Veterans express frustration to VA over Camp Lejeune benefits
Tampa Bay Times
William R. Levesque
Times Staff Writer
Saturday, December 5, 2015
"You're not helping us, you're hurting us. The more you delay, the more of us who are going to die. And we thank you very much for that." said Camp Lejeune veteran Paul Maslow, 64, of Daytona Beach, who said he has inoperable tumors on his spine and elsewhere in his body.ZACK WITTMAN TimesTAMPA — Robert Shuster of Hudson stood up Saturday at a public meeting with the Department of Veterans Affairs and federal scientists studying the health effects of polluted drinking at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Camp Lejeune veterans and community members listen to epidemiologists discuss tainted water at the base during a panel hosted by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
He held up two pieces of paper. One was the surgical pathology report Shuster sent to the VA that diagnosed him with sarcoma. The other document was a letter from the VA denying his claim for benefits, saying in stilted language the disease did not exist in him — he didn't have a malignancy.
"How can it not exist?" Shuster, 54, asked plaintively.
About 150 Marine Corps veterans and family members crowded a room at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay for a town hall meeting to hear VA officials and federal scientists provide an update on work studying contamination at the North Carolina base.
The VA representatives heard great frustration from veterans about their difficulties in getting the agency to provide benefits for those who were sickened by the water.
Up to a million veterans were exposed to what scientists consider one of the nation's worst episodes of water contamination. Drinking water at the base was tainted with a stew of industrial solvents and components of gasoline for at least 30 years ending in the 1980s.
Tens of thousands of those veterans and their family members now live in Florida, the state with the second-highest number of potential victims behind North Carolina, federal figures show.
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Sunday, December 6, 2015
Veterans Still Waiting For Justice from VA After Camp Lejeune
No one gave Camp Lejeune Marines justice in the 80's, or the 90's or in the last decade. They knew serving this country as a Marine could be hazardous to their health if they deployed but they never thought it would be more dangerous just to live there.