Army Veteran Ruben Moreno-Ruiz grew up on a chicken farm in Puerto Rico. He was active and played various sports, from basketball to ping-pong, during his upbringing.
After high school, Moreno-Ruiz sought adventure, which led him to enlist in the Army and become a combat engineer. He was a construction equipment supervisor on active duty from 1978 to 1982 and 2003 to 2006, spending the intervening time as a reservist.
In 2004, Moreno-Ruiz’s reserve unit deployed for a year supporting the Iraq War. He was medically retired after a 28-year Army career not long after returning from the deployment.
“After nearly 30 years in the Army, the injuries had piled up,” Moreno-Ruiz said. “My feet, knees and back have deteriorated, and I needed to work on my mental health. On top of my service-connected conditions, I had a fall that resulted in 15 screws and an elbow replacement and developed glaucoma, which meant I started to lose my vision.”
While dealing with his physical and mental health, Moreno-Ruiz struggled to navigate receiving his Veterans benefits. But with the help of a local DAV benefits advocate, Moreno-Ruiz was eventually awarded the compensation he rightfully earned. Pleased with his disability claim representation, Moreno-Ruiz became a DAV member in his local chapter and encouraged other Veterans to utilize their services.
“Thanks to the VA and DAV, they helped save my vision with a lens replacement surgery for my eye and helped me secure my Veteran benefits,” said Moreno-Ruiz. “And they also provide wonderful opportunities like this golf clinic, which is fantastic.
“Participating in golf is great for my physical and mental health,” he added. “It gets me active and around great people and helps me avoid isolation and self-medicating. I look forward to participating in my first National Disabled Veterans Golf Clinic. Being around other Veterans and learning more about the sport will be great. I hope to gain more confidence in my golfing abilities and start playing the game more often.”