think ahead and take advantage of financial help for college/technical schools. They/Florida set up job fairs for those who were interested. I decided to go to school for Software Development and that’s what I focused on when I left.

Q. What were you least prepared for when transitioning from the military?

A. The thing that gave me the most trouble was remembering that not everyone has the thick skin like most Veterans do.

Q. When choosing where to work after transitioning from the military, what did you look for and what was most important to you?

A. I was looking for jobs related to my degree, and of course I wanted somewhere that was going to be a good fit for me as well as the organization.

Q. If you went to college or took any other sort of classroom instruction courses, what did you look for in terms of education/a university after transitioning from the military?

A. I went to my hometown university, the University of West Florida, and picked the degree that interested me the most, software engineering.

Q. If you could give your former self one piece of advice about transitioning from the military, what would you tell yourself?

A. I would say to start thinking ahead as soon as you can. I would probably have pushed myself to start school sooner, so that I could have received my degree before or during my transition from the military.

Tim McWatters

United States Air Force; Aug. 15, 1996 – Feb. 1, 2017; E-7 Master Sergeant

Q. When did you start planning your transition from the military? What were some of the decisions you had to make while still on active-duty that affected your future?

A. I started planning my transition from the military about 5 years out. I had to ask myself, what do you think you want to do when you get out. I set small and large goals and then I started taking steps to accomplish those goals. I knew I wanted to get my degree in Software Engineering. College was one of the main reasons I joined the military in the first place. I made sure I took a course every semester that would work towards that degree, and I got smart on my benefits as a Veteran (GI-Bill and Vocational Rehab to name a few). I had to work hard, but I am currently in my last semester to achieving this goal, and I have also earned an amazing position as an intern in a very Veteran friendly company. I think setting goals, both large and small, are the key to a successful transition.

Q. What were you least prepared for when transitioning from the military?

A. I was probably least prepared for the amount of information given to me as my days in the military were coming to an end. There are so many amazing resources out there, but it is hard to keep track of them all (even as an organized individual). Take DETAILED notes and put important dates in a calendar, otherwise, you will become overwhelmed.

Q. What online or local communities/organizations helped you transition?

A. I found myself seeking assistance from military members that had already gone through the transition. Previous retiree’s and other Veterans are an incredible resource. No one’s transition is going to be exactly like your family’s, so ask the questions that are important to you and don’t be afraid to ask it again if the answer doesn’t satisfy you.

Q. When choosing where to work after transitioning from the military, what did you look for and what was most important to you?

A. The job search after retirement or separation is one of the most stressful times we may encounter. We know what we are worth and just need an opportunity to prove it. I think we all want to find a company that sees the benefits a Veteran brings to the table. We have been trained every day to be great decision makers, are hard workers, loyal, organized and we can make your company better if given the chance. Thankfully, there are many companies out there that are looking for employees with the skills we have learned in the military.

Q. If you went to college or took any other sort of classroom instruction courses, what did you look for in terms of education/a university after transitioning from the military?

A. I was thankful I went to a university with a great “Military Veterans Resource” office. They were extremely helpful in helping make sure I knew what resources I had available to me. The ensured I knew how to pay for classes and get the equipment I needed to succeed. I ended up at the University of West Florida studying Software Engineering.

Q. If you could give your former self one piece of advice about transitioning from the military, what would you tell yourself?

A. I would tell myself to get organized. If I think I am already organized, then get MORE organized. There are hundreds of thousands of resources available to us as Veterans, but if you don’t know how to gain access to these resources then they are useless to you. Also, get your family involved. This will be a new life for them as well.

Bryan Powell

United States Marine Corps; Feb. 7, 2010 – Nov. 29, 2014; E-5, Sergeant

Q. When did you start planning your transition from the military? What were some of the decisions you had to make while still on active-duty that affected your future?

A. I started planning approximately 14 months before my planned exit date. Prior to the end of my active service, I started the process of buying a house. I closed on the house before attending SEPS & TAPS. This had a large impact because I was committed to living in that area and committed to paying the mortgage on that property. Fortunately, I found a good realtor that helped us through the process.

Q. What were you least prepared for when transitioning from the military?

A. I was least prepared for the solitude. The military tends to have intrusive leadership, and generally speaking, military life is not private. The family you served with are no longer around you every day. The person-to-person contact is not the same after leaving. I was least prepared for the isolation that comes with leaving active duty.

Q. What online or local communities/organizations helped you transition?

A. I visited the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) several times and received some minor advice relevant to the local area.

Q. When choosing where to work after transitioning from the military, what did you look for and what was most important to you?

A. The most important thing to me was a healthy work-life balance coupled with a manageable cost-of-living. I had spent so much time away from my family and was not prepared to do that anymore. There are some occupations and some companies that require a significant amount of time away from home. That works for some, but it was something that I am not willing to sacrifice at this time.

