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Veterans organizations decry settlement program for Camp Lejeune toxic water exposure victims

Military Bases

More than twenty veterans’ organizations sent a letter to Congress expressing their disappointment in the Departments of the Navy and Justice’s new “elective option” settlement program for victims of toxic water exposure at Camp Lejeune.

While many were originally hopeful that the plight of those affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination crisis had finally been addressed, after examining the details of the new settlement program, officials with the Special Operations Association of America concluded that the program falls short of delivering justice.

President Stephen Patterson said the government is trying to avoid responsibility for these veterans and their families and he called the program unacceptable.

He added that it was crafted without any input from the claimants it is meant to serve.

The proposal limits compensation for veterans who spent less than five years on base and Patterson said it focuses on a veteran’s length of exposure as a determining factor for compensation instead of considering the varying degrees of suffering they experienced.

Annette is originally a Midwest gal, born and raised in Michigan, but with career stops in many surrounding states, the Pacific Northwest, and various parts of the southeast. She has been involved in the media industry in eastern North Carolina for more than three years. An award-winning journalist and mother of four, Annette moved to ENC to be closer to family – in particular, her two young grandchildren. It’s possible that a -27 day with a -68 windchill in Minnesota may have also played a role in that decision. In her spare time, Annette does a lot of toddler and baby cuddling, reading, designing costumes for children’s theater and producing the coolest Halloween costumes anyone has ever seen. She has also worked as a diversity and inclusion facilitator serving school districts and large corporations. It’s the people that make this beautiful area special, and she wants to share those stories that touch the hearts of others. If you have a story idea to share, please reach out by email to