Jun 25, 2010

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Meeting in Orlando

By Dea Hayes 6.24.10

Recently, on 12 June, I attended the second meeting sponsored by the Bell Legal Group, a Georgetown, S.C. firm for an informal, informational presentation regarding the Contaminated Water @ Camp Lejeune, N.C... I had planned to write this sooner, but I have been plagued with kidney stones and my mind foggy from meds since my return home.

The meeting held in Orlando, Florida had around 40 former Lejeune residents and retirees. Sadly, many were in grave health. A variety of Cancers, kidney transplants, skin disorders and many others were present to hear what they had to share with us. The information they provided was momentous; however, Mike Partain, of with the help of Vanessa Bertka, the Paralegal with Bell Legal Group, and a great slide show was able to break it down for us in a noteworthy manner.

The Bell Legal group is working with an Orlando area firm of Grower and Ketcham and Attorney Patrick H. Telan who can be reached at 407.423.9545, located in Maitland, FL. I will say I felt absolutely no pressure from these Attorneys to work with them. They were more about helping get information out to all of us than selling services. I appreciate their efforts for our cause. They even had an unexpected luncheon brought in which was way more food than was needed. Vanessa assured me that the remaining would be donated to one of the shelters. I thought that was great of them.

Even though I have been following this story since I learned about it, one of the stark realities I came away with was that nearly everywhere at Camp Lejeune, on base and off had contaminated water in one way or another. Between fuel dumps, chemicals used as cleaning solvents, the TCE and PCE as well as Benzene, well known as a human carcinogen, our water was substantially filled with toxic chemicals for over 40 years.

The most startling point made was that the USMC and the NAVY are still hiding/holding information, not cooperating as they should be and knew about this the majority of the time. The standards we all thought they worked by were no standard at all. They really do/did not care about our quality of life during and after the service. Their actions speak so much louder than the words that we groomed and grounded with.

I am heartbroken to know that Semper Fidelis means not a thing though I have always believed in “Always Faithful” and grew up under the belief that it truly meant what it said. (I do have a super role model of that faith however, thanks Dad) Countless Marines and their families, and my close friends know that "Semper Fidelis" signifies the dedication and loyalty that individual Marines have for "Corps and Country", even after leaving service.

With regret, I find that the “Corps and Country” does not really care. For if they were “Always Faithful” to those who served, we would not have to fight them to get the care we all need. We should be compensated for the deceit and lies and the wasted time that could have been used to save one’s life or the ability to live a better life. There are many out in the civilian world since spending a majority of their lives at Camp Lejeune who no longer have ties to the military. These people (all once dependants), most of whom have no healthcare, are which we fight for most, the sick, the diseased, the disabled. We also fight for those we have lost due to medical problems and diseases. If only they could know, it wasn't all in their heads.

Once a Marine, always a Marine- I plead for the USMC and Navy to be “Faithful” to their Marines and their families who sacrificed much for their service. Please take care of my family and friends and countless others who so desperately need answers, medical help and a little happiness with what is left of their sickened lives. Be “Faithful” to those we have lost, those who suffered many years of pain and illness because of the contamination. Be “Faithful” to our children’s children who are affected with diseases and illness since our DNA has been changed, our bloodstreams polluted, and our lives lived in hell.

I so appreciate Mike Partain and the Attorneys of Bell Legal Group who are working on our behalf. Be sure to go to a meeting they have planned in the coming months. You will learn much, cry some, and understand a whole lot more. I also appreciate the help of handful of politicians who are fighting for us as well.

In closing, I will include a letter from Mike Partain giving more information and meeting dates to come.

Greetings everyone,

I wanted to go ahead and get this posted so we can get the word out ASAP. The Bell Legal Group has sponsored two informational meetings for Camp Lejeune. Jerry Ensminger spoke at the first meeting in NC and I spoke at the recent meeting here in Florida. To be honest we were not really sure what to expect with these meetings or who would show. Based on our experiences at the two meetings, it is quite apparent that our community is in the dark as to what happened at Camp Lejeune. We need to change this....

I want to point out that these meetings are being held to as an opportunity for us, the affected community, to spread the word and inform ourselves as to what really happened at Camp Lejeune. During the meeting, we showed some of the key documents, explained what contaminated the water and where the contamination was found. We also discussed what the USMC knew about the contamination, when they knew it, and what they have reported/not reported to the affected community.

The Bell Legal Group has been very gracious by bearing the costs for the food and meeting space and more importantly, for allowing us to talk about Camp Lejeune without making you sit through a sales pitch. They were available for questions during lunch but otherwise, the focus was on information and not to sign people up. Without their support, this would not be possible.

The next meeting will be Saturday July 10th in Roanoke Virginia. We will need at least 100 people to hold the meeting. Jerry Ensminger or I will be in attendance...or both of us. We will present the facts, what we know and where we are going. We will also try and answer as many questions as we can.

A meeting about the CAMP LEJEUNE WATER CONTAMINATION effects will be held July 10, 2010 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. at the

Roanoke Higher Education Center, Room 212, located at 108 N. Jefferson Street, Roanoke, VA. (This location is handicap accessible.) If you believe your health or the health of a loved one has been compromised from exposure to Camp Lejeune water, we encourage you to attend this free informational seminar. For further information and to reserve your space, please contact Vanessa Bertka at 843-546-2408, ext. 757. Please RSVP by July 8th. There is no charge or obligation to attend.

Additional meeting dates are listed below. The informational meetings will be held from 11-3 p.m. each date. Please be advised these dates are subject to change if the minimum amount of attendees are not met. We ask that you RSVP to receive updated information.

July 17th Virginia Beach , VA RSVP by July 15th

July 31st Charlotte , NC RSVP by July 29th

August 7th Syracuse , NY RSVP by August 5th

August 21st Pittsburg , PA RSVP by August 19th

Mike Partain

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