LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - A group of East Texas veterans met Thursday with a representative for U.S. Senator Ted Cruz to shed light on a decades-old problem at a military base that continues to cause illness for them and their family members.
The base is Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and marines and their families were subjected to a contaminated water supply going all the way back to the 1950′s.
In Longview, Marine Corps veteran Mike Park and several others met with Jason Wright, a representative of senator Ted Cruz’s office, on Camp Lejeune and the toxic water supply issue.
"I was there from 1981 to 1984. First discovered there was toxins, there was benzene, tetra-chlorethelene, di-chlorethelene, 70-80 other heavy metals. This was in the drinking water, and it was from 1953 to 1987," Park says.
Toxins that affected thousands over decades.
“All their stuff was running into the wells, and it took them a long time to figure it out, after a lot of people had gotten sick,” Ken Kunkel of the Texas Veterans Commission in New Boston.
“It affected over 900,000 marines, independents, and civilian workers,” says Park.
“My first medical issue, that almost killed me. I heard about a possibility of something at Lejuene, but it wasn’t very clear,” says marine veteran Brandon McRee, who was stationed at Lejeune from 1998 to 2003.
A study was done on the water resulting in veterans affairs releasing a report of eight presumptive diseases caused by the toxins, including leukemia and Parkinson’s disease.
“There are marines dying by the day, dependents dying by the day, and this issue is not resolved,” Park says.
McKee had a simple request.
“We signed the dotted line to do what the government requires of us, and the thing we ask is that you take care of us, too,” McRee says.
They want to get the word out to others who served at Lejeune, about the health dangers.
They are supporting the Ensminger Act, a public health service act addressing Camp Lejeune.
"There has not been accountability on this issue. It's still not safe as of 2013 which was the 5 year review," Mike says.
Park wants to start a Lejuene registry and his group has been invited to Washington, D.C. for a meeting with Senator Ted Cruz.
Veterans eligible for health care under the 2012 Camp Lejeune Health Care Law may enroll in VA health care and receive medical services for certain health conditions at no cost. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.