Thursday, June 5, 2014

Editorial: Call for reform at veterans agency (National Veterans Services Fund)

One of the veterans, Stamford resident Paul Reutershan, died that same year of cancer, which he blamed on Agent Orange. Six years later, his lawsuit against the government and the makers of Agent Orange led in a class-action that was settled for $240 million. This handful of veterans came to define the issue of Agent Orange. The group, originally named Vietnam Veterans Agent Orange Victims, eventually changed its name to the National Veterans Services Fund to reflect its expanded duties. In some ways, the mission was the same: To help veterans the government had failed to serve. When the Veterans Administration can't provide funding, the NVSF pays for wheelchairs and mortgage and utility payments.

Lawmakers must rally to this cause. For the sake of veterans as well as charities, they need to question the ongoing mission of the National Veterans Services Fund. If the group continues to resist a dramatic change of course, it should be shut down. If that's the unfortunate reality, it will add to the toxic legacy of Agent Orange.

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