Disabled military veteran pushing Congress for change
SPOKANE, Wash. – Vietnam veterans from around the country are gathering together in Spokane this week, and one of those veterans is a man hoping to spread his message.
Gerry Wright is a retired military veteran who said he may only have a few years to live after being one of millions to come in contact with Agent Orange– a poisonous gas sprayed in war zones where they fought decades ago.
Half a century later, millions of veterans are disabled because of it.
“2.7 million of us served over a ten-year period, but there’s less than 800,000 of us left and we’re dying at the rate of 390 a day. So we’re going to be gone by 2025, the VA has put an end date on my life,” Wright said.
Wright said he deals with the effects of Agent Orange every day with brutal skin rashes as well as the inability to have children.
He said he was told to never have children because the damage from Agent Orange is hereditary, and at the time veterans had no idea what it even was.
“So here are these sailors for over ten years and over 700 ships were all contaminated and never knew it, they’re showering in poison and drinking the water,” Wright said.
Wright is now using his days to spread his message of need for his fellow soldiers to those in congress.
He wants congress to change the way veterans get disability treatment and benefits.
As it stands now, veterans had to have documented disability from Agent Orange one year after being exposed to it, but many didn’t even know about it until years later.
He wants veterans to be able to get treatment no matter when they are diagnosed, and that is what his proposed bill does.
After this week’s convention in Spokane, Wright has support from his fellow veterans and it’s onto congressional help now.