CONTACT: Victor Landa, 210-884-3429
SAN ANTONIO (April 8th, 2021) –Today the City Council unanimously approved changing the name of a portion of Medina street, in District 5, to Carlos Martinez Drive in honor of the founder of the American GI Forum’s National Veterans Outreach Program (NVOP).
Mr. Martinez was well known, loved and admired for his life-long work helping veterans, their families and especially those veterans who were homeless.
“We’re proud to claim Carlos Martinez as a native of District 5,” said Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales, who introduced the street name change for council consideration. “He played baseball for Lanier High School, graduated and went on to earn two degrees in business management from Our Lady of the Lake University,” she added.
Martinez joined the Air Force, served in Vietnam as an F-1 crew chief and upon his return to San Antonio began working with the GI Forum as an outreach worker. That work became his labor of love.
In 1974 he was appointed CEO of the National Veterans Outreach Program, which he built over the span of 48 years into a nationally renowned organization that garnered awards for its innovative approach to addressing veteran homelessness. The City of San Antonio has had great success in veteran homelessness mitigation, and much of that success has been because of Mr. Martinez’ relentless approach and commitment to his veterans community. His work to establish the Residential Center for Veterans, which provides transitional housing for Veterans, has been emulated across the country.
Throughout the years, Mr. Martinez served as an advisor on veterans affairs for five US Presidents: Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
It’s fitting that the portion of Medina Street, between Tampico street and Chihuahua street, be changed to Carlos Martinez Drive, being that it’s precisely where Martinez established a cardboard manufacturing company that employs disabled veterans and feeds its profits to the NVOP.
“We will miss Carlos’ dedication, vision and hard work,” said Councilwoman Gonzales. “But mostly, I know I’ll remember his warm smile.”