Holly Ridge VFW Post 9983 hosts town hall on PACT Act, Camp Lejeune Justice Act

HOLLY RIDGE, NC (WWAY) — VFW Post 9983 in Holly Ridge hosted a town hall event on Tuesday night for veterans and their families to learn more about their legal rights when it comes to toxic water at Camp Lejeune.

Representatives from the VFW of North Carolina Department Service Office, the Veterans Benefits Administration, and the VFW-entrusted law firm BMBFC spoke at the event. Each representative explained a different portion of the information concerning new benefits available because of the PACT Act and the eligibility for those benefits.

The PACT Act was passed in August 2022. It expanded benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances, like the groundwater at Camp Lejeune. In fact, inside of the PACT Act is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act which specifically addresses the toxic water exposure.

Wendy Silvera is the commander of VFW Post 9133 in Jacksonville, which is where Camp Lejeune is located. Silvera was at the town hall meeting and she says the Camp Lejeune Justice Act impacts about 98 percent of Post 9133’s members.

“It affects them and their families. I think it’s a huge deal. It’s a fight that’s been going on for a long time,” Silvera said. “It’s a step in the right direction of recognizing, hey we have made a mistake, we’ve done something wrong and we need to take some steps in fixing it.”

A popular topic of conversation at the meeting was the commercials advertising legal assistance for those impacted by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune and other forms of advertisement directed at veterans. One of the main reasons for the meeting was to introduce the community to law firms that have been vetted by the VFW that they believe have the veterans’ best interest at heart.

“As veterans service officers, we do our work for free. We never take one penny from the veterans, their families, from the benefits they’ve earned and deserve,” VFW Department of North Carolina Service Officer Jay Wood said. “These law firms that are working under the PACT Act and the Camp Lejeune Justice Act are doing the same thing. They’re limiting their fees, they’re not charging upfront costs. First and foremost, they’re making sure that the veterans and their families are pursuing the VA benefits option so they’re getting the maximum benefits they’ve earned and deserve.”

For anyone seeking information, Wood explains the VFW can help answer questions even if they are not members of the organization because it does not turn away veterans or their family members. However, they do encourage them to join its ranks to help influence more change and get more legislation passed like the PACT Act.

For more information about the PACT Act and how the VFW is providing assistance to those eligible, visit here.

VFW Post 9133 in Jacksonville plans to host a similar town hall event on February 6 at 6 pm.

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