Longview Marine veteran sees progress in advocacy for those affected by Camp Lejeune contamination

Published: Jul. 31, 2022 at 5:48 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas marine corps veteran continues his long fight for justice for marines and their families, who may have suffered long lasting health problems from contaminated water on a base, decades ago.

A pastor at ‘New Covenant Church’ in Longview, marine corps veteran Mike Park has been fighting for decades to get justice for marines and families effected by marine corps base ‘Camp Lejeune’.

“The Camp Lejeune issue had been hidden for decades. This issue with Lejeune is starting to come to the surface now, because of a lot of action happening because of pressure from veterans,” he said.

Park says government officials initially stalled complaints about contaminated water on the base.

“The problem that we continue to have is the stonewalling and sand-bagging of the government,” Mike says.

Later environmental studies from multiple government agencies have since concluded the water on the base was highly contaminated with chemicals like benzene, ‘PCE’ and ‘TCE’, as much as 280 times the level designated as healthy.

Thousands of people were exposed, many of them suffering mysterious illnesses and cancers later in life.

“The time period is 1952 to 1987, but we are finding that people were affected and didn’t know it, it could be someone who passed away who was a spouse,” Park says.

But now Park and his fellow marines efforts have been heard.

“There is something called the Camp Lejeune justice act which has been placed inside something called the Pact act. They’re trying to get traction in legislation to do some real changes and it looks like that is starting to happen now,” the marine corps veteran says.

For Park, the fight will not be over until there is justice for everyone affected.

“What we want veterans to do is contact their senators and congressmen. Just do the right thing for these veterans. As long as we have breath in our bodies it is our duty to carry this ball down the field. What we are asking is that people do the right thing and take care of these veterans, as they have stood up and cared for this country,” Mike says.

In 2013, congress passed a law requiring medical care to veterans and families stationed on the base for more than 30 days through 1987.

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