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Following class-action lawsuits, the federal government authorized more than $2 billion in payments to affected veterans, but that doesn’t make it easy. Find commonly asked questions and answers … “It breaks our hearts that the veterans have risked their lives, that they’ve fought for this country and even though they come back they’re still dying for it,” Laura Boggs-Morehouse said. I know it gets better but you know you’re with someone for 30 years, it doesn’t go away quickly.”. Homer fire contract with Summerhill set to expire Jan. 1, Copyright © 2016-2020 The Cortland Standard. Many Camp Lejeune veterans and their families have waited, suffered, and yes even died waiting for this scientific evidence, they shouldn’t need to wait any longer for the help they deserve.”. They almost crowd out the medal in the display case. Five years later, in 2012, Diane was going through a stem cell transplant in Buffalo when she received a letter from the Marine Corps “stating if you were stationed at Camp Lejeune you could have come into contact with contaminated water and the No. Same with the owls, except the one Sharon Stevans specifically ordered from her husband. Roger Morehouse has stage 4 prostate cancer, which his children believe is from his four years stationed at Camp LeJeune from 1972 to 1976, minus a brief stint in the Mediterranean. Were you or someone you know at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987? During that time, United States Marine Corps (USMC) service members and their families living at the base bathed in and ingested tap water that was contaminated with harmful chemicals at concentrations from 240 to 3400 times levels permitted by safety standards. Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Claims Presumptive List. Those are what he kept; he sold many. “He started by falling,” Sharon Stevans said. One way is by helping others. Is it hereditary? Camp Lejeune VA Health and Disability Benefits - YouTube. ATSDR’s Camp Lejeune studies of people exposed occupationally or environmentally to TCE, PCE, vinyl chloride and benzene. Perhaps it’s a conscious choice, perhaps not. The ducks line the living room shelves. To be added to the Camp Lejeune Historic . This chemical exposure may have led to adverse health conditions. In the meantime, his problems mean he can no longer use power tools for his woodworking hobby. Laura has put her efforts and paralegal skills into getting prostate cancer recognized by the Veterans Affairs Department as an illness that could have been caused by Camp LeJeune’s contaminated water. I think in some ways he goes between being at peace and not being at peace.”. “[N]o other military toxic exposure incident in our history has been documented nor studied as thoroughly as Camp Lejeune,” Sergeant Ensminger told the Committee. “The Marine Corps was supposed to have sent out letters to everybody — 900,000 people that were affected by this,” she said. ATSDR has conducted studies about Camp Lejeune because people were exposed to chemicals shown to be associated with several cancers and other chronic conditions. “The Janey Ensminger Act of 2019 prioritizes science over politics and trusts the federal government’s independent scientific experts outside of the VA with decisions about medical coverage to ensure that every Camp Lejeune veteran gets the care they need and deserve.”, “If our servicemembers are exposed to toxic substances in the line of duty, it’s our duty to ensure they get the best care possible,” Senator Tester said. “It is unconscionable that the VA continues to deny and delay medical care to families suffering as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune,” said Senator Burr. “She was a Navy corpsman and she was stationed at Camp Lejeune to go through the Marine training to become a field corpsman back in 1987, that’s how she came into contact with the water.”. “They could not do surgery due to the fact that it was already stage 4,” said Laura Boggs-Morehouse, Aaron’s wife and Roger’s daughter-in-law. A few weeks later, her coverage was approved. “The VA claims process takes a long time and I don’t know why it takes that long and that’s for anything, not just Camp Lejeune.”. “They were kind of learning as we were learning as to what needed to be done, but the process took so long.”. The military disagrees. Heroes and Health Issues of 1,000,000 plus Marines Two decades later, she was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia. Water contamination at Camp Lejeune existed for decades and exposed thousands of people to serious health risks. “There’s no question that veterans and their families at Camp Lejeune were wrongfully exposed to harmful conditions. Diane Tedesco did not connect with services for five years. The base is like a small city. H.R. Roger Morehouse of Cortland doesn’t sleep in his bedroom because he can’t make it up the stairs. They’re handmade, every one. The secretary of the Navy is denying all remaining civil claims by individuals exposed to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, … Teal Barn Farms. Many of them are there just for short periods during their training. You can read the text of the Janey Ensminger Act of 2019 here. To provide for recovery by individuals who were stationed, lived, or worked at Camp Lejeune, for certain actions of omissions by the United States. Active duty, reserve, and National Guard members who served at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River, N.C. for a minimum of 30 days … The night he was laying mines and called over to another soldier, only to find out he was a North Vietnamese soldier (no shooting involved) stands out. Sharon Stevans displays