Franz Maish










Mother of Afghanistan Veteran

“My youngest son turned twenty-one on a combat outpost in Afghanistan, in the mountains bordering Pakistan.  He served well; a forward observer who saw hard combat and came home thirty pounds lighter and deeply scarred by his experiences.

I remember the anguish of wondering who this stranger was, living in my home, in my son’s skin.  I remember how he shied away from his mother’s embrace, how strange and moody he had become.  I had expected some changes…after all, he had gone to war.

It took roughly six months for him to completely fall apart, for the wall he’d built up around himself to crumble.  His first sergeant had killed himself.  It was the first time I saw real emotion from him since he’d come home.

The raw grief of loss opened the door he had been so carefully guarding, and I watched helplessly as he dropped into despair.  Post-traumatic stress disorder is its own kind of Hell.  And as more months passed, and more of the men whose lives he had protected on another country halfway around the world succumbed to that Hell, my son drew deeper and deeper into himself.

I did not know how to help him.  How do you help someone who cannot go to the very place where he will find help?  Hypervigilance from his PTSD meant he could not access the VA hospital.  One summer, we drove at least six times to a smaller VA hospital, in a smaller town an hour away.  Finally, I was able to talk him in to the building.

They turned him away.  They were already booked for the afternoon.

Vowing never to return to the VA, he fell deeper into his private Hell, while I struggled desperately to drag him back into his life.  My resources diminished as I sought help for him.  I researched, I called, I e-mailed organizations outside of the VA, only to be turned down again, and again, and again.

My son had been home nearly three years before I finally found the organization, and the man, who would succeed in rescuing my son from the Hell his life had become.

When Franz Maish, from Combat Veterans Helping Combat Veterans, returned my phone call, he was the first person to say: “We can help.”

Franz became my teacher, my mentor, and my ally in fighting for my son’s life.  A combat veteran himself, Franz courageously shared his own experiences, and helped me to understand as much as any civilian can, what my son was going through, and what I could do to help him.

During those long, dark months, Franz was my lifeline, a true angel who led us through the frustrating process of finding a doctor, navigating the application for VA disability, and giving me hope that the day will come when my son will be my son once more.

I don’t know how many hours Franz spent with me, on the phone, just talking, or working on the disability claim, or talking to his own contacts on our behalf, and every bit of this he did free of charge.  His mission is to help combat veterans get the compensation our country promised them when they enlisted.

Franz Maish saved my son’s life, and my own.  My son now receives VA disability and Social Security, and soon we will apply for military retirement as well.  He is looking for a home of his own, in a quiet town where he can continue to recover.  Although the road to full recovery is still a long one, we have hope now that he will get there one day.  He has means to live on while he works on remembering who he was, and how to live as a civilian.

I think, though, that the best thing Franz and his organization did for us was to help both my son and me understand that his PTSD is a normal reaction to experiences far beyond anything the human mind is designed to process.  The incredible courage and emotional strength of men like Franz and like my son to overcome the devastating emotional toll of modern warfare is a true celebration of the human spirit.

I recommend Franz and his organization to everyone I meet.  If you or someone you love or know is a combat veteran who is not receiving the compensation he or she deserves, Combat Veterans Helping Combat Veterans will help.

There is hope.”



B. H.
WWII Veteran

“I am writing this as a letter of recommendation for Mr. Franz J. Maish.

Franz has generously and professionally provided his time, experience and expertise in assisting me in successfully applying for Veterans Administration benefits. He was first recommended to me by a trustworthy business acquaintance and, as a result, my relationship with Franz has been such a positive one that I would like to recommend him in turn.

Franz helped me by initially meeting with me to obtain the necessary information for filling out the VA forms; completing the forms; traveling to and from my house and the VA facilities numerous times; and persisting until all the applications were completed and accepted. His knowledge in these complex matters came about from his military experience which provided him the opportunity to not only assist himself, but also his fellow soldiers, when it came time to apply for their own VA benefits.

Franz’s knowledge and experience, along with his positive personal characteristics, made this an efficient and rewarding experience for me, an 88-year-old World War II veteran.

