Brown Has Long Fought for Benefits for Veterans Who Experienced Toxic Exposure; Discusses New PACT Act with Veterans and Advocates
EAST LIVERPOOL, OH – September 6, 2022 – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) hosted a roundtable with local veterans, including those who have been harmed by exposure to toxic burn pits, to discuss the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 that was recently signed into law by President Biden.
“This bill is the most comprehensive expansion of benefits for veterans who faced toxic exposure in our country’s history,” said Brown. “Providing health care and benefits for veterans who suffer from toxic exposure is a cost of going to war. If you were exposed to toxins while serving our country, you deserve the benefits you earned. Period. No exceptions.”
Brown was joined by Susan Zeier, the mother-in-law of Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson. The legislation is named after Robinson, a Central Ohio veteran who passed away in 2020 at age 39 from lung cancer after exposure to burn pits during a one-year deployment in Iraq in 2006. He will also be joined by veterans and advocates from around the region. Zeier, her daughter Danielle Robinson, Heath’s widow, and Heath and Danielle’s daughter Brielle were at the PACT Act signing at the White House last month.
“First and foremost, I’d like to thank Senator Sherrod Brown for his part and full support in this burn pits journey. Witnessing President Joe Biden sign the SFC Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act into law was an honor after a hard fought but landmark victory for all veterans and their loved ones,” said Zeier. “For decades, way too many of our veterans have suffered health consequences from various toxic exposures, including burn pits, only to be denied health care and other benefits from the Veterans Administration. This piece of legislation changes that by providing full VA benefits to sick and dying veterans and their families. My family is grateful this historic legislation is named in honor of our hometown hero. We will now move forward knowing our mission and promise to Heath has been fulfilled and that no more families will have to suffer like ours did.”
The PACT Act is the result of a years-long fight by Brown, veterans and advocates to secure access to Department of Veterans Affairs health care and disability benefits for veterans who were exposed to toxic chemicals. He now is working with Ohio veterans, their families and advocates to bring additional attention to provisions in the PACT Act so veterans can get the care they’ve earned and deserve.
“Senator Brown worked so hard to get the PACT act passed for the veterans who were exposed to the toxic smoke from the burn pits,” said David Oesch, a member of the Columbiana County Veterans Service Commission. “This will be very helpful to the veterans and their families for future care that will be needed for any symptoms that arise from the burn pits.”
All Ohio veterans and family members can go to va.gov/pact to find out more about how they can now claim the benefits they have earned.