DAV reps help local vets file for disability

YUMA, Ariz. – Dan Camarena is among the tens of thousands of veterans who suffer from service related disabilities. That was what brought him to the Disabled American Veterans’ chapter in Yuma on Monday.

“I’m here for increased compensation on my VA benefits,” Camarena explained.

Reps from the DAV are in Yuma through Tuesday helping vets like Camarena file disability claims. Keith Titus is a national service officer. He said the majority of men and women he helps suffer from PTSD.

“Many of them are from WWII, Korea, up to the current for in Afghanistan and everything in between. Other injuries are knee conditions, back conditions, a lot of agent orange claims from Vietnam,” Titus said.

DAV reps also offer guidance and advice free of charge. Titus said the nonprofit’s mission is close to his heart. He himself was injured in the line of duty.

“I was in the Marines from July of ‘81 to July of ‘95. I got hit by a grenade fragment during a training exercise, and I’m blind in that eye,” Titus said.

For him, the reward comes from hearing other people’s stories and getting vets like Camerena the help they deserve.

“Veteran’s need this, because me, like a lot of other veterans, we’re not really getting help,” Camarena said.

National DAV reps will be at 954 S 13th Avenue in Yuma again Tuesday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Vets from all branches of the military are invited to use their services.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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