One veteran’s 30-year struggle reaches victory with help from county Veterans' Services office
November 9, 2023
It’s not easy to ask for help. U.S. Navy veteran and Moreno Valley resident, Daniel Martinez, 68, was accustomed to giving support – not receiving it.
Dutifully supporting other veterans is how he spends his days. From connecting veterans to help through his nonprofit, United Veterans Corner Resources, to taking veteran addicts to recovery meetings, Martinez is dedicated to serving others. He even volunteers with 22 a Day, a national veteran suicide prevention nonprofit.
After several serious bouts with depression and substance use himself, Martinez knows first-hand the painful mental health state many veterans are in, and he vows to help them on their journey. Yet, when it came time to advocate for himself, he felt alone.
Martinez was 16 years old when he joined the Navy. He was stationed off the shore of Cambodia on the U.S.S. Mobile during the Vietnam War and was subjected to the terrible physical and mental consequences of war – including exposure to asbestos and Agent Orange. He suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder; however, he couldn’t access the benefits he needed from the U.S. government.
After 30 years of fighting for his right to advanced mental health treatment and lung disease treatment, he sought help from the county’s Assistant Director of Veterans Services Adam French.
“It was the first time I let someone do something for me,” said Martinez. “That guy is a blessing to a lot of veterans.”
Adam French was able to submit a benefits application package that included letters of support from elected officials. “I also asked the clergy at St. Christopher to pray over me and bless the papers before we submitted them,” said Martinez.
After 30 years of denials from the federal Veterans Administration, Mr. Martinez had won benefits – and all within 30 days of involving the Riverside County Veterans Office. Benefits even included a Vietnam War service medal, which had been previously denied to Mr. Martinez for years.
“It was so healing to win my case,” said Martinez. “My quality of life is so much better now. I’m more joyful and I’m getting the treatment that I need. My advice to young veterans, is to open up. Call Riverside County and let them go through the process of getting benefits with you. If you’re going to battle, go to battle with them.”
The Riverside County Veterans’ Service Office helps more than 50,000 veterans like Mr. Martinez each year identify, register for, and receive benefits available because of their military service.
“I had the great honor and privilege of serving as a naval officer and pilot for seven years, during which time I was deployed to the North Atlantic and Japan,” said Board Vice Chair Chuck Washington, Third District Supervisor. “Family separation and mental burdens are real, in addition to physical tolls. As Veterans Day approaches this week, I want our entire Riverside County veteran community to know that the county is here to support you with obtaining state and federal benefits that you so clearly earned for the selfless service you gave to our country.”
The Riverside County Veterans’ Services Office has three full-time locations in Riverside, Indio and Hemet. The department also rotates office hours a few days per week or month in the areas of Beaumont, Blythe, Corona, Murrieta and Palm Springs.
Please call to make an appointment. Phone lines are open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Riverside Office: (951) 955-3060
Hemet Office: (951) 766-2566
Indio Office: (760) 863-8266
For more information, visit rivcoveterans.org.
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