Honoring Cristobal Aldrete

Honoring Cristobal Aldrete

American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: AUSTIN, Texas – Cristobal Aldrete Aldrete an American GI Forum (AGIF) Pioneer ad Legend will be honored at this year’s 2021 National Conference in San Antonio Texas with a tribute Luncheon on Friday, August 13, 2021.

Aldrete, was one of the first pioneers that advocated for equality and school desegregation on behalf of the American GI Forum. Below are some brief accounts and contributions made by Cristobal Aldrete as portrayed Wanda Garcia, daughter of AGIF Founder Dr. Hector P. Garcia.

Our Tejano Legends

We have all heard the expression, “There are no accidents.” The truth is all that we experience is by plan, and so is what we attract to our physical world. I have always believed that God sends special people to this earth to accomplish specific work on this earth and the right people and circumstances turn up to help with the effort.

In the 40s and 50s, the quality of life was dim for Mexican Americans. They attended segregated schools, rarely completed grammar school, could not hope to get a fair trial by jury, and could only aspire to hold menial jobs. The poll tax kept low-income Hispanics from voting.

Even Mexican American students who spoke English were placed in segregated schools.

This is the world my father was born into and these conditions provided him with the impetus to make the world better not only for him but for his people. My Papa was not the only one chosen for this mission.  Other men with special skills were needed to meet challenges in the areas of health, education and law. Among these Tejanos was Cristobal ‘Cris’ Aldrete.

Papa always said that Cris single handedly desegregated the Del Rio ISD.  In fact, Cris had a long history of being involved in school desegregation cases. In 1949, he lodged a complaint with the Texas Department of Education against the segregated Del Rio school system on behalf of the Alba Club founded by Cris. Ultimately, the state required that public schools in Texas end segregation based on national origin by September of 1949.

Cris was involved in the case of Delgado v. Bastrop Independent School District.  Aldrete was one of five attorneys representing Hernandez on behalf of the AGIF and LULAC in Hernández v. State of Texas.

Cris soon found Dr. Hector. In August 1952, he and Dr. Hector P. García, traveled throughout the Southwest promoting the organization to make the organization national in scope. They traveled through four states and organized AGIF chapters in 19 cities in two weeks. Cris served for many elected officials throughout his distinguished public service career.

I became acquainted with Cris while he served in the American G.I. Forum (AGIF), as State Chairman in 1953.  Later I had the honor of working with Cris for several years when he worked for U.S. Senator Lloyd M Bentsen Jr.  We lost touch when he retired from the Senate office.  The last time I saw Cris, he was battling liver cancer.  Always the optimist, Cris said he was looking for a job.  He died 5 months after I saw him in 1991.

Cris, an early AGIF leader, a Mexica-American Civil Rights leader and a Great American will be honored at the AGIF Annual Tribute Luncheon. We invite you to be a participant and learn more about this great man at this important event.

Memorializing Carlos Martinez, President/CEO Legacy

Memorializing Carlos Martinez, President/CEO Legacy

By Yolanda Suarez, NVOP Interim President and CEO

Please be informed that the NVOP has been successful in having a street named after our long time President/CEO, Carlos Martinez in San Antonio, Texas.  Thanks to the assistance of Dixie Maddox and Robert Flores assisting in this challenge.  This process had to go thru numerous steps with the U.S. Postal Service, and two other departments with the City of SA before it would get to the San Antonio City Council Members for review and approval.

On April 8th I attended the City Council meeting with other staff and Carlos’s family to wait for the outcome of action item #21-2594 – Ordinance approving the street name change of a portion of South Medina to Carlos Martinez Drive. This area is located between Tampico Street and Chihuahua Street right outside the VETS Box Manufacturing Plant owned by the NVOP.  The City Council were very complimentary of the boss’s contributions for the last 48 years and this action item was approved.

This is only a small demonstration of the how grateful I am and we all should be to Carlos Martinez, President/CEO from 1974 to August 4, 2020.  Naming the street next to a business he created is most appropriate.  I hope that this street will exist for generations to come.  He deserved this and many more accolades.  He made the American GI Forum National Veterans Outreach Program, Inc. what it is today and we all are the benefactors of his visionary accomplishments.