Please accept this enthusiastic recommendation for Mr. Franz J. Maish.

If you have any further questions, please let me know!”


A. L.
Iraq Veteran

“I am a disabled veteran of the United States Army. I served three years and eight months in the 1st Infantry’s Dagger Brigade as a 19D Cavalry Scout.

I deployed in the late summer of 2006 to Iraq, where I spent fifteen months in the capital city of Anbar Province. After being honorably discharged, I returned home with absolutely no comprehension of what I had just experienced. I became lost in a haze of hatred and resentment to a point of near paralysis. I met Franz in a combat group at the V.A. hospital in 2008. Upon my discharge from V.A. in-patient care, Franz helped me obtain a 70% service connected disability rating as well as Social Security. He guided me through the piles of paperwork and personally escorted me to the various office buildings which I could not have entered on my own.

This letter is a testimony to the unflinching dedication of Franz J. Maish to help recovering combat veterans.”


Marine Sergeant
Iraq Veteran

“Franz J. Maish is a man with a law degree and military experience that separates him from anyone I’ve met.  His experiences helping veterans spawns from a real passion coming from his own history.  He knows what it’s like to be a veteran in need and he is in the right man to help any veteran get what they deserve.

I am an Iraq War Veteran, serving in the Marine Corps for six honorable years of service.  I spent tours in several Al Anbar hotspots in 2006 and 2007.  I achieved the rank of Sergeant, E-5, and commanded my own section for a year.  Once being separated from the Marine Corps I enrolled in school and earned my Associates of Arts Degree in 2009.  The gifts the Marine Corps and my education have given me set me far apart from my peers, yet I had been unable to find reasonable employment to support my family.

Unaware at the time, on my return home from the military I thought I could just slip back into society, but this was not the case.  I couldn’t be around others without feeling like something horrible would happen.  I turned to alcohol when I needed to be out and isolation when I could hide.  I felt like I was alone and didn’t understand why.  I was coerced to look into the local VA hospital were I was diagnosed with PTSD, with anxiety attacks and major depression that came from it.

These were very hard facts to accept and following the Doctors recommendations felt like an admission of something I didn’t believe, but most importantly didn’t understand.  I found myself homeless, alone with no income when I finally gave in and accepted therapy.  It was while attending the VA I met Franz Maish and my life turned around.  Mr. Maish helped me realize I am not alone and introduced me to several veterans that had the same kind of story.

Franz Maish set me up with the legal advice and counseling that allowed me to get back on my feet.  Because of Franz I was granted social security and applied for a rating with the VA for my injuries and PTSD from my combat experiences.  This compensation has gifted a time were my daughter and myself could live while I attended the appropriate treatment to rehabilitate myself.

Because of Mr. Maish I am now a peer leader helping other Veterans through the hard adjustment from soldier to civilian.  I am a few quarters away from my Bachelors Degree while working a legitimate job that respects my history.  Most importantly though, I am comfortable with where I am and can be a contributor to my family again.”

Semper Fi
Marine Sergeant
10th Marines


D. C.
Iraq Veteran

“I am a veteran of Iraq and have long been struggling with PTSD and the myriad of things that come along with it. I’ve been trying hard to get the help I need but it has been a difficult struggle to say the least. The effects have been devastating to my personal and professional life. I have been unable to hold down a regular job and equally unable to promote myself and make any sort of living off of my talents despite untold amounts of encouragement from loved ones and peers. No amount of encouragement or good advice seems to get through to me, no matter how sound, because I feel isolated from everyone I meet. The only people who are able to get through to me are other veterans, and even then, only ones who have had similar experiences.

One of my bigger struggles was filing my disability claim. The mental barriers were insurmountable alone. I felt I had no right to make such a claim when so many of my friends had come back seriously hurt, missing body parts or simply hadn’t come back at all. Encouragement from my family to the contrary went unheard because I felt they couldn’t understand the situation, whether or not they were making perfect sense. It wasn’t until I met Franz that I was able to do anything at all.

