WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Senator Sherrod Brown visited about a dozen veterans in Trumbull County on Friday to bring attention to the PACT Act, which expands benefits for those exposed to toxic burn pits.

The PACT Act was signed into law in August. It automatically provides care for any veteran with one of 23 conditions associated with burn pits.

Veterans around the table shared their experiences of friends and fellow servicemen who died without benefits related to these conditions.

Matt Straniac served in eastern Afghanistan for four years, and his base was between two large burn pits.

“It was just nonstop burning everything you could think of, from trash to batteries to equipment, you name it, and I breathed it in every day,” Straniac said.

Since coming home, he’s suffered from acid reflux and chronic sinusitis.

“Fighting to get those on the… The VA to recognize it was part of burn pits was a real struggle,” Straniac said.

Many others around the table shared the same sentiment.

Brown says the PACT Act should make it easier for veterans and their families to get these benefits.

“VA doctors, VA nurses, VA medical personnel will be trained with this new law in mind,” Brown said.

It’s an act that Vietnam veterans say is long overdue. It also expands care for those exposed to Agent Orange.

Many of the Vietnam veterans around the table said it was difficult to get Agent Orange exposure recognized.

James Rapone is a Vietnam veteran and the board chairman of the Trumbull County Veterans Commission.

“This is a whole new era of veterans that have served our country faithfully and now it’s time again that the government and defense department takes care of them,” Rapone said.

Brown encourages anyone exposed to burn pits to register with the VA, even if they aren’t experiencing symptoms.

For more information about the PACT Act, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ website.