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Burn pit advocate invited to Biden’s Point out of the Union handle speaks out on veteran wellbeing care reform thrust


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The widow of Sgt. To start with Course Heath Robinson, a veteran who succumbed to a unusual and fatal most cancers after his exposure to burn pits, recollects her response when President Biden invited her to Tuesday night’s State of the Union deal with.

“Stunned, to say the least,” Danielle Robinson advised WHD News about the invitation she obtained earlier this week. “I am a bodily therapist and was in the middle of performing with 1 of my expensive people with equilibrium workouts when my front desk staff members instructed me I wanted to go response some calls on my cellphone.

“Tiny did I know that in 24 hrs, I would be sitting with Dr. Jill Biden at the State of the Union deal with. Still does not feel genuine.”

Robinson was requested to show up at by the White Property as Biden introduced designs to provide reform to the intricate course of action thousands and thousands of veterans encounter when attempting to get compensation for overall health care thanks to their publicity to melt away pits though serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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“Our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan faced several potential risks. One being stationed at bases respiratory in poisonous smoke from burn off pits,” Biden said ahead of introducing Danielle Robinson to the Household chamber. “He [Heath Robinson] was born a soldier. Army Countrywide Guard. Combat medic in Kosovo and Iraq. Stationed in close proximity to Baghdad, just yards from burn off pits the dimensions of soccer fields.” 

Sgt. First Class Heath Robinson, left, developed a rare form of deadly cancer after he was exposed to burn pits during a 13-month tour of duty in Iraq.

Sgt. First Course Heath Robinson, still left, created a rare kind of deadly most cancers following he was uncovered to melt away pits through a 13-month tour of obligation in Iraq.
(Susan Zeier)

“Danielle says Heath was a fighter to the extremely conclude. He did not know how to stop preventing, and neither did she. By her ache, she discovered goal to demand that we do much better. Tonight, Danielle, we are going to do improved.” 

Biden included in the course of his handle that an additional nine respiratory cancers will be incorporated on a record of presumptive problems, which will direct to expanded eligibility for veterans.

“I am also calling on Congress to pass a regulation to make positive veterans devastated by toxic publicity in Iraq and Afghanistan ultimately get the positive aspects and the thorough wellbeing treatment,” he reported.

The president also described his son Beau, who he also thought may well have turn into sick from exposure.

Danielle Robinson was invited to attend Tuesday's State of The Union Address by President Biden and first lady Jill Biden.

Danielle Robinson was invited to show up at Tuesday’s State of The Union Address by President Biden and initially lady Jill Biden.

“They [service members] come home several of the fittest and best-educated warriors in the entire world, hardly ever the similar. Headaches, numbness, dizziness, a most cancers that would put them in a flag-draped coffin,” he said. “A single of all those troopers was my son, Maj. Beau Biden. I will not know for confident if the burn up pit that he lived there, that his hooch [barracks] was there in Iraq, and right before that Kosovo, is the result in of his mind most cancers and the disease of so numerous other troops. But I am dedicated to locate out every thing we can.”

The Investigative Unit at WHD News has documented thoroughly on veterans made ill from their exposure to melt away pits. Lots of assistance members said the pits were being a crude method of incineration in which every piece of squander was burned, together with plastics, batteries, appliances, drugs, dead animals and even human waste. The products ended up frequently established ablaze using jet fuel as the accelerant.

The pits were being made use of to burn off much more than 1,000 distinctive chemical compounds working day and night. Most provider users breathed in toxic fumes with no protection.

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Heath Robinson was considered to have contracted a exceptional autoimmune disorder known as mucus membrane pemphigoid following he was uncovered to burn off pits during a 13-month tour in Iraq with the Ohio Nationwide Guard. Although he acquired help thanks to the actuality he was even now in the military services, Danielle Robinson and her mom, Susan Zeier, have been extensive-time advocates for other veterans.

“Heath’s dying wish was to have fellow brother and sisters [fellow service members] who come down with harmful publicity ailment to be taken treatment of in methods we just take treatment of them when they are lively responsibility,” Robinson mentioned to WHD News. “He would be proud of all us advocates observing this go forward. Heath did not know how to give up. Prior to he was placed on hospice, He advised me to proceed to be the rock and see this by means of. Before he passed, he informed me he was proud of me for in no way letting him give up.

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Robinson stated that as she was obtaining prepared to go to the handle on Tuesday, she had been given a connect with from the enterprise that designed Heath Robinson’s headstone that his marker was placed on his grave.

Danielle Robinson, seen in this photo with President Biden's sister, Valerie Biden Owens, was invited to a pre-address reception at the White House.

Danielle Robinson, observed in this picture with President Biden’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens, was invited to a pre-address reception at the White Dwelling.
(Susan Zeier)

“The exact same day, I was in a position to honor him in Washington,” she mentioned. “It gave me chills. I assume this was his way of saying, ‘You are continuing to be a rock. Preserve going.’”

Biden’s remarks at the State of the Union arrived on the heels of a vote taking location this 7 days on Capitol Hill. On Thursday, the Home of Associates is set to vote on the Honoring our Guarantee to Address Extensive Toxics Act of 2021 or Honoring our PACT Act of 2021. The invoice is just one of a couple of pertaining to burn off pits  being lobbied for in Washington and viewed as a landmark piece of laws that could provide sweeping reform to how the Veterans Administration handles the claims of services customers.

A important part of the invoice would make melt away pits publicity a presumptive ailment following navy service. 

As a result, the VA will be required to understand that all troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan were uncovered to harmful fumes from burn up pits and other airborne fumes through their deployment. Up to 3.5 million veterans could reward from the new legislation. The monthly bill is regarded “extremely most likely” to be handed on Thursday, in accordance to resources near to the matter.

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Robinson reported she’s joyful the bill will go up for a vote, calling it a very important 1st step in serving to veterans. Continue to she stated you can find significantly a lot more function to be performed.

“Unfortunately, there are quite a few burn up pits expenditures which have been introduced around the a long time,” she claimed. “[However] other expenditures do not give presumption and depart out quite a few of the ailments our veterans are dealing with, which include constrictive bronchiolitis and numerous terminal cancers. The other bills at present out there also have time restraints, which leaves a lot of veterans not taken care of.”

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