We met after I attended a conference on PTSD and I quickly opened up to him. It’s something I have trouble describing to regular people but an honest combat vet just has a certain demeanor. I could tell quickly that Franz was such a person and that our experiences had been similar, he knew perfectly well what I had gone through and what I had been going through. The effect was so profound we agreed that night to get the disability claim filed and that he would walk me through it. More importantly he stayed after me to make sure I wouldn’t just silently slip by like I had done so many times before.

His help was invaluable. He talked me through the whole process and walked me through filing online screen by screen. He made something that had seemed like a monolithic roadblock a no-big-deal bit of keyboard work. I couldn’t believe it when it was done, how fast and easy it had been and how good I felt finally having that behind me. I had pursued that goal with many other therapists and folks at the VA and even other civilian organizations designed to help guys like me specifically with things like that but each time I felt like I wasn’t being understood and that something about it wasn’t right. Without Franz specifically, without his experience, his attitude and his friendship I really believe I never would have gotten that done.

After all that I have been through I am certain that I can’t get any help without the support of one of my brothers. Franz is just such a person. Someone any combat vet is going to recognize as a no-bullshit, honest guy who’s going to help them get all the way home no matter what it takes.”


Iraq Veteran

“I am an Iraq war vet who was on the invading force back in ’03. Since I have been home, like many of us, I have had some ups and downs. I met Franz at the VA and since then have utilized his knowledge and professional help many times. I had applied for a job and was put through the ringer. It seemed like they were using my service against me. When I got to the point of giving up Franz stepped in and convinced me that there was more that could be done. He helped me with paper work that I had no idea on how to fill out and showed me options, and laws, that were for me and open to me that I was unaware of. We got everything together and he went with me and talked to the actual CEO of the company and showed him the discrepancies with his HR’s views and the actual facts of my background. Needless to say I was hired and working within two weeks.

Franz has been there for me for in more than just this instance and I can’t even put into words what it has all meant to me. He is more than just a professional; he is one of the good guys on my side. From his advice on laws to his confidence in my abilities, he is more than just a guy to call when you need help. He is a friend.”

51st Sig BN (Airborne)
K.S. Iraq Veteran

100% Disabled Veteran“Franz J. Maish is the man. He has a law degree and combat experience that directly relates him to the problems and obstacles we face while trying to get benefits that are our right and not just a privilege. His experience in helping us (combat vets needing benefits) is truly remarkable. He knows what it takes to get combat vets get what they deserve.I am an Iraq War Veteran, serving in the Army for 4 years. I was in several hostile actions that occurred in the first Gulf war. I achieved the rank of Corporal, E-4, and was a Bradley Gunner. Once being separated from the Army, I went to school for a year and then Joined the Navy in the advanced electronics Field. In the Navy I made E-5 in less than 3 years. Went on several 6 month and 4 month deployment back into hostile actions. Even though the Navy is further away from the front lines than say the Army or Marines, the stress of combat is very real.The transition back to civilian life after being medically retired was devastating. I felt useless and un-wanted for a long time. My family is unfortunately the ones who, I now realize suffered the most. I couldn’t be around others without feeling like I might make something terrible happen, or was constantly thinking what I would do if something happened. I used the prescription medication that was so readily passed out by civilian doctors. I felt like nobody could possibly understand how I felt. I was coerced to look into the local VA hospital where I was diagnosed with PTSD, with anxiety attacks and major depression that came from it. Along with the traumatic injuries I incurred while active duty in the Navy I was in really bad shape.I felt something I don’t think I had ever felt before…vulnerable and didn’t know where to turn. I had already been rated 100% by the VA and after 3 years of waiting was denied by social security. When Franz Maish contacted me to help with legal advice he also provided a kinship that gave me hope. His advice was always strong and makes sense. I feel confident now that my application with Social Security might be granted and if not he has contacted a slew of lawyers for me that can and will surely succeed.

Franz has been not only an inspiration but a guide in the process of getting to some kind of normal life. I highly recommend contacting this organization if you have any questions or just need someone who understands the struggle of where to find help. I don’t mean to quote the VA but I find this motto very true: “It takes the courage of a warrior to ask for help”.

I just want to say from the bottom of my heart Thank you for being there! And if there is anything I can do in return please feel free to let me know.”


100% Disabled Veteran