Q. If you went to college or took any other sort of classroom instruction courses, what did you look for in terms of education/a university after transitioning from the military?

A. I wanted something that fit into a whole-package concept. My wife and I wanted to live in an affordable, low-crime area with good public education for our child. In addition, the area had to have a decent job market for an occupation I was interested in. Finally, the area needed to have a 4-year university that offered a degree in the field I wanted to work in. I am currently at the University of West Florida studying Computer Engineering.

Q. If you could give your former self one piece of advice about transitioning from the military, what would you tell yourself?

A. Develop some kind of social network at your destination. Friends, family, and just generally knowing people in the area can relieve a lot of the stress of moving to a new location without the military acting as a safety net.

Niels Andersen

United States Navy; Dec. 1, 1980 – Feb. 1, 1986; HM3

Q. When did you start planning your transition from the military? What were some of the decisions you had to make while still on active-duty that affected your future?

A. Only a couple of months out before I separated. No real plan and no guidance. I knew that I couldn’t translate my Navy Corpsman training directly into a civilian job. As a Corpsman, you would think that you would be able to go through an abbreviated Paramedic course to get certified, but no, you had to start from scratch. I had already started college and thankfully was close to finishing so that left me with options since my military training didn’t translate to the civilian workforce.

Q. What were you least prepared for when transitioning from the military?

A. How to find a job and how to interview.

Q. What online or local communities/organizations helped you transition?

A. When I got out there was no internet and no one sat me down to talk about the real value of building a network or how to go about it. Building a network is probably the most valuable thing one can do to help themselves.

Q. When choosing where to work after transitioning from the military, what did you look for and what was most important to you?

(1984 President Ronald Reagan Campaign Speech Detail, San Diego, California)

A. Honestly, I was 23 years old so any job that paid something was my focus and I would begin learning and growing from there. It was like starting over but my attitude was that all the opportunities where there for me to figure out and make happen.

Q. If you went to college or took any other sort of classroom instruction courses, what did you look for in terms of education/a university after transitioning from the military?

A. I started college while in the Navy because I realized that I needed to learn. I was actually surprised that they accepted me, but thought that if I do well enough in class, they wouldn’t kick me out. I had no idea what I wanted to do, I just knew I had to get started and get a degree and I would be able to narrow it down as I learned more.

Q. If you could give your former self one piece of advice about transitioning from the military, what would you tell yourself?

A. Ask for advice, guidance, find people you admire and respect as mentors, and begin building your network. Volunteer, join community groups, build an online network and participate in discussions. I would have started that the minute I got to my first duty station.

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How to Acquire Veterans Pension and Survivors Pension

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides supplemental income through the Veterans Pension and Survivors Pension benefit programs. These are monthly benefit payments that go to certain wartime Veterans with financial need, and their survivors.

The Veterans Pension is a tax-free monetary benefit. It is also based on yearly income which can be explained on the VA website. There are several eligibility requirements:

  • Served at least 90 days in active duty with at least one day during a wartime period
  • After 9/7/80: Served at least 24 months or full period of active duty with at least one day during a wartime period

PLUS you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • 65 or older
  • In a nursing home receiving care
  • Totally and permanently disabled
  • Receiving social security disability insurance
  • Receiving supplemental security income

How to Apply?

When looking to acquire survivor benefits, you must first see if you are eligible.

The Survivors Pension is based on yearly family income so a good place to start is by visiting The VA’s website here.

The deceased Veteran must have also been eligible set by these requirements:

  • On or before 9/7/80: Served at least 90 days in active duty with at least one day during a wartime period
  • After 9/7/80: Served at least 24 months or full period of active duty with at least one day during a wartime period
  • Was discharged from the military (other than dishonorable discharge)

Who is eligible to receive the Survivors Pension Plan?

  • Un-remarried spouse
  • Under 18-year-old child of deceased wartime Veteran
  • Under 23-year-old child of deceased wartime Veteran only if attending a VA-approved school
  • A child of deceased wartime Veteran permanently incapable of self-support due to a disability before age 18

How to Apply?

Aid & Attendance

In order to receive aid & attendance benefits, Veterans must first be eligible for the Veterans Pension. You must meet one of the following conditions to be eligible:

  • You require aid from someone in order to perform basic personal functions (bathing, feeding, etc)
  • You are bedridden
  • You are a patient in a nursing home (mental or physical incapacity)
  • Your eyesight is 5/200 or less in both eyes or your visual field is 5 degrees or less

Housebound

You cannot receive Aid & Attendance and Housebound benefits at the same time. Housebound means you are confined to your immediate premises due to a permanent disability.

How to Apply?

