The family of a Camp Lejeune veteran has finally gotten his military benefits for medical problems caused by drinking water, though he didn’t live long enough to see them.
It was March of 2016 when we first brought you the story of Jackson Township’s Dave Metzler and his fight to get benefits that his daughter, Patty, claimed he deserved.
“It just means a lot. It was a lot of work,” she said.
Patty has the last page of the ruling, with the judge’s signature, framed. It says her father’s health problems were service-connected, a ruling that means her late father is eligible for military benefits.
“We were thrilled with that and glad it was over with,” she said.
Two years ago, Patty described how Dave, who was a Marine, drank contaminated water while at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
After President Obama allocated money to help Lejeune veterans, Patty made it her five-year mission to make sure her father received his fair share.
He was denied twice and died last year.
Three weeks ago, his wife and Patty’s mother, Jane, was told she’d be getting full benefits, including back payments.
“It was quite a bit, it was quite a bit,” Patty said.
She said it was an accumulation of a monthly stipend over five years.
Jane now lives in Florida. When we called her to talk about the judge’s ruling, she started to cry.
“They finally gave my husband vindication,” she said.
Though Dave’s case is over, Patty now plans to advocate for other Camp Lejeune veterans who feel they deserve to be compensated as well. Her dissatisfaction with the system runs deep.
“The process is extremely flawed. The VA, they don’t have enough people to look at all these cases. They take way, way, way too long,” Patty said.
Patty said after WKBN aired this story, a Canfield woman contacted her because her husband was at Camp Lejeune in the ’70s. He, too, has health issues. She told Patty she had given up. Now Patty has a meeting with her next week to see if she can help.