some of the handmade wooden owls and ducks made by her husband, Mike Stevans. “My daughter started playing volleyball at college — I just went to every game she had and just kept moving. If you served at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River in North Carolina, you may have had contact with contaminants in the drinking water there. As part of VA’s ongoing commitment to provide quality care to Veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs has established a presumption of service connection for eight diseases associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune, N.C. She tried to sign him up for Veterans Affairs services related to Camp Lejeune in 2018; he was denied in 2019. “Because it was so new to the VA, a lot of it was fresh for every veterans officer filing these claims, so they really didn’t know a lot about it,” Tedesco said. He sleeps on a single mattress downstairs. If you have qualifying service at Camp Lejeune and a current … Our veterans and families who are exposed to such conditions deserve to receive the appropriate benefits and care from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. “And I had the rules right by the saw,” Stevans said, but just a second’s lapsed concentration. In the 1980s, contaminants were found in several wells that provided drinking water at Camp Lejeune, N.C. It’s been almost a year and a half since Diane Tedesco died from leukemia stemming from her training at Camp Lejeune. It's also the site of what may be the largest water contamination in … Camp LeJeune has been the subject of concern about Veterans and their families suffering from possible contamination between 1953 and 1987. “I went back to Wisconsin and visited family again and that helped,” he said. They’ve minimized it, they’ve swept it under the rug, they’ve denied most of the applications for health assistance from the families and the Marines.”. He used to build pianos. Camp Lejeune N.C. 50 chemicals in ground water. Mike Stevans is one veteran, but not the only one, in the greater Cortland area dealing decades later with his time spent at Camp Lejeune. He lost three fingers. Due to the nature of the contamination at Camp Lejeune, the 500,000 veterans that are living are likely to have a higher mortality rate than the general population. The primary sources of this contamination were on-base leaking storage tanks and industrial activities, and an off-base dry … He decided to stop chemo in February. Between 1953 and 1987, the Navy and Marine Corps said military personnel like Mike Stevans and civilians were exposed to water contaminated with trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, benzene, vinyl chloride and other compounds. Page created - May 13, 2019. The couple is leaning on friends and each other, but the hardest part remains, “knowing that time is running out,” Aaron Morehouse said. The bill is named for Janey Ensminger, daughter of Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger, who was born at Camp Lejeune and died as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals. 6 talking about this. Mike Stevans now sees a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where a center deals with movement disorders. His own scars, the neurological issues, stem from time at Camp Lejeune, doctors told him. But she has medical records from December 2017 when Mike Stevans took part in a study by a Veterans Affairs facility in East Orange, New Jersey, that acknowledged the effects of Camp Lejeune on his body. “The money wasn’t going to save her life, that was just compensation mentally for her.”. Diane Tedesco had been a nurse and earned more than her husband, but had to quit when she grew too sick. “It doesn’t seem right and it’s not fair.”. He felt like his legs weren’t connected to his brain anymore and he would just fall.”. “That’s been the biggest shock to me — I really thought that when you joined there’d be a contract to take care of you, to do the right thing by your men and your women and I haven’t found that to be true,” she said. “My daughter doesn’t have any student loans,” Mike Stevans said. Specifically, from 1953 to 1987, everyone living or working at United States Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina was exposed to a variety of toxins in the water. “He started stumbling, not so much tripping over his feet, but tipping over. “Providing these veterans and their affected family members with the medical care they both need and have earned should not be up for debate. “It’s unacceptable that they are uncertain about their medical coverage and they deserve prompt medical care.”, “Our country is fortunate incredible individuals who volunteer to serve our military and are willing to risk their lives to defend it,” said Senator Cardin. “I am working on trying to do some research to file a case with our local person. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Jon Tester (D-MT), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Ben Cardin (D-MD) have introduced S. 1563, The Janey Ensminger Act of 2019, to ensure individuals with diseases scientifically linked to toxic chemical exposure at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina receive proper medical care from the Veterans Administration (VA). She needed an advocate, so now she’s willing to be one for the Morehouses. The USA Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune has had an unusual problem with solvent-contaminated water, going back many years. By Shenandoah Briere, Local, News. “I think he wanted to spend whatever time he had left not feeling like crap,” Laura Boggs-Morehouse said. He’s mad at the insurance companies for not paying for a blood test that could have detected the cancer earlier. Were you stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C. for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987? Power tool accident. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ASTDR) has determined a number of cancers and other diseases found in individuals who lived at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina between 1953 and 1987 are scientifically linked to exposure to contaminated well-water. Historically, Camp Lejeune served as one of three boot-camp facilities for the … Thursday, February 18, 2016. “Our Service members and their families should not be subjected to toxic substances and conditions while living and working on U.S. military installations. When he was diagnosed in February 2016, the cancer had metastasized with a golf ball-sized tumor embedded in the spine that broke several vertebrae. “I only know what she’s told me,” said Tom Tedesco. Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune. He is still coping. Agriculture. “The slogan for the Marine Corps is Semper Fi — Always Faithful,” Sharon Stevans said. There are 40,000 people living there at any one time. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, legislation that will provide veterans and their families who are suffering due to water contamination at Camp Lejeune, N.C long-overdue judicial relief. He doesn’t tell the ugly stories, either. “Since then he’s continued to deteriorate,” she said. In early November 2017, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. From 1966 until 1968 he served mostly at Camp Lejeune. Sharon Stevans initially suspected exposure to Agent Orange, but when she looked into it, she discovered the water issue at Camp Lejeune. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)and theCommunity Assistance Panel (CAP) invite you to two public meetings Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 9:00 a.m. ETandSaturday, Sept. 19 at 9:00 a.m. Doctors indicated the cancer could be because of chemical exposure. – Today, U.S. “That’s how we did it.”. In 2017, Sergeant Ensminger testified before the Veterans Affairs Committee about the significant challenges Camp Lejeune families face. Owls, too. Health Effects of the Chemicals. Legislation has been passed by Congress to compensate these veterans for solvent neurotoxicity. When they did begin filling out the paperwork, it took forever. The ducks and owls are still works of art, with hand-scribed feathers and are painted to match the breed. “He has a long list of stuff he wants to do but it’s a matter of his ability to do it,” Aaron Morehouse said, including building a screened area at his home where his cats could run. “They said that she was the sickest person to ever walk off their floor up there.”. You may have other mental and physical conditions that are also considered service-connected – apply for those at the same time. It’s not covered by the VA benefits. Years would pass before they would start the process to get benefits through Veterans Affair because they were in and out of hospitals, Tom Tedesco said. “Well, the Marine Corps and the Navy have not been ever faithful over this issue. Service members living on the base at the time, along with their families, were unknowingly drinking contaminated water, as well as cooking with it, bathing in it, and washing their clothes in it. The contamination of drinking water at Camp Lejeune started in the early 1950s and officials say it ended in 1985 when highly contaminated water wells were removed from service. For more, subscribe. Related Pages. The contamination of drinking water at Camp Lejeune started in the early 1950s and ended in 1985 when highly contaminated water wells were removed from service. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates as many as 1 million of them face the risk those compounds present: a half dozen forms of cancer; neurobehavior effects, renal toxicity, infertility, miscarriages — 15 ailments in all. July 2019 CAMP LEJEUNE: PAST WATER CONTAMINATION From the 1950s through the 1980s, people serving or living at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, were potentially exposed to drinking water contaminated with industrial solvents, benzene, and other chemicals. Mike Stevans’ doctors say his neurological troubles are likely linked to his duty as a Marine at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, decades ago, and its contaminated water. She blamed herself for the costs. “He got out of boot camp the day the order was given to pull out of Vietnam,” Aaron Morehouse said. How do you get this because it was just out of the blue?” Tom Tedesco said. He still walks when he can, with braces on his legs. It kind of got slowed down and stopped when the country shut down.”. 6204. The Camp Lejeune water contamination problem occurred at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987. He became a Veterans Affairs officer and joined Cortland County in January. WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today that it … Years later, the problems arrived. “He can’t stand for very long.”. Dr. Clapp: The Camp Lejeune drinking water contamination, as I mentioned, was primarily due to two chemicals that were in the drinking water for different parts of the base. Local Business. By stock photo. “Much of the science is already in and more is coming in future study reports. ET. The Navy’s announcement Thursday that it would deny 4,400 claims from Marines and their families who say contaminated water at Camp Lejeune caused cancers and … He and Sharon Stevans have been dealing with it for years — giving them insight they’re willing to share with others, but still less time than Cortland County’s veterans service officer, Tom Tedesco, grieving a wife lost to leukemia. Other scars: His brother died of cancer, perhaps linked to his duty in Iraq, amid burn pits and battlefields laced with depleted uranium. Veterans and families exposed Camp LeJeune was established in 1942 as a Marine Corps military base in Jacksonville, NC. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Jon Tester (D-MT), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Ben Cardin (D-MD) have introduced, “It is unconscionable that the VA continues to deny and delay medical care to families suffering as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune,”, “While progress has been made to ensure that veterans and their families who were poisoned at Camp Lejeune receive the benefits they have long deserved, some victims are still not receiving the care to which they are entitled because the VA has refused to accept the most up to date scientific data and research available,”, “If our servicemembers are exposed to toxic substances in the line of duty, it’s our duty to ensure they get the best care possible,”, “I’m proud to join my colleagues in reintroducing, “Our country is fortunate incredible individuals who volunteer to serve our military and are willing to risk their lives to defend it,”, “[N]o other military toxic exposure incident in our history has been documented nor studied as thoroughly as Camp Lejeune,”, You can read the text of the Janey Ensminger Act of 2019, You can read a one-pager summarizing the legislation, Request A Note From Thom: Special Recognitions, Signup for Updates on COVID-19 Information, Senators Continue Bipartisan Fight for Victims of Camp Lejeune Toxic Exposure, https://www.tillis.senate.gov/2019/5/senators-continue-bipartisan-fight-for-victims-of-camp-lejeune-toxic-exposure. When applying, don’t forget to also put down your secondary service-connected conditions. “There are multiple lawsuits against the military regarding veterans who got prostate cancer from the camp,” she said. News & Media Website. Roger went through chemo and radiation to slow the spread of the cancer. While these were prevalent in extraordinary amounts in the groundwater and soil for decades at Lejeune, they are not the only chemicals that were found. “He’s still tired because of the cancer,” even after stopping chemotherapy, said his son Aaron Morehouse. VA has adopted a presumptive service connection for military service members exposed to contaminants in the Lejeune water supply who later developed one the following diseases: Adult leukemia; Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes; Bladder cancer; Kidney cancer; Liver cancer; Multiple myeloma It also requires ASTDR to publish the classifications on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) website. Learn about research on past chemical contamination. She tried to sign him up for Veterans Affairs services related to Camp Lejeune in 2018; he was denied in 2019. Uncertainties related to water contamination and adverse health effects have complicated reimbursements for medical costs and may have impacted the health of subsequent generations. Military EM in Okinawa exposed to contaminated defoliated dioxin herbicide. The financial burden took a toll, too. Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. “They really need to take care of people quicker — sooner rather than later,” he said. From the 1950s through the 1980s, people living or working at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, were potentially exposed to drinking water contaminated with industrial solvents, benzene, and other chemicals. “She passed away because her immune system was shot still because of all the treatments she had to go through to save her life,” he said. Sharon Stevans initially suspected exposure to Agent Orange, but when she looked into it, she discovered the water issue at Camp Lejeune. The legislation was previously introduced in 2017. I recently served as an expert witness regarding a Camp LeJeune veteran. He has a wheelchair for longer distances. The VA is required to provide health care to veterans and their family members suffering from health problems as a result of this toxic chemical exposure, but the agency continues to challenge certain findings, often delaying or denying care. Aaron is in the anger stages of it all, Laura said. The Marine Corps continues to work diligently to . 127 likes. Public Service. It’s been a long road, but Sharon Stevans says they know what’s ahead. April 11, 2020 Camp Lejeune Historic Drinking Water Database The Marine Corps maintains an information database for those who may have been exposed to contaminants in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987. Anger, mostly, for which he got some counseling. The contaminants included the volatile organic compounds trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, benzene, and other compounds. Attend via online livestream or teleconference call to learn more about ATSDR studies of the potential health … The contamination of drinking water at Camp Lejeune started in the early 1950s, and the most contaminated wells were shut down in 1985. You can read a one-pager summarizing the legislation here. The illnesses have been scientifically-linked to conditions at Camp Lejeune, and our government has a responsibility to ensure the veterans and families impacted are helped.”. Health Studies. “The Marine Corps was supposed to have sent out letters to everybody — 900,000 people that were affected by this,” she said. “Concentrate on what you’re doing.”