  • In writing to the Pension Management Center (PMC) for your state or in person at your local regional benefit office
  • Include copies of evidence including reports from physicians validating the need for either type of care
  • Clarify whether the Veteran is confined to the home or immediate premises
  • Determine whether there is a disease or injury causing a physical or mental impairment
  • Report how well the claimant gets around, if they need assistance feeding and dressing, and what he or she does in a typical day

When you submit a VA compensation or pension claim, you may have to do a compensation and pension (C&P) exam. Check out our blog C&P Exam: Understand the Rights and Wrongs to prepare for this.

There are numerous ways to apply for VA benefits depending on the type of benefit you are seeking. We encourage you to work with an accredited representative who can assist you with the claims process.

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How Family and Friends Can Help Veterans Transition to Civilian Life

The journey from active duty to civilian life is different for each Veteran. The key to a successful transition to civilian life is communication with your Veteran to see what they would like to happen when they return home. We’ll talk about how connecting with your Veteran is important as well.

Family:

You’re so excited for your Veteran to return home that you’re calling everyone you know and planning a big BBQ at the house. Or maybe you’re planning a nice dinner at home with a movie for just the two of you. Whatever the case may be, be sure to include your Veteran in the planning. What do they want to do?

No matter how long your Veteran served, they are a different person than they were when they left home and joined the military. The best advice we can give is to connect with your Veteran. Find common ground or even a topic of discussion that’s deeper than talking about the weather. What movies have they seen or what books have they read? If you’d like to talk politics, just make sure if you disagree on an issue that you can remain cordial. Sports is always a good topic to discuss, or maybe what their new hobbies are.

Identifying what they most look forward to doing now that they’re out can help them integrate into the civilian world. When it comes to preparing for finding a job, getting into college, or anything else, ask how you can help. Your Veteran may need help navigating when a University is accepting applications, how to get their high school transcripts, or how to get in touch with a Veterans resource center. These are some great ways to help if they need some assistance. Making connections in the community is also helpful if your Veteran is looking for a job. They may ask you to look over their military resume and help them convert it to a civilian resume. Sometimes the best way to assist with their transition to civilian life is to help with the small and simple tasks.

Friends:

If you haven’t seen your Veteran friend in a while, that’s okay! It’s always nice to reconnect with them about childhood years, high school, college, or wherever you first met them. After reminiscing for a bit, get caught up with what’s next for you and the Veteran. Are they going to college, a vocational school, or going to work next? Tell them about what’s new in town and about the latest restaurant to open. Ask about their family and talk about what yours has been up to. Finding that common interest is all that really matters.

Your Veteran buddy may not want to talk about their time in the service so just be sure to respect the Veteran’s space. Veterans are just like everyone else so talk to them like you would any other friend. See what they want to do when they come home because like we mentioned before, they have changed since joining the military.

“I was least prepared for the solitude. The military tends to have intrusive leadership, and generally speaking, military life is not private. The family you served with are no longer around you every day. The person-to-person contact is not the same after leaving. I was least prepared for the isolation that comes with leaving active duty,” said one of our team members at VetCV. Learn more about what it was like for our Veteran team members to transition to civilian life.

We hope you enjoy your time with your Veteran and are excited for the next chapter in each of your lives. Remember, making a connection is all that matters so welcome them with open arms and get to know them again!

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VetCV

VetCV Teams up with the University of West Florida College of Business

UWF Uses VetCV in Marketing Research Course

Pensacola, FL: VetCV is working with the University of West Florida’s (UWF) College of Business to code and statistically analyze content of its promotional messaging. VetCV will supply faculty and students with historical and real-time data from its marketing campaigns, including advertising analytics, social media buzz, and detailed descriptions of the promotional material so they can be content analyzed.

When conducting a content analysis, researchers identify and code different aspects of a stimulus, so it can be studied using traditional research methods, such as statistics. VetCV can then fine-tune their messaging based on analysis and resulting recommendations in an effort to better communicate to current and future customers understand how VetCV can help them. UWF Students will benefit from seeing how a startup company markets itself online and learn how statistical data analysis is used in a real-world scenario.

Dr. Sherry Hartnett, Director, Executive Mentor Program and Clinical Professor of Business, and Dr. James Mead, Assistant Professor, from the Marketing, Supply Chain Logistics, and Economics Department at UWF are leading the initiative on this collaboration. Their expertise and experience will allow students to analyze all the data to understand what messaging is working and obtain valuable insights into human emotions, motivations, and more.

“We’re pleased to lead UWF’s current marketing collaboration with VetCV. Mutually beneficial, this association will provide VetCV a fresh, analytical look at their marketing initiative,” said Dr. Sherry Hartnett. “Moreover,” she adds, “this relationship lends itself to helping students apply the theories they are learning in class to real life. I know how important it is for recent graduates to show a potential employer that they have relevant experience in order to acquire jobs in their field and ultimately be successful in their careers.”

