Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

May 14, 2013

Camp Lejuene vets may be entitled to medical assistance

Greensburg — Have you heard about it? Tom Imel, Service Officer for the American Legion Post 129, wants to know if you have heard of this and what you should do if you were stationed at Camp Lejeune from Jan. 1, 1957 and Dec. 31, 1987.

Camp Lejeune was first ready to be used as a U.S. Marine Corps base in 1942. The camp has continually helped get men and women ready for combat and for humanitarian missions. Unfortunately, for many years the camp’s water supply was deadly. Those were the years between Jan. 1, 1957 and Dec. 31, 1987. Anyone that served at Camp Lejeune for more than 30 days could have been exposed to drinking water that was contaminated with chemicals that could lead to deadly diseases. Even those stationed at the camp prior to 1957 are being considered as potential victims.

The camp is, as military bases generally are, huge. No question about it, while stationed there at any time during those 30 years, service men and women enjoy all of the advantages of such a huge military base. It really is a town with all of the things they would have in their home towns. They have childcare, excellent shopping, education opportunities, hunting and fishing, restaurants, boating and swimming and it has banks, a library, hobby shops, fitness centers, 11 miles of beach, theaters and fitness centers as well as the usual commissary.

Those advantages don’t mean anything though if the contaminated water poisoned your body. The drinking water was contaminated with chemicals known as “volatile organic compounds” (VOC’s) including industrial solvents and compounds of fuels. The Marine Corps discovered the VOC’s in the drinking water that was provided by two of the eight water distribution systems on the base in 1982.

The new law requires the Veterans Administration to provide health care for any veteran that served on active duty at Camp Lejeune for not fewer than 30 days between the years mentioned earlier. The contaminated water could possibly cause cancers of the bladder, breast, kidney, lung, and esophagus. It could cause female infertility, hepatic steatosis, leukemia, miscarriage, multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes, neuro-behavioral effects, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, renal toxicity and Scleroderma.

Any veteran that is eligible for care under the Camp Lejeune authority, regardless of their current enrollment status with the VA, won’t be charged a co-payment for health care related to the illnesses or conditions mentioned above. In addition, any third party insurance company won’t be billed for the services.

Imel wants to make sure that everyone that was on the base knows about the new law and what it can mean for them. If you or someone you know was stationed at the camp before 1987, you should get in touch with Imel at the American Legion in Greensburg.

He is a retired member of the United States Marine Corps and was on active duty for more than 22 years. He was stationed at Camp Lejeune for nine years. He has some of the problems associated with the contamination, but his main concern now is that someone who was also exposed won’t know about it.

Imel showed me the VA notice stating what it takes for registration: “Once all the funds and regulations are in place, a family member will need to show documentation that the service member was stationed at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days, their relationship to the Camp Lejeune service member (marriage license or birth certificate) and proof of residency on the camp for not fewer than 30 days between Jan. 1, 1957 and Dec. 31, 1987 (copies of orders, base housing records etc.).”

It warns that those registering should not alter or cancel current health insurance because that could put family members at risk for obtaining and paying for health care for anything that is not within the conditions provided for under the law.

As an Accredited American Legion Service Officer, Imel is specially trained to provide expert assistance, free of charge, to veterans and their families. He has helped more than 1,000 service men and women during his 15 years as service officer. Most of it has been with disability benefit applications, but he has also provided information, referrals about education, employment and business as well as death benefits. Three years ago he was named the first Thomas “Thumper” Henderson Award winner for outstanding service from the state, and he received a citation for meritorious service from the national chapter of the American Legion. His wife Wanda is the president of the Legion Auxiliary.

 

1
Text Only
Columns
  • Pat Smith: A reader's special note Before beginning this week’s column it must be stressed that I love getting emails from readers, love getting telephone calls from readers and love seeing readers when I’m out and about – especially those who very generously tell me that they read th

    July 24, 2014

  • Spaulding Outdoors: The Inside on Indiana's Outside Early Migratory Bird 2014 Season Dates The 2014 early migratory bird season dates have been submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by the Indiana DNR as listed below. The dates are not final until the USFWS approves them, which typically hap

    July 24, 2014

  • Why incumbents get reelected Incumbents are masters at posing as outsiders, when in fact they are insiders who produce the Congress they disdain. It’s no news that Congress is unpopular. In fact, at times it seems like the only real novelty on Capitol Hill would be a jump in its

    July 24, 2014

  • Lessons from the largely forgotten war As we approach the official date on which the First World War started, July 28, 1914, when the first shots were fired by the Austro-Hungarians who invaded Serbia, it’s appropriate to think about the lessons that catastrophic event has taught us one h

    July 24, 2014

  • Protecting Indiana's agricultural heritage With the 4-H fairs in full swing, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about agriculture. Since Indiana became a state back in 1816, agriculture has played a vital role in our livelihood. For those who are not from Indiana, our state is practica

    July 22, 2014

  • Improving Indiana's infrastructure It is always a happy time when my family visits, especially to celebrate a wedding. I recently played hostess for my niece and her wedding party when she was looking for somewhere to hold her rehearsal dinner. I absolutely enjoy when family comes to

    July 22, 2014

  • Shining a light on the Federal Reserve If you are like most Americans, you probably have heard of the Federal Reserve. But, you may not know much about what the Fed actually does or the very real ways its decisions impact your day-to-day life. The Federal Reserve was founded by Congress i

    July 22, 2014

  • Expiring term heightens the urgency of lawmaker's mission INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrant

    July 22, 2014

  • fea-gb072214 Spaulding column jpg Spaulding Outdoors: The inside on Indiana's outside Free beginner waterfowl hunting workshopsTwo free waterfowl hunting workshops for beginners will be offered in August and September by the Department of Natural Resources. The focus of the workshops is on hunting Canada geese, although there will be

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thankful for our veterans' sacrifice On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed, giving birth to a new nation. To Great Britain and the rest of the world, the U.S. proclaimed itself the proud home of free people. Since that day, on more than one occasion, this freedom h

    July 17, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.