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Valley veteran reacts to approval of law granting more benefits for veterans impacted by burn pits

1 week 3 days 6 hours ago Friday, August 05 2022 Aug 5, 2022 August 05, 2022 9:11 AM August 05, 2022 in News - Local

Veterans are celebrating a new victory. They will be getting more benefits for illnesses they caught on the battlefield.

After coming back from fighting in Iraq in 2007, Valley veteran Juan Trevino started noticing something was off.

"I never had allergies growing up, even before service,” said veteran Juan Trevino. “But then I started developing all of these allergies."

Ten years after returning to civilian life, he finally asked a doctor about his symptoms. It wasn't until a few years ago that he realized his illnesses were possibly due to burn pits, which were used to burn trash out on the battlefield out in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Some of them didn't even know the illnesses that they had were directly related to that,” said Roy Edgar Champion with the Hidalgo County Veteran Services Offices.

Champion says over time, the VA began relating the release of toxic chemicals from burn pits to how they were making soldiers sick when they returned home.

On Tuesday, with 86 to 11 votes, the Senate approved the new PACT Act. Veterans impacted by toxic burn pits will be getting more benefits for their medical expenses. President Biden is expected to sign the bill into law next week.

Champion urges veterans to see a doctor whenever they feel sick.

Even though the Vietnam War was nearly 50 years ago, many veterans still suffer the consequences of handling Agent Orange. Now, they'll be getting even more benefits to help pay for their healthcare costs related to illnesses because they were handling this chemical.

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