Event in Owasso aims to help veterans exposed to toxic chemicals get better access to medical care news

Owasso, Oklahoma. — An Owasso organization is working to help veterans who were exposed to toxic smoke while serving in the military have better access to health care.

The PACT Act was introduced last year, opening up more conditions for health care eligibility.

Now, the state’s largest PACT resource event is taking place this weekend in Owasso.

FOX23 spoke with Johnathon Shepherd, who works with Operation Eagle Team in Owasso, and he said many veterans who served overseas are at risk.

“I think there are 23 cancers currently associated with Agent Orange alone, and they are identifying more and more toxins, like burn pits over the last 20/25 years, they are identifying rhinitis, sinusitis, some of the sinus problems they are finding ‘We’re breathing in toxic fumes from these burn pits. “

An estimated 3.5 million veterans were exposed to burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Shepherd said his own father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer after being exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam.

“Ultimately it was exposure to Agent Orange and toxic substances,” Sheppard said. “He ended up getting cancer and we were absolutely blessed because the VA caught this cancer early and we fought the cancer and we spent a year and a half fighting the cancer and today he is cancer-free .”

The PACT Act was designed to provide veterans of the Gulf War, Vietnam War, and post-9/11 with the care and benefits they need.

“If you were exposed to toxins, Agent Orange, burn pits, asbestos while serving, this agreement bill will bring new benefits to the Veterans Administration for health care and home benefits,” Shepard said. “For veterans There are new opportunities for military members to connect with the Veterans Administration that they might not have been able to connect with in years past, but now they can, and there’s probably a presumption in that.”

The PACT Act adds more than 20 new conditions for health care eligibility for burn pits and toxic exposures, including cancer, asthma and high blood pressure.

Shepherd said Eagle Ops is currently hosting one of the largest PACT Act events in the state, trying to get veterans access to health care and benefits.

“This will be the largest PACT Act Veterans Resource Expo we’re likely to have in the state of Oklahoma,” Sheppard said.

“With this screening, we can help you get the health care and get the benefits you deserve and assess whether you were exposed 5 years ago, 2 years ago or 50 years ago,” Shepard said.

The event is called VetFest, and they say there will be more than 30 military personnel and 27 veterans support organizations helping process applications and claims.

Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at First Baptist Church, Owasso, free.

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