Mack Payne (website) spoke to Rotary Club of Navarre members at our Friday Lunch Meeting on Feb 19th about a serious issue regarding some of our Vietnam Veterans and legislation currently being considered by the Congress.
Agent Orange, a very toxic, cancer causing herbicide that was used during the Vietnam War has long been causing cancer and illnesses among our Veterans. Mack spoke to us about how damaging these diseases can be, often ending in death after a long, protracted illness.
All of our Vets who are suffering from these long term effects of Agent Orange need to be taken care of, but some Vets are excluded. The sailors who served in the Blue Water Navy (website) during Vietnam are being refused treatment by Veterans Affairs because they never were “on the ground” in Vietnam, even though these sailors have some of the highest rates of disease from Agent Orange due to exposure through drinking and bathing water on ships that were stationed off the Vietnam shore.
Ships in those days used steam distilling of sea water which does not remove toxins like modern reverse osmosis does. So basically all the storm water runoff that swept millions of gallons of Agent Orange in the bay was being distilled on these ships and being used for drinking and bathing water.
The proposed bills in Congress are S-681 in the Senate and HR-969 in the House. These bills would include the sailors from these ships in the treatment and services provided by the VA to troops on the ground that suffering from Agent Orange related diseases. Without the passage of these bills, these sailors are on their own and many don’t get the treatment they need or are financially decimated by the costs.
We need to take care of all our Veterans who fought and died for the freedoms we enjoyed. Please contact your Senators and Congressman and tell them to support our troops, support our Veterans and keep the promises we made by passing this bill! Call them, write them a letter, email them!
Here is the contact info for Navarre’s representatives in Congress:
Sen. Marco Rubio (http://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/home)
284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510
Sen. Bill Nelson (http://www.billnelson.senate.gov/)
United States Senate
716 Senate Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Florida 1st District US House of Representatives
Jeff Miller (http://jeffmiller.house.gov/)
336 Cannon House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4136
Fax: (202) 225-3414