EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) — Senator Sherrod Brown visited the American Legion Post 374 in East Liverpool on Tuesday to bring attention to new benefits.
On Aug. 10, President Biden signed a new law that expands benefits for veterans who were exposed to toxins from burn pits. Any veteran with one of 23 illnesses associated with the toxic fumes will receive VA help.
Marc Douglas is a U.S. veteran who was exposed to the burn pits during the Gulf War.
“It was almost like going into a city of crows because there were a lot of blackbirds, rodents, and things of that nature while this was burning,” said Douglas.
Douglas said he was surrounded by burn pits that were the size of football fields. Now, he has suffered from heart disease.
David Oesch is a veteran who served for 27 years. He now has nodules in his lungs and COPD, symptoms of a smoker even though he never did.
“Everything went into the burn pits. Everything from airplane parts to human body parts. Computers, wood, any garbage all went into these burn pits, and the particles just swept over the base daily,” said Oesch.
Senator Brown is urging veterans to utilize these benefits, stressing the importance of taking care of themselves after serving our country.
“We got plenty of money to send you to war. We need to spend whatever it takes to keep veterans safe and living long productive lives. That’s our mission as their mission was to serve this country,” said Brown.
Cheryl McPherson was a contractor in Iraq who was exposed during her five years of service. She asked Senator Brown how these benefits can be extended to civilian workers.
“He said that he’s going to look into also civilians. They’re going to get in contact with me and see what they can do,” said McPherson.