American Legion Post 36

Mon, 03/27/2023 - 9:15am

A reminder that Sunday, April 9 is the first breakfast for the 2023 season. Don’t forget, we have slipped the hours by 30 minutes so the breakfast starts at 7:30 and ends at 9:30. These breakfasts are really important as they support the Post programs, including the new American Legion Post baseball team, the 36ers, and the Rowe Student Scholarship. So, please join us on that Sunday!

There as been a great deal of press about the PACT Act (Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics) that was signed into law in August 2022. In Maine, only 30% of Maine veterans are receiving financial compensation due to illnesses, physical injuries, or mental health reasons due to military service, which is a fraction of those likely eligible. Often these medical issues don’t surface until decades after the veteran has left the service. First let me address the veterans who serviced in the western pacific from 1962 to 1976. For years, those who served in Vietnam and have been diagnosed with 19 different illnesses would automatically (but have to file the claim) be awarded financial compensation. It was “assumed” that those medical issues were caused by Agent Orange (AO). But, there were other locations where AO was present and veterans in those locations did have to prove their exposure. The PACT Act added Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Guam, American Samoa, Johnston Atoll to the list of location where AO is “presumed” to be the cause of the medical issue. This includes sailors on ships that operated in and around those locations. Google “Agent Orange Presumptives” to see the list OA caused medical issues. Make sure it is a VA website.

The issue of burn pits has been in the news the last few years. Those “burn pits” caused toxic exposure to the veterans who served after 1990 in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and the United Arab Emirates; and after 2001 in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Uzbekistan. If a veteran has been diagnosed with cancers (brain, gastrointestinal, head, kidney, lymphatic, lymphoma, melanoma, neck, pancreatic, reproductive, or respiratory) or asthma, bronchitis, obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic rhinitis, chronic sinusitis, constructive or obliterative bronchiolitis, emphysema, granulomatous disease, interstitial lung disease, pleuritis, pulmonary fibrosis, or sarcoidosis it will automatically be assumed the medical condition was caused by toxic exposure.

There is likely to be many questions, there are many options. Initially an appointment either in person, via Zoom, or just a phone call can be made by calling the VBA at (207) 621-6938, Once it is determine that a veteran is eligible, then a claim can be made either with the VBA, the American Legion 207-623-5726, the VFW 207-623-6723, or DAV 207-623-5725. It is never necessary to use an attorney! All benefits can be achieved any of the above routes. Ed Harmon and myself are also available to help to navigate this process. Call 633-4487 to set up an appointment with either Ed or me.