MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (DC NEWS NOW) — This holiday season may be a little brighter for service veterans facing challenges from the dire consequences of being on the front lines.
Meet Army veteran Richard Mollohan. He was exposed to the toxic Agent Orange, an herbicide with a harmful chemical contaminant, in Vietnam. A half-century later he is eligible for expanded services from the Veterans Administration under a new federal law.
“In the last few years, I have had several medical tests, x-rays, MRI’s that type of thing for different issues,” said Mollohan.
Like Mollohan, veterans with service in southeast Asia, the Gulf War and the post-Nine-Eleven era, exposure to toxic fumes, radiation and environmental hazards while in the military are collecting these benefits — financial and medical – through the expanded VA program with counselors who see first hand.
Daniell Armstrong is a Navy veteran who is now with the VA helping those with toxic and burn-pit exposures make the transition to civilian life. He sees first-hand the anxiety those in the military experience as they return to civilian life.
“A lot of them have questions about getting medical care from the VA,” Armstrong said. “We make the transition easy.”
Armstrong helps with these dire physical and emotional challenges. Amputees who need housing and transportation, for instance.
“We have some veterans who experienced significant injuries after and during the Gulf War with IEDs and traumatic brain injuries and we help to make sure they get set up with the services that will fill the needs they have,” said Armstrong.
The Martinsburg VA Center serves 70,000 veterans across four states — West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania.