WASHINGTON, DC (WWAY) — A Bladen County man is finally seeing results from a 15-year-long crusade.
The retired Marine has been battling for help from the effects of toxic tap water at Camp Lejeune. Yesterday he saw the president join his fight.
A career Marine, Jerry Ensminger was happily retired when he heard that tap water had been poisoning Marines and their families at Camp Lejeune for decades.
“When I heard that, I thought, ‘My, God. Could this be what caused Janey’s cancer?'” Ensminger said. His daugter Janey died from cancer he believes stemmed from the tainted water at the Marine Corps base.
After doing some research, he was shocked at what he uncovered.
“Not only did these people poison us, our own leaders, but then they tried to hide it,” Ensminger said. “They knowingly poisoned us. They knew this stuff was in our drinking water for nearly five years before they took any steps to stop it.”
Ensminger set out on a mission to honor his daughter’s memory and help others poisoned at Camp Lejeune. That mission continued Monday in the Oval Office when President Obama signed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act, also knowns as the Janey Ensminger Act, which guarantees health care for Marines and their families affected by the base’s toxic tap water.
“She wanted to live, because she wanted to make a difference in this world,” Ensminger said. “Through her short life of nine years and then through her ultimate death, that child has made more change in this world than most people who live a full life make.”
It’s a mission of remembrance Ensminger says he will carry on until he dies.
“This is not over by any stretch of the imagination,” he said. “I still want the truth out of the Department of the Navy and the United States Marine Corps, and I want accountability.”
Ensminger says his next goal is to get the Department of Defense to pay for health care expenses for those affected, rather than the Department of Veterans Affairs.