By DIANA PALOMO
Veteran Valentin Martinez, a retired major in the Bexar County Sheriff’s Department Support Division, went back to school at the age of 45.
He wants others to know the value of an education and giving back by volunteering.
He attended this college from 1982-85, completed 150 credit hours and received associate degrees in law enforcement, criminal justice and public administration.
He was president of the United Mexican-American Association while he was a student here.
He served more than 50 years in the Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, Texas Army National Guard and Texas State Guard and was awarded three Purple Hearts and two Bronze Star medals.
Martinez is the founder of the All-American Armed Forces Parade Association, Memorial Service Detachment, U.S. Military Veterans Parade Association and Alamo Silver Wings Airborne Association.
Also, he is one of the founders of Military Order of the Purple Heart Alamo Chapter 1836.
Martinez volunteered a total of 5,000 community service hours.
He attended Lanier High School and was a member of the JROTC.
He dropped out of high school to join the Marine Corps at the age of 16. He eventually earned a GED on May 1, 1966.
He appreciated the military lifestyle because it provided him clothing and three meals a day. He didn’t live that lifestyle until he joined the military.
“The military was the answer because life was hard,” he said.
“GI bill was the answer to all the veterans and retired,” Martinez said.
The GI bill encouraged him to get an education.
“We wanted to advance in ourselves in life, and college was the answer,” he said.
“Age doesn’t matter make a difference, whether you’re young or old, to attend college,” he said.
Don’t be the average guy, always try to do more than what you have, Martinez said.
Martinez said he is dedicated to continue serving the country until his last day on Earth.
“I want to thank God for all these years in life and all that I’ve done,” he said.
Martinez said, “Con Dios todo, sin Dios nada,” meaning, “With God everything, without God nothing.”
He encourages students to stay in college because it will pay off.