Meet a Veteran: Mike

 In Inland Empire, Success Stories


My name is Mike McDaniel. I joined the Air Force in 1980, and I had a great experience in the service. I even fell in love and married a fellow Airwoman. We made a home together, cooking dinner on the evenings when we were both there.

Unfortunately, my wife did not enjoy her military experience as much as I did or the idea of me continuing my career in the service. Although I was honorably discharged in 1986, within that year, I was getting a divorce and leaving my life as I had known it. I began drinking heavily, finding employment was difficult, and I fell into a deep depression. I spent the following 28 years bouncing between construction and private investigative work.

In July 2018, I was hospitalized for 25 days with sepsis. Though I kept in touch with my employer, they replaced me. I recovered from sepsis only to find myself unemployed and homeless.

Luckily, I was able to get into the transitional housing program at U.S.VETS. They gave me the security of three meals a day and a place to call home while I worked with a U.S.VETS workforce coordinator to find a steady job.

Following my love of cooking, I enrolled in one of U.S.VETS workforce training classes focused on getting veterans a job in the restaurant industry. The Veteran’s Chef Prep Cooking Training class was taught by an award-winning chef, and I loved it! I now enjoy teaching monthly healthy eating and cooking classes to other veterans and their families at U.S.VETS.

Thanks to U.S.VETS, I have an unbelievable job working with great people. I can now afford everything I need doing a job that I love and still have time to volunteer with U.S.VETS.

U.S.VETS has opened doors I could not have walked through anywhere else. I walk tall and I am helping other veterans stand tall as well. Today, I am asking you to continue your support of U.S.VETS to give veterans like me a second chance.


Mike McDaniel
Air Force ’80-’86

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