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Local Veteran Assists Other Veterans With Disabilities

Aired 2/20/12 on KPBS News.

Urban Miyares, a San Diego veteran, is helping others benefit from blindness in the business world. He is founder and president of the Disabled Business Person Association.

Evening Edition

Above: Urban Miyares, a San Diego veteran, said he can help others benefit from blindness in the business world. He is founder and president of the Disabled Business Person Association.

— About 20 percent of current combat injuries result in blindness or vision impairment, which is the highest number of visual disabilities acquired by troops since the Civil War.

Urban Miyares, a San Diego veteran, said he can help others benefit from blindness in the business world. He is founder and president of the Disabled Business Person Association.

“I’m totally blind, hard of hearing—I have to use hearing aids,” Miyares said. “I have post traumatic stress disorder.”

With the aid of his dog Crocket, Miyares has lived with his severe disabilities since 1968, when he and his platoon were attacked.

Crocket, Urban Miyares' dog.
Enlarge this image

Above: Crocket, Urban Miyares' dog.

“They thought I was dead in the field and put me in a body bag where I stayed for two days, until a medic—Brian Leet— was unzipping body bags,” Miyares said. “He was assigned to put toe tags on the dead soldiers to identify who they were. When he opened my body bag he said there was something different. He felt a pulse and rushed me to the hospital.”

Miyares returned home to his young wife—sightless. To support his family, he got a job on Wall Street. But back then it wasn’t blindness that got him fired.

“When they found out I was a Vietnam vet, I was literally told we’re not going to have any baby-killing needle-toting veterans working for this company and they sent me home,” he said.

From then on, Miyares went into business for himself, making millions owning companies that have nothing to do with being disabled. He now helps other visually impaired or disabled vets become entrepreneurs.

“By being your own boss you can control your future,” he said.

Miyares oversees a new program that offers free online business courses through the Hadley School for the Blind. Visually impaired vets and their families can enroll and work at their own pace.

“You’re going to learn with Hadley how to get back into the workplace to be active and productive again,” he said. “Just because you’re a veteran, your job isn’t done.”

Spouses of visually impaired veterans can also enroll in the free online business course through Hadley’s School for the Blind.

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