. In GovTrack.us, a database of bills in the U.S. Congress. What Are the Camp Lejeune Presumptive Conditions? NjBigfoot . Organization. “For her, mentally, it was horrible, as it is for anyone going through this,” Tom Tedesco said. People. He joined the Marine Corps in 1964 at 17. “If you ever met her during these times and you sat and talked with her, you wouldn’t know that she was in the pain that she was in,” he said. The VA care has been good, she said, but the hardest part is trying to get through the bureaucracy. “We did get approval for some other things related to the military, so he wasn’t totally denied, but the issues related to Camp Lejeune — they denied that they were related to the water,” she said. He’s mad at the military for not including prostate cancer among the covered ailments. She spent two months there. “These kinds of degenerative diseases don’t lead to good things,” she said. VA Plans to Propose Expanded Disability Benefits Eligibility for Veterans Exposed to. 1 thing on the list is the leukemia she got.”. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Jon Tester (D-MT), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Ben Cardin (D-MD) have introduced S. 1563, The Janey Ensminger Act of 2019, to ensure individuals with diseases scientifically linked to toxic chemical exposure at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina receive proper medical care from the Veterans Administration (VA). Woodenscreened night lights, too, with careful attention to detail and heavy use of power tools. “I asked how do you get CML? Today, a neurological disorder he attributes to his time as a U.S. Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, limits him to hand tools. Scientific and medical evidence has shown an association between exposure to these contaminants during military service and development of certain diseases later on. ATSDR has been assessing the health risks from hazardous substances in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune since the late 1980s. “If you ask Dad how he’s doing with things, he says ‘I’m OK.’ I think he’s just trying to deal with it in his own way. The Janey Ensminger Act makes sure the cause of reported diseases continues to be determined by scientific data, not bureaucratic red tape.”, “While progress has been made to ensure that veterans and their families who were poisoned at Camp Lejeune receive the benefits they have long deserved, some victims are still not receiving the care to which they are entitled because the VA has refused to accept the most up to date scientific data and research available,” said Senator Tillis. Camp Lejeune, a military base in North Carolina, is home to hundreds of thousands of Marines and their families. In most discussions in the media regarding Camp Lejeune water contamination, often the focus is given only to 4 core chemicals – TCE, PCE, benzene and vinyl chloride. Roger has so much he wants to do, but doesn’t have enough time, Aaron Morehouse said. Sitting in his recliner in the living room of his Hamlin Street home, he keeps his left hand tucked between thigh and chair arm. Veterans with the below illnesses who served at Camp Lejeune are eligible for VA disability benefits. Mike Stevans has little regard for the scars of war. We’ve now got to do our part to help those suffering from illnesses by providing the quality medical care and benefits they’re owed.”, “I’m proud to join my colleagues in reintroducing The Janey Ensminger Act and standing on the side of veterans who have been suffering from various cancers and diseases after being poisoned at Camp Lejeune,” Senator Rubio said. In June 2017, an expert in Camp Lejeune water contamination found that the Veteran’s prostate cancer was less likely than not “caused by or a result of his relatively brief exposure.” Specifically, the expert noted that the Veteran was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011 at the age of 46, 26 years after being at Camp Lejeune. The stories on this site represent only a portion of the local journalism you'll find in each day's edition of the Cortland Standard. He was sent to Vietnam in 1965, returning in 1966. When Diane Tedesco died, he focused on their three children. Cassandra Crosby, Claims Advocate Updated: May 6, 2020 Camp LeJeune Water Contamination Explained Over 1 million military personnel and their family members were stationed at the US Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between 1953 and 1987. Tremors came, and now memory loss and “some cognitive changes” have been added to his symptoms. “He’s planning it, I’m just going to be the labor building it.”. She was 42. “Gradually, bit by bit, gradually you have your independence taken away from you.”. “She got really sick and to save her life they used every steroid under the sun and it killed her immune system,” he said. The Janey Ensminger Act of 2019 requires ASTDR to review every three years the relationships between specific illnesses or conditions reported and time spent at Camp Lejeune, and to determine to what extent they may have been caused by toxic chemical exposure. Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Benefits Legal Help. Less realistic, but more artsy, she said. For solvent neurotoxicity what you ’ re doing. ” independence taken away you.... Artsy, she was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia services related to Camp Lejeune in 2018 he. Pull out of the Janey Ensminger Act of 2019 here after stopping chemotherapy, said his son Aaron said. Was the sickest person to ever walk off their floor up there. ” he served mostly at Lejeune!, a military Base in Jacksonville, NC, too, with on! The drinking water at Camp Lejeune, a military Base in North,..., ” she said through chemo and radiation to slow the spread of cancer! Half since Diane Tedesco died, he focused on their three children “ I. 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