“We are excited to work with VetCV. I believe this partnership has the potential to offer our students a high-impact opportunity to explore the theory and practice of marketing with a dynamic member of Pensacola’s business community. Additionally, the results of this collaboration may help UWF’s faculty researchers advance the frontiers of marketing knowledge,” said Dr. James Mead.

“This partnership comes at a great time for us as we have just opened up the opportunity for employers looking to hire Veterans to post jobs on the VetCV platform. Not only will our VetCV team learn, but we will also share these insights with our customers as they learn how to market to a military and Veteran customer base as part of their mission to support Veterans and their families. Understanding what a very diverse audience of real people care about is a challenge and with this partnership, we have the opportunity to implement students “art and science” recommendations quickly,” said Niels Andersen, Founder and CEO of VetCV.

Learn more about VetCV’s initiatives to help Veterans and their families by visiting VetCV.com.

About VetCV: VetCV is a platform, not a website. We adhere to a “One Team, One Fight” attitude treating personal information as if it were our own so users can safely store and control their most important documents, government and personal, and data related to their careers, healthcare, military service, and family in our secure data Vault. VetCV uses Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning and other technologies to match Veterans with the best job opportunities, Veterans to resources and the financial and health services that meet their needs. Founded in Pensacola, FL in 2016, VetCV helps Veterans across the US while on active duty and after transitioning from the military. From 18 to 98, VetCV is here for you.

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Navy Veteran

The Overqualified Veteran’s Dilemma

Meet Chris Holland. Chris is a U.S. Navy Veteran and a recent graduate from the University of West Florida. During his time in the Navy, Chris was trained as a Hospital Corpsman. His training included emergency medicine, nursing practices, phlebotomy, medical documentation, and much more. Chris utilized this training throughout his time in the military to help provide medical care to service members and their families.

Due to injuries sustained while in the service, Chris’ military career was cut short. It was then he realized that, though the Navy had trained him well, they did not supply the certifications to qualify his training in the civilian sector. That was not going to stop him though. He put his military education benefits to work and pursued a bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration which he completed this summer. He did not know that completing his degree would produce its own set of challenges.

A 3rd generation Navy veteran, with years of medical experience, a family to support, and now a college degree finds himself unable to find employment in the civilian sector. When he applied for a Physician Office Manager position, they told him he did not have enough experience with revenue cycle functions — something that a Corpsman is not exposed to in military medicine. He then applied for Front Desk positions at medical facilities. Chris thought that if he started at the bottom, he could “earn his stripes,” and have the opportunity to show them what he could do. He was told, however, that he is too educated for these positions. “Why would someone with a bachelor’s degree want to work the front desk?” they ask him. He is stuck between not having the experience that employers want for the jobs at his education level and being overqualified for the jobs at entry level.

It was then that Chris connected to fellow Navy veteran and President and CEO of VetCV, Niels Andersen, through a mutual contact. Niels educated Chris on the importance of building a strong network of contacts. Niels also pointed out to him that he and other veterans were “trained to be trainable” during their time in the service and he needs to make sure to emphasize this competitive advantage over other candidates for the job and the value this brings to an employer during an interview. Their ability to quickly and efficiently learn new tasks is often undervalued, underestimated, and underutilized by civilian employers. It’s his job to point out the fact that the DoD invests on average $422,000 over a 4-year enlistment in training and this translates directly to the bottom line of an employer by decreasing the onboarding time, ability to solve complex problems quickly, and efficiency at getting at the work at hand.

Chris Holland is one of many veterans who face challenges when re-entering the civilian workforce. Employers do not seem to understand the potential these valuable candidates have if only given the opportunity.

Chris was fortunate to have had the opportunity to have worked at the University of West Florida (UWF) Military and Veterans Resource Center while he was a student. He is extremely thankful to UWF for all they do to support and work with Veterans. UWF ranked No. 5 in the nation on the list of military friendly schools. Their Military and Veterans Resource Center is one of the reasons it makes this list and is led by Navy Veteran, Marc Churchwell. Marc does a great job with connecting community industry with Veterans when they need help.

At VetCV, we as a team are working to create a place where Veterans, their family, and friends, can seek help through all of life’s difficulties. At one point in each of our lives, we have been jobless, working on or with a degree, and willing to work in any position to provide for our families.

Chris is located in Pensacola, FL and is actively searching for a position with a company that is immediately hiring either for his skills or in a position that will give him an opportunity to show the value he can bring to an organization. Our sole mission at VetCV is to help people just like Chris and his family so call us at 850-441-2008 if you’d like to reach out to Chris or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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