I am in a euphoric state at this very moment for Carlos Martinez’s legacy and his family. 

GI Forum Firecracker Golf Tournament Classic Returns to San Marcos

GI Forum Firecracker Golf Tournament Classic Returns to San Marcos

by Jesse Sanchez, SMAGIF Scholarship Chairman

American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report SAN MARCOS, Texas – (Friday, July 2, 2021) On Monday, July 5, the American GI Forum of San Marcos Men Chapter will be having its 21st annual Veterans/Scholarship Fundraiser with the “Firecracker Golf Tournament Classic.” The popular July Independence Day weekend tournament event will be held at the Plum Creek Golf Course in Kyle on Monday, July 5, commencing with a patriotic salute and a shotgun start at 8 a.m. for participating players. The tournament format is a three-person scramble with team handicap consisting of male or female players.

As of Friday, June 25, the chapter has registered 16 teams and is considered full. Any additional single player or teams will be placed on waitlist. For tournament information, you can contact Tournament Director Jesse Sanchez at

512-665-0881 or email at smagiforum@gmail.com of available entry. Proceeds of the tournament will be used for granting assistance to Veterans and Scholarships in the San Marcos area. The San Marcos Chapter recently awarded $6,000 in scholarships to 10 San Marcos High School graduates. This annual event would not be possible without the loyal local sponsors that continue to support us year after year. We are grateful for all who participate in so many ways.

 Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017

 Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) announced that the Federal Register will publish on Jan. 18 regulations accompanying the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (AMA), which will help Veterans experience a more transparent claims decision-review process.

After publication of the regulations, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie will certify the department’s readiness to implement appeals modernization, which will transform a complex appeals process into one that is simple, timely and provides greater choice to Veterans who disagree with a VA decision.

Implementation will occur 30 days after the Secretary certifies, as required by law.  Accordingly, the AMA will become effective Feb 19.

“VA has been preparing for full implementation of the Appeals Modernization Act over the past 18 months,” Wilkie said. “Our staff has worked diligently, particularly in the last few weeks, to ensure the new, streamlined process is available to Veterans in February.

The AMA was signed into law Aug. 23, 2017. Under the act, Veterans will now have three options for claims and appeals: (1) supplemental claim; (2) higher-level review; or (3) direct appeals to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. All decision reviews submitted after February 2019 will fall under the new system.

Once the Appeals Modernization Act is fully implemented, VA’s goal is to complete supplemental claims and higher-level reviews averaging 125 days. Decisions appealed to the Board under its direct docket will average 365 days. Under the legacy process, appeal resolutions averaged three to seven years.

For more information about VA appeals modernization,visit https://benefits.va.gov/benefits/appeals.asp and https://www.bva.va.gov/

VA Disability Claims Application Process for Veterans

VA Disability Claims Application Process for Veterans

American GI Forum of Texas, STATE OFFICE, AUSTIN, Texas –The AGIFTX is publishing the fllowing information for our members and other veterans in the hope of helping them in seeking help from the VA.

In the face of dramatically increasing workloads and a backlog that affects Veterans of all eras – and both first-time filers and Veterans coming back to VA for a supplementary claim – the Veterans Benefits Administration must deliver first-rate, timely benefits and services, faster and more effectively than ever before. The steps that we publish below are to help you file a service Claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs. You may click on any of the links we are providing for you to get the maximum help when filing your claim.

More information about VA Forms 21-526EZ, 21-527EZ, 21-534EZ or VA Form 21-0958, Notice of Disagreement, may be found at www.ebenefits.va.gov or www.va.gov/vaforms/.The VA must help you meet your needs. You can find a list of all the benefits by going to http://www.benefits.va.gov/ or by uploading the General Overview of Filing a Service Claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs here.

To achieve our goals for improving the delivery of benefits to Veterans, we are paroviding a General overview of filing a service claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Transformation Plan that includes initiatives to re-train and reorganize our people, streamline VA business processes, and build and implement new technology solutions to eliminate the claims backlog and process all claims faster and at a higher quality.

TTexas Veterans and AGIFTX members can get more information form the Texas Veterans commission here http://www.tvc.state.tx.us/ or http://www.agif-nvop.org