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Valley veterans learn of available benefits during military expo

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A post-military life isn’t easy to achieve for many veterans, as some need help readjusting.

It’s that kind of help that veterans such as Minerva Diaz have trouble accepting.

“[It’s] a self-imposed stigma because, ‘I can do this myself, I don't need help,” Diaz said. “Later on, I paid dearly for it."

Diaz served in the US Air Force. She left the military in the ‘90s and said transitioning to civilian life-was challenging.

“I did not take advantage of the resources that the military had available for me,” Diaz recalled.

Dozens of veterans learned about the resources available to them during the Rio Grande Valley’s first Veteran Resource Expo on Thursday.

The expo was hosted by American Veterans and Workforce Solutions. As part of the event, more than 70 veterans were introduced to mental health services and medical benefits.

“There is so many resources out there for veterans that they don't know about," American Veterans Post 107 Cmdr. Nelson Martinez said. 

Those attending were also connected to more than 12 different employers to hopefully walk away with a job.

Martinez says the goal is to host this expo annually.

“The more people that know about resources like this, the word will get out,” Martinez said. “I know it took a veteran to tell me to go get help."

It’s a message Diaz hopes to bring to other veterans.

“Don't wait, don't hesitate. The sooner the better, you will have access to all kinds of resources,” Diaz said. “You've worked so hard and you endure so much not to take advantage of what you so deserve.”

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