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Woman raises awareness about veterans stationed at Camp Lejeune

TUCSON – On the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, people living or working at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in the 1950s through 1980s were potentially exposed to drinking water contaminated with chemicals.

Now, it is Tara Craver’s mission to make sure veterans know they can get compensated if they were exposed to chemicals while stationed there.

“If a Marine veteran or a family member knows that they were exposed to these chemicals when they served onboard Camp Lejeune, when they go for their checkups with their primary care doctor or outside doctor they could say, ‘Hey doc, I drank benzene, vinyl chloride, TCE, PCE, can you make the test a little more extensive?'” she said.

Craver hopes by holding signs and rallying others that it raises awareness and ultimately help save a life.

Laura Budgell said that her husband Gregg was stationed at Camp Lejeune in 1986 and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 47.

Parkinson’s disease is one of the eight diseases falling under disability compensation with the VA.

“It is difficult especially because my husband is a Marine and the one thing you have to know about these guys is they live, die, breathe for the Corps and he still feels that way about it and what is really frustrating for us as a family is that when Gregg was stationed there the military was already aware of the fact that the water was contaminated,” said Budgell.

She said that his Parkinson’s has rapidly increased since it was chemically induced and now her sons are worried because these chemicals could have been passed down in DNA.

According to the VA website it states: “As part of the caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, qualifying veterans can receive all their health care from VA if they served on active duty at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987.

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Priscilla Casper

Priscilla Casper is an anchor and multi-skilled journalist for News 4 Tucson. She anchors weekdays at noon and 5 p.m.

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